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Special Issue "Regenerative Buildings and Beyond: Scale Jumping Sustainable and Net-Zero Designs to Regenerative Neighbourhoods, Districts, Communities, and Cities"

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 2021) | Viewed by 7751

Special Issue Editors

Dr. András Reith
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
1. Advanced Building and Urban Design (ABUD), 99. Váci road, H – 1139 Budapest, Hungary
2. Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, University of Pécs, Pécs, Hungary
Interests: restorative; sustainable building and urban design; green rating assessment; urban energy modelling; energy efficiency of the built environment; occupant behaviour
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Assist. Prof. Dr. Clarice Bleil de Souza
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University, Bute Building, King Edward VII Av., CF10 3NB, Cardiff, Wales, UK
Interests: interdisciplinary design decision-making; computerized-evidence-based decision making; sustainable and regenerative design; user-centric building performance simulation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Regenerative design processes aim to go beyond the currently established sustainable and environmentally friendly paradigms. Regenerative design solutions positively contribute to the ecosystem in which they are inserted, restoring the environmental qualities of sites, people, and contexts beyond their original condition; an ambition that requires interactions between humans, nature, and the built environment in a constructive way towards designing for the well-being of all. The goal of this Special Issue is to showcase the highly complex field of regenerative scale jumping processes, in which a jump in scale beyond sustainable and net-zero buildings towards regenerative neighbourhoods, communities, cities, and districts is proposed. We invite authors with original research or review papers especially, but not exclusively, from the field of design, architecture, engineering, social science, educational science, cognitive science, ecological and economical science, or any other discipline involved in the built environment, to contribute to this comprehensive Special Issue. Interdisciplinary, transdisciplinary, and translational approaches are encouraged. We particularly welcome contributions that explore scale jumping analysis, solutions, and implementations within the following topics: 

  • Going beyond designing for occupants towards designing for the well-being of all;
  • Constructive interactions between buildings, neighbourhoods, districts, communities cities, and different stakeholders towards sustainable, restorative, and regenerative environments;
  • Making buildings, neighbourhoods, districts, communities, and cities human in the context of smart specialization;
  • Constructive nature-built environment interactions and cycles, from resilience to climate change, towards circular economy;
  • Tools, platforms, frameworks, and methods that enhance sustainable, restorative, and regenerative designs, operations, standards, policies, and legislation.

Assist. Prof. Dr. András Reith
Assist. Prof. Dr. Clarice Bleil de Souza
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 submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • net-zero design
  • restorative design
  • regenerative design
  • wellbeing
  • climate change
  • scale jumping
  • circular economy

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Article
Drivers and Barriers Leading to a Successful Paradigm Shift toward Regenerative Neighborhoods
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 5179; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13095179 - 06 May 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Regenerative sustainability is gaining great attention as an essential concept for a transformative process, a re-designed mindset shifting from the narrowed focus of considering particular aspects such as energy efficiency, renewable materials, or sustainable technology towards the creation of a self-regenerating social and [...] Read more.
Regenerative sustainability is gaining great attention as an essential concept for a transformative process, a re-designed mindset shifting from the narrowed focus of considering particular aspects such as energy efficiency, renewable materials, or sustainable technology towards the creation of a self-regenerating social and ecological system. Apart from being a vision of the future, regenerative sustainability has already been implemented successfully in individual projects, plans, and extensive strategies. The goals of this research are (1) to set up the conceptual framework for regenerative sustainability principles in the built environment; (2) to investigate and identify the drivers and barriers faced during the implementation of regenerative principles in the built environment; and (3) to identify gaps in the paradigm shift towards regenerative districts and macro-level projects. A multi-stage methodology was implemented. First, an in-depth literature review was conducted aiming to understand regenerative sustainability state of the art and define the key principles. Then, quantitative data analysis was conducted aiming to identify drivers and barriers of regenerative implementation in buildings following by semi-structured interviews with the representatives of regenerative buildings or districts. The step-by-step methodology resulted in the identified drivers of applying the regenerative principles, which are available financial incentives; marketing and sales benefits; improved companies/investors market image and competitive market advantage; reduced building lifecycle costs/effective use of energy and resources; enhancement buildings’ users’ well-being; and receiving building certification. The main barriers identified were lack of knowledge and experience working with regenerative materials and technologies by employees, consultants, and construction companies and usage of the available tools that enable such constructions; overall stakeholders’ culture and their resistance to changing their mindset toward a regenerative approach; inadequacy of national and international standards and legislation to address regenerative policies; and increased construction cost and time and lack of financial incentives. Ultimately, during the broad examination of the case studies, regenerative qualities served as a valuable insight to understand barriers and drivers at neighborhood and macro levels. Full article
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Article
Implementing Regenerative Standards in Politically Green Nordic Social Welfare States: Can Sweden Adopt the Living Building Challenge?
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13020738 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1103
Abstract
This paper focuses on understanding the place for regenerative building standards within the context of politically green Nordic social welfare states. To this end, it examines the particular case of adopting the Living Building Challenge (LBC), an iconic example of regenerative design standard, [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on understanding the place for regenerative building standards within the context of politically green Nordic social welfare states. To this end, it examines the particular case of adopting the Living Building Challenge (LBC), an iconic example of regenerative design standard, in Sweden. An extensive document analysis comparing the Swedish building and planning regulations as well as the Miljöbyggnad national certification system with the LBC, shows overlaps and barriers the standard can face when adopted in the country. Barriers are validated and further discussed in interviews with one of the few architects trying to achieve a certified LBC building in Sweden and Swedish public authorities from the Boverket (Swedish National Board of Housing, Building and Planning). Results from the document analysis and interviews show barriers to implement the LBC in Sweden are a product of a conscious political and ideological decision from the welfare state which considers infrastructure, and all its potential sustainable versions, a public good to be provided to all and funded by all. This premise contrasts with the self-sufficient approach promoted by the LBC, which in this particular aspect, can be interpreted as a threat to the welfare state. Full article
Article
The Indoor Microclimate of Prefabricated Buildings for Housing: Interaction of Environmental and Construction Measures
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su122310119 - 03 Dec 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 841
Abstract
The current knowledge shows that the interior microclimate of residential buildings that were constructed between 1950 and 1990 using panel construction, not only in the Czech Republic but also in Europe, and were renovated in accordance with applicable legislation related to thermal comfort [...] Read more.
The current knowledge shows that the interior microclimate of residential buildings that were constructed between 1950 and 1990 using panel construction, not only in the Czech Republic but also in Europe, and were renovated in accordance with applicable legislation related to thermal comfort and energy is significantly affected by gaseous pollutants. At increased concentrations and exposure times, these pollutants negatively affect the interior microclimate and at the same time have a negative effect on the health of users. After the implementation of remediation measures, which are mainly focused on improving the thermal technical parameters of the building envelope, the concentration of CO2 in the indoor environment increases. Carbon dioxide is one of the most important active factors and in terms of the quality of the interior microclimate, it is considered a reliable indicator of whether the interior microclimate can be considered a healthy and favorable environment. It is thus clear that the set and de facto systematized measures in the renovation of the housing stock from the second half of the 20th century has led to energy savings on the one hand, but on the other hand, this has contributed to the hygienic damage of housing units and an unhealthy interior microclimate. The paper aims to define the interaction of interdisciplinary contexts that have led to an increase in the indoor air quality (IAQ) of renovated residential panel buildings. Full article
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Review

