Establishing sustainable strategies in urban underground engineering

Science and Engineering Ethics 10 (3):523-530 (2004)
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Abstract

Growth of urban areas, the corresponding increased demand for utility services and the possibility of new types of utility systems are overcrowding near surface underground space with urban utilities. Available subsurface space will continue to diminish to the point where utilidors (utility tunnels) may become inevitable. Establishing future sustainable strategies in urban underground engineering consists of the ability to lessen the use of traditional trenching. There is an increasing interest in utility tunnels for urban areas as a sustainable technique to avoid congestion of the subsurface. One of the principal advantages of utility tunnels is the substantially lower environmental impact compared with common trenches. Implementing these underground facilities is retarded most by the initial cost and management procedures. The habitual procedure is to meet problems as they arise in current practice. The moral imperative of sustainable strategies fails to confront the economic and political conflicts of interest. Municipal engineers should act as a key enabler in urban underground sustainable development.

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