Hong Kong engineers want to expand the city by building parts of it underground

While other cities grow by building out or up, Hong Kong is looking to increase its usable space by building down. An urban planning initiative is exploring the possibility of burying some of the city's more unsightly facilities underground, freeing the above-ground land for future development.

Hong Kong's Civil Engineering and Development Department is currently undertaking the Enhanced Use of Underground Space in Hong Kong initiative, which will encourage cavern development beneath the city. City engineers will examine which rocky areas would be suitable for construction, and if it proves feasible, less attractive necessities like the city's sewage treatment plants, fuel storage depots, and refuse transfer stations could eventually be moved underground, and parking garages, sports venues, and a civic center could follow. Presumably, the newly cleared land could be used to create more precious apartment space, or for more attractive public spaces.

The initiative is taking its cues from earlier rock cavern projects in Finland, Norway, and Singapore, and perhaps we'll eventually see other cities sending their urban planning ventures underground. But I wonder how the city's civic workers will feel about their new subterranean jobs. Perhaps those departments will have to start posting job listings for molemen.

Enhanced Use of Underground Space in Hong Kong [via BLDGBLOG]