Topical Collection "Sustainable Built Environment"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Manuel Duarte Pinheiro
Website SciProfiles
Collection Editor
CEris—Civil Engineering Research and Innovation for Sustainability, Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources, Lisbon University, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal
Interests: sustainable built environment; sustainable construction; life cycle assessment; energy life cycle; rehabilitation and sustainability
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The construction, operation, refurbishment, and end-of-life of the built environment are responsible for a full set of environmental impacts (land use, biodiversity damages, energy consumption, carbon emission, material and water consumption), as well as social and economic impacts.

Considering that the built environment has a large impact, it could also be an opportunity to lower negative impacts and provide an important contribution to sustainable development; namely, better approaches and assessments, materials, buildings, infrastructure and urban areas.

This Special Issue on “Sustainable Built Environment” is a response to the growing demand for a sustainable built environment and the urgent need for publishing current thinking, research, and case studies on the matter.

This Special Issue focuses on papers that identify and analyze better approaches to the sustainable built environment, tools, assessment models (environment, social and economic), solutions and case studies (urban area, infrastructure, buildings, and materials), best practices analyses, and their limitations.

Contributors from academia, designers, software producers, and managers that allow a broad perspective and wide-ranging approaches and discussions on the sustainable built environment are welcomed. Papers submitted to this Special Issue are of interest to all those involved in activities across the sustainable built environment and related sectors.

Prof. Dr. Manuel Duarte Pinheiro
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • Sustainable Built Environment
  • Sustainable Buildings
  • Sustainable Urban Areas
  • Green Buildings
  • Near Zero Energy Buildings
  • Sustainable Building Materials
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Life Cycle Costs
  • Social Life Cycle Assessment
  • Sustainable Assessment System

Published Papers (57 papers)

2020

Jump to: 2019, 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
A Numerical Study on Mitigation Strategies of Urban Heat Islands in a Tropical Megacity: A Case Study in Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 3952; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12103952 - 12 May 2020
Abstract
In recent years, with the rapid increase in global warming and urbanization, urban heat island effects (UHI) have become an important environmental issue. Taiwan is no exception, with previous studies demonstrating serious UHIs in megacities. Although existing UHI research has utilized computer simulations [...] Read more.
In recent years, with the rapid increase in global warming and urbanization, urban heat island effects (UHI) have become an important environmental issue. Taiwan is no exception, with previous studies demonstrating serious UHIs in megacities. Although existing UHI research has utilized computer simulations to analyze improvement scenarios, there are few cooling strategy studies in actual blocks of Taiwan. Therefore, this study selected a block of a megacity in a tropical region of Taiwan as a case study by ENVI-met. Five improvement strategies were tested and compared to the current situation (B0): (1) Case C1 changed to permeable pavement, (2) Case C2 increased the green coverage ratio (GCR) of the street to 60%, (3) Case C3 changed to permeable pavement and increased the GCR in the street to 60%, (4) Case C4 changed to permeable pavement, increased the GCR in the street to 60%, and increased the GCR in the parks to 80%, and (5) Case C5 changed to permeable pavement, increased GCR in the street to 60% and parks to 80%, and set the GCR on the roof of public buildings to 100%. The results showed that the average temperature of the current thermal environment is 36.0 °C, with the comfort level described as very hot. Among the five improvement schemes, C5 had the greatest effect, cooling the area by an average of 2.00 °C. Further analysis of the relationship between the different GCRs of streets (SGCR) and the cooling effects revealed that for every 10% increase in the SGCR, the temperature of the pedestrian layer was reduced by 0.15 °C. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Co-Creating for Locality and Sustainability: Design-Driven Community Regeneration Strategy in Shanghai’s Old Residential Context
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072997 - 08 Apr 2020
Abstract
Community regeneration has drawn much attention in both the urban development and sustainable design fields in the last decade. As a response to the regeneration challenges of Shanghai’s old and high-density communities, this article proposes two design-driven strategies: enabling residents to become innovation [...] Read more.
Community regeneration has drawn much attention in both the urban development and sustainable design fields in the last decade. As a response to the regeneration challenges of Shanghai’s old and high-density communities, this article proposes two design-driven strategies: enabling residents to become innovation protagonists and facilitating collaborative entrepreneurial clusters based on the reorganization of community resources. Two ongoing collaborative projects between the Siping community and Tongji University—Open Your Space microregeneration (OYS) and the Neighborhood of Innovation, Creativity, and Entrepreneurship Towards 2035 (NICE 2035) living labs project—are adopted as main case studies. Research findings are put forward through a structured analysis of qualitative data. Firstly, we reviewed the situation and sustainable goals for Shanghai’s old residential communities, and how design-centric social innovation and collaboration can be effective interventions. Secondly, we analyzed resident empowerment approaches to decision-making, co-design, and co-management processes in OYS with participatory observation. Finally, through participants’ interviews and key events analysis in NICE 2035, we investigated how living labs reuse community distributed resources to develop lifestyle-based business prototypes. The inquiry of this article proposes a co-creation mechanism and action guides towards localized and sustainable community regeneration, which can provide a contextual paradigm for similar challenges. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Performance of Vertical Courtyard System in Office Buildings Under Typical Hot Days in Hot-Humid Climate Area: A Case Study
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2591; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072591 - 25 Mar 2020
Abstract
Due to the different types of courtyards in vertical courtyard system (VCS), their impacts on thermal performance in office buildings may vary. To better understand this issue, this paper investigates the thermal performance impact of three typical vertical courtyards. A field case study [...] Read more.
Due to the different types of courtyards in vertical courtyard system (VCS), their impacts on thermal performance in office buildings may vary. To better understand this issue, this paper investigates the thermal performance impact of three typical vertical courtyards. A field case study was conducted in VCSs during two typical extreme hot days under hot-humid climate conditions. The results show that the vertical courtyards have significant cooling effects under hot-humid climatic conditions. Via testing on linear, integrated, and rooftop courtyard with fusion layout, the fusion one has an obviously positive impact on air temperature reduction (4.3 °C). Compared with the linear and integrated courtyards, the maximum air temperature difference of fusion layout is around 1.6 °C. The thermal radiation environment of the fusion layout was better than that of the other two (linear and integrated). Besides, the surface temperature of the pavements (wood panel) in the vertical courtyards can reach 47 °C, while the vegetation can lower it by 8 °C under the same weather conditions. These findings show that the courtyard with fusion layout is more suitable for extreme hot weather conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of Plan Implementation in the Fast-Growing Chinese Mega-City: A Case of a Polycentric System in Hangzhou Core Built-Up Area
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1723; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051723 - 25 Feb 2020
Abstract
Previous evaluations of plan implementation focused on whether the materiality construction was in accordance with the plan. Without proper data, it is difficult to confirm whether the planning goals have been achieved. In this study, two types of big data have been used—full [...] Read more.
Previous evaluations of plan implementation focused on whether the materiality construction was in accordance with the plan. Without proper data, it is difficult to confirm whether the planning goals have been achieved. In this study, two types of big data have been used—full sample built-environment data and mobile-positioning big data—to evaluate the results of the implementation of the polycentric system in master planning in the Hangzhou core built-up area. Using the full sample built-environment data, the evaluation of materiality construction will be more objective and accurate. Using the mobile-positioning big data, the evaluation of the planning goals can be realized; this was almost impossible in the past. However, two aspects are considered: whether daily public activities, such as employment and recreation, have been dispersed from the old city and subsequently re-gathered in multiple centers outside the old city, and whether the polycentric system aids in optimizing the spatial relationship between residence and public activity. The following conclusions were drawn. In terms of actual materiality construction, the results showed minimal discrepancy from the plan. Fifteen city-level public centers have been constructed at principal, secondary, and sub-secondary levels. However, the polycentric system failed to achieve the expected effects of the planning goals. First, the public centers contributed in the gathering of public activities; however, the level of gathering at the newly built-up public centers was considerably lower than that at traditional public centers. Second, the public centers failed to encourage people to visit the nearest blocks for daily public activities, mainly because of the path dependence on the traditional centers in the process of multi-centralization and over-rapid expansion of the city. Owing to this, residents did not have sufficient time to adjust to the spatial relationship between the residence and daily public activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Housing Density and Infrastructure Costs
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 497; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020497 - 08 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Urbanisation is one of the most significant global megatrends and, as a result, major cities are facing multiple challenges. In this study, we contribute to the sustainable urban development debate and examine the relation between housing density and infrastructure costs. The analysis is [...] Read more.
Urbanisation is one of the most significant global megatrends and, as a result, major cities are facing multiple challenges. In this study, we contribute to the sustainable urban development debate and examine the relation between housing density and infrastructure costs. The analysis is based on four hypothetical design prototypes and a consistent cost calculation framework. Based on the results, infrastructure costs per capita are the highest in low-density areas and the lowest in high-density areas, if parking is excluded. However, if also construction costs of parking structures are included, the costs per capita are the highest in high-density areas. Considering the notably high cost impact of parking structures and people’s limited willingness to pay for parking, municipally zoned parking requirements in urban areas are likely to result in non-optimal land use. Furthermore, construction in poor soil conditions may only be considered feasible if the floor area ratio and residential densities are relatively high. Beyond the cost benefits, the number of residents that may be accommodated is crucial and higher density in central urban locations should be promoted. We also suggest the cost of urban greenness to be reasonable relative to its many reported benefits and conclude that denser urban structure should not be pursued at the expense of green spaces. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatiotemporal Changes in the Built Environment Characteristics and Urban Heat Island Effect in a Medium-Sized City, Chiayi City, Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 365; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010365 - 02 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study took Chiayi City—a tropical, medium-sized city—as an example to investigate the urban heat island (UHI) effect using mobile transects and built environment characteristics in 2018. The findings were compared to those from a study in 1999 to explore the spatiotemporal changes [...] Read more.
