An underground city
is a network of underground tunnels
that connect buildings, usually in the downtown area of a city. These may include office blocks, shopping malls, train
and metro stations, theatres, and other attractions. An underground city can usually be accessed through the public space of any of the buildings connecting to it, and sometimes has separate entries as well.
Underground cities are especially important in cities with cold climates, as they permit the downtown core to be enjoyed year round without regard to the weather.
Underground cities are similar in nature to skyway systems and may include some buildings linked by skyways or above-ground corridors rather than underground.
Countries with underground cities include:
- Sydney A series of underground shopping malls linking the city's main underground station Town Hall, to the main shopping area, Pitt Street Mall. The underground malls contain approximately 100 shops.
- Montreal (la ville souterraine) whose 32 kilometres of tunnels connect seven downtown metro stations and many important office towers and malls on 41 city blocks, with smaller tunnel systems in other parts of the city linking other attractions to metro stations. Montreal is famous for its underground city and it is often visited by tourists. Map of the underground city (PDF format)
- Toronto (PATH) linking the most important buildings in much of the downtown core to five TTC subways stations with 27 kilometres of walkways. PATH homepage
- Beijing built during the Sino-Soviet conflict supposedly covering 85 square km, falling into disuse in the 1970s. Now recently opened to the public and tourists. There are rumours saying it was used by the army during the Tiananmen incident. link 1 link 2
- Helsinki covering central railway station area, two subway stations (Rautatientori, Kaisaniemi) and shopping malls. Also in two other subway stations have undergrounds like this, like Hakaniemi and Sörnäinen.
- Osaka has enormous underground networks in the Umeda, Namba, and Shinsaibashi districts, which include retail shopping, restaurants, and subway and intercity rail stations.
- Tokyo has extensive underground networks around major railway stations such as Shinjuku, Ikebukuro, Ueno, Tokyo, and Shibuya, and several subway stations linked with each other. It is possible to walk several kilometers underground. In addition, there are persistent rumours of unused tunnels linked to the metropolitain subway system, amounting to several tens of kilometers. Though it dwarfs Montreal's Ville Souterraine, Tokyo's network of tunnels is not seen as a tourist attraction; rather it is seen as one of the many megalopolis features of the city.
- Atlanta, Georgia - (Underground Atlanta) covers six city blocks, includes retail shopping and restaurants. Begun in 1968, re-opened after a financially-forced closure in 1989. Underground Atlanta homepage
- Chicago, Illinois - (Pedway) consists of approximately 4 disjoint tunnel systems, the largest covering about 10 blocks, connecting such buildings and transit stations as Metra's Randolph Street Station, the Chicago Cultural Center, Marshall Field's flagship store at State and Randolph, Chicago Transit Authority's State Street and Dearborn Street subway stations, City Hall, and the State of Illinois (James R Thompson) Center. Pedway Map
- Minneapolis and Saint Paul, Minnesota - The (Gopher Way) on the University of Minnesota campus connects most classroom buildings, though the system is convoluted and comprised of several disconnected islands. The system also uses a number of skyway links, sometimes requiring individuals to go as high as the 5th floor to go between buildings. Minneapolis map, St. Paul map
- Rochester, Minnesota - The Mayo Clinic's various buildings in the downtown area are interconnected with tunnels and skyways. Various other businesses also exist along the corridors, including a number of hotels that often house clinic patients. It is often called a subway, although there are no underground rails in the city.