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The Resilient City

With extreme weather events becoming more frequent, we need to reimagine the built form that has successfully supported urban life over the past two centuries. This article explores how future-ready urban resiliency in the years ahead will need to be as much about thriving, as it is about surviving.

Homo Subterraneous: Inhabiting the Subsurface

Humans have evolved away from regarding caves and subterranean spaces as natural and comforting habitats. However, research and innovation in design and engineering are enabling the creation of new kinds of subterranean spaces, and an evolution in human behavior that is receptive to them.

Bringing the Elements of Nature Underground

The defining, and often intimidating, characteristic of the underground is its traditional association with the exclusion of nature that is considered essential above ground. The future could be different though, as innovative technologies now allow for more nature to be included underground, providing more engaging and invigorating experiences.

ARoS Aarhus: Next Level Extension

This project highlights the adventure of relearning the color spectrum as influenced by the different impacts of light on underground space. It is an example of how light, air and space have been utilized in a notable piece of modern art located underground.

The Lightwalk, Gangnam International Transit Center (GITC)

Located in Seoul’s Gangnam International Transit Center, the Lightwalk is the centerpiece of French architect Dominique Perrault’s conception of “groundscape.” It is also a creative design in the conveyance of light, channeling above-ground light to the underground during the day, and conversely below-ground light to the surface at night.


House and Restaurant, Yamaguchi

A restaurant located in Yamaguchi demonstrates the potential of innovation in construction approaches to create ambience below ground. In this case, the concept was to give a time-worn feel to a newly created underground space.

The Lowline, New York City

The Lowline is inspired by the potential to deploy disused underground spaces to enhance livability in dense cities where development has left very little public green space, and the public’s reception of its prototype, Lowline Lab.

Changi Airport, Singapore

A forest of 2,300 trees has a symbiotic relationship with the rainwater that courses through the world’s largest internal waterfall called the “Rain Vortex.” Jewel Changi Airport’s nature-themed complex illustrates how strategic planning of vegetation can provide outdoor experiences even at indoor features, providing reference for underground spaces lacking access to natural light.

Underground Farming

A project led by the University of Nottingham’s Faculty of Engineering is exploring the viability of repurposing coal mines for agriculture to redress the environmental degradation of coal mining. This approach can provide a solution for diminishing arable land caused by on-going urbanization. 

A seemingly eclectic selection of buildings and projects engages with concepts that challenge even the most deep-rooted prejudices against the underground. Exploring how to integrate the elements of light, air and vegetation, they create new subterranean spaces that foster a vital sense of connection with the wider world.

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