Bridging the Project Development Knowledge Gap

Bridging the Project Development Knowledge Gap

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Andrew Leong, Contributor

There’s a space-time knowledge gap between the investor/developer and project consultants.

The more uncommon the project the bigger the gap. Projects in mature built environments generally have little or no gap. That’s because of the available information, accepted approaches and the presence of many practitioners. The same cannot be said for uncommon project types in emerging environments.


It’s not unlike financial markets. The more liquid the investment the smaller the bid-ask spread. The less liquid the investment and the spread widens. And its usually the big established counters that draw the most liquidity.

Parallel Paths

Investors/developers may be financially astute but they may be challenged when it comes to managing development dynamics. Project consultants are technically proficient but they’re not responsible for development business judgement. Do these parallel mindsets ever come together? Does the knowledge gap ever get closed?

The Challenge

The challenge starts with education where we are ‘ silo’d ‘ into niche disciplines. This lack of cross-disciplinary training means acquiring cross-disciplinary skills on the job.

It also means clients are not getting the most comprehensive advice. The challenge is especially acute with uncommon project types in emerging regions. As a result, in good times progress is mediocre. In less than ideal economic environments the downside is magnified.

Bridging the Gap

The best way to bridge the gap is integrating physical planning, project economics & development strategy. The best time to bridge the gap is during the pre-concept stage. How effectively you bridge this gap determines success to a greater or lesser degree.


You might also find this article relevant from FastCoDesign – What MBA’s get wrong about solving business problems – “Numbers and bullet points aren’t the only things driving executive decision making. And pretty pictures won’t get you there either. Both designers and MBAs have a lot to learn.”

Photo: Steve Bowbrick

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