E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Decipher the Present to Shape the Future- Rethinking the Urban–Rural Nexus"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Federico Martellozzo

University of Rome "La Sapienza" Via Del Castro Laurenziano 9, 00161 – Roma, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: urban growth; sustainable and equitable development; land-use change; sustainable transition; resource consumption; LUCC modeling
Guest Editor
Prof. Beniamino Murgante

School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, Viale dell’AteneoLucano 10, Potenza, 85100, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: spatial analysis; landscape and regional planning; land-use policy; geocomputation; smart cities; LUCC modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Landscapes are often intended as the product of collective actions; social and cultural practices coupled with physical processes that resulted in shaping the territorial base on which these exert and evolve. The environmental consequences of human activities on the Earth’s climate and ecosystem are now evident and (almost) undeniable, and the human-induced burden on our planet’s resilience roots substantially in inefficient synergies of anthropogenic activities settled in urban and rural landscapes. These frequently deal with landscape management, food production and supply, natural resources exploitation and demand, distribution of services, etc. The United Nations had these issues clearly in mind when brainstorming about the necessity to modify modern development paradigms, social and cultural practices, and production and consumption systems in order to achieve improved sustainability and reduced inequalities in landscape and resource management. In fact, one of the five UN founding paradigms that build upon the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and used for the re-definition of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for 2030 reads: “We are determined to protect the planet from degradation, including through sustainable consumption and production, sustainably managing its natural resources and taking urgent action on climate change, so that it can support the needs of the present and future generations”. In the past few decades, improving efficiency was often observed and interpreted through technical-reductionist lenses, thus the agenda to improve sustainability was mainly railed linearly from rising awareness and identifying climate-environmental harms, through assessing business as usual expected future and estimating potential outcomes of specific counter-actions, to informing and supporting policy making in reaching certain goals or target. Although this sort of research is fundamental to clearly portrait dimensions and magnitude of the impacts of anthropogenic activities on climate and environment, it was not capable of grasping the mutual influences of physical and societal processes shaping landscapes. As a consequence, sustainability goals were not achieved in the presumed time and the update from MDGS to SDGs was necessary. Thus, accounting societal and physical processes responsible for the inefficient synergy affecting the urban-rural system is yet fundamental. Hence, in order to reach sustainability goals new research paradigms and scientific approaches are needed to decipher thoroughly the urban–rural nexus and to elaborate proficient policy and common actions. The scope of this Special Issue is on interdisciplinary research focusing on sustainable/unsustainable development practices shaping urban and rural environments; this collection aim at targeting papers that couple the observation and description of specific problems with the proposition of potential answers. Thus, we aim not solely at scientific works describing unsustainable and irresponsible development practices, but we are specifically interested in manuscripts attempting to elaborate possible solutions, proposing alternatives, envisioning innovative and original framework for informing and supporting policy making and societal action.

Suitable topics include any application or methodology investigating future sustainability. The following list aims at giving a representative although not exhaustive overview of potential topics:

  • Tools-based informed policy making
  • Advancements in governance and societies 
  • LUCC modelling
  • Spatial Multi Criteria Analysis, Geo-Statistical analysis, Spatial econometrics
  • Socio-Ecological systems
  • Societal structure and participatory activism
  • Urban and rural development, regional studies

Dr. Federico Martellozzo
Prof. Beniamino Murgante
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 (22 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-22
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle Variability of Temperature and Its Impact on Reference Evapotranspiration: The Test Case of the Apulia Region (Southern Italy)
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2337; doi:10.3390/su9122337 (registering DOI)
Received: 21 October 2017 / Revised: 1 December 2017 / Accepted: 12 December 2017 / Published: 15 December 2017
PDF Full-text (6037 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The present study provides an assessment of the climate variability at a subnational scale, focusing on the case of the Apulia region, in Southeastern Italy. The variables considered for the purpose of a trend analysis were the minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures, and
[...] Read more.
