Topical Collection "Indicators, Assessment Tools, and Rating Systems for Mainstreaming Sustainability in Urban Planning and Development"

Editor

Prof. Dr. Ayyoob Sharifi
E-Mail Website
Collection Editor
Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences, Hiroshima University, 1-3-1 Higashihiroshimashi, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8530, Japan
Interests: urban resilience; smart cities; climate change adapatation and mitigation; neighborhood planning; eco-urbanism
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Topical Collection Information

Dear Colleagues,

The past few decades have seen an explosion of interest in the development and application of indicators, assessment tools, and rating systems for measuring the effectiveness of urban plans, policies, and programs on a variety of scales (ranging from neighborhoods, to cities, and even regions).

This Special Issue of Sustainability offers a platform for advancing our understanding of the theory and practice of urban sustainability assessment. It aims to draw together a collection of high-quality papers, discussing how development and application of indicators, assessment tools, and rating systems can support cities in their quest for sustainable development. We encourage researchers and practitioners to submit original research articles, case studies, reviews, critical perspectives, and viewpoint articles on topics including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Methodological aspects of urban sustainability assessment;
  • The process of urban sustainability assessment (vs. assessment being an end goal in itself);
  • Stakeholder involvement in urban sustainability assessment;
  • Links between tools and indicators developed for different scales (individual buildings, neighborhoods, cities, and regions);
  • Lessons learned from about three decades of research and practice;
  • Urban sustainability assessment vis-à-vis urban resilience assessment and smart city assessment;
  • Integration of concepts such as resilience and smartness into urban sustainability assessment;
  • The level of adoption of indicators, assessment tools, and rating systems by cities;
  • Neighborhood sustainability assessment tools;
  • Viability of using universal standards for urban sustainability assessment;
  • Case studies: success, as well as failure, stories;
  • Urban sustainability assessment in the Global South;
  • The evolution and future of urban sustainability assessment.

Prof. Dr. Ayyoob Sharifi
Collection Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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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

  • Urban sustainability
  • Sustainability assessment
  • Urban resilience
  • Smart and sustainable cities
  • Neighborhood sustainability
  • Indicators
  • Assessment tools
  • Rating systems
  • Certification systems

Published Papers (25 papers)

