Special Issue "Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2017).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Andrew Millington
Website
Guest Editor
College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Interests: land use dynamics and potential impacts around increased foreign ownership of farmland in Australia; the coca/cocaine trade as a driver of land use dynamics in humid tropical forests; analysis of landscape fragmentation patterns in tropical and sub-tropical landscapes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Harini Nagendra
Website
Guest Editor
Azim Premji University, PES Institute of Technology Campus, Pixel Park, B Block, Electronics City, Hosur Road, Bangalore 560100, India
Interests: land cover change; commons; urbanization; conservation biology; remote sensing
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Monika Kopecká
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geoinformatics, Institute of Geography, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Stefanikova 49, 814 73 Bratislava, Slovakia
Interests: land use/land cover change; landscape fragmentation; urban dynamics; ecosystem services; remote sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We live in an urbanising world. Since 2008, more than half of humanity has lived in cities, both large and small, and old and new. We also live in a world that is becoming even more urbanised—by the middle of the 21st century the UN estimates 70% of people with be city dwellers.

In the context of land systems science, contemporary urbanisation is a set of land use change processes and the various contemporary cityscapes are the resulting land systems. Urbanisation statistics and trends are well known to researchers and policy makers. It is also generally understood that urban ecosystems are essential for well-functioning and liveable cities and to protect the public health of urban populations. For example, urban green spaces may filter air, remove pollution, reduce noise, reduce temperatures, and improve stormwater infiltration. Moreover, urban ecosystems can provide food.  

In this Special Issue we will take some thought provoking and meaningful directions from the milieu of land science. These directions will be not only allow the land community to reflect on urbanisation but also allow  urban scholars, planners, and policy makers access to the work by land scientists on contemporary cities in a single volume of Land.

Specifically the Special Issue encourages original full-length research contributions as well as shorter communications from researchers and practitioners on:

  • the application of ecological concepts to understand urban form and urbanisation processes,
  • the application of ecological concepts in urban planning,
  • integrating ecology into urban settings to obtain better biodiversity, environmental and human well-being outcomes,
  • integrating concepts from agricultural and human ecologies into the urban

We ‘define’ ecological concepts very broadly; both to mean ecological sensu stricto and environmental more broadly. Concepts might include, but are also not restricted:

  • ecosystem services: mapping, valuation and trade-off analysis
  • green infrastructure: identification, classification and quantification of urban green spaces, green walls and rooftops
  • enhancing biodiversity in the city
  • the role of urban ecosystems in urban heat mitigation
  • urban ecological and environmental challenges, such as pollution, disease epidemics, flooding and drought
  • farming and food production in the city, including concepts from agricultural ecology.

We encourage contributions that cover the full range of contemporary cities – from megacities and complex metropolitan areas to small- to medium-size urban areas; from all world regions; from inland to coastal, and from old, established and rapidly developing cities.

The special arises from a session convened by the editors at the GLP 3rd Open Science Meeting in Beijing, October 2016, This call for papers will expand the scope of papers presented at that meeting.

Please submit a 200-word synopsis of your planned paper to [email protected] by 31 January, 2017, for comments by the Guest Editors. Full papers will be required by 30 June, 2017.