The present study provides an assessment of the climate variability at a subnational scale, focusing on the case of the Apulia region, in Southeastern Italy. The variables considered for the purpose of a trend analysis were the minimum, maximum, and mean temperatures, and reference evapotranspiration. These are very important in an urban–rural planning context. The study was based on 38 monitoring stations and consisted in the application of the nonparametric Mann–Kendall test and a progressive trend analysis, both used to detect the changes. The 1950–2003 period was investigated on seasonal and annual scales. The results generally showed a warming process and an acceleration of the atmospheric evaporative demand which took place especially since the mid-1970s. The latter had a significant positive trend, while the period before the break point of the 70s had a cooling effect. Finally, the warming effect was more pronounced for minimum temperatures. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle A Multiple Criteria Decision-Making Approach to Evaluate the Sustainability Indicators in the Villagers’ Lives in Iran with Emphasis on Earthquake Hazard: A Case Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1491; doi:10.3390/su9081491
Received: 10 August 2017 / Revised: 19 August 2017 / Accepted: 20 August 2017 / Published: 22 August 2017
PDF Full-text (1465 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Natural hazards such as earthquakes take place around the world and when combined with humans create natural disasters. Earthquakes, a form of natural hazard, have, in recent years, caused damage and destruction in many rural areas due to the lack of sustainability in
[...] Read more.
Natural hazards such as earthquakes take place around the world and when combined with humans create natural disasters. Earthquakes, a form of natural hazard, have, in recent years, caused damage and destruction in many rural areas due to the lack of sustainability in political, economic, social, physical and operational criteria. Thus, to overcome the damage caused by earthquakes in rural areas, an assessment of sustainability status seems necessary to plan and strengthen in relation to the status of sustainability indicators. Data collection was performed through field methods and questionnaires. To test the hypothesis, T statistical methods, correlation method and F-test were performed using SPSS software (V22.0, IBM Corporation, Armonk, NY, USA). The results of the study showed that villages were at a low and undesirable level for all aspects, except social index in terms of sustainability. Comparisons showed that there was a significant mean difference among villages in terms of sustainability. The multi-criteria decision-making analysis has been considered and applied to a ranking of villages in terms of sustainability against the hazard of earthquakes. Finally, in order to improve the sustainability indicators of villages, some strategies have been presented. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle From Perceived Values to Shared Values: A Multi-Stakeholder Spatial Decision Analysis (M-SSDA) for Resilient Landscapes
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1113; doi:10.3390/su9071113
Received: 1 February 2017 / Revised: 14 June 2017 / Accepted: 14 June 2017 / Published: 26 June 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper puts forth a Multi-Stakeholder Spatial Decision Analysis (M-SSDA) which combines Multi-Stakeholders Decision Analysis (M-SDA) and GIS processing based on a collaborative, hybrid and adaptive evaluative approach to support the elaboration of enhancement strategies designed for resilient landscapes. This methodology has been
[...] Read more.
This paper puts forth a Multi-Stakeholder Spatial Decision Analysis (M-SSDA) which combines Multi-Stakeholders Decision Analysis (M-SDA) and GIS processing based on a collaborative, hybrid and adaptive evaluative approach to support the elaboration of enhancement strategies designed for resilient landscapes. This methodology has been tested in the research project “Cilento Labscape: An integrated model for the activation of a Living Lab in the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni”, which was conducted in the Cilento National Park (Southern Italy). The aim of the methodology is to find alternative touristic routes for the promotion of the Park. The different steps in the process will be described, as will the employment of multiple tools/techniques (interviews, GIS tools, Semantic Analysis, and Geo-Statistical Analysis) to improve the reliability of the decision-making process. The most relevant results of the methodology will also be outlined in terms of the transition from the identification of the perceived landscape’s values to the acknowledgement of the shared values, and their consequent employment for the outlining of new thematic itineraries for the Park. To realise sustainable territorial strategies and preserve the landscape through bottom-up decision-making processes, the different local communities need to gain a new awareness of their identity shared values and make an active contribution towards promoting and managing their site-specific resources. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Identifying Clusters of Complex Urban–Rural Issues as Part of Policy Making Process Using a Network Analysis Approach: A Case Study in Bahía de Los Ángeles, Mexico
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 1059; doi:10.3390/su9061059
Received: 1 January 2017 / Revised: 8 June 2017 / Accepted: 13 June 2017 / Published: 19 June 2017
PDF Full-text (5600 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving human settlements diagnosis is a key factor in effective urban planning and the design of efficient policy making. In this paper, we illustrate how network theory concepts can be applied to reveal the topological structure of functional relationships in a network of
[...] Read more.
