• Period | 2020 - 2022
  • Country | Oslo
  • Market | Geotechnics and Environment
  • Project Manager | Jenny Langford
  • Client | Norges forskningsråd
R&D program|

Under Oslo

Everything is possible below the surface, but do we always work in the best way? Under Oslo will investigate innovative methods, sustainability and economic considerations when building below the surface.

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Under Oslo is an internally funded research project running from 2020 to 2022. The project will carry out research in close discussion with the norwegian construction and building sector. The project will provide new knowledge to support innovative, sustinable and cost effective decisions when developing the area below the surface. 

The work carried out will support United Nations sustainable development goals:

  • No 9: Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
  • No 11: Make cities and human settlememts inclusive, safe, resilient and sustianable 
  • No 13: Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.
4th UN SDG 800

These goals provide motivation and taregts for which the building and construction sector has the tools to meet. As populations increase and cities grown, it is critical that urban development is carried out in a sustainable way. The current popultaion of Oslo of 681 000 people is expected to reach 840 000 by 2040.

Key strategic documents including the "Planstrategi for Oslo 2020-2023", the "Kommuneplan for Oslo" and the "Regional plan for areal og transport i Oslo og Akershus" all demonstrate a greater desire for a smart development of Oslo.

Sustainable city development 

The main objective of Under Oslo is to develop methods and tools that support sustainable development of Oslos underground.

Under Oslo has defined four work packages with the following objectives that will support this smart development of cities, using Oslo as a case.

  • WP1 - Black shale
    The aim of this WP is to reduce uncertainty associated with the management of acid producing alum shale during construction as well as develop a recommendation for piled foundations in black (alum) shale.
  • WP2 - Pore pressure and injection
    The aim of this WP is to test a new method for follow-up of grouting and of pore pressures during tunnel excavation, to reduce the risk of damage to neighbouring property as a result of drainage.
  • WP3 - Holistic planning
    The aim of this WP is to identify opportunities in the planning process to better involve the geosciences which in turn will reduce the risk of cost overruns, lead to a better resource utilisation and reduce negative environmental consequences.
  • WP4 - Sustainable environmental consequences of construction
    will propose methods and the time at which they should be used to carry out sustainability assessments for the building and construction sector that can help document climate and environmental impacts from processes such as material consumption, transport and optimization of design. Population growth in combination with climate change means that sustainable urban development is a necessity and that the climatic and environmental impact of groundworks must be quantified.

More information about the WPs can be found in Sub-projects tab above.

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Prosjektets organisasjonskart med nøkkelpersonell er vist nedenfor. Jenny Langford er prosjektleder for Under Oslo og vil lede prosjektet i det daglige. Hun vil koordinere delprosjektene, og rapportere framdrift til styringsgruppen. Hun er kontaktperson for både styringsgruppen og brukergruppen. Sarah Hale er nestleder i prosjektet. Kvalitetsansvarlig for prosjektet vil være Gudny Okkenhaug og Ørjan Nerland.

The project is an internal NGI research project financed through NGI's basic funding from the Research Council of Norway, led by Jenny Langford who will coordinate the project on a daily basis. Sarah Hale is the co-project leader. Gudny Okkenhaug and Ørjan Nerland are responsible for quality assurance and control in the project.

The project organization structure is shown below. Under Oslo will work with the Norwegian building and construction sector who are invited to participate in the project WPs.

Prosjektorganisasjon bilde


  1. Hale, Sarah E., et al. "Grounding Environmental Sciences: "The Missing Link to the Urban Underground." Environmental Science & Technology"(2021). https://pubs.acs.org/doi/full/10.1021/acs.est.0c08535
  2. Loretta von der Tann, Stefan Ritter, Sarah Hale, Jenny Langford, Sean Salazar, "From urban underground space (UUS) to sustainable underground urbanism (SUU): Shifting the focus in urban underground scholarship", Land Use Policy, Volume 109, 2021, 105650, ISSN 0264-8377, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2021.105650.
  3. Under Oslo WP3 Holistic planning, Mapping the consideration of geoscience in planning - workshop result, 2022.

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