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Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II

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 (30 June 2021) | Viewed by 25120

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: remote sensing; land use change; non-point source pollution; environmental monitoring
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Agricultural and Forestry scieNcEs (DAFNE), University of Tuscia, Via S. Camillo de Lellis, SNC, 01100 Viterbo, Italy
Interests: sustainability; urban sprawl; land use change; soil loss
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The present Special Issue proposal has the overall aim of developing and offering new strategies, visions and proposals on the role of sustainability related to the sprawl theme. Urban sprawl is one of the most pervasive urban growth models that affected many metropolitan areas in recent decades, leading to several critical impacts, e.g. soil consumption, new loss of agricultural and natural areas with high quality. It has also brought to light existing restrictions; though, also due to the recent 2007 crisis, which slowed down the speculative building sector, its influences have recorded a slight decline. Now, in a post-crisis period, it is essential to rethink how to manage larger territories, studying their degree of resilience and future (sustainable) development.

Sustainability must be applicable to different territorial contexts at dissimilar spatial scales, exploring local cultural, socio-economic and physical backgrounds that can have a critical influence on shaping urban conditions, urbanisation processes and practices. Declining tendencies in urban sprawl have significant consequences for strategies and policies aiming urban containment and land-saving compact development through self-contained growth. Policy-makers should manage the new chances set up by a post-recession urban scenario. New approaches and sustainable plans would also benefit to recover high-quality areas, revitalise the agricultural sector, which has experienced a strident decline in recent decades, and make the contexts in which people live more liveable and sustainable.

Several targets will be addressed in the present special issue, such as to extend the concept of urban growth model towards awareness of sustainable development systems, to suggest new urban scenarios, to reflect on advanced thoughts as the resilience role of urban and metropolitan regions, to explore strengths and limitations of sustainability in each urban system and to assess if the interplay among urban sprawl and sustainability can conciliated, also through new technologies and innovative urban models (e.g. smart cities).

Prof. Massimo Cecchini
Prof. Andrea Colantoni
Dr. Fabio Recanatesi
Prof. Maria Nicolina Ripa
Dr. Luca 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 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 sprawl
  • territorial planning
  • sustainable development
  • technologies
  • land use change

