Special Issue "Sustainability and Urban Metabolism"

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

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

Special Issue Editors

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Massimo Palme
Website
Guest Editor
School of Architecture, Catholic University of the North, Antofagasta, Chile
Interests: building performance simulation; urban physics; building physics; sustainable development; climate change mitigation and adaptation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Dr. Agnese Salvati
Website
Guest Editor
Cambridge Architectural Research Ltd., Cambridge, UK
Interests: urban climate; microclimate modelling; urban heat island; climate change; urban energy modelling; urban form; building energy modelling; urban sustainability; urban resilience

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Achieving sustainable development will only be possible if cities efficiency increase flows management (water, energy, food, materials, information). This Special Issue focuses on the relationship between sustainable development goals and the metabolism of cities. Authors from different disciplines (architecture and urban planning, ecology, economy, and social sciences) are invited to submit their ideas about the challenge of improving the metabolic cycles of built environments. Both theoretical and applied research articles are welcome.

Suggested topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Cities as dissipative structures
  • Urban Heat Island
  • Cities' energy management
  • Information, entropy and the city
  • Built environment and climate change
  • The size of the city and the energy consumption
  • Materials flows across the city
  • Relation between the city and the country in food production
  • Urban ecosystems
  • Urban microclimate

Prof. Massimo Palme
Dr. Agnese Salvati
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

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

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

Keywords

  • sustainable urban development
  • urban metabolism
  • energy efficiency
  • urban ecology

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Sustainability and Urban Metabolism
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 353; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010353 - 02 Jan 2020
Abstract
The concept of urban metabolism was introduced by Wolman in 1965 [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)

