Air Apparent Global airport cities are teaching the rest of the world to fly Seaports pushed business in the 18th century, railroads did it in the 19th century and highways in the 20th century. In the 21st century, one must turn to airports for a lift. lobalisation has contributed to a much smaller world where people and goods are transported quickly without boundaries. In this context, major airports have become key to global enterprise, offering speed, agility, and connectivity to the corporate world. Airports are also powerful engines of local economic development, attracting aviation-linked companies of all types. Professor Dr. John D. Kasarda from North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School has formulated a concept which explains spatial aspects of this new airborne G world. Kasarda argues that as more and more aviation-oriented businesses are being drawn to airport areas (and along transportation corridors radiating from them), a new urban form is emerging – the Aerotropolis – stretching up to 30 kilometres outward in some cases. Analogous in shape to the traditional metropolis made up of a central city and its rings of commuter-heavy suburbs, the Aerotropolis consists of an airport city core and outlying corridors and clusters of aviationlinked businesses and associated residential development. “Planned airport cities are a relatively new phenomenon, only emerging in the past dozen years or so,” says Dr. Kasarda. He started developing the concept while working in Asia during the 1990s on airport-driven urban growth. His research eventually led to the Aerotropolis model. In 2000, Kasarda published a set of articles on the Aerotropolis as an emerging urban form. 10 Nordicum Vapor Trails Earn Your Wings During the last ten years or so, Dr. Kasaring da has tracked the development of such airelopment port-linked urban clusters as Amsterdam Zuidas, Las Colinas, Texas, and South Korea’s Songdo International Business District – all of which have become globally significant airport edge cities. According to Kasarda, another good example of the “Age of Aerotropolis” is Aviapolis, born around the Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport in Finland. “Aviapolis was among the earliest and most ambitious efforts to form a part- Kasarda observes that many of these comarda panies are high-value generating, high-paying businesses that contribute immensely to the competitiveness of the entire country. He feels that there are three keys to Aviapolis’ continued success: keep recruiting Alist companies, offer them the best possible business environment and infrastructure, nership among airport area land owners, real estate developers, the City of Vantaa and Finavia to leverage Helsinki Airport for efficient and sustainable commercial development on the airport’s periphery,” Kasarda says, adding that Aviapolis is clearly counted among those airport city pioneers that blazed the pathway for the current wave of similar developments throughout the world. Kasarda has studied the evoarda lution of Aviapolis with a keen eye over the years. By attracting essentially the full range of aviation-intensive commercial facilities to its 42 square kilometre area, Aviapolis has become the fastest growing business concentration in the Helsinki region. Its commercial facilities include retail, hospitality and entertainment complexes, office parks, high tech assembly, and logistics and distribution centers, all of which combined employ over 38,000 workers.