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Urban Sci., Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2020) – 14 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The 2020 collapse of the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to think about long-term trends and what the future could hold for our cities and regions, especially due to the climate and SDG agendas. This paper sets out the historical precedents for economic transitions after collapses that unleash new technologically based innovation waves. This wave will have a strong base in a cluster of innovative technologies: renewable energy, batteries, electromobility, and smart cities. Urban changes are likely to mean relocalization around distributed infrastructure, electric transit activated corridors with micromobility feeding into centers, and variations by urban fabrics. Hydrogen will primarily be a regional industry technology for processing minerals and cement. View this paper
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Article
Influences of Culture in the Built Environment; Assessing Living Convenience in Kabul City
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030044 - 18 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 934
Abstract
During Afghanistan’s rapid urban growth, development diversified from state-run initiatives to ones led by local municipalities or nongovernmental entities such as private enterprises. Owing to these various efforts, cities face environmental challenges, squatter settlements, and unbalanced development. Responding to these interconnected challenges, cities [...] Read more.
During Afghanistan’s rapid urban growth, development diversified from state-run initiatives to ones led by local municipalities or nongovernmental entities such as private enterprises. Owing to these various efforts, cities face environmental challenges, squatter settlements, and unbalanced development. Responding to these interconnected challenges, cities need to increase their resilience to deal with the combined effects of urbanization, changing geopolitical contexts, and culture. In this study, we focused on dimensions of culturally responsive solutions for the built environment in Kabul, Afghanistan. Culture, as a key element in the concept of sustainable development, refers herein to the relationship between Afghan customs and belief systems as it influences and shapes the architecture of the urban environment. Initially, the study provides a conceptual understanding of sustainable urban development and the importance of culture. We have attempted to approach urban segregation in Kabul based on socioeconomic factors and address the essential role of culture in this unique context. Such segregation can be hazardous to both the current and future sustainability of urban development. To conclude, we provide in-depth insights into the contribution of culture and propose culture as a possible dimension of sustainability and an integral part of environmental, economic, and social dimensions of development. Full article
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Article
The Efficacy of Allocating Housing Growth in the Los Angeles Region (2006–2014)
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 43; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030043 - 16 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1030
Abstract
California is known for home values that eclipse U.S. housing prices. To increase housing inventory, California has implemented a regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) to transmit shares of housing growth to cities. However, no study has established RHNA’s efficacy. After examining the 4th [...] Read more.
California is known for home values that eclipse U.S. housing prices. To increase housing inventory, California has implemented a regional housing needs allocation (RHNA) to transmit shares of housing growth to cities. However, no study has established RHNA’s efficacy. After examining the 4th RHNA cycle (i.e., 2006–2014) for 185 Los Angeles region cities, this study determined that RHNA directed housing growth to the city of Los Angeles and the region’s outlying cities as opposed to increasing density in the central and coastal cities. Second, RHNA directed 62% of housing growth to the region’s unaffordable cities. Third, the sample suffered a 34% shortfall in housing growth due to the Great Recession but garnered an average achievement of approximately 93% due to RHNA’s transmission of minimal housing growth shares. Lastly, RHNA maintained statistically significant associations with increased housing inventory, housing affordability, and housing growth rates, indicating that RHNA may influence housing development. Full article
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Article
The Role of Social Enterprises in Urban Sustainability: Insights from Anyang, South Korea
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030042 - 05 Sep 2020
Viewed by 1015
Abstract
The collaboration of Social enterprises (SEs) and the government to maximize the socio-economic prosperity of citizens, including minor ethnic groups and low-income classes, is one of the key tools that leads to the sustainable development of a city. Notably, though, is that a [...] Read more.
