There are a lot of negative associations around vanity projects. Not just the downright ugly – the grotesque monuments or golden palaces as a shrine to an evil dictator – but anything that tends to be big, risky/controversial and breaking new ground. HS2, the Olympics, Concorde etc, have all been labelled as ‘vanity’ projects by opponents quick to dismiss the economic case as nothing more than pie-in-the-sky thinking, driven by a person with big ambitions and an ego to match. But let’s look at the evidence.
There are a lot of negative associations around vanity projects.