construction is fostered by moving beyond prescriptive and potentially ineffective codes toward performance-based mechanisms.


Observation: Underground space is a valuable but decidedly nonrenewable resource.

Conclusion 10. Underground space can enhance urban sustainability only if the underground is thoroughly understood and if underground use and reuse and the protection of the natural and built environments are incorporated into long-term total urban infrastructure system planning.

Potential actions:

a. Institute planning of all underground space as part of an evolving urban system to be carefully engineered or preserved for optimal long-term use and regional sustainability.

b. Establish reasonably intensive groundwater, soil, and infrastructure monitoring practices to track the health of the underground urban environment according to the general geologic conditions and use. Use data generated from a range of environments and situations to inform urban planning in other areas.

The underground is not a universal alternative to the surface, but many uses of underground space contribute to urban sustainability. It is critical that policies and administrative structures provide appropriate and comprehensive guidance, that the public develops a long-term community vision, and that community expectations regarding underground services are informed and met. An adequate institutional commitment to enhancing interdisciplinary and cross-sector research, education, and training capacity is needed to ensure the nation develops the types of underground infrastructure that support sustainable urban development economically, securely, and in a manner consistent with national priorities.

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