Friday, February 18, 2011

Ready for an "Aerotropolis"?

So what is an aerotropolis exactly? It’s a city that’s built around an airport, the bigger the better, with factories and/or traders, both depen-dent on air freight, close by, followed by a ring of malls and hotels, followed by a ring of residential neighborhoods. The airport isn’t an annoyance, located as far out of the way as possible, but the city’s heart, its raison d’être. The book prides itself on taking a contrarian view of the city, much like Joel Garreau’s Edge City (Anchor, 1991) or Robert Bruegmann’s MSprawl (The University of Chicago Press, 2005). Those two books made an economic case for and social defense of existing phenomena, arguing that circumstances widely viewed as bad were actually good. Aerotropolis attempts to do something more ambitious: to name and encourage an urban form that taps into and facilitates globalization. 

Personally, this concept sounds like something straight out a Dante-inspired level of hell.  To suggest that an aerotropolis might be a futuristic version of the great American port city misses on so many analogy levels that its hard to really take the idea serious.

But, alas, the authors got a book deal and appear to be flush with consulting gigs so maybe the market for crazy ideas remains a sellers one.

Read the entire article here.

Chad Emerson

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