Research

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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholders’ Interests in Developing an Energy Ecosystem for the Superblock—Case Hiedanranta
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010327 - 31 Dec 2019
Abstract
Policy objectives aimed toward zero-energy buildings call for the utilization of building-integrated renewable energy and distributed energy resources (DER). To enhance the utilization of DER, previous literature proposed the concept of an integrated community energy system (ICES). This research suggested using superblocks (units [...] Read more.
Policy objectives aimed toward zero-energy buildings call for the utilization of building-integrated renewable energy and distributed energy resources (DER). To enhance the utilization of DER, previous literature proposed the concept of an integrated community energy system (ICES). This research suggested using superblocks (units of multiple urban blocks) to define geographical limits, social contexts, and possibly common administrations for ICESs along with other living- and sustainability-related activities in an urban context. Through interviews with key stakeholders and an analysis, this research investigates the applicability of the superblock-ICES as a way of reaching the low-carbon objectives in the Hiedanranta brownfield development project in the city of Tampere, Finland. This research confirms that the driving forces of community-based solutions are economic benefits, technical development, and objectives of sustainability, and reveals or confirms that social acceptability, missing planning practices, economic risk, and missing or hindering legislation are the main issues or barriers of superblock-ICESs. For a wider adoption of superblock-ICESs, this research suggests cross-disciplinary piloting, together with developing planning practices and simulation tools. In Finland, legislative reforms are needed to remove the barriers and clarify issues related to security, reliability, customer protection, and public interest in governing a locally and collectively owned energy system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Buildingmass and Energy Demand in Conventional Housing Typologies of the Mediterranean City
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3540; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11133540 - 27 Jun 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The causal relation among building typology and building energy demand is a complex balance of climate, morphology, technology and use. The assessment of the relation between mass of building elements and energy demand in different housing typologies is the main goal of this [...] Read more.
The causal relation among building typology and building energy demand is a complex balance of climate, morphology, technology and use. The assessment of the relation between mass of building elements and energy demand in different housing typologies is the main goal of this study. A novel indicator, namely the Buildingmass, is introduced and tested in the Mediterranean climate region. Explorations on nine conventional housing typologies in Barcelona and Rome are carried out. Buildingmass evaluation is based on the calculation of the mass of building elements. Energy demand is assessed by modelling on multi-space dynamic thermal analysis tool. Our results point out that the Buildingmass has a strong relevance on energy, playing an important role in reducing heating and cooling demand in the Mediterranean city, as described by the proposed correlation (R2 = 0.88). Moreover, this indicator gives a more detailed characterisation of the housing stock of the Mediterranean city. The study aims at bridging the gap between urban physics and urban metabolism studies and fostering energy conservation measures for the built environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
The Scale-Dependent Behaviour of Cities: A Cross-Cities Multiscale Driver Analysis of Urban Energy Use
Sustainability 2019, 11(12), 3246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11123246 - 12 Jun 2019
Abstract
Hosting more than half of the world population, cities are currently responsible for two thirds of the global energy use and three quarters of the global CO2 emissions related to energy use. As humanity becomes more urbanized, urban systems are becoming a major [...] Read more.
Hosting more than half of the world population, cities are currently responsible for two thirds of the global energy use and three quarters of the global CO2 emissions related to energy use. As humanity becomes more urbanized, urban systems are becoming a major nexus of global sustainability. Various studies have tried to pinpoint urban energy use drivers in order to find actionable levers to mitigate consumption and its associated environmental effects. Some of the approaches, mainly coming from complexity science and industrial ecology disciplines, use city-scale data to find power-laws relating to different types of energy use metrics with urban features at a city-scale. By doing so, cities’ internal complexity and heterogeneity are not explicitly addressed. Moreover, to our knowledge, no studies have yet explicitly addressed the potential scale dependency of such drivers. Drivers might not be transferable to other scales and yield undesired effects. In the present study, power-law relations are examined for 10 cities worldwide at city scale and infra-city scale, and the results are compared across scales. Relations are made across three urban features for three energy use intensity metrics. The results show that energy use drivers are in fact scale-dependent and are city-dependent for intra-urban territories. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Regenerative Food Systems to Restore Urban-Rural Relationships: Insights from the Concepción Metropolitan Area Foodshed (Chile)
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2892; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102892 - 21 May 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Cities, in recent years, have seen their functional and metabolic relationships with their agrarian hinterland being either broken off completely or substantially damaged. Within this context, Local Food Systems (LFS) can play a key role in restoring the supply relationships under regenerative assumptions. [...] Read more.
Cities, in recent years, have seen their functional and metabolic relationships with their agrarian hinterland being either broken off completely or substantially damaged. Within this context, Local Food Systems (LFS) can play a key role in restoring the supply relationships under regenerative assumptions. This paper analyses LFS within the Concepción Metropolitan Area (CMA) as a representative case of Metropolitan Areas in Chile. The aim of the paper is to evaluate whether LFS are regenerating sustainable rural-urban relationships, and to accomplish this goal, foodsheds have been used as a methodological tool to both characterise and represent food traceability. For this purpose, three quantitative foodshed indicators have been applied and three qualitative spatial analytical categories of the Regenerative Food Systems (RFS) defined to decode the behaviour of LFS in the CMA. The proposed method has been successful as an initial exploratory attempt to characterize the regenerative potential of RFS. The results highlight that LFS in the CMA are certainly restoring relationships between the city and its surrounding farmland by establishing new and renewed supply linkages. Further, the application of this method has shed light on some key aspects that show how an LFS is being converted into a potential RFS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Including Urban Metabolism Principles in Decision-Making: A Methodology for Planning Waste and Resource Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2101; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072101 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Circular economy and urban metabolism concepts have recently received great attention both in the political and academic arenas, starting a roll-over process of the “take, make, and dispose” dominant economic model that is leading to an ongoing increase of resource consumption and waste [...] Read more.
Circular economy and urban metabolism concepts have recently received great attention both in the political and academic arenas, starting a roll-over process of the “take, make, and dispose” dominant economic model that is leading to an ongoing increase of resource consumption and waste generation. However, there is a relative lack of guidelines for introducing such concepts in a decision-making process able to support the design of appropriate policies and strategies and the definition of specific actions to cope with such challenges. This paper attempts to contribute to the recent efforts at incorporating these concepts in policy and decision-making processes by providing a methodology for the development of strategic plans for waste prevention and resource management. The proposed methodology, developed within the Urban_WINS project, combines different quantitative–analytical and qualitative methods and tools, together with a participatory process. The methodology was tested in eight EU cities and allowed to formulate several measures and actions aimed at addressing the challenges posed by the current consumption patterns. Moreover, the participatory approach led to the legitimization of the strategic plans, as well as to raise awareness among stakeholders. Although it might require specific tailor-made adjustments, this methodology is suitable to be replicated in other contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Thermal Environmental Design in Outdoor Space Focusing on Radiation Environment Influenced by Ground Cover Material and Solar Shading, through the Examination on the Redevelopment Buildings in Front of Central Osaka Station
