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Special Issue "Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 November 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Brian Deal

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Illinois, Room 228 Temple Buell Hall 611 Taft Drive, Champaign IL 61820, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-217-333-1911
Interests: urban sustainability; urban modeling; planning support systems; urban design

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Achieving sustainable places in built human environments is a complex undertaking. Building smart cities and generating big data, however, is not enough. In order to improve decision-making and, ultimately, inform sustainable urban communities, we need to be able to translate big data at scales and in ways that are useful and approachable. This requires decision environments that can convey the complexities of sustainable urban systems in meaningful and understandable ways.

In this Special Issue of Sustainability, we will focus on approaches that inform policy and stimulate action as a means of transitioning toward the urban sustainability ideal. Some critical questions include: What are the barriers to successful implementation of policy initiatives informed by sustainability science? Can models of urban systems be usefully constructed to inform urban sustainability? What is the role of planning support systems in defining and achieving urban sustainability?

Dr. Brian Deal
Guest Editor

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.

Keywords

  • Urban Sustainability
  • Planning Support Systems
  • Sustainable Urban Transitions

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Urban Policies and Mobility Trends in Italian Smart Cities
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 494; doi:10.3390/su9040494
Received: 16 February 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 22 March 2017 / Published: 25 March 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (4391 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study uses indicators to evaluate the progress made by Italian cities in the smart mobility sector, in order to understand how these cities have approached the new guidelines imposed by the European Union, and how they have implemented the European changes. Specifically,
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This study uses indicators to evaluate the progress made by Italian cities in the smart mobility sector, in order to understand how these cities have approached the new guidelines imposed by the European Union, and how they have implemented the European changes. Specifically, this study analyses the evolution of public transportation systems, using a sample of twenty-two Italian cities for three successive time periods (2005, 2010, and 2015). The outcomes identified are then linked to funding provided for the implementation of projects related to smart mobility in the cities studied, in order to verify possible correlations between the growth of these services and European and national financial investments. The data analysis shows remarkable progress in the field of sustainable mobility, especially between 2010 and 2015 as well as how this progress is linked to significant financial support that favours the realization of projects related to smart mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The Factors of Local Energy Transition in the Seoul Metropolitan Government: The Case of Mini-PV Plants
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 386; doi:10.3390/su9030386
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 6 March 2017
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Abstract
As a way of enhancing urban sustainability, Seoul Special City, the capital of South Korea, has shown strong enthusiasm for urban energy transition by tackling climate change and expanding renewable energy. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has adopted the “One Less Nuclear Power
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As a way of enhancing urban sustainability, Seoul Special City, the capital of South Korea, has shown strong enthusiasm for urban energy transition by tackling climate change and expanding renewable energy. The Seoul Metropolitan Government (SMG) has adopted the “One Less Nuclear Power Plant (OLNPP)” strategy since April 2012 and specific policy measures, including a mini-photovoltaic (PV) plant program, were introduced to facilitate the energy transition. However, varying degrees of success were achieved by 25 district-level local governments (Gu) with mini-PV plant programs. This study explored the reason why those local governments showed different levels of performance despite the strong will of municipal government (SMG) to implement urban energy transitions through the mini-PV plant program. The tested hypotheses were based on capacity, political context, public awareness and geographical diffusion. The findings indicated that institutional capacity, financial dependence, political orientation and public perception had positively affected the performance of mini-PV plant installation at each district level. Especially, the political will of each district mayor played an important role in the implementation of the policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Accessibility of Water-Related Cultural Ecosystem Services through Public Transport—A Model for Planning Support in the Stockholm Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 346; doi:10.3390/su9030346
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
PDF Full-text (3765 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Planning for sustainable cities involves supporting compact, energy-efficient urban form as well as maintaining attractive and liveable urban landscapes. Attractive cities depend highly on services provided by ecosystems, especially cultural ecosystem services (ES), which give direct benefits to urban citizens. Therefore, access to