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

20 pages, 60442 KiB  
Article
A Methodological Approach towards Sustainable Urban Densification for Urban Sprawl Control at the Microscale: Case Study of Tanta, Egypt
by Karim I. Abdrabo, Heba Hamed, Kareem A. Fouad, Mohamed Shehata, Sameh A. Kantoush, Tetsuya Sumi, Bahaa Elboshy and Taher Osman
Sustainability 2021, 13(10), 5360; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13105360 - 11 May 2021
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3767
Abstract
When a high need for new residences coincides with an insufficient area of obtainable land within cities, urban sprawl occurs. Although densification is a well-known policy for controlling urban sprawl, one of the main challenges faced by researchers is that of determining urban [...] Read more.
When a high need for new residences coincides with an insufficient area of obtainable land within cities, urban sprawl occurs. Although densification is a well-known policy for controlling urban sprawl, one of the main challenges faced by researchers is that of determining urban densification potentials and priorities at the city scale. This paper aims to establish a methodology to facilitate decision-making regarding urban densification using five different methods. The proposed methodology utilizes high-quality city strategic plans (CSPs) and urban regulation documents and adopts geographic information systems (GISs) to determine and map the potential areas for densification. Multiple sustainability parameters, including environmental, economic, and social parameters, are selected, and weighted using an analytical hierarchy process (AHP) to prioritize the densification sites. The proposed method is tested in Tanta, Egypt, which has suffered due to agricultural losses of approximately 10 km2 within the last 50 years. The results credibly demonstrate the means by which to accommodate approximately 428% of the anticipated population increase in Tanta by 2027 and thereby save more than 53% of the approved deducted agricultural lands under the current urban regulations. Generally, this methodology offers a new model to optimize urban densification, which can be effective in urban management to achieve city resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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14 pages, 11325 KiB  
Article
Are Cities Truly Dispersed? A Long-Term Analysis of Vertical Profile of Settlements in Athens’ Metropolitan Region
by Jesús Rodrigo-Comino and Barbara Ermini
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3365; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063365 - 18 Mar 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2190
Abstract
Using nonparametric, exploratory statistics, the spatial structure of the city’s vertical profile was investigated at the municipal scale in Athens’ metropolitan region (Greece), evaluating changes over a sufficiently long time interval (1983–2019) that encompasses different phases of the urban cycle in Greece. Assuming [...] Read more.
Using nonparametric, exploratory statistics, the spatial structure of the city’s vertical profile was investigated at the municipal scale in Athens’ metropolitan region (Greece), evaluating changes over a sufficiently long time interval (1983–2019) that encompasses different phases of the urban cycle in Greece. Assuming the vertical profile of cities as an honest indicator of urban form, the study was aimed to test the intensity and spatial direction of the (supposed) change in settlement models toward sprawl. Transitioning slowly from a dense to a more dispersed settlement structure, Athens’ dynamics revealed a quite representative model for cities expanding significantly but remaining substantially compact and dense, while responding similarly to different (external) economic stimuli. Nonparametric correlation between the average (vertical) profile of each municipality and the distance from downtown Athens revealed a substantially stable mono-centric structure over time, with small changes over time still responding to factors dependent on the urban gradient. The inherent shift towards “horizontal” urban expansion was relatively modest and characteristic of few periurban contexts. The empirical results of this study can be envisaged as a practical tool of regional planning, allowing continuous monitoring of urban sprawl and land take in complex systems under rapid socioeconomic changes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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12 pages, 1300 KiB  
Communication
Soil Quality and Peri-Urban Expansion of Cities: A Mediterranean Experience (Athens, Greece)
by Samaneh Sadat Nickayin, Francesca Perrone, Barbara Ermini, Giovanni Quaranta, Rosanna Salvia, Filippo Gambella and Gianluca Egidi
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2042; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042042 - 14 Feb 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2390
Abstract
Soil loss and peri-urban settlement expansion are key issues in urban sustainability, with multi-disciplinary implications that go beyond individual ecological and socioeconomic dimensions. Our study illustrates an assessment framework diachronically evaluating urbanization-driven soil quality loss in a Southern European metropolitan region (Athens, Greece). [...] Read more.
