Designing Public Space for Mobility: Contestation, Negotiation and Experiment at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol

Anna Nikolaeva in Tijdschrift voor Economische en Sociale Geografie 103.5 (2012): 542-554.


The paper investigates airport design, using the example of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol, from the point of view of managers, architects and designers. It is argued that existing accounts of the airport as a space of transit as well as a place for shopping and entertainment have underrated the complexity and interdependency of the interests at stake in the airport design, as well the value of an airport terminal as an urban design exercise. This is particularly relevant in the discussion of the transformation of spaces of mobility, such as airports or railway stations, into multifunctional public spaces and may also be valid for urban spaces where mobilities are becoming increasingly important. The paper analyses the challenges and opportunities that arise in such design situations, tracing the recent transformations of Amsterdam Airport Schiphol from the perspective of professionals who have played a key role in this process.

Key words: Airport City, Schiphol, interview, mobility, urban design

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