Marie Cowan (GSNI), Director of the Geological Survey of Northern Ireland (GSNI)


Sub-Urban – a European network to improve understanding and use of the ground beneath our cities. The role for Geological Surveys in urban planning

SUB-URBAN has aimed to achieve its key intention by transforming relationships between: experts who develop urban subsurface geoscience knowledge – principally national Geological Survey Organizations (GSOs), but also university researchers and others; and those who can most benefit from it – urban decision makers, planners, practitioners (private consultants and contractors) and the developers they serve, as well as the wider research community. The Action has substantially achieved what was outlined in its MoU, including the following.

(a) Established a network of Geological Survey Organisation (GSO) and other researchers across Europe, to draw together and evaluate their urban geoscience research, often world-leading but typically fragmented, especially in monitoring, 3D/4D characterisation, prediction and visualisation,

(b) Initiated and encouraged, using a “lighthouse and follower approach”, exchange of knowledge between the researchers and City-partners (planners and other decision- and policy-maker. The City-partners have played a key role in influencing the activities of the Action. Their expertise in planning and policy, management and delivery of city infrastructure, and approval of licenses and plans submitted by developers, has been very valuable in guiding the Action, and its priorities.

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