John D. Kasarda
John D. Kasarda is an American academic and airport business consultant focused on global competitive strategy and aviation-driven economic development. He is currently Director for the Center for Air Commerce at the University of North Carolina's Kenan-Flagler Business School and CEO of Aerotropolis Business Concepts LLC, an airport-economy consulting firm. He also serves as the President of the Aerotropolis Institute in China and as editor-in-chief of Logistics, an international scholarly journal.
Kasarda fused his academic training in economics, business, and urban sociology to pursue research on urban form, organizational structure, airport development, and regional economic growth. Many of his 10 books and over 150 published articles synthesize two or more of these topics.
From 1980 to 1990, he chaired UNC's highly ranked Department of Sociology, where he held the position of Kenan Professor. In 1990, Kasarda moved to UNC's Kenan-Flagler Business School as Kenan Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, and Director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. Over the following 22 years, he stewarded the Institute into a major center of the study of entrepreneurship, regional economic development, and global competitiveness, including helping establish the Kenan Institute Asia in Bangkok, where he continues to serve on its board and executive committee.
Upon stepping down from the Kenan Institute Directorship in 2012, Kasarda maintained his Kenan-Flagler faculty position and directorship of the Center for Air Commerce. Much of his research and applied work since 2000 has addressed how aviation and airports impact the competitiveness and growth of firms, cities, and regions. Through his work Kasarda developed the “aerotropolis” model, defining the roles of aviation and airports in shaping 21st-century business location, urban competitiveness, and economic growth. In 2010, Brazil awarded the State of Minas Gerais Grande Medalha of Inconfidência to Kasarda for his contributions to the Belo Horizonte Aerotropolis. In 2011, Time magazine named the airport-centered concept as one of the "10 Ideas that Will Change the World." His theories and applied work were elaborated in a book co-authored with Greg Lindsay, Aerotropolis: The Way We'll Live Next, released in March 2011 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. In 2013, Future Cities magazine named Kasarda one of the Top 100 City Innovators Worldwide. In 2015, Dr. Kasarda received China's 1000 Foreign Talents national award for his work as Chief Adviser to the Zhengzhou Airport Economic Zone, an aerotropolis covering 415 km2.
His model has its critics. In fact, there is now a Global Anti-Aerotropolis Movement. Nevertheless, its application has been steadily expanding internationally, from Amsterdam, Dubai, and Johannesburg to Memphis, Paris, and Zhengzhou.
Kasarda earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied Economics from Cornell University in 1967, a Masters of Business Administration degree in Organizational Theory from Cornell in 1968, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971.
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