The country’s planners approved spectacular projects that wowed the public but ended up becoming loathed monuments to pork barrel sleaze.

Could modern Spain's era of monumental urban projects finally be over? After a decades-long spurt of massive, influential development plans, Spain’s cities are now littered with half-built grand schemes that never happened. Madrid is currently missing a planned convention center (still a hole in the ground), a grandiosely titled arts center called the Coliseum of the Three Cultures (still two empty lots), a new stadium to replace one razed in 2006 and the long-promised, almost traffic-free Paseo Del Arte, a parkland promenade linking the city's main museums.

Spain's third city, Valencia, is faring no better. Here a new residential neighborhood’s construction has stalled, an extension of the metro system is on hold and no work has occurred on its half-built new stadium since 2009. These plans were hatched in the wake of a long list of successful cultural and urban regeneration schemes in recent decades, but with Spain’s property bubble long-since popped and cash for development blown away by austerity, their development is no longer viable. For a country whose bold urban schemes were once aped across the world, this is an abrupt and painful turnaround.