Soil loss and peri-urban settlement expansion are key issues in urban sustainability, with multi-disciplinary implications that go beyond individual ecological and socioeconomic dimensions. Our study illustrates an assessment framework diachronically evaluating urbanization-driven soil quality loss in a Southern European metropolitan region (Athens, Greece). We tested the assumption that urban growth is a process consuming high-quality soils in a selective way analyzing two spatial layers, a map illustrating the diachronic expansion of settlements at five time points (1948, 1975, 1990, 2000, and 2018), and a geo-database reporting basic soil properties. The empirical results showed that the urban expansion in the Athens region took place by consuming higher- quality soil in fertile, mostly flat, districts. It entailed a persistent soil quality decrease over time. This trend globally accelerated in recent years, but in a heterogeneous way. Actually, newly built, more compact areas expanded on soils with lower erosion risk than in the past. Besides, low-density land take is likely to be observed in soils with moderate-high or very-high qualities. These evidences reflect the need for a comprehensive evaluation of complex processes of land take informing spatial planning for metropolitan sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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20 pages, 1259 KiB  
Article
Urban Form as a Technological Driver of Carbon Dioxide Emission: A Structural Human Ecology Analysis of Onroad and Residential Sectors in the Conterminous U.S.
by Thomas W. Crawford
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7801; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187801 - 21 Sep 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2138
Abstract
This study investigates the role of urban form as a technological driver of U.S. CO2 emissions for the onroad and residential sectors. The STIRPAT (Stochastic Impacts by Region on Population, Affluence, and Technology) human structural ecology framework is extended by drawing from [...] Read more.
This study investigates the role of urban form as a technological driver of U.S. CO2 emissions for the onroad and residential sectors. The STIRPAT (Stochastic Impacts by Region on Population, Affluence, and Technology) human structural ecology framework is extended by drawing from science and technology studies (STS) to theorize urban form as a sociotechnical system involving practices and knowledge that contribute to urban land use as a material artifact on the landscape influencing emissions. Questions addressed are: (1) “What is the influence of urban form on total sector CO2 emissions?” and (2) “How does the influence of urban form on CO2 emissions differ for metropolitan versus non-metropolitan status?” Spatial error regression models were estimated using county-level CO2 emissions data from Project Vulcan. The National Land Cover Dataset (NLCD) was used to quantify measures of urban form. Other independent variables were derived from U.S. Census data. Results demonstrate carbon reduction benefits achievable through a developed land use mix containing a greater proportion of high intensity relative to low intensity use. Urban form matters, but it matters differently in terms of sign, significance, and interpretation depending on emission sector and metro versus non-metro status. A focus on urban form provides policymakers potential leverage for carbon mitigation efforts that focus on total emissions as opposed to per capita emission. A feature of the research is its integration of concepts and theory from structural human ecology, STS, land change science, and GIScience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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15 pages, 1627 KiB  
Article
Uncovering Demographic Trends and Recent Urban Expansion in Metropolitan Regions: A Paradigmatic Case Study
by Rares Halbac-Cotoara-Zamfir, Gianluca Egidi, Enrico Maria Mosconi, Stefano Poponi, Ahmed Alhuseen and Luca Salvati
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3937; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093937 - 11 May 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2701
Abstract
While urbanization trends have been characterized for a long time by deconcentration of inner cities with expansion of low-density settlements, economic repolarization leading to re-urbanization and recovery of central districts are now counterbalancing population shrinkage in compact urban areas and slowing down suburban [...] Read more.
While urbanization trends have been characterized for a long time by deconcentration of inner cities with expansion of low-density settlements, economic repolarization leading to re-urbanization and recovery of central districts are now counterbalancing population shrinkage in compact urban areas and slowing down suburban growth. In this context, the recent demographic evolution of a large metropolis such as Athens (Greece)—following expansion, crisis, and a more subtle economic recovery—may reveal original relationships between form and functions at the base of recent urban growth. Based on an exploratory analysis of demographic indicators on a metropolitan and urban scale, the present study provides an updated and integrated knowledge framework that confirms and integrates the most recent urban trends in southern Europe. Documenting the emergence of more individualized paths of urban expansion at the local scale (recovery of the historic center, shrinkage of semicentral neighborhoods, ‘reverse gentrification’ of disadvantaged peripheral areas, late suburbanization of accessible peripheral areas), results of the present study justify an ad hoc analysis of metropolitan growth based on demographic indicators as a proxy for sustainable land management and local development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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28 pages, 12361 KiB  
Article
Microsimulation of Residential Activity for Alternative Urban Development Scenarios: A Case Study on Brussels and Flemish Brabant
by Frederik Priem, Philip Stessens and Frank Canters
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062370 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 3064
Abstract
The historically rooted suburbanization of Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) in Belgium has resulted in severe urban sprawl, traffic congestion, natural land degradation and many related problems. Recent policy proposals put forward by the two regions aim for more compact urban [...] Read more.
