Christopher Choa is a Principal with AECOM Design+Planning, the international land development and infrastructure consultancy. He focuses on urban regeneration, sustainable strategies for new development, and enhancing regional competitiveness. A prize-winning architect and native New Yorker, he is based in London and leads the firm’s urban development studio.
Christopher Choa of AECOM
The economic potential of any city is defined by its ability to trade and exchange. In this century, in an extraordinarily competitive age of globally-connected cities, the defining means of trade and exchange is aviation. And our livelihood depends on it. Every regularly scheduled long-haul service that goes through a hub supports around 3000 direct and indirect jobs. And London has to get this right - not just to prosper, but to remain relevant if not just to survive.
London has become a constrained worldwide hub, with growing consequences to its economy and every other aspect of sustainability Even now, worldwide connectivity - and the sustainable benefit of that connectivity - are slipping away to global hubs on the continent that are not shy about developing their aviation capacities at the expense of London.
Rail connectivity between London's five existing airports, even when combined with the occasional runway addition - as difficult as all that represents - helps only the short term; this is not the long-term solution. Until London seriously embraces an expanded 24-hour hub and reciprocal comprehensive land-side regeneration, there is just vanity and puffery.