Special Issue "Smart Urban Planning and Land Management"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Bernardino Romano
Website
Guest Editor
Department DICEAA, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Interests: urban and environmental planning; territorial analysis and diagnosis; indicator engineering
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Alessandro Marucci
Website
Guest Editor
Department DICEAA, University of L’Aquila, 67100 L’Aquila, Italy
Interests: environmental planning; spatial analysis; advanced technologies for fast planning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urban and territorial planning has long been interested in the affirmation of new smart technologies that produce and disseminate data and information at a capillary level and continuously over time. However, the traditional and consolidated methods of urban planning show a certain difficulty in collecting, classifying, and using this large amount of data in an effective way to produce real improvements in a highly complex methodological and managerial technical-political discipline. The fronts on which smart technology can provide planning support are different: indicator engineering; physical and phenomenological modeling; management control; land use monitoring.

All these aspects can currently be developed either through big data of institutional or corporate production, and through high-definition remote sensing with the combination of fast monitoring, open source, and low-cost procedures based mainly on the new combined technologies and Citizen Science techniques.

A fundamental role in the manipulation of such data is provided by modeling software, based on algorithms that have already been partially tested, but which are to a large extent still at the preliminary stage of implementation, which open up some previously unpublished scenarios.

The fundamental theme of the transfer of modeling products in the application, policy, and management phases is also of considerable interest, made difficult by a still too widespread technical shortage of the public administration, especially at lower planning levels. For this reason, they play a central role, worthy of in-depth experiments, the forms of techno-support of participation activities and social sharing, management of authorization procedures, and control of territorial offenses.

Prof. Bernardino Romano
Dr. Alessandro Marucci
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

  • Indicator engineering
  • Combined technologies
  • Land use monitoring

Published Papers (12 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Territorial Fragmentation and Renewable Energy Source Plants: Which Relationship?
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1828; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051828 - 29 Feb 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Renewable Energy Sources (RES) are part of the solution to tackle the global problems of climate change and carbon emissions. Programs and policies at different levels are continuing to promote new RES farms, posing a relevant challenge to regional planners and administrators: how [...] Read more.
Renewable Energy Sources (RES) are part of the solution to tackle the global problems of climate change and carbon emissions. Programs and policies at different levels are continuing to promote new RES farms, posing a relevant challenge to regional planners and administrators: how to manage landscape transformation and territorial fragmentation to find a really effective sustainable arrangement for these kinds of technologies? Most effects induced by RES (land-use change, land take, diminishing aesthetic values, loss of habitat quality), without a doubt, depend on the location and the spatial pattern of the plants, the relative distance between them, the extension of secondary infrastructures and their technical characteristics. This work takes part in the debate, originating from the need to establish a monitoring system for this kind of new territorial transformation and discusses the implementation of a sprinkling fragmentation index (SPX) in order to assess the current regional settlement structure of RES farms. Our case study concerns the Basilicata region (in Southern Italy), a very low-density area which over the last decade has undergone a relevant increase in the installation of RES technologies, not supported by an effective planning framework. The evolution of the regional energy system has been strongly influenced both by incentive policies and by (weak) urban and territorial planning policies. This approach could be a valuable contribution both in identifying a fragmentation threshold beyond which the expected negative impacts outweigh the benefits, and in providing a useful procedure for the management of future installations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Tunnel Surface Settlement Forecasting with Ensemble Learning
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 232; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010232 - 26 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Ground surface settlement forecasting in the process of tunnel construction is one of the most important techniques towards sustainable city development and preventing serious damages, such as landscape collapse. It is evident that modern artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as artificial neural network, [...] Read more.
