17th Conference – Helsinki – 2021

17th World Conference – Helsinki – 2021 : “Deep Inspirations”

The ACUUS 2020 Conference was held in Helsinki on February 3-4, 2021. The conference tool place in an virtual manner due to the COVID-19 restrictions. The agenda of the ACUUS-2020 Helsinki conference outlined issues related to sustainable urban development and the development of underground space in the world. The online event was broadcast on two threads, consisting of thematic sessions on issues: urban planning, architecture, and design, development of underground infrastructure, sustainability and ecology, risk emergence, the introduction of technical methods, innovation.

Annie Sinnemaki, Deputy Mayor of Helsinki for Urban Development, addressed the participants with welcoming words. One of the keynote speakers on the first day of the conference was Finnish mobile game developer Angry Birds, brand manager of Lightneer, an investor, entrepreneur, and founder of a development company for the tunnel project between Tallinn and Helsinki (FinEst) Peter Vesterbacka.

In total, about 187 participants from different countries of Asia, Europe and America were registered at the online event. The rich agenda and a solid line-up of participants allow us to talk about the conference as one of the most important, authoritative events in the world in the field of underground space use. Despite the importance and complexity of the conference theme, the organizers managed to create a friendly and welcoming atmosphere during the event. The conference program is can be seen here.

More information can be found here: https://www.ril.fi/en/events/acuus-2020.html

The proceedings of the conference have now published by a special issue of the IOP Conference series Earth and Environmental Science. Proceeding contains only the Scientific papers of the conference and can be found here: https://iopscience.iop.org/issue/1755-1315/703/1

Other lectures and presentations are available for members only. Please contact the Secretariat.


16th Conference – Hong Kong – 2018

16th World Conference – Hong Kong – 2018 : “Integrated Underground Solutions for Compact Metropolitan Cities”

The 16th World Conference of the Associated Research Centers for the Urban Underground Space (ACUUS) concluded successfully!  More than 350 leading experts, scholars and professionals in the field of underground space development shared the experiences on the efficient use of underground space resources to provide effective integrated solutions with a view in addressing the different challenges of urban development. The conference was jointly organised by ACUUS, the Geotechnical Division of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) and the Hong Kong Geotechnical Society.  The conference has being held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5 to 7 November, with the theme “Integrated Underground Solutions for Compact Metropolitan Cities”.

At the Opening Ceremony, the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Ir S H LAM, extended a warm welcome to the distinguished guests and speakers from all over the world. He said that the conference theme this year is of particular relevance to Hong Kong, which is a world-class city well-known for its compactness with embedded efficiency and effectiveness. He said he was delighted to see that over 110 papers had been received for the Conference from 24 countries. He also said that the insights, views, expert knowledge and experience that would be shared at the Conference could shed light on how Hong Kong can move forward to accomplish our goals and vision in areas of underground development in a smart and innovative manner. Also officiating at the opening ceremony were the President of ACUUS, Professor Dimitris KALIAMPAKOS; Vice President of the HKIE, Ir Edwin CHUNG; and the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr Mark WALLACE.

The three-day conference comprises six keynote lectures, eight theme presentations, an expert panel session, and a series of parallel sessions, covering the past, present and future of underground space development in various dense urban cities. It also includes a number of multi-disciplinary subjects such as integrated planning, design and construction, innovation and technologies, risk and safety, human factors and communication. Many internationally renowned experts, scholars and stakeholders have been invited to be speakers, including Professor Qihu QIAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering, China; Mr Raymond LEE, Director of Planning, The Government of the HKSAR; Mr Eng Hwee LIM, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore; Professor David MANGIN, Co-partner, SEURA Architects, France; Mr Ilkka VÄHÄAHO, Chairman of the Finnish Tunnelling Association International Activity Group, Finland; Ms Sanja ZLATANIC, Senior Vice President, HNTB Corporation, the US; Ir W K PUN, Head of the Geotechnical Engineering Office, The Government of the HKSAR; and Mr Han ADMIRAAL, Co-Chair of ITACUS.

Selected photos from the event can be found here: https://acuus2018secretariat.pixieset.com/

For more information on the conference, please contact the Secretariat.

15th Conference – Saint Petersburg – 2016

15th World Conference – Saint Petersburg – 2016 : “Underground Urbanisation as a Prerequisite for Sustainable Development”

The 15th World Conference of the Associated research Centers for the Urban Underground Space was held in Saint Petersburg, September 12-15, 2016. This conference became one of the most significant events for the professional community. Welcoming it to Russia helped to attract attention of local authorities and the public at large to the issues of urban underground infrastructure development. Long established the ACUUS conferences take place once in two years in largest metropolises of the world. Saint Petersburg held the conference for the first time. The main theme of the conference was “Underground Urbanisation as a Prerequisite for Sustainable Development”.

ACUUS 2016 Conference was supported by the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg City Administration agencies, Saint Petersburg Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the largest Russian relevant organizations: National Association of Builders and National Association of Surveyors and Designers. During the four days of the conference more than 600 participants from 34 countries got involved. Almost 200 abstracts were reviewed and 117 papers by the leading subject specialists were selected for the parallel sessions. Majority of the speakers arrived from foreign countries to share their experience, get to know Russian experience in underground space use.

The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev sent his message to the participants of the ACUUS 2016 Conference. The Governor of Saint Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko and Vice Governor Igor Albin took part in the Opening ceremony. As stated by Georgy Poltavchenko during his greeting speech at the opening ceremony, at present all the largest cities develop urban underground space because of the lack of areas. It allows preserving historic centers, efficiently solving traffic issues and improving environmental situation.

Referring to the main theme of the ACUUS2016 conference the Governor highlighted its importance to the city of Saint Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The historic center of the city, being in the UNESCO world heritage list, is unmatched by the total area and number of cultural heritage sites. “Our city not only represents the history carved into the stone, it is a living organism, metropolis with the population of five million people. It is in need of developing, maintaining work, moving with the times, improving infrastructure, creating comfortable urban environment” – noted Georgy Poltavchenko. In his closing remarks the Governor of Saint Petersburg emphasized how the underground project implementation needs thorough study and analyse as well as special attention from the State and professional community.

At the Plenary Session the Vice Governor of St Petersburg Igor Albin delivered the keynote address “Metro system as a prerequisite for transport infrastructure development and comprehensive underground space use of Saint Petersburg”. He noted that worldwide experience shows that the construction of metro system successfully solves transport and social issues of the metropolis, creating basis for the comprehensive underground space development. Interchange hubs, pedestrian passages, shopping and entertainment centers and recreation areas being relocated underground, increase the comfort and safety of living. Thereby the metro systems represent urban development function, influence the city planning.

In his report Dimitris Kaliampakos, the ACUUS President, professor of the National Technical University of Athens, gave an insight to the history of urban underground space development. While comparing the metropolis with the living organism, he emphasized that the beauty and health are defined by almost not visible city services development and improvement of transport infrastructure, supporting its vital activities. Within the parallel session the key topics were discussed including urban planning, symbiotic relation between underground infrastructure and ground base development, metro systems and integrated interchange hubs future developments. Specialists considered advantages of underground construction for disaster risk reduction, geotechnical surveys progress, trenchless technologies development prospects. The conference concluded with the following technical tours: underground metro stations “Prospect Slavy”, “Novokrestovskaya”, “Sportivnaya” and underground construction sites of the Western High-Speed Diameter.

The Conference ACUUS 2016 provided further evidence that the underground space development not affected by lack of technologies or funding, but relies on planning and the state support. One of the main outputs of the conference is the instruction of the Vice Governor of Saint Petersburg Igor Albin to prepare the cooperation agreement between ACUUS and the Committee for Transport Infrastructure Development of Saint Petersburg.

“I hope the holding of the 15th World Conference of ACUUS will provide an assessment of the comprehensive underground space development opportunities for building of the innovative urban environment to all the parties involved into construction”, – underlined Sergey Alpatov, Association of Underground Builders general director, the ACUUS Board member.

The 15th World Conference ACUUS 2016 was organized on behalf of the Associated research Centers for the Urban Underground Space. The organizer is Association of Underground Builders, the official operator is PRIMEXPO, part of ITE Group. ACUUS 2016 sponsors are such companies as JSC “Metrostroy”, JSC Research and Design Institute “Lenmetrogiprotrans”, GEOIZOL Group, National Association of Surveyors and Designers, CJSC “Geostroy”, Center for Building Structure Diagnostics LLC, PROMAT, PENOPLEX SPb, NIP – informatika, KB ViPS, SUE “Lengiproinzhproekt”.

You may find the conference photos at undergroundexpert.info.


14th Conference – Seoul – 2014

14th World Conference – Seoul 2014 : “Planning, Administration and Design Challenges”

The 14th World Conference of ACUUS was held in Seoul from 24th to 26th September 2014. Planning, Administration and Design Challenges for Underground Space was the main theme and as being truly international in nature, was an opportunity for eminent research scholars and scientists from around the world to contribute to the wide range of scientific programs focusing on the legal and management challenges for underground space use and their accompanying planning and design issues. More particularly the conference covered the following main topics:

  • Legal and administrative issues
  • Architecture and design
  • Civil engineering
  • Technology
  • Human Issues & Environment
  • Planning
  • Sustainability
  • Geoengineering
  • Applications

The Conference had a great success with participants from 23 countries that were able to listen to six keynote speakers, including the French architect Dominique Perrault, and the Italian artist Narcissus Quagliata, and to more than 90 experts on topics related to the underground space, as diverse as Urban planning, Economy, Construction and management, Safety and prevention, Underground networks and transportation, Energy and sustainability, Policies, administration and legal issues, Civil and geotechnical engineering, Architecture, art and human issues, Caverns and railways, as well as Tunnels. The Conference concluded with a Round Table discussion on Sinkholes and ground subsidence, a worldwide problem, with examples of several cities around the world, including Seoul, Montreal, and many American cities.

The Proceedings are available freely for ACUUS members. Please contact the Secretariat for having them distributed.


13th Conference – Singapore – 2012

13th World Conference – Singapore 2012 : “Underground Space Development – Opportunities and Challenges”

The Society for Rock Mechanics & Engineering Geology (Singapore) and the Protective Technology Research Centre of Nanyang Technological University, with the support from the Singapore Ministry of National Development and the Singapore Convention and Exhibition Board, hosted from November 7-9, 2012 at the Marina Bay Sands the 13th International Conference of the Associated research Centers for Urban Underground Space (ACUUS).

The main theme for ACUUS 2012 Singapore is “Underground Space Development – Opportunities and Challenges.” This theme was chosen to emphasize the unprecedented opportunities for simultaneously improving urban infrastructure and urban livability while at the same time recognizing the special challenges faced in creating underground spaces – both from a human design perspective and in terms of technical and cost challenges. Equally important is the need to move from the creation of underground facilities as a haphazard, first-come first served network of structures to a well-planned use of underground space that can serve the needs of urban areas for future generations as well as our own.


The ACUUS 2012 in Singapore has been a huge success attracting the largest number of papers since the start of the ACUUS conference series in 1983having. More particular some interesting conference numbers are given below:

– 4 plenary keynotes lectures
– 159 scientific papers
– 26 parallel sessions covering planning, architecture, safety, engineering, sustainability and resilience of underground space development
– 5 technical visits
– 370 participants from 35 countries

The Conference Proceedings (Editors: Yingxin ZHOU, Jungang CAI and Raymond STERLING) have been published by “The Society for Rock Mechanics & Engineering Geology (Singapore)”. More information about the conference and the proceedings can be found in its website. In there you can find also information about the keynotes, the main topics and all author index.

Also the whole proceedings volume can be downloaded from Prof. Zhou’s page here.


For any further information on ACUUS2012, you can contact: Dr Zhou Yingxin

12th Conference – Shenzhen – 2009

12th International Conference – Shenzhen 2009 : “Using the Underground of Cities: for a Harmonious and Sustainable Urban Environment”

Held in Shenzhen, China in November 2009, the conference presented at least 90 academic papers from more than 10 countries, and they concerns various issues regarding underground development, which are Underground space development and utilization, underground architecture and planning, development of underground traffic, risk assessment and safety of underground projects,management and legislation of underground space, evaluation and monitoring of environment or resource on underground space and numerical analysis and construction technology of underground projects etc.