2021

Jump to: 2020, 2019, 2018

Article
Exploratory Analysis of Urban Sustainability by Applying a Strategy-Based Tailor-Made Weighting Method
Sustainability 2021, 13(12), 6556; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13126556 - 08 Jun 2021
Viewed by 411
Abstract
The Hungarian cities are rarely analyzed in current urban studies, especially in terms of urban sustainability. The present study aimed at analyzing the Hungarian county seats by comparing them through economic, social, and environmental indicators, which cover a broad spectrum of urban sustainability [...] Read more.
The Hungarian cities are rarely analyzed in current urban studies, especially in terms of urban sustainability. The present study aimed at analyzing the Hungarian county seats by comparing them through economic, social, and environmental indicators, which cover a broad spectrum of urban sustainability by applying independent indicators. Altogether 30 variables have been involved from 2014 and 2018–2019 to reveal the regional pattern of urban sustainability among the Hungarian county seats by applying the strategy-based tailor-made (SBTM) weighting methodology. It takes into consideration the different emphases regarding local aspects and main issues of sustainability through the analysis of integrated settlement development strategies, which is a unique method compared to current approaches. After the evaluation of the results, it can be stated that the east–west axis was revealed regarding weighted and unweighted sustainability indices; furthermore, a highly heterogeneous spatial trend can be drawn with regard to the relative changes in urban sustainability performance without clearly defined regional clusters. This analysis can fill the current literature gap by analyzing the Hungarian context and elaborating an easy-to-use weighting methodology based on the cities’ development strategies which contribute to improving the variety of planning and decision-making tools in the field of urban development. Full article
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Article
Neighbourhood Modelling for Urban Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094654 - 22 Apr 2021
Viewed by 395
Abstract
Climate change is becoming a dominant concern for advanced countries. The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework whose implementation relates to all human activities and is commonly guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which set the scene for [...] Read more.
Climate change is becoming a dominant concern for advanced countries. The Paris Agreement sets out a global framework whose implementation relates to all human activities and is commonly guided by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), which set the scene for sustainable development performance configuring all climate action related policies. Fast control of CO2 emissions necessarily involves cities since they are responsible for 70 percent of greenhouse gas emissions. SDG 11 (Sustainable cities and communities) is clearly involved in the deployment of SDG 13 (Climate Action). European Sustainability policies are financially guided by the European Green Deal for a climate neutral urban environment. In turn, a common framework for urban policy impact assessment must be based on architectural design tools, such as building certification, and common data repositories for standard digital building models. Many Neighbourhood Sustainability Assessment (NSA) tools have been developed but the growing availability of open data repositories for cities, together with big-data sources (provided through Internet of Things repositories), allow accurate neighbourhood simulations, or in other words, digital twins of neighbourhoods. These digital twins are excellent tools for policy impact assessment. After a careful analysis of current scientific literature, this paper provides a generic approach for a simple neighbourhood model developed from building physical parameters which meets relevant assessment requirements, while simultaneously being updated (and tested) against real open data repositories, and how this assessment is related to building certification tools. The proposal is validated by real data on energy consumption and on its application to the Benicalap neighbourhood in Valencia (Spain). Full article
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Article
System Dynamics as Ex Ante Impact Assessment Tool in International Development Cooperation: Study Case of Urban Sustainability Policies in Darkhan, Mongolia
Sustainability 2021, 13(8), 4595; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13084595 - 20 Apr 2021
Viewed by 681
Abstract
In recent years, there has been a trend of increasing criticism towards official development assistance (ODA) and the optimization of ODA policies, in a world of growing inequality between the Global North and Global South. To contribute to efficient ODA planning, this article [...] Read more.
In recent years, there has been a trend of increasing criticism towards official development assistance (ODA) and the optimization of ODA policies, in a world of growing inequality between the Global North and Global South. To contribute to efficient ODA planning, this article proposes to innovatively apply system dynamics as an optimal tool for ex ante impact assessment. The study case is located in the slums of Darkhan (Mongolia), whose citizens and environment suffer the consequences of poor urban planning and lack of municipal solid waste management (MSWM). In this context, the present research proposes a policy of education and infrastructure as key factors for the improvement of MSWM in the context of an international cooperation plan, carried out by the Korean agency KOICA. To evaluate its impact and anticipate its effects, a tailor-made system dynamics model of a Darkhan district has been created, with the focus on the education process in order to simulate the different options of the proposed policies. The results show that education policy is particularly relevant for behavioral change, in terms of reducing waste burned and waste on the ground, and increasing composted and recycled waste. However, in this context, the policy is ineffective for improving the district’s water and air pollution situation. This article also offers discussions and recommendations to be applied to the international cooperation plan, which takes place in real life. It is expected that the described process of model construction and its results will contribute to the further use of system dynamics as a planning tool in the international cooperation field. Full article
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Article
Who Has Benefited? A Socio-Ecological Chronology of Urban Resilience in the Early Reconstruction of Talca after the 27-F Earthquake, Chile 2010–2012
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3523; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063523 - 22 Mar 2021
Viewed by 544
Abstract
This article engages in the understanding of resilience from the perspective of socio-ecological systems (SES) and the reconstitution of events of recovery and reconstruction in the city of Talca after the 27-F earthquake in Chile, between 2010 and 2012. For such purposes, we [...] Read more.
This article engages in the understanding of resilience from the perspective of socio-ecological systems (SES) and the reconstitution of events of recovery and reconstruction in the city of Talca after the 27-F earthquake in Chile, between 2010 and 2012. For such purposes, we have developed a chronological or timeline-analysis model. This methodology, which uses mostly ethnographic and participant-observation techniques to recapitulate these events, observes the interaction of social agents, elements of the built environment, government institutions, and other institutional functions of the urban domain within the socio-ecological panarchy. The results suggest that key events, such as local government institutional actions, the observation of probable property speculation events, and community agency efforts dismissal, among other factors, could alter both human and natural resilience processes. In turn, this could affect the capacity of this city, its inhabitants, and its social institutions to endure future crises, as a product of deteriorated and maladaptive resilience mechanisms, aside from the natural and geographical conditions of Chile, exposed to future earthquake events. Likewise, the partial loss of the civic environment in this historic city and weakened neighborhood networks, contrasting with the redevelopment of real estate in central areas, altogether portray considerable risks with regard to the (un)generated social mechanisms of resilience, affecting future developments. The final section focuses on discussing these findings and their relevance in integrating a coherent understanding of SES resilience in urban planning and governance practice, especially in cities or urban areas that are prone to natural risks or catastrophes. Full article
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2020