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 337; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020337 - 29 Jan 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
The outdoor open space is used for various purposes, e.g., to walk, rest, talk, meet, study, exercise, play, perform, eat, and drink. Therefore, it is desirable to provide various thermal environments according to users’ needs and their actual conditions. In this study, the [...] Read more.
The outdoor open space is used for various purposes, e.g., to walk, rest, talk, meet, study, exercise, play, perform, eat, and drink. Therefore, it is desirable to provide various thermal environments according to users’ needs and their actual conditions. In this study, the radiation environment was evaluated, focusing on ground cover materials and solar radiation shading, through the examination on the redevelopment buildings in front of Central Osaka Station. The spatial distribution of solar radiation shading was calculated using ArcGIS and building shape data. Surface temperatures on the ground and wall are calculated based on the surface heat budget equation. MRT (Mean Radiant Temperature) of the human body is calculated assuming that the human body is a sphere. The most dominant factor for the radiant environment is solar radiation shielding and the next is the improvement of surface cover. It is difficult to make SET* (Standard new Effective Temperature) comfortable in the afternoon by both solar radiation shielding and improved surface cover because the air temperature is too high on a typical summer day (August). However, particularly in Rooftop Gardens and Green Garden, because the areas of shade grass and water are large, there are several places where people do not feel uncomfortable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Urbanization Synergy Degree Measures—A Case Study in Henan Province, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010009 - 21 Dec 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
Sustainable urbanization emphasizes properly handling the relationships between people, people and society, and people and nature in the process of urban development. However, sometimes these interactions are difficult to quantify. Through an analysis of the structure and functions of the sustainable urbanization system, [...] Read more.
Sustainable urbanization emphasizes properly handling the relationships between people, people and society, and people and nature in the process of urban development. However, sometimes these interactions are difficult to quantify. Through an analysis of the structure and functions of the sustainable urbanization system, this paper introduced synergetic theory and constructed a sustainable urbanization synergy system (SUSS) with five subsystems; demographic change, economic development, spatial structure, environmental quality, and social development; to study the synergistic development and orderly evolution trend of the sustainable urbanization composite system. Using sustainable urbanization in Henan province as an example, a mathematical quantitative model was established to measure the subsystem order degrees and the composite system synergy degree from 2006 to 2015. The results were consistent with the actual situation and indicated that over time, sustainable urbanization in Henan developed towards a more harmonious and orderly state, though the overall synergy degree was not high. It was found that the model was a sound basis for scientific judgment and effective decision-making when seeking to coordinate sustainable urbanization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Slum Regeneration and Sustainability: Applying the Extended Metabolism Model and the SDGs
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122273 - 08 Dec 2017
Cited by 4
Abstract
This paper examines the extent to which slum redevelopments have been successful in improving the sustainability of human settlements. Sustainability is measured in two ways: through the Extended Metabolism Model that looks at resource consumption, wastes, and liveability outcomes; and, through the framework [...] Read more.
This paper examines the extent to which slum redevelopments have been successful in improving the sustainability of human settlements. Sustainability is measured in two ways: through the Extended Metabolism Model that looks at resource consumption, wastes, and liveability outcomes; and, through the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The study compares the sustainability of informal slum settlements in Addis Ababa with high-rise slum clearance apartments; such clearance is the model mostly used for the world’s informal settlements. The results show very little difference in resource consumption and waste produced but show liveability outcomes are mixed: Economic benefit is substantially improved in the high-rise areas due to becoming part of the formal economy, but community networks and trust are substantially lost when people transfer from the slums. This paper suggests that slum policy could be shifted from the Modernist high-rise slum clearance approach to a more organic, community-based renewal of the slums themselves in which infrastructure for energy, water, and waste can be brought in. New technology that fits into community-based governance structures allows such infrastructure to be a viable option, as well as enabling formal economic benefits. Some hybrid approaches may be needed in many slum improvement programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Correlations between GIS-Based Urban Building Densification Analysis and Climate Guidelines for Mediterranean Courtyards
Sustainability 2017, 9(12), 2255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9122255 - 06 Dec 2017
Cited by 5
Abstract
This study identifies and proposes A GIS-based exploration of the relationships between aspect ratio of inner courtyards, porosity of the urban fabric and the climatic factors where it is located. To perform that comparison, morphological and measurement methods have been used to delineate [...] Read more.
This study identifies and proposes A GIS-based exploration of the relationships between aspect ratio of inner courtyards, porosity of the urban fabric and the climatic factors where it is located. To perform that comparison, morphological and measurement methods have been used to delineate spatial boundaries of urban densification. This methodology has been applied to a case study in Spain, where regulation establishes several climatic zones. Examples of cities in these zones have been examined to establish possible correlations. This paper analyses the particularities of these different urban scenarios, considering the effects of climate on the real urban densification. The purpose of this study is to find a relationship between the historical inner courtyards dimensions and the climate of the zone where they are located. In order to frame the real thermal behaviour of the inner courtyard in the context of the vernacular typologies studied, a representative sample of inner courtyards has been selected. The monitoring data presented allow quantifying the courtyard’s ability to temper the maximum temperature values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Block Design Process for High-Rise and High-Density Districts with Snow and Wind Simulations for Winter Cities
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 2132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9112132 - 20 Nov 2017
Abstract
Urban designs that consider regional climatic conditions are one of the most important approaches for developing sustainable cities. In cities that suffer from heavy snow and cold winds in winter, an urban design approach different than that used for warm cities should be [...] Read more.
Urban designs that consider regional climatic conditions are one of the most important approaches for developing sustainable cities. In cities that suffer from heavy snow and cold winds in winter, an urban design approach different than that used for warm cities should be used. This study presents a scientific design process (the sustainable design approach) that incorporates environmental and energy assessments that use snow and wind simulations to establish guidelines for the design of urban blocks in high-rise and high-density districts so that the impact of snow and wind can be minimized in these cities. A city block in downtown Sapporo, Japan, was used as a case study, and we evaluated four conceptual models. The four models were evaluated for how they impacted the snow and wind conditions in the block as well as the snow removal energy. Based on the results, we were able to identify the design guidelines in downtown Sapporo: an urban block design with higher building height ratio without the mid-rise part can reduce the snowdrifts and lower the snow removal energy. The proposed sustainable urban design approach would be effective in improving the quality of public spaces and reducing snow removal energy in winter cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Urban Metabolism)
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