News and Events

Here we share our upcoming events, latest research and news from around the world - if you have any projects or new underground discoveries you would like to share then please let us know!

Investing in Urban Underground Space – What is the social return?

What benefits do we as a society get when we utilise underground space? Are we under-valuing the ground beneath our feet?

  • There are 11 London underground tube lines, connecting 270 stations across the capital for up to 5 million passengers a day.  
  • Groundwater from the rocks beneath London and the Thames valley supports 30% of our water supply from over 350 boreholes drilled into the ground, and in addition provides a vital base flow of water to our rivers. 
  • There are in the region of 330,000 allotments in the UK, covering more than 8000 hectares and more than 90,000 people on an allotment waiting list.  And in case you were wondering, recent research from Sheffield University shows that soils under Britain’s allotments are significantly healthier than intensively farmed soils – should policy makers be promoting urban home-growing to help with food demand, health and well-being?

These examples showcase some of the social value the ground provides, either directly or indirectly – connectivity, water supply, food supply, green spaces, industry and careers.  Do we realise the full benefits?  The Public Services (Social Value) Act which came into force in 2013 requires those that commission public services to deliver wider social, economic and environmental benefits but do those commissioners appreciate the benefits of urban underground space enough to be able to include them in their assessment? When we consider our urban environment and the benefits it brings, we often overlook the ground beneath our feet. More than just earth it can encompass resources, ecosystem services, buried utilities, and underground infrastructure as well as space for development.  How do we evaluate all of these social benefits, for specific development projects and more broadly?

The Think Deep UK workshop on Social Value of Urban Underground Space, will consider these issues. By bringing together a range of experts on social value, urban planning, and the built and natural environments the workshop aims to:  

  • Define social value and how it applies to urban underground space.
  • Provide practical examples and case studies of how social value is delivered through urban development.
  • Present tools and methods to quantify the potential social values associated with projects.
  • Use real scenarios to apply social value principles, tools, and frameworks to a range of activities that utilise urban underground space.

The workshop will take place in London on 28th September, places are limited, to register your interest please email

Understanding the full value of the ground beneath our feet and realising its multiple benefits is the first step towards improved planning, governance and management of urban underground space.


Hyperloop system for Europe

Hyperloop One's Vision for Europe presented on June 6th in Amsterdam was all about bringing a Hyperloop system to Europe. Hyperloop One showcased their technology as well as proposed European routes for a Hyperloop One system.

KEYNOTE: Melanie Schultz van Haegen, Dutch Minister of Infrastructure and Environment

    Event kicked off Hyperloop One’s Global Challenge meetings on June 7th with European semi finalists who demonstrated how their proposals will economically benefit their region to a panel of experts in transportation, technology, economics and innovation. The UK strong points are the Northern ARC, UK Spine (North-South Connector) and UK Scotland-Wales.

    From the use of underground space perspective it was clear that teams are thinking about tunnels & underground stations to deliver this system into our busy cities. This makes us think even more about the importance of strategic planning & safeguarding of underground space. Think Deep UK will certainly focus on this challenge in 2017 to help create cities we need. 


    • Rob Lloyd, CEO & Board Member
    • Josh Giegel, Co-Founder & President of Engineering
    • Dr. Alan James, VP of Worldwide Business Development


    • Isabel Dedring, Formerly Mayor of London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport, Global Transport Leader at Arup
    • Chris Brown, Partner Norton Rose Fulbright, and global head of Financial Investors group
    • Risto Penttilä, CEO, Finland Chamber of Commerce and Secretary General of European Business Leaders’ Convention

    Launch event

    TDUK held its launch event on Tuesday 7th Feb 2017 and it was a great success! Excellent attendance and engaging input into the topic left us feeling that we are on the right track and that we should be thinking deeper about underground space. A thank you for our speakers, all support we received from our endorsement groups and our sponsors:
    BASF, Bekaert Maccaferri, CH2M, Dr. Sauer & Partners
    Weston Williamson + Partners, Urben, Blue Dot Media


    Farringdon tour

    On 6 September 2016 Think Deep UK members and guests undertook a tour of the Crossrail construction site at Frarringdon Station.  This was a privileged opportunity to see the station at an advanced stage of construction but well ahead of public access. After an informative tour led by BFK, the group enjoyed drinks and continued their discussion at a nearby pub hosted by Dr. Sauer & Partners. 

    Geothermal power in Reykjavik 

    Iceland’s capital is trying to become the world’s first carbon neutral city by 2040. By reducing urban sprawl and encouraging more walking and cycling, the city hopes to build on progress already made in reducing carbon -  with all of Reykjavík’s houses already using geo-thermal heating and hydroelectricity.

    Clyde Workshop

    Think Deep UK is supporting the International Society of City and Regional Planners and International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association's Committee on Underground Space to host a workshop in Glasgow 23 - 28 October 2016 for integration of above and below ground infrastructure and urban design in the redevelopment of Clyde Waterfront.

    Burying a planning disaster

    Like many cities, Rochdale in New York is trying to salvage it's urban fabric from a legacy of 1950s freeway construction. Working with the Every Place Counts Design Challenge, the city is trying to follow the lead of cities like Boston and Seoul (above), to create quality public spaces by relocating roads underground. 

    Why are the streets always under construction?

    With great illustrations by Eiko Ojala, Emily Rueb explores the labyrinth of aging infrastructure beneath New York's busy streets, describing the city as a subterranean layer cake.


    Basement Tax

    The City of Westminster are introducing a levy to planning applications for residential basement extensions.  Under the emerging policy, applicants will need to pay approximately £8,000 - £30,000 for environmental health officers to monitor construction impacts such as traffic, noise and subsidence.