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Planning for sustainable cities involves supporting compact, energy-efficient urban form as well as maintaining attractive and liveable urban landscapes. Attractive cities depend highly on services provided by ecosystems, especially cultural ecosystem services (ES), which give direct benefits to urban citizens. Therefore, access to a diversity of urban functions and publicly available ES by walking and public transport should be considered when planning for sustainable cities. This could be facilitated by user-friendly planning support models. The aim of this study was to develop a GIS-based model for assessing accessibility to ES, more specifically, water-related cultural ecosystem services (WCES), via walking and public transport, with input from stakeholders. The model was applied to the Stockholm region in Sweden. Travel times and census data were used to derive measures and maps of accessibility to prioritised WCES in the region, today and in urbanisation scenarios for 2050. The results showed how access to WCES varied spatially within the region. The number of potential visitors to different WCES sites now and in the future urbanisation scenarios was estimated, and areas in need for future development of the public transport system as well as WCES were identified. The GIS-based accessibility model has potential to be used as planning support in urban planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle A Decision Support System for Plant Optimization in Urban Areas with Diversified Solar Radiation
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 215; doi:10.3390/su9020215
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 6 February 2017
PDF Full-text (7352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sunshine is an important factor which limits the choice of urban plant species, especially in environments with high-density buildings. In practice, plant selection and configuration is a key step of landscape architecture, which has relied on an experience-based qualitative approach. However, the rationality
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Sunshine is an important factor which limits the choice of urban plant species, especially in environments with high-density buildings. In practice, plant selection and configuration is a key step of landscape architecture, which has relied on an experience-based qualitative approach. However, the rationality and efficiency of this need to be improved. To maintain the diversity of plant species and to ensure their ecological adaptability (solar radiation) in the context of sustainable development, we developed the Urban Plants Decision Support System (UP-DSS) for assisting plant selection in urban areas with diversified solar radiation. Our methodology mainly consists of the solar radiation model and calibration, the urban plant database, and information retrieval model. The structure of UP-DSS is also presented at the end of the methodology section, which is based on the platform of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Microsoft Excel. An application of UP-DSS is demonstrated in a residential area of Wuhan, China. The results show that UP-DSS can provide a very scientific and stable tool for the adaptive planning of shade-tolerant plants and photoperiod-sensitive plants, meanwhile, it also provides a specific plant species and the appropriate types of plant community for user decision-making according to different sunshine radiation conditions and the designer’s preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Overall Urban–Rural Coordination Measures—A Case Study in Sichuan Province, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 189; doi:10.3390/su9020189
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 23 November 2016 / Accepted: 18 January 2017 / Published: 27 January 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1119 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Focusing on urban–rural development issues, this paper analyzes the necessity of coordinated development between the narrowing gap and integral development. An overall urban– rural development dynamic model aimed at two major objectives is pointed out. A principal component analysis (PCA)—Grey Entropy measurement model
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Focusing on urban–rural development issues, this paper analyzes the necessity of coordinated development between the narrowing gap and integral development. An overall urban– rural development dynamic model aimed at two major objectives is pointed out. A principal component analysis (PCA)—Grey Entropy measurement model is proposed to evaluate urban–rural coordination from economic development, social security, public services, and environmental quality perspectives. In this model, principal component analysis (PCA) was used to extract the components that explained overall urban–rural coordination. This model was then combined with Grey Entropy to measure the level of urban–rural development coordination. By establishing a scientific measurement model, the coordination value of the rural and urban areas was effectively calculated from a comprehensive perspective, including subsystems and static and dynamic coordination values. Finally, the model was applied to Sichuan Province as an example to show its effectiveness in measuring urban–rural coordination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle How Do Differences in Land Ownership Types in China Affect Land Development? A Case from Beijing
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 123; doi:10.3390/su9010123
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 25 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 16 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6790 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China has a unique land use system in which there are two types of land ownership, namely, state-owned urban land and farmer collective-owned rural land. Despite strict restrictions on the use rights of farmer collective-owned land, rural land is, in fact, developed along
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China has a unique land use system in which there are two types of land ownership, namely, state-owned urban land and farmer collective-owned rural land. Despite strict restrictions on the use rights of farmer collective-owned land, rural land is, in fact, developed along two pathways: it is formally acquired by the state and transferred into state ownership, or it is informally developed while remaining in collective ownership. Taking Beijing, the capital, as an example, and using data from land use surveys in the Changping district of the city, this paper examines the spatial patterns and characteristics of land development along these two pathways, and sets up a multinomial logit model to test whether land development with and without ownership change was affected by the same factors. The findings suggest that: (1) development on collective-owned land is more spatially scattered, and its links to public infrastructure are weaker; (2) transportation infrastructure, farmer income, spatial location, and previous land usage are the major factors that affect land development; nevertheless, the influences of the factors are different for the two pathways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 105; doi:10.3390/su9010105
