Special Issue "Citizen Science for Sustainable Cities: Investigating Nature Based Solutions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainability, Biodiversity and Conservation".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 16 August 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Steven Loiselle
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Earthwatch Institute (Europe), Mayfield House, 256 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, UK; Dipartimento di Biotecnologie, Chimica e Farmacia, University of Siena, CSGI, Via Aldo Moro 2, 53100 Siena, Italy
Interests: environmental spectroscopy; optical analysis and modelling of aquatic ecosystems; study of impacts of solar radiation; controlling factors of productivity in aquatic ecosystems; global change impacts on wetland and lake functioning; analysis of organic matter in aquatic ecosystems
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Macarena L. Cárdenas
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Earthwatch Institute (Europe), Mayfield House, 256 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, UK
Interests: citizen science; nature-based solutions; urban sustainability; climate change; forest biodiversity; long-term human vegetation relationships
Dr. Claire Narraway
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Earthwatch Institute (Europe), Mayfield House, 256 Banbury Road, Summertown, Oxford, UK
Interests: citizen science; biodiversity; evolution of sociality; dynamics of conflict and cooperation; group decision making and multilevel selection; urban planning; built environment
Prof. Dr. Shyam R. Asolekar
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Environmental Science & Engineering Department (ESED), Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB), Powai, Mumbai India
Interests: air pollution control technologies; hazardous waste treatment and disposal; hazardous, municipal, and biomedical waste management; reactor modelling and technology development for biological and physicochemical treatment of hazardous waste leachates and special industrial wastewaters; environmental policy and preventive environmental management; application of remotely sensed data for monitoring of environmental systems; environmental policy and preventive environmental management; eco-industrial networking; eco-centric and low-cost wastewater treatment treatment of leachates and special industrial wastewaters; recycle and reuse of effluents
Dr. Jonathan D. Paul
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, University of London, London, UK
Interests: sustainable groundwater resources; landscape development; natural hazard risk reduction; surface–groundwater interactions; low-cost hydrological sensor network development
Dr. Jérôme Ngao
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
French National Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE),Paris, France
Interests: Tree Ecophysiology; Agroforestry; Urban Trees; Carbon Cycling; Functional Ecology

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cities are major contributors to global change and are highly susceptible to their consequences. As urbanization continues, there have been significant increases in water, soil, and air pollution, exacerbated urban heat island effect and more frequent flooding, with impacts on society, economic prosperity, infrastructure, and the environment.

Nature-based solutions (NBS), such as green and blue infrastructure, provide sustainable options that can increase the resiliency of cities and mitigate global change. While the potential benefits of NBSs have been described, efforts to estimate these benefits remain inconsistent and rarely conducted across large spatial and temporal extensions.

Citizen science (CS) has proven to be a cost-effective method to characterize changes of local environments. Based on the collaborative effort between scientists, agencies, and the general public, CS can fill the information gap, restricting sustainable solutions to environmental problems. CS provides a further benefit of improving participation and understanding local populations in managing their local environment.

This Special Issue brings together studies where CS provide an important contribution to the study of NBS. The editors encourage submissions that explore the range of NBS on urban and peri-urban environments, with the participation of CS. Examples of applications of CS in urban planning, NBS design and monitoring are welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Steven Loiselle
Dr. Macarena L. Cárdenas
Dr. Claire Narraway
Prof. Dr. Shyam R. Asolekar
Dr. Jonathan D. Paul
Dr. Jérôme Ngao
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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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

  • citizen science
  • nature-based solutions (NBS)
  • urbanization
  • green infrastructure
  • blue infrastructure
  • climate change
  • urbanization
  • sustainable development goals

