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Cities urged to develop underground masterplans

Future basement and transport development may be “stymied” if cities do not proactively plan underground space, according to Weston Williamson and Partners partner Christian Bocci.

“The value of land is driving demand for basements but control and planning of these needs more careful consideration,” said Bocci during his keynote speech at GE’s Basements and Underground Structures conference in London today.

“The relationship between tall buildings and transport needs more planning or tall buildings and their basement structures could stymy future development,” he added. Bocci pointed to Helsinki’s development of an underground masterplan as part of the solution and urged more cities to take this approach.

Mott MacDonald project director Rob Talby said that the 120 year design life on the Thames Tideway Tunnel brought some interesting challenges in trying to understand what structures above and around the tunnel might be built between now and the 2140s. “We had to consider what Crossrail 3 could look like and what impact its construction would have on groundwater conditions,” he said. “We also had to look at the potential for unplanned excavations and over site developments to consider asset resilience.”

Challenges that arise even when the client remains the same were raised by Heathrow senior project manager Steve Lund as he presented the work on the new Kilo Apron scheme, which will provide underground baggage handling and passengers transportation for Terminal 2. He said that one of the challenges for the scheme was managing the interface with the underground structures for T2B, which were supposed to be temporary to enable the current work to be delivered but are actually permanent structures.


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