London's Heathrow Airport is an interesting example of the consequences of not planning ahead for expansion. Heathrow's initial purpose was far removed from it's current one. From the airport's website on the history of its modest beginnings:
Over time, Heathrow has growth to become the world's busiest airport in terms of handling international passengers and has status as an international hub and gateway. But, as the Verge reports, the current airport footprint does not adequately serve demand and that gap will continue to grow rapidly in the near future.
The UK Airport's Commission is currently examining more than 50 proposals for improving air services in the London area; however, attempts at meaningfully expanding Heathrow are extremely difficult bceause of the area's current spacial planning and the resulting noise pollution.
And, without some kind of expansion, there is the potential for lost economic opportunity.
For rapidly growing cities, particularly in developing countries, the insights from Heathrow's experience shows why making room and following a few simple and relatively inexpensive steps now can keep services affordable over time and allow cities to grow, remain competitive, and prosper.
Tile image by: Mariordo