ABSTRACT

INTRODUCTION

Greater Kansas City, over a million in population, comprises seven counties in its SMSA and includes about thirty-six municipalities in its urbanized area. It lies mainly in the state of Missouri, sitting astride the Missouri River at its confluence with the Kansas River. Two major tributary streams have also dissected the region, adding their bluffs to those of the Missouri and Kansas Rivers. Kansas City is built on a combination of upland plateaus and valley floodplains. Quarrying' of limestone for aggregate, asphalt mix, and agricultural use has traditionally occurred by horizontal mining into these bluffs commonly occurring along the walls of the several valleys. Rock beds in the Kansas City area dip so slightly that they appear level, allowing deep penetration of the adjacent bluffs by horizontal room and pillar mining resulting in extensive areas of mined space. Major railroads and highways follow the valley floors with industrial development occurring in close proximity of the abandoned mined space. Spawning of economic venture into secondary use of this space left after mining was what now appears to have been a reasonable sequence. The conservation of energy achieved in using subsurface space has increasingly focused attention on underground usage both nationally and internationally. A national survey in 1971 revealed that Missouri led the contiguous United States in the secondary use of space mined out of limestone matrix with the greatest concentration occurring in the Kansas City area (Stauffer, pp. 50-79, 1973). This indicates Kansas City as a prime area of study for examining the scope, advantages and problems of development. However, this should not preclude that variations in uses, matrices, and methods developed in other areas may provide fruitful perspectives toward a common body of technology in development and use of underground space. In 1971 there were 120,000,000 square feet of mined space in the Greater Kansas City area. Currently this has reached over 150,000,000 square feet a gain of about 6,000,000 square feet annually. The area converted to secondary use in 1971 was 15,000,000 square feet whereas today's usage approximates 19,000,000 square feet. The 1971 study Showed warehousing of several types composing 85 % of these uses, manufacturing 7%, offices 5%, and services 3%. The 1976 survey did not reveal any significant change in these figures (Stauffer, p. 7, 1976). Survey response to a question concerning the type of use expected in the course of future growth revealed an expectation that the same composition of uses and their relative percentages would occur. This exposes a need and a challenge for innovative thought as to finding alternative uses for mined space. These figures also indicate we are creating new underground space at about ten times our rate of secondary development of the mined space. Kansas City has a vast resource of underground urban space which, by substitution for surface functions, could allow surface usage to never become congested as in other urban areas. We have the potential to keep our metropolitan area green and livable on the surface by wise use of our underground resource.

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