This study took Chiayi City—a tropical, medium-sized city—as an example to investigate the urban heat island (UHI) effect using mobile transects and built environment characteristics in 2018. The findings were compared to those from a study in 1999 to explore the spatiotemporal changes in the built environment characteristics and UHI phenomenon. The result for the UHI intensity (UHII) during the day was approximately 4.1 °C and at midnight was approximately 2.5 °C. Compared with the survey in 1999, the UHII during the day increased by approximately 1.3 °C, and the UHII at midnight decreased by approximately 1.2 °C. The trend of the spatial distribution of the increasing artificial area ratio (AAR) proved the importance of urban land use expansion on UHI. The results of the air temperature survey were incorporated with the nesting space in GIS to explore the role of built environment characteristics in UHI effects. The higher the population density (PD) and artificial area ratio (AAR) were, the closer the proximity was to the downtown area. The green area ratio (GAR) was less than 0.2 in the downtown area and increased closer to the rural areas. The built environment factors were analyzed in detail and correlated with the UHI effect. The air temperature in the daytime increased with the population density (PD) and artificial area ratio (AAR), but decreased with the green area ratio (GAR) (r = ±0.3–0.4). The result showed good agreement with previous studies. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2020, 2018, 2017

Open AccessArticle
A Study of Local Climate Zones in Abu Dhabi with Urban Weather Stations and Numerical Simulations
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 156; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010156 - 24 Dec 2019
Abstract
In many cities that have experienced rapid growth like Abu Dhabi, urban microclimate scenarios evolve rapidly as well and it is important to study the urban thermal dynamics continuously. The Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification considers factors related to the physical properties like [...] Read more.
In many cities that have experienced rapid growth like Abu Dhabi, urban microclimate scenarios evolve rapidly as well and it is important to study the urban thermal dynamics continuously. The Local Climate Zone (LCZ) classification considers factors related to the physical properties like surface cover and surface structure of the city which allow to analyze urban heat flows. Abu Dhabi city is rapidly expanding and is characterized by highly heterogeneous types of built forms that comprise mainly of old mid-rise and modern high-rise buildings with varied degrees of vegetation cover in different parts of the city. The fact that it is a coastal city in a desert environment makes it quite unique. This paper presents an approach of studying urban heat flows in such heterogeneous setup. First, the city is classified into local climate zones using images acquired by Landsat Satellite. Numerical simulations are performed in the designated LCZs using a computational fluid dynamics software, Envi-met. The results of Envi-met are calibrated and validated using in-situ measurements across all four seasons. The calibrated models are then applied to study entire Abu Dhabi island across different seasons. The results indicate a clear presence of urban heat island (UHI) effect when averaged over the full day which is varying in different zones. The zones with high vegetation do not show large average UHI effect whereas the effect is significant in densely built zones. The study also validates previous observations on the inversion of UHI effect during the day and in terms of diurnal response. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Trees as a Shading System for Streets on the East–West Axis: Computer Simulations for the Selected Geometrical Proportions of Building Developments in Humid Continental Climate
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7019; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247019 - 09 Dec 2019
Abstract
The study is aimed at investigating the possibilities for solar protection provided to the street canyon located on the E–W axis and with the following profiles: shallow (height/width (H/W) = 0.2, 0.6, and 1) and deep (H/W = 2) by two rows of [...] Read more.
The study is aimed at investigating the possibilities for solar protection provided to the street canyon located on the E–W axis and with the following profiles: shallow (height/width (H/W) = 0.2, 0.6, and 1) and deep (H/W = 2) by two rows of trees located at a distance of 3 m away from southern and northern façades. The research was based on numerical simulation analyses conducted in the Rhinoceros® program, with the application of the Ladybug Tools environmental plugin for a street set in the city of Płock (52° 32′50″N 19°42′00″E) for the day characterized with the highest total intensity of insolation within the year, 7 June, between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. The research yielded no differences in terms of shading the surface of the southern façade of streets with low, medium, and high building developments. However, slight differences (40 m²) were noted for the model with highrise building developments (h = 60 m) characterized with a deep section (H/W = 2). The simulation also revealed that the H/W ratio parameter only slightly (0.88%–1.93%) affected the share trees have in shading the street floor, except in the case of very shallow profiles (H/W = 0.2). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of Value Creation Drivers for Sustainable Design of Green Buildings in Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5867; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205867 - 22 Oct 2019
Abstract
The sustainability of green buildings has been widely recognized around the world in the recent past. Evaluating the investment on such buildings, with higher complexity than the conventional buildings, involves multiple and diverse stakeholders, such as consultants, contractors, general public, governmental institutions, etc. [...] Read more.
The sustainability of green buildings has been widely recognized around the world in the recent past. Evaluating the investment on such buildings, with higher complexity than the conventional buildings, involves multiple and diverse stakeholders, such as consultants, contractors, general public, governmental institutions, etc. The selection of useful value creation drivers is a difficult task while accommodating the opinion of a group of stakeholders with varying perceptions and experiences regarding the value creation in green building design and the associated costs. In this research, a framework is proposed to develop a set of the most important value creation drivers (VCDs) for green buildings. Five primary VCDs were developed to cover the financial, functional, operational, environmental, and management aspects of a green building. Ninety-eight (98) performance value drivers (PVDs) were identified through the literature for assessing the performance of these value creation drivers. The identified PVDs were evaluated through a hand-delivered questionnaire survey, followed by detailed statistical analysis of the collected data while using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) and Microsoft Excel software. Factor analyses were performed to eliminate the PVDs with least importance based on the responses obtained from 89 experienced managers (45%), engineers (38%), and architects (17%) working in the field of value management of construction industry in Saudi Arabia. Finally, 51 most important PVDs were grouped into two clusters for each value creation driver; for instance, control and planning clusters to assess the performance of management’s VCD. The final outcome of the research in the form of five top level VCDs, 10 clusters, and 51 PVDs will facilitate the designers for enhancing the performance efficiency and value from investment for green buildings in Saudi Arabia, Gulf, and elsewhere. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influencing Factors of a Polycentric Employment System on Jobs-Housing Matching—A Case Study of Hangzhou, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205752 - 17 Oct 2019
Abstract
This paper discusses the relationship between the polycentric spatial structure and jobs-housing matching and its influencing factors in the urbanized area of Hangzhou City in China. First, 42 employment centers are identified while using the method of the threshold value of employment density [...] Read more.
This paper discusses the relationship between the polycentric spatial structure and jobs-housing matching and its influencing factors in the urbanized area of Hangzhou City in China. First, 42 employment centers are identified while using the method of the threshold value of employment density and employment to residence ratio based on the places of employment and residence that were identified from cellphone signaling data. This study found that Hangzhou have remarkable features of a polycentric system. Second, we use the jobs-housing matching rate index to measure the jobs-housing matching characteristics of employment centers. We found that the polycentric structure does not guarantee jobs-housing matching of all centers, although nearly half of the employment centers had good jobs-housing matching and 14.29% do not achieve jobs-housing matching, which indicates the uncertainty of “co-location hypothesis” in China. Employment centers of different levels, industry types, and locations also display certain regularity in their jobs-housing matching level. Third, by using correlation analysis and stepwise multiple regression analysis, we found that, besides the polycentric factor, the spatial and industrial factors also exert a certain effect on jobs-housing matching, reasonable control of the employment center size, employment to resident ratio, and industrial diversity are the determinants that affect the jobs-housing matching level. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How the Urban Neighborhood Environment Influences the Quality of Life of Chinese Community-Dwelling Older Adults: An Influence Model of “NE-QoL”
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5739; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205739 - 17 Oct 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Due to functional impairment and low mobility, the sphere of activities of older adults often shrinks and they rely on their living environment more. Especially for urban community-dwelling older adults who are aging in place, the urban neighborhood environment affects their quality of [...] Read more.
Due to functional impairment and low mobility, the sphere of activities of older adults often shrinks and they rely on their living environment more. Especially for urban community-dwelling older adults who are aging in place, the urban neighborhood environment affects their quality of life (QoL) heavily. This study aims to explore how the urban neighborhood environment affects QoL of community-dwelling older adults and develop a mediation model called “Neighborhood Environment-Quality of Life (NE-QoL)” for community-dwelling older adults. The reliability test is applied to test and modify the questionnaire based on cross-sectional data collected from the survey, the multiple regression analysis is used to identify significant influence relations between variables of neighborhood environment and dimensions of the QoL, mediation effects are assumed and tested by the mediation analysis in SPSS, and then the “NE-QoL” is developed to reveal the detailed influence path between the urban neighborhood environment and QoL of community-dwelling older adults. The “NE-QoL” model reveals seven variables of the urban neighborhood environment, which influences the QoL of community-dwelling older adults significantly, and three mediation effects exist in the influence path, making clear the understanding about the relationship between neighborhood environment and the QoL of community-dwelling older adults. It provides valuable retrofit guidelines of the neighborhood environment for improving QoL of community-dwelling older adults. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comprehensive Public Transport Service Accessibility Index—A New Approach Based on Degree Centrality and Gravity Model
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5634; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205634 - 12 Oct 2019
Abstract
Public transport accessibility (PTA) is an essential index for evaluating the efficiency of urban public transport resource and public service. Improving public transport accessibility is considered as the most effective way of alleviating urban congestion and promoting urban sustainability. PTA can be divided [...] Read more.
Public transport accessibility (PTA) is an essential index for evaluating the efficiency of urban public transport resource and public service. Improving public transport accessibility is considered as the most effective way of alleviating urban congestion and promoting urban sustainability. PTA can be divided into three types, which are access to stations, accessibility of networks and access to activities. This paper focuses on evaluating access to public transport service at stations, considering walking time to stations and waiting time for services at stations. Numerous studies have been carried out on evaluating the accessibility of public transport stations. When building accessibility evaluation model, rare has seen different public transport modes as an integrated system. Hence the topological structure and geometrical layout of the system are not considered. In this paper, factors like the configuration of the public transport system and the surrounding environment of stations are included for the evaluation. The centrality of station index (COS) is presented to describe the importance of stations in the integrated public transport system. The COS index is an improved combination of the gravity model and degree centrality index of the complex network. This index improves the degree centrality index by replacing the number of nodes with weighted connections between stations. By modeling public transport operation, configuration and surroundings of stations, a comprehensive public transport service accessibility index (CPTAI) is formulated to quantify accessibility at the community level. To compute this index, a network analysis model is firstly applied to find the nearest station for each point of interest (POI) by using ArcGIS desktop 10.2, and the transport service frequency at the nearest station is measured. Then Baidu Map API is employed to measure the impedance indexes between stations in the integrated public transport network. Activities covered by stations within a given distance are seen as the generation and attraction of trips in between the stations. Then a weighted gravity model and COS is presented to calculate the integrated service frequency (ISF) for each POI afterward. In the end, the index is converted to the community level, which is CPTAI. The experiment is carried out in Wuhan metropolitan area, Hubei, China. Smart card data (SCD) is utilized to evaluate CPTAI and examine the association between commuting trips by public transport and accessibility level within Wuhan metropolitan area. Experimental results show that CPTAI has a significant statistical association with trips by public transport. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Quantitative Study of Geometric Characteristics of Urban Space Based on the Correlation with Microclimate
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4951; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184951 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
With the sustainability of contemporary cities gaining more and more attention, interest in the correlation between urban geometry and urban microclimate is increasing. On this basis, this paper aims to investigate the quantification of geometric characteristics of urban space. Based on a combination [...] Read more.
