Land Use: Integration of Rural and Urban Landscape

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2024 | Viewed by 43

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Center for Geographical Studies, Institute of Geography and Spatial Planning, University of Lisbon
Interests: urban regeneration; gentrification; housing policies; urban and regional planning
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Sustainable Landscapes, Institute of Geosciences, Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg, Halle, Germany
Interests: geoinformatics; landscape ecology and environmental (eco)systems; spatial planning and land use policy; GIS; remote sensing and modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rural and urban areas are often conceptualized as two separate entities and studied accordingly. However, in reality, they are related in multiple ways. In this SI, we intend to explore this relationship between rural and urban areas from a land use and landscape perspective, providing analyses on different scales (local, regional, national, supranational).

More than 50 percent of the world’s population now lives in urban areas, and the percentage is expected to continue to grow in the near future. Urbanization is more than the expansion of built-up areas and should be considered as a complex process that involves social, spatial, environmental, cultural, and economic change. It therefore has a significant impact on human-–environment interactions, and for land use, it has an impact on the gradient between the urban and rural landscape.

First, a growing amount of land is now being used for urban functions, including residential areas, industrial zones, infrastructure, and urban green and tourist recreation areas. Therefore, urbanization—the process of non-urban areas being converted to urban areas—and its consequences for other land systems are now of increasing importance in land change assessments.

Second, urban land and rural land have often been considered as mutually exclusive systems. However, due to processes such as peri-urbanization, in which rural societies adopt urban livelihoods and counter-urbanization whereby urban populations (neo-rural) start with traditional rural practices such as urban farming, this dichotomy no longer holds for large parts of the world. Instead, there is a gradient between strictly urban and strictly rural land, with many locations falling somewhere in between.

Third, increasing urbanization has significantly altered the relationship between people and the land they depend on, challenging multifunctionality and sustainability of rural–urban integrated territories.

Urbanization can lead to environmental degradation, including pollution, loss of biodiversity, and habitat destruction. Integrating rural and urban landscapes requires careful planning to minimize these negative impacts and preserve natural resources. Ensuring that the integration of rural and urban landscapes benefits all members of society, including rural and urban residents, is crucial. This involves addressing issues such as access to services and infrastructures, employment opportunities, and affordable housing in both contexts. Integrating rural and urban landscapes can offer opportunities for economic development, such as tourism, agriculture-based industries, and innovation hubs. However, realizing these opportunities requires strategic planning, investment, and collaboration between the public and private stakeholders. At the same time, rural areas often have unique cultural heritage and identities that need to be preserved and respected during the integration process. Balancing the desire for economic development with the need to protect cultural landscapes and traditions can be challenging. All of these problems lead to challenges in policy and governance, especially in land management and regional and urban planning. Effective integration requires coordinated planning and governance across multiple jurisdictions, including at the local, regional, and national levels. However, different governance structures, priorities, and regulations in urban and rural areas can create barriers to collaboration and coordination.

These propositions are supported by examples from recent research and suggest that there is a need for a more inclusive approach towards the analysis of rural and urban land use systems, as well as plans and policies that target these systems.

The goal of this Special Issue is to collect papers (original research articles and review papers) to give insights into urban–rural integrated development affected by land use transitions (land-use/land-cover change). In this way, it will help to broaden the scope of the comparative analysis produced worldwide on the subject.

This Special Issue will welcome manuscripts that link the following themes:

  • Urban–rural integrated development affected by land use transitions (land-use/land-cover change);
  • Land system science and social–ecological system research;
  • Urban–rural integrated development and land management including agriculture, forestry, the built environment, and others;
  • Landscape design and landscape planning in urban–rural integrated territorial development;
  • Physical and human ecology studies and land use on integrated rural–urban landscape (e.g., climate–biosphere–biodiversity interactions; soil–sediment–water systems—hydro-ecological processes at multiple scales);
  • Urban contexts, urban–rural interactions and urban planning and development: the role of median cities;
  • Assessment and evaluation frameworks, indicators, indices, methods, tools, and approaches (ecosystem services, multifunctionality and sustainability of rural–urban integrated territories);
  • The contribution of urban–rural integrated development to the New Urban Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN;
  • Emerging technologies of data processing and new methodologies applied to urban–rural integrated development: kernel density, spatial analysis, complex systems, econometric models, etc.

We look forward to receiving your original research articles and reviews.

Prof. Luís Mendes
Dr. Le Yu
Dr. Justice Nana Inkoom
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at 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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Land 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 2600 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.


  • rural and urban landscape
  • urban-rural integrated development
  • rural–urban gradient
  • rural urbanization
  • land use transitions
  • land-cover change
  • land-use planning
  • settlement systems

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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