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234 × 168 × 20 mm
280 pages
86 illustrations, 75 in colour
01 May 2016

Global Undergrounds Exploring Cities Within Carlos López Galvis, Bradley L. Garrett, Paul Dobraszczyk, Paul Dobraszczyk

Over the last two centuries, the world’s cities have undergone dramatic vertical, above-ground transformations. But at the same time, they have sunk themselves into the ground, in the form of sprawling tendons of tunnels, caverns and bunkers – conduits for transport, utilities and communication or spaces of shelter and storage. Global Undergrounds charts the global reach of urban underground spaces, collecting 80 stories of subterranean sites around the world to reveal the profound – but often unseen – ways they have changed our lives.

Illustrated with breath-taking photographs, this book exposes the remarkable diversity of manmade underground environments, from their astonishing range of architectural approaches to the many cultural meanings they carry, whether as places of hope, fear, memory, labour or political resistance. Undergrounds 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, serving city dwellers not just with the logistics of day-to-day life but as crucial parts of a city’s mythology.

‘well worth dipping into for its worldwide take on the sheer variety of ways we humans have spun our subterranean webs . . . These underground stories remind us that buried spaces are places of protection as well as of the fearfully unknown, of hope and of political resistance, of science as well as persistent chthonic mythology. Theres always a quirky and sometimes a grisly journey to be had beneath our streets.’ — London Evening Standard

Global Undergrounds serves as a catalog that positions 80 underground sites of urban, suburban, and rural development, and most segments offer a connection to the culture of the present and the past . . . Diverse authors offer approaches as academics, official visitors, tourists, or adventurers, engaging with spaces and places that usually remain hidden from both sight and mind.’ — Popmatters

‘treats the subject properly and carefully the editors acknowledge that this is a world not often seen, one hidden to nearly all, yet one which holds a fascination for anyone who wonders what lies beneath their feet. It is done extremely well, specially as the layout is appealing, being enriched with colour photographs of sometimes obscure underground places it is a book to dip into that becomes difficult not to dip into the next section of engaging text . . . Cavers, mine historians and urban explorers will all enjoy this read . . . a substantial and attractive book book with diversity as its major strength.’ — Descent Magazine

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.’ — Robert Macfarlane, author of Landmarks and The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot

‘The volume takes a unique shape, composed of eighty brief essays, each around two pages, from twenty-six contributors. Their geographic reach is truly global, touching every continent. Each contribution analyzes an underground site, memorably and often personally, in a style that varies from autobiographical to journalistic or ethnographic, which strongly suggests travel narrative. The book is richly illustrated with color images, mostly photographs by the contributors. Though not as systematic as an encyclopedia, the collection was similarly assembled from voluntary contributions. More scholarly than an atlas or travel guide but equally attuned to particular spaces, places, and their various social uses and meanings, the book could well inspire travel or urban exploration.’ — H-Urban

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Carlos López Galviz is a lecturer and research fellow at the Institute for Social Futures at Lancaster University. He is the co-editor of Going Underground: New Perspectives (2013).

Bradley L. Garrett is research fellow in the School of Geosciences at the University of Sydney. His books include Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City (2013) and Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital (2014).

Paul Dobraszczyk is a researcher and writer and a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He is the author of The Dead City: Urban Ruins and the Spectacle of Decay (2017) and Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain (2014), and co-editor of Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within (Reaktion, 2016).

Paul Dobraszczyk is a researcher and writer and a teaching fellow at the Bartlett School of Architecture, London. He is the author of The Dead City: Urban Ruins and the Spectacle of Decay (2017) and Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain (2014), and co-editor of Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within (Reaktion, 2016).


Global Undergrounds

Geoff Manaugh


Exploring Cities Within

Paul Dobraszcyk, Carlos Lopez Galviz and Bradley L. Garrett


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


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


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


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


Sinking Histories: Berlin’s S- and U-Bahn 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 Tower


Haunted Spaces: Edinburgh’s Medieval Vaults

Visiting the Dead: London’s Victorian Catacombs

Temporal Disjunctions: Abandoned London Underground

Adopting the Dead: Fontanelle Cementery, Naples

Communist Ghosts: Plovdiv Seismological Lab

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


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

Surface Terror: Tokyo Chikatetsu


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


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


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


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


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 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


Notes on Contributors

Photo Acknowledgements