The collaboration of Social enterprises (SEs) and the government to maximize the socio-economic prosperity of citizens, including minor ethnic groups and low-income classes, is one of the key tools that leads to the sustainable development of a city. Notably, though, is that a seamless coordination of development processes between SEs and relevant government agencies is often challenging to attain because it is usually affected by several factors. Some of these factors include lack of enough funding, depletion of natural resources and inadequate social capital. Besides such factors, there has also been another conspicuous factor— the increasing number of emerging cities, an example being the City of Anyang, which is located in Gyeonggi province of South Korea. Based on the issue of emerging cities, the objective of conducting this research was to find out what mechanisms of SEs can positively affect sustainable development and urban regeneration for the City of Anyang. As for the methodology, primary data were collected by use of questionnaires and the methodologies of factor analysis and correlation analysis tools, such as Cronbach and varimax rotation, applied to evaluate the results. The sample of the survey consisted of 1062 stakeholders recruited from over 18 economic sectors. The findings suggest that a significant number of respondents demonstrated a low confidence level in the social enterprises’ abilities to address all the emerging economic and social development issues. Regardless of the low levels of confidence exhibited by the study participants in the ability of SEs to address emerging economic and social development issues, other factors, such as employment creation, support for vulnerable groups, and environmental conservation had significantly high scores. Based on these findings, it is a reasonable assertion that SEs can effectively use these abilities to affect urban regeneration and sustainable development positively. Unfortunately, other values associated with enterprises, such as promoting access to quality education, affordable housing, addressing financial exclusion and disability, provision of the grants to other organizations, and support to other social enterprises, were ranked below the expected level. Based on the results from the study, it is evident that instruments of SEs, such as supporting the vulnerable population, the creation of employment opportunities, and environmental conservation positively influence Anyang’s urban regeneration process and its sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technologies and Humanities for Smart Cities)
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Article
Maladaptive Planning and the Pro-Innovation Bias: Considering the Case of Automated Vehicles
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 41; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030041 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1209
Abstract
This article argues that a more critical approach to innovation policy within planning is needed and offers recommendations for achieving this. These recommendations entail rethinking the values, focus, speed, and legitimacy of innovations. It takes a critical perspective on how contemporary societies treat [...] Read more.
This article argues that a more critical approach to innovation policy within planning is needed and offers recommendations for achieving this. These recommendations entail rethinking the values, focus, speed, and legitimacy of innovations. It takes a critical perspective on how contemporary societies treat rapid innovation as having necessarily positive results in the achievement of objectives such as sustainability and justice. This critical perspective is needed because innovation can both contribute to and drive a form of maladaptive planning: a collective approach to reality that imposes constant and rapid changes to societal configurations due to an obsession with the new and with too little rapport with the problems in place or that it creates. A maladaptive direction for transport planning is used as a sectorial illustration of the broader conceptual ideas presented: for both sustainability and social justice reasons, it would be desirable to see peak car occurring. However, the car industry is presenting driving automation as an innovation with the potential to restore the vitality of the private vehicles market while creating effective means to dismiss alternatives to car dominance. Full article
Article
Regional Densities of Cooperation: Are There Measurable Effects on Regional Development?
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 40; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030040 - 30 Aug 2020
Viewed by 959
Abstract
Almost three decades ago, a paradigm change in funding policies for rural regions became effective in Europe and Germany, involving a move towards cooperative, actor-oriented regional development. However, little research has been published on the extent to which funding approaches intended to activate [...] Read more.
Almost three decades ago, a paradigm change in funding policies for rural regions became effective in Europe and Germany, involving a move towards cooperative, actor-oriented regional development. However, little research has been published on the extent to which funding approaches intended to activate cooperation have led to regional-economic effects in the regions. This paper presents a countrywide statistical evaluation of the link between the deployment of funding programmes and established regional development indicators. The investigation is based on the analysis of 27 funding programmes, pilot projects and competitions from five policy fields, covering the period from 1991 to 2016. Its analyses are founded on the largest database of regional-development programmes implemented in Germany and the first attempt to detect cumulative effects of a large number of programmes over a long period. Further research in this direction should first gather detailed information on the scope of funding programmes in the regions. Full article
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Article
Urban Commute Travel Distances in Tehran, Istanbul, and Cairo: Weighted Least Square Models
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030039 - 23 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 938
Abstract
A very large part of the literature on urban commute travels is related to high-income countries. The determinants of urban commute trip distances are not clear in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); thus, this study attempts to shed light on this [...] Read more.
