The Missed Aerotropolis

Aerotropolises are cities that develop around airports into vibrant centers of business and residences. The Boston area had a chance to make one, but the city and state missed out, according to this column.
November 3, 2010, 9am PDT | Nate Berg
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Peter Canellos writes that the state's refusal to build a new major airport 20 years ago caused it to miss out on an opportunity to grow an entirely new business hub.

"Massachusetts does not have an aerotropolis. When confronted with the opportunity to lay the groundwork for a second major airport, 20 years ago, the state passed it up. It was, in the eyes of some economists, a big mistake, the kind that separates the truly global metropolises from the boutique cities.

The reasons were, to a large extent, the usual ones in Massachusetts. Hubris - the sense among many policy makers that economic growth was inevitable, a force to be channeled and, if necessary, limited, rather than given any special encouragement. Local resistance - the belief that any change would harm the quality of life rather than enhance it. And short-sightedness - a sense that transportation was meant to serve those already living here, rather than to be a magnet to attract more."

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Published on Sunday, October 31, 2010 in The Boston Globe
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