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Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Just who is locating near Airports?

In a past issue of the Economist (26 Nov 2005) there was an article that is quite relevant to the topic of Urban economics; in particular, the location decisions made by businesses. We all know about the pollution (noise, air, and otherwise) that come form airports, but this article notice a funny thing going on:
Working in the shadow of an airport has its problems. There are height restrictions on buildings, and residents and office workers have to put up with the noise and traffic that airports generate. But, despite those drawbacks, more and more businesses feel the need to be near a runway.

It is not surprising that airports draw market-oriented firms; in fact the article mentions that consulting firms locate near airports (thus reducing their costs to changing clients). But this isn’t the only reduction in transportation costs that airports can provide. Amazon.com is planning a plant in Irving, Texas just a short drive from DFW international airport. This is a good example of median location oriented firms. What is unusual is that whole communities are being built airports. According to the article:
When Washington Dulles International Airport opened in 1962 in rural Virginia, it was considered a white elephant; but it has spawned a high-tech corridor and now sits in the fastest-growing county in the United States. Denver's ten-year-old international airport, about 40 miles out of town, is expected to be the centre of a community of 500,000 people by 2025—almost as many people as live in Denver itself.

Could it be that living near airports isn’t all it’s cracked up to be?

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