The global trend of urbanization requires an increased demand for reliable infrastructure in urban land. The lack of buildable space in urban areas has been resolved traditionally by skyscrapers and sometimes, the location of new development is shifted to the outside of the central city due to the lower density and property values. However, longer distance between the traditional city center and the new developed area requires additional infrastructure to support the networks.
Urbanization allows economic and social development as well as an opportunity to lessen the impact of consumption and production on the environment. However, the urbanization and denser city plans do not always create the successful sustainable urban development. The key function of a city is to enable exchange, interaction and the combination and recombination of people and ideas. Although denser cities are more productive, innovative and energy efficient, when buildings become so massive, this key function of the city can disappear (Florida). While skyscrapers can be the significant element of the big cities, it can be intriguing to consider buildings downwards instead of upwards because it saves ground space by providing extra spaces as well as bringing visibility back to the pedestrian level.
This thesis will argue how necessary it is to develop the subterranean space within the urban contexts which will establish an alternative solution for urban design problems. This research will create a design framework for subterranean public space which leverages existing underground spaces, such as subway stations in New York City, to create a space that contributes to its aboveground environment that is currently neglecting a significant relationship with above ground spaces. The result of this thesis is to design a subterranean public space that provides an extra space with an access to multiple services.
Department, Program, or Center
Lee, Junghwa, "Urban Subterranean Space: A link between a ground level public space and underground infrastructure" (2018). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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