Special Issue "Smart Cities, City Dashboards, Planning and Evaluation of Urban Performances"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 January 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Borruso Website E-Mail
Department of Economics, Business, Mathematics and Statistics, University of Trieste, Trieste, Via Tigor, 22, 34124 Trieste, Italy
Interests: urban geography; smart cities; GIS; transport geography; urban planning; regional planning; networks; migrations; mobility; spatial analysis
Guest Editor
Prof. Margherita Azzari Website E-Mail
SAGAS, Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Florence Via San Gallo, 10, 50129, Florence, Italy
Interests: human geography; smart cities; urban geography; assessment of environmental susceptibility; cultural heritage; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Ginevra Balletto Website E-Mail
DICAAR, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo 3, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Interests: urban and regional planning; cultural heritage; urban governance and urban policies; urban governance and urban policies (hard and soft); sport in the city
Guest Editor
Prof. Carlo Donato Website E-Mail
DISEA, Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Via Muroni 25, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: tourism; urban geography; migrations; smart cities
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Chiara Garau Website E-Mail
DICAAR, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture, University of Cagliari, Via Marengo 3, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Interests: smart cities; urban and regional planning; participatory processes; cultural heritage; smart tourism, urban governance and urban policies
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Beniamino Murgante Website E-Mail
School of Engineering, University of Basilicata, 10 Viale dell’Ateneo Lucano, 85100 Potenza, Italy
Interests: spatial planning; spatial simulation; geodemographics; geographic data analysis of socio-economic and population data; planning 2.0; participation 2.0; e-democracy; e-participation
Guest Editor
Dr. Paola Zamperlin Website E-Mail
SAGAS, Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Florence Via San Gallo, 10, 50129, Florence, Italy
Interests: human geography; smart cities; urban geography; assessment of environmental susceptibility; cultural heritage; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the applications for Smart Cities have developed in different directions, one of the most evident dealing with the realization of city dashboards—tools where data from various sources are gathered, arranged, and made available to citizens. It is a trend followed by many public administrations, opening their datasets and making them available for consultation and use by the general public. Additionally, the amount of big data constantly created by different sources can be considered as valuable means for providing information and knowledge for better urban life and planning.

An important use of the dashboards can be found in the opportunity to evaluate the performance of events (e.g., sports, expo, international events) connected to urban regeneration.

However, the attention has often been drawn towards tools, techniques, and data, and little given to processes and methods of smart urban planning. In this light, dashboards have been developed in many cases representing academic experiments and tests of city-to-citizens interface and communication channels, to produce indicators and indexes related to the performances of cities. Such indexes are seldom used in planning as benchmarks for policies, and therefore dashboards and their output are not frequently used as a consistent part of urban spatial planning policies.

The aim of this Special Issue is to propose a change in the model of urban dashboards from a linear one (that follows the logic of: data input–processing–visualization–information output) to a circular one (data input–processing–visualization–information output–indicators–use of indicators in planning–new data production–new data input). In this sense, the aim is to understand how the principles of the smart city can be put in action in terms of policies and decisions of urban and regional planning. However, the Special Issue is not limited to these specific topics. Original contributions regarding smart cities, new technologies, and urban planning will also be appreciated.

Prof. Giuseppe Borruso
Prof. Margherita Azzari
Prof. Dr. Ginevra Balletto
Prof. Carlo Donato
Prof. Dr. Chiara Garau
Prof. Dr. Beniamino Murgante
Dr. Paola Zamperlin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 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

  • smart cities
  • urban dashboards
  • urban and regional planning
  • smart governance
  • big data
  • open data
  • IoT
  • GIS

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Fostering and Planning a Smart Governance Strategy for Evaluating the Urban Polarities of the Sardinian Island (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4962; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184962 - 11 Sep 2019
Abstract
The interrelations between cities, inland areas, connecting road networks, urban, and political polarities have evolved, thereby determining economic, social, and place-based impacts. Thus, via a case study of Sardinia island (Italy), this study analyses regional transport data to evaluate the interrelations and mobility [...] Read more.
The interrelations between cities, inland areas, connecting road networks, urban, and political polarities have evolved, thereby determining economic, social, and place-based impacts. Thus, via a case study of Sardinia island (Italy), this study analyses regional transport data to evaluate the interrelations and mobility issues between the main cities and the settlement geographies of internal areas with a predominantly agricultural vocation. First, it frames the problems (common to the islands) theoretically and focuses on how the internal areas (considered marginal for a long time) have considerable material and immaterial resources to be valorised. Second, the study evaluates the internal relationship networks that characterise the island territory through the cluster and principal components analysis using origin–destination data to represent vocations and population needs. A smart governance strategy is proposed for Sardinia through an assessment of the functionality of urban settlements and interconnections between the hinterlands (the small and the main cities of the case study), following the smart region paradigm. The study underlines the importance of the interconnection between urban geographical areas. Thus, given an analytical-numerical approach, the originality of this research is highlighted in how it is possible to extract social vocations of the territory, which is generally not easily quantifiable. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smart Urban Planning: Evaluating Urban Logistics Performance of Innovative Solutions and Sustainable Policies in the Venice Lagoon—the Results of a Case Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4580; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174580 - 23 Aug 2019
Abstract
Currently, remarkable gaps of operational, social and environmental efficiency and overall sub-optimization of the logistics and mobility systems exist in urban areas. There is then the need to promote and assess innovative transport solutions and policy-making within SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) to [...] Read more.
Currently, remarkable gaps of operational, social and environmental efficiency and overall sub-optimization of the logistics and mobility systems exist in urban areas. There is then the need to promote and assess innovative transport solutions and policy-making within SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) to deal with such critical issues in order to improve urban sustainability. The paper focuses on the case study of the Venice Lagoon, where islands—despite representing a relevant feature of urban planning—face a tremendous lack of accessibility, depopulation, social cohesion and they turn out to be poorly connected. By developing an original scenario-building methodological framework and performing data collection activities, the purpose of the paper consists of assessing the feasibility of a mixed passenger and freight transport system —sometimes called cargo hitching. Mixed passenger and freight systems/cargo hitching are considered as an innovative framework based on the integration of freight and passenger urban systems and resources to optimize the existing transport capacity, and thus, urban sustainability. Results show that the overall existing urban transport capacity can accommodate urban freight flows on main connections in the Lagoon. The reduction in spare public transport capacity, as well as in the number (and type) of circulating freight boats show—in various scenarios—the degree of optimization of the resulting urban network configuration and the positive impacts on urban sustainability. This paves the way for the regulatory framework to adopt proposed solutions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Smart City: A Shareable Framework and Its Applications in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4346; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164346 - 12 Aug 2019
Abstract
Smart City is a new concept that uses information and communication technology (ICT) to promote the smartification of urban construction, planning and services. Currently, a number of cities have conducted studies on smart cities, but they have mostly focused on analyzing the conceptual [...] Read more.
Smart City is a new concept that uses information and communication technology (ICT) to promote the smartification of urban construction, planning and services. Currently, a number of cities have conducted studies on smart cities, but they have mostly focused on analyzing the conceptual connotations or applications in specific domains and lack a shareable and integrated framework, which has led to significant barriers for individual smart projects. By analyzing the framework and applications of Smart City, this paper proposes a common, shareable and integrated conceptual framework. Then, based on this framework, it further proposes a unified portal platform that can balance multiple stakeholders, including the government, citizens and businesses, as well as for common, custom and other application modes. Finally, the implementation of Smart Weifang based on this platform is discussed. The applications indicate that this shareable platform can effectively eliminate the data and technological barriers between different smart city systems while also avoiding redundant financial investments. The investigation of this proposed framework and platform is highly significant for the unified construction of smart cities and the intensification of the hardware environment, thus representing a true achievement in the transition from ‘information islands’ to ‘information sharing and interconnection’ for urban informatization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Blockchain-Based Secure Device Management Framework for an Internet of Things Network in a Smart City
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3889; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143889 - 17 Jul 2019
Abstract
The broadly configured smart city network requires a variety of security considerations for a heterogeneous device environment. Because a network of heterogeneous devices facilitates an attacker’s intrusion through a specific device or node, a device management framework is required to manage each node [...] Read more.
