TDUK Launch

On 7th February 2017, Think Deep UK welcomed around 100 experts to launch its initiative to unlock the value of the ground beneath cities.

The opening address was delivered by Prof Brian Collins, Director of the International Centre of Infrastructure Futures at UCL, who advocates a systems-approach to ensure our buried city services are managed in an integrated way and are fit for the future.

An international perspective was provided by Han Admiraal, chair of the ITA'S Committee on Underground Space (ITACUS), working in the Netherlands,

"No longer will you hear me quote the successes of the past as rationale for the future. We now live in an era where human activities are influencing the Earth's geology and ecosystems. We are changing the urban fabric beneath our cities. We need to think deep about our actions and the opportunities that lie below the surface".

Experts at the launch were keen to highlight the innovative approaches and the socio-economic benefits that may be delivered through the smart use of urban underground space, debating the balance between private underground enterprises and subsurface use for the common good. Should we be growing more food underground? Where can we construct multiple purpose tunnels to accommodate traffic but that can also be used for flood alleviation?

The level of interest in the UK's urban underground space is such that strategic subsurface planning is now needed to enable its fair use and to safeguard underground development of national importance, such as new transport infrastructure. Petr Salak, speaking on behalf of Think Deep UK commented,

"We want to create a common vision for urban underground space to transform our cities for the benefit of society. To do this we need a master plan for underground space; this needs to be developed by experts across multiple disciplines, reforming policy to ensure a proactive, not reactive approach".

For further information please visit the TDUK website. Use the left hand navigation to access a video of the launch.