With the sustainability of contemporary cities gaining more and more attention, interest in the correlation between urban geometry and urban microclimate is increasing. On this basis, this paper aims to investigate the quantification of geometric characteristics of urban space. Based on a combination of easily accessible software packages, a quantitative method composed of spatial partition, spatial characteristic indices (area, shape, and openness), and a spatial classification chart is proposed for the study of the correlation between urban spatial geometry and urban microclimate. Two blocks with different spatial geometric characteristics of the Xinjiekou central area in Nanjing are selected as the cases to verify the operability and effectiveness of this method. The results reveal that complex real urban space can be quantitatively described and classified by this spatial quantification method. In addition, a possible correlation between urban spatial geometry and urban wind environment is demonstrated by using the method, which may also be applicable to the correlation study between urban spatial geometry and other environmental issues. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Form Compaction and Energy Use Intensity in New Social Housing Neighborhoods in the UAE
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3815; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143815 - 11 Jul 2019
Abstract
With increasing global awareness of sustainable development, federal and local authorities in the UAE have developed agendas for energy efficiency in all development sectors, especially for buildings and urban development. With the belief that urban form is integral to urban sustainability, several recently [...] Read more.
With increasing global awareness of sustainable development, federal and local authorities in the UAE have developed agendas for energy efficiency in all development sectors, especially for buildings and urban development. With the belief that urban form is integral to urban sustainability, several recently developed single-family social housing neighborhoods in the UAE have shifted from conventional sprawling urban forms to more compact ones. Unfortunately, the impact of this shift on operational and cooling energy use intensities (EUIs) is unknown. Adopting a comparative computational method, this study investigates the effect of compact urban morphologies on EUIs. In addition to a case study representing conventional urban sprawls, six recently designed housing neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Al Ain were selected to represent new compact urban forms. This study uncovered an inconsistent relationship between floor area ratio (FAR) and average housing operational and cooling EUIs. To justify these results, the effects of increased lot coverage area, street grid patterns, building configurations, and climate zone on operational and cooling EUIs were studied, and all except climate zone were proven effective. This study concludes that the current design philosophy of compacting the urban form has not successfully met the Emirates Green Building Council’s (GBC) sustainable operational EUI benchmark of 90 kWh/m2/y. While further urban compactness (i.e., increased FARs) is needed, the other urban morphological measures examined in this study should be considered for achieving a more sustainable urban form for social housing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Spatiotemporal Urban Temperature Characteristics by Urban Spatial Patterns in Changwon City, South Korea
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3777; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143777 - 10 Jul 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Spatiotemporal air and land surface temperature (LST) characteristics were analyzed based on urban spatial patterns for Changwon City, South Korea. Twelve ASTER (Advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer) Thermal infrared radiance (TIR) images during the daytime and nighttime from June to September, [...] Read more.
Spatiotemporal air and land surface temperature (LST) characteristics were analyzed based on urban spatial patterns for Changwon City, South Korea. Twelve ASTER (Advanced spaceborne thermal emission and reflection radiometer) Thermal infrared radiance (TIR) images during the daytime and nighttime from June to September, 2012–2014 were used for LST analysis. Air temperature was measured at five meteorological stations. The landcover type, elevation, and location of the meteorological measurement stations were the spatial patterns. The differences among the mean LST for each landcover material were the maximum of 8 °C and 1 °C during the daytime and nighttime, respectively. The LST decreased with increasing built-up area ratio, most prominently in July, but less so with increasing forest area for the same area ratios. The changes of urban temperature according to the spatial pattern were found to be different in each period, and there were some differences from previous studies. This is because the thermal characteristics differ depending on the geographical location, climatic conditions, and building environment of the cities. Therefore, to mitigate the urban heat island continuously, it should be applied to urban planning considering the relationship between spatial patterns and urban temperature, and the urban environment should be considered rather than directly using the results of previous studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Revealing Urban Morphology and Outdoor Comfort through Genetic Algorithm-Driven Urban Block Design in Dry and Hot Regions of China
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133683 - 04 Jul 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
In areas with a dry and hot climate, factors such as strong solar radiation, high temperature, low humidity, dazzling light, and dust storms can tremendously reduce people’s thermal comfort. Therefore, researchers are paying more attention to outdoor thermal comfort in urban environments as [...] Read more.
In areas with a dry and hot climate, factors such as strong solar radiation, high temperature, low humidity, dazzling light, and dust storms can tremendously reduce people’s thermal comfort. Therefore, researchers are paying more attention to outdoor thermal comfort in urban environments as part of urban design. This study proposed an automatic workflow to optimize urban spatial forms with the aim of improvement of outdoor thermal comfort conditions, characterized by the universal thermal climate index (UTCI). A city with a dry and hot climate—Kashgar, China—is further selected as an actual case study of an urban block and Rhino & Grasshopper is the platform used to conduct simulation and optimization process with the genetic algorithm. Results showed that in summer, the proposed method can reduce the averaged UTCI from 31.17 to 27.43 °C, a decrease of about 3.74 °C, and reduce mean radiation temperature (MRT) from 43.94 to 41.29 °C, a decrease of about 2.65 °C. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating Social Housing Retrofit Options to Support Clients’ Decision Making—SIMPLER BIM Protocol
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2507; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092507 - 30 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The UK government made significant commitments to upgrading the energy efficiency of seven million British homes by 2020, aiming at reducing carbon emissions and addressing fuel poverty. One alternative to achieve better energy performance in existing houses is retrofit. However, there are difficulties [...] Read more.
The UK government made significant commitments to upgrading the energy efficiency of seven million British homes by 2020, aiming at reducing carbon emissions and addressing fuel poverty. One alternative to achieve better energy performance in existing houses is retrofit. However, there are difficulties associated with retrofitting social housing. It is currently challenging to compare scenarios (retrofit options) considering costs, potential energy efficiency gains, and at the same time minimising disruption to users. This paper presents a Building Information Modelling (BIM) protocol aimed to support decision making by social housing owners. It adopts BIM to simulate alternative retrofit options, considering: (a) potential reductions in energy consumption, (b) 4D BIM for retrofit planning and reduction of users’ disruption and (c) simulation of costs. A what-if scenario matrix is proposed to support decision making in the selection of social housing retrofit solutions, according to client and users’ needs. A case study of the retrofit of a mid-terrace house is presented to demonstrate the workflow. The main output of the work is the BIM protocol, which can support client decision making in diverse social housing retrofit projects, considering all three elements (energy simulation, planning for reduced disruption and cost estimation) in an integrated fashion. Such an integrated approach enables clients to make better informed decisions considering diverse social housing retrofit options through a simple process using readily available BIM technology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Benefits and Barriers for Promoting Bamboo as a Green Building Material in China—An Integrative Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2493; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092493 - 28 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Bamboo is commonly considered as a green, environmentally friendly material. However, it appears that bamboo finds limited application in the form of green building materials in the Chinese construction sector. In order to explain this phenomenon and promote the material’s application, this study [...] Read more.
Bamboo is commonly considered as a green, environmentally friendly material. However, it appears that bamboo finds limited application in the form of green building materials in the Chinese construction sector. In order to explain this phenomenon and promote the material’s application, this study summarizes the benefits of applying bamboo materials and presents an analysis on barriers affecting the effective application of bamboo materials in this specific building sector. Research data are collected from both literature surveys and semi-structured interviews with a group of carefully selected experts from the Chinese building sector. Fifteen characteristic barriers are identified, such as ineffective action by government departments. An integrative analysis is conducted, including investigation on the hierarchy structure among characteristic barriers using the interpretive structural modeling (ISM) method and the classification of barriers from a driving-driven perspective using the Cross-impact Matrix Multiplication Applied to Classification (MICMAC) technique. This classification provides a different profile for the characteristic barriers from that of traditional barrier analysis methods. The findings provide valuable references for helping policy makers and practitioners adopt effective policies and measures to promote the application of bamboo for green materials in building sector. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Walkability Assessment in a Rapidly Urbanizing City and Its Relationship with Residential Estate Value
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082205 - 12 Apr 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Walkability has increasingly been recognized as an important factor for sustainable urban development that, however, has seldom been investigated in rapid urbanizing cities, especially in the Asian context. This paper assessed walkability in Futian District in the central area of Shenzhen, which has [...] Read more.
Walkability has increasingly been recognized as an important factor for sustainable urban development that, however, has seldom been investigated in rapid urbanizing cities, especially in the Asian context. This paper assessed walkability in Futian District in the central area of Shenzhen, which has undergone very rapid urbanization within a short period of time. Walkability was assessed for 2013 and 2018 using a walkability index adapted from Walk Score. It was compared with housing prices of 215 randomly selected residential buildings, to further explore the relationships between walkability and residential estate value, provided as one practical application of the assessment of walkability in urban management. Our results show that Futian District has low walkability level, although walkability has been generally improved from 2013 to 2018. A high spatial variation of walkability level within this area was observed in both years. Overall, there was a negative relationship between walkability and housing prices (significant only in 2018), which is inconsistent with studies elsewhere. The results suggest that the housing prices in Futian District are more strongly influenced by other factors rather than by walkability. In addition, the ability of the walkability model to explicitly delineate spatial variation of walkability level makes it a powerful tool to be applied in urban planning and management. Results of this study also have practical applications, which can be used as a reference for residents’ home selection and enable them to make informed decisions in selecting walkable neighborhoods with acceptable prices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Do Spatial Patterns Impact Regulation of Water-Related Ecosystem Services? Insights from a New Town Development in the Yangtze River Delta, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2010; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072010 - 04 Apr 2019
Abstract
Scientists have made efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ecosystem service valuation and mapping; yet little actual implementation of new ecosystem service knowledge has been delivered in practice. We explored this gap by developing a spatially explicit and semi-qualitative evaluation approach [...] Read more.
