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Special Issue "Resource Management in Urban Districts – a Contribution to Sustainable Urban Development"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 June 2022) | Viewed by 5936

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Rebekka Volk
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for industrial Production (IIP), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
Interests: modeling and project planning under uncertainty, scheduling, operations research, decision support; technoeconomic and ecological analysis and optimization of urban and industrial systems; building and deconstruction modeling; building information modeling (BIM); urban mining; resource management; resource efficiency; circular economy; greenhouse gas quantification; sustainable district management; selective deconstruction and disassembly optimization
Prof. Dr. Thomas Luetzkendorf
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Real Estate, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), 76187 Karlsruhe, Germany
Interests: implementation of sustainable development principles within the construction and property (real estate) industries; further development and application of methods and tools to support life cycle analyses (LCA/LCC); design/conceptualization of information flows along the construction value chain; integration of sustainability aspects into the methods and tools of the property industry (notably portfolio management and analyses, risk analyses and valuation)

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We cordially invite you to submit your recent research to the Special Issue “Resource Management in Urban Districts—a Contribution to Sustainable Urban Development” in the Sustainability journal by MDPI.

The built environment is responsible for large shares of energy, water and material consumption, land use, greenhouse gas, and other emissions and waste. New ideas, concepts and research are needed to foster a truly sustainable development.

This Special Issue focuses on the efficient and effective management of resources in the built environment to encourage a more sustainable development of urban districts. Here, resources include energy, water, soil, area and land use, urban green, and materials. Original research on resource management in the built environment, on the sharing economy, on urban development, on quantification, monitoring and optimization of resource usage and its impacts, on disruptive technologies, on new management and business models, and related topics are welcomed. Additionally, the monitoring of air, water, emissions, dust, noise, debris, and waste and the assessment of improvement measures are part of sustainably managed urban resources.

This Special Issue aims at bringing together natural science, social science, engineering, and management approaches to increase the impact of research onto resource usage, management, and investment decision making toward a more sustainable urban development.

We would like to invite contributions regarding the following three major aspects:

(1) The basics of urban material flow analyses and resource management;

(2) Resource assessment;

(3) Strategies and recommendations for action

Dr. Rebekka Volk
Prof. Dr. Thomas Luetzkendorf
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2000 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

  • resource monitoring
  • resource management
  • urban development
  • circular economy
  • ecosystem services
  • decision making
  • sustainability, district level