Ground surface settlement forecasting in the process of tunnel construction is one of the most important techniques towards sustainable city development and preventing serious damages, such as landscape collapse. It is evident that modern artificial intelligence (AI) models, such as artificial neural network, extreme learning machine, and support vector regression, are capable of providing reliable forecasting results for tunnel surface settlement. However, two limitations exist for the current forecasting techniques. First, the data provided by the construction company are usually univariate (i.e., containing only the settlement data). Second, the demand of tunnel surface settlement is immediate after the construction process begins. The number of training data samples is limited. Targeting at the above two limitations, in this study, a novel ensemble machine learning model is proposed to forecast tunnel surface settlement using univariate short period of real-world tunnel settlement data. The proposed Adaboost.RT framework fully utilizes existing data points with three base machine learning models and iteratively updates hyperparameters using current surface point locations. Experimental results show that compared with existing machine learning techniques and algorithms, the proposed ensemble learning method provides a higher prediction accuracy with acceptable computational efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Identification and Location of a Transitional Zone between an Urban and a Rural Area Using Fuzzy Set Theory, CLC, and HRL Data
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7014; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247014 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Changes in land use, which accompany the development of towns, generate a transitional zone on the border between areas of urban and rural use, which—due to its complex (unspecified, fuzzy) land use—cannot be identified either as a rural or an urban area. In [...] Read more.
Changes in land use, which accompany the development of towns, generate a transitional zone on the border between areas of urban and rural use, which—due to its complex (unspecified, fuzzy) land use—cannot be identified either as a rural or an urban area. In order to prevent the unplanned development, it should go according to plan, in line with the spatial order principles, making a coherent whole, taking into account all functional, socio-economic, cultural, as well as aesthetic factors and requirements. This paper describes studies and analyses of the fuzzy set theory applicability in studies of land use in areas around towns. The main aim of the study was to present the methodology, which employs fuzzy logic to identify and locate a transitional zone between rural and urban areas. This study dealt with the transitional zone at the junction of the urban and rural area and its parameters, which affect the type of land use. The attributes of the transitional zone were defined based on an analysis of current land use methods in areas under direct urbanisation pressure. The study was conducted in the city of Olsztyn (Poland) and on its outskirts, directly exposed to the impact of the developing city, with an area of 202.4 km2, within an 8-km radius of the city centre. The study determined the impact of individual forms of land use on the development of urban or rural use. The degree of each type of use—urban or rural—allowed for developing a fuzzy town and country model, identifying the urban investment border and its spatial dispersion, as well as identifying and locating the transitional zone between urban and rural areas. Moreover, land cover models based on the Corine land cover (CLC) data as well as high-resolution layers (HRL) impervious and canopy data were developed. The borders of urban investment determined on the basis of the fuzzy set theory assumptions, CLC, and HRL data were also identified and verified. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
A Geospatial Approach to Sustainable Urban Planning: Lessons for Morogoro Municipal Council, Tanzania
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6508; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226508 - 19 Nov 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Sustainable urban planning is essential in mediating the natural and built environments globally, yet, there is little progress as regards its attainment in developing countries. Rapid and unplanned urbanization continue to threaten the sustainability of many cities in Africa. By selecting Morogoro Municipal [...] Read more.
