Special Issue "Urban Pathways: Transition towards Low-Carbon, Sustainable Cities in Emerging Economies"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Oliver Lah
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Guest Editor
Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy
Interests: climate change; political science; international cooperation
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Ralph Sims
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Massey University, Tennent Dr, Palmerston North 4474, New Zealand
Interests: climate policy; sector integration; energy; transport
Prof. Shobhakar Dhakal
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Asian Institute of Technology (AIT), 58 Moo 9,Paholyothin Highway Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand
Interests: cities and climate change; energy; regional integration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urbanization is increasing rapidly, particularly in emerging economies. While an enabler of economic growth, one of the consequences of unplanned urbanization is highly inefficient urban services, in particular, energy, transport, and waste management. Cities currently account for about 70 percent of energy consumption and energy related greenhouse gas emissions. Hence, the integration of urban energy, transport, and resource sectors in the delivery on the NDCs is vital for the success of global climate change mitigation efforts. This is a vital objective of the New Urban Agenda, and this Special Issue will aim to help in bringing together climate change and urban development objectives, by exploring the links between urban and national actions. This Special Issue will build directly on the commitments delivered by countries as part of the UNFCCC and Habitat III processes. The Special Issue will outline key issues and barriers and showcase local implementation concepts from key emerging economies. Papers should include aspects of the political, technological, socio-economic, and financial viability of sustainable development solutions in emerging economies.  

Mr. Oliver Lah
Prof. Ralph Sims
Prof. Shobhakar Dhakal
Guest Editors

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 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

