Special Issue "Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (17 December 2021) | Viewed by 7519

Special Issue Editors

Dr. hab. Katarzyna Fagiewicz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Integrated Geography, Adam Mickiewicz University, 62-080 Lusowo, Poland
Interests: structure, functioning, and planning of landscape systems (with an emphasis on degraded and postmining areas); regional spatial planning in urban and metropolitan areas; urban ecology; nature-based solutions
Dr. hab. Damian Łowicki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Integrated Geography, Adam Mickiewicz University, 61-688 Poznań, Poland
Interests: landscape ecology; land-use management; landscape metrics; land-use changes; ecosystem services; urban-rural gradient
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Ulrich Walz
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Agriculture / Environment / Chemistry, Dresden University of Applied Sciences, 01069 Dresden, Germany
Interests: landscape ecology; geographic information systems; ecology/environmental protection; forest and visualization of landscape changes; analysis and assessment of land use in the cultural landscape

Special Issue Information

The main focus of the Special Issue is the spatial structure of the urban fabric and its transformation within cities considered as social–ecological systems. Its content focuses on the theoretical approach and provide solutions for the improvement of policies and practices involved in the process of urban transformation.  The integrated approach to land management in urban areas should also be considered.

It will firstly address issues related to the challenges of economic, social, and spatial transformation of urban areas.

The Special Issue will be based on submission papers that focus on spatial structure optimization strategies for urban areas and good practices for their sustainable development. 

Within this frame, key themes can include

  • The transformation of the urban socio–economic spatial structure;
  • Urban development, planning, and design sustainability;
  • The urban spatial and functional structure as a determinant of quality of life;
  • Method of postindustrial land transformation;
  • The rules of urban transformation and their enforcement;
  • The dynamics of urban landscapes;
  • Cities between sprawl and compaction;
  • The transition of the urban fabric towards eco-cities;
  • The spatial dimension of urbanization and its changes from the global perspective.

The proposed Special Issue will be based on the aims of The Third World Conference of the Society for Urban Ecology in Poznań, Poland, which is postponed to 7-9 July 2021. The leading theme of the conference is “Cities as Social–Ecological Systems”.

Preference will be given to the papers selected for presentation during the SURE2020/2021 Conference.

Please note: The presentation during the SURE 2020/2021 Conference does not guarantee that the paper will be accepted for the Special Issue. External submissions with new interdisciplinary results might also be considered for the publication.

Dr. hab. Katarzyna Fagiewicz
Dr. hab. Damian Łowicki
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. habil. Ulrich Walz
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 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 2000 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

cities as socio-ecological systems; urban structure and composition; spatial analysis; urban transformation; urban sprawl; urban planning and design; sustainability; urban post-industrial areas