Improving human settlements diagnosis is a key factor in effective urban planning and the design of efficient policy making. In this paper, we illustrate how network theory concepts can be applied to reveal the topological structure of functional relationships in a network of heterogeneous urban–rural issues. This mapping is done using clustering algorithms and centrality value techniques. By analyzing emergent groups of urban–rural related issues, our methodology was applied to a rural community, considering in this exercise environmental matters and real estate interests as a way to better understand the structure of salient issues in the context of its urban development program design. Results show clusters that arrange themselves not by an obvious similarity in their constituent components, but by relations observed in urban–rural settings that hint on the issues that the urban development program must focus. Due to its complex nature, the classification of these emerging clusters and how they must be treated in traditional planning instruments is a new challenge that this novel methodology reveals. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Walkability and Street Intersections in Rural-Urban Fringes: A Decision Aiding Evaluation Procedure
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 883; doi:10.3390/su9060883
Received: 16 March 2017 / Revised: 16 May 2017 / Accepted: 17 May 2017 / Published: 23 May 2017
PDF Full-text (4346 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We propose a decision-aiding evaluation procedure (i) for classifying road crossings based on their impact on walkability and, subsequently, (ii) for prioritising street improvements, in urban-rural fringe areas. In the peripheral urban-rural fringes, pedestrian mobility is usually less developed and people generally depend
[...] Read more.
We propose a decision-aiding evaluation procedure (i) for classifying road crossings based on their impact on walkability and, subsequently, (ii) for prioritising street improvements, in urban-rural fringe areas. In the peripheral urban-rural fringes, pedestrian mobility is usually less developed and people generally depend more on cars for their everyday chores. Partly this is inevitable given the structural features and supply of services and activities in such areas, but part is due to a frequent neglect of pedestrian mobility in planning and urban design. Measures to improve this state of affairs can include the design of more pedestrian-friendly environments offering to potential users a greater level of security, comfort and convenience when walking to their designated destinations. Our evaluation procedure combines a walkability assessment methodology with the ELECTRE TRI rating procedure, in order to assist planners and decision makers in designing physical streets to enhance the continuity, safety and quality of pedestrian paths. Improving the walking accessibility in the fringe areas of towns is a way to reduce the physical and perceptual distance which separates these contexts from the rest of the city, thus leading to a progressive integration of urban functions. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Climate Variability and Industrial-Suburban Heat Environment in a Mediterranean Area
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 775; doi:10.3390/su9050775
Received: 2 March 2017 / Revised: 3 May 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (6869 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon prevalently concerns industrialized countries. It consists of a significant increase in temperatures, especially in industrialized and urbanized areas, in particular, during extreme warm periods like summer. This paper explores the climate variability of temperatures in two stations
[...] Read more.
The Urban Heat Island (UHI) phenomenon prevalently concerns industrialized countries. It consists of a significant increase in temperatures, especially in industrialized and urbanized areas, in particular, during extreme warm periods like summer. This paper explores the climate variability of temperatures in two stations located in Matera city (Southern Italy), evaluating the increase in temperatures from 1988 to 2015. Moreover, the Corine Land Covers (1990–2000–2006–2012) were used in order to investigate the effect of land use on temperatures. The results obtained confirm the prevalence of UHI phenomena for industrialized areas, highlighting the proposal that the spreading of settlements may further drive these effects on the microclimate. In particular, the presence of industrial structures, even in rural areas, shows a clear increase in summer maximum temperatures. This does not occur in the period before 2000, probably due to the absence of the industrial settlement. On the contrary, from 2000 to 2015, changes are not relevant, but the maximum temperatures have always been higher than in the suburban area (station localized in green zone) during daylight hours. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Urban Plan and Water Infrastructures Planning: A Methodology Based on Spatial ANP
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 771; doi:10.3390/su9050771
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 12 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 May 2017 / Published: 8 May 2017
PDF Full-text (10737 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities are exploding, occupying rural territory in dispersed and fragmented ways. A consequence of this phenomenon is that the demand for utilities includes more and more extensive territories. Among them, fulfilling the demand for services related to integrated water service presents many difficulties.
[...] Read more.