The main themes of the conference include the following topics :

– Underground space development & utilization
– Future challenges in underground development
– Strategy of underground space development
– Environmental and safety of underground space
– Planning and design of underground traffic
– Aesthetics of underground environments
– Risk assessment of underground projects
– Underground project technology
– Economy of underground development
– Legislation and proprietary rights of underground space
– Underground architecture and planning of underground space
– Underground freight transport
– Development of technology for deep and large underground projects

Organized by:
Underground Space Sub-society of CSRME
Shenzhen Metro Group Co., Ltd
Shenzhen Metro No.3 Line Investment Co., Ltd
China Railway South Investment & Development Co., Ltd

The Proceedings represents the latest progress and achievements in underground space field, and can be referred by the persons who are working on plan, design, teaching and research regarding underground space. You can see the Table of Contents here

Qian Qihu
Chairman of ACUUS2009 Organizing Committee

A CD-ROM, ISBN: 978-7-5001-24979, is available at the price of 80 Rmb (postage not included). You may contact ACUUS or the publisher at: book@ctpc.com.cn

11th Conference – Athens – 2007

11th International Conference – Athens 2007 : “Underground Space: Expanding the Frontiers”

Today, underground development encompasses the relocation of several surface land uses or activities, which are difficult, impractical, less profitable, or even environmentally undesirable to be installed on ground level, into subsurface built environments.This successful heritage should not only be safeguarded but also enriched by establishing a multidisciplinary think-tank group that will allow the incorporation of subsurface space as an integral part of the future physical planning and zoning.

The 11th ACUUS International Conference took place between 10 and 13th of September 2007 at the Lavrio Technological and Cultural Park in Greece. The event was organized by the Laboratory of Mining and Environmental Technology of the National Technical University of Athens. The Conference has been a very successful and fruitful event having 220 registered participants from 18 countries, who presented 90 scientific papers on various topics. Furthermore, more than 400 people including scientists, engineers and members of the local and governmental authorities attended the conference. During the event the participants had the opportunity to exchange their experience with regards to the utilization of underground space and expand international co-operation schemes that promote research in this field. The full program can be found here.



The main topics of the conference technical sessions were:

– A strategic view of going underground Underground projects
– Experience from the field
– Underground space utilization in the world
– Future challenges in underground development
– Underground solutions towards sustainability
– Aesthetics and architecture of the underground environment
– Innovative tools in underground development
– Feasibility studies of underground projects
– Public and the underground space
– Safety and the underground space
– Improving the underground habitat

As part of the conference program, a technical visit was organized. The delegates were given a presentation of the construction methods, the problems encountered and other techniques at the construction site of Argyroupoli station of Athens Metro, and later on, they visited the Acropolis metro station with its unique architectural incorporation of archaeological artifacts discovered during its construction. Finally, the delegates enjoyed a tour guide to the archaeological site of Acropolis and the Parthenon.

The Conference have been co-organized by the Laboratory of Mining and Environmental Technology, N.T.U.A. and ACUUS. President of the Organizing Committee was Prof. Dimitris Kaliampakos.

You can find more information about the conference, including a photogallery in the ACUUS2007 website. The Proceedings are available by contacting the ACUUS secretariat.

10th Conference – Moscow – 2005

10th International Conference – Moscow 2005 : “Underground Space: Economy and Environment”

The 10th ACUUS Conference Underground Space: Economy and Environment and the ISRM Regional Symposium Rock Mechanics for Underground Environment were held in winter, in a warm atmosphere traditionally attributed to such events in the political, cultural and scientific center of Russia.

Endeavors in Rock Mechanics, aimed to a large extend to underground construction, provide the scientific and practical basis for the development of Underground Spaces, thus making the two selected general themes of these two events inseparable. The Second International Exhibition “Underground City 2005”, following success of the “Underground City 2004” International Exhibition in Moscow, was joined in time and partly in venue with the Conferences.
These events were organized by International Committees gathered around the ACUUS member – Center of Underground and Special Engineering (CUSE) of the Moscow State University of Civil Engineering. Mutual support was given by the Russian Geomechanics Association (Russian NG ISRM), Russian Tunneling Association (Russian NG ITA), American Rock Mechanics Association and several scientific committees of the Russian Academy of Sciences.

Specialists from over than 20 countries participated in this scientific forum. Selected papers are presented in the Proceeding book.

Sergey A. Yufin, Executive Conference Chairman

Organizing Committee of the 10th International Conference
Moscow State University of Civil Engineering


The Table of Contents of the Proceedings can be found here


“On January, 10 , 2008, Sergey Yufin, the organizer of the Moscow ACUUS conference died. He was a longtime proponent of underground space use and some of the developments that he has urged for Moscow are now becoming a reality.”