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Review
State of the Art in Open Platforms for Collaborative Urban Design and Sharing of Resources in Districts and Cities
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094875 - 27 Apr 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
This work discusses recent developments in sharing economy concepts and collaborative co-design technology platforms applied in districts and cities. These developments are being driven both by new technological advances and by increased environmental awareness. The paper begins by outlining the state of the [...] Read more.
This work discusses recent developments in sharing economy concepts and collaborative co-design technology platforms applied in districts and cities. These developments are being driven both by new technological advances and by increased environmental awareness. The paper begins by outlining the state of the art in smart technology platforms for collaborative urban design, highlighting a number of recent examples. The case of peer-to-peer trading platforms applied in the energy sector is then used to illustrate how sharing economy concepts and their enabling technologies can accelerate efforts towards more sustainable urban environments. It was found that smart technology platforms can encourage peer-to-peer and collaborative activity, and may have a profound influence on the future development of cities. Many of the research and development projects in this area to date have focused on demonstrations at the building, neighbourhood, and local community scales. Scaling these sharing economy platforms up to the city scale and beyond has the potential to provide a number of positive environment impacts. However, significant technical and regulatory barriers to wider implementation exist, and realising this potential will require radical new approaches to the ownership and governance of urban infrastructure. This paper provides a concise overview of the state of the art in this emerging field, with the aim of identifying the most promising areas for further research. Full article
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Review
Urban Ecosystem-Level Biomimicry and Regenerative Design: Linking Ecosystem Functioning and Urban Built Environments
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 404; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010404 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2528
Abstract
By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will likely live in cities. Human settlements depend on resources, benefits, and services from ecosystems, but they also tend to deplete ecosystem health. To address this situation, a new urban design and planning approach is emerging. [...] Read more.
By 2050, 68% of the world’s population will likely live in cities. Human settlements depend on resources, benefits, and services from ecosystems, but they also tend to deplete ecosystem health. To address this situation, a new urban design and planning approach is emerging. Based on regenerative design, ecosystem-level biomimicry, and ecosystem services theories, it proposes designing projects that reconnect urban space to natural ecosystems and regenerate whole socio-ecosystems, contributing to ecosystem health and ecosystem services production. In this paper, we review ecosystems as models for urban design and review recent research on ecosystem services production. We also examine two illustrative case studies using this approach: Lavasa Hill in India and Lloyd Crossing in the U.S.A. With increasing conceptualisation and application, we argue that the approach contributes positive impacts to socio-ecosystems and enables scale jumping of regenerative practices at the urban scale. However, ecosystem-level biomimicry practices in urban design to create regenerative impact still lack crucial integrated knowledge on ecosystem functioning and ecosystem services productions, making it less effective than potentially it could be. We identify crucial gaps in knowledge where further research is needed and pose further relevant research questions to make ecosystem-level biomimicry approaches aiming for regenerative impact more effective. Full article
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