Building underground for urban density - future cities by Casey Temby

Could subterranean spaces for human occupation be a better solution than building up to tackle the problem of urban sprawl, and create urban density?
It would certainly free up land above ground for important purposes such as agriculture and parklands.

If you believe the reports that we are to expect more natural disasters in the future due to climate change, perhaps building underground is an attractive alternative.

When I first heard about this I was immediately intrigued and wanted to find out more.  I am always fascinated at how planners keep on creating suburbs on the outskirts of cities.  Think of the McMansions in the new 'burbs such as the Western suburbs of Sydney like Harrington Park.

This is an exciting yet challenging future for architects and especially interior designers.
How do you make these spaces habitable?
I would think the priority would be how to get natural light into the spaces and how to reduce the feeling of claustrophobia.

This idea seems to be permeating with city planners for example Helsinki's Masterplan in which to underground industrial facilities and data centres are stored underground

The Helsinki project puts industrial facilities and data centers below the surface in order to improve the quality of life above ground and maintain a nice cityscape. Data Centres are cooled by seawater and the heat created from the data centres is then pumped through pipes to warm cities above ground.

I see many positives with the underground model primarily being:
  • Reducing our carbon footprint and energy use
  • Freeing up space on the surface and conserving existing natural areas or restoring damaged areas which provides habitat and promotes biodiversity.
  • Reduction in the devastation to buildings from natural disasters.
  • Controlling erosion and stormwater runoff; often, this is done by covering much of the site with vegetation.

Could it be an ideal model for hot climatic areas such as the Northern Territory?
Understandably it would be a major shift in ideologies of living however is it achievable?

German street artist EVOl small scale model of an underground city

Further reading: