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Special Issue "The Future of Sustainable Communities: Planning, Design and Implementation"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 November 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Lauren Withycombe Keeler

Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, School for the Future of Innovation in Society, Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ 85287-5603, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +480-727-6586
Interests: sustainability science; climate change; future studies; scenario planning; serious gaming

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

What will communities of the future look like? As climate change threatens the resilience of the contemporary built environment and nation state—the very core of what makes us feel modern—this Special Issue invites papers that turn inward and consider who we are as individuals and communities in this changing world. Sustainability science has relied heavily on the natural sciences to help flesh out what exactly this grand experiment, now called the athropocene, is really doing to our planet. Many have asserted that there are fundamental natural processes that have crossed critical thresholds, so called planetary boundaries, beyond which we can never return. So what lies ahead for mankind as we attempt to make meaning and community in yet another new frontier? Interested authors should submit theoretical or research papers that contend with the future of sustainable communities, how they are conceived, planned, designed, and realized amidst the breaching of boundaries and the obduracy of our infrastructure and habits of mind. We invite authors to submit work that attempts to define and create sustainable communities in the present, as well as work that explores alternative futures and their implications for sustainable communities. Communities are not limited to geographic communities and authors considering cultural, interest-based and virtual communities, among others, are invited to submit their works.

Dr. Lauren Withycombe Keeler
Guest Editor

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 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

  • sustainable communities
  • sustainability
  • futures
  • planning
  • design
  • planetary boundaries
  • resilience