Jump to: 2021, 2019, 2018

Article
Transitions between Centralization and Metapolization: From City Development Strategy (CDS) to Peri-Urban Development Strategy (PDS)
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10653; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410653 - 20 Dec 2020
Viewed by 524
Abstract
The elaboration of City Development Strategies (CDS) helps cities to harness the potential of urbanization through strategic planning, and consequently to contribute to promoting development, balancing city growth, and empowering citizens. Continuous and sprawling development along with peri-urban areas has offered a vast [...] Read more.
The elaboration of City Development Strategies (CDS) helps cities to harness the potential of urbanization through strategic planning, and consequently to contribute to promoting development, balancing city growth, and empowering citizens. Continuous and sprawling development along with peri-urban areas has offered a vast and almost limitless nexus of villages–towns upon which the intensifying needs of development, initiatives, and infrastructures can be grafted. Considering the significant role of constructed nexuses in growth and resilience, and thus in planning for the sustainable development of such urban–rural areas, this study will advance the development of a model of the Urban–Rural Reef ecosystem through discovering its main attributes. In doing so, Aveiro has been distinguished as an urban–rural reef to describe such a case study’s characteristics and to extract the indicators of peri-urban sustainable development strategies. In the next step, the assessment of the peri-urban development strategy (PDS) has been accomplished by using the Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDM) method and applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) approach. Finally, a conclusion has been presented based on the findings for Aveiro urban–rural reefs containing the analysis results and offering some solutions. Full article
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Article
A GIS-Based Approach for Spatially-Explicit Sustainable Development Assessments in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10413; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410413 - 12 Dec 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 820
Abstract
We propose an efficient integrated approach of spatial decision-making systems and geographical information science for spatially explicit sustainable development mapping. The approach was developed, and its efficiency examined for sustainability assessment in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. To achieve this goal, sustainable development indicators [...] Read more.
We propose an efficient integrated approach of spatial decision-making systems and geographical information science for spatially explicit sustainable development mapping. The approach was developed, and its efficiency examined for sustainability assessment in East Azerbaijan Province, Iran. To achieve this goal, sustainable development indicators were employed through GIS decision rule and spatial analysis. Accordingly, 13 main criteria and 44 sub-criteria were identified and prepared as GIS dataset. The fuzzy analytical network process (FANP) method was employed to derive the criteria weights and their significance. We also applied the Global Sensitivity Analysis (GSA) for minimizing the uncertainties associated with the FANP weights. The Ordered Weighted Averaging (OWA) method was applied to aggregate the indicators and develop the sustainable development maps. Results confirmed that integrated GIS-based decision rules can be applied for any sustainable development mapping efficiently. Results of this research present an approach for sustainable development assessment and can be applied for similar research effectually. In the case of East Azerbaijan Province, the detailed results represent the unbalanced sustainable development within the different counties of this province. This requires taking necessary actions to ensure more balanced and just economic development in the province. The degree of sustainable development shows a significant spatial correlation with the industrial activities, employment, demography, poverty and infrastructure properties. The obtained results are of great importance for decision makers to identify efficient approaches in light of sustainable development mapping. Full article
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Article
Identifying Value-Increasing Actions for Cultural Heritage Assets through Sensitivity Analysis of Multicriteria Evaluation Results
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9238; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219238 - 06 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 594
Abstract
This paper presents a brief overview of multicriteria decision making (MCDM) as applied to the evaluation of adaptive reuse projects for cultural heritage assets and proposes a strategy to plan interventions to increase their value. The value of an object can be defined [...] Read more.
This paper presents a brief overview of multicriteria decision making (MCDM) as applied to the evaluation of adaptive reuse projects for cultural heritage assets and proposes a strategy to plan interventions to increase their value. The value of an object can be defined from its fitness to fulfil specified objectives, its significance to the people who own or use it, its potential to produce revenues, and a host of other criteria depending on its nature. These criteria are often subjective, relying on judgements issued by several experts, stakeholders and decision makers. This is why the MCDM methods need to formalize the problem so as to make it suitable to be treated quantitatively. Moreover, its sensitivity to variable opinions must be studied to check the stability of the result. We propose to leverage sensitivity analysis to identify the lines of intervention that promise to be the most effective to increase the value of the asset. A simulated example illustrates this strategy. This approach promises to be useful when assessing the sustainability of a reuse or redevelopment project in the cases where the final destination of the asset is still under examination. Full article
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Article
Urban Sustainability Evaluation Based on the DPSIR Dynamic Model: A Case Study in Shaanxi Province, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7460; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187460 - 10 Sep 2020
Viewed by 655
Abstract
The sustainability of urban cities has been the focus of significant academic research in recent years and is emphasized in Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this study, we adopted the Drive-Pressure-State-Impact-Response model (DPSIR) to promote a conceptual study of [...] Read more.
The sustainability of urban cities has been the focus of significant academic research in recent years and is emphasized in Goal 11 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this study, we adopted the Drive-Pressure-State-Impact-Response model (DPSIR) to promote a conceptual study of sustainable development index (SDI) to compare the different urban sustainable development status and try to find the factors that affect the urban sustainable development. The framework of indicators we used is mainly based on Goal 11 of the SDGs’ targets and indicators. We chose six cities in the Shaanxi Province of China and studied them from 2008 to 2018. The results show that: (1) the sustainable development of urban cities is greatly influenced by China’s national economic development plans and urban development strategies; (2) the economic growth and management level of authorities can significantly promote urban sustainability; (3) the urban sustainability of the six cities in Shaanxi Province showed a significant imbalance and this imbalance affected the overall development of the region; (4) compared with Guanzhong urban agglomeration, Shannan urban agglomeration is subject to the policy needs of environmental protection in the Qinling mountain area and its economic development is restricted; therefore, its urban sustainability is relatively low. Theoretical contributions are presented to assist in addressing these challenges and to support policies and initiatives that move these cities in China towards achieving SDG 11. Full article
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Article
Smart City as a Tool of Citizen-Oriented Urban Regeneration: Framework of Preliminary Evaluation and Its Application
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176874 - 24 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 769
Abstract
This study explores projects to regenerate old urban spaces and introduce smart city systems. It focuses on citizen perspectives and ways to build a citizen-centered smart city. A survey of 624 residents was undertaken in three South Korean cities where relevant projects have [...] Read more.
This study explores projects to regenerate old urban spaces and introduce smart city systems. It focuses on citizen perspectives and ways to build a citizen-centered smart city. A survey of 624 residents was undertaken in three South Korean cities where relevant projects have been implemented. The Hierarchical Regression Model was employed to learn what factors affect citizens’ overall preferences for smart city projects. The analysis found that citizens prefer the services closely linked to their everyday lives, and that those with lower quality of life regarding housing circumstances and safety show greater interest in smart city projects, albeit there are differences among the cities. They also view and prefer those projects as a means of resolving everyday problems and local economic development, rather than seeking specific technologies or devices. Based on these results, this research presents implications and suggestions to link urban regeneration plans to smart city projects. Full article
