sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Urban Renewal, Governance and Sustainable Development: More of the Same or New Paths?

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 (15 June 2021) | Viewed by 32755

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Education and Social Sciences, School of Humanities, Örebro University, SE 70281 Örebro, Sweden
Interests: urban governance; sustainable development; environment and democracy; spatial segregation; politics and religion; securitization and counter-securitization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the wake of the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, and the 1996 Habitat II Conference in Istanbul, the world experienced a worldwide movement addressing sustainable development. A period of technological optimism followed, stimulating urban renewal initiatives signposted by catchwords such as “transition town”, “virtual cities”, and “Oekostadt”. Reflecting growing sociospatial inequalities, and political polarization, the social dimension gradually became visible on the agenda advertised by labels such as “just city”, “healthy city”, and “inclusive city”. Today, “slim”, “slow”, “de-growth”, and “Lo-Tek” cities are among alternatives to the still strong technodigital strand of urban renewal visions.

The Covid-19 pandemic turned things upside down. Adding climate change, the accelerating extinction of species, and the refugee crisis, humanity now finds itself in a “perfect storm” posing enormous challenges. Although world leaders are desperately fertilizing their economies with heaps of money to re-invent “the Great Acceleration”, there are in this “critical juncture” windows of opportunity to enter new paths. How do urban public institutions and actors in market and civil society respond to the pandemic and other crises? Do they just try to reinvent old ideas and practices, or do they search for healthier, more democratic and sustainable ways of handling major threats and risks?

As the causes, effects, and adequate reactions are contested, there are no given solutions regarding how to “de-securitize” perceived threats one by one, no less together. Governance research has become strikingly multifaceted in terms of theory, methods, and empirical focus. This Special Issue of Sustainability asks for contributions addressing innovative governance responses to current epidemiological, social, ecological, political, and economic challenges. Encouraging theoretical and methodological plurality, the call welcomes contributions addressing urban renewal, governance, and sustainability ideas and practices in the form of conceptual reflections, single case studies, comparative studies or broader overviews in various national contexts.

Prof. Dr. Ingemar Elander
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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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 2400 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

  • urban renewal
  • governance
  • crisis
  • risk
  • pandemic
  • window of opportunity
  • just city
  • healthy city
  • democratic city
  • sustainable city

Published Papers (10 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Editorial

Jump to: Research, Other

7 pages, 199 KiB  
Editorial
Urban Renewal, Governance and Sustainable Development: More of the Same or New Paths?
by Ingemar Elander
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1528; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031528 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2515
Abstract
Humanity seems to have been thrown into a ‘perfect storm’ of several huge challenges such as global warming, accelerating extinction of species, the corona pandemic and uncontrollable migration streams caused by fossil fuel emissions, overexploitation of natural resources, extreme weather, viruses, and ethnic [...] Read more.
Humanity seems to have been thrown into a ‘perfect storm’ of several huge challenges such as global warming, accelerating extinction of species, the corona pandemic and uncontrollable migration streams caused by fossil fuel emissions, overexploitation of natural resources, extreme weather, viruses, and ethnic and religious conflicts [...] Full article

