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Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions in the Urban and Rural Context

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2019) | Viewed by 28136

Special Issue Editor

Department of Water, Environment, Civil Engineering, and Safety, Magdeburg-Stendal University of Applied Sciences, Breitscheidstr. 2, D-39114 Magdeburg, Germany
Interests: interdisciplinary research; ecological engineering; water and waste management; environmental assessment and impact mitigation; responsible use of resources
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature can make important contributions to climate protection and adaptation to climate change, through "nature-based solutions" (NbS) as part of Green Infrastructure (GI). GI is defined as a strategically-planned network of high quality (semi-)natural areas, which are designed and managed to deliver a wide range of ecosystem services and to protect biodiversity in both rural and urban settings. Examples of NbS to climate protection and adaptation to climate change include the conservation of peatlands and species-rich permanent grassland as important CO2 storage, the renaturation of floodplains as retention areas to mitigate flood peaks, and the use of urban green to dampen urban heavy rainfall episodes. Further, NbS can contribute to land recycling and soil depollution, as well as wastewater purification. In addition, these natural-based solutions also generate a wealth of additional benefits, are cost-effective and often cheaper in the long term relative to traditional measures. Therefore, nature-based solutions can be considered complementary or a comprehensive alternative to purely technical approaches. The need for multifunctional landscapes, which simultaneously provide food security, livelihood opportunities, maintenance of species and ecological functions, and fulfil cultural, aesthetic recreational needs, has been recognized for several years (O’Farrell and Anderson, 2010). Urban vegetation is an example for multifunctional landuse (Kabisch et. al. 2017). Urban nature can make cities more adaptable and resilient to climate change. At the same time, urban green spaces increase the quality of life in cities.

Ecosystem services applied in issue-specific ecosystem-related approaches are a driving force for sustainable development as well, as they find their input directly into the urban planning. The two main approaches are ecosystem-based adaptation (EbA) and ecosystem-based mitigation (EbM) (Cohen-Shacham et al. 2016). EbA was developed as a framework for addressing the role of ecosystem services in moderating climate impacts. EbM, like EbA, contributes to fulfil the objectives of United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and for this reason is often treated together with EbA as key approaches to ensure continued ecosystem functionality, human health and socio-economic security, through storage of carbon. Accordingly, the Eco-DRR (Disaster Risk Reduction) focuses mainly on minimizing the impacts of hazard events by enhancing people’s capacities to better manage and recover from the effects of hazards. This emerging approach, applied in policy as well as practice, is closely linked to EbA and EbM, focusing on particular hazard events, often within specified time periods and locations. Unlike EbA and EbM, the Eco-DRR approach also addresses hazard events that are not necessarily linked only to climate change or climate variability.

Given this, this Special Issue on “Green Infrastructure and Nature-Based Solutions in the Urban and Rural Context” fulfils a gap in the literature by summarizing the value of Green Infrastructure and nature-based solutions in an interdisciplinary context. It encourages a diverse set of submissions and we will welcome papers that refer to (but are not limited to) topics such as:

  • Green infrastructure conception and design
  • Cost assessment of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions
  • Sustainable land management and development
  • Climate mitigation and ecosystem-based adaptation and ecosystem-based mitigation
  • Disaster risk reduction through green infrastructure
  • Green infrastructure for land recycling and mitigation of polluted sites
  • Urban gardening / urban farming
  • Green multifunctional land use
  • Ecosystem services of green infrastructure
  • Spatial planning for green infrastructure and nature-based solutions

Cohen-Shacham, E.; Walters, G.; Janzen, C.; Maginnis, S. (Eds.) (2016). Nature-based Solutions to address global societal challenges, Gland, Switzerland: IUCN. xiii + 97pp. ISBN: 978-2-8317-1812-5, DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.CH.2016.13.en

