Planners from Barton Willmore, Jen Samuelson and Alice Drew, were selected to take part in the European Council of Spatial Planners Young Planners Workshop, for their research into Southampton’s viability as an ‘Airport City’

The event, held at Charles de Gaulle Airport, brought together planners from across Europe to discuss the opportunities and challenges faced in integrating airports more closely with the cities around them.

The pair were selected to take part in the event after submitting a research proposal, ‘Southampton: An Airport City of the Future?’, which was chosen by the Council to be developed further into a 13-page paper.

Senior planner, Jen Samuelson said: “It was a very interesting day and an exciting opportunity to share knowledge with peers from across Europe about how cities and airports can mutually benefit each other and grow together.

“This session was all about finding out more about how various countries address the challenges of airport cities – and how common many of those issues are.

“In some cases that were presented, such as the new airport under construction in Istanbul, there is the opportunity to build a truly integrated city and airport that work together seamlessly, bringing huge practical and economic benefits.

“However, in most cases we’re not able to start from scratch, so the challenges are around how we can create better relationships between existing airports and the surrounding cities and infrastructure to promote mutual growth.”

Alice added: “Our research specifically looked into the cultural and functional relationship between the airport and the city, and whether Southampton had the potential to become an Airport City.

“We found that while constraints around the Airport currently prevent the city achieving Airport City status, there is potential for technological advancements, such as off-site control towers to overcome such constraints by unlocking land. Such advancements are key to the future growth of regional airports.

The paper explores how Southampton Airport currently works with the city and its surroundings, examining factors such as its transport links and the economic potential of the land around it.

The report identifies the importance of schemes such as the proposed Chickenhall Lane Link Road and takes a close look at the challenges that Southampton faces and how these could be overcome.

Cities and airports which have seen substantial growth and profits, bringing economic, employment and social benefits to the people who live and work there, have been described as having achieved Airport City status.

For the full report, contact Jen Samuelson at or Alice Drew at


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