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Other

26 pages, 1727 KiB  
Article
Conflict: The Missing Ingredient for Sustainability in Complex Partnerships
by Ami Carpenter
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054326 - 28 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1696
Abstract
Addressing today’s most pressing challenges requires collaboration between professionals of different disciplines and the capacity to work effectively across sectors. Cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) are an increasingly common vehicle for doing so, but too often they fall short of achieving the desired social impact. [...] Read more.
Addressing today’s most pressing challenges requires collaboration between professionals of different disciplines and the capacity to work effectively across sectors. Cross-sector partnerships (CSPs) are an increasingly common vehicle for doing so, but too often they fall short of achieving the desired social impact. Three years of research alongside a unique multi-sector partnership to prevent human trafficking identifies lack of shared understanding as the main problem, caused by conflict avoidance during early stages of partnership development. Counterintuitively, controversy is necessary to develop shared norms, power structure, and communication practices—all elements of participatory design—through a process of stakeholder dialogue. Effective dialogue requires people to explore, confront, and contest diverse perspectives; however, research finds that groups are more likely to avoid conflict and engage in consensus-confirming discussions, thereby undermining their effectiveness. Using the singular case study of a cross-sector partnership that formed to enact new anti-trafficking legislation, this study examines how conflict avoidance constrained the performance and sustainability of a cross-sector, multi-actor collaboration. The study finds that conflict avoidance stifles shared understanding of governance, norms, and administrative practices, negatively impacting multiple processes that are important to sustainable collaborations. The conclusion drawn is that conflict management should receive greater attention in the study and practice of cross-sector partnerships. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 1849 KiB  
Article
What Can We Learn from Urban Crisis?
by Kristian Hoelscher, Hanne Cecilie Geirbo, Lisbet Harboe and Sobah Abbas Petersen
Sustainability 2022, 14(2), 898; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14020898 - 13 Jan 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2164
Abstract
The irreversible transition towards urban living entails complex challenges and vulnerabilities for citizens, civic authorities, and the management of global commons. Many cities remain beset by political, infrastructural, social, or economic fragility, with crisis arguably becoming an increasingly present condition of urban life. [...] Read more.
The irreversible transition towards urban living entails complex challenges and vulnerabilities for citizens, civic authorities, and the management of global commons. Many cities remain beset by political, infrastructural, social, or economic fragility, with crisis arguably becoming an increasingly present condition of urban life. While acknowledging the intense vulnerabilities that cities can face, this article contends that innovative, flexible, and often ground-breaking policies, practices, and activities designed to manage and overcome fragility can emerge in cities beset by crisis. We argue that a deeper understanding of such practices and the knowledge emerging from contexts of urban crisis may offer important insights to support urban resilience and sustainable development. We outline a simple conceptual representation of the interrelationships between urban crisis and knowledge production, situate this in the context of literature on resilience, sustainability, and crisis, and present illustrative examples of real-world practices. In discussing these perspectives, we reflect on how we may better value, use, and exchange knowledge and practice in order to address current and future urban challenges. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

