Paris is sitting on an underground space 10 times the size of New York’s Central Park. Some 300km of tunnels and disused quarries are closed to the public, but could these spaces play a role in the city’s development?
Paris’s underground space could certainly play a role in addressing some of the challenges faced by cities: the need for low-carbon solutions, spaces for urban farming and small-scale industry, telecommunication infrastructure and data centres, even nightlife venues in dense residential areas.
Redeveloping the abandoned quarries would require significant financial investment from both public and private investors. Yet while quarrying stopped for security concerns in the 19th century, the use of the underground space for the culture of mushrooms or the production and storage of beers only stopped for economic reasons.
The challenges of urbanism in one the world’s densest cities are fast changing, and the quarries could yet play a renewed role in Paris’s development – in addition, of course, to visitors’ never-ending fascination with the Kingdom of Death.