Land use planning and the airport metropolis

Stevens, Nicholas John (2012) Land use planning and the airport metropolis. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Australian airports have emerged as important urban activity centres over the past decade as a result of privatisation. A range of reciprocal airport and regional impacts now pose considerable challenges for both airport operation and the surrounding urban and regional environment. The airport can no longer be managed solely as a specialised transport entity in isolation from the metropolis that it serves.

In 2007 a multidisciplinary Australian Research Council Linkage Project (LP 0775225) was funded to investigate the changing role of airports in Australia. This thesis is but one component of this collaborative research effort. Here the issues surrounding the policy and practice of airport and regional land use planning are explored, analysed and detailed.

This research, for the first time, assembles a distinct progression of the wider social, economic, technological and environmental roles of the airport within the Australian airport literature from 1914 – 2011. It recognises that while the list of airport and regional impacts has grown through time, treatment within practice and the literature has largely remained highly specialised and contained within disciplinary paradigms. The first publication of the thesis (Chapter 2) acknowledges that the changing role of airports demands the establishment of new models of airport planning and development. It argues that practice and research requires a better understanding of the reciprocal impacts of airports and their urban catchments.

The second publication (Chapter 3) highlights that there is ad hoc examination and media attention of high profile airport and regional conflict, but little empirical analysis or understanding of the extent to which all privatised Australian airports are intending to develop. The conceptual and methodological significance of this research is the development of a national land use classification system for on-airport development. This paper establishes the extent of on-airport development in Australia, providing insight into the changing land use and economic roles of privatised airports.

The third publication (Chapter 4) details new and significant interdependencies for airport and regional development in consideration of the progression of airports as activity centres. Here the model of an ‘airport metropolis’ is offered as an organising device and theoretical contribution for comprehending the complexity and planning of airport and regional development. It delivers a conceptual framework for both research and policy, which acknowledges the reciprocal impacts of economic development, land use, infrastructure and governance ‘interfaces’.

In a timely and significant concurrence with this research the Australian Government announced and delivered a National Aviation Policy Review (2008 – 2009). As such the fourth publication (Chapter 5) focuses on the airport and urban planning aspects of the review. This paper also highlights the overall policy intention of facilitating broader airport and regional collaborative processes. This communicative turn in airport policy is significant in light of the communicative theoretical framework of the thesis.

The fifth paper of the thesis (Chapter 6) examines three Australian case studies (Brisbane, Adelaide and Canberra) to detail the context of airport and regional land use planning and to apply the airport metropolis model as a framework for research. Through the use of Land Use Forums, over 120 airport and regional stakeholders are brought together to detail their perspectives and interactions with airport and regional land use planning. An inductive thematic analysis of the results identifies three significant themes which contribute to the fragmentation of airport and regional and land use planning: 1) inadequate coordination and disjointed decision-making; 2) current legislative and policy frameworks; and 3) competing stakeholder priorities and interests.

Building on this new knowledge, Chapter 7 details the perceptions of airport and local, state and territory government stakeholders to land use relationships, processes and outcomes. A series of semi-structured interviews are undertaken in each of the case studies to inform this research. The potential implications for ongoing communicative practice are discussed in conclusion. The following thesis represents an incremental and cumulative research process which delivers new knowledge for the practical understanding and research interpretation of airport and regional land use planning practice and policy. It has developed and applied a robust conceptual framework which delivers significant direction for all stakeholders to better comprehend the relevance of airports in the urban character and design of our cities.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 60298
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Baker, Douglas C. & Mayere, Severine
Keywords: Adelaide, airport, airport metropolis, australia, aviation policy, Brisbane, Canberra, consultation, economic development, governance, government, infrastructure, interfaces, land use planning, legislation, non-aeronautical development, privatisation, urban planning
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Civil Engineering & Built Environment
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 28 May 2013 02:49
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2015 01:00

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