Can sustainable development be achieved if geology is ignored?

Royse, Katherine R.; Banks, Vanessa J.; Bricker, Stephanie H.; Marchant, Andrew P.. 2013 Can sustainable development be achieved if geology is ignored? Zeitschrift der Deutschen Gesellschaft fur Geowissenschaften, 164 (4). 541-555.

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“Sustainable development” implies that a stable relationship between human activities and the natural world is possible such that the prospects of future generations do not diminish. Can this really be achieved in our urban centres where social and economic issues are often the driving force behind development? Geoscience information has traditionally been under-utilised in planning and development, because all too often its relevance and significance is misunderstood or underappreciated. However, this is starting to change. Using case studies from London and the Thames Gateway Development Zone, this paper discusses how technological developments, such as improvements in GIS technologies and 3D modelling software, are driving this turnaround. The paper also considers the impact of organisations not sharing ground investigation geodata and know-ledge about anomalous ground conditions across London, the huge benefits that data sharing can offer and how lessons learned in this study can be applied to other urban centres. The paper will show that within the environmental ecosystem, if one component part is misunderstood, then developing sustainably without compromising future needs will be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve. In London, difficult ground conditions cost developer's time and money through project overruns and expensive engineering solutions. A more sustainable solution is in improving our understanding of the relationship between the geology (lithology) and its properties (physical, chemical or hydrological characteristics). We will show that for the urban underground to be fully utilised throughout Europe, the lack of development policies for the subsurface needs to be addressed. For a subsurface development policy to be written, stakeholders will need to regard the urban underground as environmentally sensitive, just as it does for the surface.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: 3D modelling, London, Thames Gateway, Urban Geology
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Computer Science
Date made live: 03 Jan 2014 15:00 +0 (UTC)

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