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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
Guest Editor
Dr. András Reith

Mérték Group, Advanced Building and Urban Design (ABUD), 38. Kisfaludy street, H – 1082 Budapest, Hungary
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable building and urban design; green rating assessment; urban energy modelling; energy efficiency of the built environment; occupant behaviour

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 rapid 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 or and other human settlements and buildings. "Regenerative" refers here to actions, policies and technologies that have a net-positive impact on the environment.
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 encourage authors to address the special challenges and possible solutions to bridge the gap between regenerative buildings and city scale. 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 and building  concepts that, often, actually present only minor improvements or rely only on relative, not absolute, improvement on 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
Dr. András Reith
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.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Consequential Implications of Municipal Energy System on City Carbon Footprints
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1801; doi:10.3390/su9101801
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
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Climate change mitigation is an important goal for cities globally. Energy production contributes more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and thus the mitigation potential of local municipal energy systems is important for cities to recognize. The purpose of the study
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Climate change mitigation is an important goal for cities globally. Energy production contributes more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and thus the mitigation potential of local municipal energy systems is important for cities to recognize. The purpose of the study is to analyze the role of local municipal energy systems in the consumption-based carbon footprint of a city resident. The research supplements the previous carbon footprint assessments of city residents with an energy system implication analysis. The study includes 20 of the largest cities in Finland. The main findings of the study are as follows: first, the municipal combined heat and power energy system contributes surprisingly little (on average 18%) to the direct carbon footprint of city residents, supporting some previous findings about a high degree of outsourcing of emissions in cities in developed countries. Second, when indirect emissions (i.e., the implication of a municipal energy system on the national energy system) are allocated to city residents, the significance of the local energy system increases substantially to 32%. Finally, without the benefits of local combined heat and power technology based electricity consumption, the carbon footprints would have increased by an additional 13% to 47% due to the emissions from compensatory electricity production. The results also show that the direct application of consumption-based carbon assessment would imply a relatively low significance for municipal energy solutions. However, with a broader understanding of energy system dynamics, the significance of municipal energy increases substantially. The results emphasize the importance of the consequential energy system implications, which is typically left out of the evaluations of consumption-based carbon footprints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)

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