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.
‘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
Paul Dobraszczyk is a writer and researcher based in Manchester. He is the author of Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain (2014) and Into the Belly of the Beast: Exploring London’s Victorian Sewers (2009). Carlos López Galviz is a lecturer and research fellow at the School of Advanced Study, University of London. He is the co-editor of Going Underground: New Perspectives (2013). Bradley L. Garrett is a social geographer at the University of Southampton. His books include Explore Everything: Place-hacking the City (2013) and Subterranean London: Cracking the Capital (2014).