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Underground Cities

Underground cities have often been associated with works of fiction, such as those by Jules Verne or futuristic films like the classic "Metropolis". These underground cities offer a protected place to many to live, work, eat, travel and shop. However, underground cities are a reality today with thousands of people who conduct their lives underneath the surface of the Earth.

Old Seattle Underground City

Underground cities have become a reality because they offer many of the attractions that people enjoy without taking up space on the surface. Some of these cities developed out of necessity while others came about through expanding services that originated under the ground. In any case, underground cities offer a new place for people to live and work in comfort.

What is an Underground City?

Technically, an underground city is a system of linked tunnels that provide a place for people to live, work and move. Many underground cities were formed around transit systems such as the subways which expanded their services to incorporate shops, restaurants, working centers and even places to live.

Underground cities work for a number of reasons, one of which is that the environment is controlled which means that they can exist in very hot or cold climates and maintain a comfortable temperature. There are even larger buildings and skyway systems in some underground cities that offer the comfort of having raised ceilings with help alleviate the claustrophobic feeling of being underground.

Atlanta Underground City

Where Underground Cities are Found

There are a number of underground cities around the world, but the most famous is arguably the RESO in Montreal. The RESO is the largest underground city in the world and has more people living there than any other similar city.

Another popular underground city is the PATH in Toronto which features the largest underground shopping complex in the world at nearly 4 million square feet of retail space alone. These two Canadian cities are located in the colder areas of the North American continent where weather conditions during the winter can be brutal.

Japan has underground networks that individually are smaller than their Canadian counterparts, but they do extend to having nearly 10 million square feet of retail shops across 76 shopping streets that are all located underground. This expansion underground is due in part to the cramped real estate conditions that exist on the islands of Japan.

The United States boasts several small underground cities with the one under Atlanta arguably being the most interesting. Created to resemble the city of Atlanta as it appeared in the 1920s, this underground city actually began in 1968 and was re-opened in 1989 and is still going strong. However, Albany, New York's Empire State Plaza boasts a number o features which include many restaurants, food courts, a YMCA, a bus and police station and connections to several governmental buildings.

Montreal Underground City

Underground structure exist in other U. S. cities including: Boise, Idaho; Chicago, Illinois; Cleveland, Ohio; Dallas, Texas; Crystal City, Virginia; Houston, Texas; Irvine, California; Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota; New York, New York; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richmond, Virginia; Rochester, Minnesota; Rochester, New York; Seattle, Washington; Vicksburg, Mississippi; and Washington DC.

There is little doubt that underground cities will expand over the years as the emphasis on maximizing space and controlling the environment. For many, this will be the wave of the future as more people will work and shop, eat and live underground.

Written by Kevin Knatloa

Published on July 15, 2014