Viewpoint: The aerotropolis: Urban sustainability perspectives from the regional city

Reza Banai


The aerotropolis—a metropolitan region with cities that capitalize on proximity to a globally networked economy’s airport—is regarded as the twenty-first century’s new urban-development paradigm. Similarly, the regional city—a polycentric metropolitan region with linked mixed-use centers, multi-modal corridors, multi-functional districts, and natural preserves—is regarded as an urban form of the future with global and local advantage. In this paper, the building blocks of the regional city, which are increasingly regarded as principles of a durable urbanism, inform a multi-criteria framework toward a sustainability assessment of the aerotropolis-built form. The implications for the redevelopment of a North American city as an aerotropolis are noted. The paper concludes with an expansive discussion of the sustainable urban form of the future

Full Text:



Alexander, C. 1965. The city is not a tree. Architectural Forum 122: 1, 2.

Appleyard, D., K. Lynch, and J. R. Myer. 1965. The View from the Road. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Appold S. J., and J. D. Kasarda. 2013. The airport city phenomenon: Evidence from large US airports. Urban Studies 50(6): 1239–1259.

Atzema O. 1999. Economic dynamics in the Randstad Holland: Do agglomeration economies still exist? In Regional Development in an Age of Structural Economic Change, edited by P. Rietveld and D. Shefer. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate.

Banai, R. 2013. The metropolitan region: From concepts to indicators of urban sustainability. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 6(1): 1–23.

Banai, R. 2006. Public transportation decision-making: A case analysis of the Memphis light rail corridor and route selection with the analytic hierarchy process. Journal of Public Transportation 9(2): 1–24.

Banai, R. 1998. The new urbanism: An assessment of the core commercial areas, with perspectives from (retail) location and land-use theories, and the conventional wisdom. Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 25: 169–185.

Banister, D., ed. 1995. Transport and Urban Development. London: E. & F. N. Spon.

Barnett, J. 2011. City Design: Modernist, Traditional, Green and Systems Perspectives. New York: Routledge.

Beatley, T. 2009. Planning for sustainability in European cities: A review of practices in leading cities. In The Sustainable Development Reader, edited by S. M. Wheeler and T. Beatley, 330–339. London: Routledge.

Bernick, M., and R. Cervero. 1997. Transit Villages in the 21st Century. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Birch, E. L., and S. M. Wachter, eds. 2008. Growing Greener Cities: Urban Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Blanton, W. 2004. On the airfront. Planning 70(5): 34–35.

Breheny, M., ed. 1992. Sustainable Development and Urban Form. London: Pion.

Breheny, M. 1996. Centrists, decentrists, and compromisers: Views on the future of urban form. In The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form? edited by M. Jenks, E. Burton, and K. Williams, 13–45. London: E. & F. N. Spon.

Brown, L. 2011. Plan B: Mobilizing to save civilization. Journey to Planet Earth.

Brown, S. 1990. Retail location: The post hierarchical challenge. The International Review of Retail Distribution and Consumer Research 1: 367–381.

Brown, S. 1992. Retail Location: A Micro-Scale Perspective. Aldershot, UK: Avebury.

Burgess, E. W. 1923. The growth of the city. Proceedings of the American Sociological Society 18: 85–89.

Calthorpe, P. 2011. Urbanism in the Age of Climate Change. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Calthorpe, P. and W. Fulton. 2001. The Regional City: Planning for the End of Sprawl. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Calthorpe, P. 1993. The Next American Metropolis-Ecology, Community, and the American Dream. New York: Princeton Architectural Press.

Duany A., and E. Talen, eds. 2013. Landscape Urbanism and its Discontents: Dissimulating the Sustainable City. Gabriola Island, BC, Canada: New Society Publishers.

Ewing, R., K. Bartholomew, S. Winkelman, J. Walters, and G. Anderson. 2008. Urban development and climate change. Journal of Urbanism: International Research on Placemaking and Urban Sustainability 1(3): 201–216.

Farr, D. 2008. Sustainable Urbanism: Urban Design with Nature. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Fishman, R. 2000. The death and life of American regional planning. In Reflections on Regionalism, edited by B. Katz, 107–121. Washington, DC: The Brookings Institution.

Flint, A. 2006. The Battle Over Sprawl and the Future of America. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press.

Freestone, R., and D. Baker. 2011. Spatial planning models of airport-driven urban development. Journal of Planning Literature 26: 263.

Freestone, R. 2009. Planning, sustainability and airport-led urban development. International Planning Studies 14(2): 161–176.

Friedmann, J., and C. Weaver. 1979. Territory and Function: The Evolution of Regional Planning. Los Angeles, CA: UCLA Press.

Garreau, J. 1991. Edge City: Life on the New Frontier. New York: Double Day.

Global Footprint Network (GFN). 2012. The Netherlands.

Greater Memphis Chamber. 2013. Memphis: America’s Aerotropolis. Accessed 8/21/2014.

Hall, P., and C. Pain. 2006. The Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from the Mega-City Regions in Europe. London: Earthscan Publications.

Hall, P. 2001. Global city-regions in the twenty first century. In Global City Regions: Trends, Theory, Policy, edited by A. J. Scott, 59–77. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Hall, P. 1996. Cities of Tomorrow. Oxford: Blackwell.

Hakfoort J., T. Poot, and P. Rietveld. 2001. The regional economic impact of an airport: The case of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. Regional Studies 35(7): 595–604.

Harris, C. D., and E. L. Ullman. 1945. The nature of cities. Annals of the Academy of Political and Social Science 242: 7–17.

