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Special Issue "Human–River Interactions in Cities"

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 July 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. G. Mathias Kondolf

Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, USA
EURIAS fellow, Collegium—Lyon Institute of Advanced Studies, ENS; CNRS UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: fluvial geomorphology; environmental planning; river restoration; sustainable floodplain management; urban rivers; social and biophysical connectivity of urban rivers; sustainable management of sediment in rivers and reservoirs; reservoir sedimentation; sediment starvation
Guest Editor
Dr. Amir Gohar

Department of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning, UC Berkeley, Berkeley, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: urban planning; landscape design; ecotourism; sustainable tourism planning; public access to urban rivers; sustainability of global south, water front design, civic engagement in public space
Guest Editor
Prof. Yves-François Le Lay

Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon, Department of Social Sciences, UMR 5600 Environnement Ville Société, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social geography; environmental controversies; public perception of riverscapes; river history; water governance

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Most cities are located on rivers, and for very good historical reasons, which included navigation/commerce, fisheries, water supply, waste disposal, and quotidian uses, such as washing clothes. The identities and distinctive characteristics of many cities are closely tied to their rivers, and the many ways their residents interact with their urban waters. In recent decades, urban riverfront projects have become ubiquitous in the developed world, and increasingly promoted in the developing world. Both celebrated as revitalizing neglected urban centers and criticized for displacing the disenfranchised populations, these projects raise questions about what constitutes ‘restoration’ in the urban context, to what degree natural processes and ecological values can be restored in such contexts, and how sustainable ecological benefits will be in light of the urban context. In highly-dense cities, the social benefits of restoration likely overshadow the potential ecological benefits. Moreover, attempts to transplant waterfront restoration approaches from a successful application in one city to another with different characteristics commonly fail when the diversity of fluvial form and resulting culture is not adequate accounted for. Thus, there are fundamental questions about the sustainability of these projects, from the hydrologic, ecological, and social perspectives.

These themes were explored at the IS Rivers conference in Lyon, France, in June 2018, in a session on ‘City-River Interactions’, supported by the Collegium—Lyon Institute of Advanced Studies.  A number of papers in our special issue derive from presentations and discussions at the IS Rivers conference, but the special issue is by no means restricted to papers presented there, and in fact the issue already includes papers published or in review that are independent of the conference.  We invite your contributions to this Special Issue, edited with the support of the Collegium, exploring these rich human–river interactions in the urban environment.

Sincerely yours,

Prof. G. Mathias Kondolf
Dr. Amir Gohar
Prof. Yves-François Le Lay
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 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

  • urban rivers
  • human-river interactions
  • urban waterfronts
  • revitalization

