Special Issue "Sustainable Building in Rural Areas"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2016).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Adrian Pitts
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK
Interests: climate sensitive/bioclimatic design; planning and design strategies at neighbourhood and urban level; environmental assessment techniques; design for health, well-being and security
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Yun Gao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Urban Design, Architecture and Sustainability, University of Huddersfield, Queensgate, Huddersfield HD1 3DH, UK
Interests: vernacular architecture development in South China; work based learning in practice; cross-culture design and education; planning and design strategies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Papers are invited for this Special Issue of the Journal Buildings which particularly focuses on sustainability in rural areas. Much contemporary building research has concerned itself with what happens in towns and cities—particularly because of increasing urbanization of the population in both developed and developing countries. Urban and rural regions throughout the world, especially in developing economies, are, however, interlinked through complex socio–ecological interactions on various levels. Furthermore, even with more than half of the world’s citizens now living in cities, there remains a very substantial proportion of the population living elsewhere in smaller towns, villages, and other rural areas. The issue has also been highlighted by the current attention and funding support being given to support “ruralization” development by countries such as China.

It is not sensible, therefore, to plan only to create sustainable buildings in cities and, thus, the design and integration of buildings in more rural settings is critically important, and research into understanding the issues should be reported and disseminated. This is a contemporary information gap which this special issue of Buildings seeks to address.

Papers are invited which consider building technologies and techniques suited to more rural areas, as well as research linking to associated planning, design and infrastructure which support and maintain rural area development. The role of building occupants and their different attitudes as compared to city dwellers, as well as linked historical and cultural issues also have impacts worthy of research publication.

Prof. Dr. Adrian Pitts
Dr. Yun Gao
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. Buildings 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 1000 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

  • buildings
  • rural
  • sustainability
  • design
  • ruralization
  • villages