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Review
Urban Resilience Assessment: Mapping Knowledge Structure and Trends
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5918; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155918 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1625
Abstract
The literature on urban resilience assessment has grown rapidly over the past two decades. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the state of knowledge on urban resilience assessment through mapping the knowledge domain and highlighting emerging trends during different periods. [...] Read more.
The literature on urban resilience assessment has grown rapidly over the past two decades. This paper aims to provide a better understanding of the state of knowledge on urban resilience assessment through mapping the knowledge domain and highlighting emerging trends during different periods. The objects of study were 420 papers published in the Web of Science from 1998 to 2020. Science mapping was done using VOSviewer and CiteSpace, two widely known software tools for bibliometrics analysis and scientometric visualization. The results show that research published on urban resilience assessment was very limited and fragmented until 2009, and the focus has mainly been on risk mitigation and vulnerability assessment. The intellectual base grew between 2010 and 2014, when a paradigm shift from approaches based on robustness and reliability toward more adaptation-oriented approaches occurred. Finally, the annual publication trends have grown rapidly over the past five years and there has been more emphasis on climate change adaptation and flood resilience. Overall, in terms of dimensional focus, more attention has been paid to infrastructural, institutional, and environmental aspects at the expense of social and economic dimensions. In addition to information on thematic focus and evolution, this paper also provides other bibliometrics information on the influential authors, institutions, journals, and publications that lay the foundation of the field and can be used by various interested groups as points of reference to gain better knowledge about the structure and thematic evolution of urban resilience assessment. The paper concludes by highlighting gaps and making some recommendations for future improvement of the field. Major gaps are related to assessing resilience against socio-economic and health risks (e.g., economic recession and pandemics such as COVID-19). Full article
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Article
Developing Citylab Post-Construction—A Swedish Certification System to Evaluate the Sustainability of Urban Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4454; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114454 - 30 May 2020
Viewed by 999
Abstract
This paper describes the development of Citylab Post-Construction, a Swedish certification system for evaluating the sustainability performance of urban areas in a post-construction phase once the area is inhabited. The process design was based on transdisciplinary and research-through-design approaches, and involved experts and [...] Read more.
This paper describes the development of Citylab Post-Construction, a Swedish certification system for evaluating the sustainability performance of urban areas in a post-construction phase once the area is inhabited. The process design was based on transdisciplinary and research-through-design approaches, and involved experts and practitioners within Swedish urban planning, real estate and construction sector. This paper is not highlighting the certification system per se, but rather the process of developing it, with the aim of increasing the understanding of such design processes. A previously developed, but so far untested, framework of key considerations for certification systems was used to clarify benefits and drawbacks of different design decisions. The framework was used in all steps of the process, from defining the overall structure, to selecting indicators, formulating detailed requirements and assessing comments of the open consultation of a draft version. The framework of key considerations proved useful in supporting this process, by highlighting conflicts as well as synergies and creating transparency with respect to trade-offs needed between being e.g., scientifically credible but still practical enough. While it is difficult to separate the framework from the process in which it was put to use, we believe that the framework can be supportive also in other processes, both for developing new certification systems or for refining and evaluating existing ones. Full article
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Article
Assessing Resilience of Urban Critical Infrastructure Networks: A Case Study of Ahvaz, Iran
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3691; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093691 - 02 May 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1254
Abstract
Cities around the world increasingly recognize the need to build on their resilience to deal with the converging forces of urbanization and climate change. Given the significance of critical infrastructure for maintaining quality of life in cities, improving their resilience is of high [...] Read more.
Cities around the world increasingly recognize the need to build on their resilience to deal with the converging forces of urbanization and climate change. Given the significance of critical infrastructure for maintaining quality of life in cities, improving their resilience is of high importance to planners and policy makers. The main purpose of this study is to spatially analyze the resilience of water, electricity, and gas critical infrastructure networks in Ahvaz, a major Iranian city that has been hit by various disastrous events over the past few years. Towards this goal, we first conducted a two-round Delphi survey to identify criteria that can be used for determining resilience of critical infrastructure networks across different parts of the city. The selected criteria that were used for spatial analysis are related to the physical texture, the design pattern, and the scale of service provision of the critical infrastructure networks. Results showed that, overall, critical infrastructure networks in Ahvaz do not perform well against the measurement criteria. This is specially the case in Regions 1, 2, 4, and 6, which are characterized by issues such as old and centralized infrastructure networks and high levels of population density. The study highlights the need to make improvements in terms of the robustness, redundancy, and flexibility of the critical infrastructure networks in the city. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Efficiency of Sustainable Cities Using an Empirical Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2618; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072618 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 845
Abstract
Sustainability is a multidisciplinary discipline posing a difficult problem as a result of its integrated assessment. From a broad perspective, it considers the impact of human activities (using different resources) and natural conditions on local environments. Urban development has been identified as one [...] Read more.
Sustainability is a multidisciplinary discipline posing a difficult problem as a result of its integrated assessment. From a broad perspective, it considers the impact of human activities (using different resources) and natural conditions on local environments. Urban development has been identified as one of the most important reasons for environmental and social degradation. To address the complexity of sustainability and its impact, policymakers need to be equipped with the right toolkit to foresee the integrated effect of projects and plans on urban sustainability more effectively in their policy design. In this paper, we propose a tool to assess the sustainable performance of urban areas through a common framework of indicators which provides an integrated measurement based on the relative efficiency of key input variables on desirable and undesirable outputs. Using Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA), we propose a procedure for determining the relative efficiency of relevant urban areas, proposing this method as a candidate for integrated sustainability measurement. The selection of variables is based on dimensions which can be addressed from a political perspective for achieving more desirable outputs, or reducing the undesirable ones, controlling for key resources as much as possible. Our analysis takes a comprehensive scope including an environmental and socioeconomic perspective. This will be useful to identify weaknesses and strengths to improve the integrated performance of cities. Our array of indicators, based on standardized key performance indicators (KPIs) will enable policymakers to gather an insightful impact of their proposals in urban sustainability carrying out a global sustainability impact assessment through DEA. The main goal is to gather the urban experience of transforming cities into smarter cities and putting technological progress at the service of their societies. Full article
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2019

