The importance of air quality for underground spaces: An international survey of public attitudes

Hui Shan Yap, Adam C. Roberts, Chengwen Luo, Zheng Tan, Eun Hee Lee, Thuan Quoc Thach, Kian Woon Kwok, Josip Car, Chee Kiong Soh, George Christopoulos

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Space is a resource that is constantly being depleted, especially in mega-cities. Underground workspaces (UGS) are increasingly being included in urban plans and have emerged as an essential component of vertical cities. While progress had been made on the engineering aspects associated with the development of high-quality UGS, public attitudes toward UGS as work environments (ie, the public's design concerns with UGS) are relatively unknown. Here, we present the first large-scale study examining preferences and attitudes toward UGS, surveying close to 2000 participants from four cities in three continents (Singapore, Shanghai, London, and Montreal). Contrary to previous beliefs, air quality (and not lack of windows) is the major concern of prospective occupants. Windows, temperature, and lighting emerged as additional important building performance aspects for UGS. Early adopters (ie, individuals more willing to accept UGS and thus more likely to be the first occupants) across all cities prioritized air quality. Present results suggest that (perceived) air quality is a key building performance aspect for UGS that needs to be communicated to prospective occupants as this will improve their attitudes and views toward UGS. This study highlights the importance of indoor air quality for the public.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIndoor Air
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • air quality
  • attitudes
  • building performance aspects
  • indoor space
  • underground workspace
  • windows

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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