Scientists have made efforts to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of ecosystem service valuation and mapping; yet little actual implementation of new ecosystem service knowledge has been delivered in practice. We explored this gap by developing a spatially explicit and semi-qualitative evaluation approach to clarify how the spatial patterns of new town developments impact three types of water-related regulating ecosystem services, namely water flow regulation, flooding mitigation, and water quality regulation. Based on peer-reviewed publications, we identified key indicators with spatial characteristics that practitioners care about and have control of. We investigated the case of Lingang, a satellite city of Shanghai in the Yangtze River Delta, and found that (1) 85.30% of the pre-urban East Lingang with native marshlands performed better holistically while 93.06% of the post-urban East Lingang using the man-made lakeside model performed poorly; (2) 82.47% of the double grids model at West Lingang performed poorly in pre-urban time, while some major waterways were improved by the Hydrological Planning; and (3) a major weakness in the planning process was the ignorance in conserving pre-urban ecological resources, preventing the provision of ecosystem services. Finally, four urban design principles of both large-scale land use considerations and finer-scale design implications were proposed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
BIM and E-Negotiation Practices in AEC Consulting Businesses
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1911; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071911 - 30 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) consulting businesses are developing into a specialized industry, and collaborative decision making is essential to obtain the finest design. Everything is now virtual. Building information modelling (BIM) has the most potential to support current practices. BIM is promising [...] Read more.
Architectural, engineering, and construction (AEC) consulting businesses are developing into a specialized industry, and collaborative decision making is essential to obtain the finest design. Everything is now virtual. Building information modelling (BIM) has the most potential to support current practices. BIM is promising for effective and efficient design processes. Negotiation and decision-making processes appear to be activities that are the most difficult for BIM to facilitate. Both activities are hard to complete in person and virtually. Every participant has their own preferences, intention, and pay-off optimum, and conflicts are difficult to avoid. Communication and e-negotiation are main issues in BIM practices. This paper proposes BIM and e-negotiation practices in AEC consulting businesses, with the main intention to reveal critical success factors that enhance the utilization of BIM in supporting communication and e-negotiation. A survey through observation and questionnaire distribution was used to collect the data. Descriptive analysis through a mean and standard deviation scatter plot was used to analyse the data. Two hundred and two respondents consisting of 91 design managers (leaders) and 111 designers/consultants (non-leaders) were involved in the research. Based on the analysis, it was found that there are different perceptions between those two groups. The design managers stated that they were the most vital factor in supporting the e-negotiation in BIM, whereas the consultants (designers) stated that job description was the main essential factor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effects of Microclimate Parameters on Outdoor Thermal Sensation in Severe Cold Cities
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1572; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061572 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This study investigated the outdoor thermal sensation characteristics in severe cold cities, and the effects of four microclimate parameters on outdoor thermal sensation. A one-year investigation of public spaces in Harbin, China, as an example of a severe cold city, was carried out. [...] Read more.
This study investigated the outdoor thermal sensation characteristics in severe cold cities, and the effects of four microclimate parameters on outdoor thermal sensation. A one-year investigation of public spaces in Harbin, China, as an example of a severe cold city, was carried out. Volunteers were randomly invited to fill out a microclimate perception questionnaire, and the real-time microclimate data were measured and recorded at the same time on site. The relationship between the outdoor actual thermal sensation and the perception of microclimate parameters was analyzed quantitatively. The results showed that the effect of microclimate parameters on the actual thermal sensation was very significant. The actual thermal sensation varies greatly from the seasons. People feel the most comfortable in the transition season. Among the four parameters, temperature has the greatest effect on ATSV in cold season and severe cold season, solar radiation has the greatest effect on ATSV in transition season and hot season. In the severe cold season and hot season, the wind speed also has a significant effect on ATSV. Full article
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2018

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Open AccessArticle
Urban Physical Environments and the Duration of High Air Temperature: Focusing on Solar Radiation Trapping Effects
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4837; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124837 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Urban heat island effects, which are the phenomenon wherein higher ambient air temperatures are measured in cities than in rural areas, have worsened urban thermal environments over the past decades. This study aims to analyze the effects of urban physical environments on the [...] Read more.
Urban heat island effects, which are the phenomenon wherein higher ambient air temperatures are measured in cities than in rural areas, have worsened urban thermal environments over the past decades. This study aims to analyze the effects of urban physical environments on the duration of high air temperature, using climate data collected from 217 Automatic Weather Stations in Seoul, Korea. In order to specify radiation trapping effects, interaction effects between sky view factors (SVF) and albedo values were analyzed using multiple regression analysis. The results indicate that increases in commercial and traffic areas lead to longer durations of high air temperature and that high urban porosity shortens the duration of high air temperature by improving urban ventilation. This study also indicates that the duration of high air temperature has a negative association with SVF; however, an analysis of interaction effects indicates that high-albedo materials diminish the positive effects of high SVF largely because of radiation trapping effects. These findings suggest that urban ventilation paths, high SVF, and materials with an appropriate albedo value play important roles in improving thermal comfort conditions, such as the duration of high air temperature. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigating the Effects of the Built Environment on PM2.5 and PM10: A Case Study of Seoul Metropolitan City, South Korea
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4552; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124552 - 02 Dec 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Air pollution has a major impact on human health and quality of life; therefore, its determinants should be studied to promote effective management and reduction. Here, we examined the influence of the built environment on air pollution by analyzing the relationship between the [...] Read more.
Air pollution has a major impact on human health and quality of life; therefore, its determinants should be studied to promote effective management and reduction. Here, we examined the influence of the built environment on air pollution by analyzing the relationship between the built environment and particulate matter (i.e., PM2.5 and PM10). Air pollution data collected in Seoul in 2014 were spatially mapped using geographic information system tools, and PM2.5 and PM10 concentrations were determined in individual neighborhoods using an interpolation method. PM2.5 and PM10 failed to show spatial autocorrelation; therefore, we analyzed the associations between PM fractions and built environment characteristics using an ordinary least squares regression model. PM2.5 and PM10 exhibited some differences in spatial distributions, suggesting that the built environment has different effects on these fractions. For instance, high PM10 concentrations were associated with neighborhoods with more bus routes, bus stops, and river areas. Meanwhile, both PM2.5 and PM10 were more likely to be high in areas with more commercial areas and multi-family housing, but low in areas with more main roads, more single-family housing, and high average gross commercial floor area. This study is expected to contribute to establishing policies and strategies to promote sustainability in Seoul, Korea. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Needs-Driven, Multi-Objective Approach to Allocate Urban Ecosystem Services from 10,000 Trees
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4488; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124488 - 29 Nov 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Urban areas face challenges including vehicular emissions, stormwater runoff, and sedentary lifestyles. Communities recognize the value of trees in mitigating these challenges by absorbing pollution and enhancing walkability. However, siting trees to optimize multiple benefits requires a systems approach that may cross sectors [...] Read more.
Urban areas face challenges including vehicular emissions, stormwater runoff, and sedentary lifestyles. Communities recognize the value of trees in mitigating these challenges by absorbing pollution and enhancing walkability. However, siting trees to optimize multiple benefits requires a systems approach that may cross sectors of management and expertise. We present a spatially-explicit method to optimize tree planting in Durham, NC, a rapidly growing urban area with an aging tree stock. Using GIS data and a ranking approach, we explored where Durham could augment its current stock of willow oaks through its plans to install 10,000 mid-sized deciduous trees. Data included high-resolution landcover metrics developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), demographics from the U.S. Census, an attributed roads dataset licensed to the EPA, and sidewalk information from the City of Durham. Census block groups (CBGs) were ranked for tree planting according to single and multiple objectives including stormwater reduction, emissions buffering, walkability, and protection of vulnerable populations. Prioritizing tree planting based on single objectives led to four sets of locations with limited geographic overlap. Prioritizing tree planting based on multiple objectives tended to favor historically disadvantaged CBGs. The four-objective strategy met the largest proportion of estimated regional need. Based on this analysis, the City of Durham has implemented a seven-year plan to plant 10,000 trees in priority neighborhoods. This analysis also found that any strategy which included the protection of vulnerable populations generated more benefits than others. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Microeconomic Methodology to Evaluate Energy Efficiency by Consumption Behaviors and Strategies to Improve Energy Efficiency
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114327 - 21 Nov 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The present paper highlights a quantitative method to maximize energy efficiency based on the minimum energy consumption and maximum quality of life from consumption behaviors. Quality of life is expressed by utility, which is a Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) function of demands [...] Read more.
The present paper highlights a quantitative method to maximize energy efficiency based on the minimum energy consumption and maximum quality of life from consumption behaviors. Quality of life is expressed by utility, which is a Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) function of demands for composite goods, car trips and public transport trips. Individual energy consumption is estimated by the demand of goods and we applied this method to Nagasaki to evaluate energy efficiency. Our results showed that 28,154 kcal of energy is needed to support the life of one individual per day in Nagasaki. Furthermore, we found that 76% of energy was used for composite goods and 24% was used for mobility goods. To achieve maximum energy efficiency, our results highlight that energy should be reduced by increasing the consumption of composite goods and public transport trips, while simultaneously decreasing the consumption of car trips. Compared to residents in urban and suburban areas, individuals in Central Business Districts (CBD) were found to have higher energy efficiency. Findings in Nagasaki suggest three policy implications: First, eco-energy consumption patterns should be encouraged to decrease energy use, while maintaining quality of life. Second, mixed land use is attributed to increased energy efficiency. Lastly, the energy efficiency of mobility could be improved though increasing the attraction of public transport. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Performance-Based Evaluation of Courtyard Design in China’s Cold-Winter Hot-Summer Climate Regions
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 3950; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10113950 - 30 Oct 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
A courtyard is a traditional and popular construction feature found in China’s urban buildings. This case study evaluates the performance of the traditional courtyard design of the Jiangnan Museum, located in Jiangsu Province. In the evaluation, the spatial layout of courtyards is adjusted, [...] Read more.
