Graduation Year

2011

Document Type

Thesis

Degree

M.A.

Degree Granting Department

Geography

Major Professor

Jayajit Chakraborty

Keywords

airport, global city, globalization, multi-modal, space-time awareness

Abstract

A globally integrated economy is one of the most prominent features of globalization and how city stakeholders respond to the global economy varies from city to city. Connecting to the global economy is often portrayed to be necessary for the continued economic development of a metropolitan area. Large transportation infrastructures such as airports represent one of the most visible ways of connecting to the global economy. Decisions made by city stakeholders regarding airports in order to reposition their city in the global economy have profound consequences for its residents. This thesis aims to examine the role played by air transportation in the processes of globalization present in Tampa Bay, Florida, and focuses specifically on investigating the following research questions:

1) What vision of Tampa Bay is driving the economic development plans of stakeholders of Tampa International Airport and St. Petersburg/Clearwater International Airport?

2) What understanding of globalization do Tampa Bay economic development and air transportation stakeholders have?

3) How does air transportation fit into the economic development plans of Tampa Bay stakeholders and how will each airport play a part?

To answer these questions, this thesis uses a qualitative research approach that relies on open-ended, in-depth interviews and artifact review as the methods of data collection. Interviews were conducted with representatives of transportation facilities, government economic development entities, non-profit economic development organizations, and private business interests. These interviews focused on the themes of visions of a future Tampa Bay, stakeholder understandings of globalization, stakeholder perceptions of space-time, and ultimately how air transportation assets in Tampa Bay may or may not be used in the economic development process as a response to the global economy.

The results reveal that Tampa Bay stakeholders largely share in a vision of a future Tampa Bay but are not in as much agreement on how to achieve this vision, particularly regarding air transportation. Governance structure is found to be one of the greatest challenges associated with stakeholders' response to the global economy. The subject of governance structure in this case study is tied to changing perceptions of space-time, brought about by the pressures of a global economy, which in the minds of stakeholders requires one to do more with less in order to compete in the global economy. The findings provide important insights on how Tampa Bay stakeholders use air transportation in the process of economic development as a response to the global economy.

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