AERIAL FUTURES: Living Laboratories Symposium

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AERIAL FUTURES: Living Laboratories Symposium

January 1, 2019 @ 8:00 am - August 15, 2019 @ 11:59 pm EST

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. 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 airports as microcosms of 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.

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:

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 airline users, established cities like Singapore, Incheon and Hong Kong have turned their airports into high-end shopping malls, while many new locations and routes with low-cost carriers have advocated for stripped-down terminals.

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?

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?

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?

For more information, please visit

How to apply
Please submit your 300-word abstract by August 15, 2019 to info [at] Include your name, affiliation, working title of paper, a C.V. of no more than two pages, and an email address.

AERIAL FUTURES is a non-profit organization committed to interdisciplinary discourse on aerial infrastructure and its interdependencies. As a cultural platform and expert network, we curate salons, think tanks and public programs that provoke timely considerations of our aerial age to imagine the future of a connected multimodal world.

The AERIAL FUTURES agenda fosters leadership and disruptive thinking in an industry that is overwhelmingly technical and transactional. Beyond aviation, our program explores the interfaces of design, technology, policy, social sciences and the extended urban ecosystem that airports are part of.


January 1, 2019 @ 8:00 am EST
August 15, 2019 @ 11:59 pm EST
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