A courtyard is a traditional and popular construction feature found in China’s urban buildings. This case study evaluates the performance of the traditional courtyard design of the Jiangnan Museum, located in Jiangsu Province. In the evaluation, the spatial layout of courtyards is adjusted, the aspect ratio is changed, and an ecological buffer space is created. To model and evaluate the performance of the courtyard design, this study applied the Computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software, Parabolic Hyperbolic Or Elliptic Numerical Integration Code Series (PHOENICS), for wind environment simulation, and the EnergyPlus-based software, DesignBuilder, for energy simulation. Results show that a good combination of courtyard layout and aspect ratio can improve the use of natural ventilation by increasing free cooling during hot summers and reducing cold wind in winters. The results also show that ecological buffer areas of a courtyard can reduce cooling loads in summer by approximately 19.6% and heating loads in winter by approximately 22.3%. The study provides insights into the optimal design of a courtyard to maximize its benefit in regulating the microclimate during both winter and summer. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Location Quotients to Determine Public–Natural Space Spatial Patterns: A Zurich Model
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103462 - 28 Sep 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
The layout relationship between the public space system and the natural system of cities determines the trend of urban spatial forms. From the perspective of the integration of landscape architecture and urban design discipline, this paper generalizes three restriction/dependence relationship modes between urban [...] Read more.
The layout relationship between the public space system and the natural system of cities determines the trend of urban spatial forms. From the perspective of the integration of landscape architecture and urban design discipline, this paper generalizes three restriction/dependence relationship modes between urban public space and natural landscape layout: (1) overlapping mode, (2) separation mode, and (3) the mode of edge combination. Using Zurich, Switzerland, as a case study, this paper quantitatively explores the layout relationship between public space and natural landscape using the location quotient method. The research findings reveal an obvious layer distribution trend of Zurich urban public space and natural factors: the public space and mountain layout have a clear separation relationship. The regressive equation is PQ = −0.188lnMQ + 0.660, forming the mutually supplementary mechanism of the advantageous resources of public activities. The Zurich model shows that when a proper relationship is established among the natural system and the urban public space, human activities, and the public activity centers of the city, the new system provides significant ecological and social benefits. This finding provides an exemplary reference for urban construction in other countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Industrial or Traditional Bamboo Construction? Comparative Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of Bamboo-Based Buildings
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3096; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093096 - 30 Aug 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
The past five decades have witnessed an unprecedented growth in population. This has led to an ever-growing housing demand. It has been proposed that the use of bio-based materials, and specifically bamboo, can help alleviate the housing demand in a sustainable manner. The [...] Read more.
The past five decades have witnessed an unprecedented growth in population. This has led to an ever-growing housing demand. It has been proposed that the use of bio-based materials, and specifically bamboo, can help alleviate the housing demand in a sustainable manner. The present paper aims to assess the environmental impact caused by using four different construction materials (bamboo, brick, concrete hollow block, and engineered bamboo) in buildings. A comparative life cycle assessment (LCA) was carried out to measure the environmental impact of the different construction materials in the construction of single and multi-storey buildings. The LCA considered the extraction, production, transport, and use of the construction materials. The IPCC2013 evaluation method from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change IPCC2013 was used for the calculations of CO2 emissions. The assessment was geographically located in Colombia, South America, and estimates the transport distances of the construction materials. The results show that transportation and reinforcing materials significantly contribute to the environmental impact, whereas the engineered bamboo construction system has the lowest environmental impact. The adoption of bamboo-based construction systems has a significant potential to support the regenerative development of regions where they could be used and might lead to long-lasting improvements to economies, environments, and livelihoods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Do Community Planning Features Affect the Place Relationship of Residents? An Investigation of Place Attachment, Social Interaction, and Community Participation
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2726; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082726 - 02 Aug 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Outdoor environment can have significant connections with place relationships. This study tried to explore the connection in detail. First, the relationship was examined through an integrated view of environmental planning, followed by reviewing impacts of essential elements from the outdoor environment on place [...] Read more.
Outdoor environment can have significant connections with place relationships. This study tried to explore the connection in detail. First, the relationship was examined through an integrated view of environmental planning, followed by reviewing impacts of essential elements from the outdoor environment on place relationships. Residents of three public housing communities in Taiwan were surveyed. Each community had a different layout: alley, cluster, and large courtyard. Exploratory factor analysis revealed that outdoor community planning features can be grouped into four factors: outdoor space quality, circulation planning, outdoor recreational facilities, and community layout. Canonical correlation analyses indicate different combinations of these factors were connected to diverse combinations of place relationship dimensions. More importantly, higher levels of satisfaction toward outdoor space quality as well as community layout were associated with greater place attachment and less community participation. Higher levels of satisfaction with circulation planning were connected to greater place attachment and community participation, and less social interaction. Multiple regression analyses found the associations between the community planning features and place relationship dimensions differed among the alley, cluster, and large courtyard. These findings can help planners and architects design public housing and similar communities that better enhance the emotional and social experiences of the inhabitants. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Visual Analysis of the Height Ratio between Building and Background Vegetation. Two Rural Cases of Study: Spain and Sweden
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2593; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082593 - 24 Jul 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
The perception of apparent sizes of buildings in a rural environment depends on the height ratio between the building and its surrounding vegetation, and it is this parameter which is currently used to assess the built landscapes. The impact of a contrasting height [...] Read more.
The perception of apparent sizes of buildings in a rural environment depends on the height ratio between the building and its surrounding vegetation, and it is this parameter which is currently used to assess the built landscapes. The impact of a contrasting height is less strong if the building does not exceed the horizon line. For buildings overshooting the skyline, the building’s level of sharpness and number of lines in contrast to the sky determines the impact of the scales, and vegetation in the background helps to reduce impact. The specific objectives of the present study were: (1) finding height–ratio thresholds between building and background vegetation, which may improve the integration of rural buildings in sky-sensitive locations, and; (2) comparing the results in two rural contexts with very different climatic conditions: Spain and Sweden. A survey of eighteen scenarios (nine Spanish and nine Swedish), all digitally modified with different relative height ratios between vegetation and buildings, was performed. The survey was evaluated by the public from both countries. Regardless of the country of origin, integration of the building was good or very good when the vegetation in background did not exceed one half of the height of the construction. These results may be translated to technical criteria for planning assessment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Flagships of the Dutch Welfare State in Transformation: A Transformation Framework for Balancing Sustainability and Cultural Values in Energy-Efficient Renovation of Postwar Walk-Up Apartment Buildings
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2562; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072562 - 21 Jul 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Increasing energy efficiency of the housing stock is one of the largest challenges in the built environment today. In line with the international Paris-Climate-Change-Conference 2015, Dutch municipalities and housing associations have embraced the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality for their social housing stock [...] Read more.
Increasing energy efficiency of the housing stock is one of the largest challenges in the built environment today. In line with the international Paris-Climate-Change-Conference 2015, Dutch municipalities and housing associations have embraced the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality for their social housing stock by 2050. However, most deep renovation designs for increasing the energy efficiency of dwellings focus on the relatively easy portion of the housing stock: postwar row housing. Furthermore, such design solutions are mostly produced without much care for architectural quality and cultural heritage, nor for testing for consumer preferences. Yet, such aspects are of major importance in tenement housing, particularly regarding the architectural quality of the huge numbers of walk-up apartment buildings from the inter- and postwar periods owned by housing associations in the larger cities. Renovation of buildings of this typology is more complex because of, among others, technical, social, and heritage factors. To support decisions in this complex context, a General Transformation Framework and a Roadmap has been developed for generating design solutions for deep renovation of representative parts of postwar walk-up apartment buildings with the aim to increase energy efficiency; retain its architectural legibility and cultural heritage value; and allow for the presentation of (end) users, with various options for adaptation to assess their preferences. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Empathic Design as a Tool for Urban Sustainability in Low-Resource Settings
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2493; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072493 - 17 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Architectural design plays a crucial role in sustainable city development. In fast-growing cities in developing countries, it can be a challenge to reach sustainable results. In this paper, we propose the use of Empathic Design, borrowed from the human-centered design field, as one [...] Read more.
Architectural design plays a crucial role in sustainable city development. In fast-growing cities in developing countries, it can be a challenge to reach sustainable results. In this paper, we propose the use of Empathic Design, borrowed from the human-centered design field, as one means to support the work of architects and other stakeholders in these settings. To investigate aspects in which this method could be helpful, we have synthesized two existing sustainability models and applied them to three examples of affordable housing from different low-resource settings. After analysis of the examples, we propose a model with an equal balance between the four different dimensions of sustainability—environmental, economic, social, and cultural—where the aspects that need inhabitant engagement are highlighted. We argue that, to be able to hold the balance between the diverse dimensions of sustainability, the architect needs to understand in-depth the living conditions of people for whom he or she is designing. This calls for a fine-tuned participatory approach when designing in low-resource settings. It may not always be easy to reach this level of participation, but we propose that it can be achieved when the architecture is created through empathic involvement. The use of Empathic Design methods throughout the design process thus supports the endeavor towards sustainable results. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
From Zero Emission Buildings (ZEB) to Zero Emission Neighbourhoods (ZEN): A Mapping Review of Algorithm-Based LCA
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2405; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072405 - 10 Jul 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The building industry is responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). The most efficient way of reducing a building’s environmental impact is addressing it in the design stage. Here, design freedom is [...] Read more.
The building industry is responsible for approximately 40% of energy consumption and 36% of greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union (EU). The most efficient way of reducing a building’s environmental impact is addressing it in the design stage. Here, design freedom is the greatest, but uncertainty is high and there is a nearly limitless number of design options. Based on experiences with zero emission buildings (ZEB) and zero emission neighbourhoods (ZEN), a mapping review has been conducted to analyse how parametric life cycle assessment (LCA) and algorithms have been used to address neighbourhoods, buildings, and construction materials. Results have identified a general gap of knowledge regarding the use of parametric LCA models for decision-support purposes, demonstrated by the substantial focus on analytical methods compared to procedural methods. Implications for the evolution from ZEB to ZEN are twofold: (i) an integrated approach with multiple tools and methods is required, and (ii) further development of algorithms in the tool are needed to address complexity, sensitivity, and uncertainty. This study is expected to foster the development of algorithmic approaches to improve the ZEB tool as a decision-support tool. Further research should address the key questions of when and how. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Study on the Evolution Trend and Driving Factors of Typical Rural Spatial Morphology in Southern Jiangsu Province, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2392; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072392 - 09 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
Due to rapid changes in urban and rural economic development, the Chinese landscape has been gradually transforming toward urbanization. Most Chinese rural villages face declining problems such as population loss, land use transformation, fragmentation and abandonment, resulting in big changes in the rural [...] Read more.
