ACUUS is an international, non-governmental organization dedicated to partnerships amongst experts who design, analyse and decide upon the use of our cities’ underground spaces. Its main aim is to provide a focal point regarding urban underground space that will gather experts from multidisciplinary scientific fields and will allow them to form coherent initiatives regarding the promotion of subsurface development and use of underground infrastructure that will eventually benefit city life.
The idea to create the ACUUS was first suggested in 1992 at 5th International Conference in Delft and took form in Paris, within the 6th International Conference “Underground Space and Urban Planning”. ACUUS was formally established in the fall of 1996 at Sendai, Japan, when founding members from Canada, France, Japan and the United States agreed to incorporate the new international organization in Canada. The ACUUS secretariat has been inaugurated in October 1997 in Montreal, at the end of the 7th International Conference “Underground Space: Indoor Cities of Tomorrow”.
The ACUUS is an international non-governmental association actively promoting partnerships amongst all actors in the field of planning, management, research and uses of urban underground space. The ACUUS strives to bind these public, private and university levels into a cohesive network of mutual cooperation for the benefit of all parties involved.
The main objectives of ACUUS are:
- To facilitate the exchanges between the clientele and the expert knowledge worldwide in regard to the study of costs, potentialities and techniques of expansion in the urban underground;
- To raise the awareness of the private sector, the governments at all levels and the general public on the specific issues related to the sustainable use of the urban underground;
- To provide support and services to members of national organizations and research centers conducting similar activities in view of enhancing their relations and international radiance.
ACUUS through its structure and its members is involved in numerous activities ranging from the organisation of educational initiatives, scientific consulting to other organisations or national and international bodies, supporting of scientific research in the field of underground space planning, etc. More particularly, the activities that ACUUS is involved with are:
- Coordination, planning and /or organization of international events: biennial conferences, exhibitions, competitions and others;
- Organization of academic and professional exchange on the issues of the urban underground;
- Consultation on the issues of urban underground development and identification of critical issues of local, urban and regional importance and appropriate solutions;
- Support to the initiatives aiming at expanding and enhancing the public use of the urban indoor and underground networks (tourism, community gatherings sports, or others);
- Promotion of strategies and actions for the integrated planning and management of the urban underground space;
- Support to members and associated organizations in the developing countries.
The future of humanity is tied with the urban areas. Ever since 2007 more people live in cities than rural areas and all our projections show that this trend will continue strong in the foreseeable future.
Our cities and metropolises are continuously growing bigger and attract more people and economic activities. As a result, urban areas today face difficult and ever-growing problems that deteriorate their environmental quality and threaten their sustainability and resilience. Our organization, ACUUS, aims at providing modern and efficient solutions to these problems and it has always been in the forefront, shaping a better future for urban areas. We support the systematic utilization of the urban underground space as the most efficient and environmentally friendly solution in order to enhance the quality of life and boost competitiveness of modern cities. We firmly believe that modern cities and especially megacities in the 21st century can be sustainable if, and only if, they are underground, to a certain extent.
ACUUS has been actively spreading its core ideas and philosophy internationally for more than 30 years. We are proud of our multidisciplinary character that has enabled us to act as an international "think tank" in urban underground development. The big power of our organization is the fact that we are always able to adapt to new conditions, like during this pandemic, while remaining faithful to our mission. We are a group of pioneers, “out of the box” thinkers, always willing to welcome newcomers, ready to learn and share new experiences, to change the world, without hard hierarchy or strong private interests. It is in this context that we are changing our logo, after 25 years, to give ourselves a more contemporary image.
We believe in active collaborations and strategic alliances with other international organizations. The MoU's we have signed with UN-Habitat, the City of Shanghai (SMEDI), and the City of St. Petersburg, to mention only few of them, underline both our commitment to establish partnerships amongst various stakeholders, and the key role ACUUS plays regarding underground development in urban areas. In addition, our working groups and committees work hard to provide innovative and efficient solutions in certain subjects such as underground infrastructure (ACUUS-URBAN), urban geology (ACUUS-GEO), fire and safety, etc. ACUUS has also been interested in new ideas and fresh inspiration, especially from young engineers. To this end, we are running a Youth-Group office in Asia in collaboration with the Shandong University. We aspire to have such offices in Europe and the Americas in the near future. Furthermore, we recently signed a MoU with the Young Earth Scientists network (YES) that will enable us to have direct discussions, joint activities and cooperation with young engineers and geoscientists from around the world.
Our website acts as a reference point for our organization. It contains a large volume of information regarding our activities and our people. Moreover, our members have access to a valuable asset of ACUUS; the proceedings of our conferences since 1996. Our newsletter service and ScoopIt! provides insights and up-to-date information to our members regarding major underground projects, innovative solutions and advances in the field.
I invite you to join the experts of the urban underground space and become an ACUUS member.