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Special Issue "Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2018

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Jukka Heinonen

University of Iceland Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering VR-II, Hjardarhagi 2-6, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Sustainable built environment, life cycle assessments, carbon footprinting, sustainable urban development, built environment life cycle economics
Guest Editor
Dr. Juudit Ottelin

Department of Built Environment, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental engineering; EE IO analysis; life cycle assessment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the rapidly urbanizing world, the aim of developing our cities and other human settlements to be more sustainable has become extremely important. While many technological solutions increase the energy and material efficiencies of cities, it has been suggested that the rate is not good enough to exceed the impact of the increasing consumption of goods and services on greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, and environmental degradation in general. In this Special Issue, we call for papers with visions that go beyond "doing less bad" to "doing more good" for the environment. The broad topic is the transition from current to low-impact and further to regenerative cities and other human settlements. "Regenerative" refers here to actions, policies and technologies that have a net-positive impact on the environment. In the context of climate change mitigation, this means solutions that capture and store carbon from the atmosphere.

We welcome especially assessments from the "footprint family", meaning carbon, material, biodiversity, ecological, etc., footprint assessments with life cycle perspective. We welcome assessments that depict the present situation, and empirical and modelling studies that include improvements to the state of the environment. For example, studies on carbon balance of human settlements are welcomed. We also welcome conceptual and theoretical papers, as well as methodological papers. We encourage authors to draw visionary policy implications that go beyond the current "green" or "sustainable" city concepts that, often, actually present only minor improvements or rely only on relative, not absolute, improvement in the environment. The following list of topics is in no way exhaustive and is intended to inspire. Potential topics include:

- Regenerative human settlement concepts
- Carbon, material, biodiversity, ecological and other footprint assessments of present situation in various types of cities and other human settlements
- Carbon balance of human settlements
- Impacts of land-use change
- Carbon sequestration in the built environment
- Regenerative solutions in the built environment
- Carbon negative technologies in the built environment
- Assessment method development
- Environmental policy-making

Papers presenting research results with sound academic contributions and high societal impact potential are particularly welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Jukka Heinonen
Dr. Juudit Ottelin
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). 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.


  • human settlements
  • built environment
  • urban area
  • carbon footprint
  • ecological footprint
  • carbon negative technologies
  • regenerative
  • carbon offset
  • carbon sequestration
  • land-use change

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.

Journal Contact

Sustainability Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
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