The historically rooted suburbanization of Flanders and the Brussels Capital Region (BCR) in Belgium has resulted in severe urban sprawl, traffic congestion, natural land degradation and many related problems. Recent policy proposals put forward by the two regions aim for more compact urban development in well-serviced areas. Yet, it is unclear how these proposed policies may impact residential dynamics over the coming decades. To address this issue, we developed a Residential Microsimulation (RM) framework that spatially refines coarse-scale demographic projections at the district level to the level of census tracts. The validation of simulated changes from 2001 to 2011 reveals that the proposed framework succeeds in modelling historic trends and clearly outperforms a random model. To support simulation from 2011 to 2040, two alternative urban development scenarios are defined. The Business As Usual (BAU) scenario essentially represents a continuation of urban sprawl development, whereas the Sustainable Development (SUS) scenario strives for higher-density development around strategic well-serviced nodes in line with proposed policies. This study demonstrates how residential microsimulation supported by scenario analysis can play a constructive role in urban policy design and evaluation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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46 pages, 22973 KiB  
Article
Mapping Urbanization and Evaluating Its Possible Impacts on Stream Water Quality in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Using GIS and Remote Sensing
by Jonah Hall and A. K. M. Azad Hossain
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1980; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12051980 - 5 Mar 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 5206
Abstract
Impervious surfaces (IS) produced by urbanization can facilitate pollutants’ movement to nearby water bodies through stormwater. This study mapped and estimated the IS changes in Chattanooga, Tennessee, using satellite imagery acquired in 1986 and 2016. A model was developed utilizing the Normalized Difference [...] Read more.
Impervious surfaces (IS) produced by urbanization can facilitate pollutants’ movement to nearby water bodies through stormwater. This study mapped and estimated the IS changes in Chattanooga, Tennessee, using satellite imagery acquired in 1986 and 2016. A model was developed utilizing the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index coupled with density slicing to detect and map urbanization through IS growth. Urban growth was quantified at USGS HUC12 watershed level including stream riparian areas. The obtained results show a net growth of 45.12 km2 of IS with a heterogeneous distribution. About 9.96 km2 of this growth is within 90 m of streams, about 6% of the study site’s land cover. The Lower South Chickamauga Creek watershed experienced the largest urban growth with a change from 24.2 to 48.5 km2. Using the riparian zone percent imperviousness, a stream risk assessment model was developed to evaluate potential stream impairment due to this growth. Approximately 87, 131, and 203 km lengths of streams identified as potentially at high, very high, and extreme risks, respectively, to be impaired due to urban growth from the last 30 years. These findings would benefit to proactively implement sustainable management plans for the streams near rapidly urbanizing areas in the study site. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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16 pages, 3760 KiB  
Article
Spatiotemporal Changes in Ecosystem Services along a Urban-Rural-Natural Gradient: A Case Study of Xi’an, China
by Xiaoxuan Li, Hongjuan Zhang, Zhicheng Zhang, Juan Feng, Kang Liu, Yawei Hua and Qian Pang
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031133 - 5 Feb 2020
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2430
Abstract
Urban areas are the areas that are most strongly affected by human activities, which presents many challenges to the ecosystem and human well-being. Ecosystem services (ES) are a comprehensive indicator to measure the ecological effects of urbanization. To effectively identify and evaluate the [...] Read more.
Urban areas are the areas that are most strongly affected by human activities, which presents many challenges to the ecosystem and human well-being. Ecosystem services (ES) are a comprehensive indicator to measure the ecological effects of urbanization. To effectively identify and evaluate the impact of urbanization on ES, the spatial-temporal pattern of ES should be considered. According to the level of urbanization, Xi’an city is divided into four regions: the urban core area, the urban extended area, the rural area, and the ecological conservation area, then, five comprehensive ecosystem services (CES) are evaluated by In VEST model. The results showed the following: (1) There is an obvious spatial heterogeneity in the distribution of ES. The ecological conservation area is the hot spot of ES supply, and the low value is mostly distributed in the urban core area. (2) The CES in the urban extended area that has undergone the greatest change between 2000 and 2015, and the rates of change in the ecological conservation area are the smallest. (3) There is a significant correlation between urbanization and ES, and the correction between landscape urbanization and ES is the most significant. (4) The agglomeration relationship between urbanization and ES in different regions is not consistent. Regional division provides a new way to understand the interaction between urbanization and ES in time and space, so as to provide better guidance for policy makers in formulating sustainable development policies to alleviate the loss of ES caused by the process of urbanization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sprawl and Sustainability II)
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