E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Engineering and Science".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2018)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Jukka Heinonen

University of Iceland Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering VR-II, Hjardarhagi 2-6, 107 Reykjavík, Iceland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Sustainable built environment, life cycle assessments, carbon footprinting, sustainable urban development, built environment life cycle economics
Guest Editor
Dr. Juudit Ottelin

Department of Built Environment, Aalto University, 02150 Espoo, Finland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental engineering; EE IO analysis; life cycle assessment
Guest Editor
Dr. András Reith

Mérték Group, Advanced Building and Urban Design (ABUD), 38. Kisfaludy street, H – 1082 Budapest, Hungary
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable building and urban design; green rating assessment; urban energy modelling; energy efficiency of the built environment; occupant behaviour

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the rapidly urbanizing world, the aim of developing our cities and other human settlements to be more sustainable has become extremely important. While many technological solutions increase the energy and material efficiencies of cities, it has been suggested that the rate is not rapid enough to exceed the impact of the increasing consumption of goods and services on greenhouse gas emissions, resource consumption, and environmental degradation in general. In this Special Issue, we call for papers with visions that go beyond "doing less bad" to "doing more good" for the environment. The broad topic is the transition from current to low-impact and further to regenerative cities or and other human settlements and buildings. "Regenerative" refers here to actions, policies and technologies that have a net-positive impact on the environment.
 
We welcome especially assessments from the "footprint family", meaning carbon, material, biodiversity, ecological, etc., footprint assessments with life cycle perspective. We welcome assessments that depict the present situation, and empirical and modelling studies that include improvements to the state of the environment. For example, studies on carbon balance of human settlements are welcomed. We also encourage authors to address the special challenges and possible solutions to bridge the gap between regenerative buildings and city scale. We also welcome conceptual and theoretical papers, as well as methodological papers. We encourage authors to draw visionary policy implications that go beyond the current “green” or “sustainable" city and building  concepts that, often, actually present only minor improvements or rely only on relative, not absolute, improvement on the environment. The following list of topics is in no way exhaustive and is intended to inspire. Potential topics include:

- Regenerative human settlement concepts
- Carbon, material, biodiversity, ecological and other footprint assessments of present situation in various types of cities and other human settlements
- Carbon balance of human settlements
- Impacts of land-use change
- Carbon sequestration in the built environment
- Regenerative solutions in the built environment
- Carbon negative technologies in the built environment
- Assessment method development
- Environmental policy-making

Papers presenting research results with sound academic contributions and high societal impact potential are particularly welcomed.

Prof. Dr. Jukka Heinonen
Dr. Juudit Ottelin
Dr. András Reith
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 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 monthly 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 1400 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.