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

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Article
Mapping Urban Green and Its Ecosystem Services at Microscale—A Methodological Approach for Climate Adaptation and Biodiversity
Sustainability 2022, 14(15), 9029; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14159029 - 23 Jul 2022
Viewed by 367
Abstract
The current awareness of the high importance of urban green leads to a stronger need for tools to comprehensively represent urban green and its benefits. A common scientific approach is the development of urban ecosystem services (UES) based on remote sensing methods at [...] Read more.
The current awareness of the high importance of urban green leads to a stronger need for tools to comprehensively represent urban green and its benefits. A common scientific approach is the development of urban ecosystem services (UES) based on remote sensing methods at the city or district level. Urban planning, however, requires fine-grained data that match local management practices. Hence, this study linked local biotope and tree mapping methods to the concept of ecosystem services. The methodology was tested in an inner-city district in SW Germany, comparing publicly accessible areas and non-accessible courtyards. The results provide area-specific [m2] information on the green inventory at the microscale, whereas derived stock and UES indicators form the basis for comparative analyses regarding climate adaptation and biodiversity. In the case study, there are ten times more micro-scale green spaces in private courtyards than in the public space, as well as twice as many trees. The approach transfers a scientific concept into municipal planning practice, enables the quantitative assessment of urban green at the microscale and illustrates the importance for green stock data in private areas to enhance decision support in urban development. Different aspects concerning data collection and data availability are critically discussed. Full article
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Article
Namares—A Surface Inventory and Intervention Assessment Model for Urban Resource Management
Sustainability 2022, 14(14), 8485; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14148485 - 11 Jul 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 385
Abstract
Densely built-up areas are challenged by reduced biodiversity, high volumes of runoff water, reduced evaporation, and heat accumulation. Such phenomena are associated with imperviousness and low, unsustainable utilisation of land and exterior building surfaces. Local authorities have multiple objectives when (re-)developing future-proof districts. [...] Read more.
Densely built-up areas are challenged by reduced biodiversity, high volumes of runoff water, reduced evaporation, and heat accumulation. Such phenomena are associated with imperviousness and low, unsustainable utilisation of land and exterior building surfaces. Local authorities have multiple objectives when (re-)developing future-proof districts. Hence, exploiting local potentials to mitigate adverse anthropogenic effects and managing the resource of urban land/surfaces have become key priorities. Accordingly, a five-level hierarchy for a land-sensitive urban development strategy was derived. To support the operationalisation of the hierarchy, we present the model Namares, a highly resolved GIS-based approach to enable spatially explicit identification and techno-economic and environmental assessment of intervention measures for advantageous utilisation of available surfaces per land parcel. It uses existing data and covers the management of economic, natural, and technical resources. Nine intervention measures are implemented to identify potentials, estimate investments and annual costs, and assess the appeal of existing subsidies. The approach was applied to a case study redevelopment area in a large city in Germany. The results provide spatially explicit information on greening potentials, estimated investments, subsidy demand, and other quantified benefits. The case study results show the limited potential for additional unsealing of impervious surfaces by transforming ca. 10% of sealed ground surface area into new urban gardens. At the same time, up to 47% of roof and 30% of facade surfaces could be utilised for greening and energy harvesting. The approach enables a comprehensive localisation and quantitative assessment of intervention potentials to enhance decision support in land-sensitive urban development strategies. Full article
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Article
Assessing Resource Efficiency of City Neighbourhoods: A Methodological Framework for Structuring and Practical Application of Indicators in Urban Planning
Sustainability 2022, 14(13), 7951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14137951 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 423
Abstract
Today, changing framework conditions of living and working in cities drive urban planning processes for refurbishment, notably at the level of neighbourhoods, and provide a window of opportunity to enhance resource efficiency and sustainable urban development. Indicators, as part of sustainability assessment methods, [...] Read more.
Today, changing framework conditions of living and working in cities drive urban planning processes for refurbishment, notably at the level of neighbourhoods, and provide a window of opportunity to enhance resource efficiency and sustainable urban development. Indicators, as part of sustainability assessment methods, may support the identification of the most beneficial planning alternatives or the selection of measures. However, the fact that a multitude of indicators are proposed in the literature discourages their actual use and hampers a sound application for decision support. To tackle these challenges, a manual has been developed proposing a framework for the use of indicators in urban planning. In this contribution, the theoretical foundations of the proposed framework are analysed. A conceptual outline of the framework is presented, which as its core has a typology of indicators, and its embedding in urban planning processes is discussed. The framework combines a theoretically concise unifying structure with a flexible practical approach for application in diverse areas of resource efficiency. Thus, it shall enhance transparency as well as comparability in the use of indicators, foster communication between stakeholders and in the long run support the application of indicators and use of sustainability assessment methods as regular parts of urban planning. Full article
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Article
Climate Impact and Model Approaches of Blue-Green Infrastructure Measures for Neighborhood Planning
Sustainability 2022, 14(11), 6861; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14116861 - 04 Jun 2022
Viewed by 483
Abstract
Nowadays, most cities deal with the problem of “Urban Heat Islands”. Especially existing city districts cannot easily be adapted. In this paper, the effects of blue-green infrastructure elements (BGI) on air and surface temperature in courtyards are examined, based on on-site measurements and [...] Read more.
Nowadays, most cities deal with the problem of “Urban Heat Islands”. Especially existing city districts cannot easily be adapted. In this paper, the effects of blue-green infrastructure elements (BGI) on air and surface temperature in courtyards are examined, based on on-site measurements and simulations. Recognizable effects on the temperature were observed: BGI lower the number of hot days in the courtyard, including a faster air temperature drop at night, but water elements increase the number of tropical nights due to their heat capacity. Model simulations with PALM-4U proved to be useful to analyze the effects of BGI on the microclimate. Besides analyzing existing structures, the effects of planned measures can be quantified by simulation. However, for this application, needs of improvement were recognized to evaluate the influence of BGI on the microclimate more realistically. For decision support, standard indicators such as the number of tropical nights and hot days are not differentiated enough to quantify specific climate stress of urban residents. It is suggested to consider summer days additionally, percentiles could be used instead of fixed thresholds and the entire course of the year should play a role in the evaluation of the elements and urban design. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Heating and Cooling Management of Urban Quarters
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074353 - 06 Apr 2022
Viewed by 509
Abstract
An important component for a renewable and sustainable heat energy supply is the consideration of urban quarters. For this purpose, the locally available energy sources, a local energy generation system, and the energy distribution in urban quarters should be considered. In the IWAES [...] Read more.
