Special Issue "Urban Regeneration and Ecosystem Services Assessment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Pasquale De Toro
Website
Guest Editor
University of Naples Federico II, Department of Architecture (DiARC)
Interests: Urban regeneration; Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis; Integrated Assessment; Geographic Information Systems; Ecosystem Services Assessment
Dr. Silvia Iodice

Guest Editor
National Research Council, Institute for Research on Innovation and Services for Development (IRISS)
Interests: Urban metabolism; Ecosystem Services Assessment; Life Cycle Assessment; Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis; Circular economy
Dr. Francesca Nocca

Guest Editor
University of Naples Federico II, Department of Architecture (DiARC)
Interests: Urban regeneration; Circular economy; Cultural heritage; Integrated evaluation; Multidimensional indicators

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The increasing urbanization that is characterizing our planet is causing a growing unsustainability, posing difficult challenges. It produces economic wealth but, at the same time, it is source of ecological and social poverty. Climate change is one of the most worrying negative effects. If in the past this phenomenon proceeded slowly, mainly due to natural processes, over time also human activities have contributed to increase the degradation of environmental components, putting a strain on the adaptive capacities of natural and urban ecosystems.

In this problematic context, the organizational structure of cities is more and more being questioned and investigated and cities can become a places wherein to implement practices of mitigation, adaptation and urban regeneration able to face these problems.

In this framework, ecosystem services, defined as the “multiple benefits provided by ecosystems to the human race” (MA, 2005), can play a key role in addressing issues related to territorial development and regeneration.

There are many classifications of ecosystem services, which have been categorized by MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) and TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) studies into four groups: 1) supporting services, 2) provisioning services, 3) regulating services, 4) cultural services.

The basic concept of ecosystem services considers that human wellbeing is related to the services provided by nature and that their degradation leads to a reduction of this wellbeing also in terms of economic value. Services produced by ecosystems include, for example, food, drinking water, materials or fuel, natural waste recycling, climate and tide regulation.

Ecosystem services play a fundamental role in society. The loss of ecosystem services contributes to food and energy uncertainty, to increase vulnerability to natural disasters, such as floods or tropical storms, to decrease the health level, to reduce the availability and quality of water resources and affects cultural heritage. So, they represent a significant percentage of the “total economic value” of our planet (Costanza et al., 1997).

Considering that many impacts on the supply of ecosystem services are influenced by changes in land use, which can lead to fragmentation and loss of ecosystem functions, they are closely linked to urban regeneration processes and strategies.

Urban planning processes supported by ecosystem services analysis lead policy makers to re-orient their strategies for sustainable territorial transformation. To this end, the assessment of the impacts of urban transformation processes and vulnerabilities should not be limited only to the economic analysis, but it should include multidimensional impacts, taking into account also no-market goods.

Therefore, ecosystem services can play a fundamental role in the evaluation processes of political choices, public investments and entrepreneurial activities. Different approaches, models and methods have been proposed in the different research fields for qualitative, quantitative and monetary evaluation of ecosystem services. There are several types of tools (biophysical, economic, mixed, etc.) referred to different scales (regional, local, etc.), aimed at biophysical and/or economic dimensions, also integrating Multi-Criteria Analysis with Geographical Information System (GIS) (D’Auria et al, 2018).

The ecosystem services assessment prompts a new approach on planning for increasing health conditions for citizens and reducing the environmental risk in urban areas. Currently, planning tools often neglect the ecosystem services and their dynamic interactions, while it is necessary take also in account innovative approaches to address issues that today represent key points of local, national and international policies (United Nations, 2015).

This Special Issue is addressed to scholars that study and analyse sustainable urban regeneration strategies and methodologies for ecosystem services assessment and territorial analysis.

The aim of this Special Issue is to provide methods and tools for urban sustainable regeneration and ecosystem services assessment and to collect concrete experiences of sustainable urban transformation strategies, increasing the awareness of an ecosystem services approach and the role of their evaluation in the decision-making processes related to urban and territorial regeneration.

References

Costanza, R., d’Arge, R., de Groot, R., Farber, S., Grasso, M., Hannon, B., Limburg, K., Naeem, S., O’Neill, R.V., Paruelo, J., Raskin, R.G., Sutton, P., van den Belt, M. (1997), “The value of the worlds ecosystem services and natural capital”. Nature, 387, 253-260.