Jump to: 2021, 2020, 2018

Article
Energy Transitions Towards Low Carbon Resilience: Evaluation of Disaster-Triggered Local and Regional Cases
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6801; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236801 - 30 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1505
Abstract
Following numerous global scientific studies and major international agreements, the decarbonization of energy systems is an apparent and pressing concern. The consequence of continued emission growth tied to rising global average temperatures is difficult to predict, but against a background of other natural [...] Read more.
Following numerous global scientific studies and major international agreements, the decarbonization of energy systems is an apparent and pressing concern. The consequence of continued emission growth tied to rising global average temperatures is difficult to predict, but against a background of other natural and human-induced disasters, may create a situation, from a positive perspective, where each disaster event triggers “build back better” responses designed to speed the transition toward low carbon, resilience-oriented energy systems. This article examines the potential for disaster-triggered responses in communities, at various local and regional levels, in four industrial economies in the Asia Pacific region: Japan, China, Australia, and the USA. Seven case studies were evaluated against a set of criteria that exemplify the key aspects of resilient energy systems. The research results suggest that a new space of innovation does emerge in post-disaster situations at a range of local and regional scales. The greatest potential benefit and opportunity for significant gains, however, appears to manifest at the small community level, and the ultimate challenge relates to how to mainstream local innovations into state and national level transformation on energy systems so as to enhance resilience and promote rapid decarbonization. Full article
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Article
Indicators and Assessment System for Sustainability of Municipalities: A Case Study of South Korea’s Assessment of Sustainability of Cities (ASC)
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6611; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11236611 - 22 Nov 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1062
Abstract
Sustainability assessment systems are commonly used to achieve sustainability. However, internationally agreed systems are difficult to locate. Analysis of sustainability assessment systems in various contexts can lead to creating a standardized sustainability assessment framework. Here, we reviewed the experience of the sustainability assessment [...] Read more.
Sustainability assessment systems are commonly used to achieve sustainability. However, internationally agreed systems are difficult to locate. Analysis of sustainability assessment systems in various contexts can lead to creating a standardized sustainability assessment framework. Here, we reviewed the experience of the sustainability assessment system applied in Korea for sharing knowledge and providing implications for creating internationally standardized sustainability assessment frameworks. The subject of the study was the assessment of sustainability of cities (ASC, conducted annually by the Korean government) using data from the 2015 assessment and consisting of two parts: Descriptive analysis of the ASC system and analysis of the 2015 ASC assessment results. The ASC assessment unit is the low-ranked municipality, and indicators include social, economic, environmental, and institutional themes. The ASC assesses overall sustainability by incorporating mandatory and voluntary indicators, and the Korean government encourages improved sustainability through awards, diagnostic reports, and incentives. Gun was highly evaluated in social sustainability, and the southern Seoul metropolitan area and Chungcheong area were highly evaluated in economic sustainability. In environmental sustainability, metropolitan cities received high scores, while institutional theme scores were not high in any specific area. Municipalities in metropolitan cities received higher voluntary indicator scores than rural areas. Full article
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Article
Housing Indicators for Sustainable Cities in Middle-Income Countries through the Residential Urban Environment Recognized Using Single-Family Housing Rating Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164276 - 07 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1562
Abstract
This study presents a comparative analysis of the housing indicators used by the single-family housing rating systems (SHRSs), in which the residential urban environment (RUE) influences buildings’ certification scores, emphasizing the relationships of six systems developed by middle-income countries (MICs)—BEST, CASA, GBI, BERDE, [...] Read more.
This study presents a comparative analysis of the housing indicators used by the single-family housing rating systems (SHRSs), in which the residential urban environment (RUE) influences buildings’ certification scores, emphasizing the relationships of six systems developed by middle-income countries (MICs)—BEST, CASA, GBI, BERDE, Green Homes, and LOTUS—and the two most-recognized rating systems, BREEAM and LEED. The aim is to provide new housing indicators that are capable of bringing the concept of sustainability into the cities of MICs. The results reveal that the percentage of influence that single-family housing (SFH) can achieve in the metric established by each system is relatively low. However, considering all of the identified indicators, this influence could increase to 53.16% of the total score in multi-criteria evaluations. Furthermore, a significant lack of indicators for mandatory criteria evaluations was found, with CASA being the only system that considers their inclusion. This paper identifies 37 indicators for multi-criteria assessments and two for mandatory-criteria assessments, providing new perspectives on several topics. Furthermore, the methodology established to obtain the indicators could be useful for other researchers in the identification of new sustainable indicators. Full article
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Article
Landscape-Based Assessment of Urban Resilience and Its Evolution: A Case Study of the Central City of Shenyang
Sustainability 2019, 11(10), 2964; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11102964 - 24 May 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1568
