This report focuses on the spaces underneath elevated road and rail viaducts, often ignored or marginalised in the planning and design process, and identifies how, with creative imagination and design skill, such spaces can be put to a wide variety of productive uses.

The backcloth of continuing densification of the world’s cities means that the need to squeeze much greater levels of land use efficiency out of existing urban areas is becoming more acutely felt – with attention turning to spaces that have so far been considered of marginal nature.

There are numerous international examples of viaduct undercroft spaces that have been successfully activated to create places of immense social, environmental and economic value – whether bars, cafes or nightclubs buzzing with life and acting as a catalyst for wider urban regeneration, or workspaces offering local employment opportunities, or indeed public space, art, play or sports facilities adding much needed community health, wellbeing or cultural facilities. Why is this not the norm around the world?

Our research, conducted across Sydney, Melbourne, London, Johannesburg and New York, explores the potential for better utilisation of spaces under existing and proposed new road and rail viaducts, using an enquiry-by-design approach to define creative potential solutions and provide guidance of international relevance.

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Under the Viaduct: Neglected spaces no longer