Sustainable urban planning is essential in mediating the natural and built environments globally, yet, there is little progress as regards its attainment in developing countries. Rapid and unplanned urbanization continue to threaten the sustainability of many cities in Africa. By selecting Morogoro Municipal Council (MMC) in Tanzania as an example, this study applied well-known remote sensing techniques to understand the dynamics of urban growth and the implications for sustainable urban planning. The study analyzes spatio-temporal characteristics for eighteen years (2000–2018) based on urban land density using gradient and grid-based analysis to further examine land use and urban land density nexus. The results indicate declining urban land densities with distance to the city center, indicating a less compact and fragmented development at the urban fringes; and northward development with limited development to the south of MCC. The knowledge and understanding of the patterns of spatio-temporal conditions, land use planning, and management interventions in MMC are necessary for addressing the inadequacies associated with rapid urbanization within the study area. On this basis, we propose a shift from the modernist to the communicative planning strategy that strongly integrates the urban social, economic, and environmental imperatives, while being adaptable to evolving realities. This plan should also aim to curtail urban sprawl and create a viable city system and economically prosperous city structure for MMC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Molecular No Smart-Planning in Italy: 8000 Municipalities in Action throughout the Country
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226467 - 17 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This paper discusses the topic of urban and spatial planning in Italy where decision-making is left almost exclusively to the innumerable, small municipalities present in the country and totaling almost 8000 in number. Projects and actions to transform built areas, infrastructure, and welfare [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the topic of urban and spatial planning in Italy where decision-making is left almost exclusively to the innumerable, small municipalities present in the country and totaling almost 8000 in number. Projects and actions to transform built areas, infrastructure, and welfare services of all sorts and purposes in a national territory of over 300,000 km2 are supervised by countless mayors, municipal councils, and boards that govern plots of land corresponding to polygons of a few kilometers per side. This is generally achieved by means of town plans developed outside of any general rule or protocol, the contents of which are often ignored as a result of national legislation that weakens them and sometimes makes them uninfluential essentially. This is a European example of urban planning mismanagement that deserves to be brought to the broader attention of the European technical and scientific community, also because the debate developed so far on this topic—even by eminent and authoritative urban planners—has been published almost entirely in Italian only. Public and political attention towards this issue is extremely limited, although the severe effects of “molecular planning” are beginning to be perceived: unjustified overurbanization and highly patchy, energy-intensive, urban patterns that are destructive for ecosystems and at odds with public interests regarding environmental and urban quality. In this paper, we make some comparisons with other European countries and outline some directions—certainly very difficult to follow—to reconsider and recover from the adverse effects produced to date. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Research on Population Spatiotemporal Aggregation Characteristics of a Small City: A Case Study on Shehong County Based on Baidu Heat Maps
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226276 - 08 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Baidu heat maps can be used to explore the pattern of individual citizens conducting their activities and their agglomeration effects at the city scale. To investigate the spatiotemporal pattern of population aggregation and its relationship with land parcel attributes in small cities, we [...] Read more.
Baidu heat maps can be used to explore the pattern of individual citizens conducting their activities and their agglomeration effects at the city scale. To investigate the spatiotemporal pattern of population aggregation and its relationship with land parcel attributes in small cities, we collected Baidu heat map data for a weekday and a weekend day in Shehong County and used Getis–Ord general G and the raster overlay methods to analyze population aggregation spatiotemporal characteristics. Chi-squared and Pearson correlation tests were used to analyze the correlation between population aggregation and land parcel attributes against three types of land parcel divisions: land use parcels, road network blocks, and grids. The results showed that, (1) for most hours of the workday, the degree of population aggregation was greater than on the weekend, and the fluctuation magnitude on the workday was higher as well. (2) On the weekday, people clustered and dispersed faster than on the weekend. (3) On the weekday and weekend, the spatial position of people aggregation was highly overlapping. (4) The correlation between the degree of population aggregation and the type of parcel was not significant. (5) Regarding different parcel unit sizes, the correlations between population aggregation degree and point of interest (POI) density, floor area ratio, and building density were significant and positively correlated, and the correlation coefficients increased as the grid size increased. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Naturalness of the Vistula Riverbank’s Landscape: Warsaw Inhabitants’ Perceptions
Sustainability 2019, 11(21), 5957; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11215957 - 25 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper considers the issue of urban inhabitants’ appreciation of the naturalness of the landscape provided that people living in urban areas can benefit from the green space and would like to care more about its protection. This study examines: (1) Warsaw inhabitants’ [...] Read more.
