L[i/o]ving cities

For sure that any time you have asked yourself: Does the size really matters? Well, I am going to answer your question if you are thinking about airports. In former posts I have made some measures of some of the biggest airports all around the world; you can look at these posts to see the maps of the airports:
1. Europe
2. North America
3. Asia-Australia
4. South America-Africa-Middle East


Firstly I want to show the airports size´s rank (font: CityLines):

Dallas Fort Worth 4360
Denver International Airport 4200
King Fahd International Airport 3410
Shanghai, Pudong 3350
París, Charles de Gaulle 3100
Madrid Barajas 3050
New International Bangkok Airport 2980
Chicago O´Hare 2610
Cairo International Airport (Wadi al Jandali) 2550
Beijing Internacional airport 2330
Washington-dulles 2255
Amsterdam, Schipol 2090
New Delhi, Indira Gandhi international airport 1770
Toronto Pearson 1660
Salt lake City 1635
Atlanta Airport 1625
New York, JFK 1525
Frankfurt Airport 1470
Tokyo, Haneda 1445
Dubai International Airport 1445
Roma Fiumicino 1395
Los Angeles International 1325
Kansas city 1290
Hong Kong 1285
Londres, Heathrow 1215
Barcelona, El Prat 950
Rio de Janeiro, Galeao International Airport 950
Moscu Sheremetyevo 875
Sao Paulo, Guarulhos International 855
Sydney airport 820
Mexico, Aeropuerto Internacional Ciudad de Mexico 685
Buenos Aires, Pistarini 670
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai-Delhi) 575

This means that these 33 airports occupies the awesome area of 61.750 Ha that it is more or less Singapore´s size. The mean area for these airports is 1.871 Ha.

Secondly, I also going to show the passengers´ ranking, this is the following:

Atlanta Airport 92365860
Beijing Internacional airport 77403668
Londres, Heathrow 69433565
Chicago O´Hare 66561023
Tokyo, Haneda 62263025
Los Angeles International 61848449
París, Charles de Gaulle 60970551
Dallas Fort Worth 57806152
Frankfurt Airport 56436255
Hong Kong 53314213
Denver International Airport 52699298
Dubai International Airport 50977960
Amsterdam, Schipol 49754910
Madrid Barajas 49644302
New International Bangkok Airport 47910744
New York, JFK 47854283
Shanghai, Pudong 41450211
Roma Fiumicino 37651222
Sydney airport 36022614
New Delhi, Indira Gandhi international airport 34729467
Barcelona, El Prat 34387597
Toronto Pearson 33434199
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai-Delhi) 30439122
Sao Paulo, Guarulhos International 30371131
Mexico, Aeropuerto Internacional Ciudad de Mexico 26368861
Washington-dulles 23056291
Moscu Sheremetyevo 22555309
Salt lake City 20440913
Cairo International Airport (Wadi al Jandali) 16148480
Rio de Janeiro, Galeao International Airport 15184350
Kansas city 10469892
Buenos Aires, Pistarini 8786807
King Fahd International Airport 5267000

It is also amazing that the total amount of people that have used these 33 airports in 2011 is 1.384.007.724 (font Wikipedia). This amount of people is similar to China´s population, wow!

But the real question in this post is if size really matters for air traffic and airport management. Well, I think that if we compare the size of the airports with the amount of people that uses each airport we will have some idea about it. Watch the table below:

Londres, Heathrow 57146,967
Atlanta Airport 56840,529
Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (Mumbai-Delhi) 52937,603
Los Angeles International 46678,075
Sydney airport 43930,017
Tokyo, Haneda 43088,599
Hong Kong 41489,66
Mexico, Aeropuerto Internacional Ciudad de Mexico 38494,688
Frankfurt Airport 38392,01
Barcelona, El Prat 36197,471
Sao Paulo, Guarulhos International 35521,791
Dubai International Airport 35278,865
Beijing Internacional airport 33220,458
New York, JFK 31379,858
Roma Fiumicino 26990,123
Moscu Sheremetyevo 25777,496
Chicago O´Hare 25502,308
Amsterdam, Schipol 23806,177
Toronto Pearson 20141,084
París, Charles de Gaulle 19667,92
New Delhi, Indira Gandhi international airport 19621,168
Madrid Barajas 16276,82
New International Bangkok Airport 16077,431
Rio de Janeiro, Galeao International Airport 15983,526
Dallas Fort Worth 13258,292
Buenos Aires, Pistarini 13114,637
Denver International Airport 12547,452
Salt lake City 12502,087
Shanghai, Pudong 12373,197
Washington-dulles 10224,519
Kansas city 8116,1953
Cairo International Airport (Wadi al Jandali) 6332,7373
King Fahd International Airport 1544,5748

In this case we can see the incredible variation of the ratio PAX/AREA. From the most efficient airport, that is London Heathrow with 57.147 passengers managed per Hectare, to the least efficient airport, that is King Fahd International Airport with 1.545 passengers managed in 1 Hectare, there is a difference of 37 times more efficiency for London Heathrow.

Well, also considering that the size ratio between the biggest and the smallest of these airports (Dallas Fort Worth vs Chhatrapati Shivaji International) is 7,5 times, we can see how there is a lack of planning & management in the soil occupation of these infrastructures.

Considering the importance of keeping natural soils, I think this example is pretty clear about how infrastructures can be more or less sustainable on soil occupation.


I want to stop talking about airports for a while and continue talking about smart cities. In former posts I have talked about Smart Cities and I have said that it is important that citizens have to be the new center of decision of smart citizens. I have also supported that technology does not have to be the next barrier or the next excuse to oust citizens from public decisions.

In this City Lines post I also want to make you know this brilliant initiative to build our Smart Cities

you also have an english subtitled version here

You can see how this initiative goes one step beyond of what I said before and tries to build the smart city in a collaborative way. If we work with open source, open hardware solutions and collaborative people it is posible to have low cost solutions to build this smart cities that sometimes sound really odd for citizens. This is a brilliant idea that puts the citizen in the middle of the city construction and give us the tools to start making our own smart city.

Beyond this initiative it is also amazing how crowdfunding platforms as Goteo are arising in the Web. This kind of tools are already a real way to find the funds that governments are not able to provide to this kind of start up initiatives.

You can support Smart Citizen initiative here!

In the former post of the airport size serial I have published information about the size of the European airports, the North American airports and the Asian & Australian airports. In this post I am going to share the information about the South American, African and Middle East airports. (lately I have posted a resume about the efficiency of airports’ land use)

I expect that you are enjoying the information!

Sao Paulo Guarulhos International Airport (Brasil): 855Ha

Rio de Janeiro Galeao International Airport (Brasil): 950 Ha

Buenos Aires Pistarini International Airport (Argentina): 670 Ha

Mexico City International Airport Ciudad de México (Mexico): 685 Ha

King Fahd International Airport (Saudi Arabia): 3410Ha

Dubai International Airport (United Arab Emirates): 1445 Ha

Cairo Wadi al Jandali International Airport (Egypt): 2550 Ha

In this post set about the size of the size of the largest airports in the world, I have already published the size of the European airports and the size of the North American airports. I will also publish the South American, African and Middle East airports in the next post (lately I have posted a resume about the efficiency of airports’ land use). Now it is the time for the Asian and Australian airports.

Here you have the information!

Tokyo Haneda International Airport (Japan): 1445 Ha

Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok International Airport (China): 1285 Ha

Shanghai Pudong International Airport (China): 3350 Ha

Beijing Internacional Airport (China): 2330 Ha

Mumbai Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport (India): 575 Ha

New Delhi Indira Gandhi International Airport (India): 1770 Ha

Bangkok New International Airport (Thailand): 2980 Ha

Sydney International Airport (Australia): 820 Ha

In the last post I published the size of the largest airports of Europe; in the two former posts I am going to publish the size of the largest airports of Asia-Australia and South America-Africa-Middle East (lately I have posted a resume about the efficiency of airports’ land use). In this post it is time for the North American airports!

Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (USA): 1625 Ha

New York JFK International Airport (USA): 1525 Ha

Chicago O´Hare International Airport (USA): 2610 Ha

Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (USA): 4360 Ha

Los Angeles International Airport (USA): 1325 Ha

 Denver International Airport (USA): 4200 Ha

Toronto Pearson International Airport (Canada): 1660 Ha

I have measured some new North American airports!

Washington-Dulles International Airport (USA): 2255 Ha

Kansas City International Airport (USA): 1290 Ha

Salt Lake City International Airport (USA): 1635 Ha

Moses Lake Washington Grant County International Airport (USA): 1655 Ha

The other day I read a post (and I republished it in CityLines Facebook page) about the largest airports in the world, it talked about the number of people passing through them each year. When I was reading I thought, well, actually I have not ever read about the size of the largest airports in the world, so I decided to measure them by myself, and I realized that it was pretty interesting.

I just took the Google Earth tool to define the limit of the airports by photo interpretation. Then I used the Esri free application for iPad to measure the airport polygons. I measured the airports that I supposed that were the biggest in every continent. Now, I am going to publish the largest airports in 4 different posts. The order of publication will be related with the continent of the airports:

  1. Europe
  2. North America
  3. Asia-Australia
  4. South America-Africa-Middle East

(lately I have posted a resume about the efficiency of airports’ land use). So here you have the first part of the Airports serial, you can see their photo and size!

Madrid Barajas International Airport (Spain): 3050 Ha

Barcelona El Prat International Airport (Spain): 950 Ha

London Heathrow International Airport (UK): 1215 Ha

Paris Charles de Gaulle International Airport (France): 3100 Ha

Amsterdam Schiphol International Airport (The Netherlands): 2380 Ha

Thanks to Erik Griswold to tell me that I forgot “Polderbaan” airstrip (Runway 36L/18R). Map & size figure are corrected

Frankfurt International Airport (Germany): 1470 Ha

Roma Fiumicino International Airport (Italy): 1395 Ha

Moscu Sheremetyevo International Airport (Russia): 875 Ha

Somehow, when somebody talks to me about smart cities I start thinking about all the movies of the 80´s that I used to watch in my childhood, and I remember some futuristic cities and situations. Of all these movies, the strongest memory I have is from Tron, (the classical one, of course) with the red and blue motorbikes racing for their lives. Wow, it was amazing thinking about what the technology would provide!!


Tron was about a “supermachine” that controlled people´s memories and lives, and there was a character (the good one) that was trying to recover people´s lives. Actually, smart cities could have some similarities with that script, and I will explain.

I really agree with ICTs and other new technologies as a tool to improve our life quality and to achieve a better efficiency in the use of natural resources. I also think that it is absolutely necessary to invest in ICTs in our forthcoming smart cities, because nowadays´ civil engineering know-how is based on 19th and 20th century technologies.

But on the other hand, all these improvements cannot be presented as a new enlightened despotism ruled by Tron´s “supermachines”. Smart cities should not be ruled by new technocrat elites who know the performance of the new technologies and who tells us what machines “think” that are better for cities. Those could be smart cities, but definitely they are not smarter cities.

I think that technologists have to be the facilitators to get ICTs closer to citizens. Citizens have to be the new center of decision of smart cities and citizens have to be educated to consider social, environmental and economic criteria in their decisions. I also think that we have enough new ways of data visualization, communication media and social networks to be effective enough in this thrilling process of educating people and bringing smart cities (sorry, smarter cities) closer to citizens.

The next episode in your city!

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