Airport_sign This is either a testament to UNC business professor John Kasarda's awesome PR machine, the staying power of a good urban-planning concept, the laziness flattery of journalists, or some combination of the three.

Kasarda's concept -- which he calls an "aerotropolis" -- describes the mega developments that can spring up around a city's airport. It's a neat word to describe a fact of urban planning, but it's not exactly a new idea. Even Kasarda's word for it isn't new.

But that hasn't stopped a few major media outlets from recently jumping on a bandwagon that Governing was on six years ago. To wit:

Wall Street Journal, 1/24/07, Flight Plan: Airports Take Off As Development Hubs:

Airports are "the new central business districts of the postindustrial economy," says the University of North Carolina business professor.

Memphis Commercial Appeal, 12/14/06, Memphis leads nation en route to 'aerotropolis':

If you've heard the term "aerotropolis," thank John Kasarda... Memphis International Airport is the closest America has to an aerotropolis, said Kasarda...

New York Times, 12/10/06, 2006 Year in Ideas: The Aerotropolis:

Traditionally, of course, airports have served cities, but in the past few years airports have started to become cities unto themselves, giving rise to a new urban form: the aerotropolis.... "Access, access, access is replacing location, location, location as the most important commercial real estate principle," Kasarda says.

Governing, 9/01, Freight Expectations:

"Airports have become the new downtown," says John Kasarda, a professor in the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who uses the term "aerotropolis" to describe cities such as Columbus.