The production of airport space
: The times, spaces and bodies of international aviation

  • Yvonne Kristin Rinkart

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


This thesis investigates the production of airport space, and it puts a particular emphasis on its temporal, spatial and embodied characteristics. The first chapter is concerned with the work of architects and their production of representations of airport space. Building on in-depth interviews with architects, the chapter considers their use of drawings and computer models as well as their thinking about the sites where airports are located. The second chapter investigates the work of operational readiness experts, who design and test the spatial practices of the operations of new airport buildings. Making use of interviews with two operational readiness experts and my observations during terminal trials, the chapter is concerned with the design of the trial process as well as the creation of individual trials. I investigate the scripting of volunteers to get at the understanding of the passenger as a user of airport space. The third chapter discusses the labour of cleaners and baggage handlers in maintaining airport space and enabling passengers’ movement. I interviewed union representatives, a ground handling expert and a health and safety expert to provide multiple perspectives on workers’ labour, as well as the physical consequences of their work. The fourth chapter is concerned with the impact of aircraft noise on neighbourhoods close to, and increasingly also at a distance from, airports. Building on interviews with activists and representatives of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, I investigate how aircraft noise is measured and represented and how its geographies are perceived, navigated, and protested by inhabitants.
Throughout, the thesis aims to create an understanding of the relations between the spatial and temporal characteristics of airport space, and their impacts on the multiple subjects of airport space.
Date of Award2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJenny Edkins (Supervisor) & Peter Merriman (Supervisor)

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