Hotelling, H. 1929. Stability in Competition. Economic Journal 39(153): 41–57.

Howard, E. 1902. Garden Cities of To-morrow (formerly To-morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, published in 1898). London: Swan Sonnenschein.

Hoyt, H. 1939. The Structure and Growth of Residential Neighborhoods in American Cities. Washington DC: Government Printing Office.

Jenks, M., E. Burton, and K. Williams, eds. 1996. The Compact City: A Sustainable Urban Form? London: E. & F. N. Spon.

Kasarda, J. D. 2011. Aerotropolis: The way we’ll live next? Atlantis 22(3): 12–14.

Kasarda, J. D. 2006. Asia’s emerging airport cities. International Airport Review 10(2): 63–66.

Kasarda, J. D. Aerotropolis.

Kasarda J. D., and G. Lindsay. 2011. Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Katz, B., ed. 2000. Reflections on Regionalism. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution.

Kotkin, J. 2007. The City: A Global History. New York: Random House.

Lang, J. 1984. Urban Design: The American Experience. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Lang, R. 2003. Edgeless Cities: Exploring the Elusive Metropolis. Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.

Lee, R. W., G. D. Gosling, and K. Irvin. 2008. Applying Smart Growth Principles and Strategies to Resolving Land Use Conflicts Around Airports. San Jose, CA: Mineta Transportation Institute.

Lindsay, G. 2006. Rise of the aerotropolis. Fast Company, July/August.

Lindsay, G., and J. D. Kasarda. 2013. Aerotropolis: The way we’ll live next. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

LRK. 2013. Memphis Aerotropolis Urban Design Guide. City of Memphis, Tennessee. LRK Inc., September 11, 2013.

Lynch K. 1976. Managing the Sense of a Region. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Lynch, K. 1960. The Image of the City. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Lynch, K. 1984. Good City Form. Cambridge: The MIT Press.

Markusen, A., and P. Saxenian. 1986. High-Tech America: The What, How, Where, and Why of the Sunrise Industries. London: Allen and Unwin.

McHarg I., Steiner F. 2006. The Essential Ian McHarg—Writings on Design and Nature. New York: Island Press.

McHarg I. L. 1969/1995. Design with Nature. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Memphis Area Transit Authority. 2007. Regional Rail Program Report, Downtown Airport Corridor.

Memphis and Shelby County Office of Planning and Development. 1981. Memphis 2000 Policy Plan.

Moore, S. A. 2007. Alternative Routes to the Sustainable City: Austin, Curitiba, and Frankfurt. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Pastor Jr., M., P. Dreier, J. E. Grigsby, and M. Lopez-Garza. 2000. Regions That Work. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.

Pierce, J. 2007. 2003. World consumption cartogram.;

Rabinovitch, J., and J. Leitman. 1996. Urban planning in Curitiba. Scientific American, March 1: 46–53

Rietveld P. and F. Bruinsma. 1998. Is transport infrastructure effective? Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg.

Ross, C. L., ed. 2009. MegaRegions: Planning for Global Competitiveness. Washington, DC: Island Press.

Schaafsma, M., J. Amkreutz, and M. Gukker. 2008. Airport and City: Drivers of Economic Development. Amsterdam: Schiphol Real Estate.

Songdo Master Plan. 2014. Gale International, LLC.

Thorpe, J. 2013. Songdo IBD: A City Built from Scratch.

Twomey, J, and J. Tomlins. 1995. Development effects at airports: A case study of Manchester airport. In Transport and Urban Development, edited by D. Banister. London: E. & F. N. Spon.

UN Habitat. 2009. Planning Sustainable Cities: Global Report on Human Settlements. London: EarthScan, United Nations Human Settlements Program.

UN Millennium Project. 2005. Investing in Development: A Practical Plan to Achieve Millennium Development Goals. Washington, DC: Communications Development.

UN Human Settlements Program. 2003. The Challenge of Slums: Global Report on Human Settlements. London: EarthScan.

UN. 1987. Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development: Our Common Future. New York: The World Commission on Environment and Development, United Nations.

Van Wijk, M., K. Brattinga, and M.A. Bontje. 2011. Exploit or protect airport regions from urbanization? Assessment of land-use restrictions in Amsterdam-Schiphol. European Planning Studies 19: 261–277.

Vision Zuidas. 2009.

Wackernagel, M., and W. Rees. 2009. What is an ecological footprint? InThe Sustainable Urban Development Reader, edited by S. M. Wheeler and T. Beatley, 289–297. New York: Routledge.

Wheeler, S. M. 2000. Planning for metropolitan sustainability. Journal of Planning Education and Research. 20(2): 133–145.

Wheeler, S. M. 2002. The new regionalism: Key characteristics of an emerging movement. Journal of the American Planning Association 68(3): 267–278.

Wheeler, S. 2009. Regions, megaregions, and sustainability. Regional Studies 43(6): 863–876.

Williamson, L. 2013. Tomorrow’s cities: Just how smart is Songdo? BBC News-Technology (September 1, 2013) London: British Broadcasting Corp.

Worldwatch Institute. 2016. Can a City be Sustainable? State of the World (2016). Washington, D.C.: Island Press.

Yaro, R. D., and D. M. Kooris. 2008. Growing greener regions. In Growing Greener Cities: Urban Sustainability in the Twenty-First Century, edited by L. Birch and S. M. Wachter, 28–45. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Yu, R. 2011. Cities build airport cities aerotropolises for growth. USA Today (April 20). McLean, VA: USA Today.