Airports and cities don’t get along for a few specific reasons—namely, air pollution, noise pollution, and plain old risk. As such, some designers think that a future of increased urban density could be an opportunity to mix things up. This concept for a new airport in downtown Stockholm is simply mixed up.
An architecture graduate student in London recently proposed a plan called Stockholm City Airport (or Airport City). The design would sends short-length runways directly in between office buildings in Sweden’s capital. There would also be small terminals and distributed baggage claims designed to make the infrastructure that feeds the airport relatively unobtrusive. That is, if you can overlook the hideous high-rise tarmac and massive jetliners cruising through city streets.
We get it: it sucks to drive three hours from urban centers to catch a flight. However, building an airport in an urban center is a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad idea. Just imagine how loud it would be to have airplanes taking off and landing in the middle of the city. Then you’ve got the exhaust fumes flowing down onto the sidewalks, with a stray trickle of jet fuel here and there. Then what happens when a plane needs to make an emergency landing or—God forbid—misses the runway?
The designer doesn’t seem to give an explanation as to how they plan to mediate air or noise pollution—not to mention how pedestrians or cyclists would deal with the incredible wind power generated by takeoff—or really how it would affect traffic in the city.
But then, the whole idea behind the project was, according to Dezeen, to look at how a “utopian dream” could be implemented in reality. In fact, there’s a very long history of engineers and architects imagining airports in cities, from a circular urban runway from 1919 to a tower-elevated landing area for future aircraft from 1957. As history has taught us, though, utopias tend not to work out. Especially when airplanes are involved.
Images via Bartlett School of Architecture