chapter  8
25 Pages

Where globality encounters locality: Emergence of new knowledge-based spaces around the German airports of Frankfurt, Munich and Düsseldorf

WithSVEN CONVENTZ, ALAIN THIERSTEIN

Throughout history, urban competitiveness, growth, and economic prosperity have been highly determined by their connectivity and their positions within networks (Sassen, 2001; Neal, 2011). In this context, air transport, and its spatially fixed infrastructure, the airport, have gained a key position due to their ability to move people and commodities independently of geographical barriers. Not long ago, airports were considered purely peripheral, functional solitaires with little integration into the urban or regional context. In the recent past, however, this situation has changed and airports have re-positioned themselves as an integral part of the knowledge-driven, globally networked economy with far reaching impacts on the spatial structure. Under the general framework of global, time-based competition, the shift from a natural-resourcebased to knowledge-based production and the implementation of new business practices, the potentiality, and the locational advantages of airports as networkinfrastructure have become more integral than ever to urban competitiveness, business models, and the location decisions of firms. Like no other infrastructure facility, airports integrate two locational qualities: intercontinental connectivity by air and multimodal landside accessibility on a global, national, regional, and local scale.