3D ground-use optimisation for sustainable urban development planning: a case-study from Earls Court, London, UK

Price, Simon James; Terrington, Ricky Luke; Busby, Jon; Bricker, Stephanie; Berry, Tom. 2018 3D ground-use optimisation for sustainable urban development planning: a case-study from Earls Court, London, UK. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, 81. 144-164.

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By 2050, almost 70% of the world’s population will live in towns and cities. This places increasing pressure on land to support development whilst minimising environmental impact and providing long-term sustainability. Prior knowledge of the ground at the planning and development stage is needed to assess its suitability to meet planned subsurface uses and avoid subsurface conflicts at an early stage of design. This research tested the development and application of a 3D engineering geological model and its spatial integration with 2D (hydro)geological datasets to support sustainable development decision-making at Earls Court, London, UK. The 3D engineering geological model consists of seven geological layers extending from Made Ground to the top surface of the Chalk Group. The 3D geological model, and 2D datasets derived from it, are combined with 2D geospatial datasets of urban underground space (UUS) indicators to identify potential uses of urban underground space based on its suitability to do so. This is complimented by a qualitative assessment of the potential subsurface interactions between UUS indicator uses and their implications for delivering the sustainability and energy objectives specified in the Earls Court masterplan. Infiltration sustainable drainage systems (SuDS), ground source heat potential and foundation condition potential were chosen as suitable UUS indictors against which to test the outputs of the methodology. Infiltration SuDS potential was assessed using nationally-available (hydro)geological 2D GIS datasets. Ground source heat potential was assessed using national-available 2D datasets and estimates of thermal properties of each geological layer revealed by the 3D geological model. Potentially suitable foundation conditions were assessed using density data from existing ground investigations and depth of suitable geological layers derived from the 3D geological model. The results reveal constraints for the development of rapid infiltration SuDS but opportunities for bespoke design that considers the thickness of overlying permeable sand and gravel. It identifies the susceptibility of the London Clay Formation to potential volume change and ground movement based on an assessment of its plasticity. Closed-loop ground source heat pump opportunities exist depending on site-specific thermal and hydraulic properties and heat exchange design. Opportunities for the use of the Kempton Park Gravel Member for ground source heating and cooling and combined use of thermal regulation and pile design via thermopiles are identified. A qualitative assessment of potential benefits and conflicts between UUS indicator uses reveals that the Kempton Park Gravel Member and London Clay Formation are likely to have the highest, relative, UUS value. The results demonstrate that there is potential to modify the energy and sustainability components of the Earls Court masterplan prior to invasive ground investigation and development. It is further suggested that this approach can be used to compliment research-tested, semi-qualitative means of valuing UUS indicators. The implications of the methodology for mainstreaming UUS into city masterplans is also assessed. It is concluded that opportunities now exist for the integrated 3D and 2D spatial assessment of UUS indicators into city-scale masterplans.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Additional Keywords: Urban underground space, Geological models, Engineering geology, Sustainability
NORA Subject Terms: Earth Sciences
Date made live: 30 Jul 2018 13:03 +0 (UTC)

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