Published Papers (7 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-7
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle The Use of Big Data in Regenerative Planning
Sustainability 2018, 10(10), 3668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10103668
Received: 9 August 2018 / Revised: 7 October 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 13 October 2018
PDF Full-text (5913 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the increasing significance of Big Data sources and their reliability for studying current urban development processes, new possibilities have appeared for analyzing the urban planning of contemporary cities. At the same time, the new urban development paradigm related to regenerative sustainability requires
[...] Read more.
With the increasing significance of Big Data sources and their reliability for studying current urban development processes, new possibilities have appeared for analyzing the urban planning of contemporary cities. At the same time, the new urban development paradigm related to regenerative sustainability requires a new approach and hence a better understanding of the processes changing cities today, which will allow more efficient solutions to be designed and implemented. It results in the need to search for tools which will allow more advanced analyses while assessing the planning projects supporting regenerative development. Therefore, in this paper, the authors study the role of Big Data retrieved from sensor systems, social media, GPS, institutional data, or customer and transaction records. The study includes an enquiry into how Big Data relates to the ecosystem and to human activities, in supporting the development of regenerative human settlements. The aim of the study is to assess the possibilities created by Big Data-based tools in supporting regenerative design and planning and the role they can play in urban projects. In order to do this, frameworks allowing for the assessment of planning projects were analyzed according to their potential to support a regenerative approach. This has been followed by an analysis of the accessibility and reliability of the data sources. Finally, Big Data-based projects were mapped upon aspects of regenerative planning according to the introduced framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle GHG Emissions Reduction through Urban Planners’ Improved Control over Earthworks: A Case Study in Finland
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2859; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082859
Received: 20 June 2018 / Revised: 4 August 2018 / Accepted: 9 August 2018 / Published: 11 August 2018
PDF Full-text (838 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most climate change mitigation schemes in urban planning concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the distant future by altering the urban form and encouraging more sustainable behaviour. However, to reach climate change mitigation targets, a more immediate reduction in GHG emissions
[...] Read more.
Most climate change mitigation schemes in urban planning concentrate on reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the distant future by altering the urban form and encouraging more sustainable behaviour. However, to reach climate change mitigation targets, a more immediate reduction in GHG emissions is also needed as well as a reduction in GHG emissions in other fields. This article evaluates the important role of earthworks in the prompt and substantial reduction required for GHG emissions. The research includes a single case study and three focus group interviews. The results of the case study reveal the magnitude of possible emission reductions through urban planners’ control over earthworks, whereas the findings of the focus groups shed light on the relevance of the findings beyond the single case. Three urban planning solutions were implemented in the case area to reduce GHG emissions from earth construction, resulting in the saving of 2360 tonnes of CO2 emissions. Notable savings were also achieved in other emission categories. Such a successful management of rock and soil material flows requires a strong vision from the urban planner, cooperation among many different actors, and smart decisions in multiple planning phases. Furthermore, numerical data is needed to confirm the environmental benefits if the coordination of earthworks is to be widely included in regional climate change mitigation strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Creating Green Space Sustainability through Low-Budget and Upcycling Strategies
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1857; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061857
Received: 14 April 2018 / Revised: 28 May 2018 / Accepted: 29 May 2018 / Published: 3 June 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1964 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Frugality is a core notion of sustainability, and responsible resource management should be prioritized in urban planning and landscape architecture. Low-budget strategies as a deliberate means of creating valuable, attractive, well-used, sociable public spaces are recognized by some influential designers using the “Light,
[...] Read more.
Frugality is a core notion of sustainability, and responsible resource management should be prioritized in urban planning and landscape architecture. Low-budget strategies as a deliberate means of creating valuable, attractive, well-used, sociable public spaces are recognized by some influential designers using the “Light, cheap, quick” methodology. Unused spaces, just like objects and waste, can be creatively changed, reinvented with little resource input through a circular solution of upcycling. Case study methodology was predominantly used in the inquiry with three new parks, built after the year 2004, in Faro, Portugal. The study examined how the success rate and the current state of these public green areas correlates with the amount of financial resources invested in each of the projects. The case studies show key aspects in the building of the three spaces including: urban context, management and community participation. The success rate of a place is established based on user activity observations, user counts and questionnaires—conveyed amongst both experts and local residents. Results illustrate how low-budget strategies and limited use of funds and resources can be translated into a successful project of a public greenery. Comparative studies from Warsaw and Berlin further extend the discussion to the concept of upcycling as a sustainable solution for landscape architecture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Exploring the Potentials of ICT Tools for Human-Centric Regenerative Design
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041217
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (35950 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Aiming for sustainable buildings and cities is critical to achieving a future that is socially just, ecologically regenerative, culturally rich, and economically viable. However, our current concepts of sustainability often exclude the essential domains of data, information, and the knowledge relating to the
[...] Read more.
Aiming for sustainable buildings and cities is critical to achieving a future that is socially just, ecologically regenerative, culturally rich, and economically viable. However, our current concepts of sustainability often exclude the essential domains of data, information, and the knowledge relating to the relationship between buildings and people that inhabit them. Thus, the research questions at the core of this paper have been as follows: Can technologies and artificial intelligence (AI) be used to create systems that enhance relationships between buildings and inhabitants? Can social networks and natural interactions support further research relating to human-centric design tools for the built environment? The Human Observation Meta-Environment (HOME) project was developed to address this question. The ICT architecture has been tested to observe and collect human behaviour data within a sentient room at the Politecnico di Torino (IT), where the inhabitants were strategically aware of their behaviours. Methods of analysis included technologies related to the domain of AI (such as Natural Language Analysis, Computer Vision, Machine Learning and Deep Learning) that have been used in social network analysis in connection with the word ‘comfort’, and definitions resonate strongly with the realm of regenerative design. Results were used to further research the role of users that could serve as leverages to design (both spaces and related smart systems) according to actual user needs. People from very different disciplinary backgrounds interacted with the prototype in a workshop and provided stimuli for further considerations regarding the possible technological, psychological, cognitive, cultural, social, political, and aesthetical impacts of the use of these technologies inside sentient buildings. The paper enriches the discourse on how ICT data can be organised and read in a human-centric regenerative design process perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Practice and Outcomes of Applying Regenerative Development to a Large-Scale Project in Victoria, Australia
Sustainability 2018, 10(2), 460; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10020460
Received: 27 November 2017 / Revised: 5 February 2018 / Accepted: 6 February 2018 / Published: 9 February 2018
PDF Full-text (8307 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Regenerative development is one of the critical pathways or processes towards an ecological worldview and a built environment in synergy with the natural environment. This vision aims to restore and support environmental, social and economic flows from a systems perspective. While regenerative development
[...] Read more.
Regenerative development is one of the critical pathways or processes towards an ecological worldview and a built environment in synergy with the natural environment. This vision aims to restore and support environmental, social and economic flows from a systems perspective. While regenerative development has been discussed in theory and applied to some projects, very few studies have analysed the processes that support its emergence. Our study investigates the design process of an ongoing development project, “Seacombe West” in Victoria, Australia. It evaluates the design outputs, using the LENSES Framework (Living Environments in Natural, Social, and Economic Systems) which is specifically designed to facilitate the emergence of regenerative development thinking. The project included a series of four workshops that led to a set of guidelines that in turn were used to design a masterplan. We evaluate the resulting guidelines, the masterplan, and the experience of the participants through an online survey (70% response rate) and semi-structured interviews with key stakeholders. Our results show that using LENSES encouraged systems thinking and helps facilitate a transdisciplinary approach towards regenerative development. This evaluation provides insights into how regenerative development can emerge in projects and how the potential for net benefit can be embedded. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Graphical abstract