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
A Settlers’ Guide: Designing for Resilience in the Hinterlands
Buildings 2017, 7(1), 23; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings7010023 - 10 Mar 2017
Cited by 1
Abstract
There has often been a mutually beneficial relationship between cities and their rural hinterlands. The Kapiti region outside the city of Wellington in New Zealand is a prime example: it once provided Wellington’s food, water and cultural diversity for both Māori and European [...] Read more.
There has often been a mutually beneficial relationship between cities and their rural hinterlands. The Kapiti region outside the city of Wellington in New Zealand is a prime example: it once provided Wellington’s food, water and cultural diversity for both Māori and European settlers. However, productivity-driven agriculture and extensive dormitory-suburbanization have affected significant parts of this once-abundant hinterland. Food production is becoming more mono-cultural, water quality is degrading, ecosystems’ biodiversity is disappearing, provincial town centres are shrinking, emigrating youth are leaving unbalanced demographics, Māori are increasingly disassociating their culture from their traditional lands and natural disasters are causing more impact—all of which is making Kapiti less resilient, and severing the once-healthy city-hinterland relationship. Our work on future settlement opportunities in Kapiti proposes alternatives, using experimental design-led research methods to develop speculative architectural and landscape architectural schemes. The schemes are framed by some of the spatial attributes of resilience: diversity, complexity, redundancy, interconnectivity and adaptability. Collectively, the work reveals design strategies that have a potential to rebuild hinterlands’ culture, town centres, housing, agriculture, community and ecosystems and to recalibrate the broader relationship between hinterlands and metropolitan systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
History as an Instrument in the Development of Historical Danish Villages
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 51; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6040051 - 14 Dec 2016
Abstract
A central contemporary societal discussion in Denmark concerns settlements that have poor connectivity and are geographically distant to main towns and cities. These settlements are called “outskirts.” Historically significant villages in these outskirts are being transformed in order to counteract a general destitution [...] Read more.
A central contemporary societal discussion in Denmark concerns settlements that have poor connectivity and are geographically distant to main towns and cities. These settlements are called “outskirts.” Historically significant villages in these outskirts are being transformed in order to counteract a general destitution of decrepit houses and public spaces. This research article explains the relationship between spatial alterations and the inherent historical structures these villages contain. The article analyses three student projects and examines how they relate to and gain from history in the development plans for a concrete exemplary case village in Denmark. The projects represent various ways in which the past is conceived and applied to the suggested concepts. The different approaches to history found in the student projects call for an open-minded position towards the assessment of historical structures worthy of preservation when operating in a generic context such as the Danish villages. Further, the students’ prioritisation of preservation of historical structures and phenomena alters from the analysis phase to the project development phase. This observation questions the traditional practice of developing plans based on a predefined analysis of heritage and suggests that heritage assessment be separated from project development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes for Rural Development and the Role of Architects in Yunnan, China
by Yun Gao
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 47; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6040047 - 07 Nov 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
This study identified two alternative but potentially simultaneous processes for rural development in China. One is the ‘bottom-up’ approach where individuals and groups of villagers work innovatively in developing new building construction opportunities, prompted by contemporary and indigenous design and construction methods. The [...] Read more.
This study identified two alternative but potentially simultaneous processes for rural development in China. One is the ‘bottom-up’ approach where individuals and groups of villagers work innovatively in developing new building construction opportunities, prompted by contemporary and indigenous design and construction methods. The alternative ‘top-down’ approach is associated with changes caused by external influences, such as directions given from funding sources, and encouragement for the use of specific knowledge and technologies; this is then filtered down through village administrative systems. Two ethnic villages were studied in Yunnan province, an area with a larger rural low-income population than other regions. Each village exhibited strong traditional cultures and each had undergone different tourist redevelopment over a period of more than ten years. The case studies revealed discrepancies between the academic categorization of dwellings in villages based on the representations of traditional culture created by materials and techniques, and the villagers’ own perception of the social and cultural meanings of their houses and spaces in the village. The outcomes suggest that architects and designers could have different involvement in rural development through building platforms for discussion and decision-making, used with and amongst stakeholders, and which could link the two different directions of approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Development of Rural Areas in the EU and China: A Common Strategy for Architectural Design, Research Practice and Decision-Making
Buildings 2016, 6(4), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6040042 - 18 Oct 2016
Cited by 3
Abstract
This paper describes the results of a research project to develop a set of goals and strategies aimed at policymakers, stakeholders, researchers, designers and/or some other groups of citizens’ communities whose development actions are undertaken in a specific rural context. The aim of [...] Read more.
This paper describes the results of a research project to develop a set of goals and strategies aimed at policymakers, stakeholders, researchers, designers and/or some other groups of citizens’ communities whose development actions are undertaken in a specific rural context. The aim of the project was to move beyond the knowledge of the articulated architectural and social evolution of the rural areas in both the EU and China, looking at the local and global challenges, at the need for continuous adaptation and at the experiences of resilience that the countryside faces today. The paper shows, through two-pronged methods, such as semantic analysis and a meta-project design, that a common strategy can be set to support actions for the development of rural areas both in China and the EU. In doing so, this study has defined a strategy system tool that is a type of interactive and generative key-checklist that can be used by stakeholders in specific contexts, becoming a reading tool, a set of design guidelines or a decision facilitator support system. The results achieved have been tested through design application in two meta-projects that confirm the validity of the whole research framework with the aim of promoting a sustainable development and enhancement of places and rural communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Assessment of Low-Cost Rural Housing—A Case Study in the Ecuadorian Andes
