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Using Existing Airspace to Build New Projects

As cities worldwide consider ways to deal with housing insecurity and affordability, modern building methods are helping them make better use of underutilized airspace above an existing transport infrastructure.

Across the world, over four billion people live in cities – with that number projected to rise by 54 percent by 2050, when around 68 percent of the global population will live in urban areas.

In cities like NYC and DC, housing is already in short supply, primarily due to a lack of land available for development. But a new study from engineering firm WSP shows that a significant amount of space over the city’s open-air railway lines is underutilized, and could be used to build affordable or luxury housing. In many cities, attention is turning to the space above train tracks, subways terminals, and car parking lots to build high-rise housing developments, parks, and even sports stadiums.

New modular building technologies make it possible to build above railway tracks and other air- spaces while ensuring the safety of the workmen from the trains below and the sound structure of the units above.

There are so many spaces in cities that can be turned from single- to multi-use to unlock more value from the land. Urban living is becoming denser and city authorities need to think creatively about layering the usage of space and maximizing its potential.

Not only will we use airspace to help solve some of the housing crisis, but also in 10 to 20 years we may start to see competing use from drones or perhaps other flying vehicles. That reality may lead to a significant impact on how buyers view high-rise properties. If urban traffic does take to the skies, lower floors could eventually become more desirable than upper floors.

Developers should work with firms that have the trend-spotting ability, skills, and experience to build these projects correctly. Partnering with a firm such as BHI Construction & Real Estate Development will ensure projects come in on time and under budget. Contact our team at

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