Since 2010, the Professorship of Kees Christiaanse works on the theme of Airports and Cities, investigating urban patterns in airport areas (Better Airport Regions project 2012-2014), or probing visions and discourses connected to airports (PhD research on Paris airports 2014-2017). In 2017, they will publish the book The Noise Landscape with nai010 publishers – a volume exploring the airport-affected landscape usually perceived from a «bird’s-eye view».
The book The Noise Landscape examines the emerging phenomenon of landscapes affected by aviation and its related infrastructure, looking at the areas around eight large European Airports, amongst them Zurich, Amsterdam and Paris Charles-de-Gaulle (CDG). Through the emissions of planes and the according regulations, these airports produce «Noise Landscapes» around them: areas of considerable size – often much larger than the municipalities of the mother city – that harbour special forms of urbanity, explored and theorized in the publication.
As the collage of the Noise Landscape of Paris-CDG shows, the bird’s-eye view (here Google Earth image) leads the eye in conceiving each urban entity – urban fabric, agricultural land, airport with its runways – independently. The excerpt of the policy document (PEB) showing the projected contours of airplane-caused sound forces us to see the landscape differently: it reveals how noise impact reaches far out into the urban surroundings, and inquires into regulation-induced spatial production. The photo provides a glimpse into the manifold implications of this invisible layer for urban space: at the boundary of Goussainville, agricultural land is encroached upon with low-value functions and working class housing. The book demonstrates that such situations are repeatedly encountered in Noise Landscapes in Europe – and could be the seeds of a new urbanity in these areas that are global and local at the same time.
Benedikt Boucsein and Eirini Kasioumi are scientific collaborators at the Professorship Kees Christiaanse, Institute for Urban Design.