Liveable Cities and urban underground space

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59 Citations (Scopus)


As populations grow in dense urban city centres, so too does the demand for space and natural resources. An option to combat this problem, all too often, has been to build denser and taller buildings in addition to transporting an ever-increasing abundance of resources (e.g. raw materials, water, energy and food) into the city whilst moving waste back out. This has major implications for liveable cities (LC), which in future policy terms might be considered to include aspects of (i) wellbeing, (ii) resource security (i.e. ‘one planet’ living) and (iii) carbon reduction (now enshrined in international law). An option that has been overlooked, and one which could add significantly to this LC agenda, is wider adoption of urban underground space (UUS).

This paper looks at how UUS has been, or could be, used within cities now, and in the future, and investigates the implications for achieving more liveable cities, which includes cognisance of the potential for radical transformation rather than adaption. It is concluded that wider adoption of UUS brings with it many benefits; however to avoid many of the dis-benefits an improved system of management, planning provision (which includes integrated mapping frameworks that consider more readily the future) and policy application is required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-20
Number of pages13
JournalTunnelling and Underground Space Technology
Early online date14 Dec 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016


  • cities
  • planning
  • underground space


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