A compendium of research dedicated to subterranean spaces across the world, edited by Paul Dobraszczyk, Carlos López Galviz and Bradley Garrett, has just been published by Reaktion and I am proud to say I have contributed three essays to it! Entitled Global Undergrounds: Exploring Cities Within, the book contains 80 essays written by a host of scholars from across disciplines, each accompanied by a single image and arranged under 13 headings: Origins, Labour, Dwelling, Refuse, Memory, Ghosts, Fear, Security, Resistance, Renderings, Exposure, Edges, and Futures.
My essays: Sinking Histories: Berlin’s S- and U-Bahn Tunnels; Striving Underground: Stockholm’s Atomic Bomb Defences; and Insurgent Strongholds: The ‘Hidden City’ of Viengxay appear under the headings of Memory, Fear and Resistance respectively. The first briefly discusses elements of my PhD research which I handle in more detail in my forthcoming book. The second is partly based on an episode in November 2014 when I managed to talk my way into Bahnhof’s subterranean data center beneath the heart of the Stockholm, and the third connects with my experiences in Laos, back in 2009, when I worked on a sustainable heritage project focused on the caves where the country’s communist government sheltered during an aerial war secretly backed by the USA. Below are each of the images that accompany the essays to whet your appetite.
The war damaged North-South S-Bahn tunnel in 1946. Source: Bundesarchiv
Bahnhof’s data centre in Stockholm’s Pionen Cold War Bunker. Reproduced in the book with the kind permission of Bahnhof.
Pathet Lao soldiers perform a training drill in a cave during a visit of delegates from the Organization of Solidarity with the People of Asia, Africa and Latin America (OSPAAL) thought to have taken place in the late 1960s. Reproduced in the book with the kind permission of the Kaysone Phomvihane Memorial Caves Office
The book, targeted for a wider audience, is enjoying good publicity and has already been picked up by a number of popular blogs including Atlas Obscura – in a post that also mentions my entry on Stockholm buried bunkers. At a modest price of £18 I hope it will sell and spread well, allowing – as the book’s editors stress in their introduction – many others to cross vertical thresholds and have the undergrounds of the world opened out in front them.