AEROTROPOLIS – The new era of connectivity

“Airports will shape business locations and urban developments in the 21st Century as much as highways did in the 20th Century, railroads in the 19th and seaports in the 18th.”

-          Dr. John D. Kasarda


As the globalization took place a new world of communication and trade started, and there Airports played key roles of major nodes in global production and sale, offering technology, high speed, reliability and great connectivity. From then only, Airports are powerful engines of local economic development increasing its business and stabilizing its economy, attracting air-linked investment of all kind of environments. [1]

Aerotropolis, coined by Dr. John D. Kasarda are the airport driven economic development, where the airports develop the cities, instead of cities developing the airports. These cities are not just a simple form of land-use framework, instead a development strategy incorporating integrated planning, liability, social liveliness, and environmental sustainability.

An aerotropolis is a city by airports, and who does not only consider the economies of scale and scope, but also the economy of speed, where the primary metrics is not distance and space, but the cost and the time that connects suppliers, customers and business partners. [1]

In only past few years, the world has seen emergence of these aerotropolis in almost each of its continents, where their list can also be seen in John D Kasarda’ s report ‘Airport cities: The evolution’

Where in India we have only one aerotropolis situated in Andal, Durgapur, west Bengal, we have other international case studies like at Incheon International Airport where there is multimodal mixed use complex, retail and commercial areas, logistics hub, ICT functional spaces, high tech assembly hall, along with a new mixed use town predominantly residential, they also have IFEZ which are Free Enterprise Zone and are “Pentaport”- which means a combination of seaport, airport, teleport, and a business port too, as well as they ask the participation from the private sector and foreign investment by providing subsidies from the nation’s government (Korea). [2] [3]

The Granddaddy of Airport cities is that is the Schiphol International Airport, Amsterdam’s major and long term vision is to encourage and bring foreign and local investment brining global competitiveness, it aims at opening new employment opportunities while keeping the existing employment in mind too, it’s a design that incorporated commercial services and offices at just 10-minute walk from the terminal with a project of public-private-partnership. [2] [4]

Next can be taken from the city of Memphis, where their 3 main pillars of economics is logistics, tourism and medical services, it was a project undertaken in 2014 by the lead organization ‘city of Memphis’ under ‘Memphis-Aerotropolis Master plan 2014’. The city is of 655,000 counts with home to world’s second busiest cargo hub, fourth-largest inland port and country’s busiest transportation hub, where freight related industries and distribution plays a key role in their economic development and employment generation. While the Memphis case study became one of the most researched aerotropolis, it faced challenges while making it too, from having 33% traffic of semi-trailer trucks, and only 20% of airport city roads carrying 80% of traffic volume, to having 38% of the city zoned for industrial or employment use along with 30% decline in vacancy in Memphis industrial area. The Airport city had 31% of vacant or building land while two times land restricted from development, having 4.7% of airport city under unbuildable condition due to flood risk. Still the master plan kept the vision and strategy of 1. Improved Public Safety via community policing, presence of stronger police, code enforcement and eliminating blight; 2. By identifying clusters for vertical business via flex space for incubator businesses, vertical districting and centralized support services, hotel, bars and restaurants; 3. Continuing Education via specific technical training for industry, aerotropolis university, adult literacy and computer education; 4. Connections to Rivers and Waterways via Passive Recreation Areas, Hike and Bike Trails, and Interpretive Areas and Signage; 5. Land Acquisition / Assembly / Investment via Establishing Redevelopment Areas, Tax Increment Financing, Tax Abatement, Infrastructure Investment ; 6. Agribusiness and Renewables via Biotech related medicinal plants, renewables, and photovoltaics and wind power; 7. Neighborhood Based Mixed Use Clusters via Community gardens, events, local restaurants and markets, and Continuing Education / Vocational Training; 8. Transportation and Corridor Strategies via Landscaping, resurfacing of roads, increased transit serves, branding and wayfinding’s, and blight removal; and one of the most unique strategy for a city and crucial for any business hub 9. Branding and Marketing via High Tech Workforce, State of the Art Airport, Robust Economy, and Great Neighborhoods, these were the strategies that they took in 2014 master plan, and now in 2020, it is one of the most renowned aerotropolis. [5]

India is no longer far away from the concept of Aerotropolis, while it is township ‘SUJALAAM SKYCITY’ in Andal, Durgapur of west Bengal, it aims to be the first aerotropolis of India with a new Kazi Nazrul Islam Airport under the project lead Bengal Aerotropolis projects limited (BAPL) with the backbone support of West Bengal’s Industrial Development Corporation (WBIDC) and International Pte. Ltd. (CAI). This first Aerotropolis of India is a privately owned and managed greenfield airport city with an airport, a supporting township and a logistic hub all in 15 min drive from the city Durgapur and is situated on the golden quadrilateral of India.

The city promises urban growth with intelligent planning and execution with least flaws with integrated planning approach trying to reside a population of 70,000, a city spread over just 7 sq. km having six-lane arterial roads as well as sidewalks and cycle tracks with blue network of water bodies and green open spaces, state of the art healthcare with a multispecialty hospital and educational institutes for all ages including spiritual school and an industrial, IT, logistic skyhub. The major statutory feature that catches the eye is its autonomous governing urban local body ‘The Golden City Industrial Township Authority (GCITA)’, constituted under section 385A of the West Bengal Municipal Act 1993 in the year 2015, thus keeping the Indian constitution act of urban local body on check having one with each Indian city. [6]



J. D. Kasarda, "About airportcity," 16 October 2020. [Online]. Available:


A. Agrawal, "AEROTROPOLIS The Age of New Urbanism (A Case Study of Ahmedabad city) India," National University of Singapore, 2017.


J. D. kasarda, "Aerotropolis business magnets - SPECIAL REPORT: ECONOMICS & FINANCE," AIRPORT WORLD/ISSUE 1, 2020.


J. D. kasarda, "Aerotropolis engines beying asia," 2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 2020].


C. o. Memphis, "MEMPHIS AEROTROPOLIS Aerport city master plan," U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, 2014.


Bengal Aerotropolis Projects Limited , [Online]. Available: . [Accessed 16 October 2020].








connectivity transporturban planningaerotropolis
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