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Special Issue "Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2019.

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Vivek Shandas

Portland State University, Portland, OR 97201, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (503) 725-5222
Interests: urban sustainability; air quality; climate change; stormwater management; interdisciplinarity education
Guest Editor
Prof. Austin Troy

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO 80217-3364, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: (303) 315-1006
Interests: remote sensing of urbanized areas; green infrastructure; urban forest mapping and analysis; UAV remote sensing; LiDAR processing and classification; spatial statistics; urban heat mapping and analysis; ecosystem service assessment; land use change modeling

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The changing climate is creating far reaching consequences on communities, infrastructure, and ecosystems. Whether major natural disasters (e.g. hurricanes, heat waves, river flooding, etc.) or persistent ones (e.g. sea level rise, longer fire seasons, insect pathogens, etc.), the implications of climate change will require fundamental transitions in the planning and management of cities and towns. At the same time, while many communities are preparing for a warming climate, we have no systematic assessment of the adaptation measures currently underway in urban areas.

Numerous jurisdictions are examining the potential for and actively applying green infrastructure with the aim of reducing the impacts of climate change, and more significantly, improve adaptation responses. Their approach is to implement green infrastructure to improve communities’ resiliency by helping manage flood risk, prepare for drought, reduce urban heat island effects, and protect coasts. While there is no one-size-fits-all answer to using green infrastructure to address climate adaptation, sharing promising insights from practice and research can help communities adapt to climate change.

Though definitive understandings of green infrastructure and its role in climate change are still emerging, we offer the scholar community an opportunity to help to define this field. We are calling scholars and practitioners to contribute empirical assessment of the role of green infrastructure in addressing urban climate adaptation efforts. Topics of interest include:

  • Fluvial or pluvial flooding
  • Drought resistance and water security
  • Urban heat
  • Energy use
  • Stormwater management
  • Coastal hazards

These topics are only examples, and other, perhaps novel and/or emerging topics about green infrastructure for climate adaption are welcome. Articles that define terms, offer systematic assessments, methodologically generalizable, empirically based, and offer practical guidance to decision makers are particularly encouraged.

Prof. Vivek Shandas
Prof. Austin Troy
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 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

  • Climate change adaptation
  • Green infrastructure for resiliency efforts
  • Urban systems and response to climate pressures
  • Co-management of natural resources
  • Empirically-based case studies
  • Context-specific urban designs
  • Socio-ecological coupling

