Developing the City of Hapeville into the Future Airport City: An Application of the Aerotropolis Concept

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Zhou, You
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The prediction that air transportation will dominate passenger carriage and cargo shipment in the twenty-first century, both domestically and internationally, has led to the development of “airport city” and “aerotropolis” concepts. Advocated by Dr. John D. Kasarda, aerotropolis is a new type of urban form comprised of an airport city at its central core and a surrounding cluster of aviation-oriented businesses and enterprises extending up to 20 miles from the airport city. Taking advantage of its proximity to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the metropolitan Atlanta is striving to become the next aerotropolis, in light of the “railway wave‟ in the 19th century and the “automotive wave” in the 20th century. The Atlanta airport is currently the world’s busiest passenger airport, serving more than 82 million passengers annually. Additionally, almost half million tons of air cargo is shipped through the airport every year. Immediately adjacent to the airport is the City of Hapeville, a typical Georgian city whose economic growth has been stalled by the physical obstruction created by rail tracks and highways, as well as by losing its biggest tax payer-The Ford Atlanta Assembly Plant. The redevelopment plan for the Ford plant, which will be within 1.5 miles from the new international terminal of the airport, is being undertaken by Jacoby Development. Named Aerotropolis Atlanta, the project is potential to be a stimulus for promoting aviation-oriented urban development in Atlanta region, as inspired by the Aerotropolis concept. This paper examines the evolution of the “aerotropolis” concept, its influence on regional economic development, and the opportunities and limitations for applying this concept on metro Atlanta area. In review of similar aerotropolis practices around the world, further complicated by current condition and development potential in this region, the paper recommends several strategies that could be taken to overcome political and economic barriers to developing Hapeville into a future airport city and metro Atlanta into the next aerotropolis.
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