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

Creating a Top Logistics Hub

Airport World, Issue 3, 2023

Distinguishing features of globally leading air logistics hubs are presented along with what makes them preferred locations for time-sensitive modern industries. The assessment concludes with 15 recommendations for airports and airport regions to become world-class air logistics complexes.

China’s Zhengzhou Aerotropolis Celebrates Its 10 Anniversary

March 2023
Site Selection

The rapid aviation and commercial growth of the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone between 2013 and 2023 are discussed, and why the Zone has been labeled China's Aerotropolis. Pivotal to this growth have been the important roles Zhengzhou International Airport and its surrounding economic area have played in producing and shipping high-value, time-critical industrial output abroad, especially smartphones, along with favorable industrial recruitment incentives and labor attraction policies.

Aerotropolis 4.0

Airport World, Issue 2, 2022

A new aerotropolis model is presented that integrates 4.0 economy sectors with smart technologies and sustainable development practices to create and capture value for airports and the regions they serve. Commercial, institutional, and modern industrial components of the 4.0 Aerotropolis are provided in the form of a generic schematic as are its strategic success factors. A selection of airports and airport regions pursuing Aerotropolis 4.0 principles are discussed, as well.

An Expert’s View on Airport Development Post-Pandemic

March 2022

Interview of Dr. John Kasarda on how airport city and aerotropolis development is proceeding worldwide as the Covid pandemic turns down. Some new initiatives and new airport city/aerotropolis features are discussed as well.

The Making of an Aerotropolis: China’s Zhengzhou Airport

Winter 2021
Cargo Airports & Airline Services

The growth of the Zhengzhou Aerotropolis is highlighted through mid-2021. Focus is on infrastructure and commercial components of Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport, the Comprehensive Bonded Zone, and the 415-square-kilometer Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone that makes up the aerotropolis.

Orlando International’s New Role Goes Way Beyond Tourism

March 2021
Site Selection

In this article, Mark Arend, editor of Site Selection magazine, interviews John D. Kasarda on the emergence of Lake Nona in Orlando, Florida as a major new component of a greater aerotropolis forming around Orlando International Airport.

The Incheon Aerotropolis: An Exemplar of 21st-Century Airport Centric Development

February 2021
Aerotropolis Institute China Research Report Number 1

Centered on Incheon International Airport (ICN), South Korea's Incheon Aerotropolis is a global leader in aviation-linked commercial development and smart technology applications. This report details the evolution of ICN, its Air-City, and key outlying nodes such as Songdo International Business District (Songdo IBD), drawing lessons for the planning and development of other airports, airport cities, and aerotropolises around the world.

Aerotropolis business magnets

2020, Issue 1
Airport World

How are the world’s airport city/aerotropolis developments faring? Some hugely ambitious projects in the Asia-Pacific region come under the microscope in the first of a two-part global review by Dr John Kasarda.

Aerotropolis engines beyond Asia

2020, Issue 2
Airport World

Airport City and aerotropolis developments in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Middle East are updated. Consideration is also given to the implications of the coronavirus for the future of aviation and what the combined 2020 health, economic, and aviation crises portends for airport city and aerotropolis development.

The Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone: A Remarkable Aerotropolis

July 2019
Site Selection

This article provides updates as of early 2019 on the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone in Zhengzhou, China. The updates focus on investment and industrial development in the Zone that have added to its reputation as China's Aerotropolis.


Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Urban and Regional Studies

Definitions, key components, and underlying drivers of the aerotropolis and aerotropolis model are presented along with planning principles, critiques, and counterpoints.

China’s Aerotropolis

August 2018
International Airport Review

The aerotropolis model is being widely adopted throughout China with more than 100 of its airports and their surrounding areas applying its principles. Leading the way is the Zhengzhou Airport Economy Zone whose remarkable achievements since 2013 in industrial investment, economic output, and aviation-linked trade have earned the reputation as China's Aerotropolis.

Creating an Effective Aerotropolis Master Plan

September, 2016
Regional Economic Review

Aerotropolis master plans to date have consisted mainly of elaborations of proposed commercial land use and urban design renderings along with recommendations for improved airport region surface transportation infrastructure. Much less attention has been given to the strategic, economic, and real estate investment issues that determine whether proposed aerotropolis commercial development would actually occur.

