THE AUSSIE EFFECT
and chemicals. Following the investment flurry of
the past several years, the slowdown could precede
more sustainable growth, Mr. Hsieh adds.
“It is slower, but this is partially by design,” he
says. “What the Chinese government is aiming for
is more sustainable and quality growth.”
While the slowdown has affected industries tied to
real estate—such as manufacturers of steel, aluminum
and glass—not all sectors face the same outlook, espe-
cially if their organizations have solid project manage-
ment practices in place, Mr. Hsieh says.
“If you are diversified and you have the latest
project management tools, you have a good track
record and you focus on the encouraged industries,
then you will stay busy,” he says.
With the changing economy has come an even
greater need for project management skills, Mr.
Hsieh says. In the past, the government sometimes
would eagerly green-light projects, despite subpar
feasibility studies and return-on-investment estimates, he says. Now, it’s paying greater attention
to the projects it approves and the oversight they
need. —Ambreen Ali
China’s economic woes have
implications far beyond its
own borders—as Australia
knows all too well.
China has been Australia’s main customer for iron
ore, the main ingredient
in steel, leading to record
profits for ore producers
over the past decade. Yet
China’s real-estate slump,
particularly the dip in new
apartment buildings, has driven a sharp decline in demand for steel and, with
it, iron ore. China’s slowdown has led to dramatic fluctuations in iron ore prices
that in turn have affected Australia’s national budget.
That decrease in demand has been accompanied by an increase in supply
from industry heavyweights such as BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto, Fortescue and
Vale. After Australian production of iron ore increased 40 percent between
2010 and 2013, iron ore prices in 2014 fell to a five-year low.
As a result, some big iron projects planned for the next few years could have
a hard time getting the investments they need. One such project is a US$7 billion initiative to develop a mine, port and railway in western Australia.
It’s small wonder, then, that Goldman Sachs has announced the “end of the
A 2.7-mile ( 4.3-kilometer) stretch of the Bloomingdale
train line in Chicago, Illinois, USA has been the subject
of rehab speculation since its last freight ran in 2001.
More than a decade later, a US$95 million project is
finally underway to transform the space into a cycling
and jogging path surrounded by new parks.
Originally slated for completion in late 2014, the
project experienced a setback when an abnormally
cold winter froze the team’s
excavation phase. That caused
project delays including cutting short the planting season
originally scheduled for late
summer. Plantings will now
occur in the second quarter of
“We want to … meet the
visions set forth for the community,” transportation commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld
told the Chicago Tribune.
The Guangdong Float Glass
Factory in Shenzhen, China
stopped production in 2009.
The derelict factory didn’t
just sit empty; it was in disarray. “The site was a piece of
abandoned wasteland,” says
Tris Kee, assistant professor, department of architecture, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.
Yet her project team saw potential in the space, and chose
the site to build its 8,100-square-meter (87,200-square-foot)
Hong Kong Value Farm, a part organic farm, part art installation
developed for the Shenzhen and Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of
Urbanism and Architecture.
To maximize the CNY700,000 project budget, the team incorporated standing infrastructure whenever possible. Local bricks, for
instance, were utilized to separate crops of bok choy and kale.
Though the installation has closed, the project team designed
with the future in mind: The chief curator is developing a proposal to convert the organic farm into a public park.
An iron ore mine in