Penn IUR Publications

Document Type

Conference Paper

Date of this Version

August 2006


Reprinted from Politics of Design: Competitions for Public Projects, edited by Catherine Malmberg, August 2006, Section 1, pages 29-52.
Published by the Policy Institute for the Region.
Publisher URL:


Economics, Economic Development and Real Estate


Design competitions are commissioned for many reasons, almost none of which have to do with design and all of which have to do with political motivations. A political agenda always presides over the important but ancillary search for new design possibilities, innovative solutions, or a compelling architectural or urban vision. Though political agendas vary quite a lot, they are lodged in the fundamental need to create or cultivate a strong constituency and garner the necessary resources to advance a desired project.



Date Posted: 22 February 2007