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
How Social Media Can Foster Social Innovation in Disadvantaged Rural Communities
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2697; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092697
Received: 23 March 2019 / Revised: 26 April 2019 / Accepted: 6 May 2019 / Published: 12 May 2019
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Abstract
Social innovation has received widespread attention in the rural development field, especially its contribution to future rural sustainability. Social innovation revolves around social networks. Rural areas, however, can be relatively disadvantaged by their geographical peripherality. Social media, therefore, has strong potential to foster [...] Read more.
Social innovation has received widespread attention in the rural development field, especially its contribution to future rural sustainability. Social innovation revolves around social networks. Rural areas, however, can be relatively disadvantaged by their geographical peripherality. Social media, therefore, has strong potential to foster social innovation by enabling remote communication, but in rural areas, social media use may be low because of an aging and decreasing population. This study examined community-level adoption and use of social media in rural areas in Japan, with a focus on Facebook, for the purpose of sharing community information and facilitating networking with a variety of actors to promote rural social innovation. The study involved a comprehensive search and case studies targeting 139,063 rural communities and 10,922 rural joint-communities, all of which are legally designated agricultural communities throughout Japan. The search found that disadvantaged rural communities’ adoption of Facebook was scarce, and most of the communities that had adopted Facebook did not expand their social networks. Furthermore, investigation into the communities that had adopted social networking to a larger extent revealed that external supporters or migrants had essential roles in successful networking. Based on the obtained findings, this study has provided insights for future policy design. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
University-Community Partnerships: A Local Planning Co-Production Study on Calabarzon, Philippines
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1850; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071850
Received: 8 February 2019 / Revised: 17 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 27 March 2019
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Abstract
University-community partnerships provide opportunities for collaborations and meaningful engagement with community partners, in order to promote sustainable community development. To date, studies on university-community partnerships have largely neglected partnership potential and readiness prior to partnership formation. These factors enable expectations and targets to [...] Read more.
University-community partnerships provide opportunities for collaborations and meaningful engagement with community partners, in order to promote sustainable community development. To date, studies on university-community partnerships have largely neglected partnership potential and readiness prior to partnership formation. These factors enable expectations and targets to be negotiated and potential problems to be anticipated, prior to any formal collaboration. Hence, this study investigates the optimal preconditions—including environment, resources, and motivation—to facilitate successful university-community collaboration for local urban planning. Specifically, a sample of local government units (LGUs) and universities in the Calabarzon region of the Philippines were interviewed and observed to determine their needs and access to planning resources at universities, as well as factors that would ensure sustained partnerships. The results show that there is a need for university-community partnerships in local planning, since LGUs have limited technical capacity in preparing comprehensive land use plans, particularly with respect to data analysis, technical writing, project development, and hazard mapping. Conversely, LGUs have more financial resources than universities. Local universities were determined to be uniquely suited to meet the technical and human resource needs of LGUs. Importantly, though, previous partnership experience was found to dramatically influence both parties’ decisions regarding whether or not to pursue a partnership. Accordingly, there is a need to temper the desires and expectations of partner organizations, and lay down the foundations of sustainable university-community partnership prior to partnership formation. Toward this end, policies that bolster partnership institutionalization, funding, and systematic monitoring and evaluation systems can enhance the utility of such partnerships moving forward. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Residential Greenery: State of the Art and Health-Related Ecosystem Services and Disservices in the City of Berlin
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1815; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061815
Received: 18 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 23 March 2019 / Published: 26 March 2019
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Abstract
Inclusively accessible green areas are essential for livable cities. The residential greenery on a door’s step of urban dwellers has rarely been the subject of research. Here we provide insights into the state of the art of residential greenery in Berlin, Germany. We [...] Read more.
Inclusively accessible green areas are essential for livable cities. The residential greenery on a door’s step of urban dwellers has rarely been the subject of research. Here we provide insights into the state of the art of residential greenery in Berlin, Germany. We focus on socially disadvantaged neighborhoods exposed to high loads of environmental stressors and belonging to four relevant building types of Central European cities. 32 plots in eight sample areas were randomly chosen and surveyed during 2017 and 2018. We surveyed the presence of structural elements, the presence and abundance of woody species and the health-related ecosystem (dis-)services (i.e., species’ air filtration and allergenic potential). We analysed the similarity among tree species to assess plant use patterns. The air cleaning and allergenic potential of woody species were assigned based on literature. In order to discuss strategies to improve residential greenery, we performed an analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of these green spaces. We revealed a high dissimilarity of woody species assemblages across sites and within different building types, indicating no common plant use fashion. Recorded species provide moderate to high air filtering capacity. One to two third of all trees have a high allergenic potential that has to be addressed in future plant use decisions. Bike racks, benches, lights and playgrounds are common elements, whereas bioswales, facade-bound greening, atrium, fountains or ponds are rare. Their implementation can enhance the health and wellbeing of local residents. Building-attached greenery can improve densely built up areas of the Wilhelminian period, whereas space-intensive measures can be implemented in the spacious greenery of row–buildings settlements of the 1920s–1970s and of large housing estates of the 1970s–1980s. We revealed a high motivation for (co-)design and care by residents and discussed strategies on transformation towards multi-functional, healthy and biodiversity-friendly residential greeneries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Vitalizing Rural Communities: China’s Rural Entrepreneurial Activities from Perspective of Mixed Embeddedness
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1609; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061609
Received: 30 January 2019 / Revised: 20 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 March 2019 / Published: 17 March 2019
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Abstract
Rural entrepreneurial activities play an important role in the development of rural economies and the vitality of rural areas, and they can also contribute to an increase in the employment opportunities of farmers and environmental sustainability during China’s transitional period. As a local [...] Read more.