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Green infrastructure is a unique combination of economic, social, and environmental goals and benefits that requires an adaptable framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating. In this study, we propose an experimental framework for policy, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure within
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Green infrastructure is a unique combination of economic, social, and environmental goals and benefits that requires an adaptable framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating. In this study, we propose an experimental framework for policy, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure within the context of sociotechnical systems and urban experimentation. Sociotechnical systems describe the interaction of complex systems with quantitative and qualitative impacts. Urban experimentation—traditionally referencing climate change programs and their impacts—is a process of evaluating city programs as if in a laboratory setting with hypotheses and evaluated results. We combine these two concepts into a singular framework creating a policy feedback cycle (PFC) for green infrastructure to evaluate municipal green infrastructure plans as an experimental process within the context of a sociotechnical system. After proposing and discussing the PFC, we utilize the tool to research and evaluate the green infrastructure programs of 27 municipalities across the United States. Results indicate that green infrastructure plans should incorporate community involvement and communication, evaluation based on project motivation, and an iterative process for knowledge production. We suggest knowledge brokers as a key resource in connecting the evaluation stage of the feedback cycle to the policy phase. We identify three important needs for green infrastructure experimentation: (i) a fluid definition of green infrastructure in policy; (ii) maintenance and evaluation components of a green infrastructure plan; and (iii) communication of the plan to the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Configuration of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions of Shanghai, and Our Policy Suggestions
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 104; doi:10.3390/su9010104
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This research constructs a 1 km × 1 km Shanghai energy consumption and carbon emission spatial grid through a bottom-up approach. First, we locate all energy consumption locations in Shanghai via GIS. Second, we calculate energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions by
[...] Read more.
This research constructs a 1 km × 1 km Shanghai energy consumption and carbon emission spatial grid through a bottom-up approach. First, we locate all energy consumption locations in Shanghai via GIS. Second, we calculate energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions by energy type, by usage type, and by facilities. Finally, we use a spatial grid to represent the energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The grid shows CO2 emissions in Shanghai are highly spatially correlated with energy types and volumes of consumption. This research also finds out that high energy consumption and carbon emission locations in Shanghai display significant spatial aggregation. In 7209 spatial energy consumption cells, the top 10 grids of emissions account for 52.8% of total CO2 emissions in Shanghai; the top 20 grids account for 64.5% and the top 50 grids account for 76.5%. The most critical point emission sources are coal-fired power plants and iron and steel plants. The most important line emission sources are the Yan’an Road and Inner Ring viaducts. The area emission sources that account for the most future-projected growth are commercial and residential natural gas. After this spatial analysis, this paper makes policy suggestions and solutions to conserve energy consumption and mitigate carbon emissions in Shanghai. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Discerning and Addressing Environmental Failures in Policy Scenarios Using Planning Support System (PSS) Technologies
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 13; doi:10.3390/su9010013
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
PDF Full-text (3394 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental consequences of planning decisions are often undervalued. This can result from a number of potential causes: (a) there might be a lack of adequate information to correctly assess environmental consequences; (b) stakeholders might discount the spatial and temporal impacts; (c) a
[...] Read more.
The environmental consequences of planning decisions are often undervalued. This can result from a number of potential causes: (a) there might be a lack of adequate information to correctly assess environmental consequences; (b) stakeholders might discount the spatial and temporal impacts; (c) a failure to understand the dynamic interactions between socio-ecological systems including secondary and tertiary response mechanisms; or (d) the gravity of the status quo, i.e., blindly following a traditional discourse. In this paper, we argue that a Planning Support System (PSS) that enhances an assessment of environmental impacts and is integral to a community or regional planning process can help reveal the true environmental implications of scenario planning decisions, and thus improve communal planning and decision-making. We demonstrate our ideas through our experiences developing and deploying one such PSS—the Land-use Evolution and impact Assessment Model (LEAM) Planning Support System. University of Illinois researchers have worked directly with government planning officials and community stakeholders to analyze alternate future development scenarios and improve the planning process through a participatory, iterative process of visioning, model tuning, simulation, and discussion. The resulting information enables an evaluation of alternative policy or investment choices and their potential environmental implications that can change the way communities both generate and use plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Quantifying the City’s Green Area Potential Gain Using Remote Sensing Data