China’s Dynamic Airport Economic Zone

November, 2015

A massive planned economic zone around Zhengzhou (China) International Airport is evolving geared to high-end manufacturing and modern business services. This zone is already the world's single largest platform for smartphone production. Factors contributing to its emergence and growth are described.

Welcome to Aerotropolis, The City of the Future

May 22, 2015
Huffington Post 

The aerotropolis as a new urban form is highlighted along with its value proposition for firms and urban regions.

A Western Sydney Aerotropolis: Maximising the Benefits of Badgerys Creek

April 30, 2015
Sydney Business Chamber

The opportunities and challenges of developing Sydney’s second commercial airport are discussed.  Recommendations and action steps are proposed to construct an aerotropolis around it as well as make the new airport financially viable.

Airports take off as economic centers

February 6, 2015
China Daily

China is engaged in an airport construction boom that is transforming the country.  The relative financial merits of the construction boom are discussed in terms of cost and ultimate returns to local and regional economies.

Aerotropolis: Airports as the New City Center


Airports have become not just 21st century business magnets, but also regional economic accelerators, catalyzing and driving business development outward for many miles.

Gateway Airports: Commercial Magnets and Critical Business Infrastructure

November 3, 2014
McGraw Hill Financial Global Institute

International gateway airports are shaping business development and establishing new urban power centers around the world. The commercial anatomy of today's air gateways is examined and why they have become critical infrastructure for firms and regions to compete in an emerging era where economies of speed are as important as economies of scale and economies of scope.

Planning a Competitive Aerotropolis

Advances in Airline Economics, Vol 4 (Emerald Group Publishing)

Aerotropolis planning principles are provided to improve (1) people and logistics mobility, (2) airport area land use and community development, and (3) firm and regional competitiveness.  Focus is on creating new "economies of speed" in goods and services trade through better local and global aerotropolis connectivity with coordinated business siting.  

Airport cities: The evolution

April/May, 2013
Airport World Vol 18, No 2

Also available at
Airport City and aerotropolis development is gaining substantial traction, multiplying rapidly around the world. With cities now being built around airports, rather than the reverse, propitious opportunities await metropolitan regions that can marshal the vision, planning skills, and coordinated actions to capitalize on them.

The Airport City Phenomenon: Evidence from Large US Airports

May, 2013
Urban Studies Vol 50, No 6

As air transport for leisure trips, business travel and goods shipment increased rapidly over the past several decades, the emergence of airport cities has been hypothesised. Busy commercial airports may be emerging as central transport nodes in large metropolitan areas, much as ports and rail terminals were in the past, anchoring employment servicing passengers, facilitating frequent travellers and providing a spatial focus for unrelated firms. An analysis of small-area employment data for the areas surrounding 25 major US airports and the related central cities reveals the concentration of employment within 2.5 miles of these airports to be substantial—approximately half that within 2.5 miles of the central point of the corresponding CBDs—and growing. The analysis refocuses a question about the nature of spatial differentiation within metropolitan regions supporting multiple employment nodes.

Stephen Appold and John D. Kasarda are in the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, University of North Carolina, CB 3440 Chapel Hill, 27599-3440, USA. Email: and

A Tale of Two Airports

April/May 2013
Airport World Vol 18, No 2

Brazil's Belo Horizonte International Airport went from stagnation to major growth success, but it took bold government decisions, and substantial investment in connecting surface transportation infrastructure.

Aerotropolis: Business Mobility and Urban Competitiveness in the 21st Century

Culture and Mobility (Heidelberg University Press)

The 21st century is bringing competitive advantage to cities that understand and capitalize on the changing context of business mobility and commercial development. This context is being altered by a catalytic interaction of digitization, globalization, and aviation transforming where and the way business is conducted. It is also transforming the pace and distances that products and people routinely traverse. These dynamics have heightened competition among places as well as firms around the world 

Aerotropolis: Landing in the Heart of 21st Century Urban Planning

January/February, 2012
Originally published by Business Facilities

The future of economic development is taking shape at major international air hubs that have become the anchor of an organically expanding growth strategy, the Aerotropolis

"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