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6030036 - 05 Sep 2016
Cited by 6
Abstract
The aim of this research is to assess the indoor thermal performance of rural dwellings in the Ecuadorian highlands through both experimental and numerical analysis. A three-step methodology was applied to conduct the research: (a) field data collection, (b) building thermal model development [...] Read more.
The aim of this research is to assess the indoor thermal performance of rural dwellings in the Ecuadorian highlands through both experimental and numerical analysis. A three-step methodology was applied to conduct the research: (a) field data collection, (b) building thermal model development and calibration, and (c) comparison analysis and assessment of traditional improvement strategies. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected from two representative rural dwellings under typical usage conditions. The first is a traditional construction, medium-exposed thermal mass dwelling (Case A). The second is a local common, uninsulated, lightweight construction (Case B). The thermal model was calibrated by comparing hourly temperature values of the observed and the predicted indoor air temperature. A high correlation level (R2) was achieved between the observed and predicted data; 0.89 in Case A and 0.94 in Case B. The results show that the roof, floor, and the airtightness are the critical building parameters affecting the indoor thermal environment. Likewise, the indoor air temperature is increased up to 4 °C through the implementation of traditional strategies. However, despite the rise in indoor air temperature, acceptable thermal comfort ranges were only reached for 25% of the total hours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Urban and Rural—Population and Energy Consumption Dynamics in Local Authorities within England and Wales
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 34; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6030034 - 30 Aug 2016
Cited by 5
Abstract
The formulation of feasible and pragmatic policies that mitigate climate change would require a thorough understanding of the interconnectivity that exists between environment, energy, and the composition of our settlements both urban and rural. This study explores the patterns of energy consumption in [...] Read more.
The formulation of feasible and pragmatic policies that mitigate climate change would require a thorough understanding of the interconnectivity that exists between environment, energy, and the composition of our settlements both urban and rural. This study explores the patterns of energy consumption in England and Wales by investigating consumption behavior within domestic and transport sectors as a function of city characteristics, such as population, density, and density distribution for 346 Local Authority Units (LAU). Patterns observed linking energetic behavior of these LAUs to their respective population and area characteristics highlight some distinctly contrasting consumption behaviors within urban and rural zones. This provides an overview of the correlation between urban/rural status, population, and energy consumption and highlights points of interest for further research and policy intervention. The findings show that energy consumption across cities follows common power law scaling increasing sub-linearly with their population regardless of their urban/rural classification. However, when considering per capita and sector specific consumptions, decreasing per capita consumption patterns are observed for growing population densities within more uniformly populated urban LAUs. This is while rural and sparsely populated LAUs exhibit sharply different patterns for gas, electricity, and transport per capita consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Establishing Priorities for Sustainable Environmental Design in the Rural Villages of Yunnan, China
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6030032 - 26 Aug 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper addresses sustainable rural village development in China. Rural development is unlike the process of urbanization in Chinese cities and reflects different land ownership rules and different organizational structures. Even though there are an increasing number of Chinese residents in cities, there [...] Read more.
This paper addresses sustainable rural village development in China. Rural development is unlike the process of urbanization in Chinese cities and reflects different land ownership rules and different organizational structures. Even though there are an increasing number of Chinese residents in cities, there are still more than 600 million people living in the countryside. The attention lavished on city development has been, in part, now refocused to rural villages. Since 2006, the support for large-scale investment in the countryside has created much change; however, not all of this change is well organized, with potential for less than optimum impacts on the environment and sustainability. The paper identifies the key influences and drivers from historic and contemporary points of view. The sustainability of the villages will derive from long-term self-sufficiency, and this must include the understanding of environmental design principles, which enable suitable dwelling design. Two villages are taken as contrasting examples, and information derived from other sources is discussed. Technologies and techniques that can help determine environmental design priorities are evaluated and directions for future development suggested. This includes development of a design support aid with key drivers of: orientation and site location, window design and key construction features. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Natural Ventilation of “Yinzi” Dwellings in Western Hunan Based on Orthogonal Experiment and CFD
Buildings 2016, 6(3), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/buildings6030025 - 08 Jul 2016
Cited by 4
Abstract
The unique architectural style of traditional “Yinzi” dwellings in Western Hunan, China, needs to be protected and their natural ventilation of patio space should also be promoted. Therefore, this study aimed at finding out the natural ventilation values and limitations of “Yinzi” dwellings [...] Read more.
The unique architectural style of traditional “Yinzi” dwellings in Western Hunan, China, needs to be protected and their natural ventilation of patio space should also be promoted. Therefore, this study aimed at finding out the natural ventilation values and limitations of “Yinzi” dwellings as well as designing an optimum ventilation strategy for such dwellings. In this work, the thermal environment of a typical “Yinzi” dwelling was tested. The two patios and living room space of “Yinzi” dwellings was selected for a quantitative analysis, and CFD software was adopted to simulate the stack effect of different patio proportions under the same static wind environment conditions. In addition, an orthogonal experiment is combined with CFD simulation to explore the best proportion and position of patio of “Yinzi” dwellings. A final optimum ventilation strategy is provided for the “Yinzi” dwellings, which can significantly promote the natural stack effect of “Yinzi” dwellings in summer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Building in Rural Areas)
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