Linked below are selected publications by Dr. John Kasarda addressing the basics of airport city and aerotropolis planning and development. Additional articles can be found on the publications link of

Are Airports Non-Places?

Summer 2011
Airport Consulting

Social scientists view airports as quintessential "non-places". "Places" communicate identity, social meaning, and history while "non-places", lacking these attributes, are held to be anonymous, disorienting and off-putting.

Welcome to the Age of Aerotropolis

Spring, 2011
Appears in Endeavors

Cities flourished as seaports. Towns sprouted around rivers. Railroads opened the hinterlands, and highways connected suburbs. Now, the fastest-growing cities in the world are airport cities. Beijing and Dubai and Brisbane have already started listening to a UNC business professor named Jack Kasarda, who says that our nation's future is up in the air.

The Change in Reign: As Hong Kong International Becomes the World’s Top Air Cargo Airport, Challenges Lie Ahead

Spring, 2011

The crown has been passed from Memphis to Hong Kong. Memphis, which had been the leading cargo airport every year since 1992, handled 3.9 million metric tons of cargo in 2010. Hong Kong processed 4.1 million metric tons last year – an increase of 23 percent over the previous year.

Big plans for Panama: Panama’s Airport City and Aerotropolis Ambitions

June-July, 2011
Appears in Airport World

Central America has lagged behind other regions of the world in airport city and aerotropolis development. This is about to change.

Creating an Aerotropolis: How Indianapolis Is Strategically Charting Its Airport’s and Region’s Future

Spring, 2011

Indianapolis International Airport (IND), handling a total of 7.5 million passengers and 1.05 million metric tons of cargo in 2010, received much more than a facelift in 2008. A new state-of-the-art airport was opened adjacent to the old one on a greenfield site a mile wide and over two miles in length.

Looking in all the wrong places? Catalytic effects in the context of product cycle theory

Airports in Cities and Regions: Research and Practise

We maintain that the economic benefit of aviation is incorrectly measured; the net gains from aviation-enabled trade are the proper measure. These benefits are more easily visible in selected non-core urban regions than in the largest world cities.

India’s Aviation Sector: Dynamic Transformation

Indian Economic Superpower: Fiction or Future?

This book chapter examines the rise of India's modern civil aviation sector and the opportunities and challenges its airlines and airports have faced. A number of specific cases are provided.

Governing the aerotropolis

Spring, 2009

Aviation-linked commercial development, once confined largely to airport property and its immediate environs, is rapidly spreading outward. In the process, a new airport-anchored urban economic region is forming — the aerotropolis. The aerotropolis encompasses the airport city and the air commerce driven areas surrounding it.

Achieving good airport-neighbor relations

Fall, 2009

At the heart of every aerotropolis is a successful airport. Busy commercial airports are increasingly recognised as producers of local and regional benefit. They have become ever more important economic engines as business travel and air cargo expands, benefiting aviation-dependent firms not only in the immediate airport area but often those considerable distances away.

Aerotropolis is key to global competition

December, 2009
Appears online at

John D Kasarda has researched this development around the world, he has seen how airports are evolving from transportation and supply chain-focused areas into mixed-use commercial centers * press the next arrow at the end of p.1 for continuation of article

Airport Cities & the Aerotropolis: New Planning Models

April, 2007
Appears in Airport Innovation

Airports have traditionally been viewed as places where aircraft operate and passengers and cargo transit. This traditional understanding is giving way to a broader, more encompassing model which recognizes the fact that along with their core aeronautical infrastructure and services, virtually all major airports have incorporated a wide variety of non-aeronautical facilities and services.

The appropriate scale of US airport retail activities

November 2006

Terminal-based retail has been sufficiently successful that many airport operators are considering enlarging their facilities in order to increase revenues. On the basis of data on the retail sales and rental revenues for 75 of the US’s most important passenger airports, we demonstrate the significant impact of passenger demography on the volume and nature of airport retail sales. A method is outlined for combining information on the demography of passenger flows with construction costs in order to evaluate appropriate capital investments for terminal retail expansions.

Rise of the Aerotropolis

July/August 2006
Appears in Fast Company

As competition shrinks the globe, the world is building giant airport-cities. They look monstrous to American eyes — and that could be a problem.

Taking Off: Aerotropolis moves from concept to cash with infusion from city government

October, 2009
Appears in Memphis Daily News Author: Eric Smith

Aviators attain flight and control the movements of their aircraft by precisely balancing the forces of lift, thrust, drag and gravity. The people piloting the aerotropolis initiative – the promotion of Memphis’ economy focused on the airport, other transportation assets and the connectivity among them — are negotiating their own set of physics in hopes of becoming airborne.

Green Aerotropolis

October, 2008

A path-breaking endeavor to construct the world's first green aerotropolis is rapidly progressing in Northwest Florida. The St. Joe Company, Florida's largest landholder, is partnering with the Panama City-Bay County Airport and Industrial District (Airport Authority), environmental groups, and public and private-sector organizations to develop 75,000 acres of land centered around a new international airport. The 4,000-acre airport, scheduled to open in mid 2010, and its surrounding 71,000 acres have been designed to serve simultaneously as a catalyst for economic development, a model for 21st-century sustainability, and cornerstone for one of Florida's largest and most comprehensive environmental preservation efforts.

