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City planning and municipal airports, 1927–40

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The period between 1927 and 1940 represented an important formative period in the history of the relationship between city planners and airports. During two periods of intense interest (1927–30 and 1937–40), planners expressed some of their earliest, most basic ideas concerning the relationship between airports, cities and city planning. Planners essentially viewed airports as parts of the local transportation infrastructure and envisaged the airplane as contributing to urban decentralization. Central to their thoughts during the first period of airport enthusiasm was the notion that cities would have to build elaborate systems of airports. The systems were metropolitan in nature and focused on moving planes and people within the metropolitan area. Planners did not seem to strongly view airports as part of a national system of transportation. By the latter period, planners had a greater sense of airports as parts of a national system of transportation, but still viewed them as part of the local transportation infrastructure. Throughout this formative period, planners and their ideas were rather peripheral to local airport construction and development. However, planners did introduce the concept of airport zoning, a tool cities used after World War II to shape land-use at and around their airports.

Document Type: Regular Paper


Publication date: October 1, 2000

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