Spotlight on Aerotropoli in Post COVID-19 World
The Future and Viability of Aerotropoli in the post COVID-19 Dispensation was the title of a webinar co-hosted by UKZN.
The Aerotropolis Institute Africa (AIA) in the University’s College of Law and Management Studies partnered with the KZN Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs to facilitate the event which is part of a series.
The aim is to showcase ongoing research in the niche field of aerotropoli as well as to drive ongoing research dialogue on their future viability in the post COVID-19 environment.
The webinar, chaired by AIA’s Project Manager Professor Henry Wissink, featured national and international authors who presented abstracts and contributions as part of the AIA’s plan to launch a series of books. The resultant book volume publication will be co-edited by Professor Henry Wissink and and Dr Mirjam Wiedemann lecturer and researcher in Aviation at the University of South Australia.
In his welcome address, the College’s Acting Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Brian McArthur explained that the book volumes would not only contribute to the ongoing debates on the value, progress and contribution of smart airport cities to local and regional economic development but would also raise questions and issues that could be researched thereby contributing to policy debates.
‘Large scale urban and regional development and economic growth hubs are new paradigms in socio-economic growth points with high needs for socio-economic development,’ said McArthur.
He added that increasing pressures and demands on regions and localities within countries to improve their socio-economic conditions had given rise to special developmental plans, strategies and catalytic projects.
McArthur added: ‘With the AIA and the Durban Aerotropolis being strategic projects for the province, UKZN remains pledged to our commitment of being part of creating a smart African city of the future with rapid internode transportation and urban development and a throughput of economic growth and job creation through skills development research collaboration. With inputs from specialists, UKZN continues to foster the expansion of short courses promoting postgraduate research in aerotropolis development and in the longer term, offering undergraduate degrees as well as a flagship master’s programme in aerotropolis studies.’
The following proposals were received, and those who presented at the webinar are highlighted:
• The political economy and livelihood development of aerotropolis regions: Bottlenecks of socio-economic planning and equity justice in the City of Ekurhuleni, South Africa - Post-doctoral fellow Dr Leonard Chitongo.
• Pandemic Aeromobilities: COVID-19, Governmobility and the Aerotropolis - Senior lecturer at UKZN’s Centre for Communications and Media Society, Professor Sarah Gibson.
• Regional economic development trends, and emerging skill needs around the Durban Aerotropolis - AIA Research Co-ordinator Dr Nyasha Chiwawa.
• Fast-Tracked Aerotropolis Implementation: What is needed vs what is possible - UKZN’s Ms Phumzile Dlamini.
Words: Thandiwe Jumo