The rationale for using subsurface space applies to developing nations but very little has been done. Using mined-out space for food storage may help solve the serious problems of post-harvest food losses and hunger. Much of the mined-out space in the developing nations is unsuited to secondary use but investigations are needed to determine what and where the potential is.


In exploring the concept of using underground space for storage in the developing countries of the world, certain observations became apparent. Underground development is gaining great momentum in business, academic, and governmental circles. Even the public, in parts of the United States, is developing earth-sheltered housing at an astonishing rate. A new regard for basic resources has caused attention to be focused on earth-sheltered housing. They cost less to build, to heat, to cool, and to maintain. Today, we must move from a philosophy of waste and exploitation of non-renewable resources towards conservation. It was inevitable that sooner or later we would begin to truly and appropriately value the basic resources on this planet, including subsurface space. This symposium has as its focus three primary advantages of subsurface space. I would like to look at these for a moment and consider how they might apply to the developing countries.


We tend to think of the developing countries as having low-energy economies, and compared to the industrialized nations, this is true. But the high cost of energy of the past few years has hit the developing nations very hard. It has caught them when popular expectations were beginning to rise with standards of living. Now, high-cost energy is draining their treasuries of the precious foreign reserves and capital required to maintain their economic growth. Agricultural development, industrial and technical advances, and improved social services are also being impaired. During this century, the process of modernization has been largely subsidized by cheap energy. Except for the oil-rich, this is no longer possible; and yet for the present, we have no replacement. So while it is true that long and quick-tempered lines at the gas pump will probably not appear in the villages of Zambia, Thailand, and Honduras, it is also true that energy conservation is as important in the developing countries as in the industrialized nations.


Since World War II, probably the greatest human migration in history has been occurring in the developing countries--the migration from the countryside to the cities. It goes on still, creating gigantic urban centers where once only large towns stood. New Delhi has increased its population over 400% in this period. No wonder they are thinking of building an underground transit system. Calcutta's, by the way, is already under construction. Trying to deal with such logistical problems on the surface was really quite out of the question. So I don't think there is any doubt that the great cities of the developing world will be looking underground to solve some of their problems. In fact, architect Jannson of Sweden (1974) predicts that urban subsurface construction will double every ten years in both the developed and developing countries.

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