L[i/o]ving cities

Posts tagged ‘spatial planning’


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.




The other day I saw a documentary film about the planned obsolescence. Simplifying, they said that enterprises sell products that break down when expected. So, this means that we purchase stuff that does not long as much as it could. I already knew this “malicious” behaviour of enterprises, but this time I associate it with the need of society to learn how to consume fewer things. Let me explain, planned obsolescence shows us that it is possible to consume less, but not because we can have more durable things, just because we are consuming a lot of natural resources in a limited world of resources. So, it is important to understand that in a world where the emerging countries (BRIC´s) are asking for their part of the pie, we, globally, are required to learn how to decrease our unnecessary consumption.

From my point of view, planned obsolescence has an urban and territorial correspondence: the same way that we are spending many more natural resources manufacturing things, we are spending many more natural resources in cities urbanization.

In the process of urbanization we are spending much more soil than is necessary with low density sprawl, we are spending much more energy than is necessary with private transport that we mainly use, we are spending much more water than is necessary with all the little gardens in every house that are less useful than public parks, and so on.

Therefore, I dare to say that if there is a “planned obsolescence” in the material consumption world, there is also a “planning obsolescence” in the urbanism consumption world. I think that we need to learn how to decrease the way we plan cities and territories and we are required to find more efficient ways to explode the natural resources that are necessary to continue inhabiting our cities.


The past 27th, 28th and 29th October I attended the 6th International Congress on Spatial Planning, organized by Fundicot in Pamplona. It is always interesting to hear the speeches of other professionals dedicated to Planning and see the paths that are being followed at the moment.

I think there were no major surprises in the discussions that took place in that forum, but I would like to give my opinion on an element that was repeated throughout the entire Congress. It seems that there is a clear diagnosis about the territorial problems that exist; however, the solutions to them are addressed in a piecemeal way.

The positive side is that there appears to be some consensus upon the fact that this system requires a change to unassumable patterns over time as the loss of biodiversity, unsustainable mobility, excessive consumption of land and resources, climate challenges or an unsustainable energy model.

The negative side is that, after having a methodical and accurate discourse about the problems we have, there is not a complete and complex discourse on possible solutions that will contribute to change the model in which we live.

Far from conceptual discourses, my prosaic vision of the matter suggests to me that the cost of implementing policies and technologies that would enable the shift of paradigm are still greater than the costs incurred by, let me call it, “the twentieth century model”. Of course, when I talk about costs, I mean cash flows, not total costs from internalizing all the elements that influence the system, that would be another history.

Finally, as an MVP or Palme d’Or and knowing that I´m leaving things on the way, I would like to highlight Ramon Folch´s discourse (http://www.erf.cat) as the most complete in terms of structure; the concreteness of the interventions and the simplifications made in the Barcelona Metropolitan Territorial Plan (http://urlcut.com/1xsyt), explained by Oriol Nel·lo, as a way to get results without getting lost in the complexity of elements that we are not able to master; and, finally, the specific methodology for landscape mapping expressed by Luis A. Cancer (http://urlcut.com/1xsyu) as a way to provide objectivity to subjective parameters as are the ones surrounding landscape.

Please take advantage of your day.


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