ACUUS 2018 "Integrated Underground Solutions for Compacted Metropolitan Cities

5 - 7 November 2018, Hong Kong


Press Release

The 16th World Conference of the Associated Research Centers for the Urban Underground Space (ACUUS)  concluded successfully! 

More than 350 leading experts, scholars and professionals in the field of underground space development shared the experiences on the efficient use of underground space resources to provide effective integrated solutions with a view in addressing the different challenges of urban development.

The conference was jointly organised by ACUUS, the Geotechnical Division of The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) and the Hong Kong Geotechnical Society.

ACUUS is an international organisation which concentrates on research on urban underground space development. A world conference is held every two years to provide a platform for knowledge exchange and sharing of experiences on the applications of underground space and other technical subjects. This year, the conference has being held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre from 5 to 7 November, with the theme “Integrated Underground Solutions for Compact Metropolitan Cities”.

At the Opening Ceremony, the Permanent Secretary for Development (Works) of The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), Ir S H LAM, extended a warm welcome to the distinguished guests and speakers from all over the world. He said that the conference theme this year is of particular relevance to Hong Kong, which is a world-class city well-known for its compactness with embedded efficiency and effectiveness. He said he was delighted to see that over 110 papers had been received for the Conference from 24 countries. He also said that the insights, views, expert knowledge and experience that would be shared at the Conference could shed light on how Hong Kong can move forward to accomplish our goals and vision in areas of underground development in a smart and innovative manner.

Also officiating at the opening ceremony were the President of ACUUS, Professor Dimitris KALIAMPAKOS; Vice President of the HKIE, Ir Edwin CHUNG; and the Chairman of the Organising Committee, Mr Mark WALLACE.

The three-day conference comprises six keynote lectures, eight theme presentations, an expert panel session, and a series of parallel sessions, covering the past, present and future of underground space development in various dense urban cities. It also includes a number of multi-disciplinary subjects such as integrated planning, design and construction, innovation and technologies, risk and safety, human factors and communication. Many internationally renowned experts, scholars and stakeholders have been invited to be speakers, including Professor Qihu QIAN, Academician, Chinese Academy of Engineering, China; Mr Raymond LEE, Director of Planning, The Government of the HKSAR; Mr Eng Hwee LIM, Chief Executive Officer, Urban Redevelopment Authority, Singapore; Professor David MANGIN, Co-partner, SEURA Architects, France; Mr Ilkka VÄHÄAHO, Chairman of the Finnish Tunnelling Association International Activity Group, Finland; Ms Sanja ZLATANIC, Senior Vice President, HNTB Corporation, the US; Ir W K PUN, Head of the Geotechnical Engineering Office, The Government of the HKSAR; and Mr Han ADMIRAAL, Co-Chair of ITACUS.

For more information on the conference, please visit or contact the ACUUS 2018 Conference Secretariat at (852) 2852 2333.




Published April 7, 2015

The Associated Research Centers for the Urban Underground Space (ACUUS) joins the World Urban Campaign

ACUUS is an international ‘Think Thank’ for the underground space definition and planning initiatives with a continuous goal of broadening the membership across continents and countries. To achieve this, ACUUS hosted last year in Medellin, a networking event at the Seventh Session of the World Urban Forum, and signed a MOU of collaboration with UN-Habitat in September 2014, to promote the sustainable use of the underground space. Last October 2014, ACUUS participated to the Urban Thinkers Campus in Caserta, Italy, another initiative of UN-Habitat in preparation of Habitat III. 

As a result of those activities, the Associated Research Centers for the Urban Underground Space now joins forces with the World Urban Campaign. The Campain seeks to facilitate collaboration and bring people together to create a better and sustainable urban future for all. If you are interested to help us in that campaign, please contact the Secretariat.


Partners of the WUC:

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RIL Acuus2020 ppt slide web new dates



Due to the the spread of the COVID-19 and because the World Tunneling Congress WTC 2020 changed its congress date to September 11-17, we have decided to reschedule ACUUS 2020 Helsinki Conference.

