Special Issue "Understanding the Economic Value of Nature Base Solutions (NBS) towards Sustainable Built Environments"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Carlos Oliveira Cruz
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DECivil), University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal;
Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: public–private partnerships; construction management; project appraisal; green infrastructure
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Cristina Matos Silva
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Georesources, Instituto Superior Técnico, Universidade de Lisboa, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: green infrastructure; green roofs; green walls; ecosystem services; energy and water efficiency; rainwater harvesting; economic evaluation of green infrastructure; payback period
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The growth of cities is defying urban developers and decision makers, and changes in the future climate conditions are making cities more vulnerable. Resilient adaptive measures include nature-based solutions (NBS) that provide additional ecosystem services when implemented at a large scale. There are several opportunities for ecosystem and urban regeneration with NBS, such as pollution reduction, climate regulation, water flow and erosion regulation, flood prevention and resilience to other natural hazards, water purification and treatment, coastal and wildlife protection, soundscape regulation, biodiversity conservation and habitat creation, and improvement of health and quality of life. In a complementary way, NBS can provide economic development and provision of recreational spaces for social activities.

NBS are developed upon the understanding of nature and natural processes, fostering the preservation of ecosystems integrity, improvement of their sustainable management, and creation of new ecosystems. The EU Research and Innovation policy agenda on NBS and Re-Naturing Cities identified four main goals that can be addressed by NBS: (i) enhance sustainable cities, (ii) restore degraded systems, (iii) develop adaptation and mitigation to climate change, and (iv) improve risk management and resilience.

Practitioners and academics are still struggling to fully grasp the potential long-term impacts of such solutions, and there is a growing wave of research trying to determine the local and global impacts, and, also, the attached costs.

Monetizing these impacts is fundamental to start to understand the economic value of these solutions, the potential interest for private and public investors, and the need for incentives to facilitate their adoption at the urban scale.

This Special Issue should cover the following items:

  • Innovative NBS
  • Calculation of direct and indirect benefits
  • Long-term impacts
  • Life cycle costing of NBS
  • Innovation in valuation techniques (CBA)
  • Incentives and financing of NBS

Dr. Carlos Oliveira Cruz
Dr. Cristina Matos Silva
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 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

  • nature-based solutions
  • cost-benefit analysis
  • green infrastructure
  • life cycle cost
  • economic evaluation

