As the world rapidly urbanizes, its cities sink themselves into the ground in sprawling tendons of tunnels – conduits for transport, utilities, communication, shelter and storage. The excavation of these spaces, at ever-increasing depths and speed, has changed our lives in ways that we tend to take for granted. This is the first book to chart the global reach of urban underground spaces, bringing together a collection of 80 stories of subterranean sites around the world. The book draws out the extraordinary range of meanings suggested by urban underground spaces, whether their power as places of hope, fear, memory, labour and resistance, or their capacity to evoke both long histories and futures in the making.

Illustrated with often breathtaking photographs, Global Undergrounds creates a new sense of the richness and global diversity of urban underground spaces. Its breadth and depth will appeal to all those who are engaged with these spaces: from urban planners, geographers, architects and engineers to urban explorers, photographers and anyone who encounters underground spaces in their cities. Indeed, we inhabit a world where the material stuff beneath our feet is constantly in flux, where layer upon layer of things, people and substances circulate, dream and dwell.