Prof. Harini Nagendra
Prof. Dr. Andrew Millington
Dr. Monika Kopecka
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. 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 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.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessFeature PaperEditorial
Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective
Land 2018, 7(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7010005 - 11 Jan 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
We live in an urbanizing world. Since 2008, more than half of humanity lives in cities, both large and small, and old and new.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Informal Urban Green Space: Residents’ Perception, Use, and Management Preferences across Four Major Japanese Shrinking Cities
Land 2017, 6(3), 59; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6030059 - 25 Aug 2017
Cited by 18
Abstract
Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by [...] Read more.
Urban residents’ health depends on green infrastructure to cope with climate change. Shrinking cities could utilize vacant land to provide more green space, but declining tax revenues preclude new park development—a situation pronounced in Japan, where some cities are projected to shrink by over ten percent, but lack green space. Could informal urban green spaces (IGS; vacant lots, street verges, brownfields etc.) supplement parks in shrinking cities? This study analyzes residents’ perception, use, and management preferences (management goals, approaches to participatory management, willingness to participate) for IGS using a large, representative online survey (n = 1000) across four major shrinking Japanese cities: Sapporo, Nagano, Kyoto and Kitakyushu. Results show that residents saw IGS as a common element of the urban landscape and their daily lives, but their evaluation was mixed. Recreation and urban agriculture were preferred to redevelopment and non-management. For participative management, residents saw a need for the city administration to mediate usage and liability, and expected an improved appearance, but emphasized the need for financial and non-financial support. A small but significant minority (~10%) were willing to participate in management activities. On this basis, eight principles for participatory informal green space planning are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Urban Growth and the Nepal Earthquake 2015 for Sustainability of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal
Land 2017, 6(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020042 - 17 Jun 2017
Cited by 14
Abstract
The exodus of people from rural areas to cities brings many detrimental environmental, social and cultural consequences. Monitoring spatiotemporal change by referencing the historical timeline or incidence has become an important way to analyze urbanization. This study has attempted to attain the cross-sectional [...] Read more.
The exodus of people from rural areas to cities brings many detrimental environmental, social and cultural consequences. Monitoring spatiotemporal change by referencing the historical timeline or incidence has become an important way to analyze urbanization. This study has attempted to attain the cross-sectional analysis of Kathmandu valley that has been plagued by rampant urbanization over the last three decades. The research utilizes Landsat images of Kathmandu valley from 1976 to 2015 for the transition analysis of land use, land cover and urban sprawl for the last four decades. Results showed that the urban coverage of Kathmandu valley has tremendously increased from 20.19 km2 in 1976 to 39.47 km2 in 1989 to 78.96 km2 in 2002 to 139.57 km2 in 2015, at the cost of cultivated lands, with an average annual urban growth rate of 7.34%, 7.70% and 5.90% in each temporal interval, respectively. In addition, the urban expansion orientation analysis concludes the significant urban concentration in the eastern part, moderately medium in the southwest and relatively less in the western and northwest part of the valley. Urbanization was solely accountable for the exploitation of extant forests, fertile and arable lands and indigenous and cultural landscapes. Unattended fallow lands in suburban areas have compounded the problem by welcoming invasive alien species. Overlaying the highly affected geological formations within the major city centers displays that unless the trend of rapid, unplanned urbanization is discontinued, the future of Kathmandu is at the high risk. Since land use management is a fundamental part of development, we advocate for the appropriate land use planning and policies for sustainable and secure future development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Future Land Cover Changes and Their Effects on the Land Surface Temperatures in the Saudi Arabian Eastern Coastal City of Dammam
Land 2017, 6(2), 36; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020036 - 29 May 2017
Cited by 21
Abstract
Over the past several decades, Saudi cities have experienced rapid urban developments and land use and land cover (LULC) changes. These developments will have numerous short- and long-term consequences including increasing the land surface temperature (LST) of these cities. This study investigated the [...] Read more.
Over the past several decades, Saudi cities have experienced rapid urban developments and land use and land cover (LULC) changes. These developments will have numerous short- and long-term consequences including increasing the land surface temperature (LST) of these cities. This study investigated the effects of LULC changes on the LST for the eastern coastal city of Dammam. Using Landsat imagery, the study first detected the LULC using the maximum likelihood classification method and derived the LSTs for the years 1990, 2002, and 2014. Using the classified results, it then modeled the future LULC for 2026 using the Cellular Automata Markov (CAM) model. Finally, using three thematic indices and linear regression analysis, it then modeled the LST for 2026 as well. The built-up area in Dammam increased by 28.9% between 1990 and 2014. During this period, the average LSTs for the LULC classes increased as well, with bare soil and built-up area having the highest LST. By 2026, the urban area is expected to encompass 55% of the city and 98% of the land cover is envisioned to have average LSTs over 41 °C. Such high temperatures will make it difficult for the residents to live in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Agricultural Land Fragmentation at Urban Fringes: An Application of Urban-To-Rural Gradient Analysis in Adelaide
Land 2017, 6(2), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020028 - 16 Apr 2017
Cited by 15
Abstract
One of the major consequences of expansive urban growth is the degradation and loss of productive agricultural land and agroecosystem functions. Four landscape metrics—Percentage of Land (PLAND), Mean Parcel Size (MPS), Parcel Density (PD), and Modified Simpson’s Diversity Index (MSDI)—were calculated for 1 [...] Read more.
One of the major consequences of expansive urban growth is the degradation and loss of productive agricultural land and agroecosystem functions. Four landscape metrics—Percentage of Land (PLAND), Mean Parcel Size (MPS), Parcel Density (PD), and Modified Simpson’s Diversity Index (MSDI)—were calculated for 1 km × 1 km cells along three 50 km-long transects that extend out from the Adelaide CBD, in order to analyze variations in landscape structures. Each transect has different land uses beyond the built-up area, and they differ in topography, soils, and rates of urban expansion. Our new findings are that zones of agricultural land fragmentation can be identified by the relationships between MPS and PD, that these occur in areas where PD ranges from 7 and 35, and that these occur regardless of distance along the transect, land use, topography, soils, or rates of urban growth. This suggests a geometry of fragmentation that may be consistent, and indicates that quantification of both land use and land-use change in zones of fragmentation is potentially important in planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Factors Influencing Perceptions and Use of Urban Nature: Surveys of Park Visitors in Delhi