ACUUS 2020 Helsinki Conference will be organized on February 2-4, 2021.

We wanted to react to the overlap of these two major events as soon as possible and we hope that the change of the date does not affect to your participation to the event. We are working hard to make the ACUUS 2020 Helsinki as succesful as possible and we now invite you to experience the real Finnish winter!

The abstract reviewing process will go on as planned and the notification emails will be sent during March! We are however opening the call for papers for new submissions.

Deadline for new submissions is now September 1, 2020.


Join the mailing list for ACUUS 2020 Helsinki Conference:

Theme of the Conference: “Deep Inspiration

Confirmed keynotes:

-     -  Wake-up call keynote: Peter Vesterbacka, FinEst Bay.

He is “the face” of the Helsinki – Tallinn tunnel project. Peter Vesterbacka is a global entrepreneur from the Heart of Eurasia, Helsinki, Finland. Branded communities co-created and initiated by Peter include the HP Bazaar, Mobile Monday, Slush and Startup Sauna to name a few. He was the Mighty Eagle at Angry Birds for many years taking that brand to unprecedented heights. Peter is also currently adjunct professor of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Tongji University, one of the leading universities in China. In 2011 Time Magazine named Peter one of the 100 most influential people on the planet.

Architectural / Design / Planning keynote: Tuomas Silvennoinen, Owner, Design director, PES-Architects Helsinki – Shanghai (

-     -  Underground infrastructure keynote: Jinxiu (Jenny) Yan, actual ITA President 

-     Pending requests regarding London Crossrail project and UN-Habitat

Scientific committee:

Mr. Ilkka Vähäaho has agreed to chair the Scientific Committee and also be the editor of the proceedings. Mr. Vähäaho graduated as a Civil Engineer from the Technical University of Helsinki, Finland in 1979. He has 40-year experience in foundation and rock engineering at the City of Helsinki and has been the Head of Geotechnics since 1997.


ACUUS 2020 Helsinki invites you to submit your abstract /  presentation proposal. You have two tracks to choose from:

 Scientific track 

Scientific submissions will go through two stage review process (abstract and full paper) and the final acceptance will be made based on the full papers. Accepted papers will be INDEXED and published via IOP Conference Series: Earth and Environmental Science. Full papers will be also published in the conference online programme

 Practical / Technical track

To encourage collaboration between the academia and industry, we organize also practical / technical sessions. Speakers of these sessions need only to submit a presentation proposal. Full paper is not required but it can be submitted for the online programme.



ACUUS 2016 in Saint Petersburg: the representatives of the authorities and professional community pay attention to underground urbanization development issues

The 15th World Conference of the Associated research Centers for the Urban Underground Space was held in Saint Petersburg, September 12-15, 2016.

This conference became one of the most significant events for the professional community. Welcoming it to Russia helped to attract attention of local authorities and the public at large to the issues of urban underground infrastructure development. 

Long established the ACUUS conferences take place once in two years in largest metropolises of the world.  Saint Petersburg held the conference for the first time. The main theme of the conference was “Underground Urbanisation as a Prerequisite for Sustainable Development”.

ACUUS 2016 Conference was supported by the Ministry of Construction of the Russian Federation, Saint Petersburg City Administration agencies, Saint Petersburg Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences, the largest Russian relevant organizations: National Association of Builders and National Association of Surveyors and Designers.

During the four days of the conference more than 600 participants from 34 countries got involved. Almost 200 abstracts were reviewed and 117 papers by the leading subject specialists were selected for the parallel sessions. Majority of the speakers arrived from foreign countries to share their experience, get to know Russian experience in underground space use.

The Chairman of the Government of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev sent his message to the participants of the ACUUS 2016 Conference. The Governor of Saint Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko and Vice Governor Igor Albin took part in the Opening ceremony.