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Perception of the Vegetation Cover Pattern Promoting Biodiversity in Urban Parks by Future Greenery Managers
Land 2022, 11(3), 341; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11030341 - 25 Feb 2022
Viewed by 427
Abstract
Urban greening should consider solutions that meet the needs of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, such as enhancing biodiversity. Urban parks can realize these needs. They often have a large area for designing greenery compositions with elements at the population, biocenosis, and [...] Read more.
Urban greening should consider solutions that meet the needs of the EU Biodiversity Strategy for 2030, such as enhancing biodiversity. Urban parks can realize these needs. They often have a large area for designing greenery compositions with elements at the population, biocenosis, and landscape biodiversity levels. The research was carried out on plant diversity in parks with different gardening styles. The results were published. The analyses have shown which elements of greenery composition play the role in the conservation of plant biodiversity and which gardening practices they depend on. These results were used to develop a vegetation cover pattern to be applied by the managers of park greenery. The concept of this pattern has been characterized in detail. Its main principle is the coexistence of spontaneously occurring vascular flora and its patches with complexes of ornamental plants. The structure of the pattern is to be controlled by gardening practices varied in terms of the method and intensity of maintenance. A relatively high level of biodiversity should be provided by autogenous (tall tree-cluster, thicket, tall herb fringe community) and anthropogenic seminatural (flower meadow) elements. It was assumed that the applicability of the proposed pattern may depend on its perception by both green infrastructure managers and park users. To investigate this, a questionnaire study was conducted. The respondents were university students, i.e., future managers of greenery. They were also users of parks. The aims of this questionnaire were to investigate: (1) perception of greenery composition in relation to utility functions of urban parks; (2) perception of the proposed vegetation cover pattern; (3) perception of gardening practices to maintain the proposed vegetation cover pattern; and (4) applicability prognosis of the proposed vegetation cover pattern based on the results of research on perception. Most of the respondents accepted the proposed pattern and the gardening measures needed to maintain it. This was concluded as a chance to implement the pattern in parks, and at the same time to meet the needs of the EU Strategy 2030. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
Traditional Thoughts and Modern Development of the Historical Urban Landscape in China: Lessons Learned from the Example of Pingyao Historical City
Land 2022, 11(2), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020247 - 07 Feb 2022
Viewed by 417
Abstract
In the past 40 years, China has undergone a rapid urbanization process which has led to a significant contradiction between the desire to develop modern urban spaces and the need to protect historic urban sites. Urban construction has brought not only the destruction [...] Read more.
In the past 40 years, China has undergone a rapid urbanization process which has led to a significant contradiction between the desire to develop modern urban spaces and the need to protect historic urban sites. Urban construction has brought not only the destruction of the physical space of the historic urban sites, but also the fragmentation of the natural landscape and its structural disconnection to the historic urban landscape. Ancient Chinese planners had their own thoughts regarding urban construction and the specific patterns of the urban landscape. The urban landscape of Chinese historic cities focuses predominantly on the structural relationship to its neighborhood. This paper aims to explore the value and character of the historic landscape of the ancient city, finding the key causes of its decline in the process of urbanization. The World Cultural Heritage city Pingyao is taken as a case study. Firstly, an analysis of its historical spatial structure and urban planning ideas of the ancient city of Pingyao using ancient maps and historical documents is presented. Then, a quantitative analysis of the urban space expansion in Pingyao city from 1989 to 2016 is conducted and its land use structure further analyzed. Additionally, four editions of the urban master plan in Pingyao have comprehensively shown that modern urban construction and planning tend to focus more on urban economic functions and social needs. In contrast, ancient urban planning relied on the spatial connection between urban space and its natural environment to construct a higher urban cultural connotation. As a result, the different development mode between modern urbanization and construction of ancient cities could be the key reason for the decline of spatial structure and landscape fragmentation of historical cities in China. With respect to the experience and thoughts of Pingyao’s ancient urban planning and construction, technical ideas and suggestions are put forward as reference in future spatial planning for Pingyao’s urban development and cultural protection. Our findings have been incorporated into the relevant sections of the spatial planning of Pingyao. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
Fractal Characteristic Evolution of Coastal Settlement Land Use: A Case of Xiamen, China
Land 2022, 11(1), 50; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11010050 - 30 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 272
Abstract
Coastal settlements in urban areas show certain degrees of spatial complexity. Understanding the evolution law of fractal settlements is practically important for marine engineering and urban planning. In this paper, we investigate the fractal evolution of coastal settlement land use based on fractal [...] Read more.
Coastal settlements in urban areas show certain degrees of spatial complexity. Understanding the evolution law of fractal settlements is practically important for marine engineering and urban planning. In this paper, we investigate the fractal evolution of coastal settlement land use based on fractal theory. The fractal dimensions of the land uses for three typically coastal settlements in Xiamen city, China, are obtained to quantify their spatial complexity. The results reveal the fractal characteristics and regional differences of the coastal settlements. Furthermore, nonlinear modeling is applied to describe the fractal dimension evolution of the coastal settlement land uses from 2000 to 2018. Three settlements in rapid urbanization show different nonlinear evolution equations of the fractal dimension due to their different land uses. This study might provide a theoretical basis for understanding the fractal characteristic evolution of coastal settlements in urban areas and show its potential application in urban geography. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
The Neighborhood Effect on Keeping Non-Commuting Journeys within Compact and Sprawled Districts
Land 2021, 10(11), 1245; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10111245 - 14 Nov 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 592
Abstract
The neighborhood effect on keeping non-commuting trips inside neighborhoods has not yet been investigated in developing countries. The modeling of non-commuting trips inside neighborhoods helps understand how to avoid unnecessary journeys by car into different parts of the city. This paper, therefore, attempts [...] Read more.
The neighborhood effect on keeping non-commuting trips inside neighborhoods has not yet been investigated in developing countries. The modeling of non-commuting trips inside neighborhoods helps understand how to avoid unnecessary journeys by car into different parts of the city. This paper, therefore, attempts to clarify (1) the similarities and differences in the socioeconomic characteristics and the perceptions of people in sprawled and compact neighborhoods, (2) correlations between, on the one hand, the choice of destinations of non-commuting trips for shopping and entertainment activities and, on the other, the socioeconomic features, travel behavior, and perceptions of residents in the two large Pakistani cities of Lahore and Rawalpindi, (3) the similarities and differences in the determinants of non-commuting destinations inside neighborhoods in compact and sprawled districts. The paper develops four Binary Logistic (BL) regression models, with two models for each type of neighborhood. The findings show that trips to shopping areas inside compact districts are correlated with a sense of belonging to the neighborhood, frequency of public transport use, residential location, and mode choice of non-commuting trips to destinations both inside and outside the neighborhood. On the other hand, the number of non-commuting trips, mode choice for non-commuting trips outside the neighborhood, frequency of public transport use, the attractiveness of shops, and monthly income (please see the Note) are significant determinants for trips to the shopping area in sprawled districts. Age, gender, possession of a driver’s license, income, number of non-commuting trips, mode choice for non-commuting trips outside of the neighborhood, car ownership, and attractiveness of shops in a neighborhood are correlated with trips to entertainment locations inside the neighborhood in compact districts. Finally, the attractiveness of shops, quality of social and recreational facilities, a sense of belonging to a neighborhood, choice of residential location, gender, age, possession of a driver’s license, number of cars in the household, and income are determinants of trips to entertainment locations in sprawled districts. A chi-square test confirms the differences across gender, daily activity, monthly income, frequency of public transport use, residential location choice, and the quality of social and recreational facilities for sprawled and compact districts in Pakistan. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
