06 Nov New Aerotropolis Dedicated to Business Aviation
Chinese based Superior Group are building is an Aerotropolis. An aerotropolis is an urban plan in which the layout, infrastructure, and economy is centered on an airport, existing as an airport city. It is similar in form and function to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city core and its commuter-linked suburbs. The term was developed by academic and air commerce expert Dr. John D. Kasarda in 2000, based on his prior research on airport-driven economic development.
The concept of the Aerotropolis is expanding worldwide. Kasarda predicts that in 2030 there will be 13bn passenger journeys a year, compared with 4.9bn in 2010, or that an iPhone 5 is assembled from parts flown in from several countries.As airports grow, argues Kasarda, they become more city-like. The shopping zone of Indianapolis International, he says, “really gives the feeling” of a town square. There are 6,000 weddings a year at Stockholm Arlanda, the Rijksmuseum exhibits art in Amsterdam’s Schiphol, and the London Philharmonic is performing at Heathrow. “If you want to see the future,” he says, “look at the Square” – a sleek, glassy slug in Frankfurt where KPMG has moved some of its operations, on the basis that it is only a few minutes’ walk from workplace to check-in.
Kasarda’s favourite examples of an aerotropolis are Las Colinas, Texas, which is handily placed for Dallas Fort Worth and “hosts four Global Fortune 500 headquarters”, and New Songdo, a development built (with advice from Kasarda) near Incheon airport in South Korea. Also, Dubai, “an airport with an emirate attached”, and Singapore, whose growth has been assisted by its impressive airport.
He shows a plan of an ideal city, with runways at its dead centre and “aerolanes” connecting such things as “E-fulfilment facilities” and a “medical and wellness cluster”. This city is shown as being built on virgin greensward, a site very unlike London, which already has a large number of buildings and services, and people who might resist relocation. Kasarda calls the existing fabric “sunk cost”, which roughly means “money down the drain”, before acknowledging that they might have some value: “You can’t get rid of it, so you have to leverage it as best you can.”
Aviation Analyst & Managing Partner