Going down

Tokyo finds a solution for space shortage: dig the down under

Published: Wednesday 30 September 1998

MANY projects in Tokyo may soon go underground. Acute shortage of space and traffic congestion are prompting developers and the Japanese government to look for viable solutions. Experts say that the only way out is to invest in underground projects. And recently, a government panel released a report which has supported the use of the "deep underground".

Land prices in Tokyo sky-rocketed in the 1980s. At that time, the developers began searching the underground for new business opportunities. A number of projects were proposed, but the government could not take a decision on the use of the underground. It was only in 1995 that a panel was set up to investigate the legislation that would be required for the use of the underground.

The term deep underground, says the report, is space generally deeper than 40 metre below the surface, where there is no hindrance to the foundations of large urban buildings and other underground structures. The use of space must be limited to structures of public interest, such as trains, roads, power, gas and communications, said the report.

Experts believe that the use of the deep underground can keep the cost of the projects minimal. Also, the city could be made to look a lot more beautiful with railways and power lines all underground.

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