How Does Low-Density Urbanization Reduce the Financial Sustainability of Chinese Cities? A Debt Perspective
Land 2021, 10(9), 981; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10090981 - 17 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 614
Abstract
Low-density urbanization threatens urban social and ecological sustainability not only directly by excessively encroaching on suburban farmland and ecological space, but may also indirectly do so by undermining the financial basis of sustainable urban development. To address this relationship, this study empirically examines [...] Read more.
Low-density urbanization threatens urban social and ecological sustainability not only directly by excessively encroaching on suburban farmland and ecological space, but may also indirectly do so by undermining the financial basis of sustainable urban development. To address this relationship, this study empirically examines the effect of low-density urbanization on local government debt by using panel data of prefecture-level cities in China from 2006 to 2015. Results show that the scale of local government debt increases significantly with a rise in urban expansion. Furthermore, this study found that low-density urbanization affects local government debt in two ways. First, low-density urban expansion reduces the land output efficiency, which decreases potential fiscal revenue and thus increases local government debt. Second, low-density urban expansion raises the construction and maintenance expenditure of urban infrastructure, which increases the demand for urban construction financing and thus pushes up the scale of debt. The results of the heterogeneous study indicate that low-density urbanization significantly affects local government debt mainly in Central/Western regions, small and medium-sized cities, cities with high fiscal stress and development pressure, and residentially expanding cities. On the contrary, low-density urbanization has no significant effect on the Eastern regions, large cities, cities with low fiscal stress and development pressure, and spatially expanding cities. This study theoretically explored and empirically verified a critical indirect effect of low-density urbanization on urban sustainability by increasing fiscal risks, which is, and will continue to be, a common and vital challenge faced by cities in China and other rapidly urbanizing developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
Micro-Geographies of Information and Communication Technology Firms in a Shrinking Medium-Sized Industrial City of Ostrava (Czechia)
Land 2021, 10(7), 695; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10070695 - 01 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 802
Abstract
We aimed to explain the spatial distribution of information and communication technology (ICT) firms in the city of Ostrava as an example of a medium-sized, shrinking, polycentric industrial city. The primary research question was to what extent micro-geographic location factors affect the current [...] Read more.
We aimed to explain the spatial distribution of information and communication technology (ICT) firms in the city of Ostrava as an example of a medium-sized, shrinking, polycentric industrial city. The primary research question was to what extent micro-geographic location factors affect the current spatial clustering of ICT firms in polycentric cities characteristic by relatively weak urbanization economies and mostly routine character of ICT activities. We analyse and test the effects of the urban form at the level of urban blocks and individual buildings (considering their height, technical condition, age and dominant function) on the clustering of ICT firms of various sizes and ownership statuses. The inquiry was based on a detailed field mapping (using ArcGIS Collector) of ICT firms and physical/functional characteristics of the buildings and their immediate surroundings. ICT firms are significantly spatially concentrated in the historic city centre and inner city. Spatial patterns of ICT firms focused on less knowledge-intensive, routine and/or lower value-added functions do not differ fundamentally from innovative firms developing new products. Preference of denser, walkable, mixed-use neighbourhoods in urban cores/inner cities can be found in the group of firms focusing on routine functions: rather for larger than for smaller firms and domestic than foreign-owned firms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
Urban Regeneration between Cultural Heritage Preservation and Revitalization: Experiences with a Decision Support Tool in Eastern Germany
Land 2021, 10(6), 547; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10060547 - 21 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1060
Abstract
Concentrated urban development in capital cities is associated with negative effects. Simultaneously, less favourably located cities suffer from population loss and economic decline. Shrinking cities face a loss of urban functions such as public infrastructure, high-quality services and various aspects of urban living; [...] Read more.
Concentrated urban development in capital cities is associated with negative effects. Simultaneously, less favourably located cities suffer from population loss and economic decline. Shrinking cities face a loss of urban functions such as public infrastructure, high-quality services and various aspects of urban living; the cultural heritage is also degraded through declining population and vacant buildings. The end result is a lower level of attractiveness and competitiveness along with negative development prospects. At the same time, booming cities and city regions face negative agglomeration externalities such as rising real estate prices and rents, traffic congestion, land use conflicts or poor environmental quality. One such shrunk town is Görlitz in Eastern Germany, where a new decision support tool to foster urban regeneration and heritage preservation has been tested—the Urban Transformation Matrix. This tool aims at revitalising the historic building stock protected by heritage preservation law. The idea is to openly discuss structural alterations to buildings in order to foster revitalisation and high-quality occupancy not only in the case of individual buildings, but also in the wider neighbourhood context, which in turn can promote further revitalisation and revaluation of the entire urban district. The Matrix takes into account both heritage aspects and the proposed post-refurbishment function of a building before launching the approval procedure for the construction work. Based on scientific monitoring, the article reflects the heated discussions around the Urban Transformation Matrix and the test-period of its application, as well as factors of successful implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Article
Land-Use Dynamics in Transport-Impacted Urban Fabric: A Case Study of Martin–Vrútky, Slovakia
Land 2020, 9(8), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9080273 - 15 Aug 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1083
Abstract
The paper evaluates landscape development, land-use changes, and transport infrastructure variations in the city of Martin and the town of Vrútky, Slovakia, over the past 70 years. It focuses on analyses of the landscape structures characterizing the study area in several time periods [...] Read more.
The paper evaluates landscape development, land-use changes, and transport infrastructure variations in the city of Martin and the town of Vrútky, Slovakia, over the past 70 years. It focuses on analyses of the landscape structures characterizing the study area in several time periods (1949, 1970, 1993, 2003); the past conditions are then compared with the relevant current structure (2018). Special attention is paid to the evolution of the landscape elements forming the transport infrastructure. The development and progressive changes in traffic intensities are presented in view of the resulting impact on the formation of the landscape structure. The research data confirm the importance of transport as a force determining landscape changes, and they indicate that while railroad accessibility embodied a crucial factor up to the 1970s, the more recent decades were characterized by a gradual shift to road transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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Review

