Special Issue "Intelligent Rural Areas—Novel Solutions for Sustainability and Livability"

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 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Karina Pallagst
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Guest Editor
Department International Planning Systems, Faculty of Urban and Environmental Planning, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: comparative urban development; shrinking cities; urban growth; planning cultures; border studies; green infrastructure
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Martin Berchtold
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Guest Editor
Department Digitalization, Visualization and Monitoring in Spatial Planning, Faculty of Urban and Environmental Planning, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: digital transformation in spatial planning; digital tools; GIS; hybrid (digital-analogue) design methods; spatial planning für climate adaptation & mitigation; urban & rural transformation
Prof. Dr. Annette Spellerberg
Website
Guest Editor
Department Urban Sociology, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: housing; urban sociology; ageing, migration and integration; social structures; urban-rural divide; digitalization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In ongoing debates regarding the future development of rural areas, the discourse is often problematized—and almost stigmatized—as rural areas are often challenged by their location at the periphery, an aging and out-migrating population, and the absence of political power.

At the same time, rural areas are spaces where sustainability can be highlighted in terms of social capital, and where environmental aspects could offer an important catalyst for change. In the context of lower pressure on land and population and plentiful space, they offer multiple opportunities for new uses of this space. This might include new places to experiment with innovative environmental options, such as low-energy projects; new management processes in infrastructure, such as flood prevention; autonomous driving; or new solutions for artificial intelligence in sustaining an aging population.

Can rural areas, in a setting of restricted financial resources, be considered as opportunities of various forms? Are rural areas new spaces for intelligent solutions, creativity, and sustainability and what form could they take?

This Special Issue will focus on how the future of rural areas depends on the way in which local and regional actors are able to embrace new opportunities with a focus on sustainability. We address a wide range of approaches for exploring and addressing these questions, including case studies all over the world encompassing both quantitative and qualitative empirical research as well as original theoretical contributions.

Prof. Dr. Karina Pallagst
Prof. Dr. Martin Berchtold
Prof. Dr. Annette Spellerberg
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 1800 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

  • rural areas
  • planning policies
  • infrastructure and mobility
  • aging smart
  • sustainable rural development
  • comparative rural development
  • peripheral areas
  • digital transformation
  • artificial intelligence in spatial solutions
  • demographic change

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Manor Parks in Poland—Costly Heritage or Potential for the Development of Rural Communes
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9422; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229422 - 12 Nov 2020
Abstract
Historical parks, as an inseparable element of manors and landowners’ palaces, constitute a valuable cultural heritage, commemorating the times of the Polish nobility. From among the 16,000 manor houses existing before 1939, only 3433 objects remained, including 1965 of them are residential parks [...] Read more.
Historical parks, as an inseparable element of manors and landowners’ palaces, constitute a valuable cultural heritage, commemorating the times of the Polish nobility. From among the 16,000 manor houses existing before 1939, only 3433 objects remained, including 1965 of them are residential parks without the dominant feature in the form of a building. Numerous studies and activities are carried out to protect, restore, maintain and adapt these facilities to current needs. They are general, often theoretical, or individual concern objects, or only mansions or palaces, excluding parks, which makes it difficult to assess the problem objectively. The aim of this study is a comprehensive assessment of the distribution (in terms of spatial, social and administrative terms), the state of preservation (in terms of area size, technical, phytosanitary and original composition) and the use of the potential of historical parks in manor or palace complexes. The authors examined the distribution of these objects using relative indicators and descriptive statistics. The economic potential of the parks was explored in comparison to the facilities based on their sale offers, using the analysis of variance and the Tukey test. The results show the detailed distribution, state of preservation and problems related to the current and potential use of post-manor parks, manor and palace parks in 16 voivodeships of the country. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Young People’s Perceptions about the Difficulties of Entrepreneurship and Developing Rural Properties in Family Agriculture
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8783; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12218783 - 22 Oct 2020
Abstract
This article aims to understand the perceptions of young rural entrepreneurs about the difficulties in investing in family farms in which they work. Ninety-eight people were interviewed at the event “Meeting of Young Entrepreneurs of the Rural Environment of Santa Catarina: the rural [...] Read more.
This article aims to understand the perceptions of young rural entrepreneurs about the difficulties in investing in family farms in which they work. Ninety-eight people were interviewed at the event “Meeting of Young Entrepreneurs of the Rural Environment of Santa Catarina: the rural youth leading the sustainable development”, held in May 2019. The methodology applied in this paper is qualitative and quantitative, through a bibliographic review and a numerical analysis on work conditions and workers’ profile. A brief theoretical background is presented to facilitate the understanding of the results and their relation to family farming, entrepreneurship and its reality in Brazil. As a result, the economic issue was pointed out with 34% of the cases, as a hinter to undertake in rural properties, followed by the lack and low qualification of the workforce available with 12.6% of the cases and the lower selling price for the producer with 7.6% of the cases. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Lessons in Rural Persuasion: Village Infill Development in Bavaria, Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208678 - 19 Oct 2020
Abstract
Sustainable rural development in Germany was examined by linking conceptual and applied aspects of the land and housing question, broadly considering the ownership, use, and regulation of land. In the state of Bavaria, a new interagency initiative aims to curb land consumption by [...] Read more.
Sustainable rural development in Germany was examined by linking conceptual and applied aspects of the land and housing question, broadly considering the ownership, use, and regulation of land. In the state of Bavaria, a new interagency initiative aims to curb land consumption by persuading villagers to embrace rural infill development. The study explored the background debate leading up to the Space-saving Offensive (Flächensparoffensive), the resource providers involved, and the options for funding actual rural infill building and renovation projects. Here, space-saving managers and other resource providers actively promote the positive societal meaning of central infill sites in contrast to unsustainable land consumption. In addition to the communications campaign, planning, regulatory, and funding interventions round out the multi-level initiative, as described in this study. A modern barn reuse exemplifies the Bavarian bundle of resources, while demonstrating how modern village infill redevelopment also contests oversimplified notions of stagnant rural peripheries. The initiative’s focus on linking key resources and bolstering communications can be read as validation for a more social perspective on land consumption and village infill development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Advancing Revolving Funds for the Sustainable Development of Rural Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8455; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208455 - 14 Oct 2020
Abstract
Financing measures and incentive schemes for (existing and new) building owners can promote the sustainable settlement development of rural regions or municipalities and, in a wider sense, entire countries or cross-border regions. In order to be used on a broad scale, the concept [...] Read more.
Financing measures and incentive schemes for (existing and new) building owners can promote the sustainable settlement development of rural regions or municipalities and, in a wider sense, entire countries or cross-border regions. In order to be used on a broad scale, the concept of revolving funds must continue to be further developed. In this research, the concept of an advanced revolving housing fund (ARF) for building owners to support the sustainable development of rural regions and potential mechanisms are introduced. The ARF is designed to reflect impacts and challenges with regard to rural regions in Germany, Europe and beyond. Based on New Institutional Economics, the Theory of Spatial Organisms, an expert workshop, interviews and discussions and further literature research, the fundamentals for incentive schemes and the essential mechanisms and design aspects of the ARF are derived. This includes the principal structure and governance of a holding fund and several regional funds. Based on this, input parameters for the financial modelling of an ARF are presented as well as guiding elements for empirical testing to promote more research in this area. It is found that the ARF should have a regional focus and must be a comprehensive instrument of settlement development with additional informal and formal measures. The developed concept promises new impulses, in particular, for rural regions. It is proposed to test the concept by means of case studies in pioneer regions of different countries. Full article
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