Special Issue "Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 June 2018).

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Karel F. Mulder
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. The Hague University of Applied Sciences, Faculty Technology, Innovation & Society, Rotterdamseweg 137, 2628 AL Delft, The Netherlands
2. TU Delft, Faculty of Technology, Policy & Management, Jaffalaan 5, 2628bx Delft, The Netherlands
Interests: sustainable cities; urban metabolism; urban infrastructures; strategy; systems innovation; lock In; urban symbiosis

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Cities are the hotspots where the problems of industrial society are to be addressed; an increasing share of the population is living in metropolitan areas, and the consumption of resources and pollution are concentrated in these areas.

Through continuous global urbanization, cities continue to grow, even in areas where there is no general population increase. Growth provides an option to create new urban areas that might perform much better; urban areas that deal, in a more sustainable way, with energy, resources and waste, and lure dwellers into sustainable life styles.

Change in urban systems and the urban morphology is slow. The urban systems are locked into specific development pathways, which can hardly be altered. Hence, for creating sustainable cities, strategy is needed to guide long term change processes. Such strategies cannot be successful without being supported by main stakeholders.

In this Special Issue, papers will be published that address urban innovation regarding urban systems, or regarding the specific capacities and characteristics of urban innovation processes.

Dr. Karel F. Mulder
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 1900 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 cities
  • Urban metabolism
  • Urban infrastructures
  • Strategy
  • Systems innovation
  • Lock in
  • Urban symbiosis

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Editorial

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Editorial
Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 5013; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11185013 - 13 Sep 2019
Viewed by 620
Abstract
In recent years, it has become a commonplace to argue that cities should be the focus point of sustainable development [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)