Kabisch, N., Korn, H. Stadler, J., & Bonn, A. (2017). Nature-based Solutions to Climate change in Ur-ban Areas – Linkages of science, policy and practice. Theory and Practice of Urban Sustainability Transitions. Springer, Cham, Switzerland.https://link.springer.com/book/10.1007%2F978-3-319-56091-5

O’Farrell, P.J.; Anderson, P.M.L (2010). Sustainable multifunctional landscapes: a review to imple-mentation, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 2010, 2:59–65

Prof. Dr. Petra Schneider
Guest Editor

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 2400 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

  • Green infrastructure
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Ecosystem-based adaptation
  • Ecosystem-based mitigation
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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16 pages, 7245 KiB  
Article
Satellite Image-Based Methods of Spatiotemporal Analysis on Sustainable Urban Land Use Change and the Driving Factors: A Case Study in Caofeidian and the Suburbs, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2927; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102927 - 23 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2647
Abstract
As a typical rapid-development seaport area in coastal cities, such as Caofeidian, the study on the spatiotemporal changes of urban land use and its surrounding rural areas is valuable and significant in reference to the future urban planning and land policies in similar [...] Read more.
As a typical rapid-development seaport area in coastal cities, such as Caofeidian, the study on the spatiotemporal changes of urban land use and its surrounding rural areas is valuable and significant in reference to the future urban planning and land policies in similar coastal areas of China or other countries. Based on satellite images, this research processes images in different years for summarizing the changes of vegetation, urban areas, and water areas in Caofeidian and the suburbs. This research aims to summarize the experience of the coastal city in the process of sustainable development by analyzing the dynamic trends and driving factors of land use spatial and temporal changes in the target area so that it provides a reference for the long-term development of the city. Meanwhile, it also hopes to give support for refining and improving the spatiotemporal analysis method for sustainable urban land use through the experiment. Due to the appearance of the results of the abnormal data, in the experiment process, this article adopts a comparative experiment to avoid the error of the analysis result and to find out the reason. The results show that the urban area for construction increased rapidly in the past twenty years, which is mainly affected by factors, such as economic development, policy guidance, environmental awareness, and environmental protection measures, especially guided by policies. Thus, coastal cities should stretch the planning of sustainable development from the three aspects combining with local characteristics. Besides, phenological phenomena and crops harvest time tremendously affect the images and calculation. The selection of remotely-sensed images should fully consider the characteristics of urban and rural locations, especially the impact of local phenological phenomena. The results of the analysis provide reference value and support for sustainable urban land management and development in the study area and other coastal cities. Full article
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15 pages, 1987 KiB  
Article
Farmland Ecological Compensation Zoning and Horizontal Fiscal Payment Mechanism in Wuhan Agglomeration, China, From the Perspective of Ecological Footprint
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082326 - 18 Apr 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 3172
Abstract
This study proposes a farmland ecological compensation zoning index (FECZI) and a horizontal farmland ecological fiscal payment model to assess the amount of horizontal fiscal payment in the 48 districts of the Wuhan Agglomeration of China. The results indicate that: 14 districts of [...] Read more.
This study proposes a farmland ecological compensation zoning index (FECZI) and a horizontal farmland ecological fiscal payment model to assess the amount of horizontal fiscal payment in the 48 districts of the Wuhan Agglomeration of China. The results indicate that: 14 districts of Wuhan Agglomeration are classified into farmland ecological payment areas and the remaining 34 districts are compensation ones. Moreover, the largest ecological payment area is Hongshan (109,901.05 × 104 Yuan), while the lowest is Tieshan (83.69 × 104 Yuan). The largest ecological compensation area is Tianmen (–84,076.11 × 104 Yuan), while the least is Hannan (−1340.58 × 104 Yuan). The findings can be used in the reform of farmland ecological compensation as well as innovation of fiscal payment mechanism in Wuhan Agglomeration, China. Full article
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12 pages, 5194 KiB  
Article
Mapping and Assessing Green Infrastructure Connectivity in European City Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1819; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061819 - 26 Mar 2019
Cited by 32 | Viewed by 7914
Abstract
Urban green infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important concept for sustainable urban planning. In the past, planning practice and research have worked on defining principles and suggesting relevant indicators to promote the concept. While there has been a focus on multifunctionality of green [...] Read more.
Urban green infrastructure is becoming an increasingly important concept for sustainable urban planning. In the past, planning practice and research have worked on defining principles and suggesting relevant indicators to promote the concept. While there has been a focus on multifunctionality of green infrastructure elements, the connectivity principle is underrepresented, especially in urban research. Therefore, this paper suggests land use indicators to map and assess the degree of connectivity of open spaces within the urban realm. Empirical results are presented for three European case studies. The relevance of connectivity indicators for urban green infrastructure planning is highlighted and linked to future needs for improving strategic urban planning. Full article
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13 pages, 2308 KiB  
Article
Coupling Field Observations and Geographical Information System (GIS)-Based Analysis for Improved Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) Performance
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124683 - 09 Dec 2018
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5164
Abstract
Urbanization and increased precipitation volumes and intensities due to climate change add pressure to the urban drainage system, resulting in increased flooding frequencies of urban areas and deteriorating water quality in receiving waters. Infiltration practices and the use of blue green infrastructure, also [...] Read more.
Urbanization and increased precipitation volumes and intensities due to climate change add pressure to the urban drainage system, resulting in increased flooding frequencies of urban areas and deteriorating water quality in receiving waters. Infiltration practices and the use of blue green infrastructure, also called Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), can limit, and, in some cases, reverse the effects of urbanization. However, adequate infiltration capacity is an essential parameter for the successful implementation. In this paper, a Geographical Information System (GIS)-based hydrology analysis for SUDS placements is coupled with field measurements using Modified Phillip Dunne infiltrometer tests. The case study area is the expansion of the campus at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) over the next decade. Infiltration in urban soils can be highly heterogenous over short distances. When comparing measured infiltration rates with physical characteristics of the soils showed that the physical characteristics are not a good indication of the infiltration potential in urban soils with a large degree of compaction. The results showed that measuring the infiltration potential combined with flow path analysis can greatly enhance the benefits of blue green infrastructure, with an up to 70% difference in area required for SUDS solutions for managing 90% of the annual precipitation. Full article
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Review

