chapter  9
22 Pages

From inside-out to outside-in: Changing spatial economic planning in the Amsterdam-Schiphol region


The spatial and functional-economic relationships between the airport and the city have changed rapidly in the last decades —from a ‘living apart together’ relationship, in which both airport and city tried to optimise its own interest, towards a kind of ‘marriage of convenience’, in a search for mutual interests. The increase in global travel, accommodated by the liberalisation of air traffic markets, the rise of hub-and-spoke networks and the innovations in managing scarce ‘airspace capacity’ all shaped the very spatial and functional-economic logic of international airports. Today, airports are seen as territorially based assets for attracting international ‘footloose’ capital and, hence, as a vital determinant in the ranking of ‘world cities’ in terms of ‘connectivity’ and ‘centrality’ (cf. Derudder and Witlox, 2005). At the same time, the airport is also a ‘real place’ in this ‘system of flows’, one which is enmeshed in multi-scalar territorial governance arrangements, which also influence its development path. More and more, these relations surpass the spatial scale of the airport or the city. These are examples of what Hesse (2013: 33) refers to as the fraught and delicate relationships between cities and flows, i.e. relations that ‘are more complex than often suggested and cannot simply be managed by established policy concepts’ (see also Hall and Hesse, 2012). Hesse (2013) stresses that the mutual relationships between flows and cities, in this case between international airports and metropolitan regions, are profound but delicate. The complexity is high because both flows and cities are influenced by integrating and disintegrating forces. However, policies are also changing to accommodate dynamic spatial economic processes and circumstances. In general terms, this change can be characterised as a shift from location-oriented planning towards relation-oriented planning (Boelens, 2009).