Rural entrepreneurial activities play an important role in the development of rural economies and the vitality of rural areas, and they can also contribute to an increase in the employment opportunities of farmers and environmental sustainability during China’s transitional period. As a local organization, the community connects individuals, collective agencies, local authorities, and the market in reforming rural economies in China. Based on the concepts of mixed embeddedness and on the database of the China Family Panel Studies (CFPS), this paper uses a binary logistic regression (BLR) model to analyze the impact of social, institutional, and economic environments of rural communities on entrepreneurship. The finding shows that informal, entrepreneurship-oriented institutions in rural communities have more significantly positive impact on farmer entrepreneurship than formal institutions, as well as economic and social environments. Furthermore, compared with kinship, neighborhood relationships and weak ties based on the population mobility in rural communities are more important for farmer entrepreneurship. Additionally, rural communities are the production places and markets, and their economic levels are positively related to entrepreneurship. Last but not least, compared with urban communities, rural communities play a much more prominent role in local entrepreneurship. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Community Greening Merging Multi-Source Geo-Data
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1104; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041104
Received: 16 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 20 February 2019
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Abstract
Urban residential greening provides opportunities for social integration and physical exercise. These activities are beneficial to promoting citizens’ mental health, relieving stress, and reducing obesity and violent crimes. However, how to measure the distribution and spatial difference of green resources in urban residential [...] Read more.
Urban residential greening provides opportunities for social integration and physical exercise. These activities are beneficial to promoting citizens’ mental health, relieving stress, and reducing obesity and violent crimes. However, how to measure the distribution and spatial difference of green resources in urban residential areas have been controversial. This study takes the greening of urban residential units in Shenzhen City as its research object, measures the various greening index values of each residential unit, and analyses the spatial distribution characteristics of residential greening, regional differences, and influencing factors. A large sample of street view pictures, urban land use and high-resolution remote sensing image data are employed to establish an urban residential greening database containing 14,196 residential units. This study proposes three greening indicators, namely, green coverage index, green view index, and accessible public green land index, for measuring the green coverage of residential units, the visible greening of surrounding street space and the public green land around, respectively. Results show that (1) the greening level of residential units in Shenzhen City is generally high, with the three indicators averaging 32.7%, 30.5%, and 15.1%, respectively; (2) the types of residential greening differ per area; and (3) the level of residential greening is affected by development intensity, location, elevation and residential type. Such findings can serve as a reference for improving the greening level of residential units. This study argues that one indicator alone cannot measure the greenness of a residential community. It proposes an accessible public green land index as a measure for the spatial relationship between residential units and green lands. It suggests that future green space planning should pay more attention to the spatial distribution of green land, and introduce quantitative indicators to ensure sufficient green lands around the walking range of residential areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Rural Tourism in Georgia in Transition: Challenges for Regional Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 410; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020410
Received: 30 November 2018 / Revised: 4 January 2019 / Accepted: 9 January 2019 / Published: 15 January 2019
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Abstract
Tourism in rural regions of Georgia has a long tradition; however, many structures had been developed during Soviet times under the framework of a centrally planned economy and forced collectivism. Today, Rural Tourism is widely discussed by the national government and international cooperation [...] Read more.
Tourism in rural regions of Georgia has a long tradition; however, many structures had been developed during Soviet times under the framework of a centrally planned economy and forced collectivism. Today, Rural Tourism is widely discussed by the national government and international cooperation partners as a means for regional development and as an alternative source of employment in agricultural areas and mountain regions. The purpose of this study is to develop suggestions for the institutionalization of Rural Tourism in the country and to propose relevant actions. Research methods comprised a document analysis, qualitative interviews with various stakeholders, and focus group discussions. We analyzed recent tendencies and challenges of rural tourism development in Georgia with a focus on the concept of community-based tourism and integrated rural development. We also review the challenges of the current structure of tourism marketing on the national level with regard to Rural Tourism products. The key findings of the research include recommendations to create a central leading structure for rural tourism at the national level, which will work on strategic issues and general norms of Rural Tourism. At the same time, we propose the development of destination management organizations, which will integrate general provisions in regional legislation and marketing in close cooperation with local stakeholders. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adaptive Analysis of Green Space Network Planning for the Cooling Effect of Residential Blocks in Summer: A Case Study in Shanghai
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093189
Received: 3 August 2018 / Revised: 30 August 2018 / Accepted: 4 September 2018 / Published: 6 September 2018
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Abstract
The effect of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) is becoming increasingly serious in cities. Research on the adaptive planning policies for microthermal environments at the residential block level of cities is thus becoming of greater significance. Based on the cooling effect of planning control [...] Read more.
The effect of Urban Heat Islands (UHIs) is becoming increasingly serious in cities. Research on the adaptive planning policies for microthermal environments at the residential block level of cities is thus becoming of greater significance. Based on the cooling effect of planning control elements in residential block areas, the element effects characteristics of water bodies and vegetation distribution on the thermal environment of residential blocks were analyzed by using ENVI-met software. The simulation data analysis showed that the combination of water bodies and vegetation had a synergistic cooling effect. Based on these results, simulations of five effective adaptive measures were carried out step by step in planning scenarios, that is, improving the water bodies with vegetation corridors, the application of high-albedo material on streets, and increasing the number of green patches, east-west green corridors, and north-south green corridors. The results were as follows. First, although each of the five optimization strategies have a certain degree of cooling effect on the entire block, the superposition of each factor had a synergistic effect. Second, different spatial optimization strategies had different cooling ranges for each subzone. The optimization of the north-south green corridor, green patches, and water features corridors were particularly significant for microclimate cooling. The east-west green corridor has a certain influence on a certain range of downwind zones and had an auxiliary cooling effect. The high-albedo material also had a weak overall decrease function for the thermal environment. Finally, the downwind area of the urban creek network had a great impact on cooling intensity, with distance attenuation characteristics; it was also proposed that the comprehensive cooling effect of the green space network with optimized layout was greater than that of any single green space element. The optimization scenario planning research provided a method for improving the scientific distribution of adaptation measures in urban residential blocks. Full article
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