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Communication
The Circular Benefits of Participation in Nature-Based Solutions
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4344; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084344 - 14 Apr 2021
Viewed by 628
Abstract
Nature-based solutions (NbS) provide direct benefits to people who live in areas where these approaches are present. The degree of direct benefits (thermal comfort, reduced flood risk, and mental health) varies across temporal and spatial scales, and it can be modelled and quantified. [...] Read more.
Nature-based solutions (NbS) provide direct benefits to people who live in areas where these approaches are present. The degree of direct benefits (thermal comfort, reduced flood risk, and mental health) varies across temporal and spatial scales, and it can be modelled and quantified. Less clear are the indirect benefits related to opportunities to learn about the environment and its influence on personal behaviour and action. The present study, based on survey data from 1955 participants across 17 cities worldwide, addressed whether participation in NbS through two types of interactions (a passive learning experience about NbS and a more active experience based on Citizen Science) stimulates motivation and willingness to be more environmentally sustainable. Over 75% of participants improved their understanding of environmental sustainability and were highly motivated and more confident in their ability to improve sustainability in their local environment/nature. Similar percentage improvements arose from both types of activity across all cities. Those NbS that had elements of both blue and green infrastructure rated higher than those that had predominantly green NbS. Interestingly, a large percentage of the participants did not live near the NbS that were the focus of these activities. This indicated that expected spatial limitations between benefit and recipient may be overcome when dedicated programmes involve people in learning or monitoring NbS. Therefore, opportunities have arisen to expand inclusion from the immediately local to the larger community through participation and Citizen Science, with potential benefits to social cohesion and urban sustainability. Full article
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Article
The Role of Green Infrastructure in Enhancing Microclimate Conditions: A Case Study of a Low-Rise Neighborhood in Abu Dhabi
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4260; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084260 - 12 Apr 2021
Viewed by 461
Abstract
Urban heat islands are characterized by the increased temperature in urban areas compared with the rural surroundings due to human-made interventions that replace natural lands with buildings and roads. This study focuses on the assessment and utilization of using local nature-based solutions such [...] Read more.
Urban heat islands are characterized by the increased temperature in urban areas compared with the rural surroundings due to human-made interventions that replace natural lands with buildings and roads. This study focuses on the assessment and utilization of using local nature-based solutions such as trees, sensitive landscaping types and design strategies to enhance microclimate in neighborhood streets and the public realm in desert areas, taking Abu Dhabi as a case study. The research utilizes a design-based approach to propose landscaping and layouts of urban street trees in low-rise residential urban areas. In this study, two methods namely an on-site measurement using citizen science, and a numerical simulation model in the ENVI-met software are used. Site-measurements included the tree physical characteristics such as tree height, crown width (crown spread/diameter), and trunk height, and the use of technology (photography and the Fulcrum mobile application, Nikon Forestry pro Laser Rangefinder) and air temperature around trees. ENVI-met included four scenarios: 1—“no-vegetation”, 2—“grass-only”, 3—“existing conditions” and 4—“proposed landscape design”. Grass and three types of local street trees are used in the proposed scenarios including Ghaf, Poinciana, and Temple tree. In addition, a standard of 6 and 8 m spacing between each tree is applied to determine the effect of varying vegetation densities on the outdoor temperature. The combined results using citizen science and the model allowed the identification of particular urban tree species that show substantial cooling effects. This is the case of Poinciana trees, which decreased the air temperature up to 0.9 °C when spaced every six meters in pathways and open unshaded areas amongst alleys, improving the overall thermal conditions in neighborhoods of hot-arid landscapes. Full article
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Article
New Classification Method to Evaluate Pollution Levels of Sewage Contaminated Lakes
Sustainability 2021, 13(7), 3677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13073677 - 26 Mar 2021
Viewed by 541
Abstract
Monitoring water quality to minimize deterioration of a lake’s functionality is important, as several Indian lakes are exposed to sewage contamination. Public health laboratories, citizen scientists, and volunteers in developing nations often find it difficult to perform elaborate tests to monitor the water [...] Read more.
Monitoring water quality to minimize deterioration of a lake’s functionality is important, as several Indian lakes are exposed to sewage contamination. Public health laboratories, citizen scientists, and volunteers in developing nations often find it difficult to perform elaborate tests to monitor the water quality of freshwater systems. Developing a classification method to evaluate the pollution status of sewage-contaminated lakes using limited tests will expand environmental monitoring of freshwater systems and contribute valuable data to the regional and global repository. Four classes of lake pollution ranging from unpolluted (class 1) to mixed wastewater (class 4) were identified based on the distribution of data points in the K+ (potassium) versus COD (chemical oxygen demand) scatter chart. As pH, EC (electrical conductivity), turbidity, and DO (dissolved oxygen) are deteriorated by sewage contamination, these parameters were also incorporated in the proposed pollution classification table. Data of unpolluted and sewage polluted Indian lakes were employed to compile the limiting range of parameters in the proposed lake pollution classification. The five parameters (K+, pH, EC, DO, turbidity) required to categorize lake pollution (class 1 to 4) can be measured with equipment costing 800–1000 USD, while COD can be measured at 5 USD/sample in laboratories. Full article
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