The Subsurface in European Cities and Urban Areas: A General Study proposal for Consideration in Planning Documents

Ignace Van Campenhout & Miguel Pazos Otón & Ruben C. Lois González

Abstract: The need to include the subsurface in urban studies and planning is no longer questioned. In recent years research and projects addressing this issue have proliferated, culminating in the preparation of the COST TU1206 Suburban action, which sets as a target introducing suburban spaces into the day-to-day management of Europe’s cities. In order for this objective to be realised it is necessary to strengthen collaboration between, on the one hand, geological institutes and universities and, on the other, urban planners and decision-makers; and, of course, formulating a full theoretical agenda that will enable the latest developments in subsoil models and mapping to be put to good use in local urban-planning departments and by private urban-development actors. Theoretical analysis is such that it insists on considering the subsurface as a factor with its own specific attributes, such as watercourses, the original rock composition and its degree of artificialisation, or chemical disturbance processes brought about by intensive human action on the land. Yet, at the same time, the underground space also affected by the impact of the growth of cities, as expressed in the building of infrastructure or the direct occupation of sites near the surface for housing, parking and shopping. Also of relevance is the presence of abundant archaeological remains or merely waste found at different levels. All these factors are studied in this paper, which has been prepared by taking a dual geological and geographical approach, between which dialogue is so clearly needed with regard to these issues.

Keywords: Urban Subsurface. Urban Planning. Europe. Cities. Urban Areas.


Planning the City of Tomorrow: Bridging the Gap between Planners and Subsurface Specialists

Petra van der Lugt & Gillian Dick & Ingelöv Eriksson & Johannes de Beer

Abstract: This paper addresses the process towards integration of subsurface knowledge in urban planning of three cities participating in COST Action TU1206 Sub-urban; Rotterdam, Glasgow and Oslo. The cities have unique challenges to manage conflicts and opportunities in the subsurface in the planning process. The Action has enabled a unique interaction between subsurface specialists and urban planners, thereby contributing to transform the relationship between experts who develop subsurface knowledge, and those who can benefit most from it – urban planners and decision makers. Common challenges are improving planning policies, enhancing the level of awareness of the subsurface in city development and modification of legislation to include the subsurface. Benchmark analyses were carried out among the 3 cities as each is aiming for adapting its urban planning practice and legislation. In our opinion, there are 2 main routes to raise awareness that lead to improved understanding and use of subsurface information in urban planning processes. These are development of a subsurface policy and providing subsurface information. They should lead to enable subsurface knowledge to be widely disseminated in order to manage risks and opportunities, and maximise the economic, social and environmental benefits of the urban subsurface and its services on which cities depend.

Keywords: Urban Subsurface. Urban Planning. Rotterdam. Glasgow. Oslo.


Subsurface Data and Knowledge for the Cities of Tomorrow: Glasgow Lessons Learnt and their Applicability Elsewhere

Diarmad Campbell & Helen Bonsor & David Lawrence & Alison Monaghan & Katie Whitbread & Tim Kearsey & Andrew Finlayson & David Entwisle & Andrew Kingdon & Stephanie Bricker & Fiona Fordyce & Hugh Barron & Gillian Dick & David Hay

Abstract: Knowledge of the subsurface is vital in planning and delivering successful construction and regeneration projects. To address this, and other urban subsurface issues in the Glasgow area (e.g. planning, flooding, contamination), the British Geological Survey’s (BGS) Clyde-Urban SuperProject (CUSP) has developed 3D and 4D subsurface models and other geoscience datasets (geochemistry, groundwater, engineering geology). The models based on data from tens of thousands of boreholes and other sources, provide new insights into: Glasgow’s complex geology; impacts of its industrial legacy; and opportunities for harnessing heat from abandoned mine workings. To make the CUSP models, and data, more accessible, BGS and Glasgow City Council, a key partner, have established ASK (Accessing Subsurface Knowledge), a data and knowledge exchange network involving public and private sector partners. ASK promotes digital free flow of subsurface data and knowledge between its partners. Lessons learnt in Glasgow are being shared through a European COST Action (Sub-Urban) focussed on sustainable urban subsurface use, and transforming relationships between those who develop urban subsurface knowledge and those who can benefit most from it; the planners and developers of the cities of tomorrow.

Keywords: Urban Subsurface. Cities. Glasgow. United Kingdom.