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Urban Sci., Volume 4, Issue 3 (September 2020) – 5 articles

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Open AccessArticle
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 (registering DOI) - 06 Aug 2020
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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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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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Open AccessArticle
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
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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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