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AERIAL FUTURES: Constructed Landscapes


A new video asks what role airports play in urban development

Many airports are located far from cities, buffered by hectares of greenfield. This substantial provision of land safeguards for future expansion and protects urban residents from noise pollution. As airports take a more prominent role in urban development, can such land also be reimagined as urban space? Using Denver International Airport (DEN) as a case study, a new video produced during the Aerial Futures: Constructed Landscapes think tank asks how airports are catalyzing urban development and new modes of mobility.

Airports have become more than simply facilities for air travel; today they are a vital part of the urban ecosystem. As the relationship between city and airport continues to strengthen, the land that sits between them will be radically rethought. New high-speed mobility technologies like hyperloop will create previously impossible networks between airports and cities, transforming our understanding of space and urban planning. Featuring interviews with Charles Waldheim (Harvard Graduate School of Design), Curtis Fentress (Fentress Architects), Fred Merrill (Principal, Sasaki), Brent Mather (Design Principal, Gensler), Alan Eckman (VP of Transportation, AECOM), Breanna Faye (Experience Design Lead, rLoop), Jim Jarvis (Senior Vice President, Ricondo) and Matthew Needham (Principal, HOK), this think tank and resulting video asks how DEN is developing its surrounding land in innovative ways, incorporating residential, commercial and public space.

Over the last few decades, Denver’s population has soared, spurring interest in the city’s surrounding undeveloped land and the mobility infrastructure that connects it. Opened in 1995, DEN is the largest commercial airport in the United States and is surrounded by an unusually large area of undeveloped land. Taking a unique approach to development, the site is envisioned as a living laboratory for autonomous vehicles, zero-energy consumption and sustainable living. Technology is transforming the landscape of mobility, connecting DEN to the rest of the region. As the airport and adjacent communities grow, urban design and transportation infrastructure have never been more critical.

Aerial Futures is a nonprofit organization and cultural platform exploring innovation in the architecture of flight, technology and the broader urban mobility ecosystem.

For information, contact Anastasia Sukhoroslova at Plane-Site, anastasia@plane-site.com

Edited by the Colorado Real Estate Journal staff.