Shopping In the Airport City and Aerotropolis

November 2008
Appears in Research Review

Airports in the 21st century are experiencing a new and distinct evolutionary stage—the "airport city." What started out in the early 1990s—a handful of European and U.S. air gateways substantially notching up their duty-free and traditional terminal retail and eateries—has become a world-wide phenomenon of airport commercial expansion and diversification. In the process, gateway airports have assumed roles few before anticipated.

The New Model

August 2006

The new model recognizes the fact that in addition to their core aeronautical infrastructure and services, major airports have developed significant nonaeronautical commercial facilities, services and revenue streams. At the same time they are extending their formal reach and impact well beyond airport boundaries.

The Rise of the Aerotropolis


Airports are no longer simply places where airplanes land and passengers and cargo transit. Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport ia a case in point. About 58,000 people are daily employed on the airport grounds. Its passenger terminal—containing an expansive mix of shopping, dining, and entertainment arcades—doubles as a suburban mall that is accessible both to air travelers and the general public. Amsterdam residents regularly shop and relax in the airport's public section, especially on Sundays and at night when most city stores are closed.

Air Routes as Economic Development Levers

October 2008
Appears in Routes News

Air routes operate as a physical Internet connecting supply chains, business people, and tourists quickly and efficiently across far-flung locations. The upshot is that route development, business development, and regional economic development go hand-in-hand around the globe.

India’s Aerotropolis Ambitions

Summer 2008
Appears in Business Outlook India

India is forecasted to have double-digit annual growth in air passengers and cargo for years to come. The Ministry of Civil Aviation therefore plans to have up to 500 commercial airports in use by 2020. Many will be in smaller cities where airport operators envision incorporating aerotropolis principles, which will be challenging.

Golden Land or Urbanized Swamp: Nakhon Suvarnabhumi concept deserves serious consideration

December 7, 2005
Appears in Bangkok Post

It has taken nearly half a century to transform a place once called Nong Ngu Hao (Cobra Swamp) into a leading international airport named Suvarnabhumi, or Golden Land. Now, Thailand has a one-time chance to coordinate development around its new airport to create a truly "Golden Land" that can boost the nation's well-being for the next half century. At stake is no less than Thailand's potential for higher economic standing and more sustainable development around the airport.

The 2004 Global Infrastructure Report

September 2004
Appears in Site Selection

Corporate logistics requirements have airport cities morphing into "aerotropoli"; seaports are deepening channels for tomorrow's superfreighters; and bridge, tunnel and road projects will fix bottlenecks in the movement of people and freight.

From Airport City to Aerotropolis

August/September 2001

An increasingly fast-paced, economically-networked world is changing the rules of industrial competition and business location.

Planning the Aerotropolis

October/November, 2000

Airport planners are not just planning airports. The economic impact of airports means that they often help to form and shape cities. Henry Canaday talks to John Kasarda, director of the Kenan Institute at the University of North Carolina.

Logistics & the Rise of the Aerotropolis

Winter, 2000/2001
Appears in Real Estate Issue

More than a decade ago, futurist Alvin Toffler predicted that by the beginning of the 21st century one indisputable law would determine competitive success: survival of the fastest.

"International airline routes are the quintessential manifestation of 21st-century globalization. They are our high-speed physical Internet, moving people and products quickly and efficiently over long distances. Airports are its routers, attracting time-critical, globally oriented businesses of all types to their environs creating a new urban form – the Aerotropolis."

John D. Kasarda

Aerotropolis The Way We'll Live Next

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"Two miles of road or rail will take people and products two miles; two miles of runway will take them almost anywhere in the world."

John D. Kasarda

"The aerotropolis is the physical incarnation of globalization made concrete in urban form reflecting local interfaces of worldwide airborne flows of people and products."

John D. Kasarda

"In today's turbulent, speed-driven economy, it is no longer the big eating the small, but the fast eating the slow."

John D. Kasarda

"Airports are not just trade facilitators; they are trade creators by quickly connecting businesspeople and high-value, time-critical products to distant customers and markets."

John D. Kasarda

"Cities used to be almost exclusively destinations and airports solely places of departure. Now airports are becoming destinations and cities places of departure as their residents and workers increasingly travel to emerging airport cities and aerotropolises around the world."

John D. Kasarda

"Under Global City 4.0, exports of knowledge-based, information-intensive business services – delivered to distant sites by air traveling auditors, consultants, corporate lawyers, investment bankers, marketers, and professionals of all types – will far eclipse the value of the Global City’s goods exports."

John D. Kasarda

"As our world becomes increasingly networked, ever-greater amounts of commerce will flow to and through its hubs, especially its major air hubs and the metropolitan regions they serve, creating a global hierarchy of aerotropolises established by the strength of air hub connectivity and resulting value of goods and services trade generated."

John D. Kasarda

"Where aviation thrives, the metropolitan region thrives."

John D. Kasarda

"One objective of my aerotropolis writings and commentary is to stimulate critical thought and healthy debate resulting in more-informed actions."

John D. Kasarda