Building a major new Boston area airport would have been a mistake – not flying off the handle was right, let’s focus on our strengths

Seth Kaplan

From November 15, 2010 Boston Globe:

There are reasons aerotropolis didn’t get off the ground

REGARDING PETER Canellos’s recent essay about the decision not to build another major regional airport: While looking back at such decisions is a worthy exercise, Canellos draws the wrong conclusion (“Aerotropolis,’’ Ideas, Oct. 31). He argues that we would have been better off if with a so-called aerotropolis — modeled on the edge city that has sprung up around Dulles Airport — near the former Fort Devens.

The immediate and obvious cost of building such an airport-centric edge city would have been rapid consumption of the apple orchards, farmland, rural towns, and open space of Worcester County and western Middlesex County by low-rise (and low-value) industrial and commercial development. Siphoning off development and energy from the historic city centers of Massachusetts to fuel the growth of a new edge city would have had an even larger and systemic effect.

As we move forward into a world defined by our response to global warming and the exhaustion of fossil fuels, it would be foolish and short-sighted to channel our growth into sprawl fueled by car and airplane travel.

Boston and New England need to play to our strengths — building smart, livable cities and towns connected by high-speed rail and existing highways while preserving the countryside and farms that we inherited. Let’s get on with the task of building a healthy, prosperous New England, not fly off on a misguided mission of imitation.

Seth Kaplan
Vice President for Policy and Climate Advocacy
Conservation Law Foundation
Boston

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

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