Special Issue "Expanding Cities, Diminishing Space"

A special issue of Infrastructures (ISSN 2412-3811).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 May 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Mr. Manfred Schrenk

CORP – Competence Center of Urban and Regional Planning, Klosterneuburger Straße 131/26, 1200 Vienna, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Interests: mobility of the future; smart cities; barrier-free planning; ICT; interdisciplinary research; assisted living technologies
Guest Editor
Dr. William D. Shuster

National Risk Management Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, United States Environmental Protection Agency, Cincinnati, OH 45268, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-513-569-7244
Interests: urban hydrology; urban socio-ecological systems; green infrastructure; urban soils; unsaturated zone hydrology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The world’s total human population is expected to hit 10 billion in the 2060s, with more than 70% of people concentrated in urban areas. Cities are not only growing in population, but are expanding in area. Even with a constant number of inhabitants, there is ongoing demand for more space. There are general cultural, economic and demographic shifts that drive expectations and perceptions as to how space is used. Specifically, it has been observed that despite near-constant population numbers, per-capita demand for residential floor space is still growing in some cities. This may be due to higher living standards, changes in social structure resulting in high percentages of single person households, or a combination of these and other factors. The totality of urban infrastructures (e.g., transport infrastructure, utilities, industrial zones, commerce, logistics centers, event and leisure facilities, etc.) consume additional space and demand for resources. While the “hunger” in the literal sense for food and resources is growing, the “spaces in between” (e.g., agricultural land, vacant spaces, green space, natural retreats, other buffer zones) can be highly-variable in their interspersion with urban infrastructure and their perceived utility to meet demand for services valued by humans (i.e., ecosystem services). These aspects of city expansion and re-apportionment of land uses lead, not only to massive changes at spatial scales from the village to mega-cities all over the world, but they also create multiple social, economic, and environmental challenges, with chances and risks which may be best dealt with in the planning process.

So, on the one hand, there is the threat that the permanent demand for more space leads to a number of consequences, such as scarcity of resources, infrastructural bottlenecks, pollution and devastation of land, and subsequent social conflict. Questions arise on how to deal with these problems at short notice, and what has to be done to find solutions to these challenges by thinking in terms of longer-term strategies. Overall, the challenges and problems seem huge and intractable. However, largely because of the daily interface between governance and getting citizen needs met, cities are arguably the more adaptive level of governance, compared to state, or national governments. To help cities gain a sense of material flows and how land use can be best leveraged toward ecosystem services, more and more unprecedented technologies are available to monitor and manage cities and thereby inform policy. Monitoring is as well done by remote and in-situ sensing, with both high precision and nearly in real-time. Approaches to fully utilize these data are key.

This situation suggests that there is potential to overcome disciplinary barriers and promote a holistic view of the city—an approach that urban planners claim to have been using forever. With all the technology in focus, of course, the goals of sustainability and resilience remain as important as they have always been. Cities are mainly about people and not about technology, so it is still “quality of life” that can and should be in focus.

The upcoming conference REAL CORP 2018 (http://conference.corp.at/) will support this Special Issue by bringing together the best literature and presentation papers, and hence illustrate the current state-of-the-art, as well as present projects and approaches for the use of future technology in the cities of today and tomorrow.

Mr. Manfred Schrenk
Dr. William D. Shuster
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Infrastructures is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) is waived for well-prepared manuscripts submitted to this issue. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Facts behind Urban Expansion Around the World
  • Exceeding the City Limits and Basic Services
  • Vacant Urban areas, Countryside
  • Cities as Liveable, Accessible, Human-Oriented Places

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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