Do Airports Make Ideal Cities?

Rowan Moore asks whether investing in air travel-oriented urban design is appropriate for all contexts.

According to John Kasarda, University of North Carolina academic and writer, the most successful cities of the future will be planned around centrally located air hubs.

Oriented around axial runways for air travel, these 'aerotropolises' are nearly incompatible with traditional cities with dense urban fabrics.

Kasarda already sees evidence of metropolitan airports assuming a civic role: the Rijksmuseum holds exhibits at Amsterdam's Schiphol, the London Philharmonic performs at Heathrow, more than 6,000 weddings take place each year in Stockholm's Arlanda and the shopping area at Indianapolis International resembles a town square.

With 13 billion people predicted to travel by air by 2030 (up from 4.9 billion in 2010), Kasarda correctly presumes a need for easily accessible and abundant air travel infrastructure. However, will the investment burden taxpayers, while serving private business interests, and is it appropriate for all contexts, asks Rowan Moore.

Full Story: Aerotropolis: the city of the future


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