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

Global Undergrounds Exploring Cities Within Paul Dobraszczyk, Carlos López Galvis, Bradley L. Garrett, with a preface by Geoff Manaugh

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

‘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

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

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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 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), Iron, Ornament and Architecture in Victorian Britain (2014), London’s Sewers (2014), and Into the Belly of the Beast: Exploring London’s Victorian Sewers (2009), and co-editor (with Peter Sealy) of Iron Architecture in the Long Nineteenth Century (2016).