Press Release

September 23, 2020

AECOM and Lund Humphries release Underground Cities: New Frontiers in Urban Living, a book exploring the new potential of underground spaces for human civilization


Underground Cities journeys across continents and into the future to explore the new capacity and experiences of subterranean space through lenses ranging from architecture and geotechnical engineering to digital innovation, social science and policy-making

HONG KONG (Sept. 23, 2020) — AECOM, the world’s premier infrastructure consulting firm, today in partnership with Lund Humphries as publisher, announced the joint launch of their new book entitled Underground Cities: New Frontiers in Urban Living.

“In a world that is facing rapid urbanization, especially in Asia Pacific, as well as climate change and an ongoing global pandemic, AECOM is driving vital innovation in thinking about the subsurface of our cities, from being the engine room of the city, to being a solution for future space, resiliency and liveability,” says Sean Chiao, President, Asia Pacific, AECOM.

Global in scope, Underground Cities journeys across continents and into the future, to explore the new capacity and experiences that the subterranean space can provide for our increasingly urbanized world. It reflects on the excitement generated by pneumatic technologies, rewinds to the utopian techno-futurism of the 1960s and fast-forwards, taking in the latest advances in technology that are allowing us to map and construct underground space in new ways to vastly expand this layer of our cities.  It also addresses the effects ― psychological and physical ― of spending extended periods underground.

The book serves as a novel public expo. In a strategically curated compilation of over twenty articles from diverse contributors, including technical specialists from AECOM, underground space is explored through distinct, yet complementary, lenses ranging from architecture and geotechnical engineering to digital innovation, social science and policy-making.

John Endicott, Technical Editor and AECOM Fellow, explains that “the viability of expanding urban underground space as an integral element of the city is a matter of when, not if, as the technical know-how has been available for some time, waiting for the world to be ready.”

Co-editor Nancy Lin, Head of Strategy and Growth for Asia Pacific, AECOM, says. “Through Underground Cities, we bring together the biggest ideas ― past, present and future ― from across industries to engage in a dialogue in one space, at a fascinating place in time ― when technology and people are finally ready for a realistic discussion about the possibilities that exist for us below ground.”

Co-editor, Pamela Johnston adds, “New technology is paving the way for this new kind of underground space – one that is open to a riotous incursion of nature, that generates its own distinct atmospheres, with its own material aesthetics and qualities of light”.

As the coronavirus pandemic challenges our traditional concepts of what constitutes healthy and safe space ― Underground Cities is a timely invitation to think strategically about the largely untapped urban subsurface. Val Rose, Commissioning Editor for Architecture and Design at Lund Humphries shares, “We are delighted to be publishing this beautiful and fascinating volume on the world’s underground cities. In revealing how new ideas and technologies are transforming the ways we build and inhabit underground space, it makes an important contribution to the vitally important debates taking place about the future of our cities and how to make them more resilient and pleasurable to live in.”

Learn more about Underground Cities here.

The book is now available for purchase on the Lund Humphries U.K. site and for pre-order on their U.S. site.

About AECOM 

AECOM is the world’s premier infrastructure consulting firm, delivering professional services throughout the project lifecycle – from planning, design and engineering to program and construction management. We partner with our clients in the public and private sectors to solve their most complex challenges and build legacies for generations to come. On projects spanning transportation, buildings, water, governments, energy and the environment, our teams are driven by a common purpose to deliver a better world. AECOM is a Fortune 500 firm and its Professional Services business had revenue of approximately $13.6 billion in fiscal year 2019. See how we deliver what others can only imagine at and @AECOM.

Media Contacts:
Rebecca Lam
Director, Marketing & Communications, Asia Pacific

+852 3922 8998