Underground spaces and tunnels serve various purposes. From transportation to innovative urban farming, these subterranean spaces offer solutions to some of the most pressing challenges of modern living.
In this article, we’re going to explore several main uses of underground tunnels and spaces. These are as follows:
Perhaps the most prevalent use of underground tunnels is for transportation.
Major cities worldwide use subways and underground trains to alleviate surface traffic, reduce travel time, and decrease air pollution. These systems are particularly valuable in densely populated cities where surface space is scarce.
Additionally, vehicular tunnels also play a crucial role in streamlining traffic, especially in areas where bridges or surface roads are impractical due to geographical constraints.
Underground spaces are pivotal for housing public utilities, including water supply pipelines, sewage systems, electrical cables, and telecommunication lines.
By placing these utilities underground, cities can avoid the visual clutter associated with overhead lines, reduce the risk of damage from environmental factors, and simplify maintenance and repair processes.
Storage and Warehousing
Subterranean facilities offer ideal conditions for storage, thanks to their cool, stable temperatures and reduced risk of damage from natural disasters.
These characteristics make underground spaces perfect for storing a wide range of items, from sensitive documents, and perishable goods, to wines and cheese. In certain cities, abandoned tunnels or bunkers have been converted into secure storage facilities.
Defense and Security
Historically, underground tunnels have been used for defense. Tunnels can protect military personnel and equipment from aerial attacks and surveillance. Underground bunkers and command centers are integral for national security during times of war or crisis.
These facilities are designed to be self-sufficient, with reinforced structures to withstand potential attacks.
Scientific and Industrial Facilities
The controlled environment of underground spaces is advantageous for specific scientific and industrial applications.
For instance, researchers use underground laboratories for experiments in fields like astrophysics and particle physics, where minimal interference from cosmic radiation is necessary. Similarly, data centers benefit from the natural cooling and security provided by an underground location.
Cultural Spaces and Tourism
Underground spaces have found a niche in the cultural and tourism sectors. Unused tunnels and quarries are being transformed into art galleries, museums, and performance venues. These unique settings offer a distinct acoustic and atmospheric experience for visitors. Tourist attractions also include historic catacombs, underground rivers, and ancient tunnel tours.
An innovative use of underground spaces is in sustainable urban farming. Certain enterprises utilize abandoned tunnels and bunkers to cultivate crops using hydroponic systems and artificial lighting.
This method which is known as vertical farming can significantly increase local food production, particularly in areas with limited agricultural land.
Underground spaces and tunnels are critical assets that serve various functions. As surface space becomes increasingly scarce and the global population continues to urbanize, the strategic importance and multifunctionality of the underground will only grow more pronounced.