Cities are exploding, occupying rural territory in dispersed and fragmented ways. A consequence of this phenomenon is that the demand for utilities includes more and more extensive territories. Among them, fulfilling the demand for services related to integrated water service presents many difficulties. The economic costs needed to meet service demand and the environmental costs associated with its non-fulfilment are inversely proportional to the population needing service in rural areas, since that population is distributed across a low-density gradient. Infrastructure planning, within the area of competence, generally follows a policy of economic sustainability, fixing a service coverage threshold in terms of a “sufficient” concentration of population and economic activity (91/271/CEE). This threshold, homogenous within the territorial limits of a water infrastructure plan, creates uncertainty in the planning of investments, which are not sized on the actual, appropriately spatialized, demand for service. Careful prediction of the location of infrastructure investments would guarantee not only economic savings but also reduce the environmental costs generated by the lack of utilities. Therefore, is necessary to create a link between water infrastructure planning and urban planning, which is responsible for the future spatial distribution of service demand. In this study, the relationships between the instruments of regulation and planning are compared by a multi-criteria spatial analysis network (analytic network process (ANP)). This method, tested on a sample of a city in southern Italy, allows us to optimize the design and location of the investment needed to meet the service criteria, looking at the actual efficiency of the networks. The result of this application is a suitability map that allows us to validate the criteria for defining urban transformations. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Spatial Open Data for Monitoring Risks and Preserving Archaeological Areas and Landscape: Case Studies at Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt and Shush, Iran
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 572; doi:10.3390/su9040572
Received: 28 February 2017 / Revised: 3 April 2017 / Accepted: 5 April 2017 / Published: 9 April 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (37941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Instrumental to the concept of sustainability must be the search for feasible ways to implement sustainability, especially connecting heritage and tourism. This should be understood in relationship with the persistence in time and the current and future conception of the human-made environment. This
[...] Read more.
Instrumental to the concept of sustainability must be the search for feasible ways to implement sustainability, especially connecting heritage and tourism. This should be understood in relationship with the persistence in time and the current and future conception of the human-made environment. This study deals with the spatial characterization over time of the urban sprawl close to and around two important archaeological areas: Kom el Shoqafa, Egypt and Shush, Iran. For both of the investigated sites, change detection analyses have been conducted using satellite declassified Corona and multidate Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery available for free from the USGS Earth Explorer. The study involves the collection of Corona 1964, Landsat TM 1984, Landsat ETM+ 1998 and L8 2016. The past and current urban and agricultural areas have been extracted by using consolidated classification techniques. Analyses and quantification of the spatial dimension of the urban expansion showed that, for both the study sites, urban areas have expanded to a significant percentage. In particular, the analysis of Corona and Landsat TM, ETM+, L8 imagery in Kom el Shoqafa revealed that, for the urban area, the evaluation of the change detection presented generally increasing chronology in both of the study areas, but for the agriculture lands, we can see that the changes sometimes decreased and sometimes increased. As a whole, outputs from our investigations clearly highlight that the current availability free of charge of long term satellite time series provides an excellent low cost tool for several applications including environmental monitoring and change detection to observe and quantify urban and land use changes from a global down to a local scale. We examine the capabilities of integrating remote sensing and GIS and suggest some innovative solutions to preserve the archaeological sites. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Modeling Knowledge in Environmental Analysis: A New Approach to Soundscape Ecology
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 564; doi:10.3390/su9040564
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2017 / Accepted: 29 March 2017 / Published: 7 April 2017
PDF Full-text (5316 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Planning activities are inherently technical, political and organizational exercises, being both constructions of action optimization over time and “social” organizations promoting action. Thus, they require organization and consensus. In this context, the concept of processes that develop based on diffused interactions between different
[...] Read more.
Planning activities are inherently technical, political and organizational exercises, being both constructions of action optimization over time and “social” organizations promoting action. Thus, they require organization and consensus. In this context, the concept of processes that develop based on diffused interactions between different agents appears useful and rather effective. Cognitive agents and reactive agents coexist in a system of relations and interactions. This allows the context in which environmental management and/or planning processes take place to be modeled in its essential parts. Scholars and researchers have often wondered if behavioral proxies of the environment-agent can be singled out for possible inclusion in a multi-agent system (MAS) layout. This challenge is of particular interest today, considering the potential offered by the spread of intelligent sensor networks, able to represent and model various “behaviors” of the environment-agent. Today’s growing interest in research in the field of planning is enhanced by an awareness of the complexity issue embedded in planning. In this framework, this paper is realized as a pilot study on the knowledge of sound and soundscapes as elements characterizing the environment-agent in the context of environmental planning processes. The study reflects a contextual difficulty of collecting extensive data in uneasy conditions: nevertheless it reports results and suggestions useful in an innovative MAS-oriented perspective. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Coherences and Differences among EU, US and PRC Approaches for Rural Urban Development: Interscalar and Interdisciplinary Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 537; doi:10.3390/su9040537
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
PDF Full-text (41488 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main goal of this paper is to translate the indexing of a projects’ Data Base, based on EU vocabulary on rural urban development, into different lexicons. Built on the groundwork laid in previous researches, the authors want to enlarge the methodology applied
[...] Read more.