16 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
Nuancing Holistic Simplicity in Sweden: A Statistical Exploration of Consumption, Age and Gender
by Marco Eimermann, Urban Lindgren and Linda Lundmark
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8340; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158340 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1960
Abstract
Studies of sustainable ways of life have hitherto made limited use of register data since, e.g., voluntary simplicity is usually identified through characteristics that cannot be found in data registers. Despite this, claims about these trends have been made in many countries, at [...] Read more.
Studies of sustainable ways of life have hitherto made limited use of register data since, e.g., voluntary simplicity is usually identified through characteristics that cannot be found in data registers. Despite this, claims about these trends have been made in many countries, at times generalising the phenomena both in academia and media, based on anecdotal examples. This article draws on a quantifiable definition of holistic simplicity that includes certain fully measurable aspects, such as living in more affluent suburbs, moving to less affluent places and a significant reduction in individual work income. Other aspects are partially observable in register data, such as housing and car consumption. The advantage of this study is that it combines relevant theories around voluntary simplicity with register data that capture important characteristics of the entire national population (in this case, in Sweden) and thus, to some extent, also captures the magnitude of the phenomena. The article aims to statistically explore different demographic groups’ probability of becoming holistic simplifiers in Sweden, regarding their consumption, gender and age. It discusses opportunities and limitations for advancing our knowledge on voluntary simplicity in Sweden, with current findings suggesting more of the same consumption patterns and only initial paths to degrowth. This is discussed in the context of individuals’ agency in a state such as Sweden, which is changing from collectivist social democratic values to more neo-liberal conditions. Full article
19 pages, 286 KiB  
Article
Public Policy for Social Innovations and Social Enterprise—What’s the Problem Represented to Be?
by Jörgen Johansson and Jonas Gabrielsson
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7972; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147972 - 16 Jul 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2528
Abstract
Social innovations and social enterprise have been seen as innovative measures to achieve sustainable development. Drawing on an evaluation of a development project on creating social enterprises in Sweden, this article analyzes social innovations as a policy area. The policy area is often [...] Read more.
Social innovations and social enterprise have been seen as innovative measures to achieve sustainable development. Drawing on an evaluation of a development project on creating social enterprises in Sweden, this article analyzes social innovations as a policy area. The policy area is often described as loaded with ideological contradictions. The aim of the article is to explore underlying premises and discourses in policy implementation aimed at creating social innovations in a comparison between two ideal types on social sustainability—(1) an individual activation strategy (responsibilization of the individual) and (2) a societal equilibrium strategy (balancing social values). The research question is inspired by Carol Bacchi’s policy theory and asks what is the problem represented to be? The analysis is carried out at the micro-level as a context-sensitive approach to explore articulations made among actors creating the policy and entrepreneurs participating in a locally organized project. The article contribute with a better understanding of how societal problems and their solutions are discursively determined, with implications for policy makers and project managers active in this policy area. The analysis and findings indicate a significant policy shift during the implementation process. Initially, the policy idea consisted of well-considered ambitions to create a long-term sustainable development. During the implementation of the project, the problem’s representation changes gradually in the direction towards individual activation. This transition is driven by pragmatic difficulties of defining the policy area, problems of separating means from ends, and the need to make decisions based on a limited range of information. We conclude by emphasizing the need for reflection on how the social dimension is defined when implementing social innovation strategies. Furthermore, there is a lack of studies of how this policy area can be linked to policies for social sustainability. Full article
25 pages, 8509 KiB  
Article
Only for Citizens? Local Political Engagement in Sweden and Inclusiveness of Terms
by Bozena Guziana
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7839; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147839 - 13 Jul 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2979
Abstract
In both policy and research, civic engagement and citizen participation are concepts commonly used as important dimensions of social sustainability. However, as migration is a global phenomenon of huge magnitude and complexity, citizen participation is incomplete without considering the political and ethical concerns [...] Read more.
In both policy and research, civic engagement and citizen participation are concepts commonly used as important dimensions of social sustainability. However, as migration is a global phenomenon of huge magnitude and complexity, citizen participation is incomplete without considering the political and ethical concerns about immigrants being citizens or non-citizens, or ‘the others’. Although research on citizen participation has been a frequent topic in local government studies in Sweden, the inclusiveness and exclusiveness of terms used in the context of local political engagement, which are addressed in this article, has not received attention. This article examines the Swedish case by analyzing information provided by the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and by websites of all 290 municipalities as well terms used in selected research publications on local participation. Additionally, this article studies the effectiveness of municipal websites in providing information to their residents about how they can participate in local democracy. The results show that the term citizen is commonly and incorrectly used both by local authorities and the Association. The article concludes that the term citizen is a social construction of exclusiveness and the use of the term citizen should be avoided in political and civic engagement except for the limited topics that require formal citizenship. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

19 pages, 538 KiB  
Article
Conditions and Constrains for Reflexive Governance of Industrial Risks: The Case of the South Durban Industrial Basin, South Africa
by Llewellyn Leonard and Rolf Lidskog
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5679; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105679 - 19 May 2021
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2666
Abstract
Within sustainability development paradigms, state governance is considered important in interventions to address risks produced by the industrial society. However, there is largely a lack of understanding, especially in the Global South, about the nature and workings of the governance institutions necessary to [...] Read more.
Within sustainability development paradigms, state governance is considered important in interventions to address risks produced by the industrial society. However, there is largely a lack of understanding, especially in the Global South, about the nature and workings of the governance institutions necessary to tackle risks effectively. Reflexive governance, as a new mode of governance, has been developed as a way to be more inclusive and more reflexive and respond to complex risks. Conversely, there is limited scholarly work that has examined the theoretical and empirical foundations of this governance approach, especially how it may unfold in the Global South. This paper explores the conditions and constrains for reflexive governance in a particular case: that of the South Durban Industrial Basin. South Durban is one of the most polluted regions in southern Africa and has been the most active industrial site of contention between local residents and industry and government during apartheid and into the new democracy. Empirical analysis found a number of constrains involved in enabling reflexive governance. It also found that a close alliance between government and industry to promote economic development has overshadowed social and environmental protection. Reflexive governance practitioners need to be cognisant of its applicability across diverse geographic settings and beyond western notions of reflexive governance. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

