Underground potential / Urban Planning


Urban specialists in the sphere of development of megacities think that complex exploration of underground areas is one of the ways to sustainable development of the city. Subsurface use helps to form compactibility of cities and create a favourable environment. However, it requires a defined strategy of exploration of underground areas.

Alexander Pronin, head of the architectural department in Metropolis, gave his comments to Kommersant newspaper with reference to underground construction in cities.

Dig deeper

Meanwhile, lack of land in major Russian cities is one of the key town planning problems. And one of the most effective ways of increasing the territory is exploration of underground areas. 'Often the only way to solve complex town planning problems amidst historical centres, high density development and transport communication is exploration of underground areas. A good example of such approach is the Principality of Monaco, where all the main transport infrastructure is concealed under the ground', Alexander Pronin, head of architectural department in Metropolis, said.

'If we consider the Russian experience, the constraining factor for development of the underground urban planning is not only the cost of construction, but also an extremely strict normative base which is behind time. Practically each such project requires development of the Special technical conditions, in fact - local design norms, and approval thereof by state bodies, moreover beautiful and challenging architectural solutions become a victim of our normative base', Alexander Pronin noted.


The situation is changing

Alexander Pronin noted that despite considerable investment costs with modern development of the construction machinery and technologies for this construction method, every year it gets easier for the architects to convince clients in Russia to expand and use underground spaces to the maximum. Still, there is a clearly formed trend in modern architecture to use underground areas not only for traditional functions. More and more often public spaces are placed there, and it is not only shopping centres, but also museums, exhibition spaces and even residential areas. 'It is particularly interesting to review students' graduation papers and competitive designs, which have always reflected the most modern and advanced ideas, both Russian and foreign, and brightly show the trend for using multifunctional underground areas', Alexander Pronin said.

Read the article in full atKommersantweb-site.