The main goal of this paper is to translate the indexing of a projects’ Data Base, based on EU vocabulary on rural urban development, into different lexicons. Built on the groundwork laid in previous researches, the authors want to enlarge the methodology applied in European Union (EU) territory and defined with Rural Architectural Intensification (RAI) and Rural Architectural Urbanism (RAU) to other contexts, in particular People’s Republic of China (PRC) and United States (US), keeping, however, this research at theoretical and methodological definition level. The study of coherences and differences between EU, US and China for rural urban development implies an interscalar and interdisciplinary analysis approach. It must be in complete adherence with national and specific directives and objectives in all the different selected countries. The analysis of main literature and national and federal laws of Europe, United States and China allows the definition of the Strategic Objectives and Main Goals for Rural Development identifying indicators and criteria. They permit to measure intensification’s outcomes in a qualitative way through the description and interpretation of operative tools for architecture and landscape design. Finally, the organized database and the territorial results can be considered as guidelines to support decision makers in rural-urban context. In addition, the whole procedure presented along with the projects’ database is a significant research package for further interdisciplinary applications. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Demographic Changes and Real Estate Values. A Quantitative Model for Analyzing the Urban-Rural Linkages
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 536; doi:10.3390/su9040536
Received: 26 February 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 31 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (20359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Vast metropolitan areas include both urban areas and rural outskirts. Between these areas, there are strong links to the point which they cannot be examined separately. There is a contemporary presence of residential function and working activity in the rural outskirts, as well
[...] Read more.
Vast metropolitan areas include both urban areas and rural outskirts. Between these areas, there are strong links to the point which they cannot be examined separately. There is a contemporary presence of residential function and working activity in the rural outskirts, as well as in the typical sector of agriculture. Therefore, the production of goods and services for the city requires a combined analysis, due to the large territory which it has to consider. The evolution of the population of such a large territory can be studied in great detail, with reference to the single census area and with the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS). This means that such a demographic development produces an effect on the values of the urban real estate. This work demonstrates the existing interconnections between urban areas and rural outskirts. Data collection on trends of the population living in the Naples metropolitan area and the house prices associated with this area, and the post spatial processing of such data, allows for the establishment of thematic maps according to which a model capable of interpreting the population development is defined. A study of the statistical correlations shows the consequences that the population dynamics produce for property prices. In addition, the diachronic analysis of the sales prices of residential buildings demonstrates that economic functions, exclusive of certain urban or rural territories, end up distributing and integrating. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Rediscovering Rural Territories by Means of Religious Route Planning
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 363; doi:10.3390/su9030363
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
PDF Full-text (2870 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important expression of faith because slow-paced traveling, physical effort, and a closer relationship with nature favor introspection. Protecting pilgrimage routes means transforming them into a medium to rediscover and guide landscape development while avoiding possible speculative
[...] Read more.
Since ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important expression of faith because slow-paced traveling, physical effort, and a closer relationship with nature favor introspection. Protecting pilgrimage routes means transforming them into a medium to rediscover and guide landscape development while avoiding possible speculative drifts. Such an approach is particularly important in rural areas often relegated to a marginal role in planning strategies, but frequently traversed by these itineraries. This paper deals with pilgrimage routes in Sardinia (Italy) and their chance to become an integral part of composite territorial infrastructures for triggering regeneration processes in rural areas. First, we introduce the topic with reference to planning literature and various case studies. Then, we select four pilgrimage itineraries that extend through different parts of the island, and compare them using a set of indicators regarding landscape, accessibility, visibility, equipment, planning, and management. A composite index has been developed to classify paths with respect to their potential to become part of a system of greenways, providing facilities and benefits to surrounding areas. The analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of local realities. It underlines factors, such as intrinsic characteristics of territories, local management, and decision-making circumstances, which affect trail potentialities to activate greenway projects to trace a new development perspective for rural areas. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Saving Soil for Sustainable Land Use
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 350; doi:10.3390/su9030350
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (10759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper experiments with some costs-benefit analyses, seeking a balance between soil-take and buildability due to land policy and management. The activities have been carried out inside the MITO lab (Lab for Multimedia Information for Territorial Objects) of the Polytechnic University of Bari.
[...] Read more.
