Special Issue "Architectural Theory for Sustainable Urban Design"

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 (31 July 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Nikos Salingaros
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Mathematics, University of Texas at San Antonio, One UTSA Circle San Antonio, Texas 78249, USA
Interests: pattern languages; design complexity; architectural design; architectural theory; biophilia, fractals; urbanism; urban design; planning; neuroarchitecture; mathematics of architecture; adaptive architecture; resilience; social housing; architecture and religion
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable urban systems are widely talked about, but not yet implemented. Three problems prevent this: (i) A very poor understanding of the system dynamics that permit a city to function in a more sustainable manner; (ii) an architectural approach to planning, which focuses almost exclusively on individual buildings instead of a connected urban fabric; (iii) the belief that we can solve the problems of sustainability through technology alone. Encouraged by industrial society and a superficial, formal approach to design, these factors work against long-term sustainability. We have to learn to optimize the energy and network flows that drive a city. True sustainability can only arise by implementing low-tech, low-cost, low-maintenance solutions.

This Special Issue welcomes contributions on how to change the basic epistemology of design. The goal is to abandon an abstract, visual approach, to instead embrace adaptivity connected with human needs and the natural environment. We need to reorient design away from fashionable, but energivorous buildings and urban developments (driven by short-term real-estate speculation) towards evidence-based thinking. We should be skeptical about technological solutions that try to maintain the Industrial–Modernist model as a design paradigm. Some of those proposals are useful only as add-ons to solutions grounded in low-cost practices, while others deceptively continue today’s unsustainable practices.

Prof. Dr. Nikos A. Salingaros
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 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

  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Complex systems
  • Adaptive design
  • Anti-fragility
  • Design patterns
  • Networks
  • Energy flows

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Parametric Modeling for Form-Based Planning in Dense Urban Environments
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5678; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205678 - 14 Oct 2019
Abstract
Parametric instruments are employed broadly across the building industry. The study of applying parametric techniques to sustainable form-based planning, however, remains insufficient. This paper therefore critically assesses parametric techniques for facilitating form-based planning in an urban environment. The analysis is to twofold: Can [...] Read more.
Parametric instruments are employed broadly across the building industry. The study of applying parametric techniques to sustainable form-based planning, however, remains insufficient. This paper therefore critically assesses parametric techniques for facilitating form-based planning in an urban environment. The analysis is to twofold: Can a parametric technique truly enhance the form-based planning process more effectively than existing planning processes? and By what means can form-based planning layouts derived from parametric techniques be appraised? Methodologies include a case study in Hong Kong, quantitative and qualitative analysis, and experimental modeling on parametric platforms. Results indicate that the urban forms can be visualized in real-time during planning processes with a parametric coding system. Existing planning processes do not benefit from real-time visualization, but these alone do not necessarily result in more rational planning layouts. Parametric techniques produce visual models effectively but are not a planning panacea. Findings include a criticism of parametric techniques and pertinent instruments in urban projects, as well as valuable insights for the study of complex form-based planning in dense urban socio-environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architectural Theory for Sustainable Urban Design)
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Open AccessArticle
The Self-Organizing City and the Architecture of Metabolism: An Architectural Critique on Urban Growth and Reorganization
Sustainability 2019, 11(19), 5326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11195326 - 26 Sep 2019
Abstract
Over decades, cities have undergone rapid urbanization and uncontrolled urban growth. The need for future cities to operate as adaptable complex systems has generated an interest in the self-organizing resilient city. The main aim of the study is to find ways of conceptualizing [...] Read more.
Over decades, cities have undergone rapid urbanization and uncontrolled urban growth. The need for future cities to operate as adaptable complex systems has generated an interest in the self-organizing resilient city. The main aim of the study is to find ways of conceptualizing self-organizing the resilient city as an emerging field of research for urban design and architectural theory. Based on these assumptions, an integrated relationship between architecture and urban design are seen as potential catalysts for absorbing the uncertainty and disturbances of urban growth and preparing the structure, function, and identity of a city as a self-organizing system that can continuously and freely adapt to changes. The paper seeks to determine the role of architecture in urban design as a main key for facilitating a self-organizing system. A systematic theoretical research method was used to describe resilience theory and self-organizing systems within an adaptive cycle and hierarchical thinking across scales. The study then sought to identify the earliest point that architectural theory conceptualized future cities from the perspective of self-organizing systems. The Metabolism movement was chosen to provide a basis for the discussion of the study. Cities as self-organizing systems need to be considered through cross-scale interactions. For a self-organizing resilient city, the inter-reliance between architecture and urban design drive the main inputs to the system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architectural Theory for Sustainable Urban Design)
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Open AccessArticle
Right-Sizing Cities for Maximum Power: Urban Form Parameters for New York City and the Greater Philadelphia Region
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2352; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082352 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This paper examines the urban form parameters in theories and ideas related to the urbanizing world. Adopting emergy (spelled with an “m”) synthesis, we studied New York City and the Greater Philadelphia region to determine the appropriate urban form, including building height, development [...] Read more.
This paper examines the urban form parameters in theories and ideas related to the urbanizing world. Adopting emergy (spelled with an “m”) synthesis, we studied New York City and the Greater Philadelphia region to determine the appropriate urban form, including building height, development density, bulkiness, and transportation. The European and North American mid-rise urban block is an effective settlement type for reducing per capita emergy in construction and building operations. Buildings over 40 stories with a development density exceeding a floor area ratio of 5 tend to show higher emergy investments per person. Large and bulky buildings with low surface-area-to-volume ratios that reside on the periphery of cities consume a significant amount of energy due to conditioning building space and the increased transportation needs for commuters. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architectural Theory for Sustainable Urban Design)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
A Recursive Definition of Goodness of Space for Bridging the Concepts of Space and Place for Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(15), 4091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11154091 - 29 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Conceived and developed by Christopher Alexander through his life’s work, The Nature of Order, wholeness is defined as a mathematical structure of physical space in our surroundings. Yet, there was no mathematics, as Alexander admitted then, that was powerful enough to capture [...] Read more.
Conceived and developed by Christopher Alexander through his life’s work, The Nature of Order, wholeness is defined as a mathematical structure of physical space in our surroundings. Yet, there was no mathematics, as Alexander admitted then, that was powerful enough to capture his notion of wholeness. Recently, a mathematical model of wholeness, together with its topological representation, has been developed that is capable of addressing not only why a space is good, but also how much goodness the space has. This paper develops a structural perspective on goodness of space (both large- and small-scale) in order to bridge two basic concepts of space and place through the very concept of wholeness. The wholeness provides a de facto recursive definition of goodness of space from a holistic and organic point of view. A space is good, genuinely and objectively, if its adjacent spaces are good, the larger space to which it belongs is good, and what is contained in the space is also good. Eventually, goodness of space, or sustainability of space, is considered a matter of fact rather than of opinion under the new view of space: space is neither lifeless nor neutral, but a living structure capable of being more living or less living, or more sustainable or less sustainable. Under the new view of space, geography or architecture will become part of complexity science, not only for understanding complexity, but also for making and remaking complex or living structures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Architectural Theory for Sustainable Urban Design)
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