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These Abandoned Airports Have Been Transformed and Upcycled

From mixed use communities to cruise terminals, abandoned airports are finding new ways to thrive.

Although aircraft may no longer grace their runways, former airports are finding new life through multiple mixed-use projects. Both in the United States and around the world, new developments have turned former airport lands into fully-functional areas where people live, work and play.

One of the most notable examples of a former airport becoming a mixed use development comes from the former Denver Stapleton Airport. Developed by Forest City, Denver’s former gateway began rebuilding in 2001 on 4,700 acres of available property. The result is a mixture of homes, schools and shops only 20 minutes away from Denver International Airport (DEN).

Brooks City Base was founded on a similar foundation. The program began as a partnership between the City of San Antonio, the State of Texas and the United States Air Force to redevelop the former Brooks Air Force Base. Today, the 1,200-acre campus is home to both apartments and single-family homes, numerous businesses and the Texas A&M University campus in San Antonio.

American airports of the past are not the only ones to get in on this trailblazing trend. In May 2010, the former Berlin Templehof Airport was turned into a public space. Today, it is one of the German capital’s most popular parks – one that residents have been willing to fight over. The Guardian reports the denizens of Berlin rose up to defend their park when developers wanted to turn a portion of the land into mixed-commercial buildings.

Other airports have turned the corner from becoming air terminals to sea terminals, still fulfilling their original mission even after closure. Those who have flown to Hong Kong’s Kai Tak International Airport will remember the spectacular views of the city prior to touchdown. Today, travelers can still take in the view of the city at Kai Tak prior to boarding a cruise ship.

For the complete list of noteworthy airport redevelopment projects, visit Road Warrior Voices online.

[Photo: Tempelhofer Park, Wikipedia]

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4 Comments
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AAJetMan January 21, 2016

Chiang Rai's old airport is now a de-facto park, at least as of a few years ago.

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pfase_1 January 21, 2016

The state of Michigan has just committed to turning part of the Willow Run airport into an autonomous vehicle testing facility. And there is also the Yankee Air Museum on the site. http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2016/01/washtenaw_county_leaders_expec.html

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ppp909 January 20, 2016

There's also the former Athens international airport which was repurposed as Olympic venues after the new airport opened. It has since been repurposed again, this time as wasteland.

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jonsg January 20, 2016

Dare I mention Gimli? :)