Research

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Article
Future Options for Sewage and Drainage Systems Three Scenarios for Transitions and Continuity
Sustainability 2019, 11(5), 1383; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11051383 - 06 Mar 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1401
Abstract
The challenge of sustainable development requires cities to aim for drastic improvements in the systems that support its vital functions. Innovating these systems can be extremely hard, and might take lots of time. A transparent and democratic strategy is important to guarantee support [...] Read more.
The challenge of sustainable development requires cities to aim for drastic improvements in the systems that support its vital functions. Innovating these systems can be extremely hard, and might take lots of time. A transparent and democratic strategy is important to guarantee support for change. Such a process should aim at developing consensus regarding a basic vision to guide the process of systems change. This paper sketches future options for the development of sanitation- and urban drainage systems in industrialized economies. It will provide an analysis of relevant trends for sewage system innovation. In history, sewage systems have emerged from urban sewage and precipitation removal systems, to urban sewage and precipitation removal and cleaning systems. The challenge for the future is recovering energy and resources from sewage systems while maintaining/improving its sanitary service and lowering its emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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Article
Beyond Wastescapes: Towards Circular Landscapes. Addressing the Spatial Dimension of Circularity through the Regeneration of Wastescapes
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4740; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124740 - 12 Dec 2018
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2994
Abstract
Wastescapes are the result of unsustainable linear growth processes and their spatial consequences within the context of urban metabolic flows and related infrastructure. They represent the operational infrastructure for waste management and include Drosscapes, generating complex relations with the servicing and surrounding territory. [...] Read more.
Wastescapes are the result of unsustainable linear growth processes and their spatial consequences within the context of urban metabolic flows and related infrastructure. They represent the operational infrastructure for waste management and include Drosscapes, generating complex relations with the servicing and surrounding territory. In particular, the peri-urban areas are spatially affected by these processes. This often leads to ineffective use and/or abandonment because they are currently impossible to use, demanding impactful (and often expensive) regeneration and revalorization to make them usable again. Being part of the urban metabolic process, wastescapes are in a continuous state of dynamic equilibrium. They can be considered crucial areas from a metropolitan perspective because they have the potential to become innovative spatial contexts or resources in a Circular Economy (CE), which aims to overcome the crises of both resource scarcity and spatial fragmentation. However, common and shared definitions of wastescapes are still missing at the European policy level, as only classical categories of material waste are generally mentioned. Wastescapes can be considered as ‘potentiality contexts’ where developing, testing, and implementing Eco-Innovative Solutions (EIS) can be done. By doing so, wastescapes can help start transitions towards a CE. This can be achieved by using Peri-urban Living Labs (PULL), which have the potential to be the virtual and physical environments in which experimenting the collaborative co-creation process for developing EIS can be done. Doing so will allow for the improvement of waste management and for the revalorization of wastescapes in collaboration with all potential stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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Article
Anticipating Constraints on Upscaling from Urban Innovation Experiments
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2796; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082796 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2025
Abstract
The upscaling of innovations from urban experiments is often assumed to be relatively easy, as if they can simply be ‘rolled out’. In practice, however, upscaling is usually constrained by a range of factors in the wider context of the innovation, typically a [...] Read more.
The upscaling of innovations from urban experiments is often assumed to be relatively easy, as if they can simply be ‘rolled out’. In practice, however, upscaling is usually constrained by a range of factors in the wider context of the innovation, typically a context of interconnected and ‘obdurate’ urban socio-technical networks and institutions. Innovation studies have used the notion of upscaling from experiments most explicitly in studies of transitions, especially of strategic niche management (SNM) and transition management (TM). However, these studies have focused more on niche internal dynamics and future visions, respectively, and much less on constraints in the present socio-institutional context. This paper offers a conceptual contribution on ‘constraints on upscaling’, elaborating on how upscaling can be more effective when constraints on upscaling are first identified in retrospective systems analysis, and then anticipated in the design of urban experiments. Our focus is on innovation in urban mobility systems. After a conceptualization of ‘constraints on upscaling’, based on a review of the literature of transition, social innovation, geography and science & technology studies, we present a retrospective analysis of urban mobility in Maastricht (NL) in which these interrelated constraints can be recognized. Further, we analyze a pilot on electric bus mobility which was relatively successful in anticipating future constraints. Based on this, we offer some guidelines on how to anticipate upscaling in the design of urban experiments with socio-technical innovations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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Article
Exploring Neighborhood Unit’s Planning Elements and Configuration Methods in Seoul and Singapore from a Walkability Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 988; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040988 - 27 Mar 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2610
Abstract
This paper is to explore how the neighborhood-unit concept, which had been initially promoted by North America and the United Kingdom, was adopted and utilized in the Asian cities of high-density developments, such as Seoul and Singapore from a walkability perspective. Among various [...] Read more.
This paper is to explore how the neighborhood-unit concept, which had been initially promoted by North America and the United Kingdom, was adopted and utilized in the Asian cities of high-density developments, such as Seoul and Singapore from a walkability perspective. Among various environmental elements of walkability in a given neighborhood unit, 10 planning elements, as well as their configuration methods, were drawn from the review of the existing studies, which became an analytical framework for this paper. The findings of the analysis are as follows. First, there were similarities, yet also marked distinctions between the cases of Seoul and Singapore, on the one hand, and those in North America and the UK on the other, with respect to the configuration methods, categorized into four groups of typologies: ‘Neighborhood Size’, ‘Neighborhood Structure’, ‘Neighborhood Network’, and ‘Neighborhood Facilities’. The differences largely resulted from the high-density developments in Seoul and Singapore. In the years since the 1990s, however, when the concept of sustainable development was strengthened, the configuration methods, related to ‘Neighborhood Structure’ and to ‘Neighborhood Facilities’ in most cases, were enhanced to suit more neighborhood walking. The initial concept of the neighborhood unit was actively modified to accommodate the high-density urban situations in Seoul and Singapore, having both positive and negative impacts on neighborhood walkability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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Review

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Review
Integrating Functions for a Sustainable Urban System: A Review of Multifunctional Land Use and Circular Urban Metabolism
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061875 - 04 Jun 2018
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2015
Abstract
Cities pose environmental challenges but also offer possibilities to close material and energy loops and connect multiple societal and ecologic services. This article reviews and brings together the literature on two important new research directions that address urban sustainability by integrating functions or [...] Read more.
Cities pose environmental challenges but also offer possibilities to close material and energy loops and connect multiple societal and ecologic services. This article reviews and brings together the literature on two important new research directions that address urban sustainability by integrating functions or material flows: Circular Urban Metabolism (CUM) and Multifunctional Land Use (MLU). We focus on challenges to MLU and CUM and strategies to facilitate their realization. The review shows that although MLU and CUM differ in what they integrate, they face partly similar integration challenges. In both fields, the collaboration between actors related to particular functions (water safety, recreation), high investment costs and uncertainties about costs and benefits, and legislation that hampers integration are identified as challenges. In both fields, strategies are proposed to facilitate the collaboration between actors. However, other challenges and strategies are specific. Whilst MLU scholars mostly highlight socio-economic aspects of realizing integration, CUM scholars focus more on technical aspects. We find limited cross-fertilization between both fields so far. To stimulate discussion and knowledge exchange, we introduce ‘integration of urban functions’ as a shared idea for a sustainable urban system. To find further solutions for integration challenges, we propose conceptualizing MLU or CUM initiatives as processes of change, which requires connecting across previously separate ‘worlds’ and changing previously established monofunctional ways of working. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Innovation Strategies)
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