  • climate action

  • urbanizations

  • emerging economies

  • policy processes

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Life-Cycle Assessment of Brazilian Transport Biofuel and Electrification Pathways
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226332 - 11 Nov 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Biofuels and electrification are potential ways to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector, although not without limitations or associated problems. This paper describes a life-cycle analysis (LCA) of the Brazilian urban passenger transport system. The LCA considers various scenarios of a [...] Read more.
Biofuels and electrification are potential ways to reduce CO2 emissions from the transport sector, although not without limitations or associated problems. This paper describes a life-cycle analysis (LCA) of the Brazilian urban passenger transport system. The LCA considers various scenarios of a wholesale conversion of car and urban bus fleets to 100% electric or biofuel (bioethanol and biodiesel) use by 2050 compared to a business as usual (BAU) scenario. The LCA includes the following phases of vehicles and their life: fuel use and manufacturing (including electricity generation and land-use emissions), vehicle and battery manufacturing and end of life. The results are presented in terms of CO2, nitrous oxides (NOx) and particulate matter (PM) emissions, electricity consumption and the land required to grow the requisite biofuel feedstocks. Biofuels result in similar or higher CO2 and air pollutant emissions than BAU, while electrification resulted in significantly lower emissions of all types. Possible limitations found include the amount of electricity consumed by electric vehicles in the electrification scenarios. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Development of an Index of Transport-User Vulnerability, and its Application in Enschede, The Netherlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2388; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072388 - 09 Jul 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
An index of accessibility-based vulnerability is created based on a definition of transport-user vulnerability regarding transport accessibility created for the EMPOWER project, in order to assess the project’s key performance indicator of the inclusion of vulnerable people in the project’s scheme. The objective [...] Read more.
An index of accessibility-based vulnerability is created based on a definition of transport-user vulnerability regarding transport accessibility created for the EMPOWER project, in order to assess the project’s key performance indicator of the inclusion of vulnerable people in the project’s scheme. The objective of the index is to account for various individual vulnerability aspects, but also for the ‘multi-dimensionality’ of vulnerability, i.e. individuals may be vulnerable because of one specific aspect (e.g., disability), or they may be vulnerable because of multiple aspects which, if assessed in isolation, wouldn’t classify the individual as vulnerable. Users of the project scheme in the Dutch city of Enschede are surveyed on, inter alia, their vulnerability based on this definition, according to their income, mobility budget, physical mobility, age, gender, living situation, nation of birth, and education. According to individual questions, 1% to 54% (single parents and females, respectively) of respondents have some level of vulnerability. According to the index, 23–36% of respondents can be considered to be vulnerable. Suitably modified for local conditions, the index is relevant to cities, especially quickly developing cities where congestion reduction is or has been a priority, insofar as it offers a way of measuring and monitoring the vulnerability of the users of their transport system. Finally, steps to adapt the index to other settings (cities or countries) are discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Emissions from Regional Freight Delivery under Different Urban Development Scenarios
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041188 - 15 Apr 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study aims to develop a regional freight-shipment model to forecast freight movement within freight-delivery regions and examine the relationship between regional freight-shipment activities and the related environmental problems such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A methodology for freight distribution and [...] Read more.
This study aims to develop a regional freight-shipment model to forecast freight movement within freight-delivery regions and examine the relationship between regional freight-shipment activities and the related environmental problems such as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. A methodology for freight distribution and collection within geographical regions is proposed, in which a significantly large number of freight demand or supply points needs to be served. This problem can be considered as a large-scale vehicle routing problem and solved by an asymptotic approximation method. A set of closed-form formulas is constructed to obtain a near-optimal total travel distance of a fleet of trucks from multiple distribution centers. A case study is conducted to forecast regional freight-delivery cost in the selected metropolitan areas in the United States. Numerical results under three urban development scenarios show that the proposed methodology can be used to estimate the total cost and related vehicle emissions effectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Pattern of Residential Carbon Dioxide Emissions in a Rapidly Urbanizing Chinese City and Its Mismatch Effect
Sustainability 2018, 10(3), 827; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10030827 - 15 Mar 2018
Abstract
Cities undergoing rapid urbanization are characterized by quick successions of spatiotemporal patterns, meaning that traditional methods cannot adequately assess carbon emissions from urban residential areas, which prevents the study of spatial mismatch. Therefore, this study utilizes night-time lights to construct a spatial emissions [...] Read more.
Cities undergoing rapid urbanization are characterized by quick successions of spatiotemporal patterns, meaning that traditional methods cannot adequately assess carbon emissions from urban residential areas, which prevents the study of spatial mismatch. Therefore, this study utilizes night-time lights to construct a spatial emissions model that enables the analysis of the evolution of emissions patterns in China. The results indicate that, compared to the traditional method, the spatial modeling based on night-time lights reflects the spatial emissions trajectories in a more timely and accurate manner in rapidly urbanizing cities. Additionally, we found a relatively low degree of spatial match between emissions and economic activities, with the former, which are greatly affected by urbanization, having a larger dynamism and instability than the latter. Such spatial mismatch effect illustrates that policy makers should focus on factors beyond economics in order to reduce residential carbon emissions during China’s rapid urbanization process. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Low-Carbon Transport Policy in Four ASEAN Countries: Developments in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071217 - 13 Jul 2017
Cited by 8
Abstract
Emerging countries in Southeast Asia are facing considerable challenges in addressing rising motorisation and its negative impact on air quality, traffic, energy security, liveability, and greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the approach and status of sustainable, low-carbon transport [...] Read more.
