I have some question about this:

At a time of tremendous financial pressure for the university and its students, campus leaders bought some of the flashiest classroom, conference room and office equipment available. The Next Generation Technology Project -- built mostly by San Jose-based Cisco Systems, a major university donor -- boasts thousands of videophones costing nearly $400 each, two-way conferencing to beam in experts on giant screens, and systems to record, transcribe and broadcast lectures.

How is a "project" built? A project is an activity (doing something) and cannot be "built". Could the example be an usage error?

  • 3
    Do you have some research why a project cannot be built? Besides that, in this quote by itself, "project" is just part of the name. One would assume its a project, but it seems to have been a grant or business decision to buy university equipment.
    – user3169
    Oct 6, 2014 at 18:33
  • Maybe if we think like this: a project is structured, we can build "structures", hence we can refer to a project's structure in that way using "build".
    – JMB
    Oct 6, 2014 at 21:14
  • Built is a poor word choice for this context. Funded would have been better.
    – TimR
    Oct 6, 2014 at 22:01

3 Answers 3


“The Next Generation Technology Project” is the name being used to describe both the process of setting up a system and, once it was set up, the system itself.

It would seem that the project involved the installation (i.e. connection) of “thousands of videophones [. . .], two-way conferencing [. . .] giant screens, and systems to record, transcribe and broadcast lectures.” Those elements can be collectively described as a (completed) project, a system, or a network, all of which can be said to have been built.

My preference would have been to use the term “built out” (discussed here), which more specifically refers to the realization of a project and/or its implementation on a broad scale such as this.


It sounds like the project is a combination of hardware and software, both of which can be "built".


Yes, it is a usage error, if by that you mean poor word choice. A better word choice might have been developed or designed.

But the article is laced with poor word choices, including "crafted" in the first paragraph, "extravagant systems and gadgets" (especially in juxtaposition with "unconscionable"), "fizzled," "job," "tainting," "fancy phones," and the repetitive use of "this newspaper."

Katy Murphy and the contributing writer have put together an article froth with poor writing.

One thing you can build is the future, which includes the next generation, so that may have influenced the writer's choice of words, given the project name.

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