Assessment of the future resilience of sustainable urban sub-surface

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Urban sub-surface environments have consistently been used to house a wide variety of urban infrastructure, but often developed in a relatively haphazard way. An important aspect to overcome this is an enriched understanding of the current and potential future uses. Therein Geoscientific information should be considered indispensable, if this space is to be developed in a resilient and sustainable way. This will require a clear understanding of what is or could be located within underground space, together with its properties, in order to assess its true potential as an urban resource. This information will inform urban developmental choices allowing sustainable and resilient development of underground space use to take place regardless of what the future may hold. However, such information needs to be integrated into decision support systems for conventional types of underground construction, in order for any development to occur in a consistent and manageable way.

This paper presents the development of a new sustainable underground use resilience evaluation (SUURE) framework that will allow the quantification of both spatial and temporal impacts of today’s underground urban (re)development solutions, in light of future economic, environmental and social changes. The framework uses a broad range of plausible, yet divergent future scenarios in order to ensure core objectives of sustainability and resilience are met. Within this paper it is used to evaluate the utilisation of Multi-Utility-Tunnels – MUT’s (i.e. flush-fitting, shallow and deep) in Birmingham Eastside, UK, as an alternative utility placement technique to traditional (open-cut) trenching. The flush-fitting MUT was found to be having the highest overall baseline (i.e. present-day) performance with a resilience index ratio of 0.739 (mean value), the shallow MUT came second at 0.656, and the deep MUT came last at 0.212.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-31
Number of pages11
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • Future scenarios
  • Multi-utility tunnels
  • Fuzzy logic
  • Geographical information systems
  • Resilience
  • Sustainability


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