A very large part of the literature on urban commute travels is related to high-income countries. The determinants of urban commute trip distances are not clear in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA); thus, this study attempts to shed light on this topic in relation to Tehran, Istanbul, and Cairo. The objective is to clarify which environmental and human factors are correlated with commuting distance in these cities. Using primary disaggregate data produced by surveys in the three cities (n = 8237) in 2017, weighted least square regressions showed that fifteen significant or highly significant variables, including individual and household characteristics, mobility decisions, residential location, and land use attributes, predict the lengths of urban commute trips in the MENA sample. Unlike western countries, age and gender are not significant predictors of commute distance in MENA large cities. The results of independent-sample Kruskal–Wallis test show that there is a significant difference between the mean one-way commute travel distances in the three cities (Tehran: 9096 m, Istanbul: 10839 m, and Cairo: 6670 m); however, there are some similarities in the determinants of commute distance in the three cities. The results can be adopted to reduce commute trip lengths by providing a more connected street network and accessible neighborhood-level facilities. Full article
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Article
Transportation Services for Older Adults and Preventive Healthcare Attainment
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030038 - 22 Aug 2020
Viewed by 997
Abstract
This study examines the impact of the provision of specialized transportation services for older adults on the attainment of preventive healthcare services in selected cities across Michigan. The main hypothesis is that transportation services are critical factors for older adults to not only [...] Read more.
This study examines the impact of the provision of specialized transportation services for older adults on the attainment of preventive healthcare services in selected cities across Michigan. The main hypothesis is that transportation services are critical factors for older adults to not only attain preventive healthcare but also to maintain an active lifestyle that avoids the physical, mental and social isolation that they may face when advised to stop driving. Results indicate that provision of transit services and socio-economic characteristics have statistically significant effects on the attainment of preventive healthcare services. However, although transportation is a critical element for maintaining medical appointments, other factors need to be considered if we truly want to attain better health outcomes for all older adults. Qualitative analyses point to other logistical barriers and the need for more awareness of insurance plans and covered services in order to increase preventive healthcare attainment. Full article
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Article
Then and Now: A Comparative Historical Toponomastics Analysis of Station Names in 2 of Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Lines
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 37; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030037 - 17 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1529
Abstract
Public transport is integral to the development of cities. It promotes economic development, mitigates environmental degradation, and fosters a sense of social cohesion. Notwithstanding, one can understand a place’s culture, geography, history, languages, and sociopolitical structures by studying the naming practices in public [...] Read more.
Public transport is integral to the development of cities. It promotes economic development, mitigates environmental degradation, and fosters a sense of social cohesion. Notwithstanding, one can understand a place’s culture, geography, history, languages, and sociopolitical structures by studying the naming practices in public transport, such as bus routes and train stations, among others. This article studies the naming conventions in Singapore’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system, which serves millions of commuters daily, and alludes to the importance of public transport in urban spaces. The paper analyses MRT station names, which can be regarded as toponyms, of the North South and Downtown lines according to two aspects: firstly, by conducting a linguistic analysis of the languages used in naming these MRT stations and, secondly, by applying toponymic classifications from current research in grouping the MRT stations themselves. Ultimately, the study compares the naming practices of Singapore’s oldest and second newest MRT lines using a sociolinguistic and historical toponomastics mixed methods approach, studying the MRT station names based on social categories as well as using historical sources to account for the linguistic and historical meaning of these toponyms. This work is aimed at providing scholars and a general audience with a better understanding of Singapore’s language, culture, and society through the analysis of the naming practices of the MRT station names, unique toponyms in the urban transport of the Lion City. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Place Names: Political, Economic, and Cultural Dimensions)
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Article
Spatial Factor—Using a Random Forest Classification Model to Measure an Internationally Comparable Urbanity Index
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030036 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Travel behavior can be determined by its spatial context. If there are many shops and restaurants in close proximity, various activities can be done by walking or cycling, and a car is not needed. It is also more difficult (e.g., parking space, traffic [...] Read more.
