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Heathrow Airport: London's New Global Hub?

Heathrow Airport is becoming a new type of Central Business District, representing London as a global hub. It is in line with the global trend that makes transportation hubs business centers that require "inhabited" urban milieu around themselves, rather than only a "transit" one.

The future of Heathrow will likely depend upon its ability to restructure itself from a hub of activities supporting "passing by" passengers to an "anchor", where people arriving and departing from the area may stay, live and entertain (e.g., airports in the centre of Las Vegas and San Diego, St Pancras railway hub in London, etc.)

Launching the third runway as well as developing surrounding areas unlocks tremendous opportunities for Heathrow. In the coming years, it has the potential to double passenger traffic, boost the local economy and create up to 40K new jobs. However, to unleash the full potential of that expansion and make it successful, it is important to assure Heathrow’s smooth transition to a thriving urban environment with diverse business, commercial, housing, and leisure infrastructure.

Understanding patterns of people’s behavior and mobility in the area, monitoring local economic performance and estimating their overall impact on neighborhood and business satisfaction is a way to generate meaningful insights for further actions.

In this respect, in support of the planned commercial strategies, urban design/planning activities, and community engagement/cultural programming, Habidatum’s analytics platform Chronotope filled with mobile phone data provided by Vodafone UK / Citi Logik[1], helped understand the airport area's current and potential audience, its performance and influence.

[1] Movement data collected for each day of a 4-week period (Jan 11 – Feb 7, 2016) and aggregated by LSOA (London population areas) and Heathrow development zones.

Full report here.


This the first of a series of publications resulting from the partnership with Habidatum. The analysis was prepared by Habidatum in cooperation with Benoy and Heathrow.


About Habidatum

Habidatum is a software and data analytics company, assisting policymakers and businesses in understanding the hyper-dynamic urban environment through advanced analytics of diverse data sources driven by machine learning and interactive visualization.

Habidatum operates as a gateway between the professional communities who require data-driven insights and data carriers.

The company was founded in 2014 by a collaboration between professional urban planners and digital designers. Since 2014, the company has worked in more than 20 cities globally including London, New York, Moscow, Dubai, Singapore, Pune, Denver, and Miami.

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