The geosciences have an important but often underappreciated part to play in securing sustainable and resilient global cities.
Our towns and cities have evolved to exploit the urban subsurface in a multitude of different ways — for example, water supply, transport tunnels and basements — and each is influenced by its individual geological setting. To help unlock the value of the ground we need to understand its multiple and complementary uses to avoid potential conflicts, manage risks and evaluate competition for space and function.
BGS Urban Geoscience provides solutions for urban land-use planning and sustainable development. We adopt an integrated approach to research, working alongside city planners, engineers, developers and academia to develop new techniques and methods to understand the complex processes that occur in the ground beneath our towns and cities.
Our primary areas of activity are:
- provision of geoscience data and information for urban planning in support of policy, legislation and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 11 (sustainable cities and communities)
- characterisation of ground conditions for major infrastructure projects to support options appraisal and analysis of risk
- development of methods for sustainable management and use of urban subsurface space, including approaches for 3D and 4D geological characterisation
- evaluation of anthropogenic pressures and interactions in urban environments
The BGS has developed a new tool to help understand the ground conditions and estimate likely costs of remediating brownfield sites. The tool can be used by councils across the country to help the planning process. It has the potential to save the construction industry millions of pounds and increase buyer confidence for those considering the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
Subsurface information is tricky to access unless you know what you are doing and the consequences for getting it wrong can be disastrous. Project Iceberg aims to remedy this situation.
Stephanie explores the ideas emerging from a session at the 2015 Royal Geographical Society conference and the mix of social perspectives and practical applications.
With eight grand challenges, five bold future visions and 200 co-creators, the UK Water Partnership opened the debate on water for our future cities.
Reconnecting the city: historic urban landscape and the role of geology by Deodato Tapete
In his book review, Deodato Tapete, a former applied urban geologist at the BGS, examines the current challenges and opportunities for the historic urban landscape in future cities.
- Urban geoscience brochure
- A handy Sustainable Drainage Systems guide for developers
- Project Iceberg: breaking new ground for future cities
- Thought pieces for the GO-Science Foresight Future of Cities project: Future Cities: development underground (6.16MB pdf)
- Investing in urban underground space — maximising the social benefits — Think Deep UK Blue Paper (Bricker et al.) (3.2MB pdf)
- Pathways and pitfalls to better suburban planning
If you want to discover more then please contact Stephanie Bricker.