by Vittoria Lena
“In ancient times cities arose along rivers and bays: firstly they built a dock, then a port and finally the city. It is now logical that the cities of the future will rise around airports” said the writer Alain de Botton.
It promises the evolution of cities in ‘aerotropolis‘, meaning the cities that are born in and around airports.
Many Countries (Asia, India, but also Europe and USA) are facing this new challenge and the model they are measuring with is that of Dubai, the aerotropoli which introduced a new concept of citizenship embracing and mixing British bankers, Indian entrepreneurs, Russian capitalists in his luxury residence (Federico Rampini, correspondent for La Repubblica).
Feeling amazed? By looking at the amount of people travelling to airports and its growth prospects, you should not be that much: last year 2.4 billion of people took a plane. In just three years, the number of passengers is expected to increase by 50% to a total of 3.3 billion passengers worldwide. And the ‘identikit’ of travellers ranges from business travellers to tourists, from the rich to the poor. “A godsend” for trade, tourism, finance and investment that strive to reorganize themselves to capture this flow of passengers.
In and around airports rise true urban centers so that they become a destination itself. This trend is also introducing a new form of tourism within aerotropolis: it is in fact possible to find anything there and to make an all-encompassing experience (shopping, architecture, exhibitions, relaxation, massage and the more it comes to your mind) without even having to cross the gate of the arrivals.
The “travel” and the “flow of travellers” at the center of a new form of city’s development and organization: what will then be the implications for place branding and management?