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'.
REACHING OUT AND COLLABORATING
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.
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.