Due to rapid changes in urban and rural economic development, the Chinese landscape has been gradually transforming toward urbanization. Most Chinese rural villages face declining problems such as population loss, land use transformation, fragmentation and abandonment, resulting in big changes in the rural spatial morphology. To understand these urbanization challenges, this study established a multi-factor methodology and applied it to a case study of three selected typical villages in southern Jiangsu Province. From this analysis, the quantification of the rural spatial morphology and environmental status, from 2005 to 2016, was determined. The eight driving factors established considered the rural geological location, landform, and social economic status. To analyze the driving factors, a quantitative analysis using ArcGIS, Environment for Visualizing Images (ENVI), and Analytic Network Process (ANP) decision-making methods were used. The results revealed mechanisms between the changes to spatial morphology of rural villages in southern Jiangsu Province and their key driving factors. This study provides data support and a theoretical framework to guide future development and policy of rural villages of different types, which supports the sustainable development of Chinese rural villages. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
What Gets Measured, Gets Done: Development of a Circular Economy Measurement Scale for Building Industry
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2340; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072340 - 05 Jul 2018
Cited by 26
Abstract
The construction industry is among the sectors that need closer attention due to their environmental impact. The Circular Economy (CE) model promotes the transition to more sustainable production models, which are based on careful management of resources and the reduction of negative externalities [...] Read more.
The construction industry is among the sectors that need closer attention due to their environmental impact. The Circular Economy (CE) model promotes the transition to more sustainable production models, which are based on careful management of resources and the reduction of negative externalities generated by such businesses. Its application in this industry can foster significant improvements in sustainability. However, the measurement of the degree of implementation of CE is difficult, owing to an absence of psychometrically sound measures. In this paper, the development of the CE scale for the building industry was described, treated as an instrument that allows for a direct measurement of the importance of CE for companies. The processes used to generate items by applying the e-Delphi research technique were explained in the article, and the developed scale was tested and validated through confirmatory factor analysis (CFA). The final construction is composed of seven different weighted dimensions: four related to Resource Management: 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle), Efficient Management of Energy, Water, and Materials; two dimensions regarding environmental impact: Emissions and Wastes generated; and, one providing indicators of transition to the CE. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Implementation of Observed Sky-View Factor in a Mesoscale Model for Sensitivity Studies of the Urban Meteorology
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2183; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072183 - 26 Jun 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
The sky view factor (SVF) is an important radiometric parameter for assessing the canopy energy budget of urban areas. There are several methods to determine the SVF observationally. The most common is taking a photo with a digital camera equipped with a fish-eye [...] Read more.
The sky view factor (SVF) is an important radiometric parameter for assessing the canopy energy budget of urban areas. There are several methods to determine the SVF observationally. The most common is taking a photo with a digital camera equipped with a fish-eye lens and then converting ratio of sky area to canopy area into SVF. However, most urban canopy models use this variable as derived from idealized canopy geometry. To evaluate the effect of inputting observed SVFs in numerical models, we evaluated a mesoscale model’s performance in reproducing surface wind and surface temperature when subjected to different ways of SVF prescription. The studied area was the Metropolitan Area of São Paulo (MASP) in Brazil. Observed SVFs were obtained for 37 sites scattered all over the MASP. Three simulations, A, B, and C, with different SVF and aspect-ratio prescriptions, were performed to analyze the effect of SVF on the urban canopy parameterization: Simulation A (standard) used the original formulation of the Town Energy Budget (TEB) model, computing the SVFs from the aspect-ratios; Simulation B used the observed SVFs, but keeps aspect-ratios as original; and Simulation C used the aspect-ratios computed from observed SVFs. The results show that in general inputting observed SVFs improves the model capability of reproducing temperature at surface level. The comparison of model outputs with data of regular meteorological stations shows that the inclusion of observed values of SVFs enhances model performance, reducing the RMSE index by up to 3 C. In this case, the model is able to better reproduce the expected effects in the wind field, and consequently the temperature advection, of the urban boundary layer to a large urban area. The result of Simulation C shows that the surface wind and temperature intensity for all urban types is higher than those of Simulation A, because of the lower values of the aspect ratio. The urban type with high density of tall buildings increase up to 1 ms-1 in the wind speed, and approximately 1 C in temperature, showing the importance of a better representation of the urban structure and the SVF database improvement. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Assessing the Climate Change Impacts of Biogenic Carbon in Buildings: A Critical Review of Two Main Dynamic Approaches
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2020; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10062020 - 14 Jun 2018
Cited by 18
Abstract
Wood is increasingly perceived as a renewable, sustainable building material. The carbon it contains, biogenic carbon, comes from biological processes; it is characterized by a rapid turnover in the global carbon cycle. Increasing the use of harvested wood products (HWP) from sustainable forest [...] Read more.
Wood is increasingly perceived as a renewable, sustainable building material. The carbon it contains, biogenic carbon, comes from biological processes; it is characterized by a rapid turnover in the global carbon cycle. Increasing the use of harvested wood products (HWP) from sustainable forest management could provide highly needed mitigation efforts and carbon removals. However, the combined climate change benefits of sequestering biogenic carbon, storing it in harvested wood products and substituting more emission-intensive materials are hard to quantify. Although different methodological choices and assumptions can lead to opposite conclusions, there is no consensus on the assessment of biogenic carbon in life cycle assessment (LCA). Since LCA is increasingly relied upon for decision and policy making, incorrect biogenic carbon assessment could lead to inefficient or counterproductive strategies, as well as missed opportunities. This article presents a critical review of biogenic carbon impact assessment methods, it compares two main approaches to include time considerations in LCA, and suggests one that seems better suited to assess the impacts of biogenic carbon in buildings. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing Characteristics of Environmental Behaviors and Spatial Types in Open and Gated Housing Blocks: A Case Study of Changchun, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1835; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061835 - 01 Jun 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Physical characteristics of residential areas affect many aspects of living sustainability, including the environmental behavior of residents. Based on the policy issued in China in 2016, the guideline of transforming existing gated housing blocks into open mode is being gradually implemented in some [...] Read more.
Physical characteristics of residential areas affect many aspects of living sustainability, including the environmental behavior of residents. Based on the policy issued in China in 2016, the guideline of transforming existing gated housing blocks into open mode is being gradually implemented in some cities. However, the transforming of boundary walls and internal roads has changed the living environment such as the open space that residents have been accustomed to and has affected environmental behaviors correspondingly. From perspectives of spatial types and environmental behaviors, this research compared an open housing block (which is reconstructed from gated one) with a comparable original gated housing block. The Behavior Mapping Method was used to capture environmental behaviors in two housing blocks; factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to extract spatial characteristics and classify spatial types; and finally differences between the open housing block and the gated housing block were shown by comparing the distribution of environmental behaviors in each space type. The results indicate that the presence or absence of the enclosing walls affects the division of space types and environmental behaviors in housing blocks. For gated housing blocks, spaces with strong privacy attract various types of activities, which are overwhelming in categories and the number of people, while in the open housing blocks, this situation is not as obvious as in the former. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An Occupant-Oriented Calculation Method of Building Interior Cooling Load Design
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1821; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061821 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
Given continued improvement in the thermal performance of building envelopes, interior disturbances caused by occupant behavior now have the greatest impact on building loads and energy consumption. The accurate calculation of interior load during design stage was emphasized in this paper, and a [...] Read more.
Given continued improvement in the thermal performance of building envelopes, interior disturbances caused by occupant behavior now have the greatest impact on building loads and energy consumption. The accurate calculation of interior load during design stage was emphasized in this paper, and a new method was proposed. Indoor occupants were considered as the core of interior disturbances, and the relationship with other interior disturbances was explored. The interior heat release was arbitrarily combined with the representative cooling load to be utilized in building cooling load calculation. Field surveys were conducted in three typical university buildings: an office building, a teaching building, and a library, located in a university in Tianjin, China. The oversized chillers supplying cooling for the buildings resulted from the over-estimating of the indoor occupant number and the power density of electric appliances. Through quantitative analysis, it was observed that the maximum representative interior loads were 196.43, 329.94, and 402.58 W/person, respectively, for the case buildings, at least 50% less than the empirical design data. Compared to the measured cooling load during the testing period, the accuracy of the modified cooling load was greater than 90%. This research is intended to serve as a reference for calculating and optimizing the design loads of cooling systems. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Feasibility Assessment of the Use of Recycled Aggregates for Asphalt Mixtures
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1737; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061737 - 25 May 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
The use of recycled aggregates, manufactured from several by-products, to replace virgin aggregates in the production of pavement asphalt mixtures needs to be encouraged. Nevertheless, there are some concerns and uncertainties about the actual environmental, economic and mechanical performance resulting from the incorporation [...] Read more.
The use of recycled aggregates, manufactured from several by-products, to replace virgin aggregates in the production of pavement asphalt mixtures needs to be encouraged. Nevertheless, there are some concerns and uncertainties about the actual environmental, economic and mechanical performance resulting from the incorporation of recycled aggregates in asphalt mixtures. Therefore, this paper has the goal of discussing important features to help decision makers to select recycled aggregates as raw materials for asphalt mixtures. Based on the literature review carried out and the own previous experience of the authors, the article’s main findings reveal that incorporating some of the most common recycled aggregates into asphalt mixtures is feasible, even in a life-cycle analysis perspective. Although some specific technical operations are sometimes necessary when using recycled aggregates in asphalt mixtures, some benefits in terms of environmental impacts, energy use and costs are likely to be achieved, as well as in what concerns the mechanical performance of the asphalt mixtures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Built Form and Community Building in Residential Neighbourhoods: A Case Study of Physical Distance in Subiaco, Western Australia
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1703; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061703 - 23 May 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
With physical and social aspects being inseparable within urban environments, design for sustainability needs to include the link between the distance and sense of community. However, only a few studies examine residential suburbs and specifically focus on the physical and social interactions occurring [...] Read more.