Land 2017, 6(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020027 - 16 Apr 2017
Cited by 17
Abstract
Urban green spaces provide important recreational, social and psychological benefits to stressed city residents. This paper aims to understand the importance of parks for visitors. We focus on Delhi, the world’s second most populous city, drawing on 123 interviews with park visitors in [...] Read more.
Urban green spaces provide important recreational, social and psychological benefits to stressed city residents. This paper aims to understand the importance of parks for visitors. We focus on Delhi, the world’s second most populous city, drawing on 123 interviews with park visitors in four prominent city parks. Almost all respondents expressed the need for more green spaces. Visitors valued parks primarily for environmental and psychological/health benefits. They had limited awareness of biodiversity, with one out of three visitors unable to identify tree species and one out of four visitors unable to identify animal species frequenting the park. Most of the daily visitors lived within 0.5 km of these parks, but a small fraction of visitors traveled over 10 km to visit these major parks, despite having smaller neighbourhood parks in their vicinity. This study demonstrates the importance of large, well-maintained, publicly accessible parks in a crowded city. The results can help to better plan and design urban green spaces, responding to the needs and preferences of urban communities. This research contributes to the severely limited information on people’s perceptions of and requirements from urban nature in cities of the Global South. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Modeling Future Urban Sprawl and Landscape Change in the Laguna de Bay Area, Philippines
Land 2017, 6(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020026 - 14 Apr 2017
Cited by 13
Abstract
This study uses a spatially-explicit land-use/land-cover (LULC) modeling approach to model and map the future (2016–2030) LULC of the area surrounding the Laguna de Bay of Philippines under three different scenarios: ‘business-as-usual’, ‘compact development’, and ‘high sprawl’ scenarios. The Laguna de Bay is [...] Read more.
This study uses a spatially-explicit land-use/land-cover (LULC) modeling approach to model and map the future (2016–2030) LULC of the area surrounding the Laguna de Bay of Philippines under three different scenarios: ‘business-as-usual’, ‘compact development’, and ‘high sprawl’ scenarios. The Laguna de Bay is the largest lake in the Philippines and an important natural resource for the population in/around Metro Manila. The LULC around the lake is rapidly changing due to urban sprawl, so local and national government agencies situated in the area need an understanding of the future (likely) LULC changes and their associated hydrological impacts. The spatial modeling approach involved three main steps: (1) mapping the locations of past LULC changes; (2) identifying the drivers of these past changes; and (3) identifying where and when future LULC changes are likely to occur. Utilizing various publically-available spatial datasets representing potential drivers of LULC changes, a LULC change model was calibrated using the Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) neural network algorithm. After calibrating the model, future LULC changes were modeled and mapped up to the year 2030. Our modeling results showed that the ‘built-up’ LULC class is likely to experience the greatest increase in land area due to losses in ‘crop/grass’ (and to a lesser degree ‘tree’) LULC, and this is attributed to continued urban sprawl. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Analysis of Urban Green Spaces Based on Sentinel-2A: Case Studies from Slovakia
Land 2017, 6(2), 25; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020025 - 14 Apr 2017
Cited by 19
Abstract
Urban expansion and its ecological footprint increases globally at an unprecedented scale and consequently, the importance of urban greenery assessment grows. The diversity and quality of urban green spaces (UGS) and human well-being are tightly linked, and UGS provide a wide range of [...] Read more.
Urban expansion and its ecological footprint increases globally at an unprecedented scale and consequently, the importance of urban greenery assessment grows. The diversity and quality of urban green spaces (UGS) and human well-being are tightly linked, and UGS provide a wide range of ecosystem services (e.g., urban heat mitigation, stormwater infiltration, food security, physical recreation). Analyses and inter-city comparison of UGS patterns and their functions requires not only detailed information on their relative quantity but also a closer examination of UGS in terms of quality and land use, which can be derived from the land cover composition and spatial structure. In this study, we present an approach to UGS extraction from newly available Sentinel-2A satellite imagery, provided in the frame of the European Copernicus program. We investigate and map the spatial distribution of UGS in three cities in Slovakia: Bratislava, Žilina and Trnava. Supervised maximum likelihood classification was used to identify UGS polygons. Based on their function and physiognomy, each UGS polygon was assigned to one of the fifteen classes, and each class was further described by the proportion of tree canopy and its ecosystem services. Our results document that the substantial part of UGS is covered by the class Urban greenery in family housing areas (mainly including privately-owned gardens) with the class abundance between 17.7% and 42.2% of the total UGS area. The presented case studies showed the possibilities of semi-automatic extraction of UGS classes from Sentinel-2A data that may improve the transfer of scientific knowledge to local urban environmental monitoring and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Land Use and Land Cover Dynamics from 1976 to 2014 in Yellow River Delta
Land 2017, 6(1), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6010020 - 13 Mar 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Long-term intensive land use/cover changes (LUCCs) of the Yellow River Delta (YRD) have been happening since the 1960s. The land use patterns of the LUCCs are crucial for bio-diversity conservation and/or sustainable development. This study quantified patterns of the LUCCs, explored the systematic [...] Read more.
Long-term intensive land use/cover changes (LUCCs) of the Yellow River Delta (YRD) have been happening since the 1960s. The land use patterns of the LUCCs are crucial for bio-diversity conservation and/or sustainable development. This study quantified patterns of the LUCCs, explored the systematic transitions, and identified wetland change trajectory for the period 1976–2014 in the YRD. Landsat imageries of 1976, 1984, 1995, 2006, and 2014 were used to derive nine land use classes. Post classification change detection analysis based on enhanced transition matrix was applied to identify land use dynamics and trajectory of wetland change. The five cartographic outputs for changes in land use underlined major decreases in natural wetland areas and increases in artificial wetland and non-wetland, especially aquafarms, salt pans and construction lands. The systematic transitions in the YRD were wetland degradation, wetland artificialization, and urbanization. Wetland change trajectory results demonstrated that the main wetland changes were wetland degradation and wetland artificialization. Coastline change is the subordinate reason for natural wetland degradation in comparison with human activities. The results of this study allowed for an improvement in the understanding of the LUCC processes and enabled researchers and planners to focus on the most important signals of systematic landscape transitions while also allowing for a better understanding of the proximate causes of changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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Review

