ITACUS believes in an urban underground future. The urban underground space in our experience is an often-overlooked asset of cities. As such underground space should play a vital role in the quest, many cities are undertaking to combat lack of space. Cities need space for housing, for infrastructure and public spaces. As demands on cities grow in terms of spatial requirements, they also must cope with climate change. They need to become more resilient against natural disasters. Cities need to mitigate and above all, adapt. The urban underground can provide solutions for helping cities achieve this. ITACUS has launched activity groups dealing with relevant topics, such as urban adaptability, urban sustainability, urban integration, and the circular economy, and is thus contributing to the further development of this important field.




The Next Level Up is Down is the core of our vision and strategy. As cities have grown denser, it seemed only natural to extend skywards. However, the sky is not the limit: Cities need to start looking downwards to adapt to new circumstances and reach the next level of existence. ITACUS believes this should not just be for new spaces but also for renewable energy and to achieve food security. Two videos very much reflect our vision; 'Imagine: Why Cities should know about Underground Space' and 'Growth Below'. During the UN-Habitat World Urban Forum 2020 'Growth Below' received the Best Cities Film Festival 'Emerging Ideas Award 2020'.



ITACUS is one of four permanent committees of the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association, with the mandate to reach out to policy leaders, NGOs and interrelated disciplines. ITACUS presents at worldwide congresses, seminar and workshops to create awareness of the undergrounds potential but also to foster the integration into the urban fabric through planning and applied uses. We work closely together with our global partner ISOCARP, the International Society of City and Regional Planners. We actively contribute to the work of both UNDRR and UN-Habitat. With ISOCARP, we have developed a 'Think Deep' publication on the planning of the underground containing several urban case studies. Our Young Professional's Think Deep Program (YPTDP) is well underway, inviting young interdisciplinary professionals from the built environment to work on real city cases jointly. Currently, we are looking for further cities to participate. Many countries (such as UK, Sweden, Australia) have now started local Think Deep National Actions Program (TDNAP) groups with guidance from ITACUS. Read more about our exciting activities in our News, Announcement and Activity Group sections.

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ITACUS is a founding partner of MISSION EARTH FIRST!
Our mission is to connect outer space with underground space to explore future habitats for humankind and create sustainable infrastructure. See our short compilation video of our launch on June18 during the Hagerbach Festival: 

Read more about Mission Earth First and how to get invoved

Founding partners are ITACUS - The ITA Committee of Underground Space -, THE, SCAUT - Swiss center of Applied Underground Technologies - and the Hagerbach Test Gallery. Full length video of launch event.   

Consider joining us as supporter or contributor! Follow the LinkedIn page to keep up to date.


Committee leads

The committee leads are co-chairs Han Admiraal and Antonia Cornaro who are also co-authors of 'Underground Spaces Unveiled: Planning and Creating the Cities of the Future' which won the ISOCARP Gerd Albers Award for best book in 2018. The contribution the book has made to the general discussion on this topic has been widely recognised, including by ITA Presidents and the Executive Council. A first-ever university course at ETH was launched in Spring 2020 and is based on this book.




ITACUS Goals & MembershipOUR GOAL

The use of underground space can arise from both a mega-city scale in terms of ever-increasing demand on space as well as on a micro level of local communities struggling to maintain and increase liveability and comply with environmental legislation.

The actual use of underground space varies from virtually non-existent to ever increasing application. The latter brings forth its own challenges in an often uncoordinated and unrecognised autonomous development leading to severe congestion of underground space and the blocking of future development. An increasing use of deeper underground space is often the result, which leads to an increase in cost and risks.

The ITA Committee on Underground Space (ITACUS) has been tasked to address the issue of Underground Space Use worldwide and to raise awareness with regards to both the actual use and the need to develop a vision on the use which allows for planning the use of underground space.

The use of underground space is seen to be vital in a world where more than half of the population now lives in urban areas. Further concentration in mega-cities is a trend which can not be stopped. The use of underground space can contribute to sustainable development, maintaining liveability and preparing the world for the impact of climate change. Creating awareness on the use of underground space in this respect is vital.



Furthering the development of visions on urban underground space use and rational use of underground space through planning techniques is essential. The ITA Committee on Underground Space has been created specifically to bring together professionals from around the world to address these issues

Membership Information


Target group

Participation is open to all professionals and experts representing organizations or institutions operating within the built environment that have an interest in the use of underground space and who are motivated to contribute to the aims of the committee. Specifically, ITACUS is seeking membership from city governments and (air) port authorities.


Benefits of membership

ITACUS members can benefit from becoming part of a global network of experts who are prepared to share their knowledge and experience in order to further the awareness of underground space and the planning of underground space use. ITACUS will hold an Open Meeting at least once a year during the World Tunnelling and Underground Space Congress. ITACUS will also be present at meetings of other organizations to conduct workshops.

Membership Registration



Why not join other professionals interested in Underground Space and become a member of our LinkedIn group.


ITACUS appointed 2 special ambassors to reinforce and support the work the committee is doing
as part of the planning and use of underground space.


The ITACUS Scientific Ambassador is tasked with liaising with ITACET and the ITACET Foundation to ensure that ITA capacity in the field of education and training includes the use and planning of urban underground spaces. Apart from this, the Scientific Ambassador works with other organisations, such as AESOP (Association of European School of Planning) to introduce the concept of urban underground space into planning curricula. ITACUS supports research initiatives and uses research students and lecturers engagement to further knowledge development and knowledge dissemination in this field. Our ITACUS Scientific Ambassador is professor Youssef Diab.



The ITACUS Young Talent Ambassador is our linking pin with ITA Young Members (ITA-YM). ITACUS believes in the power of Young Professionals and their active involvement in our activities. Our Young Talent ambassador liaises, develops new ideas and advises the Steering Board in this area. In this way, we aim at maximising the involvement of young people in our work and thereby sustaining it into their future. Our ITACUS Young Talent Ambassador is Rosanne Verloop.


The ITACUS Steering Board during the ITA-AITES WTC 2019 in Naples, Italy. Missing from picture are Mr Chris Swaine and Dr Marilu Melo.


ITACUS Steering Board

The Steering Board leads the committee. 
As of 1 January 2020, the Steering Board consist of:

Mr Han Admiraal (Co-chair, the Netherlands)
Ms Antonia Cornaro (Co-chair, Switzerland)
Mr Petr Salak (Lead Activity Group 1 - Young Professionals Think Deep Program, UK) 
Dr Chrysothemis Paraskevopoulou (Lead Activity Group 2 - Urban Sustainability, UK) 
Mr Per Tengborg (Lead Activity Group 3 - Urban Adaptability, Sweden)
Mr Chris Swaine (Lead Activity Group 4 - National Actions Program, Australia) 
Dr Marilu Melo Zurita (Lead Activity Group 5 - Urban Integration, Mexico)
Ms Rosanne Verloop (Young Talents Ambassador, The Netherlands) 
Prof. Youssef Diab (Scientific Ambassador, France)

ITACUS Advisory Board

The Advisory Board advises the Steering Board on ITACUS related matters.
The advisory board is composed of (as of 1 January 2019):
Dr Tony Ho (Hong Kong) 
Dr Ray Sterling (USA)
Dr Yingxin Zhou (Singapore)


The ITA Executive Council has appointed as the tutor for ITACUS:

Mr Abidemi Agwor


For further information please Contact

Tel: +41 22 547 74 41
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