The grouping of similar things or people in close proximity to one another has been a man-made and natural phenomena dating back approximately 500 million years. The latter being the formation of multi-cellular clusters that ultimately became plants and animals. These early cluster formations naturally spanned the globe billions of years before civilization. Earths biological organisms, pre-historic animals, along with the earliest forms of Homo sapien activity often displayed behaviors of interrelated activities vital to survival and the continued evolution of earth’s inhabitants.
In similar fashion to the earliest organic life forms on earth, socioeconomic developments marking thousands of years in evolutionary progress have sprouted outward from centralized clusters of human activity. Complex interrelated actions have progressively evolved over time throughout native villages, East Asian populations, Egyptian Monarchy’s, Babylonian Empires, European societies, and early era North America to name a few. Shared interest of economic mobility in pursuit of prosperity resulted in interdependent activities laying the groundwork for future microeconomic, as well as macroeconomic marketplaces traversing the globe.
The foundation of one economic activity leads to another unintentional communal enterprise that yields yet another, eventually spawning many similar unplanned endeavors is not a new phenomenon. The 19th & 20th Century Industrial Revolutions resulted in planned socioeconomic developments throughout Western Europe and the United States. Large logistically located companies in various industries built massive manufacturing facilities, which in turn attracted other interrelated businesses and investments. The resulting economic boons to the local, regional, and national economies spurred additional developments. Housing, education, health care, personal wealth, and many other benefits resulted from ongoing economic mushrooming during North America’s greatest periods.
Economists, real estate developers, business professionals, and academic researchers have studied the industrial revolution periods along with their socioeconomic impacts. Back in 2000, Dr. John D Kasarda, University of North Carolina professor and acknowledged developer of the ‘Aerotropolis’ concept introduced his vision for a revolutionary development capable of meeting the demands of 21st Century globalization. Dr. Kasarda’s idea centered on a new urban development form comprising aviation-intensive businesses and related enterprises extending up to 25 kilometers outward from major airports. It is similar in form and function to a traditional metropolis, which contains a central city core and its commuter-linked suburbs. An aerotropolis has an airport city at its core and is surrounded by clusters of aviation-related enterprises that gain a competitive advantage by utilizing the synergistic capabilities of their respective locations (Kasarda, 2000).
Aerotropolises have the potential to attract numerous industries that rely upon and utilize time-sensitive manufacturing, e-commerce fulfillment, telecommunications and logistics as well as offices for business people who travel frequently by air. Clusters of business parks, logistics parks, industrial parks, distribution centers, information technology complexes and wholesale merchandise marts can logistically benefit by locating themselves around an airport and along the transportation corridors surrounding them (Kasarda, 2000). During the same time as Dr. Kasarda’s plans of clustered businesses surrounding an airport, another academic professor would introduce a similar concept known as ‘Logistics Clusters’ (Sheffi 2012).
Dr. Yossi Sheffi is a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he serves as Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics (CTL). He is an expert in systems optimization, risk…