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21 November 2023

CPT - Comissão Portuguesa de Túneis e do Espaço Subterrâneo de Túneis e do Espaço Subterrâneo invited us to moderate and join an event on “Rethinking cities using the underground space”, Experts and professionals from the civil engineering, architecture, geotechnics, geology and urban planning domains gathered for a one day packed programme, coorganised with the Engineering Faculty of Port,  SPG - Sociedade Portuguesa de Geotecnia and Instituto para a construcao sustenavel.

Presentations focused on current developments in metro and high speed rail, drainage tunnel systems, sustainability as well as BIM projects. Architectural projects showed successful integration of underground space with surface space in dense urban environments, serving the convenience, mobility and pleasure of people, such as the renovation of Bolhao Market in Porto and construction of Naples metro station Municipio by Tiago Figueiredo. Other speakers focused on resilience of cities aided by underground infrastructure.

Co-chair Antonia Cornaro moderated a 2.5hr roundtable on the topic with experts from underground construction, metro and high speed rail development on behalf of ITACUS. The distinguished panel inluded Antonio Topa Gomes, Sérgio Bernardes, Lúcia Lourenço, and Daniel Salvador Da Silva Leite, and digitally joined by Han Admiraal and Abidemi Agwor for input statements on policy and planning as well as our National Action Think Deep Programme.

Talking points were on building a vision for the underground, policy, the need and ways to plan the underground, and the need and desire to move forward despite various obstacles on the policitical, contractual and financial side. We also got the audience’s opinions on the role of underground space now and in the future. The consensus was that the use of the underground will intensify and will also be important for resilience, adaptation to climate change and geothermal and other energy sources and storage means but also besides mobility increasingly recreational use. All that needs planning and cross collaboration.

Many thanks to CPT and especially RAUL SARRA PISTONE and Nadir Plasencia for organizing and hosting this thought-provoking event.