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Is the High-Density Housing Layout Affected by River Direction? Lessons from Seoul, South Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3013; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11113013
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 9 May 2019 / Accepted: 23 May 2019 / Published: 28 May 2019
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Abstract
This study analyzes apartment building configurations in waterfront residential areas relative to water flow direction and assesses the waterfront impact on apartment construction planning. It surveyed 197 apartment buildings around Yangjaecheon, Gulpocheon, and Anyangcheon, three branches of the Han River, a major South [...] Read more.
This study analyzes apartment building configurations in waterfront residential areas relative to water flow direction and assesses the waterfront impact on apartment construction planning. It surveyed 197 apartment buildings around Yangjaecheon, Gulpocheon, and Anyangcheon, three branches of the Han River, a major South Korean river, to ascertain the correlation between stream flows and apartment building configurations. The apartments were classified into four spatial-configuration categories relative to the adjacent stream’s flow axis—perpendicular, parallel, diagonal, and other—and three orientation categories—east- and/or west-facing, south-facing, and other. South-facing apartments were predominant around west- and north-flowing streams. The proportion of east- and/or west-facing apartments built and the percentage of south-facing apartments were relatively low, indicating that apartment building layouts are more diverse around north-flowing streams than around west-flowing streams. A t-test analysis of east- and south-facing apartments’ proportions relative to stream flow direction was statistically significant, and there were relatively higher percentages of east- and west-facing apartments near north-flowing streams than west-flowing ones. This suggests that the relationship with rivers is still important in urban housing in South Korea, and the importance of landscapes over the river is of increasing significance for planning urban settlements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human–River Interactions in Cities)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban River Transformation and the Landscape Garden City Movement in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4103; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114103
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 29 October 2018 / Accepted: 2 November 2018 / Published: 8 November 2018
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Abstract
The practice of enhancing existing rivers and creating entirely new waterscapes has exploded in China over the past two decades. In our study of 104 randomly selected cities across China, we identified 14 types of river projects based on grey literature reports and [...] Read more.
The practice of enhancing existing rivers and creating entirely new waterscapes has exploded in China over the past two decades. In our study of 104 randomly selected cities across China, we identified 14 types of river projects based on grey literature reports and their appearance on sequential aerial imagery, falling into three categories: ‘engineering’, ‘waterfront spaces’ and ‘ecological’ projects. ‘Waterfront spaces’ is the most common (60.5%), followed by ‘engineering’ (28.7%) and ‘ecological’ (10.8%). Using multiple stepwise regression, we found that the types of projects undertaken were strongly influenced by factors such as climate, social-economic setting, and ‘Landscape Garden City’ designation. Designation as a ‘Landscape Garden City’ was correlated with ‘waterfront spaces’, but not ‘engineering’ and ‘ecological’ projects. We found that cities in drier climates (as measured by ‘precipitation minus evaporation’) constructed more projects and they included many projects that impounded seasonal rivers to create year-round water bodies. Based on our results, we conclude that Chinese cities are still in the process of ‘decorating’ rivers, and that the ‘Landscape Garden City’ designation promoted such ‘decorating’ projects, especially ‘linear greening’ projects and ‘public spaces along rivers’. The results also demonstrate that the new river projects in China are often at odds with the local climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human–River Interactions in Cities)
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Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Influence of Perceptual Range on Human Perceived Restoration
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093139
Received: 19 June 2018 / Revised: 17 August 2018 / Accepted: 28 August 2018 / Published: 3 September 2018
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Abstract
In daily living environments, an individual’s different state of mind influences their spatial perception. The current study, based on Attention Restoration Theory, aimed to explore differences in the health utility of nature according to individual differences in spatial perception. It focused on Cheonggyecheon [...] Read more.
In daily living environments, an individual’s different state of mind influences their spatial perception. The current study, based on Attention Restoration Theory, aimed to explore differences in the health utility of nature according to individual differences in spatial perception. It focused on Cheonggyecheon stream in Seoul, South Korea. Cognitive mapping and the Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS) were used to assess two groups’ different perceived spatial ranges and the restorative effect of the environment. After gathering data, two groups were defined: one describing only the internal area of the research site (composed of green materials), and the other illustrating the external area of the site, including buildings and roads. The former had higher overall PRS, Being Away, Fascination, and Compatibility scores. The latter had higher scores only on the Coherence subscale. These results illustrate that the frequency of nature visits and time spent traveling influence the two groups’ attentional restoration, which has great implications for highly stressful urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human–River Interactions in Cities)
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Figure 1

Open AccessArticle
Model-Based Evaluation of Urban River Restoration: Conflicts between Sensitive Fish Species and Recreational Users
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061747
Received: 22 March 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 24 May 2018 / Published: 26 May 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7205 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban rivers are socioecological systems, and restored habitats may be attractive to both sensitive species and recreationists. Understanding the potential conflicts between ecological and recreational values is a critical issue for the development of a sustainable river-management plan. Habitat models are very promising [...] Read more.
Urban rivers are socioecological systems, and restored habitats may be attractive to both sensitive species and recreationists. Understanding the potential conflicts between ecological and recreational values is a critical issue for the development of a sustainable river-management plan. Habitat models are very promising tools for the ecological evaluation of river restoration projects that are already concluded, ongoing, or even to be planned. With our paper, we make a first attempt at integrating recreational user pressure into habitat modeling. The objective of this study was to analyze whether human impact is likely to hinder the re-establishment of a target species despite the successful restoration of physical habitat structures in the case of the restoration of the Isar River in Munich (Germany) and the target fish species Chondostroma nasus L. Our analysis combined high-resolution 2D hydrodynamic modeling with mapping of recreational pressure and used an expert-based procedure for modeling habitat suitability. The results are twofold: (1) the restored river contains suitable physical habitats for population conservation but has low suitability for recruitment; (2) densely used areas match highly suitable habitats for C. nasus. In the future, the integrated modeling procedure presented here may allow ecological refuge for sensitive target species to be included in the design of restoration and may help in the development of visitor-management plans to safeguard biodiversity and recreational ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Human–River Interactions in Cities)
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Graphical abstract

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