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Cooling Potential of Urban Green Spaces to Tackle Urban Climate Change in Lisbon
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2480; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092480
Received: 10 March 2019 / Revised: 17 April 2019 / Accepted: 22 April 2019 / Published: 27 April 2019
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Abstract
The increase and optimization of urban vegetation has been considered an effective mitigation measure of an urban heat island (UHI), with positive effects on human thermal comfort. In this study, the cooling potential of all green spaces in Lisbon was estimated. For that, [...] Read more.
The increase and optimization of urban vegetation has been considered an effective mitigation measure of an urban heat island (UHI), with positive effects on human thermal comfort. In this study, the cooling potential of all green spaces in Lisbon was estimated. For that, several mobile measurements of air temperature data were made in a single park (Gulbenkian’s Garden). These measurements were used for the interpolation of air temperature. Furthermore, urban biomass was estimated using remote sensing products, namely Landsat satellite images. Ultimately, a linear regression model was built from the relation between vegetation density and air temperature. Results regarding the estimation of biomass (AGB) in the city of Lisbon were higher in winter than in summer. The urban green spaces cooling potential model showed that for every decrease of 1 °C in air temperature between a measuring point and a reference station we need to increase the area covered by vegetation by 50 m2 (planar measure). This methodology can be applied in other urban areas for the quantification of the cooling effect provided by vegetation in order to improve urban climate thermal conditions and human well-being and, consequently, to mitigate some consequences of future climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Engaging the Private Homeowner: Linking Climate Change and Green Stormwater Infrastructure
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4791; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124791
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 12 December 2018 / Accepted: 13 December 2018 / Published: 15 December 2018
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Abstract
Current and projected climate change in the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Area indicates an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall. One key outcome of this change is a subsequent potential increase in stormwater runoff, a concern exacerbated by the region’s shallow, [...] Read more.
Current and projected climate change in the Minnesota Lake Superior Coastal Area indicates an increase in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall. One key outcome of this change is a subsequent potential increase in stormwater runoff, a concern exacerbated by the region’s shallow, often clay soils and exposed bedrock, along with highly impervious urban surfaces. This situation, coupled with public perception of climate change that is increasingly inclusive of severe weather, highlights an opportunity to apply green infrastructure to the challenge of stormwater management, referred to as green stormwater infrastructure. In addition to coordinated public action at local, state, and national levels, there is a role for the private landowner to participate in this form of climate adaptation. Private citizens have an opportunity to both protect their home and property while contributing to overall stormwater management for the community in which they live. Focus group research was conducted to better understand outreach and involve local residents in the creation of a tool to assist private green stormwater infrastructure efforts. Results of the focus group sessions were analyzed, and key themes emerged from the data to guide this process and support private home/landowner action. It is recommended that a fifth domain be added to the typology for public and private roles in climate adaptation, i.e. private adaptation for public and private benefit. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Combination of Tree Configuration with Street Configuration for Thermal Comfort Optimization under Extreme Summer Conditions in the Urban Center of Shantou City, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114192
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 11 November 2018 / Published: 14 November 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (14403 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Along with global climate change and the worldwide heat island phenomenon, developing climatic methods and planning practices for the benefit of thermal comfort is of increasing interest. Studies have focused on urban streets, studying the aspect ratio, the orientation, street vegetation patterns, etc. [...] Read more.
Along with global climate change and the worldwide heat island phenomenon, developing climatic methods and planning practices for the benefit of thermal comfort is of increasing interest. Studies have focused on urban streets, studying the aspect ratio, the orientation, street vegetation patterns, etc. and how they affect thermal comfort. While the role of vegetation is undeniable, this paper asks the question whether the effects of a tree configuration does not vary under different street configurations, and if yes, how to select tree species and determine their appropriate layout. Here, an analytical framework is proposed to test the different tree configurations (changing one variable at a time) with the least favorable street configuration. It is confirmed that the east–west oriented streets are the least favorable cases and denser tree canopies are better for cooling. The interval between the trees are observed to have an optimal effect when it is equal to the crown width at maturity. Furthermore, the results show that the heat mitigation rate of a tree configuration is not linearly improved by the Aspect Ratio (AR). In the case of Shantou city, the improvement of thermal comfort slows down when the AR reaches 1.5 while Mangifera indica planted with 10 m intervals is recommended among the common street-tree species. Other species could be used also, but should meet the requirements of the canopy density and the interval of layout. The paper does not consider other configuration options such as asymmetrical cases of street geometry and one-side or axial tree planting, etc., but the framework allows for adding such options and simulating thermal comfort for a greater number of scenarios. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Projected Impact of a Neighborhood-Scaled Green-Infrastructure Retrofit
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103665
Received: 12 September 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 13 October 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1867 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change and its related factors are increasing the frequency of hurricanes, coastal storms, and urban flooding. Recovery from disasters can be slow, with jurisdictions failing to rebuild better, wasting time and money without improving resilience for the next disaster. To help attenuate [...] Read more.
