Located in the province of Gauteng in South Africa, just east of Johannesburg, the City of Ekurhuleni is rapidly positioning itself to become Africa's first aerotropolis, making full use of the fact that it is home to the continent's largest airport, OR Tambo International.
Although size is not a prerequisite for an airport to hatch an aerotropolis, the size of a gateway like OR Tambo does provide a competitive advantage against other airports due to its better connectivity and access to both global and local markets.
With more than 18 million passengers passing through OR Tambo each year, the gateway serves the entire African continent, and links to major cities throughout the world with direct flights from many of the world's leading airlines.
Additionally, on the domestic front, a number of smaller airlines connect various South African towns and cities via the airport, and more than 18,000 people are currently employed by companies operating both inside and outside the terminal buildings.
Ekurhuleni officially incorporated the aerotropolis concept into its Municipal Spatial Development Framework (MSDF), which was approved in April 2011 as part of the Ekurhuleni Integrated Development Plan (IDP).
It was during his State of the City Address last year, that the City's executive mayor, Mondli Gungubele, officially announced the aerotropolis concept for Ekurhuleni.
He said: 'If rail, road and sea travel constitute the tried and tested modes of transport of a bygone era, research shows that air travel is the future.
'The main virtue of air travel is convenience and accessibility; if you have the infrastructure, you are able to cut the time it takes to ferry goods and services across time zones, on schedule and on time.
'It is in this capacity and by virtue of our being home to what is arguably the busiest airport in Africa, OR Tambo International Airport, that Ekurhuleni is by and large a city poised for bigger things in the future, and the obvious envy of many cities on the continent and internationally.'
Although still at an early stage, the Ekurhuleni Aerotropolis planning process has already identified the need for new land-based transport strategies and interventions.
These include the rapid implementation of the Ekurhuleni Integrated Rapid Public Transport network (IRPTN), as well as a new OR Tambo Public Transport Network and the construction of key national and provincial routes.
But what drivers of economic growth exist in and around Ekurhuleni which will ensure its transformation into an aerotropolis will be a success?
Other than the key fact that the municipality is home to OR Tambo, one example is that just five minutes from the gateway, sits the Albertina Sisulu Corridor.
Straddling the R21 freeway, which runs through Ekurhuleni, the corridor links Johannesburg, OR Tambo International Airport and Pretoria (Tshwane).
This corridor offers a myriad of investment and development opportunities in a wide range of sectors, including telecommunications and business outsourcing, import and export, manufacturing and processing, transport-related services, office and retail space as well as agriculture, eco-tourism and conservation.
Often referred to as Africa's workshop, Ekurhuleni also has the country's largest concentration of industry for the production of goods and commodities. In fact, manufacturing in Ekurhuleni accounts for 28% of its total production output, and just below 20% of the GDP of Gauteng.
The region also boasts a network of roads, airports, railway lines, electricity grids and telecommunications, which rivals that of many cities in developed Europe and America.
Meanwhile, South Africa's largest railway hub - Germiston - is also in the region, and links Ekurhuleni to all the major population centres and ports in the Southern African region.
Additionally, many of the country's modern freeways and expressways crisscross one or other part of Ekurhuleni, connecting it to virtually all provinces, and to many of the country's major cities.
Elsewhere, the Maputo Corridor development - South Africa's most advanced spatial development initiative - connects Ekurhuleni with the capital of Mozambique and, in turn, Southern Africa's largest Indian Ocean port.
It is also linked directly via rail, road and air to Durban, South Africa's biggest and busiest port.
Gungubele said: 'Our strategic approach to economic growth and development will be realigned to new realities, challenges and opportunities.
'At its centre, we will announce definite plans for the reorientation of the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality into an aerotropolis, which can be defined in two inter-related ways: one, a new urban form placing airports in the centre with cities growing around them, connecting workers, suppliers, executives, and goods to the global marketplace.
'The other defines an aerotropolis in mainly infrastructure terms, thus an aviation-linked urban infrastructure consisting of an airport core, light industrial space, hotel/retail/entertainment complexes, and ocean ports, fully integrated across global supply chain networks.
'In both cases, we are certain that our business community is bound to locate a role for itself in the Ekurhuleni of the future, which we are hard at work busy constructing.'
For the next five years the City of Ekurhuleni plans to optimise the existence of the airport in its space together with other key development nodes, including the identified industrial development zones under the development of the Aerotropolis Strategy.
Gungubele said: 'This will entail investment on new economic infrastructure to support logistics, distributions and related green industries. This will be coupled by the optimisation of the broadband ICT infrastructure to realise the vision of the Digital City and to reposition the metro as a visionary smart city that is globally competitive.'
The City of Ekurhuleni has only just started on its journey to become an aerotropolis but has already made a successful bid to host the Airport Cities Conference and Exhibition (ACE) in 2013.
Although it could take decades for the full aerotropolis to evolve following this model, one thing is certain: Ekurhuleni will have much to demonstrate when it hosts this event in a year's time.