AERIAL FUTURES: Living Laboratories Symposium

Aerial Futures

14.11.2019 - 15.11.2019

About the Event

The AERIAL FUTURES: Living Laboratories Symposium examines the confluence of urban elements within the airport landscape – transportation, commerce, public space and technological interfaces – and how Asian airports introduce alternatives for life in transit. By 2035, it’s estimated that air travel in Asia will be greater than Europe and North America combined, with routes in Asia serving an extra 1.8 billion annual passengers, for a total market size of 3.1 billion. Asia’s increasing wealth and rising middle class have contributed to the growing travel market. In fact, 40% of first-time travelers in the world are expecting to come from Asia in the next 20 years. Increase in airport capacity challenges physical infrastructure as much as operations and passenger experience. A trillion dollars is earmarked for airport development in Asia alone in the next 10 years. Unprecedented growth requirements are difficult to meet and concrete alone is not the answer. Asian airports are ideal for testing new technologies, including construction, immersive digital environments, automated operations and unconventional non-aeronautical programs. From Mumbai to Shanghai, airports across Asia are reinventing the airport as microcosms that resemble complex urban environments, tackling challenges in environmental and commercial sustainability. Airports are leading experimentation and invention in mobility, real estate, and lifestyle, all of which can be scaled up and replicated in cities.

Who's Coming

We are inviting industry professionals, academics and innovators to propose papers for the next AERIAL FUTURES symposium in Singapore, responding to one of the following prompts: TRAVELERS OF TOMORROW As Asia’s middle class rises, vast numbers of first-time travelers are expected to visit Asian airports. This emerging demographic is the world’s fastest-growing aviation market and is sure to bring new consumer demands and habits to airports. Catering to luxury-focused users and airlines, established cities like Singapore, Incheon and Hong Kong have turned their airports into high-end shopping malls and push further to improve user experience, while many new locations and in developing nations developing routes with low-cost carriers have advocated for stripped down terminals that match their functional and no-frills needs. We ask how these and other changes may impact the airports of today and how the airports of tomorrow will address them in the future. DIGITAL ECOSYSTEMS Asian airports use technology in unprecedented ways to improve the passenger experience, including automated kiosks, facial recognition, language localization, and self-service options for passengers. How will these technologies work together and how will the human feature within this constellation? What will come of the data such technology yields, and who benefits from it? URBAN MICROCOSMS Airports present ideal environments for controlled experimentation. As microcosms of the urban spaces around them, airports increasingly share elements in common with cities, including intermodal transportation, commerce, public space, culture and technology for user engagement. The combination of these elements with airport safety, access and speed, necessitates imaginative approaches. How do smaller-scale, experimental interventions present new insight on how airports or cities will continue to develop? THE AIRPORT THRESHOLD Many airports have transformed from transient spaces into attractive and stimulating urban destinations, that are more than sites for the hurried traveler to navigate. In doing so, airports have become liminal spaces between sovereign territories and urban ecologies, where complex negotiations related to leisure, trade, security, information and mobility play out. These unique choreographies demand inventive approaches to urban planning and design at different scales. How do airports affect larger, long-term issues and give rise to spatial practices at the scale of the city and region, such as masterplanning, policy and economic activity?

About Us

AERIAL FUTURES is a non-profit organization exploring innovation in the architecture of flight, technology, and the broader urban mobility ecosystem. We curate and provokes timely considerations of our aerial age, and imagine its emerging futures in a connected, multimodal world.