Abstract
Urban resilience is increasingly considered a useful approach to accommodate uncertainties while achieving sustainability in urban systems, especially in the context of rapid urbanization and global environmental change. However, current research on the quantitative assessment of urban resilience is limited. This study introduces [...] Read more.
Urban resilience is increasingly considered a useful approach to accommodate uncertainties while achieving sustainability in urban systems, especially in the context of rapid urbanization and global environmental change. However, current research on the quantitative assessment of urban resilience is limited. This study introduces four proxies of urban resilience, i.e., diversity, connectivity, decentralization, and self-sufficiency, and the perspective of the urban landscape for the measurement of urban resilience and further guidance on planning practices by establishing connections between resilience potential and landscape characteristics. Using multi-source data and employing landscape-based analysis methods, urban resilience is investigated from 1995 to 2015 in the central city of Shenyang. The results indicate that the composition and configuration of the urban landscape changed significantly during this period, which had a great influence on urban resilience. The temporal and spatial evolution of urban resilience showed obviously directional preferences and an evident distance effect. Overall, the resilience level increased slightly, while the internal differences experienced a declining trend. The four characteristics can be deployed as practical principles to shape urban resilience. The adjustment and trade-offs of these aspects to enhance responsive structures and simultaneously maintain sustainable ecosystem services can be effective ways to realize long-term resilience. Full article
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Article
Key Considerations When Designing Certification Systems for Urban Sustainability and Implications for The Swedish Post-Construction System Citylab
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092673 - 10 May 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3227
Abstract
Addressing sustainability in urban planning has led to an increasing number of certification systems to support such processes. Nevertheless, there is no commonly recognised framework listing what is important to consider when developing such systems. Citylab is a certification system that is used [...] Read more.
Addressing sustainability in urban planning has led to an increasing number of certification systems to support such processes. Nevertheless, there is no commonly recognised framework listing what is important to consider when developing such systems. Citylab is a certification system that is used in several Swedish urban development projects. Today, Citylab certifies the planning process of urban areas but it will be extended with a post-construction part. This paper presents a three steps analysis of the design of such a post-construction certification system. First, a literature review was performed, which allowed for identifying three principles and 11 sub-principles that make up a generic framework for the design of similar certification systems. Second, 13 semi-structured interviews were conducted in Sweden with key urban development stakeholders to better specify the scope of a post-construction extension of Citylab. As a result, four alternatives emerge for the role and function of this system. Third, crossing the results of both previous steps allowed for an understanding of important considerations and implications for the Citylab post-construction certification system design. The paper concludes on the relevance of such a reflexive procedure for the design of certification systems in general, in which the use of the framework is a key to ensure transparency and enable deliberate choices and priorities. Full article
Article
Exploring the Trend of New Zealand Housing Prices to Support Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2482; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092482 - 28 Apr 2019
Viewed by 1480
Abstract
The New Zealand housing sector is experiencing rapid growth that has a significant impact on society, the economy, and the environment. In line with the growth, the housing market for both residential and business purposes has been booming, as have house prices. To [...] Read more.
The New Zealand housing sector is experiencing rapid growth that has a significant impact on society, the economy, and the environment. In line with the growth, the housing market for both residential and business purposes has been booming, as have house prices. To sustain the housing development, it is critical to accurately monitor and predict housing prices so as to support the decision-making process in the housing sector. This study is devoted to applying a mathematical method to predict housing prices. The forecasting performance of two types of models: autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) and multiple linear regression (MLR) analysis are compared. The ARIMA and regression models are developed based on a training-validation sample method. The results show that the ARIMA model generally performs better than the regression model. However, the regression model explores, to some extent, the significant correlations between house prices in New Zealand and the macro-economic conditions. Full article
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Article
VisualUVAM: A Decision Support System Addressing the Curse of Dimensionality for the Multi-Scale Assessment of Urban Vulnerability in Spain
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082191 - 12 Apr 2019
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1451
Abstract
Many-objective optimization methods have proven successful in the integration of research attributes demanded for urban vulnerability assessment models. However, these techniques suffer from the curse of the dimensionality problem, producing an excessive burden in the decision-making process by compelling decision-makers to select alternatives [...] Read more.