Travel behavior can be determined by its spatial context. If there are many shops and restaurants in close proximity, various activities can be done by walking or cycling, and a car is not needed. It is also more difficult (e.g., parking space, traffic jams) to use a car in high-density areas. Overall, travel behavior and dependencies on travel behavior are influenced by urbanity. These relationships have so far only been examined very selectively (e.g., at city level) and not in international comparison. In this study we define an Urbanity Index (UI) at zip code level, which considers factors influencing mobility, international comparability, reproducibility as well as practical application and the development of a scalable methodology. In order to describe urbanity, data were collected regarding spatial structure, population, land use, and public transport. We developed the UI using a supervised machine learning technique which divides zip codes into four area types: (1) super-urban, (2) urban, (3) suburban/small town, (4) rural. To train the model, the perception from experts in known zip codes concerning urbanity and mobility was set as ground truth. With the UI, it is possible to compare countries (Germany and France) with a uniform definition and comparable datasets. Full article
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Article
Culture-Led Urban Development vs. Capital-Led Colonization of Urban Space: Savamala—End of Story?
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 35; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030035 - 06 Aug 2020
Viewed by 1215
Abstract
The city quarter of Savamala, as an integral part of Belgrade, has had a very turbulent development path during the last two centuries. This path included several ups and downs, and culminated in tension over the last decade. Savamala fell into silent oblivion [...] Read more.
The city quarter of Savamala, as an integral part of Belgrade, has had a very turbulent development path during the last two centuries. This path included several ups and downs, and culminated in tension over the last decade. Savamala fell into silent oblivion in the 20th century, but succeeded in re-emerging into the focus of the public and interest groups, mainly due to the cultural milieu that developed in this area at the beginning of the 21st century. The cultural vibes of the city quarter attracted various urban actors, who created a new image of Savamala. Eventually, cultural functions started to fade; however, after several years and through vague political decisions, Savamala became the part of the largest construction site in Belgrade, the Belgrade Waterfront. This article highlights the development of Savamala in the 2010s—from a forgotten city quarter to a rising cultural quarter and finally to the ’future centre of the city’. This analysis shows the participation of different stakeholders at different stages of development (their influence, power levels, and the mechanisms they used), as well as the footprints that urban development left in the quarter. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Landscapes Changes in Mediterranean Regions)
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Article
Using Multi-Sensory and Multi-Dimensional Immersive Virtual Reality in Participatory Planning
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030034 - 17 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1749
Abstract
In the last two decades, urban planners have embraced digital technologies to complement traditional public participation processes; research on the impact of smarter digital instruments, such as immersive virtual reality (IVR), however, is scant. We recruited 40 focus group participants to explore various [...] Read more.
In the last two decades, urban planners have embraced digital technologies to complement traditional public participation processes; research on the impact of smarter digital instruments, such as immersive virtual reality (IVR), however, is scant. We recruited 40 focus group participants to explore various formats of spatial planning scenario simulations in Glassboro, NJ, USA. Our study finds that the level of participation, memory recalls of scenarios, and emotional responses to design proposals are higher with multi-sensory and multi-dimensional IVR simulations than with standard presentations such as 2D videos of 3D model simulations, coupled with verbal presentations. We also discuss the limitations of IVR technology to assist urban planning practitioners in evaluating its potential in their own participatory planning efforts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technologies and Humanities for Smart Cities)
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Article
A Design Workshop’s Contribution to Climate Adaptation in Coastal Settlements in Nigeria
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 33; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030033 - 14 Jul 2020
Viewed by 1186
Abstract
With the growth in collaborative engagements for solutions to society’s complex problems, the role of co-designing to address climate change issues of low-income human settlements is becoming significant. This informed a design workshop/charette hosted at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. Twenty-six [...] Read more.