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27 pages, 3193 KiB  
Review
Pathways for Sustainable and Inclusive Cities in Southern and Eastern Africa through Urban Green Infrastructure?
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2729; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102729 - 14 May 2019
Cited by 27 | Viewed by 7241
Abstract
Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are currently confronted with a multitude, and hitherto unexperienced, magnitude of transformative phenomena such as rising inequality, exclusion, poverty and increased residency in informal settlements. These stressors are posing challenges to cities in terms of housing, infrastructure and provision [...] Read more.
Cities in sub-Saharan Africa are currently confronted with a multitude, and hitherto unexperienced, magnitude of transformative phenomena such as rising inequality, exclusion, poverty and increased residency in informal settlements. These stressors are posing challenges to cities in terms of housing, infrastructure and provision of basic services as well as climate change adaptation. Despite the high dynamics and novel characteristics of city transformation, this urban transition seems to take place rather ‘quietly’ and has, so far, obviously hardly been understood or appreciated by researchers and governments. Subsequently, the multifaceted and extremely challenging problems associated with the process of urbanisation cannot be adequately addressed. Green infrastructure (GI) is currently emerging as a concept for cost-effective urban sustainability and livelihood security. Preservation and provision of accessible urban green spaces is increasingly recognised as an essential part of the liveability of cities. Extensive literature review revealed that the systematic integration of GI concepts in urban planning is seen by an increasing number of researchers as an essential approach to tackle major current and future challenges. Based on the literature review, we suggest that broadening the concept of urban GI by linking it to governance and rights-based conceptualisations will have the potential to unlock more resourceful paths for sustainable, green, and inclusive urban development of cities in Southern and Eastern Africa. Full article
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