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Airports & Urban Morphology: What Unified the Dallas - Ft. Worth Metroplex

Authors: Porter Burns*,
Topics: Transportation Geography, Urban Geography, Historical Geography
Keywords: Transportation, Aviation, History, Urban Development
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/8/2020
Start / End Time: 3:20 PM / 4:35 PM
Room: Virtual Track 3
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The geography of airports does not receive as much attention in urban morphology as it deserves. The land use structure of cities with relation to airports needs more case studies in order to understand morphological changes taking place in the 21st century. In this case study of the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex, a combination of aviation history and urban geography helps us analyze the current urban morphology of what is now the fourth-largest U.S. metro region. Two vastly different cities were founded 32 miles apart in the 19th century. While Dallas has succeeded as a corporate and banking sector for the Midwest and East, Fort Worth is known "as where the West begins" with connections to West Texas and beyond. Up until the mid-twentieth century, there was little done to connect the two cities culturally, physically, or economically. Political feuds backed by businessmen C.R. Smith and Amon G. Carter continued to deflect the two economies, and blocked a potential joint airport for decades. However, since DFW Airport’s opening in 1974, Metroplex growth has been centered on the airport. Several techniques like satellite data, archival research of city limits, and U.S. Census data are utilized to gain a better understanding of the immense change in urban morphology as a result of DFW Airport. Based on this research, one must conclude that DFW International Airport is a substantial factor in the historical unification of the Dallas – Ft. Worth Metropolitan region.

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