With physical and social aspects being inseparable within urban environments, design for sustainability needs to include the link between the distance and sense of community. However, only a few studies examine residential suburbs and specifically focus on the physical and social interactions occurring within the streets and adjacent to them spaces, such as verges, sidewalks and front yards. Using a case study method, including observation and a perception-based survey in the inner-city suburb of Subiaco in Perth, Western Australia, this investigation opens up a new understanding of physical distance and social interaction. It develops a novel typology of physical distances and social closeness within a residential neighbourhood which allows better conceptualising the sense of community for achieving integrated sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Energy Performance of a Light Wood-Timber Structured House in the Severely Cold Region of China
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051501 - 09 May 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The purpose of the study was to determine the energy performance of a timber structured house built in Harbin, a severely cold region of China. The research team conducted a field test on the house that lasted three months (15 January–15 April 2008). [...] Read more.
The purpose of the study was to determine the energy performance of a timber structured house built in Harbin, a severely cold region of China. The research team conducted a field test on the house that lasted three months (15 January–15 April 2008). The test included the winter heating energy consumption, average indoor temperature and relative humidity, building heat storage capacity, heat transfer coefficient of the wall, total air volume of air-conditioning system, etc. The test results showed that the total heating was calculated to be 73,240.59 MJ in winter. Thermal imaging tests were carried out on the house and found no obvious thermal defects such as thermal bridges. In conclusion, the timber structured house has a good level of building energy conservation and would provide a good exemplary for green building design and construction in similar severely cold regions in the world. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Walled Buildings, Sustainability, and Housing Prices: An Artificial Neural Network Approach
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1298; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041298 - 23 Apr 2018
Cited by 5
Abstract
Various researchers have explored the adverse effects of walled buildings on human health. However, few of them have examined the relationship between walled buildings and private housing estates in Hong Kong. This study endeavors to fill the research gap by exploring the connections [...] Read more.
Various researchers have explored the adverse effects of walled buildings on human health. However, few of them have examined the relationship between walled buildings and private housing estates in Hong Kong. This study endeavors to fill the research gap by exploring the connections among walled-building effects, housing features, macroeconomic factors, and housing prices in private housing estates. Specifically, it reveals the relationship between walled buildings and housing prices. Eight privately owned housing estates are selected with a total of 11,365 observations. Results are analyzed to study the factors that affect the housing price. Firstly, unit root tests are carried out to evaluate if the time series variables follow the unit root process. Secondly, the relationship between walled buildings and housing price is examined by conducting an artificial neural network. We assumed that the housing price reduces due to walled-building effects, given that previous literature showed that heat island effect, and blockage of natural light and views, are common in walled-building districts. Moreover, we assume that housing price can also be affected by macroeconomic factors and housing features, and these effects vary among private housing estates. We also study these impacts by using the two models. Recommendations and possible solutions are suggested at the end of the research paper. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Urban Sustainability through Public Architecture
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041249 - 19 Apr 2018
Cited by 9
Abstract
As the sustainability of contemporary cities has gained emphasis, interest in architecture has increased, due to its social and public responsibility. Since sustainability is linked to public values, research on sustainable public spaces is an important way to secure sustainability in cities. Based [...] Read more.
As the sustainability of contemporary cities has gained emphasis, interest in architecture has increased, due to its social and public responsibility. Since sustainability is linked to public values, research on sustainable public spaces is an important way to secure sustainability in cities. Based on this, we analyzed the sustainability of European cities by examining the design methods of public architecture according to the region. The aim of the study is to derive architectural methodology corresponding to local characteristics, and to suggest issues to consider in public architecture design to promote urban sustainability based on this. First, regarding the environmental aspect, it can be observed that there is an effort to secure sustainability. Second, in terms of social sustainability, historical value remains as a trace of architectural place, so that it continues in people’s memory. In addition, public architecture provides public places where citizens can gather and enjoy programs, while the architectural methods showed differences influenced by cultural conditions. Third, in economic sustainability, it was shown that energy saving was achieved through cost reduction through recycling of materials, facilities, or environmental factors. In conclusion, the issues to be considered in public architectural design are the voiding of urban space through architectural devices in the construction method. In other words, the intention is to form “ground” that attempts to be part of the city, and thereby create better places. Since skin and material have a deep relationship with the environment, they should have the durability and an outer skin that are suitable for the regional environment. Finally, sustainability is to be utilized through the influx of programs that meet local and environmental characteristics. Design research into public architecture that is oriented towards urban sustainability will be a task to be carried out by the present generation for the millennial generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Power Quality and Rooftop-Photovoltaic Households: An Examination of Measured Data at Point of Customer Connection
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041224 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Photovoltaics (PVs) have been widely reported as causing power quality problems for electricity distribution networks. Much of this literature gives the impression that networks, particularly low voltage networks, were effectively and proficiently managed and operated before the rise of PVs and that this [...] Read more.
Photovoltaics (PVs) have been widely reported as causing power quality problems for electricity distribution networks. Much of this literature gives the impression that networks, particularly low voltage networks, were effectively and proficiently managed and operated before the rise of PVs and that this new technology is causing problems that did not previously exist and would not currently exist if there were no rooftop PV systems. The purpose of this paper is to examine measured data of power quality at the customer service point of four random households in four different distribution networks in Australia. This is the first report of power quality examination from the perspective of the end-user (solar households). The results show that the low voltage distribution networks reported in this study do not have networks that meet required power quality standards—and this cannot be attributed to the rooftop PV systems reported here. The paper proposes that power quality failures in these low voltage networks could be attributed to poor historical management, missed opportunities to embrace PVs as a means of better network management, lack of acknowledgement of the emergence of the prosumer and lack of total quality management and systems thinking. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Viability of Green Roofs as a Flood Mitigation Element in the Central Region of Chile
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041130 - 10 Apr 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
Population increase and urban development over the last 20 years in Chile have outgrown most rainwater drainage and evacuation systems. Many cities located in the central region suffer from frequent floods in some of their sectors during winter rainfall events. In addition, the [...] Read more.
Population increase and urban development over the last 20 years in Chile have outgrown most rainwater drainage and evacuation systems. Many cities located in the central region suffer from frequent floods in some of their sectors during winter rainfall events. In addition, the lack of green spaces in these cities leads to biodiversity loss, increasing temperatures, greater energy demands, etc. Green roofs offer a solution that can mitigate climate change by reducing the runoff in cities with extensive, highly impermeable areas. This work analyses the installation of green roofs as a potential solution to the sectorial floods suffered by many cities in central Chile. The methodology includes the identification of conflictive sectors in the city of Curicó, hydrological modelling with the Storm Water Management Model (SWMM) software, the consideration of different distributions and types of green roof surfaces, and computational simulations to determine the feasibility of green roofs for preventing floods. The results show that, for moderate rainfall events, all studied sectors could avoid flooding if at least 50% of the surrounding area had green roofs (irrespective of the type of green roof). In contrast, in the presence of strong rainfall events, only some semi-extensive and extensive green roofs covering 60% to 95% of the surrounding area, respectively, could prevent flooding. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geographically Weighted Regression Models in Estimating Median Home Prices in Towns of Massachusetts Based on an Urban Sustainability Framework
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1026; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041026 - 30 Mar 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
Housing is a key component of urban sustainability. The objective of this study was to assess the significance of key spatial determinants of median home price in towns in Massachusetts that impact sustainable growth. Our analysis investigates the presence or absence of spatial [...] Read more.
Housing is a key component of urban sustainability. The objective of this study was to assess the significance of key spatial determinants of median home price in towns in Massachusetts that impact sustainable growth. Our analysis investigates the presence or absence of spatial non-stationarity in the relationship between sustainable growth, measured in terms of the relationship between home values and various parameters including the amount of unprotected forest land, residential land, unemployment, education, vehicle ownership, accessibility to commuter rail stations, school district performance, and senior population. We use the standard geographically weighted regression (GWR) and Mixed GWR models to analyze the effects of spatial non-stationarity. Mixed GWR performed better than GWR in terms of Akaike Information Criterion (AIC) values. Our findings highlight the nature and spatial extent of the non-stationary vs. stationary qualities of key environmental and social determinants of median home price. Understanding the key determinants of housing values, such as valuation of green spaces, public school performance metrics, and proximity to public transport, enable towns to use different strategies of sustainable urban planning, while understanding urban housing determinants—such as unemployment and senior population—can help modify urban sustainable housing policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Natural Stabilized Earth Panels versus Conventional Façade Systems. Economic and Environmental Impact Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041020 - 30 Mar 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
More effective construction technologies are needed nowadays in order to reduce construction energy consumption during the life-cycle of buildings. Besides which, it is necessary to consider the economic feasibility and associated costs within the framework of these alternative technologies so as to favouring [...] Read more.
More effective construction technologies are needed nowadays in order to reduce construction energy consumption during the life-cycle of buildings. Besides which, it is necessary to consider the economic feasibility and associated costs within the framework of these alternative technologies so as to favouring their practical implementation in the construction sector. In this sense, this paper presents an economic and environmental comparison of a new non-bearing façade construction solution based on the extruded unfired stabilized clay panels as opposed to three traditional solutions with similar physical, thermal, and aesthetic characteristics in terms of the exterior cladding. The proposed panels are a sandwich type configuration with an intermediate insulating material and two exterior pieces manufactured by extrusion with raw earth stabilized with alginate and animal wool fibers. In this paper, details of the constructive technology of the system are provided. From the results obtained, it is possible to conclude that the solution is a valid alternative from the environmental point of view, considerably reducing the Global Warming Potential and the Cumulative Energy Demand. And although the environmental improvement of the system can be considered the primary objective of this investigation, on the other hand, once executed, it will also be a competitive constructive technology from the perspective of the system’s final costs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Importance and Characteristics of Biophilic Design Patterns in a Children’s Library
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 987; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040987 - 27 Mar 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper stresses the results of a consciousness survey on the characteristics of biophilic design elements and patterns applied within a children’s library. Biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that intends to bring about positive change in users by integrating and linking [...] Read more.