This paper considers the issue of urban inhabitants’ appreciation of the naturalness of the landscape provided that people living in urban areas can benefit from the green space and would like to care more about its protection. This study examines: (1) Warsaw inhabitants’ preferences with regard to places to spend free time outdoors; (2) public perception of the advantages and disadvantages of the semi-natural Vistula riverfront; and (3) people’s connectedness to nature and willingness to donate funds to modernize the riverfront (N = 630). We applied a questionnaire method based on the computer-assisted web interview. The findings suggest that Warsaw residents appreciate the naturalness of the landscape at the Vistula riverfront, would not like to take direct responsibility for its condition, and would rather the municipality invest in public spaces. Therefore, the municipality of Warsaw should work to enhance inhabitants’ attachment to the place and build a sense of common responsibility for the protection of the riverfront’s natural environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
The Prediction and Assessment of the Impacts of Soil Sealing on Agricultural Land in the North Nile Delta (Egypt) Using Satellite Data and GIS Modeling
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11174662 - 27 Aug 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Soil sealing is currently one of the most critical barriers to sustainable development, particularly in developing countries such as Egypt. Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy and the country’s main source of food security. Urbanization is devouring vast areas of [...] Read more.
Soil sealing is currently one of the most critical barriers to sustainable development, particularly in developing countries such as Egypt. Agriculture is a major component of the Egyptian economy and the country’s main source of food security. Urbanization is devouring vast areas of agricultural land, and therefore, in the present study, urbanization was used to determine the degree of soil sealing in a region of Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, Egypt. In this work, remote sensing data were used to monitor changes in land use and land cover (LULC) between 1984 and 2016. A field survey and population data were also used in the analysis. Support vector machine (SVM) classification was used to produce LULC maps of the study area. An accuracy assessment was performed by calculating overall accuracy and individual kappa coefficients. Additionally, soil sealing was assessed using data from 1984 to 2016, and the potential expansion of soil sealing until 2048 was simulated using the cellular automata (CA)–Markov model. Our analysis showed that in the study area (i) about 90% of the soils had soil capability degrees between class II and class III; (ii) soil sealing was not uniformly distributed in the study area; (iii) between 1984 and 2016, the area of soil sealing in fertile soils due to urbanization increased by 19,500 hectares; and (iv) between 1984 and 2000, the urban area increased by around 29%, whereas between 2000 and 2010 it increased by around 43.6%. The results suggest that the magnitude of soil sealing is a good indicator of the soil loss rate and the potential for agricultural development in the Nile Delta. The model predicted that by 2048 an area of 32,290 hectares of agricultural soil will be lost to urbanization. This study indicates that the change of LULC has a negative impact on soil sealing. Between 2000 and 2010, the area of agricultural land decreased by 4%, despite an increase in land reclamation in the north of the study area. The amount of soil sealing was found to increase towards the southeast and northeast of the study area, except for the northern parts, where the amount of soil sealing increased towards the east. Our analyses and forecasts are useful for decision-makers responsible for soil-sealing mitigation strategies and soil-sealing protection plans in the Kafr El Sheikh Governorate, Egypt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
A Lightweight Collaborative GIS Data Editing Approach to Support Urban Planning
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4437; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164437 - 16 Aug 2019
Abstract
Collaborative geospatial data editing is different from other collaborative editing systems, such as textual editing, owing to its geospatial nature. This paper presents a version-based lightweight collaborative geospatial editing method for urban planning. This method extracts editing data and generates a version for [...] Read more.
Collaborative geospatial data editing is different from other collaborative editing systems, such as textual editing, owing to its geospatial nature. This paper presents a version-based lightweight collaborative geospatial editing method for urban planning. This method extracts editing data and generates a version for collaborative editing, which reduces the data size and thus allows for a high feedback speed. A replication mechanism is engaged to replicate a version for the client to freely edit, which ensures constraint-free editing in collaboration. Based on this method, realizing the fact that heterogeneous geospatial data and non-professional users are involved, a lightweight architecture, integrating web services, and component technologies, was proposed. This architecture provides a unified data access interface and powerful editing ability and ensures a high feedback speed and constraint-free editing. The result of the application of the proposed approach in a practical project demonstrates the usability of collaborative geospatial editing in urban planning. While this approach has been designed for urban planning, it can be modified for use in other domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Design and Validation of a Computational Program for Analysing Mental Maps: Aram Mental Map Analyzer
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3790; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143790 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 15
Abstract
Considering citizens’ perceptions of their living environment is very helpful in making the right decisions for city planners who intend to build a sustainable society. Mental map analyses are widely used in understanding the level of perception of individuals regarding the surrounding environment. [...] Read more.
