Urban areas worldwide have been continuously gaining in importance the last decades. They represent the heartbeat, the pulse of humanity and our civilization. The demographic data foresee that urbanization will continue stronger in the future.
Cities and metropolises are growing at an accelerating pace, attracting more people and economic activities. However, growth comes at a cost. Today, urban areas face complex and ever-growing problems that deteriorate their environmental quality and threaten their sustainability and resilience. Our organization, ACUUS has always been in the forefront, shaping a better future for urban areas. We believe that modern cities and especially megacities in the 21st century can be sustainable if, and only if, they are underground, to a certain extent.
Next year, ACUUS celebrates its 25 years anniversary. We take pride in our multidisciplinary character that has enabled us to act as an international "think tank" in urban underground development. We consider one of our strengths our ability to constantly adapt to new conditions. We are a group of pioneers, “out of the box” thinkers, always willing to welcome newcomers, ready to learn and share new experiences, to change the world, without hard hierarchy or strong private interests. Nevertheless, we strongly believe in sharing our ideas with people that strive for the same goals.
We foster productive collaborations and strategic alliances with key players internationally. The MoU's we have signed with the UN-Habitat, the City of Shanghai (SMEDI), the ITA and the City of St. Petersburg, to mention only few of them, serve as proof of our commitment to establish partnerships amongst various stakeholders, and the key role ACUUS plays regarding underground development in urban areas. In addition, our working groups and committees work hard to provide innovative and efficient solutions in certain subjects such as underground infrastructure (ACUUS-URBAN), urban geology (ACUUS-GEO), fire and safety, etc.
ACUUS has also been interested in new ideas and fresh inspiration, especially from young engineers. To this end, we are running a Youth-Group office in Asia in collaboration with the Shandong University. Furthermore, we recently signed a MoU with the Young Earth Scientists network (YES) that will enable us to have direct discussions, joint activities and cooperation with young engineers and geoscientists from around the world.
You can always find out what is trending in the ACUUS world by browsing our website. It contains a large volume of information regarding our activities and our people. Moreover, our members have access to a valuable asset of our organization: the proceedings of our conferences since 1996. Our Newsletter service and ScoopIt! provide insights and up-to-date information to our members regarding major underground projects, innovative solutions and advances in the field.
The world has been on a rollercoaster the last two years because of the COVID19 pandemic. The year 2021 is coming to an end in a few days and we all hope that we will soon see the light at the end of the tunnel. ACUUS will spare no effort in resuming its activities and developing new initiatives in order to make our urban areas a better place.
With these last words, I invite you to join the experts of the urban underground space and become an ACUUS member.