Climate change and its related factors are increasing the frequency of hurricanes, coastal storms, and urban flooding. Recovery from disasters can be slow, with jurisdictions failing to rebuild better, wasting time and money without improving resilience for the next disaster. To help attenuate floods and mitigate their impact, Low-Impact Development (LID) and the incorporation of green infrastructure (GI) is gaining in popularity. LID includes more natural methods of absorbing, redirecting, retaining, and filtering water through GI installations such as rain gardens, detention ponds, and the reduction of impervious surfaces. LID is, however, primarily implemented and evaluated only on a local scale; few studies have assessed the broader impact of GI on a larger scale. In fact, most performance calculators that evaluate the effects of GI are only useful at the site scale. Further, most GI advocates propose its use in new developments without much attention to retrofitting existing suburban development. This article seeks to determine what the potential effects of retrofitting an existing suburban neighborhood with GI for flood protection at a larger scale could be, using Sugar Land, Texas, United States as a case site. First, low-impact facilities are proposed and schematically designed at a site scale for a typical single-family lot. The volume of rainfall that can be retained on site, due to each incorporated feature, was then derived using the Green Values National Stormwater Management Calculator. Using these data, the total volume of rainfall that could be retained if all residential sites in Sugar Land incorporated similar facilities was then projected. The results show that Sugar Land has the capacity to annually capture 56 billion liters of stormwater if all residential properties use LID. Additional benefits of the use of GI include reduced heat (37%), improved aesthetics and property values (20%), increased recreational opportunities (18%), improved water quality (12%), improved air quality (5%), increased green collar jobs (4%), reduced damage from harmful gas emissions (3%), and increased energy savings (1%), thereby surpassing conventional stormwater management techniques. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Spatial Changes of Urban Heat Island Formation in the Colombo District, Sri Lanka: Implications for Sustainability Planning
Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1367; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051367
Received: 16 March 2018 / Revised: 11 April 2018 / Accepted: 20 April 2018 / Published: 27 April 2018
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (4325 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The formation of surface urban heat islands (SUHIs) can cause significant adverse impacts on the quality of living in urban areas. Monitoring the spatial patterns and trajectories of UHI formations could be helpful to urban planners in crafting appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures. [...] Read more.
The formation of surface urban heat islands (SUHIs) can cause significant adverse impacts on the quality of living in urban areas. Monitoring the spatial patterns and trajectories of UHI formations could be helpful to urban planners in crafting appropriate mitigation and adaptation measures. This study examined the spatial pattern of SUHI formation in the Colombo District (Sri Lanka), based on land surface temperature (LST), a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), a normalized difference built-up index (NDBI), and population density (PD) using a geospatial-based hot and cold spot analysis tool. Here, ‘hot spots’ refers to areas with significant spatial clustering of high variable values, while ‘cold spots’ refers to areas with significant spatial clustering of low variable values. The results indicated that between 1997 and 2017, 32.7% of the 557 divisions in the Colombo District persisted as hot spots. These hot spots were characterized by a significant clustering of high composite index values resulting from the four variables (LST, NDVI (inverted), NDBI, and PD). This study also identified newly emerging hot spots, which accounted for 49 divisions (8.8%). Large clusters of hot spots between both time points were found on the western side of the district, while cold spots were found on the eastern side of the district. The areas identified as hot spots are the more urbanized parts of the district. The emerging hot spots were in areas that had undergone landscape changes due to urbanization. Such areas are found between the persistent hot spots (western parts of the district) and persistent cold spots (eastern parts of the district). Generally, the spatial pattern of the emerging hot spots followed the pattern of urbanization in the district, which had been expanding from west to east. Overall, the findings of this study could be used as a reference in the context of sustainable landscape and urban planning for the Colombo District. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Long-Term Design of Mangrove Landfills as an Effective Tide Attenuator under Relative Sea-Level Rise
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041045
Received: 4 February 2018 / Revised: 21 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (20912 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A mangrove ecosystem is an important option in Ecosystem based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). The effectiveness of an artificial mangrove landfill in reducing tidal amplitudes was studied by performing a coupled numerical model that simulated wave propagation and soil consolidation. The constructed model [...] Read more.
A mangrove ecosystem is an important option in Ecosystem based Disaster Risk Reduction (Eco-DRR). The effectiveness of an artificial mangrove landfill in reducing tidal amplitudes was studied by performing a coupled numerical model that simulated wave propagation and soil consolidation. The constructed model simulated the propagation of tide over an artificial landfill that was subjected to land subsidence, sea-level rise, vegetation growth, and sediment deposition. A case study analysis confirmed that the tidal amplitudes are reduced if the initial elevation of the landfill is appropriately considered to achieve an equilibrium state of the landfill over its lifetime. Sediment deposition may be the only dependable source to sustain the surface elevation of a mangrove with relative sea-level rise. Sediment deposition is important to promote vegetation growth, which in turn contributes to sedimentation by enhancing a tranquil hydrodynamic environment. An insufficient initial elevation of the landfill will result in less effective protection against tidal propagation after it substantially subsides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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Open AccessArticle
Relationship between Park Composition, Vegetation Characteristics and Cool Island Effect
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 587; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030587
Received: 22 January 2018 / Revised: 9 February 2018 / Accepted: 24 February 2018 / Published: 26 February 2018
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (1805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Land Surface Temperature (LST) of a park is lower than the surrounding environment, and thus the parkland forms a Park Cool Island (PCI). However, more case studies are needed to reveal the relationship between park composition, vegetation characteristic and PCI development. The [...] Read more.
The Land Surface Temperature (LST) of a park is lower than the surrounding environment, and thus the parkland forms a Park Cool Island (PCI). However, more case studies are needed to reveal the relationship between park composition, vegetation characteristic and PCI development. The LST and Land Use/Land Cover (LULC) of 18 different sized parks in Changzhou, China were obtained from Landsat-8 and Mapworld Changzhou data. Then, a sample investigation method was used to calculate vegetation characteristics of these parks by an i-Tree Eco model. In order to reduce the impact from the external environment on PCI, the Temperature Drop Amplitude (TDA) and Temperature Drop Range (TR) inside the parks were analyzed by ArcGIS 9.3. Impact factors were tested by Pearson correlation analysis and curve fit to reveal the relationship between these factors and PCI formation. The result shows that a park area threshold of 1.34 to 17 hectares provides the best PCI effect, that park shape (perimeter/area), Leaf Area Index (LAI), density, tree cover, water cover, and impervious surface cover have significant correlation with PCI development, vegetation health and global climate change affect the PCI development. Advice is proposed to improve and maintain PCI effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Green Infrastructure and Climate Adaptation)
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