Associated research Centers for Urban Underground Space 

ACUUS is an international, non-governmental organization incorporated in Canada in 1996, but was created in 1983 in Australia

ACUUS mission

  • International exchange among the world community of planners, architects, geo-engineers, lawyers, builders and investors, scholars and researchers, decision-makers, stakeholders, public (government) and private agencies, and other professionals involved or having the interest in the urban underground space.
  • ACUUS aims at sharing among them the questions and answers of “Why to”, the “Where to”, the “When to” as well as the “what is the impact of”, instead of only focusing on the “How to” when it is time to develop in the underground space.
  • ACUUS is an international ‘Think Tank’ for the underground space 
  • ACUUS is independent and financed only by members
  • ACUUS has Institutional and Individual members in 18 countries. The Institutional members are associations, research centers, public bodies and private firms. Some counts many hundreds of experts.

Our Services to members

  • Biennale conferences since 1983
  • Website & members’ section (all Conference Proceedings)  
  • Daily news on the underground on Scoopit! 
  • Weekly e-newsletter

Our Projects / Committees / M.o.U.:

  • MoU with UN-HABITAT (building capacity)
  • MoU with YESS, the Young Earth System Scientists
  • Underground Atlas (National Technical University of Athens)
  • Multi-language Lexicon (SMEDI, Shanghai) 
  • Working Group on Regulations and recommendations regarding safety in underground space (CETU, France)
  • Working Group on underground infrastructure (ACUUS-URBAN, China)
  • Working Group Urban Geology and Underground Space (WG-GEO, China)
  • Youth Group (Y-G)


Introduction of the General manager of ACUUS

From the perspective of humankind development history, the 19th century was marked by bridge building and development, and the 20th century was dominated by ground building and development. However, the 21st century is now the century of underground space development and utilization. In the past 30 years, underground engineering has been developing in a large scale, deeper stratum, complex environment and extensive field. Acquiring space, resources and security from underground is the inevitable demand and trend of the modernization development of all countries and regions in the world. High-quality development and sustainable utilization of underground space has become an international consensus.

On the UN-Habitat side, the underground space has been introduced for the first time in THE CITY WE NEED 2.0 “Towards a New Urban Paradigm” in 2016, as a DRIVER OF CHANGE: “The city we need has planned underground infrastructure for city utilities, underground transportation and underground public spaces that are well connected with each other. This infrastructure needs to be well managed and recorded and information made accessible to avoid potential conflicts of use and disruption of services.” The urbanization concentrated in cities poses massive sustainability challenges. The urban underground space is part of the solution to implement the NEW URBAN AGENDA and contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and targets in making cities resilient and sustainable.

As part of our collaboration with UN-Habitat, we are going to concretize the engagement of local governments and capacity-building strategies we have with local and international experts by joint activities. It will also contribute to make this planet a better place by 2030.

Consequently, our expected outcomes with the Helsinki conference are:

  1. Attract interest for the planned and sustainable utilization of the urban underground space to allow improvement in development of modern megacities, intercept tendencies of unplanned subsurface use, alleviate present and future congestions in services, facilities and utilities development, and resolve lack of free space in modern megacities; 
  2. Enhance the international cooperation and exchange among the world community of experts and professionals involved in the development of the urban underground space. 
  3. Enhance the awareness of local, national and international decision-makers regarding the importance of planning the sustainable planning and use of the subsurface space.


Jacques Besner, General Manager of ACUUS


ACUUS past Conferences

  1. Sydney, 1983: ''Energy efficient buildings with earth shelter protection''
  2. Minneapolis, 1986: ''Advances in geotectural design: Second International earth sheltered buildings Conference''
  3. Shanghai, 1988: ''New developments of underground space use''. Tongji University
  4. Tokyo, 1991: ''Urban Underground Utilization '91: 4th International Conference on underground space and earth sheltered buildings''. Underground Space Center of Japan (USJ)
  5. Delft, 1992: ''International Conference on Underground Space and Earth Sheltered Structures''. Delft University
  6. Paris, 1995: ''Underground Space and Urban Planning''. Laboratoire Théorie des Mutations Urbaines, Institut Francais d'Urbanisme
  7. Montreal, 1997: ''Underground Space: Indoor Cities of Tomorrow". City of Montreal
  8. Xi'An, 1999: ''Agenda and Prospect of the Underground Space for the Turn of the Century''. Xi'An University of Architecture and Technology
  9. Torino, 2002: "Urban Underground Space: a Resource for Cities". Politecnico di Torino
  10. Moscow, 2005: "Underground Space: Economy and Environment". Moscow State University of Civil Engineering
  11. Athens, 2007: "Underground Space: Expanding the Frontiers", National Technical University of Athens
  12. Shenzhen, 2009: "Using the Underground of Cities: for a Harmonious and Sustainable Urban Environment", Shenzhen Municipal Government & Underground Space Sub-society of CSRME
  13. Singapore, 2012: “Underground Space Development – Opportunities and Challenges”, SRM (Singapore) and the Protective Technology Research Centre of Nanyang Technological University
  14. Seoul, 2014: “Underground Space: Planning, Administration and Design Challenges”, Research Center for Urban Underground Space (RCUUS) and Korea Institute of Building Construction 
  15. Saint Petersburg, 2016: "Underground Urbanisation as a prerequiste for Sustainable Development", Association of Underground Builders
  16. Hong Kong, 2018: " Integrated Underground Solutions for Compact Metropolitan Cities", Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) and Hong Kong Geotechnical Engineering Society




Gold Partners

Silver partners


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