What does it mean to see Third World “development” as a problem of untapped creativity? This paper argues that quick celebrations of ingenuity across the world has been part of a new mode securing expertise and legitimizing intervention that emerges after the Second World War. Propelled by architects and planners, this mode bypasses the quantitative and historical questions of colonial drain and global financial regimes to project qualitative “patterns” across the Third World as a source of immanent and self-generative change.

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