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.