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Quand l'aéroport devient ville : géographie d'une infrastructure paradoxale

Abstract : Airports are protean geographical objects characterized by their « accelerated obsolescence » (BANHAM, 1962). Since the 1990s, their final transformation has been structured around a process of functional diversification engendered by new activities, which are sometimes very different from air transport, in order to increase the infrastructures’ profits and profitability in a context of widespread privatization. The world’s largest hub airports are concerned by this evolution, especially the Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle airport, the world’s fourth busiest airport by international passenger traffic. This trend, which has given birth to the operational concept of airport city, as the Anglo-Saxon operators and observers call it, stirs up the geographical curiosity in two ways. Firstly, it questions the primary function of airports, which become unidentified spatial objects that need to be redefined. Secondly, the concept of airport city questions the city itself. Indeed, what makes a city a city on a material (urbanity) and conceptual (“citadinity”) level? Can a space with urban functions be considered as a city? Is the airport city only a functional city? By assessing the geographical relevance of the concept of airport city, this thesis aims at making the concepts of urbanity and “citadinity” operational concepts, so as to compare them with the airport ground. By adjusting the observation scale to the whole airport area, it also replaces the airport at the centre of the geographical study. Thus, the airport is not simply viewed as a terminal. Finally, this thesis aims at understanding the whole airport society’s spatiality (passengers, employees, accompanying people, homeless people…) by assessing the concept of “citadinity".
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Lucie-Emmanuelle Drevet-Démettre. Quand l'aéroport devient ville : géographie d'une infrastructure paradoxale. Géographie. Université Michel de Montaigne - Bordeaux III, 2015. Français. ⟨NNT : 2015BOR30028⟩. ⟨tel-01251989⟩

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