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. There’s 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
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).