Underground engineering for sustainable urban development

Sammantha L. Magsino, Paul H. Gilbert, Samuel T. Ariaratnam, Nancy Rutledge Connery, Gary English, Conrad W. Felice, Youssef M.A. Hashash, Chris T. Hendrickson, Priscilla P. Nelson, Raymond L. Sterling, George J. Tamaro, Fulvio Tonon, Solmaz Spence

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Underground infrastructure is essential for delivery of services that support a strong urban economy and high quality of life. However, current underground engineering practice and education do not promote the interdisciplinary and systems-oriented development approaches that support urban sustainability. Further, lack of long-term investment and coordination of underground development and engineering at most levels of U.S. government curtails cost effectiveness and sustainability and jeopardizes future U.S. technological leadership in underground engineering. Ad hoc development of underground infrastructure projects adversely affects sustainability and increases infrastructure costs. Comprehensive lifecycle planning of underground space as part of a three-dimensional, integrated above- and belowground urban system could reduce costs and increase sustainability. Better analysis and design approaches that facilitate long-term asset management also support sustainability. Retrospective cost analyses of existing infrastructure can inform future triple-bottom-line cost assessments and quantify the economic, social, and environmental benefits of different infrastructure choices. Targeted long-term research, better interdisciplinary education and training for underground engineers, and greater societal awareness of the importance of the underground are needed to maximize the contributions of underground engineering to sustainability. This paper summarizes conclusions from the National Research Council report Underground Engineering for Sustainable Urban Development (2013; http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record-id=14670).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationGeo-Congress 2014 Technical Papers
Subtitle of host publicationGeo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability - Proceedings of the 2014 Congress
PublisherAmerican Society of Civil Engineers
Number of pages10
Edition234 GSP
ISBN (Print)9780784413272
StatePublished - 2014
Event2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014 - Atlanta, GA, United States
Duration: Feb 23 2014Feb 26 2014

Publication series

NameGeotechnical Special Publication
Number234 GSP
ISSN (Print)0895-0563


Other2014 Congress on Geo-Characterization and Modeling for Sustainability, Geo-Congress 2014
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAtlanta, GA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Architecture
  • Building and Construction
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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