With the growth in collaborative engagements for solutions to society’s complex problems, the role of co-designing to address climate change issues of low-income human settlements is becoming significant. This informed a design workshop/charette hosted at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria. Twenty-six young architects and urban planners worked with non-academic stakeholders from coastal communities in Igbokoda, Ondo State during the five-day event. Structural (building and neighborhood setting) and non-structural (programmatic) ideas for climate adaptation and resilient housing in the low-income coastal communities were outcomes of the collaborative work. This paper reports and draws lessons from the process and outcomes of the design workshop/charette. The outcomes were well-received by the stakeholders and follow-up projects have since been conceived. This thus affirms the value of collaborative approach towards exploring and co-producing solutions in the era of a changing climate. Full article
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Article
COVID, CITIES and CLIMATE: Historical Precedents and Potential Transitions for the New Economy
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030032 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 5182
Abstract
The 2020 collapse of the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to think about long term trends and what the future could hold for our cities and regions, especially due to the climate agenda. The paper sets out the [...] Read more.
The 2020 collapse of the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to think about long term trends and what the future could hold for our cities and regions, especially due to the climate agenda. The paper sets out the historical precedents for economic transitions after collapses that unleash new technologically based innovation waves. These are shown to be associated with different energy and infrastructure priorities and their transport and resulting urban forms. The new technologies in the past were emerging but mainstreamed as the new economy was built on new investments. The paper suggests that the new economy, for the next 30 years, is likely to be driven by the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agendas (summarised as zero carbon–zero poverty) and will have a strong base in a cluster of innovative technologies: renewable energy, electromobility, smart cities, hydrogen-based industry, circular economy technologies, and biophilic urbanism. The first three are well underway, and the other three will need interventions if not cultural changes and may miss being mainstreamed in this recovery but could still play a minor role in the new economy. The resulting urban transformations are likely to build on Covid-19 through “global localism” and could lead to five new features: (1) relocalised centres with distributed infrastructure, (2) tailored innovations in each urban fabric, (3) less car dependence, (4) symbiotic partnerships for funding, and (5) rewritten manuals for urban professionals. This period needs human creativity to play a role in revitalising the human dimension of cities. The next wave following this may be more about regenerative development. Full article
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Article
A Fine-Grain Multi-Indicator Analysis of the Urban Form of Five Informal Settlements in East Africa
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 31; https://doi.org/10.3390/urbansci4030031 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1572
Abstract
Few studies have investigated the urban morphology of informal settlements at fine-grain level, limiting effective urban planning and policies targeting such areas. This study presents a high-resolution morphological analysis of five informal settlements located in central areas of major cities in East Africa. [...] Read more.
Few studies have investigated the urban morphology of informal settlements at fine-grain level, limiting effective urban planning and policies targeting such areas. This study presents a high-resolution morphological analysis of five informal settlements located in central areas of major cities in East Africa. The analysis is based on indicators of urban form, statistical comparison, and field interviews on household conditions. The method improves the replicability and increases the spatial granularity compared to previous studies. Outcomes show that all case studies are characterised by organic street layouts. Three settlements form a comparable group with denser urban fabrics (small block size, high coverage ratios, and small private spaces), while the remaining two cases have less compact forms. The field interviews show high rates of tenancy, overcrowding, and inadequate access to water and sanitation in the first group and low rates of these conditions in the second group. We suggest that these differences are partially an outcome of levels of informal land supply. We argue that decreased informal land supply leads to increased competition and higher prices of accommodation, leaving fewer household resources for infrastructure investments and consequent compromised livelihoods. Accordingly, we argue that some modes of informal urban development should be accepted in Sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
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