Souvenir Sunday: Aerotropolis

On Souvenir Sunday we usually feature fun, inexpensive items you can buy in airport shops.

Our perennial favorites are kitschy things like Corny Cob, the tiny stuffed ear of corn they sell at Eastern Iowa Airport.

airport souvenir

And the Fly SUX stuff they sell at Sioux Gateway Airport in Sioux City.

Fly SUX - Joy of Sux mug

But books are good souvenirs too.  Especially when you’ve got a long flight ahead of you and when the topic is something you’re really interested in. Like say …. airports.

Which is why I’m saving the 480 page Aerotropolis: The Way We’ll Live Next, by John Karsada and Greg Lindsay, for my next flight.


In a Wall Street Journal article this week, Aerotropolis co-author Greg Lindsay defines an “aerotropolis” as:

“…[A] city planned around its airport or, more broadly, as a city less connected to its land-bound neighbors than to its peers thousands of miles away. The ideal aerotropolis is an amalgam of made-to-order office parks, convention hotels, cargo complexes and even factories, which in some cases line the runways. It is a pure node in a global network whose fast-moving packets are people and goods instead of data. And it is the future of the global city.”

Here are a couple of reviews:

This one, (by Rowan Moore a; note the different cover art) isn’t too complimentary:

“…[C]ities have always relied on transport, but not on transport alone. Airports are a powerful force among others, and it is the interaction of these forces that makes cities interesting. Aerotropolis is straining too hard to be a smartypants bestseller of the the type produced by Malcolm Gladwell to explore this complexity. It is hectoring, breathless, over-persuading, a boring book with an interesting one struggling to get out.”

In Business Week, Paul Barrett notes that “The authors are vague about whether the airport city of the future is an upgrade or a fresh circle of hell,” but the tome is summed up as An important book that will help business travelers understand why they’re living the way they are.”