20 pages, 336 KiB  
Article
The Climate Just City
by Mikael Granberg and Leigh Glover
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031201 - 24 Jan 2021
Cited by 18 | Viewed by 5646
Abstract
Cities are increasingly impacted by climate change, driving the need for adaptation and sustainable development. Local and global economic and socio-cultural influence are also driving city redevelopment. This, fundamentally political, development highlights issues of who pays and who gains, who decides and how, [...] Read more.
Cities are increasingly impacted by climate change, driving the need for adaptation and sustainable development. Local and global economic and socio-cultural influence are also driving city redevelopment. This, fundamentally political, development highlights issues of who pays and who gains, who decides and how, and who/what is to be valued. Climate change adaptation has primarily been informed by science, but the adaptation discourse has widened to include the social sciences, subjecting adaptation practices to political analysis and critique. In this article, we critically discuss the just city concept in a climate adaptation context. We develop the just city concept by describing and discussing key theoretical themes in a politically and justice-oriented analysis of climate change adaptation in cities. We illustrate our arguments by looking at recent case studies of climate change adaptation in three very different city contexts: Port Vila, Baltimore City, and Karlstad. We conclude that the social context with its power asymmetries must be given a central position in understanding the distribution of climate risks and vulnerabilities when studying climate change adaptation in cities from a climate justice perspective. Full article

Other

Jump to: Editorial, Research

7 pages, 187 KiB  
Hypothesis
An Attack on the Separation of Powers? Strategic Climate Litigation in the Eyes of U.S. Judges
by Jasmina Nedevska
Sustainability 2021, 13(15), 8335; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13158335 - 26 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2490
Abstract
Climate change litigation has emerged as a powerful tool as societies steer towards sustainable development. Although the litigation mainly takes place in domestic courts, the implications can be seen as global as specific climate rulings influence courts across national borders. However, while the [...] Read more.
Climate change litigation has emerged as a powerful tool as societies steer towards sustainable development. Although the litigation mainly takes place in domestic courts, the implications can be seen as global as specific climate rulings influence courts across national borders. However, while the phenomenon of judicialization is well-known in the social sciences, relatively few have studied issues of legitimacy that arise as climate politics move into courts. A comparatively large part of climate cases have appeared in the United States. This article presents a research plan for a study of judges’ opinions and dissents in the United States, regarding the justiciability of strategic climate cases. The purpose is to empirically study how judges navigate a perceived normative conflict—between the litigation and an overarching ideal of separation of powers—in a system marked by checks and balances. Full article
25 pages, 14055 KiB  
Systematic Review
The Role of Public-Private Partnerships in Housing as a Potential Contributor to Sustainable Cities and Communities: A Systematic Review
by Terence Fell and Johanna Mattsson
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7783; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13147783 - 12 Jul 2021
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 6327
Abstract
Today cities face the increasing negative consequences of the unsustainable course society is set on. Climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing spatial segregation are testament to this. The effects of these issues often exceed the coping capacity of individual urban housing developers. Thus, [...] Read more.
Today cities face the increasing negative consequences of the unsustainable course society is set on. Climate change, biodiversity loss and increasing spatial segregation are testament to this. The effects of these issues often exceed the coping capacity of individual urban housing developers. Thus, an antidote to the current neoliberal trend must be found in collaborations such as public-private partnerships (PPP). Here the shortcomings and limitations of PPP and its potential ability to solve the problem of unsustainable urban development are investigated. Using the Doughnut Economics (DE) model as a general guide, a systematic literature review is conducted. The results reveal evidence that PPPs are unjust and exclude local actors from collaborations. Hence, resident participation and inclusion is considered the best strategy for PPP to evolve as a future guarantor of the sustainable city. First, however, major differences in the character of issues that connect the global model of sustainability to the harsh reality of the local context need to be addressed. This gap concerns the city’s social foundation and ecological ceiling. The DE model applied herein is an excellent tool to test the scope and depth of local collaborations such as PPPs and reflect on international treaties such as SDGs. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop