Research Area:
Strategic Issues and Perspectives

Subterranean spatial planning

Proposals to improve the above ground and underground information, to develop the planning instruments and to provide for sustainable solutions of conflicting use

Source: KBB Underground Technologies
graphic shows the technologie, you see Earth's surface and underlying layers of soil (cut through the earth) and the reservoir of compressed air


The implementation of the German Federal Government's climate and energy policy goals, which encompass a gradual expansion of the share of renewable energies (wind, solar energy) and a commensurate reduction in electricity produced from fossil fuels (coal) and nuclear energy, will increase the possible uses of and needs for subterranean spaces and the potential conflicts of use.

Object of investigation

The following aspects were examined:

  • Identification of planning instruments,
  • Spatial planning and methodological criteria,
  • Congruence of the planning areas under and above ground,
  • Contributions of sectoral planning,
  • Display options in plans,
  • Planning rhythms.

Another topic was to explore the development of criteria to deal with conflicts of use in the underground:

  • Protected assets and criteria for the solution of conflicts of use,
  • Exclusion and prioritization of utilizations,
  • Keeping options open for the use of the subterranean space and interstate and federal cooperation.


Subterranean spatial planning is required to deal with the increasing range of demands for the utilization of underground space and to better manage associated conflicts related to space, responsibilities and priorities. The application of spatial planning instruments to Germany’s underground space is both possible and an urgent necessity.

The practical implementation of a sustainable, resource saving subterranean spatial planning in model regions will be investigated by the research project "Subterranean spatial planning and sustainable resource management using the example of selected regions".


10/2011 – 07/2013


Prof. Dr. jur. Gerold Janssen

Tel.: +49 351 4679-207


Umweltforschungsplan (F+E Vorhaben FKZ 3711 16 103)

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