Book Presentation

Underground Spaces Unveiled – Planning and Creating the Cities of the Future

In a ground breaking new book, "Underground spaces unveiled: planning and creating the cities of the future" (ICE, 2018), Antonia Cornaro and Han Admiraal challenge the common perception that the development of underground spaces is only for cities that have a scarcity of land. They argue that both the sustainable development goals and the new urban agenda require cities to look at the planning and use of underground space. In a book written for urban planners, urban designers, architects, geologists, engineers, and for policy makers and decision makers, they unveil a hidden urban asset as able to provide solutions for many of the challenges urban areas face now and in the future. The publication of the book is timely as cities are evermore being challenged by rapid urbanisation, climate change and the need for urban resilience.

In line with the overall congress theme of ‘Integrated Underground Solutions for Compact Metropolitan Cities’, this presentation is not to be missed by those attending ACUUS 2018.

Read more ‘Underground Spaces Unveiled: Planning and Creating the Cities of the Future’ is to all intent and purposes a book on underground urbanism. It traces the history of human intervention below the surface from the earliest flint mines to the strategies of urban space lacking cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong. The book looks at how policies on sustainable development and urban resilience need to include the urban underground space. At the same time it recognises that this requires urban planners, geologists and engineers to work together to unlock the knowledge to take the right decisions. Unplanned exploitation of underground space has in many cases led to a subsurface chaos with little room for future expansion. The ‘first come – first served’ principle that has applied for so long, is now adversely affecting the needs cities have for optimising their spatial development. Many cities however have never looked below the surface for future expansion and this is where the ideas and concepts discussed in the book show real potential. As Dr Joan Clos, the former executive director of UN-Habitat writes in the foreword: “The use of underground space can help cities remain compact, be energy efficient or find the space needed to include new functions in the existing city landscape.” French architect Dominique Perrault, who also wrote a foreword in the book, emphasises the importance of underground space use: “We share the belief that underground building is not just a conceptual temporary architectural trend but holds a long-term potential, especially for dense urban environments.”

More about the book's contents and how to order it at


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