Underground Cities: An Option to Foster Sustainability in Urban Areas

A Thematic Objective (Axis) of the Projet National Ville 10D – Ville d’idées.

This project examines the part that underground could take when trying to foster transition to sustainability in urban areas. Emphasis is given to the habitability of the underground, on the one side by identifying if there are specific environment conditions, human interactions and social patterns in the underground, and linking them all to ad-hoc urban policies, on the other side by modeling these results to build more general scenarii about transition to sustainability in confined areas.

The whole project is based on the idea that underground spaces, which are already taking part in the functioning of urban areas, could be an alternative to both sprawl and height growth, when trying to deal with urban development.

To understand if it is realistic, we first have to determine under what conditions subterranean environment can be livable in the long-term: Can people feel confortable enough to live in a house and wander in the streets of such confined spaces where the lighting or air renewal constraints, as well as safety constraints and possible claustrophobic and insecurity feelings impose very particular policies and technical modus operandi? Can people find their way without the usual external visual references? These issues finally address specific urban development and planning, which question how societies decide what is a “good environment”.

Started in 2012

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