Vision

To Create a Coherent, Connected, High Quality and Vibrant Network of Underground Space

Objectives

The Study aims to evaluate the overall opportunities and challenges of underground space development in the four SUAs including Tsim Sha Tsui West, Causeway Bay and Happy Valley, and Admiralty/Wan Chai. Through examination of the development opportunities and challenges in the SUAs based on "area-based" spatial strategies, suitable underground space developments will be identified for preliminary planning and technical assessments. The Study will also formulate a master plan for underground space.

Harnessing Opportunities of Utilising Underground Space

Enhancing Living Environment
Underground spaces can be used to relocate existing above-ground facilities, thereby releasing the valuable surface land for more beneficial and compatible land uses.
Improving Pedestrian Connectivity
Underground spaces connecting buildings and developments create additional passageways to relieve the congested pedestrian and traffic situation at above-ground as well as provide all-weather and seamless pedestrian connections.
Creating Space
Underground space developments offer good opportunities to create new spaces for uses beneficial to the community such as commercial, recreational, art and community facilities, etc.
Underground Space Examples

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"Examples of Urban Underground Space Development Slideshow"

Paris"

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Example of Urban Underground Space Development

Underground Space Examples

Making reference to examples in different parts of the world may provide inspirations for identifying the potential of underground space developments in the four SUAs

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Key Considerations for Underground Space Development

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Geotechnical, Structural and Infrastructural Constraints
closeDue consideration will have to be given to the existing ground conditions, foundations of structures, drainage / sewage pipes, water mains, box culverts, etc, in assessing the feasibility of underground space development.
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Interface with Existing Underground Uses including Basements, MTR Stations and Tunnels
closeConnecting underground space developments with MTR stations and basement of existing buildings could provide an alternative routing to the above-ground pedestrian network. Nevertheless, on the basis that railway operation should not be affected, some railway facilities (including MTR stations and tunnels) will impose constraints on the design of underground spaces to a certain extent. At the same time, the capacity of relevant MTR stations and the additional pedestrian flow should also be taken into consideration, to avoid imposing unacceptable burden on the MTR stations.
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Fire Safety
closeFire safety is of paramount concerns. Adequate air ventilation and means of escape / access must be provided to satisfy the technical and statutory requirements. However, the associated facilities may also take up some above-ground space, which may affect the existing ground facilities to a certain extent.
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Financial Viability: Construction, Operation and Maintenance Costs and Recovery Period
closeFinancial viability is an important consideration. While underground space development will create additional space, with the need to overcome a series of technical constraints, the development cost for underground space would generally be higher. Construction costs, operation and maintenance expenses, as well as the direct revenues or indirect economic benefits that may be generated from the developments are crucial considerations. The likely very large upfront investment and long financial recovery period are key concerns.
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Land Ownership and Town Planning Issues
closeThe implementation of comprehensive and integrated underground network may involve various land uses at different land stratum and interface with public and private projects. The potential implications in respect of land use planning, land ownership, property management, planning and building control, etc. are subjects for consideration.
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Implementation Arrangement
closeTaking into consideration the nature of the use of underground spaces, financial viability and land ownership pattern, the implementation arrangement, be it public, private, or public-private partnership, has to be carefully decided. Balancing the public interest, some mandatory requirements and/or incentives schemes may have to be introduced to encourage private sector participation with a view to creating a comprehensive and integrated underground space.
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Impact to Above-ground Facilities/Activities
closeUnderground space development may affect the above-ground facilities and activities, e.g. trees and major events held in the parks. However, we will avoid the impacts on mature trees and events held within the parks as far as possible. Additional traffic induced by the underground space development may also aggravate the congested road conditions of the areas. For the underground car parks, in particular coach parking, the access ramp may inevitably affect some above-ground facilities.
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Traffic and Social Impacts during Construction Stage
closeAlthough phasing of works and innovative construction technologies could be adopted to minimise the impact to the community, the disruption to the usage of above-ground facilities and potentially long road closure during construction stage cannot be avoided. Underground space is normally constructed by the open-cut method. Constrained by the complicated at-grade urban setting, the underground mining method can be adopted in some areas to minimise the impact to the surface facilities. However, excavation of pits at ground level will still be required with a longer construction period.