Open AccessArticle Is Automobile Dependence in Emerging Cities an Irresistible Force? Perspectives from São Paulo, Taipei, Prague, Mumbai, Shanghai, Beijing, and Guangzhou
Sustainability 2017, 9(11), 1953; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9111953
Received: 2 October 2017 / Revised: 19 October 2017 / Accepted: 19 October 2017 / Published: 27 October 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (299 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper analyses seven metropolitan regions that are all experiencing rapid motorisation and are perhaps appearing to capitulate to the automobile. Through 20 years of changes, evidenced in systematic data from the mid-1990s, a different perspective is found. None of the urban regions
[...] Read more.
This paper analyses seven metropolitan regions that are all experiencing rapid motorisation and are perhaps appearing to capitulate to the automobile. Through 20 years of changes, evidenced in systematic data from the mid-1990s, a different perspective is found. None of the urban regions appear near to or even capable of becoming automobile cities. Physical limits are already being reached that make higher levels of private motorised mobility very problematic if transport systems are to remain functional and the cities livable. These limits appear already to be reversing the decline in non-motorised modes and creating an upturn in transit systems, especially urban rail. That these cities have been able to either hold their own, or somewhat increase their share of total motorised mobility by transit over a 20-year period, is some indication that they are ‘hitting mobility walls’ much sooner in the motorisation path than cities in North America and Australia, which grew up with and were designed around the spatial needs of cars. Like many cities in the developed world that have shown a decoupling of car use and total passenger mobility from GDP growth from 1995 to 2005, there is now evidence that this is happening in less wealthy cities. This is important because it assists global and local goals for reduced CO2 from passenger transport, while allowing for economic progress. Such evidence suggests that automobile dependence is not an irresistible force in emerging economies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Open AccessArticle Consequential Implications of Municipal Energy System on City Carbon Footprints
Sustainability 2017, 9(10), 1801; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9101801
Received: 25 August 2017 / Revised: 28 September 2017 / Accepted: 29 September 2017 / Published: 5 October 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (920 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change mitigation is an important goal for cities globally. Energy production contributes more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and thus the mitigation potential of local municipal energy systems is important for cities to recognize. The purpose of the study
[...] Read more.
Climate change mitigation is an important goal for cities globally. Energy production contributes more than half of the global greenhouse gas emissions, and thus the mitigation potential of local municipal energy systems is important for cities to recognize. The purpose of the study is to analyze the role of local municipal energy systems in the consumption-based carbon footprint of a city resident. The research supplements the previous carbon footprint assessments of city residents with an energy system implication analysis. The study includes 20 of the largest cities in Finland. The main findings of the study are as follows: first, the municipal combined heat and power energy system contributes surprisingly little (on average 18%) to the direct carbon footprint of city residents, supporting some previous findings about a high degree of outsourcing of emissions in cities in developed countries. Second, when indirect emissions (i.e., the implication of a municipal energy system on the national energy system) are allocated to city residents, the significance of the local energy system increases substantially to 32%. Finally, without the benefits of local combined heat and power technology based electricity consumption, the carbon footprints would have increased by an additional 13% to 47% due to the emissions from compensatory electricity production. The results also show that the direct application of consumption-based carbon assessment would imply a relatively low significance for municipal energy solutions. However, with a broader understanding of energy system dynamics, the significance of municipal energy increases substantially. The results emphasize the importance of the consequential energy system implications, which is typically left out of the evaluations of consumption-based carbon footprints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transition towards Low-Impact and Regenerative Human Settlements)
Figures

Figure 1

Back to Top