Ray Sterling, ACUUS President (2008)

9th Conference – Torino – 2002

9th International Conference – Torino 2002 : “Urban Underground Space a Resource for Cities”

The growing need for underground transportation systems as an alternative to surface alignments, for space for trade, offices, social and recreational facilities and for service networks such as telephone cables, sewers, water, gas pipes, etc. under existing surface structures, has increased the frequency of underground construction in highly urbanized areas.
The attraction of underground structures is closely related to the community’s evaluation of the drawbacks of surface and aerial structures in terms of environmental degradation. Unfortunately, most of the numerous advantages of underground structures, especially those concerning the protection of the environment, often cannot be quantified in monetary terms.

As the construction costs of underground structures are generally higher than those of building on the surface, underground structures are in some ways ” penalized ” when compared to surface construction. However, when surface and underground projects are compared over the expected life of the projects, underground construction can prove more economic. Underground structures are generally energy conserving due to their removal from the effects of the changing surface climate. Similarly, by putting facilities underground, valuable surface land can be used for other purposes.

The decision-making process, when evaluating an underground project against a surface or aerial alternative, should not only refer to the construction cost, but should take into account the various advantages offered by the underground alternative, particularly those related to the effects on the environment.

For the above reasons it is particularly important that people involved in the design and development of underground space should work together and exchange their experiences as a means to promote the development and use of more underground facilities. In addition, technological development aimed at facilitating more risk-free underground construction must be pursued
With this goal in mind, ACUUS (Associated research Centres for Urban Underground Space) and GEAM (Associazione Georisorse e Ambiente) are honored to invite the International Tunnelling and Underground Space Use community to participate at the ACUUS 2002 International Conference: “Urban Underground Space: a Resource for Cities”.

The Congress will be a chance for International co-operation and exchange amongst the world’s community of planners, researchers, builders, investors, decision-makers and other parties involved in the development and use of urban underground space.
In addition to the Conference technical sessions the participants will have the chance to visit the great urban developments of the City of Torino where the underground space is intensively exploited with the design an underground rail link and a metro line, which are presently under construction.

Evasio LAVAGNO, Chairperson of the Scientific Committee

Organizing Committee of the 9th International Conference
Politecnico di Torino, and the Associazione Georisorse e Ambiente


The Table of Contents of the Proceedings can be found here

8th Conference – Xi’An – 1999

8th International Conference – Xi’An 1999: “Agenda and Prospect of the Underground Space for the Turn of the Century”

After the 7th International Conference “Underground space: indoor cities of tomorrow” held in Montreal in 1997, Xi’an was the host of the 8th International Conference of the ACUUS,from September 27 to 30, 1999. Xi’an is the ancient capital of China’s 13 dynasties including the Zhou, Qin Han and Tang. Xi’an is also world-famous for its city wall. The structure is an ancient castle bearing more than 600 tears of history and is one of the world most completely preserved. The Loess plateau in the northwest of China features many underground dwellings, which represent an important tourist attraction.

With the development of cities throughout this century, more and more environmental problems endanger the Earth on which human beings rely on for their subsistence. Population growth, crowded cities, traffic jams, environmental pollution, energy waste, green land erosion, and the occupation of cultivated land altogether lead to the breakdown of the natural ecological balance which in turn severely hinders the cities’ functional performance and healthy development. Then it becomes inevitable for the decision-makers, urban planners and architects to accept the mission of preserving the natural environment by further developing underground space and by creating urban landscapes that will ensure the well being of future generations.


“Agenda and Prospect of the Underground Space for the Turn of the Century” was aimed at elected representatives, heads of associations and consulting firms, promoters and contractors, professionals in the field of development, such as urban planners, architects, engineers, geologists and archaeologists, environmental, tourist and legal experts, as well as university researchers.

This Conference allowed it’s participants to review, in the end of this Century,the state of the buried industrial heritage, then within the framework of the Forum of nations, the representatives of China, Japan, France, Italy, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States and Canada presented the urban use of the underground space in their respective countries. Workshops were regrouped under four major subjects: The state of the subterranean heritage, The agenda of the subterranean town planning in the next century, The new challenges of the urban underground space and finally, the more technical one, The construction in underground space. The Conference of Xi’An ended with a Plenary entitled: “The Challenge of The Underground Heritage Protection in The Next Century”.

Organizing Committee of the 8th Int’l Conference

Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology


The Table of Contents of the Proceedings can be found here