- Changing World - Major Challenges: the Need for Underground Space Planning    click here to open paper content747 kb
by    Cornaro, Antonia & Admiraal, Han | acornaro@amberg.ch   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The sensible and strategic utilisation of underground space and underground spatial planning is becoming more important. As cities and urbanising regions are running out of surface space, more utilities and infrastructure need to become more resilient to natural disasters. The paper gives examples of where and how this can be done and how this can help cities to cope with infrastructure requirements, urban sprawl and lack of open space.
As urban planners we are tasked with optimizing spatial use. We also strive for spatial development to occur in a coherent and strategic fashion. At the same time we foster sustainable development, balancing the requirements of economic, social and environmental aspects.

Our globe is experiencing unprecedented growth in urban populations and the corresponding sprawl of existing cities and the explosion of new cities and urbanizing regions is occurring at rapid speed. Often infrastructure development cannot keep up. The resource land is being used up at alarming rates. Efforts are going on in many cities and urbanizing regions to contain the sprawl, and to densify in already built-up areas. At the same time cities strive to create more open spaces and parks, especially in dense urban environments.

There are therefore a lot of benefits to placing certain uses underground. Using space underground for utilities and transport infrastructure has been done for a long time to not waste and clutter surface space. When looking at a number of facilities (especially industrial, but also social and commercial infrastructure) one realizes how much space they use up and that it might be better to place some of them underground. Often they are not visual assets to our cities either. Making use of the underground in this way however is just one example.

Our paper makes the case for the importance of planners to realize and understand the options and solutions of the underground space and to integrate them in their long term plans for cities and urbanizing regions. We bring examples of where and how this is done. We also discuss opportunities and constraints related to this.
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