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Review
Patterns of Urban Green Space Use Applying Social Media Data: A Systematic Literature Review
Land 2022, 11(2), 238; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11020238 - 05 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 574
Abstract
Scientific interest in the potential of urban green spaces, particularly urban parks, to improve health and well-being is increasing. Traditional research methods such as observations and surveys have recently been complemented by the use of social media data to understand park visitation patterns. [...] Read more.
Scientific interest in the potential of urban green spaces, particularly urban parks, to improve health and well-being is increasing. Traditional research methods such as observations and surveys have recently been complemented by the use of social media data to understand park visitation patterns. We aimed to provide a systematic overview of how social media data have been applied to identify patterns of urban park use, as well as the advantages and limitations of using social media data in the context of urban park studies. We used the PRISMA method to conduct a systematic literature analysis. Our main findings show that the 22 eligible papers reviewed mainly used social media data to analyse urban park visitors’ needs and demands, and to identify essential park attributes, popular activities, and the spatial, social, and ecological coherence between visitors and parks. The review allowed us to identify the advantages and limitations of using social media data in such research. These advantages include a large database, real-time data, and cost and time savings in data generation of social media data. The identified limitations of using social media data include potentially biased information, a lack of socio-demographic data, and privacy settings on social media platforms. Given the identified advantages and limitations of using social media data in researching urban park visitation patterns, we conclude that the use of social media data as supplementary data constitutes a significant advantage. However, we should critically evaluate the possible risk of bias when using social media data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cities' Spatial Structure and Drivers of its Transformation)
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