An important component for a renewable and sustainable heat energy supply is the consideration of urban quarters. For this purpose, the locally available energy sources, a local energy generation system, and the energy distribution in urban quarters should be considered. In the IWAES project presented here, a bidirectional low-temperature heat network was developed, thus it falls into the category of fifth-generation heat networks. It also makes use of existing urban water management infrastructure. The innovative concept is based on the approach of modifying sewers so that they can transport thermal energy between users in the same quarter and extract thermal energy from wastewater. The overall goal is to generate thermal energy and balance the different thermal needs. This is particularly useful in mixed-use quarters, as the peak loads of different uses occur at different times. The supply concept also envisages integrating other thermal energy sources available in the quarter as well as storage options into the supply concept. As a framework for the technical aspects, a precise urban planning concept is needed that provides the legal framework for land use and urban development and coordinates and implements the developed concept—through so-called energy master planning. A life cycle assessment shows the ecological impact of the developed concept compared to a conventional energy solution. It also shows the savings potential of the developed concept compared to an urban quarter supplied conventionally with heating and de-centrally with cooling. The assessment outlines the dual use of the pre-existing infrastructure, such as the wastewater system, significantly reduces CO2 equivalents. Another result is that the sustainability of the system depends significantly on the used mix of electric sources. Full article
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Article
Resource Management as Part of Sustainable Urban District Development
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074224 - 02 Apr 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 996
Abstract
Rising urban populations, limited natural resources (following the German Federal Environmental Agency, natural resources are resources that are part of nature. They include renewable and non-renewable primary raw materials, physical spaces (surface areas), environmental media (water, soil, air), flowing resources (e.g., geothermal, wind, [...] Read more.
Rising urban populations, limited natural resources (following the German Federal Environmental Agency, natural resources are resources that are part of nature. They include renewable and non-renewable primary raw materials, physical spaces (surface areas), environmental media (water, soil, air), flowing resources (e.g., geothermal, wind, tidal and solar energy) and biodiversity. It is irrelevant here whether the resources serve as sources for producing products or as sinks for absorbing emissions (water, soil, air)) and climate change require a new approach to urban planning. Recently, international, European and national programmes, concepts and framework documents have been created to promote the implementation of measures for more sustainability, resource efficiency and climate resilience in urban districts. In the funding measure of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research’s “Resource-Efficient Urban Districts for the Future-RES:Z”, twelve funded research project networks are dedicated to understanding the impacts that urban districts have on the resources of land, water and material flows, as well as the resulting impacts on urban green spaces and energy issues. By considering the different resources involved, it is shown that the optimisation of their use cannot take place independently of each other. This may even lead to conflicting goals. Use conflicts can be recognised at an early stage and measures can be tailored to the specific neighbourhood context when applying an integrated approach that provides a common view on all of the aforementioned resources. Special attention is paid to solutions which create numerous benefits i.e., multifunctionality. The RES:Z funding measure utilises living labs for the research on and implementation of solutions. This lays the foundation for a sustainable transformation of urban districts and the basis for further research. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Contribution of Innovative Technologies to Sustainable Development for Planning and Decision-Making Processes: A Set of Indicators to Describe the Performance of Sustainable Urban Infrastructures (ISI)
Sustainability 2022, 14(4), 1966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14041966 - 09 Feb 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 716
Abstract
The sustainable development of our cities and regions has become an integral part of the current debate. To achieve the sustainability goals, however, the development of sustainable technologies and infrastructures as well as decisive municipal action at the local level are essential. The [...] Read more.
The sustainable development of our cities and regions has become an integral part of the current debate. To achieve the sustainability goals, however, the development of sustainable technologies and infrastructures as well as decisive municipal action at the local level are essential. The research project VertiKKA (“Vertical Air Conditioning and Wastewater Treatment System”), sponsored by the German Ministry of Education and Research, addresses both technology development and the integration of innovative technologies and infrastructures into urban planning and decision-making processes. As a result, a set of indicators was developed that allows the assessment of urban infrastructures and technologies and their contribution to sustainable development. This article presents the “set of indicators for sustainable urban infrastructures” (ISI). ISI is based on the results of literature and policy review but was further developed and tailored to urban infrastructures and technologies. ISI considers the ecological, economic, and social dimension of sustainability to be of equal importance; in addition, ISI places particular emphasis on looking at the technology development process and on the creation of supportive governance structures for implementation. In order to create a link between research and practice, the applicability of ISI to the VertiKKA technology is critically reflected. Full article
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Article
The ResourcePlan—An Instrument for Resource-Efficient Development of Urban Neighborhoods
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1522; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031522 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 635
Abstract
In Germany, the current sectoral urban planning often leads to inefficient use of resources, partly because municipalities lack integrated planning instruments and argumentation strength toward politics, investors, or citizens. The paper develops the ResourcePlan as (i) legal and (ii) a planning instrument to [...] Read more.
In Germany, the current sectoral urban planning often leads to inefficient use of resources, partly because municipalities lack integrated planning instruments and argumentation strength toward politics, investors, or citizens. The paper develops the ResourcePlan as (i) legal and (ii) a planning instrument to support the efficient use of resources in urban neighborhoods. The integrative, multi-methodological approach addresses the use of natural resources in the building and infrastructural sectors of (i) water (storm- and wastewater) management, (ii) construction and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure, (iii) urban energy system planning, and (iv) land-use planning. First, the development as legal instrument is carried out, providing (i) premises for integrating resource protection at all legal levels and (ii) options for implementing the ResourcePlan within German municipal structures. Second, the evaluation framework for resource efficiency of the urban neighborhoods is set up for usage as a planning instrument. The framework provides a two-stage process that runs through the phases of setting up and implementing the ResourcePlan. (Eco)system services are evaluated as well as life cycle assessment and economic aspects. As a legal instrument, the ResourcePlan integrates resource protection into municipal planning and decision-making processes. The multi-methodological evaluation framework helps to assess inter-disciplinary resource efficiency, supports the spatial identification of synergies and conflicting goals, and contributes to transparent, resource-optimized planning decisions. Full article
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Review

