SUB Sustainable use of underground space

The underground space is a resource which can offer different types of functions and services, e.g. abstraction of groundwater for multiple purposes, storage of e.g. heat or cold, underground constructions and foundation of buildings. The Swedish Planning and Building Act is guiding the planning process on the land surface, but offers little support with regard to the subsurface. The overall aim of the project is to identify opportunities of increasing the use of subsurface engineering information early in the urban and infrastructure planning phases in order to: 1) improve the possibilities of identifying cost-effective and sustainable solutions with regard to subsurface conditions, 2) sort out the rights for underground developments and 3D properties and 3) make recommendations for future policies and instruments of planning for sustainable use of underground space in Sweden. The specific objectives of the proposed project are: (i) to investigate the opportunities for better integration of subsurface conditions into the Swedish planning process; and (ii) to provide a framework for municipalities for sustainable subsurface planning and management.

Keywords: Subsurface planning, urban underground space, subsurface conditions, sustainability, decision support

The project is carried out at the division of geology and geotechnics, research group Environmental geology – land and water resources, department of architecture and civil engineering.

Partner organizations

  • Tyréns, Gothenburg (Private, Sweden)
  • Luleå University of Technology (Academic, Sweden)
  • Swedish Transport Administration (Public, Sweden)
  • BeFo - Rock engineering research foundation (Public, Sweden)
  • Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU) (Public, Sweden)
  • Boverket (Public, Sweden)
  • Swedish Geotechnical Institute (SGI) (Research Institute, Sweden)
Start date 01/07/2016
End date The project is closed: 31/08/2021

Funded by

  • Formas (Public, Sweden)
  • BeFo - Rock engineering research foundation (Public, Sweden)
​Fact sheet
SUB fact sheet 2017-08-10 

Related project
Balance 4P:​

Cooperation with the project Sustainable underground space planning (not official translation) by the Swedish Geological Survey:​​

The project is a cooperation with the Swedish transport administration and the Swedish Board of Housing and Planning

International organizations/committees working with use of underground space:

ITACUS: International Tunnelling and Underground Space Association’s Committee on Underground Space:

ACUUS: Associated research Centers for the Urban Underground Space:

Page manager Published: Wed 26 Jan 2022.