Urban Turbine

The Urban Turbine research project is investigating the possibilities of sharing facilities for the greatest mutual benefit of airports and cities, manage better demand and capacity and respond to new global travel, life and work requirements.

The ultimate aim of the Urban Turbine research project is to enhance quality of life by redefining the city-airport relationship, improving the value that airports deliver to all stakeholders in their communities.

The Urban Turbine proposes a dynamic model of airport growth in relationship to the concurrent growth of the city, acknowledging the constant leapfrogging of airport/city boundaries and the consequential merging of airport and urban communities. We advocate that civic infrastructure is a driver of community regeneration and social inclusion through hybridisation of corporate and community space. Deconstructing the corporate portfolio and diffusing into the community can free up airport space for alternative use paradigms, and in synergy drive a new holistic approach to human-centric urban planning, for airports and other transportation and city resources.

Henrik Rothe

Henrik Rothefounder of urban turbine


Our vision for airport connectivity is twofold: Coping with increasing air travel demand airports need to make better use of their own land for the airfield operation. Secondly airports will need to explore new services along the journey to downtown. Urban Turbine is to investigate the airports’ position within the value chain of urban mobility and to discover new possibilities to enhance seamless connectivity between airports and the communities they serve.

Shared Economy

Shared Economy Infograhpic

Increasing complexity of day-to-day life requires new links between work, life and travel merging transport hubs with offices, shopping malls, amusement centres and residential areas.

Better use of space and resources has created the notion of the shared economy, steadily turning into the circular economy. Logistic companies for example utilising their networks to turn aircraft catering and the reverse flow of wash-up and food waste into a revenue stream while reducing CO2 levels.

Urban Turbine addresses the challenge that airports face to better use their peak-time driven capacities – or – how can airports and cities benefit from joint developments, create and operate advanced and more evenly used facilities?

Once potential synergies have been identified, Urban Turbine co-ordinates strategies to stimulate and manage change.

What can airports expect from Urban Turbine

Some challenges for airports and cities are global in nature and too big to be resolved by one single partner, others too specialist to be of concern to all airports.

Our research aims to gradually develop principles for the future airport evolving from airport communities in their search for new relationships with the city and in response to societal changes.

The Urban Turbine project is a pool-funded research consortia, with an annual financial contribution from each participating airport and industry partner. The contribution is in proportion to the airport’s transport units (MAP or MT of cargo) which enables a fair share for each airport to benefit from this research and allows airports to request particular research topics.

Regular workshops at Cranfield and participating airports ensure the effectiveness of the research and direct contact to all stakeholders.

Expectations infographics

As a result the vision is identified allowing airports to unfold their true potential within their urban context and most importantly an implementation strategy for manageable phases.