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Valuing Ecosystem Services at the Urban Level: A Critical Review
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031129 - 22 Jan 2021
Abstract
This paper critically analyses the methodologies that can be adopted to value ecosystem services (ESs) at the urban level through a literature review. While literature on ES valuation has grown in recent years, its application to urban contexts is still limited. Twenty-five papers, [...] Read more.
This paper critically analyses the methodologies that can be adopted to value ecosystem services (ESs) at the urban level through a literature review. While literature on ES valuation has grown in recent years, its application to urban contexts is still limited. Twenty-five papers, which include 29 different case studies, carry out an economic valuation and have undergone an in-depth analysis. The papers have been selected out of 80 papers detected through keywords. Six different valuation methodologies have been employed in the case studies. The most common ESs valued at the urban level are air quality regulation, local climate regulation, carbon sequestration and storage, and aesthetic appreciation and inspiration for culture, art, and design. The methodologies recur with different frequencies in the valuation of ESs at the urban level. Choice modeling and contingent valuation methodologies are used to value a variety of ESs, including regulating, cultural, and supporting services. Other methodologies are used to value only specific ESs. The replacement cost and damage cost avoided methodologies are used for the assessment of regulation services only; the travel cost method and contingent valuation are used for cultural services only. The results indicate that the considered valuation methodologies show different levels of appropriateness with respect to specific ES categories. Therefore, there is a need to expand the application of valuation methodologies to capture the value of all ESs provided by natural resources, in order to protect and enhance them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Planning of Green Infrastructure for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change at a Regional Scale
Sustainability 2020, 12(24), 10525; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122410525 - 16 Dec 2020
Abstract
Green infrastructure has acquired greater importance in recent years in relation to climate change adaptation. Green infrastructure planning has been identified as a new and innovative means of land planning that can contribute to preventing the impacts of climate change. However, this has [...] Read more.
Green infrastructure has acquired greater importance in recent years in relation to climate change adaptation. Green infrastructure planning has been identified as a new and innovative means of land planning that can contribute to preventing the impacts of climate change. However, this has been explored more thoroughly in urban areas than at the regional scale. The present study proposes a methodology including multi-criteria evaluation techniques for assessing the ESS involved in the fight against climate change and for the spatial planning of multifunctional green infrastructure areas based on the results of this assessment. Application of the methodology for green infrastructure planning aimed at confronting climate change at landscape level in the region of Galicia (NW Spain) successfully delimited multifunctional green infrastructure zones. Results show that delimited zones have a higher provision potential for more ESS than protected natural areas and areas that are not part of the green infrastructure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Users’ Perceptions of Green Roofs and Green Walls: An Analysis of Youth Hostels in Lisbon, Portugal
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10136; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310136 - 04 Dec 2020
Abstract
Green roofs and green walls are a potential strategy to increase green spaces in the urban environment. These solutions bring multiple benefits to the cities at the economic and socio-environmental levels. However, from the point of view of private investors, green roofs and [...] Read more.
Green roofs and green walls are a potential strategy to increase green spaces in the urban environment. These solutions bring multiple benefits to the cities at the economic and socio-environmental levels. However, from the point of view of private investors, green roofs and green walls often have a negative financial evaluation. Concerning this, the quantification of the benefits according to building use and occupancy could be an important tool to assist the decision-making process and guarantee returns on investment. This study aims to support the decision-making process by managers and owners of youth hostels regarding green roofs and green walls implementation. Using a structured questionnaire, users’ perceptions were assessed through a five-point Likert scale. The survey was conducted in five youth hostels in Lisbon, Portugal. Analyses were performed in two phases. Firstly, using the original sample (n = 345), and subsequently grouping homogeneous individuals through cluster analysis. The results showed that most respondents support green infrastructure installation in the hostel and consider that these solutions could provide a greater sense of individual well-being and local aesthetic improvement. However, there is no strong evidence that green infrastructure solutions are considered a deciding factor to select local lodging, despite the fact that it can be a tiebreaker factor between two similar options. Furthermore, findings have shown that 90% of the respondents from Cluster 1 and 92% from Cluster 4 are probably not willing to pay higher daily rates for youth hostels that have green infrastructure solutions in place. On the other hand, 67% of the respondents from Cluster 2 were potentially willing to pay an additional amount. For the 345 respondents, the most preferred green infrastructure typologies are indoor living wall and the accessible green roof. Moreover, findings support the gender socialization and identity theory showing that women have a greater environmental concern compared to men. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Starting a Participative Approach to Develop Local Green Infrastructure; from Boundary Concept to Collective Action
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310107 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Flanders (Belgium) is one of the most densely populated regions in Europe. Intensive land use, widespread suburbanization, inadequate environmental qualities, and fragmentation everywhere deteriorate living conditions and put pressure on species and natural habitats. In the past, several governmental initiatives were launched to [...] Read more.
Flanders (Belgium) is one of the most densely populated regions in Europe. Intensive land use, widespread suburbanization, inadequate environmental qualities, and fragmentation everywhere deteriorate living conditions and put pressure on species and natural habitats. In the past, several governmental initiatives were launched to establish a coherent ecological network to improve the situation. Despite the set objectives, only a little progress was made. Therefore, to establish green infrastructure, a new approach that moves away from previous top-down and one-sided strategies is developed. Making use of Green Infrastructure as a boundary concept, interpretation was given through an open and participatory process. The core is the identification of common objectives (ecosystem services or other objectives/services), the selection of appropriate green infrastructure elements to support the services, and the co-design of a network taking the local socio-ecological realm into account. By applying the methodology in concrete urban and rural projects, we learned that establishing strong coalitions of stakeholders, obtaining and sharing reliable knowledge of the systems are key to an effective realization of green infrastructure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Suitability Analysis and Planning of Green Infrastructure in Montevideo, Uruguay
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9683; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229683 - 20 Nov 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Urban green infrastructure (UGI) has the potential to address a wide range of challenges associated with rapidly growing cities in a changing climate, while also providing multiple environmental, economic and social benefits. However, the location of projects is often determined according to a [...] Read more.
Urban green infrastructure (UGI) has the potential to address a wide range of challenges associated with rapidly growing cities in a changing climate, while also providing multiple environmental, economic and social benefits. However, the location of projects is often determined according to a single potential benefit rather than a set of benefits. Furthermore, while UGI is recognized as a successful strategy to support resilience in many cities around the world, it has not been implemented in Uruguay. This study develops a model to identify priority areas in need of green infrastructure in Montevideo, Uruguay. The GIS-based model, termed the “Green Infrastructure Suitability Model” (GISM) is based on a multi-criteria decision analysis approach and is similar in structure to land suitability analysis. The model considers a range of socioeconomic, biophysical and environmental factors to prioritize the need for UGI across the case-study region. Resulting suitability maps identify areas for multifunctional UGI localization in places where benefits can be maximized. The GISM has potential as a tool to support future planning for multifunctional UGI. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Airport Green Environment and Its Influence on Visitors’ Psychological Health and Behaviors
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7018; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247018 - 09 Dec 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study uncovered the influence of an airport’s green physical environment on visitors’ psychological responses, affective responses, and loyalty behaviors as well as to build a sturdy theorization that related to the psychological resilience, attitude, satisfaction, brand-self connection, and loyalty for the airport. [...] Read more.
This study uncovered the influence of an airport’s green physical environment on visitors’ psychological responses, affective responses, and loyalty behaviors as well as to build a sturdy theorization that related to the psychological resilience, attitude, satisfaction, brand-self connection, and loyalty for the airport. Based on a quantitative approach, our findings provided insight that a green physical environment affected the psychological resilience considerably. Moreover, such association increased a visitor’s positive attitude, satisfaction, and brand-self connection with the creation of loyalty intentions. The prominent role of attitude in building loyalty intentions was unearthed. Our finding from a metric invariance test further showed that gender moderated the magnitude of the effect of satisfaction and brand-self connection on loyalty intentions. The study variables’ role of mediating effect was also recognizable. Overall, the present study demonstrated the criticality of a green built environment and its role in explicating visitor responses/behaviors in the airport context in a successful manner. Full article
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