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Open AccessReview
A Review on Remote Sensing of Urban Heat and Cool Islands
Land 2017, 6(2), 38; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6020038 - 09 Jun 2017
Cited by 30
Abstract
The variation between land surface temperature (LST) within a city and its surrounding area is a result of variations in surface cover, thermal capacity and three-dimensional geometry. The objective of this research is to review the state of knowledge and current research to [...] Read more.
The variation between land surface temperature (LST) within a city and its surrounding area is a result of variations in surface cover, thermal capacity and three-dimensional geometry. The objective of this research is to review the state of knowledge and current research to quantify surface urban heat islands (SUHI) and surface urban cool islands (SUCI). In order to identify open issues and gaps remaining in this field, we review research on SUHI/SUCI, the models for simulating UHIs/UCIs and techniques used in this field were appraised. The appraisal has revealed some great progress made in surface UHI mapping of cities located in humid and vegetated (temperate) regions, whilst few studies have investigated the spatiotemporal variation of surface SUHI/SUCI and the effect of land use/land cover (LULC) change on LST in arid and semi-arid climates. While some progress has been made, models for simulating UHI/UCI have been advancing only slowly. We conclude and suggest that SUHI/SUCI in arid and semi-arid areas requires more in-depth study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available

Other

Open AccessLetter
Urban Growth Dynamics in Perth, Western Australia: Using Applied Remote Sensing for Sustainable Future Planning
Land 2017, 6(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/land6010009 - 24 Jan 2017
Cited by 10
Abstract
Earth observation data can provide valuable assessments for monitoring the spatial extent of (un)sustainable urban growth of the world’s cities to better inform planning policy in reducing associated economic, social and environmental costs. Western Australia has witnessed rapid economic expansion since the turn [...] Read more.
Earth observation data can provide valuable assessments for monitoring the spatial extent of (un)sustainable urban growth of the world’s cities to better inform planning policy in reducing associated economic, social and environmental costs. Western Australia has witnessed rapid economic expansion since the turn of the century founded upon extensive natural resource extraction. Thus, Perth, the state capital of Western Australia, has encountered significant population and urban growth in response to the booming state economy. However, the recent economic slowdown resulted in the largest decrease in natural resource values that Western Australia has ever experienced. Here, we present multi-temporal urban expansion statistics from 1990 to 2015 for Perth, derived from Landsat imagery. Current urban estimates used for future development plans and progress monitoring of infill and density targets are based upon aggregated census data and metrics unrepresentative of actual land cover change, underestimating overall urban area. Earth observation provides a temporally consistent methodology, identifying areal urban area at higher spatial and temporal resolution than current estimates. Our results indicate that the spatial extent of the Perth Metropolitan Region has increased 45% between 1990 and 2015, over 320 km2. We highlight the applicability of earth observation data in accurately quantifying urban area for sustainable targeted planning practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Systems: An Ecosystems Perspective) Printed Edition available
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