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Review
Urban Resource Assessment, Management, and Planning Tools for Land, Ecosystems, Urban Climate, Water, and Materials—A Review
Sustainability 2022, 14(12), 7203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14127203 - 12 Jun 2022
Viewed by 601
Abstract
Increasing awareness of global and local climate change and the limited resources of land, surface, water, raw materials, urban green spaces, and biodiversity alter the exigencies of urban development. Already perceivable local climate changes such as heavy rains, droughts, and urban heat islands [...] Read more.
Increasing awareness of global and local climate change and the limited resources of land, surface, water, raw materials, urban green spaces, and biodiversity alter the exigencies of urban development. Already perceivable local climate changes such as heavy rains, droughts, and urban heat islands urge planners to take action. Particularly in densely populated areas, conflicting interests are pre-programmed, and decision making has to include multiple impacts, mutual competition, and interaction with respect to investments into provisioning services. Urban planners and municipal enterprises increasingly work with digital tools for urban planning and management to improve the processes of identifying social or urbanistic problems and redevelopment strategies. For this, they use 2D/3D city models, land survey registers, land use and re-/development plans or other official data. Moreover, they increasingly request data-based planning tools to identify and face said challenges and to assess potential interventions holistically. Thus, this contribution provides a review of 51 current tools. Simple informational tools, such as visualizations or GIS viewers, are widely available. However, databases and tools for explicit and data-based urban resource management are sparse. Only a few focus on integrated assessment, decision, and planning support with respect to impact and cost assessments, real-time dashboards, forecasts, scenario analyses, and comparisons of alternative options. Full article
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