Special Issue "Sustainable Planning of Urban Regions"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 October 2020.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving
Guest Editor
TU Dortmund University, Dortmund, Germany
Interests: sustainable spatial planning; disaster risk management; climate change adaptation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban regions. An urban region is a city and its urban hinterland. Eighty percent of the energy and resources used worldwide are consumed in urban regions and they are responsible for more than 75% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, urban regions must become sustainable in order to achieve the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and implement the Paris Agreement.

Sustainable Development Goal 11 (“Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”) points at the relation between sustainability and resilience, but also places emphasis, through SDG 11.A, on the given urban–rural interlinkages: “Support positive economic, social and environmental links between urban, peri-urban and rural areas”. In this context, “strengthening national and regional development planning” is specifically mentioned. However, sustainable planning requires sound evidence-based decision-making in an environment whose future developments are deeply uncertain.

Environmental problems occur in fast-growing urban regions because governance systems can only marginally adapt to the challenges of population growth, urbanization, and climate change. Climate change will trigger several kinds of extreme weather events, such as floods, storms, and heat waves, that densely populated urban regions are specifically vulnerable to. These environmental problems also include overloaded infrastructure systems as well as heavy air pollution, weak waste management, overburdened drinking and waste water systems, and chaotic traffic conditions. The related environmental risks are inequitably distributed among urban regions, which poses the question of environmental justice.

Infrastructure systems are organized in networks that are not limited to a city as a political entity, but are deeply interconnected with the city’s surroundings. Public service disruptions can cause cascading effects that may affect areas that are not directly exposed to a thread. Due to these spatial misfits between functional urban regions and administrative units, urban regions are asked to act as multi-level governance systems that need to collaborate horizontally and vertically in order to tackle problems of common interest. The ultimate goal is a transformation towards a more sustainable system status.

There is a variety of existing literature on sustainable planning. This Special Issue will focus on the connections between scientific assessments of environmental and spatial development trends and related challenges on the one hand and decision-making processes for the sustainable planning of urban regions on the other.

Prof. Dr. Stefan Greiving
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • urban regions
  • spatial planning
  • decision-making.

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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