Many-objective optimization methods have proven successful in the integration of research attributes demanded for urban vulnerability assessment models. However, these techniques suffer from the curse of the dimensionality problem, producing an excessive burden in the decision-making process by compelling decision-makers to select alternatives among a large number of candidates. In other fields, this problem has been alleviated through cluster analysis, but there is still a lack in the application of such methods for urban vulnerability assessment purposes. This work addresses this gap by a novel combination of visual analytics and cluster analysis, enabling the decision-maker to select the set of indicators best representing urban vulnerability accordingly to three criteria: expert’s preferences, goodness of fit, and robustness. Based on an assessment framework previously developed, VisualUVAM affords an evaluation of urban vulnerability in Spain at regional, provincial, and municipal scales, whose results demonstrate the effect of the governmental structure of a territory over the vulnerability of the assessed entities. Full article
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Article
An Integrated Indicator System and Evaluation Model for Regional Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2183; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072183 - 11 Apr 2019
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1645
Abstract
Regional sustainable development has become a worldwide issue in recent years, but there is no single and universally agreed method of choosing indicators for sustainable development assessment. The subjective selection of indicators will affect the results of assessment. Each evaluation method has its [...] Read more.
Regional sustainable development has become a worldwide issue in recent years, but there is no single and universally agreed method of choosing indicators for sustainable development assessment. The subjective selection of indicators will affect the results of assessment. Each evaluation method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the methods used to determine indicator weight also differ. Regional sustainable development is a complex system, which is difficult to evaluate objectively and scientifically using a single method. Therefore, a new integrated indicator system and evaluation model is constructed here to more accurately reflect regional sustainable development level. The indicator system and evaluation model were constructed using a case study of 17 cities in Shandong Province, China. The indicator system includes 4 subsystems, i.e., economy, society, resource, and environment. These indicators were selected through correlation analysis and discrimination analysis. A back propagation neural network was applied to evaluate the respective scores of the 4 subsystems. The comprehensive score for regional sustainable development was evaluated using the analytic hierarchy process with entropy correction. The results show that sustainable development levels in these 17 cities show a gradually decreasing trend from east to west and from coast to inland. Cities with an underdeveloped economy usually display poor levels of social development and serious environmental pollution. Through the improvement of indicator screening, evaluation model, and result correction, the error caused by a single evaluation method can be reduced significantly. This new methodology for indicator selection and comprehensive evaluation provides a new perspective for the assessment of regional sustainable development. Full article
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Article
Key Factors in the Success of Eco-Communities in Taiwan’s Countryside: The Role of Government, Partner, and Community Group
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041208 - 25 Feb 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1845
Abstract
The ideals of the successful implementation of an eco-community involve several key elements. This study used a literature review to clarify the key factors for the successful implementation of an eco-community and established the influence of these key elements through expert questionnaires. The [...] Read more.
The ideals of the successful implementation of an eco-community involve several key elements. This study used a literature review to clarify the key factors for the successful implementation of an eco-community and established the influence of these key elements through expert questionnaires. The results of the study showed that the most crucial part of building a successful eco-community is the community group, followed by the partners who assist the community, and finally the assistance and support of the government. The leader of a community plays the most critical role, followed by the community group, and community self-consciousness. In addition, if the community can establish partnerships with experts, scholars, nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit organizations, and construct a stable autonomous financial system, the eco-community is guaranteed to continue operating. Full article
Article
Sustainable Urban Development System Measurement Based on Dissipative Structure Theory, the Grey Entropy Method and Coupling Theory: A Case Study in Chengdu, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(1), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11010293 - 08 Jan 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 2995
Abstract
With the rapid advancement of urbanization, the sustainable development of the city has received more and more attention. The measurement of the sustainable development of a city can provide an important reference for the development of the city. Therefore, this paper firstly constructs [...] Read more.
With the rapid advancement of urbanization, the sustainable development of the city has received more and more attention. The measurement of the sustainable development of a city can provide an important reference for the development of the city. Therefore, this paper firstly constructs an index system for five dimensions: society, the economy, the environment, resources, and technology. Then, a sustainable development measurement model is established based on dissipative structure theory, grey entropy and coupling theory, and the evolution trend and coordinated development of the city are measured. Finally, Chengdu, an important central city in the western region of China, is selected for sustainable development measurement research, from which it was found that the city became more sustainable and more orderly, the development level was constantly improving, and the coordination was continuously improving, which was consistent with the actual situation and indicated that the proposed measurement model could effectively measure and evaluate sustainable urban development. Full article
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2018