D’Auria, A., De Toro, P., Fierro, N., Montone, E. (2018), “Integration between GIS and Multi-Criteria Analysis for Ecosystem Services Assessment: a methodological proposal for the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (Italy). Sustainability, 10, 3329.

De Groot, R., Alkemade, R., Braat, L., Hein, L., Willemen, L. (2010), “Challenges in integrating the concept of ecosystem services and values in landscape planning, management and decision making”. Ecological Complexity, 7, 260-272.

MA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) (2005), Ecosystems and human well-being: Synthesis. Island Press. Washington, DC.

United Nations (2015), Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org

Prof. Dr. Pasquale De Toro
Dr. Silvia Iodice
Dr. Francesca Nocca
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Urban Regeneration
  • Ecosystem Services Assessment
  • Integrated Assessment
  • Total Economic Value
  • Urban Planning Tools
  • Geographical Information Systems
  • Spatial Analysis
  • Multi-Criteria Analysis

Published Papers (2 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Identifying Dynamic Changes in Ecosystem Services Supply and Demand for Urban Sustainability: Insights from a Rapidly Urbanizing City in Central China
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3428; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083428 - 22 Apr 2020
Abstract
Identifying the balance and dynamic changes in supply and demand of ecosystem services (ES) can help maintain the sustainability of the regional ecosystem and improve human well-being. To achieve a sustainable ecological management regime in Zhengzhou City, this study presented a comprehensive framework [...] Read more.
Identifying the balance and dynamic changes in supply and demand of ecosystem services (ES) can help maintain the sustainability of the regional ecosystem and improve human well-being. To achieve a sustainable ecological management regime in Zhengzhou City, this study presented a comprehensive framework for identifying dynamic changes of ES supply and demand and managing ES. Using land use data of Zhengzhou City in 1995, 2005, and 2015 and incorporating expert knowledge and the ES evaluation matrix, we evaluated the spatiotemporal changes in the ES supply and demand in Zhengzhou. Gradient analysis was conducted to identify urban–rural patterns in the budgets of ES supply and demand. Spatial autocorrelation analysis was employed to identify the hotspot areas of ES surpluses or deficits. The research results show the following: (1) In the past 20 years, the supply-and-demand relationship of ES in Zhengzhou has gradually evolved in a direction where supply falls short of demand. The average budget index of Zhengzhou’s ES supply and demand decreased from 7.30 in 1995 to −4.89 in 2015. Changes in the supply and demand status of ES in Zhengzhou corresponded to the background of rapid urbanization. (2) Urban–rural gradient differences exist in the budgets of ES supply and demand in Zhengzhou. Core development areas, such as the Zhengzhou urban areas, are in deficit, whereas a balance or surplus can be observed in rural areas far from urban centers. (3) The surplus hotspots of ES budgets were mainly distributed in the western and southern mountainous areas of Zhengzhou, and they were scattered and the scope shrank, with a decrease of 2.73 times in 20 years, whereas the deficit hotspots expanded outward with each urban area as the center, with an increase of 5.77%. Ecological management zoning (ecological conservation area, ecological improvement area, and ecological reconstruction area) with the effective guidance of ecological and economic policies could comprehensively improve ES management and achieve urban sustainability. The framework in this study can easily and quickly assess the supply and demand status of ES and provide scientific support for the ecological management in rapidly urbanizing areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration and Ecosystem Services Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Ecosystem Model Proposal in the Tourism Sector to Enhance Sustainable Competitiveness
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6652; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236652 - 25 Nov 2019
Abstract
Service companies in developed countries represent 70–80% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Spain, within the service sector, tourism is the main contributor and is growing annually. This is obviously an opportunity for the country due to its benefits and economic effects [...] Read more.
Service companies in developed countries represent 70–80% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In Spain, within the service sector, tourism is the main contributor and is growing annually. This is obviously an opportunity for the country due to its benefits and economic effects but at the same time a well-structured, sustainable and competitive model for its continued development is needed in order to adopt best practices and reference innovative models from other sectors. A qualitative approach using Case Study, Grounded Theory and Delphi Method has been conducted to study the tourism sector in the city of Gandia, Valencia (Spain). Results show that a tourist destination with its different components and stakeholders involved in its value chain can be interpreted as an ecosystem and so reference ecosystem models could be adopted to boost the development of a region. Considering the results obtained, this study can contribute to the development of a tourist destination in a sustainable and innovative way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Regeneration and Ecosystem Services Assessment)
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