Dubai has made a name for itself across the globe as a place where the impossible is made possible – a modern marvel of a city sprung from the desert as if a mirage.
Constructing an aerotropolis
How will we live in the future? What will travel, work and housing look like? One prediction is that more cities will be developed around an airport. That’s why, the Aerotropolis in Dubai offers a sneak peek of the future.
According to John Kasarda, President and CEO of Aerotropolis Business Concepts, an aerotropolis is an urban sub-region whose infrastructure, land-use, and economy are centred on an airport. It consists of the airport's aeronautical, logistics and commercial infrastructure anchoring an airport city at its core, and outlying corridors and clusters of aviation-oriented businesses and residential development that feed off of each other and their accessibility to the airport.
In the context of the Dubai South Aerotropolis currently being under development, the airport anchoring the aviation-based city is Al Maktoum International Airport. Upon its completion, the passenger capacity of this behemoth will rise from the 7 million people a year that pass through its doors today to 140 million people by 2025. That's double the capacity of Dubai International Airport, which is presently the busiest airport in the world in terms of international passengers.
However, the concept of a true aerotropolis is about far more than passengers. It is also about the transport of goods and services. Upon its completion, Al Maktoum Airport will also have the capacity for the transport of 12 million tonnes of cargo a year. The airport will form the heart of a greater project, a 140 km2 multiphase development of six clustered zones including a logistics zone, commercial zone, residential zone and even a golf zone, allowing jetsetters to stroll off the plane and on to the course.
In the wider context of the UAE, Dubai South will also be situated close to two huge manufacturing and logistics hubs: the Jebel Ali Free Zone in Dubai, which lies alongside Jebel Ali Port, the region’s busiest maritime trade hub, and the Khalifa Industrial Zone in Abu Dhabi, which connects to Khalifa Port, a recently built, state-of-the-art deep-water facility. So, Dubai South will be surrounded by business and industrial districts where the goods can be bought, sold, assembled or incorporated into higher value products for sale locally or globally – flying or shipping out by means of any number of routes.
An aerotropolis is a new way for aviation to work. By custom designing an urban space to enhance an airport’s interaction with the world around it, an aerotropolis takes the notion of interconnectivity to a whole new level.