Airports are the new black.
Whilst the railway was responsible for much economic growth in the 19th and early 20th centuries the Aerotropolis is set to be the economic engine of the 21st century.
We’re all familiar with airports but what exactly is an Aerotropolis?Simply, an aerotropolis is an airport and its cluster of aviation-linked businesses and commercial operations which serve as a multimodal ‘Airport City’.
John D. Kasarda is a U.S. academic and airport business consultant and currently Director for the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School and President and CEO of Aerotropolis Business Concepts LLC, an airport-economy consulting firm.
Often referred to as ‘The Father of the Aerotropolis’ the bulk of his research and work since 2000 has focused on how aviation and airports impact the competitiveness and growth of firms, cities and regions.
Video: Based on Dr. John Kasarda's Aerotropolis model, this 3D video depicts the multimodal infrastructure, commercial, and residential aspects of the Aerotropolis. Kasarda and Evolve Media developed this video to demonstrate how airport planning, multimodal transportation planning, urban planning, and business site planning can be synergized to create a new urban form that is economically efficient, globally competitive, attractive, and sustainable.
In 2011 Time magazine named Aerotropolis ‘One of the Ten ideas that will Change the World.’Interestingly, whilst the concept is taking off in Asia, the Middle East and a much of Europe, it is only in the last ten years that U.S. airports have been properly looking to non-aeronautical sources of revenue such as hotels, retail and offices. They have been hampered in the past by the U.S. FAA from using their infrastructure effectively for commercial gain.
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Kasarda told International Airport Review this year that international gateway airports are increasingly determining “economic winners and losers” and that, “Today, these gateways act as routers of the physical internet of airline networks that move high value products and high value people quickly around the world, anchoring them to their regions.”
"The 20th century was about cities building airports. The 21st century will be about airports building cities." John D. Kasarda
Kasarda pointed to Amsterdam Schiphol airport in International Airport Review as an example of an advanced aerotropolis being ahead of the pack.
“Not only does its airport area include more than 1,000 multinational corporations, it’s also the world headquarters for two financial heavyweights: ABN AMRO Bank N.V. and Intl. Netherlands Group,” he said.
“Indeed, many multinationals now have offices at or near Schiphol because of the ease with which their executives can access the terminal. It’s only seven minutes or less away from these companies’ headquarters.
“And that’s crucial because in our globally networked, speed-driven economy, time is not only cost but also currency for many firms and their executives. Economies of speed have become as important as economies of scale and scope.”
And to successfully develop an aerotropolis Kasarda points to the long-term development commitment and coordination required.
“Any airport whose surroundings lack a coherent development plan usually runs into trouble.”