This paper experiments with some costs-benefit analyses, seeking a balance between soil-take and buildability due to land policy and management. The activities have been carried out inside the MITO lab (Lab for Multimedia Information for Territorial Objects) of the Polytechnic University of Bari. Reports have been produced about the Southern Italian Apulia Region, which is rich in farmland and coastline, often invaded by construction, with a severe loss of nature, a degradation of the soil, landscape, and ecosystem services. A methodological approach to the assessment of sustainability of urban expansion related, on one hand, to “plus values” deriving from the transformation of urban fringes and, on the other hand to the analysis of the transition of land-use, with the aim of “saving soil” against urban sprawl. The loss of natural and agricultural surfaces due to the expanding artificial lands is an unsustainable character of urban development, especially in the manner in which it was carried out in past decades. We try to assess how plus value can be considered “unearned”, and to understand if the “land value recapture” can compensate for the negative environmental effects of urban expansion. We measured the transition from farmlands and natural habitat to urbanization with the support of the use of some Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools, in favor of a new artificial land cover in the region of Apulia, Southern Italy. Data have been collected at the regional scale and at the local level, producing information about land use change and increases of property values due to improvements, referring to the 258 municipalities of the region. Looking at the results of our measurements, we started an interpretation of the driving forces that favor the plus values due to the transition of land-use. Compensation, easements, recapture of plus value, and improvement are, nowadays in Italy, discussed as major land-policy tools for managing environmental and landscape preservation. The interplay between urban economics and environmentally sound regulations reveals some controversial issues in urban governance and nature preservation: perhaps some abstract regulations, conjoined with non-case-oriented urban policies, consider these keywords as the old chemists considered the Philosopher’s Stone. The analyses show criticality emerging themes in emblematic cases, studied in some municipal contexts. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Influence of Natura 2000 Sites on Land-Taking Processes at the Regional Level: An Empirical Analysis Concerning Sardinia (Italy)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 259; doi:10.3390/su9020259
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 26 January 2017 / Accepted: 1 February 2017 / Published: 13 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (13203 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article focuses on the role that the provisions of the Natura 2000 Network play in affecting land-taking processes by looking at the Italian region of Sardinia, where strict rules on land development have been enforced since 1993 through regional landscape plans and
[...] Read more.
This article focuses on the role that the provisions of the Natura 2000 Network play in affecting land-taking processes by looking at the Italian region of Sardinia, where strict rules on land development have been enforced since 1993 through regional landscape plans and where an extensive Natura 2000 Network, covering nearly 19% of the regional land mass, was established in compliance with Directive 92/43/EEC on the conservation of natural habitats and of wild fauna and flora and Directive 2009/147/EC on the conservation of wild birds. The results and inferences of our study could be easily generalized to other European Union regions, provided that similar geographic datasets are available. By shedding some light on the relation between land take on the one hand, and nature conservation and landscape protection on the other, it is possible to enhance regional planning policies to prevent or hinder land-taking processes, and, by doing so, to help implementing the European Commission recommendation on no net land take by 2050 into the EU regional policies. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Monetary Valuation of Environmental Externalities through the Analysis of Real Estate Prices
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 229; doi:10.3390/su9020229
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 13 January 2017 / Accepted: 25 January 2017 / Published: 8 February 2017
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1157 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper proposes a theoretical model of evaluation of environmental externalities based on the analysis of real estate prices. This issue is included in regional planning policies which include activities and interventions that produce economic and non-economic effects. The monetary assessment of economic
[...] Read more.
This paper proposes a theoretical model of evaluation of environmental externalities based on the analysis of real estate prices. This issue is included in regional planning policies which include activities and interventions that produce economic and non-economic effects. The monetary assessment of economic and non-economic effects can be expressed as a forecast (ex ante) and/or following (ex post) such activities and interventions. The assessment of the economic impact, with particular reference to interventions and infrastructure work, is widely based on procedures which make use of market prices. The proposed model was applied to an actual case, considering the effects of noise pollution, produced by traffic from the Naples Beltway, on residential property. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sprawl Dynamics in Rural–Urban Territories Highly Suited for Wine Production. Mapping Urban Growth and Changing Territorial Shapes in North-East Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 116; doi:10.3390/su9010116
Received: 25 October 2016 / Revised: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 14 January 2017
PDF Full-text (5521 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In Italy, large-scale changes in the structure of land use can be observed. These are caused primarily by socio-economic pressures, generally determining the conversion of agricultural land into artificial surfaces. Our aim was to investigate if and how sprawl dynamics influence viticultural landscapes
[...] Read more.
In Italy, large-scale changes in the structure of land use can be observed. These are caused primarily by socio-economic pressures, generally determining the conversion of agricultural land into artificial surfaces. Our aim was to investigate if and how sprawl dynamics influence viticultural landscapes (that is, if they result in scattered, intermediate, or compact urban developments). We focused on selected territories in North-East Italy, where vine-growing provides almost uninterrupted land cover, as case study areas. Using GIS-based techniques, we documented the processes of land use, analyzing the resulting changes of urban-rural forms and in territorial shapes. Results at the Provincial level showed decreasing dispersed artificial surfaces and increasing clustered urban developments. This trend is also detected in areas under vine, but in general is more modest. Our research indicates that typical agricultural productions can determine resistance to the alienation of land, maintaining a sufficient consistency for areas to develop in a more varied and articulated (for example touristic) manner. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle On the Relationship between Holocene Geomorphic Evolution of Rivers and Prehistoric Settlements Distribution in the Songshan Mountain Region of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 114; doi:10.3390/su9010114
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
PDF Full-text (12429 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper deals with the study of Holocene geomorphic evolution of rivers around Songshan Mountain in relation to human frequentation in Prehistoric periods. The investigations were performed by means of an integration of GIS data processing; field surveys and particle size analysis. In
[...] Read more.
This paper deals with the study of Holocene geomorphic evolution of rivers around Songshan Mountain in relation to human frequentation in Prehistoric periods. The investigations were performed by means of an integration of GIS data processing; field surveys and particle size analysis. In 8000–3000 aBP; in the Songshan Mountain Region, large-scale river sedimentation occurred. This increased the elevation of river beds that were higher than today. After 3000 aBP; the upper reaches of the rivers experienced a down cut; while the lower reaches experienced continuing sedimentation. The data on the elevation of prehistoric settlements above the river levels were obtained from Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). These data were corrected according to the evolutionary features of fluvial landforms in order to obtain synchronous elevations above river levels of prehistoric settlements. The relationship between sediment distribution and the Holocene geomorphic evolution was investigated through the statistical analysis of the elevation above the river levels. Outputs from our analyses enabled us to differentiate three evolutionary stages. During the first one, related to Peiligang culture (9000–7500 aBP), populations mainly settled on both hilly relief and high plateaus depending on their agriculture production modes. During the second stage, from Yangshao (7500–5000 aBP) to the Longshan period (5000–4000 aBP), settlements were mainly distributed on mountainous areas and hilly lands to avoid flooding and to develop agriculture. Finally, during the Xiashang culture (4000–3000 aBP), a large number of settlements migrated to the plain area to facilitate trade of goods and cultural exchanges. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sprinkling: An Approach to Describe Urbanization Dynamics in Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 97; doi:10.3390/su9010097
Received: 19 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (7247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents research which has defined a new typology of urban patterns (sprinkling), different from the internationally recognized standard urban sprawl, as well as various indicators that have been implemented to measure sprinkling. It is important to highlight that the damage caused
[...] Read more.
This paper presents research which has defined a new typology of urban patterns (sprinkling), different from the internationally recognized standard urban sprawl, as well as various indicators that have been implemented to measure sprinkling. It is important to highlight that the damage caused to the environment and communities by urban sprinkling is much more serious and irreversible than that notoriously caused by urban sprawl. The paper introduces the difficult methodological and planning aspects of retrofitting (de-sprinkling), a true challenge for land management. We argue that even partial inversion of many negative effects is impossible in the short term. Only medium- to long-term, organized, and politically coordinated programs can tackle the various issues associated with sprinkling. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Where Land Use Changes Occur: Using Soil Features to Understand the Economic Trends in Agricultural Lands
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 78; doi:10.3390/su9010078
Received: 5 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4895 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study investigates the major land use change processes over the 1990–2008 period in Abruzzo region (Central Italy) in relation to the characteristics of the soils and with particular regard to their capability for agricultural purposes, in order to highlight their implications on
[...] Read more.
This study investigates the major land use change processes over the 1990–2008 period in Abruzzo region (Central Italy) in relation to the characteristics of the soils and with particular regard to their capability for agricultural purposes, in order to highlight their implications on agricultural productivity. The relative changes in the agricultural incomes and land values were also estimated. To this end, we proposed an inventory approach as a flexible and feasible way for monitoring land use changes at multiple scales. As main outcomes, the shrinkage of agricultural lands and their internal changes (intensification vs. extensification processes) were highlighted. The shrinkage of agricultural lands was strictly related to: (a) reforestation process in mountain areas and less productive lands after land abandonment; and (b) urbanization on plains and more productive lands. Although the intensification process was demonstrated to have a positive effect on the overall regional agricultural incomes, especially on high quality soils, this was not adequate to compensate the economic loss due to the other land use changes, especially in marginal areas and low-to-medium quality soils. Finally, the paper discusses the geographical pattern of land use change processes across the region, including their interrelations and combined effects, and ultimately offers recommendations to decision-makers addressing future sustainable development objectives from local to global scale. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Conservation Measures and Loss of Ecosystem Services: A Study Concerning the Sardinian Natura 2000 Network
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1061; doi:10.3390/su8101061
Received: 9 September 2016 / Revised: 13 October 2016 / Accepted: 14 October 2016 / Published: 21 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (221 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The seeming dichotomy between the protection of biodiversity and the supply of ecosystem services (ESs) represents an outstanding field of research that requires a structured and detailed analysis. The paper analyzes and discusses the role of ESs within spatial planning and strategic environmental
[...] Read more.