Considering citizens’ perceptions of their living environment is very helpful in making the right decisions for city planners who intend to build a sustainable society. Mental map analyses are widely used in understanding the level of perception of individuals regarding the surrounding environment. The present study introduces Aram Mental Map Analyzer (AMMA), an open-source program, which allows researchers to use special features and new analytical methods to receive outputs in numerical data and analytical maps with greater accuracy and speed. AMMA performance is contingent upon two principles of accuracy and complexity, the accuracy of the program is measured by Accuracy Placed Landmarks (APL) and General Orientation (GO), which respectively analyses the landmark placement accuracy and the main route mapping accuracy. Also, the complexity section is examined through two analyses Cell Percentage (CP) and General Structure (GS), which calculates the complexity of citizens’ perception of space based on the criteria derived from previous studies. AMMA examines all the dimensions and features of the graphic maps and its outputs have a wide range of valid and differentiated information, which is tailored to the research and information subject matter that is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Italy without Urban ‘Sprinkling’. A Uchronia for a Country that Needs a Retrofit of Its Urban and Landscape Planning
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3469; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123469 - 24 Jun 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
The research presented in the work is linked to important production of data over 10 years of activity that allowed us to trace the configuration of Italian urban settlements in the 1950s. Starting from this information, the paper puts forward a uchronian reconstruction [...] Read more.
The research presented in the work is linked to important production of data over 10 years of activity that allowed us to trace the configuration of Italian urban settlements in the 1950s. Starting from this information, the paper puts forward a uchronian reconstruction of the physiognomy of the national territory asking if—instead of the weak urban development policies implemented for over half a century—a more purposeful method of planning and designing settlements had been chosen in the Sixties to favor their aggregation and protect the country’s huge landscape heritage. From the model used, important indications emerge for control and management of retrofit (de-sprinkling) policies of which the need has been felt in recent years, as suggested by repeated messages from European bodies, the scientific community, associations and some politicians. The uchronic scenario is constructed starting from the settlement configuration of the 1950s, developing a model of maximum aggregation for the urbanized parts that were intervened in between this period and 2000, simulating a geography that maintains the quantities of soil transformed over the last 50 years. It emerges from the processing of the data that the Italian territory would have retained its low settlement density areas almost intact at the same level as in the 50s, that is to say 73% of the entire peninsular territory. It would also have preserved a large part of its free peninsular and insular coastline at about 60–70%, against the present day 45%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Ecological Urban Planning and Design: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3723; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133723 - 08 Jul 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
Urbanization is a defining feature of the modern age, yet the current model of urban development profoundly alters the natural environment, often reducing biodiversity and ultimately threatening human wellbeing. An ecologically based urban planning and design paradigm should consider a more harmonious relationship. [...] Read more.
Urbanization is a defining feature of the modern age, yet the current model of urban development profoundly alters the natural environment, often reducing biodiversity and ultimately threatening human wellbeing. An ecologically based urban planning and design paradigm should consider a more harmonious relationship. Through a systematic literature review of 57 papers, this research identified relevant concepts and theories that could underpin this new paradigm. It revealed a noticeable increase in academic interest in this subject since 2013 and the development of concepts and theories that reflect a more holistic socio-ecological systems approach to urban planning and design based on a transdisciplinary integration and synthesis of research. Seven main themes underpin the academic literature: ecosystem services, socio-ecological systems, resilience, biodiversity, landscape, green infrastructure, as well as integrated and holistic approaches. Six of these can be organised into either a sustainability stream or a spatial stream, representing the foundations of a potential new ecological urban planning and design paradigm that applies sustainability-related concepts in a spatial setting. The final theme, integrated and holistic, includes concepts that reflect the fundamental characteristics of this new paradigm, which can be termed ‘urban consonance’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Urban Planning and Land Management)
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