Sustainability 2016, 8(12), 1247; doi:10.3390/su8121247
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 22 November 2016 / Accepted: 22 November 2016 / Published: 30 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (11140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Information about green spaces available in a city is essential for urban planning. Urban green areas are generally assessed through environmental indicators that reflect the city’s quality of life and urban comfort. A methodology based on 3D measure and analysis of green urban
[...] Read more.
Information about green spaces available in a city is essential for urban planning. Urban green areas are generally assessed through environmental indicators that reflect the city’s quality of life and urban comfort. A methodology based on 3D measure and analysis of green urban areas at the city scale is presented. Two products are proposed: (1) measuring current vegetation cover at ground level through object-oriented classification of WorldView-2 imagery; and (2) estimating potential green cover at rooftop level using 3D data obtained by LiDAR sensor. The methodology, implemented in Lisbon, Portugal, demonstrates that: (1) remote sensing imagery provides powerful tools for master planning and policy analysis regarding green urban area expansion; and (2) measures of urban sustainability cannot be solely based on indicators obtained from 2D geographical information. In fact, 2D urban indicators should be complemented by 3D modelling of geographic data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Big Data into a Sustainable Mobility Policy 2.0 Planning Support System
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1142; doi:10.3390/su8111142
Received: 9 September 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is estimated that each of us, on a daily basis, produces a bit more than 1 GB of digital content through our mobile phone and social networks activities, bank card payments, location-based positioning information, online activities, etc. However, the implementation of these
[...] Read more.
It is estimated that each of us, on a daily basis, produces a bit more than 1 GB of digital content through our mobile phone and social networks activities, bank card payments, location-based positioning information, online activities, etc. However, the implementation of these large data amounts in city assets planning systems still remains a rather abstract idea for several reasons, including the fact that practical examples are still very strongly services-oriented, and are a largely unexplored and interdisciplinary field; hence, missing the cross-cutting dimension. In this paper, we describe the Policy 2.0 concept and integrate user generated content into Policy 2.0 platform for sustainable mobility planning. By means of a real-life example, we demonstrate the applicability of such a big data integration approach to smart cities planning process. Observed benefits range from improved timeliness of the data and reduced duration of the planning cycle to more informed and agile decision making, on both the citizens and the city planners end. The integration of big data into the planning process, at this stage, does not have uniform impact across all levels of decision making and planning process, therefore it should be performed gradually and with full awareness of existing limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Quota Restrictions on Land Use for Decelerating Urban Sprawl of Mega City: A Case Study of Shanghai, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 968; doi:10.3390/su8100968
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 13 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 September 2016 / Published: 22 September 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5616 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The mega cities of China are faced with great pressure from conflict between huge land demand for construction use and limited resources. To improve this situation, it is necessary to slow the increasing rate of built-up land and even reduce the existing built-up
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The mega cities of China are faced with great pressure from conflict between huge land demand for construction use and limited resources. To improve this situation, it is necessary to slow the increasing rate of built-up land and even reduce the existing built-up land by improving land use efficiency. Herein, land use planning with urban sprawl deceleration is proposed. Land quotas are important tools for the control of land use planning in China, but the current quotas are mainly in the form of increment, thus cannot support land use planning with urban sprawl deceleration. To address these issues, we developed a model named “current-plan-requirement response (CPRR)”, to optimize the land quotas. With this model, we investigated the current status of land use, the process of land use planning, and the requirements of land use planning with urban sprawl deceleration in Shanghai. It was found that the current land quotas have provided somewhat inhabited conversion of arable land to built-up land, but scarcely any regulation of land use efficiency or protection of natural environment. Then, the land quotas were optimized and quota management recommendations were made. The optimized land quotas included four aspects of quotas: arable land protection, ecological conservation, scale constraint on built-up land and economical and intensive land use. These new land quotas could be used to guide reduction of built-up land and increase ecological land in China’s mega cities. It might also be beneficial for easing conflict between supply and demand of built-up land, for building an eco-friendly city land-use structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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