Recently released data by the Office for National Statistics suggests that the UK population is projected to hit 70 million by mid-2031 with 10 million in London. This additional growth will need accommodating, not just in new homes but also within amenity, community, cultural and commercial space.
Other cities around the world, including Hong Kong and Singapore, are making moves underground to overcome land shortages. Values are so high in these locations that it is a viable proposition. In London, viable underground development has been largely confined to high-end residential amenity; the so called 'iceberg' houses that have cropped up in prime Central London. However, with commercial and amenity space at an increasing premium, the viability scales could be about to tip in favour of other uses. The development industry will need to be increasingly alive to the challenges and opportunities that underground development brings.
From Singapore to sub-Saharan Africa, cities are fast running out of space - Hong Kong's solution is to move more facilities underground.