From Housing Planes to People: Repurposing Success Stories

As cities across the world look to convert aging and obsolete airfields to new uses, a growing body of repurposing success stories show "how problematic properties can be successfully converted," reports Christine Negroni.
December 29, 2012, 11am PST | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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The conversion of Denver's Stapleton Airport is perhaps the best known (and likely the first) example of the successful transformation of an urban airport into a mixed-use community. But over the past decades, similar projects in Austin, Hong Kong, and Malmo, Sweden demonstrate the potential for such projects to the urban airports across the world that are contemplating their futures. 

“Airport repurposing is a rare event driven by unique local circumstances,” said Chris Oswald, vice president for safety and regulatory affairs for Airports Council International. "The common thread for all these projects is the availability of an alternative airport with greater capability."

“The availability of such sites is very rare, and the combined political and financial will to make use of them is even rarer,” he said.

"The land developers behind the Denver and Austin projects agree, says Negroni. "For all the unique problems with turning highly specialized industrial property into a place people can call home, they could not have succeeded without cooperation from a multitude of entities, including politicians, bureaucrats and residents."

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Published on Tuesday, December 25, 2012 in The New York Times
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