Emerging countries in Southeast Asia are facing considerable challenges in addressing rising motorisation and its negative impact on air quality, traffic, energy security, liveability, and greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents a comparative analysis of the approach and status of sustainable, low-carbon transport policy in ASEAN countries and identifies differences and similarities. The methodology is based on a taxonomy of policy components as developed by Howlett and Cashore. The data come from comprehensive country studies for Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam and interviews with policymakers. We find that each country has a specific set of goals, objectives and targets that support sustainable transport, and, directly or indirectly, climate change mitigation. In terms of specific mechanisms and calibrations, which we analyse based on the Avoid−Shift−Improve approach, there are notable differences between the countries, for example in terms of fuel economy policy. Even though an initial response to climate change mitigation challenges is visible in these countries’ transport policies, much more effort is required to enable a transition to a transport system compatible with long-term climate change and sustainable development targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Climate Change Mitigation Pathways for Southeast Asia: CO2 Emissions Reduction Policies for the Energy and Transport Sectors
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1160; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9071160 - 03 Jul 2017
Cited by 9
Abstract
As of June 2017, 150 countries have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement. This agreement calls for, among other things, strong reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and beyond. This paper reviews the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) plans of six Association of Southeast [...] Read more.
As of June 2017, 150 countries have ratified the Paris Climate Agreement. This agreement calls for, among other things, strong reductions in CO2 emissions by 2030 and beyond. This paper reviews the Nationally Determined Contribution (NDCs) plans of six Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries and compares their current and projected future CO2 levels across sectors, and their stated targets in the context of their economic and demographic situations. This comparison reveals wide variations in the types of targets, with the “ambition” level changing as the perspective changes from total CO2 to CO2/capita and per unit gross domestic product (GDP). We also review national plans as stated in NDCs and find that while there are many types of policies listed, few are quantified and no attempts are made to score individual or groups of policies for their likelihood in achieving stated targets. We conclude that more analysis is needed to better understand the possible impacts of current policies and plans on CO2 emissions, and whether current plans are adequate to hit targets. Considerations on better aligning targets are also provided. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Continuity and Change: Dealing with Political Volatility to Advance Climate Change Mitigation Strategies—Examples from the Transport Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(6), 959; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9060959 - 06 Jun 2017
Cited by 6
Abstract
As the recent withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement has shown, political volatility directly affects climate change mitigation policies, in particular in sectors, such as transport associated with long-term investments by individuals (vehicles) and by local and national governments (urban [...] Read more.
As the recent withdrawal of the United States from the Paris Agreement has shown, political volatility directly affects climate change mitigation policies, in particular in sectors, such as transport associated with long-term investments by individuals (vehicles) and by local and national governments (urban form and transport infrastructure and services). There is a large potential for cost-effective solutions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and to improve the sustainability of the transport sector that is yet unexploited. Considering the cost-effectiveness and the potential for co-benefits, it is hard to understand why efficiency gains and CO2 emission reductions in the transport sector are still lagging behind this potential. Particularly interesting is the fact that there is substantial difference among countries with relatively similar economic performances in the development of their transport CO2 emissions over the past thirty years despite the fact that these countries had relatively similar access to efficient technologies and vehicles. This study aims to explore some well-established political science theories on the particular example of climate change mitigation in the transport sector in order to identify some of the factors that could help explain the variations in success of policies and strategies in this sector. The analysis suggests that institutional arrangements that contribute to consensus building in the political process provide a high level of political and policy stability which is vital to long-term changes in energy end-use sectors that rely on long-term investments. However, there is no direct correlation between institutional structures, e.g., corporatism and success in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector. Environmental objectives need to be built into the consensus-based policy structure before actual policy progress can be observed. This usually takes longer in consensus democracies than in politically more agile majoritarian policy environments, but the policy stability that builds on corporatist institutional structures is likely to experience changes over a longer-term, in this case to a shift towards low-carbon transport that endures. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Sustainability of Low Carbon City Initiatives in China: A Comprehensive Literature Review
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4342; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164342 - 11 Aug 2019
Abstract
Low carbon city (LCC) has emerged as the latest sustainable urbanism strategy in China as a response to climate change impacts. Yet, minimal scholarships have explored the sustainability of the urban planning model towards understanding the complexity of the components. Using a two-step [...] Read more.
Low carbon city (LCC) has emerged as the latest sustainable urbanism strategy in China as a response to climate change impacts. Yet, minimal scholarships have explored the sustainability of the urban planning model towards understanding the complexity of the components. Using a two-step triangulation approach, this paper presents a structured overview of the LCC initiative in China as it relates to the transition to a sustainability paradigm. The data collection approach includes a comprehensive review of 238 articles on LCC to identify and categorize LCC components. Furthermore, discourse and framing analysis was used to develop and synthesize a conceptual framework for assimilating the components into four core sustainable development principles: Integration, implementation, equity, and scalability and replicability. The results indicate that LCC development in China is bias towards economic and environmental technological innovations and strategies. Additionally, several critical sustainability issues of LCC pilots were identified. These include a lack of social equity planning concerns for the most vulnerable population, dearth of social reforms that cater to lifestyle and behavioral change, top-down planning and decision-making processes, a technocratic rationalization planning approach, inconsistent LCC targets on inter-generational justice concerns, absence of an effective national “sharing and learning” city–city network system, and several barriers to implementation. We conclude that the applied theoretical and conceptual inquiry into the field of LCC is pertinent to mitigate climate change and achieve sustainable urban development. Full article
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