Governor of St Petersburg Georgy Poltavchenko

As stated by Georgy Poltavchenko during his greeting speech at the opening ceremony, at present all the largest cities develop urban underground space because of the lack of areas. It allows preserving historic centers, efficiently solving traffic issues and improving environmental situation.  

Referring to the main theme of the ACUUS2016 conference the Governor highlighted its importance to the city of Saint Petersburg, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The historic center of the city, being in the UNESCO world heritage list, is unmatched by the total area and number of cultural heritage sites.  

“Our city not only represents the history carved into the stone, it is a living organism, metropolis with the population of five million people. It is in need of developing, maintaining work, moving with the times, improving infrastructure, creating comfortable urban environment” – noted Georgy Poltavchenko.  

In his closing remarks the Governor of Saint Petersburg emphasized how the underground project implementation needs thorough study and analyse as well as special attention from the State and professional community. 

The Bureau of the Conference  (left to right):  ACUUS President Dimitris Kaliampakos, ACUUS 2016 Organizing Committee Chairman  Sergey Alpatov, Vice Governor of St Petersburg Igor Albin, JSC “Metrostroy” general director Vadim Alexandrov, The Committee for Transport Infrastructure Development of St Petersburg Chairman Sergey Kharlashkin, ACUUS general manager Jacques Besner  

At the Plenary Session the Vice Governor of St Petersburg Igor Albin delivered the keynote address “Metro system as a prerequisite for transport infrastructure development and comprehensive underground space use of Saint Petersburg”.  

He noted that worldwide experience shows that the construction of metro system successfully solves transport and social issues of the metropolis, creating basis for the comprehensive underground space development.  

Interchange hubs, pedestrian passages, shopping and entertainment centers and recreation areas being relocated underground, increase the comfort and safety of living. Thereby the metro systems represent urban development function, influence the city planning.  

In his report Dimitris Kaliampakos, the ACUUS President, professor of the National Technical University of Athens, gave an insight to the history of urban underground space development. While comparing the metropolis with the living organism, he emphasized that the beauty and health are defined by almost not visible city services development and improvement of transport infrastructure, supporting its vital activities.

More than 600 participants from 34 countries

Within the parallel session the key topics were discussed including urban planning, symbiotic relation between underground infrastructure and ground base development, metro systems and integrated interchange hubs future developments. Specialists considered advantages of underground construction for disaster risk reduction, geotechnical surveys progress, trenchless technologies development prospects. The conference concluded with the following  technical tours: underground metro stations “Prospect Slavy”, “Novokrestovskaya”, “Sportivnaya” and  underground construction sites of the Western High-Speed Diameter.

The Conference ACUUS 2016 provided further evidence that the underground space development not affected by lack of technologies or funding, but relies on planning and the state support.  One of the main outputs of the conference is the instruction of the Vice Governor of Saint Petersburg Igor Albin to prepare the cooperation agreement between ACUUS and the Committee for Transport Infrastructure Development of Saint Petersburg.   

“I hope the holding of the 15th World Conference of ACUUS will provide an assessment of the comprehensive underground space development opportunities for building of the innovative urban environment to all the parties involved into construction”, - underlined Sergey Alpatov,  Association of Underground Builders general director, the ACUUS Board member.

The 15th World Conference ACUUS 2016 was organized on behalf of the Associated research Centers for the Urban Underground Space. The organizer is Association of Underground Builders, the official operator is PRIMEXPO, part of ITE Group.

ACUUS 2016 sponsors are such  companies as JSC “Metrostroy”, JSC Research and Design Institute “Lenmetrogiprotrans”, GEOIZOL Group, National Association of Surveyors and Designers, CJSC “Geostroy”, Center for Building Structure Diagnostics LLC,  PROMAT, PENOPLEX SPb, NIP – informatika, KB ViPS, SUE “Lengiproinzhproekt”.

You may find the conference photos at