Airport City - an Urban Design Question
HELION SA, 28 lut 2018 - 152
Airports are of particular significance for contemporary cities. They are not just places where airplanes take off and land, but also hubs where locality combines with globality. They provide global connections, transfer of people and goods, offering access to the global economy and enabling cities and regions to compete on a supra-local scale. At the same time, they are connected with the surroundings, usually offer good traffic connections and they are frequently a workplace important in the region. New developments are erected near the airports, connected with them directly and indirectly, leading to creating new urban structure types.
The transport hubs have always played an important role in city creation and development. Sea harbors, railway stations or major road crossroads were the locations of intense contacts, where settlement structures developed. They became centers of economic growth and, as privileged locations, attracted investments and received intensive spatial development. A similar phenomenon may be observed for airports since a passenger terminal receives many extra functions as the numbers of passengers and amount of cargo transported increase. The process of functional and spatial evolution of an airport passenger terminal, with all the adjacent functions related to the airport, is sometimes called a process of an airport city emergence, and the Airport City notion has become so appealing that it was considered one of ten contemporary ideas to change the world by Time Magazine in 2011 (Iyer, 2011).
The intense development of airports and airport-proximate zones has been observed recently also in Poland. It is where office buildings, hotels, restaurants, and private car parts are erected. Approaching airports, we can see an increasing number of advertisements related to development land for sale and the communes update their plans, introducing the ability to intensify the development of such areas. There are also comprehensive development plans designed for the areas near the airports, with the most ambitious example being the concept design of Chopin Airport City in Warsaw, i.e. a business and shopping park with recreation and entertainment functions, as well as with a new park. Similar ideas have shown up also in e.g. Gdańsk, Krakow or Katowice. Simultaneously, unavoidable conflicts appear, related e.g. to the nuisance for the nearby residents, ability to use the roads to the airports to serve the development lands or coordinating the activities on real properties owned by different people.