- ITA-AITES ? International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association
Underground spaces can play a critical role in cities, connecting spaces, people and goods, and thereby facilitating commerce, social interaction and mobility, creating new urban tissue, which can also contribute to the liveability and character of cities. The importance of urban underground space for sustainable development and urban resilience will be underlined during this side-event. Specifically, the importance of urban planning will be pointed out and how this links to the new urban agenda. What participants in this side-event will learn is that before any decision on the use of urban underground space can be taken, in-depth knowledge is required to determine whether underground space is an asset or a liability. This requires knowledge on the urban geology but also understanding underground ecology. In many ways, underground spaces can contribute to the development of cities, in many ways they can also threaten cities. By linking examples of uses to the sustainable development goals, the side-event will give a broad overview of the possibilities. We will show that these are certainly not limited to transport infrastructure or car parks. Underground spaces are vital when it comes to integrated water and sanitation management, for alternative energy and climate action. As said, without urban planning, it would be impossible to sustainably develop urban underground spaces. The potential of underground spaces is typically overlooked or neglected in planning processes. Most cities have limited understanding of the potential of underground space and there is little clarity on the importance of a planning approach to this space. The use of underground space can help cities remain compact, energy efficient or find the space needed to include new functions in the existing city landscape. Planning the underground space coupled with the development of legal frameworks will require planners and decision makers to work together with new knowledge and understanding of the specific constraints and opportunities of this important space. With short case presentations from Nigeria, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal, we will illustrate how this can be done, but also what challenges can occur along the way. A spatial dialogue is key, as in many of the goals of the New Urban Agenda. We will conclude the side-event by showing some of the instruments developed by ITACUS: Urban Underground Space Conversation (#u2fc), the National Actions Think Deep Programme (NATDP) and the Young Professional's Think Deep Programme (YPTDP).