Report by Han Admiraal, ITACUS chair
ITACUS feels very strongly about the use of underground space, and has realised early on that this could not be achieved by engineers alone. ITACUS therefore reached out to ISOCARP to make planners aware of the subsurface and its role in urban planning. Both organisations feel strongly about activating young professionals. ISOCARP has an excellent track record in this respect. Through our cooperation in organising ‘Young Professionals Think Deep Program’ workshops, we try to revive the underground urbanism that grasped French architects and planners in the previous century. By combining engineers, architects, urban planners, urban designers and geologists into one workshop we are pushing the boundaries quite a bit. Our thinking is that this is the only way to create a common vision on the use of urban underground space. We want to be at the forefront of achieving an integrated use of the subsurface without one single use claiming the space as its own and making it unusable for others.
The Glasgow YPTDP workshop was the first of its kind. All attending experienced that and felt it in the air at times. It takes a lot of blood, sweat and at time tears to try to understand fellow professionals from other countries and across disciplines. At the same time the workshop proved to be the perfect setting for thinking outside the trodden paths, to leave the comfort zone of your own box and enter a new world where interesting developments are possible. And that is just what Glasgow needed and what ITACUS and ISOCARP want to achieve.
An urban underground future is not going to come about by itself. It needs dedicated professionals who work with fellow professionals in seeking the opportunities and developing them. With the Glasgow YPTDP workshop ITACUS and ISOCARP have set one step in what may well prove to be the single most important contribution toward an urban underground future for our cities.