For an idea of the future direction of architecture look down at your feet. One day you may unsuspectingly be walking on top of housing, offices and even cities.

Country living offers the ideals of a relaxed, gentler way of life that many of us have bought into. Yet our desire to be cocooned by nature has involved bulldozing it into oblivion. So how can we regain a more harmonious relationship between the often opposing sides of large-scale development and rural ecology? By developing a green utopia – underground.

The Taisei Company’s ambitious plan for subterranean living imaginatively titled Alice City from Alice in Wonderland offers a utopia that is almost as fantastical as the book.

A large clear dome, within an area of open parkland encases a multi-levelled structured metropolis of underground offices, housing, transportation and communal areas. The planners have thought of everything to make the city as self-sufficient as possible including shopping malls, theatres and sports complexes in addition to facilities (contained in a separate structure) for power generation, heating and waste recycling.

Apart from offering an almost limitless space for development, such subterranean development has many more attractive ecological advantages over traditional forms of housing. It is less obtrusive than high rise development and therefore favourable in environmentally sensitive areas. Land above the complex can be set aside for parkland and recreational use. In towns or cities where pollution levels are high, air can be filtered through air ducts in the roof of an underground housing or industrial complex.

More here.