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Rest your eyes long enough on the skylines of Delhi, Guangzhou, Jakarta—even Chicago or London—and you will see the same remarkable transformation, building after building going up with the breakneck speed of twenty-first-century urbanization. But there is something else just as transformative that you won’t see: sprawling networks of tunnels rooting these cities into the earth. Global Undergrounds offers a richly illustrated exploration of these subterranean spaces, charting their global reach and the profound—but often unseen—effects they have on human life.
The authors shine their headlamps into an astonishing diversity of manmade underground environments, including subway systems, sewers, communications pipelines, storage facilities, and even shelters. There they find not only an extraordinary range of architectural approaches to underground construction but also a host of different cultural meanings. Underground places can evoke fear or hope; they can serve as sites of memory, places of work, or the hidden headquarters of resistance movements. They are places that can tell a city’s oldest stories or foresee its most distant futures. They are places—ultimately—of both incredible depth and breadth, crucial to all of us topside who work as urban planners, geographers, architects, engineers, or any of us who take subway trains or enjoy fresh water from a faucet. Indeed, as the authors demonstrate, the constant flux within urban undergrounds—the nonstop circulation of people, substances, and energy—serves all city dwellers in myriad ways, not just with the logistics of day-to-day life but as a crucial part of a city’s mythology. 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781780235769
Publisher: Reaktion Books, Limited
Publication date: 05/15/2016
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 1,242,489
Product dimensions: 6.60(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Paul Dobraszczyk is a visiting lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture and the author of Into the Belly of the Beast and Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain. Carlos López Galviz is a lecturer in the theories and methods of social futures at Lancaster University and coeditor of Going Underground. Bradley L. Garrett is a social geographer at the University of Southampton and the author of Explore Everything and Subterranean London.

Table of Contents

Preface: Global Undergrounds Geoff Manaugh 9

Introduction: Exploring Cities Within Paul Dobraszczyk Carlos López Galviz Bradley L. Garrett 14


Taming the Quagmire: Cloaca Maxima, Rome

Journey of an Underground Army: Xi'an

Protective Labyrinths: Sint Petersburg Tunnels, Maastricht

A Skiff, Fish and Wells: Basilica Cistern, Istanbul

Old, Deep and Discreet: Cappadocia's Underground Cities

Under Kingdom: The Layers of Mexico City

Labour 40

Absurd Space: Williamson Tunnels, Liverpool

Hidden Labour: Broad Street Subway, Philadelphia

Salt of a Mining Cathedral: Zipaquirá, Colombia

Human Life Underground: Vale un Potosí, Bolivia

Infrastructural Fetishism: York Metro Extension, Toronto

Wares, Rights and Stars: Delhi's Metro and Bazar

Dwelling 56

Underground Outback: Coober Pedy, Australia

Beneath the Neon: Flood Channels, Las Vegas

Death Squads and Firebombs: Sewers of Bogotá

Mateship Below: Melbourne Drains

Class Dividers: Lower Wacker Drive, Chicago

Diggers and Deserters: Odessa Catacombs

Refuse 72

Into the Vortex: Brighton Sewers

Waste and Work: New York City Sewers

Lost Undergrounds: Atlantic Avenue Tunnel, New York

Repressed Wastes: London's Sewers

Burying Incomprehensible Horror: Yucca Mountain Nuclear Storage

Memory 88

Sinking Histories: Berlin's S- and U-Balm Tunnels

Bunker Art: Christian and Karen Boros Collection, Berlin

Bedrock Memories: Nottingham's Caves

Remembering the Map; Prestwich Memorial, Cape Town

Underground Clouds: Hong Kong Data Centres

Mirror of History: Berlin's Water lower


Haunted Spaces: Edinburgh's Medieval Vaults

Visiting the Dead: London's Victorian Catacombs

Temporal Disjunctions: Abandoned London Underground

Adopting the Dead: Fontanelle Cemetery, Naples

Communist Ghosts: Plovdiv Seismological Lab

Orpheus in the Air-raid Shelter: Underground Theatre, Prague

Fear 120

Striving Underground: Stockholm's Atomic Bomb Defences

Sheltered Lives: Shanghai Civil Defence Shelters

Remote Shelter: Andersgrotta, Norway

Defence of the Nation: National Redoubt, Switzerland

Undergrounds at War: London's Second World War Bunkers

Tortoises, Oranges and Giant Tunnels: Bunkers, Albania

Subsurface Terror: Tokyo Chikatetsu

Security 140

Dark Tourism and Data Dumps: Reusing Missile Silos in the American West

Subterranean Insurgency: Joint Tunnel Test Range, Arizona

Sent Down: Oxford's Prison Tunnels

Under Control; Metro, Santiago de Chile

Crossing Borders: Tijuana and San Diego

Vertical War Zones: Gaza Tunnels

Resistance 155

Insurgent Strongholds: The 'Hidden City' of Viengxay

Defensible Spaces: The Underground Cities of Kinmen and Matsu

Ideology and Fear: Prague Metro

Intractable Histories: Moscow's Secret River

Reverse Modernization: Saw Mill River, New York City

Remaindered Flows: The Irk Culvert, Manchester

Renderings 174

Subterranean Sublimes: Roden Crater, Arizona

Remaindered Spaces: Manchester's Air-raid Shelters

Under Construction: Buenos Aires Subte

Cinematic Space: Vienna's Sewers and The Third Man

Remaking the Map: Golden Acre, Cape Town

Encountering Undergrounds: Levitated Mass, Los Angeles

Cameras and Cleaning Balls: Paris Sewers

Exposure 196

As Above, So Below: Paris Catacombs

Cracks in the System: Antwerp Pre-metro

Urban Layers: Athens

Secret City: Burlington, Wiltshire

Under the Ice: Polar Undergrounds

The City and the City: Underground Seattle

Edges 213

Urban Rhythms: St Petersburg Metro

Unruly Spaces: Cairo Metro

Edge of Existence: Abandoned Bratislava Metro

Mystic Caverns: Grand Central Terminal, New York

Buried Waterways: Brescia Underground

Off the Map: Cape Town Tunnels

Futures 231

Futures Past: Pyongyang Metro

Sleeping Dragons: Future Ruins of CERN

Segregating Symbols: Dubai's Metro

The Great Society: Washington's Metro

Slow Modernity: Sofia Metro

Time Underground: The Clock of the Long Now

After the End: Svalbard Global Seed Vault

References 253

Notes on Contributors 270

Photo Acknowledgements 275

What People are Saying About This

Robert Macfarlane

Global Undergrounds takes us fascinatingly deep into the unknown worlds of the urban subterrane: the hidden zones where we store, hide, secure, repress, bury and extract. For a book so concerned with darkness, it dazzles in its curiosity, wit and knowledge. This bunker-Baedeker opens a new vision of the city to us - the vertical city, extending far above our heads and far below our feet.”

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