CTS research conference looks at urban governance, ‘aerotropolis’ model of development

Airplane taking off at MSP International AirportPhoto: Shutterstock The annual CTS Transportation Research Conference will be held November 7 at the Graduate Minneapolis Hotel on the U of M east bank campus. The opening plenary and luncheon presentations are described below, and registration information is available on the event web page. 

Opening Session: Transport and Urban Governance in a Platform-Driven World

Many of the challenges governments and transport authorities grapple with today stem from a broader restructuring of our economy and governance systems driven by private-platform technologies. And these challenges are not entirely new: long before the emergence of digital communication technologies, cities faced questions about how to regulate private-sector innovation in providing public services. 

In this presentation, Kevin Webb will explore what we can learn from the history of airline and utilities regulation—as well as retail and consumer finance platforms—and how these lessons can help us manage emerging digital layers of the public realm. 

Webb co-directs SharedStreets, a nonprofit organization that builds tools for public–private collaboration around transport data. Blending technology and policy, SharedStreets is building standards, digital infrastructure, and governance models to support new ways of managing and sharing data about transport systems. 

Following Webb’s presentation, a panel of Minnesota leaders and experts will share perspectives on managing digital data in today’s complex transportation industry. 

Luncheon: Aerotropolis—Shaping Transportation and Regional Development into the Future

Major airports have become key nodes in global production and enterprise systems, offering speed, agility, and connectivity. They are also powerful engines of local and greater metropolitan regional development, attracting aviation-linked businesses to their environs and beyond. The “aerotropolis” is an urban form where cities are built around airports speedily connecting time-sensitive suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and business people to distant customers, clients, and marketplaces. 

This presentation by John Kasarda will feature the aerotropolis model, its economic rationale, and how it can bring competitive advantages to firms and municipalities in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul region and to the entire state. Illustrations of successful aerotropolis development elsewhere in the world will also be detailed. Concluding the presentation will be a unique video on what a future Minneapolis–Saint Paul aerotropolis might look like in terms of transportation infrastructure and coordinated commercial development.

Kasarda is an academic and airport business consultant focused on aviation-driven economic development. He is the director of the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, the CEO of Aerotropolis Business Concepts LLC, an airport-economy consulting firm, and the president of the Aerotropolis Institute in China.


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