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Small airports

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Complete with results
Geo-spatial type
Project website
Project Acronym
STRIA Roadmaps
Network and traffic management systems (NTM)
Smart mobility and services (SMO)
Transport mode
Airborne icon
Transport policies
Societal/Economic issues
Transport sectors
Passenger transport,
Freight transport


Background & Policy context

The airport policy of the last decades reveals a particular trend: the development of the so-called "inner city airports”, located very close to cities and often immersed in the urban environment.

These interchanges of global and local mobility have become major accelerators of proximity. The tendency to gigantism that distinguishes many airport hubs already demonstrated its limitation in the eighties with some observers predicting a future trend towards decentralization.

The competitiveness of small airports is principally based on two main factors: 1) the reduced time needed to reach the airport from the city (they have transformed the traditional "hub and spoke" air travelling into a system of "point to point" connections); 2) the cost factor: low-cost airlines turned the plane into a means of mass transportation, no longer for the exclusive use of an "elite". They transformed also small airports from marginal spots into supernodes. The network of small airports and the relationships flowing through them represent one of the key criteria to define areas, areas of influence and homogeneity of macro-regions and local identities in Europe.


The research aims to investigate the architectural and urban development implications of an airport system adapted to new technologies and new "light jets" air transport. In particular, the work focused on the changes induced by small airports in the local and provincial territorial systems and also on the architectural, typological and functional evolution of such infrastructures.


Parent Programmes
Institution Type
Public institution
Institution Name
Ministry of Research (Ministero della Ricerca)
Type of funding
Public (national/regional/local)
Funding Source
Ministry of education university and research


The results have been published in the book “Piccoli aeroporti. Infrastruttura, città e paesaggio nel territorio italiano” (Marsilio, 2008 – ISBN 8831796305, 9788831796309)

In addition to the description of the peculiarities and contradictions of this network, the research investigated the ambivalent nature of smaller Italian airports as integrated nodes of other transport systems and in their potential of generating new urban spatiality. The research addressed the issue of local identity in relation to the widespread distribution of small airports. It developed new scenarios in which local specificities and characteristics of atopic airport fences find ways to interact, transforming airports in re-semanticization elements of the territory.


Lead Organisation
EU Contribution
Partner Organisations
EU Contribution


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