The broadly configured smart city network requires a variety of security considerations for a heterogeneous device environment. Because a network of heterogeneous devices facilitates an attacker’s intrusion through a specific device or node, a device management framework is required to manage each node comprehensively. This paper proposes a blockchain-based device management framework for efficient device management, scalable firmware update and resiliences on attacks against smart city network. This framework offers four device management and firmware update mechanisms based on the performance and requirements of each device: bidirectional mechanism of general end node and a unidirectional mechanism of the lightweight end node. This difference optimizes the resource of network and devices in terms of management and security. All management history of each device is stored in the blockchain and transmitting firmware between vendor and management node is conducted through a smart contract of blockchain for security and resilience on the attack. Through the framework proposed in this paper, the confidentiality and availability of device management on smart city network as well as integrity, auditability, adaptability and authentication for each node are ensured and the effectiveness of the proposed framework is presented through the security analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Role of the Sharing Economy for a Sustainable and Innovative Development of Rural Areas: A Case Study in Sardinia (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3004; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113004 - 28 May 2019
Abstract
Depopulation is a problem felt in many regions of the European Union, mainly affecting inland and rural areas. In many cases, these areas are characterized by economic, social, and infrastructural marginalization. Their rehabilitation is desirable in view of a better balance of social [...] Read more.
Depopulation is a problem felt in many regions of the European Union, mainly affecting inland and rural areas. In many cases, these areas are characterized by economic, social, and infrastructural marginalization. Their rehabilitation is desirable in view of a better balance of social and infrastructural management. This said, there are no proven solutions for depopulation that can be applied to all territories in the same way. On the contrary, if we examine progress in the fields of ITC and digitization, we can gather interesting suggestions on how to deal with this issue. This essay intends to analyze these aspects and to examine ways to strengthen, through programs and instruments of the sharing economy, the competitiveness and potential attraction of geographical areas considered marginal and that risk demographic collapse. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Effects of Human Activity over the Last Decades on the Soil Organic Carbon Pool Using Satellite Imagery and GIS Techniques in the Nile Delta Area, Egypt
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092644 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The study aims to clarify the relationship between soil organic carbon (SOC) and human activity under arid conditions, in the east area of the Nile Delta, Egypt. SOC is one of the critical factors in food production and plays an important role in [...] Read more.
The study aims to clarify the relationship between soil organic carbon (SOC) and human activity under arid conditions, in the east area of the Nile Delta, Egypt. SOC is one of the critical factors in food production and plays an important role in the climate change because it affects the physio-chemical soil characteristics, plant growth, and contributes to sustainable development on global levels. For the purpose of our investigations, 120 soil samples (0–30 cm) were collected throughout different land uses and soil types of the study area. Multiple linear regressions (MLR) were used to investigate the spatiotemporal relationship of SOC, soil characteristics, and environmental factors. Remote sensing data acquired from Landsat 5 TM in July 1995 and operational land imager (OLI) in July 2018 were used to model SOC pool. The results revealed significant variations of soil organic carbon pool (SOCP) among different soil textures and land-uses. Soil with high clay content revealed an increase in the percentage of soil organic carbon, and had mean SOCP of 6.08 ± 1.91 Mg C ha−1, followed by clay loams and loamy soils. The higher values of SOCP were observed in the northern regions of the study area. The phenomenon is associated with the expansion of the human activity of initiating fish ponds that reflected higher values of SOC that were related to the organic additions used as nutrients for fish. Nevertheless, the SOC values decreased in southeast of the study area with the decrease of soil moisture contents and the increase in the heavy texture profiles. As a whole, our findings pointed out that the human factor has had a significant impact on the variation of soil organic carbon values in the Eastern Nile Delta from 1995 to 2018. As land use changes from agricultural activity to fish ponds, the SOCP significantly increased. The agriculture land-use revealed higher SOCP with 60.77 Mg C ha−1 in clay soils followed by fish ponds with 53.43 Mg C ha−1. The results also showed a decrease in SOCP values due to an increasing in land surface temperature (LST) thus highlighting that influence of temperature and ambient soil conditions linked to land-use changes have a marked impact on surface SOCP and C sequestration. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
On the Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS Tools to Detect and Characterize the Urbanization around Heritage Sites: The Case Studies of the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel in Alexandria, Egypt and the Aragonese Castle in Baia, Italy
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072110 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The sustainable development of urban growth is a mandatory challenge to be addressed, as also highlighted in the Agenda 2030, and this requires suitable and sustainable planning strategies, as well as systematic and timely monitoring of urban expansion and its effects. In this [...] Read more.
The sustainable development of urban growth is a mandatory challenge to be addressed, as also highlighted in the Agenda 2030, and this requires suitable and sustainable planning strategies, as well as systematic and timely monitoring of urban expansion and its effects. In this context, satellite data (today also available free of charge) can provide both (i) historical time-series datasets, and (ii) timely updated information related to the current urban spatial structure and city edges, as well as parameters to assess urban features and their statistical characterization to better understand and manage the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that the identification and mapping of urban areas is still today a complex challenge, due to the heterogeneities of materials, complexity of the features, etc. Our approach, herein adopted, addresses the challenges in using heterogeneous data from multiple data sources for change detection analysis to improve knowledge and monitoring of landscape over time with a specific focus on urban sprawl and land-use change around cultural properties and archaeological areas. Two significant test cases were selected: (i) one in Egypt, the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel in Alexandria, and (ii) one in Italy, the Aragonese Castle in Baia–Naples. For both study areas, the changes in urban layers were identified over time from satellite data and investigated using spatial analytic tools to statistically characterize them. The results of this study showed that (i) the increase in urban areas is the main phenomenon around both heritage areas, (ii) this increase is sharper in developing countries (e.g., Egypt) than developed countries (e.g., Italy), (iii) the methodology herein adopted is suitable for both big and small urban changes as observed around the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel and the Aragonese Castle. Full article
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