This paper stresses the results of a consciousness survey on the characteristics of biophilic design elements and patterns applied within a children’s library. Biophilic design is a sustainable design strategy that intends to bring about positive change in users by integrating and linking people and nature. The aim of this study is to suggest a space design method for children’s libraries, applying several natural elements based on biophilic design patterns. To investigate space design characteristics based on the biophilic design of children’s libraries, we summarized the elements that have been included in patterns of biophilic design in previous studies, and analyzed the characteristics of biophilic design patterns in children’s libraries through case studies. Also, we conducted a questionnaire survey from 261 caregivers of children’s libraries. The conclusions are as follows. First, children’s libraries need to offer an experience of nature, considering a natural ecosystem. Second, children’s libraries need natural shelter space designs and open space designs based on natural elements. Third, children’s libraries need multi-functional space designs that enable reading, rest, gathering, play, performance, and facilitate children of various ages interacting with each other. Fourth, children’s libraries need space designs that can induce interest and experiences by various forms of sensory information created by natural elements. This research intends to find out the priority application method of biophilic design patterns and elements of a children‘s library through a survey of caregivers’ consciousness, and contribute greatly to the potential possibilities of the application of biophilic designs to indoor spaces. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Optimization of Passive Envelop Energy Efficient Measures for Office Buildings in Different Climate Regions of China Based on Modified Sensitivity Analysis
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 907; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040907 - 21 Mar 2018
Cited by 7
Abstract
With the growing desire for new buildings and better indoor comfort, the amount of energy consumption of office buildings in China is increasing rapidly, which will lead to the great challenge for energy supply and sustainable development. Building passive envelop energy efficient measures [...] Read more.
With the growing desire for new buildings and better indoor comfort, the amount of energy consumption of office buildings in China is increasing rapidly, which will lead to the great challenge for energy supply and sustainable development. Building passive envelop energy efficient measures (PEEEMs), mainly including exterior wall insulation, roof insulation, different glazing types, and shading system, were widely applied. However, the specific energy efficient performance of PEEEMs was various in different climate conditions that have not been evaluated clearly yet. The priority order of PEEEMs was not recommended in relative standards. The economic benefits cannot be considered synchronously with PEEEMs optimization. This paper modified the sensitivity analysis to fit the building energy efficiency evaluation. By combining the modified method with a simulation tool, the energy efficiency and economic effects of PEEEMs of office buildings in various climate regions can be considered at the same time. Four case buildings in Shenyang, Tianjin, Ningbo, and Shenzhen were proved to reach the energy-saving potentials of 9.44%, 7.75%, 20.87%, and 13.27% respectively, with the payback period of no more than 1.5 years. Finally, the recommended application priority rankings and the recommended ranges of thermal performance properties of PEEEMs in the four typical climate regions were presented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measurement of Particulate Matter (PM2.5) and Health Risk Assessment of Cooking-Generated Particles in the Kitchen and Living Rooms of Apartment Houses
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 843; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030843 - 16 Mar 2018
Cited by 11
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to measure the concentration of cooking-generated particles and to assess the health risk of the occupants. Numerous particulates are released from the kitchen when people are cooking, and diffused to other spaces in house, which would adverse [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study was to measure the concentration of cooking-generated particles and to assess the health risk of the occupants. Numerous particulates are released from the kitchen when people are cooking, and diffused to other spaces in house, which would adverse the health of occupants. Sufficient ventilation is needed to decrease the PM2.5 concentration. To analyze the PM2.5 concentration, field measurements were performed on a cooking condition. A case study was performed based on the ventilation type including natural and mechanical ventilation. Three cases were designed: single-sided natural ventilation, cross-ventilation, and mechanical ventilation. The PM2.5 concentration was measured for 30 min, with a cooking time of 16 min. According to the analysis, the PM2.5 concentration increased 3.8 times more than the 24 h standard (50 µg/m3). The PM2.5 concentration in the living room was slightly greater than that in the kitchen. The particulate matter also rapidly diffused to other spaces. Moreover, the health risk increased by up to 30.8% more than in the base scenario. Therefore, additional ventilation strategies are needed to alleviate the diffusion of cooking particles. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Numerical Analysis of the Behavior of an IPM Bridge According to Super-Structure and Sub-Structure Properties
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 833; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030833 - 15 Mar 2018
Abstract
A bridge with an integrated and pile-bent abutment with a mechanically stabilized earth-wall (IPM) was developed by separating earth pressure from the abutment to overcome the problems typically faced by integral abutment bridges. Also, the IPM bridge removes expansion joints and bearing by [...] Read more.
A bridge with an integrated and pile-bent abutment with a mechanically stabilized earth-wall (IPM) was developed by separating earth pressure from the abutment to overcome the problems typically faced by integral abutment bridges. Also, the IPM bridge removes expansion joints and bearing by integrating the super-structure and the abutment and does not need many piles because it separates the earth pressure from backfills. Therefore, it is superior in cost, durability, and maintainability to traditional bridges and is sustainable due to using less material. A numerical analysis was conducted to ascertain the behavior of the IPM bridge according to its super-structural and sub-structural characteristics. Based on the analysis results, the behaviors of the IPM bridge are as follows: The bending moments ( M y ) of the pre-stressed concrete (PSC) girder and the steel-plate girder of the bridge were influenced by the presence of the time-dependent loads. The contraction behavior in the PSC girder is largely due to the time-dependent loads, whereas the expansion behavior in the steel-plate girder is large due to its greater thermal expansion coefficient and temperature range compared with those of the PSC girder. In general, the suggested bridge length limit for PSC girders in both the integral abutment bridge and the IPM bridge is larger than that in a steel bridge. This needs to be reviewed again with consideration of the long-term and seasonal behaviors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of LEED for Neighbourhood Development and Envision Rating Frameworks for Their Implementation in Poorer Countries
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 492; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020492 - 12 Feb 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
The unstoppable world population growth is increasing the concentration of people in urban settlements and the number of megacities, especially in developing countries where urbanization exacerbates social and economic inequalities. Green rating systems have been launched during the last decades to facilitate the [...] Read more.
The unstoppable world population growth is increasing the concentration of people in urban settlements and the number of megacities, especially in developing countries where urbanization exacerbates social and economic inequalities. Green rating systems have been launched during the last decades to facilitate the assessment of sustainable development in terms of building and infrastructure, including the evaluation of sustainable urban development through the study of communities. This article assesses two of the most renowned sustainable rating systems through the prism of economy, environment and society and the international actions undertaken toward the promotion of sustainable development worldwide, in order to determine their effectiveness to assess urban development in poorer nations. Hence, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development (LEED ND) and Envision, both from the United States, were chosen as representatives of building and infrastructure fields, respectively, so that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the New Urban Agenda (Habitat III) were the benchmarks selected to define the sustainability aspects required to evaluate their potential application in less developed countries. The absence of metrics in the New Urban Agenda led to relate its commitments to the SDGs, which revealed that the prerequisites and credits included in LEED ND and Envision mainly focused on managerial and environmental aspects and disregarded the economic and social dimensions. Consequently, the premises under which LEED ND and Envision were developed must be updated and complemented with the two latest guidelines recently adopted by the United Nations in the field of urban and sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Investigation of Pedestrian Comfort with Wind Chill during Winter
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010274 - 22 Jan 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Two types of methods are used to evaluate pedestrian comfort: pedestrian wind comfort and outdoor thermal comfort. To accurately ascertain the outdoor wind environment, wind speed is the only parameter considered. However, pedestrians may still feel discomfort when the perceived temperature is low, [...] Read more.
Two types of methods are used to evaluate pedestrian comfort: pedestrian wind comfort and outdoor thermal comfort. To accurately ascertain the outdoor wind environment, wind speed is the only parameter considered. However, pedestrians may still feel discomfort when the perceived temperature is low, even though the wind comfort criterion has been satisfactorily fulfilled. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to investigate pedestrian comfort when the perceived temperature is low, especially in winter conditions. To achieve this, a pedestrian survey was conducted, and 588 respondents completed a questionnaire. The results show that pedestrians feel discomfort when the WCET (Wind Chill Equivalent Temperature) is low, with almost 40 percent of respondents answering that they feel discomfort in these conditions. In conclusion, the threshold wind speed of the winter season could be determined to be lower than that of the existing comfort criteria by applying the WCET. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Effects of Urban Morphology Parameters on Microclimate in Singapore to Control the Urban Heat Island Effect
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010206 - 16 Jan 2018
Cited by 12
Abstract
It is important to alleviate the “heat island effect” in urban areas, especially tropical cities. Microclimate is normally affected by the urban morphology parameters. The objective of this work is to investigate the correlation between air temperature variations and urban morphology parameters in [...] Read more.
It is important to alleviate the “heat island effect” in urban areas, especially tropical cities. Microclimate is normally affected by the urban morphology parameters. The objective of this work is to investigate the correlation between air temperature variations and urban morphology parameters in tropical cities. Field measurement was carried out to record the air temperature at 27 points within an 8 km2 urban area continuously in Singapore for one year. Geographical information system was applied to extract the urban morphology parameters. Generally, the maximum and minimum air temperature spatial differences in the study area ranged from 3.2 to 6.5 °C, indicating the significant effects of urban morphology on the air temperatures. Based on the fitting results of created multilinear regression models, parametric study has been performed to investigate the specific effects of urban morphology parameters on air temperatures. This work has proposed a much more precise regression model to predict the air temperature with various urban morphology parameters. In addition, meaningful value of reference has been offered for urban planners and landscape designers to effectively control the air temperature in tropical cities such as Singapore. Full article
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2017

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Open AccessArticle
Passive Optimization Design Based on Particle Swarm Optimization in Rural Buildings of the Hot Summer and Warm Winter Zone of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122288 - 13 Dec 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
The development of green building is an important way to solve the environmental problems of China’s construction industry. Energy conservation and energy utilization are important for the green building evaluation criteria (GBEC). The objective of this study is to evaluate the quantitative relationship [...] Read more.
The development of green building is an important way to solve the environmental problems of China’s construction industry. Energy conservation and energy utilization are important for the green building evaluation criteria (GBEC). The objective of this study is to evaluate the quantitative relationship between building shape parameter, envelope parameters, shading system, courtyard and the energy consumption (EC) as well as the impact on indoor thermal comfort of rural residential buildings in the hot summer and warm winter zone (HWWZ). Taking Quanzhou (Fujian Province of China) as an example, based on the field investigation, EnergyPlus is used to build the building performance model. In addition, the classical particle swarm optimization algorithm in GenOpt software is used to optimize the various factors affecting the EC. Single-objective optimization has provided guidance to the multi-dimensional optimization and regression analysis is used to find the effects of a single input variable on an output variable. Results shows that the energy saving rate of an optimized rural residence is about 26–30% corresponding to the existing rural residence. Moreover, the payback period is about 20 years. A simple case study is used to demonstrate the accuracy of the proposed optimization analysis. The optimization can be used to guide the design of new rural construction in the area and the energy saving transformation of the existing rural houses, which can help to achieve the purpose of energy saving and comfort. Full article
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