The seeming dichotomy between the protection of biodiversity and the supply of ecosystem services (ESs) represents an outstanding field of research that requires a structured and detailed analysis. The paper analyzes and discusses the role of ESs within spatial planning and strategic environmental assessment (SEA) procedures through the content analysis methodology and a logical framework (LF) implemented into the SEA of municipal masterplans (MMPs). We discuss the role of ESs as factors that improve the effectiveness of SEA-based processes related to management plans (MPs) of sites that belong to the Sardinian Natura 2000 Network with reference to their positive impacts on environmental quality. The empirical outcomes put in evidence the inconsistencies between MMPs and MPs in terms of sustainability-oriented objectives and potential losses of the ESs productive output due to measures adopted by the MPs in order to protect habitats and species. The scant attention paid to ESs in the operational context of MMPs, MPs and SEA reports, particularly as regards their regulative framework, entails that the issue of the protection of ESs has to be carefully taken into account within the process of the definition and establishment of MPs through an SEA report that integrates the MPs and MMPs LFs. Full article
Open AccessArticle Land Use Change Impact on Flooding Areas: The Case Study of Cervaro Basin (Italy)
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 996; doi:10.3390/su8100996
Received: 28 July 2016 / Accepted: 26 September 2016 / Published: 6 October 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (5788 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main goal of this paper is to study the effect of the spatio-temporal changes of Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) within the hydrologic regime of the Cervaro basin in Southern Italy. LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery acquisition dates from 1984, 2003, 2009, and
[...] Read more.
The main goal of this paper is to study the effect of the spatio-temporal changes of Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) within the hydrologic regime of the Cervaro basin in Southern Italy. LANDSAT Thematic Mapper (TM) imagery acquisition dates from 1984, 2003, 2009, and 2011 were selected to produce LULC maps covering a time trend of 28 years. Nine synthetic bands were processed as input data identified as the most effective for the Artificial Neural Network (ANN) classification procedure implemented in this case study. To assess the possible hydrological effects of the detected changes during rainfall events, a physically-based lumped approach for infiltration contribution was adopted within each sub-basin. The results showed an increase in flood peak and a decrease of the rangelands, forests, and bare lands between 1984 and 2011, indicating a good correlation between flooding areas and land use changes, even if it can be considered negligible in basins of large dimensions. These results showed that the impact of land use on the hydrological response is closely related to watershed scale. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Modeling Urban Expansion and Agricultural Land Conversion in Henan Province, China: An Integration of Land Use and Socioeconomic Data
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 920; doi:10.3390/su8090920
Received: 20 July 2016 / Revised: 29 August 2016 / Accepted: 3 September 2016 / Published: 9 September 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (233 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China has experienced rapid urban expansion and agricultural land loss, and the land conversion has accelerated in central provinces since the mid-1990s. The goal of this paper is to examine the relative importance of socioeconomic and policy factors on the urban conversion of
[...] Read more.
China has experienced rapid urban expansion and agricultural land loss, and the land conversion has accelerated in central provinces since the mid-1990s. The goal of this paper is to examine the relative importance of socioeconomic and policy factors on the urban conversion of agricultural land in Henan Province, China. Using panel econometric models, we examine how socioeconomic and policy factors affect agricultural land conversion at the county level across three time periods, 1995–2000, 2000–2005, and 2005–2010. The results show that both urban land rent and urban wages are essential factors that positively contribute to the conversion of agricultural land. It is also found that per capita GDP is correlated with more urban development and agricultural land loss. Consistent with expectations, agricultural financial support is negatively correlated with agricultural land conversion, suggesting a policy success. Finally, the decomposition analysis illustrates that urban wages are the most influential positive factor and agricultural financial support is the most influential negative factor affecting the urban conversion of agricultural land. Full article
Back to Top