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Concept Paper
Rethinking Performance Gaps: A Regenerative Sustainability Approach to Built Environment Performance Assessment
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4829; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124829 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1865
Abstract
Globally, there are significant challenges to meeting built environment performance targets. The gaps found between the predicted performance of new or retrofit buildings and their actual performance impede an understanding of how to achieve these targets. This paper points to the importance of [...] Read more.
Globally, there are significant challenges to meeting built environment performance targets. The gaps found between the predicted performance of new or retrofit buildings and their actual performance impede an understanding of how to achieve these targets. This paper points to the importance of reliable and informative building performance assessments. We argue that if we are to make progress in achieving our climate goals, we need to reframe built environment performance with a shift to net positive goals, while recognising the equal importance of human and environmental outcomes. This paper presents a simple conceptual framework for built environment performance assessment and identifies three performance gaps: (i) Prediction Gap (e.g., modelled and measured energy, water consumption); (ii) Expectations Gap (e.g., occupant expectations in pre- and post-occupancy evaluations); and, (iii) Outcomes Gap (e.g., thermal comfort measurements and survey results). We question which of measured or experienced performance is the ‘true’ performance of the built environment. We further identify a “Prediction Paradox”, indicating that it may not be possible to achieve more accurate predictions of building performance at the early design stage. Instead, we propose that Performance Gaps be seen as creative resources, used to improve the resilience of design strategies through continuous monitoring. Full article
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Article
Evaluation on Construction Level of Smart City: An Empirical Study from Twenty Chinese Cities
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3348; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093348 - 19 Sep 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1734
Abstract
Currently, the construction of smart cities (SCs) has been booming all over the world and it also acts as a useful tool for the Chinese government to promote the sustainable development of cities. Identifying the aspects of SCs and systematically evaluating the level [...] Read more.
Currently, the construction of smart cities (SCs) has been booming all over the world and it also acts as a useful tool for the Chinese government to promote the sustainable development of cities. Identifying the aspects of SCs and systematically evaluating the level of smart city construction are significant for urban management and healthy development. Based on the bibliometrics and Chinese experience with smart city construction, this paper firstly proposes dividing the smart city system into four subsystems, that is, smart infrastructure, smart economy, smart governance and smart participation and to establish their corresponding indicator systems. Information entropy method and grey correlation analysis are then adopted to determine the weight of each indicator and evaluate the city smartness level respectively. After that, 20 major cities in China are taken as cases for evaluation. The evaluation is performed on the grey correlation degree of these cities and their variations between 2012 and 2016. Through the further comparison of regional distribution and clustering analysis of these cities, the paper points out the general characteristics and level differences of smart city construction in China. Finally, some policy implications are proposed to improve the smartness level for Chinese cities. Full article
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