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Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2020) | Viewed by 35138

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Architecture, Building And Planning, University of Melbourne, Parkville VIC 3010, Australia
Interests: regenerative development; biomimicry; biophilia; urban greening; placemaking; community empowerment; carbon zero+

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Guest Editor
School of Architecture, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington 6012, New Zealand
Interests: regenerative urban design; biomimicry; climate change adaptation; nature-based solutions and ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

To address converging ecological, climatic, and social issues humanity will face in coming decades, we urgently need to explore more complex, nuanced, and collaborative ways of working across built environment disciplines. It is clear that the way we build and live in our cities must change rapidly, particularly given that the growing human population is now mostly urbanized. Although cities occupy only approximately 3% of the global land area, they are large consumers of ecosystem services and are typically sites of tremendous concentrations of energy use, water use, materials, greenhouse gas emissions, and other pollutants. At the same time, our cities are also places of concentrations of wealth, power, and innovation.

How can we harness these converging and conflicting urban concentrations to chart a positive path towards a thriving future; a regenerative future? One where the built infrastructure, the designed spaces, and buildings themselves integrate with, repair, and contribute to living ecologies. This Special Issue challenges researchers to collaborate across disciplines, work together to investigate how cities could contribute to, and benefit, the socio-ecological system. Authors are asked to support papers with rich case studies, research on processes, approaches, and strategies that are being used in practice. This Special Issue is looking both for rigor and pragmatic experimentation, including lived application of tools, concepts, and examples of holistic sustainable development (including socio, cultural, political, and economic aspects), eco-cities, urban greenery, biophilia, biomimicry, and related strategies framed within a regenerative paradigm.

Dr. Dominique Hes
Dr. Maibritt Pedersen Zari
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 2400 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

  • cities in socio-ecological systems
  • regenerative development
  • eco-cities
  • urban green–blue space design
  • nature-based solutions
  • biophilia
  • biomimicry
  • transdisciplinary practice
  • community engagement

Published Papers (7 papers)

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22 pages, 3661 KiB  
Article
Ecosystem Services Assessment Tools for Regenerative Urban Design in Oceania
by Fabian Delpy, Maibritt Pedersen Zari, Bethanna Jackson, Rubianca Benavidez and Thomas Westend
Sustainability 2021, 13(5), 2825; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13052825 - 05 Mar 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 6433
Abstract
Tools that spatially model ecosystem services offer opportunities to integrate ecology into regenerative urban design. However, few of these tools are designed for assessing ecosystem services in cities, meaning their application by designers is potentially limited. This research reviews and compares a range [...] Read more.
Tools that spatially model ecosystem services offer opportunities to integrate ecology into regenerative urban design. However, few of these tools are designed for assessing ecosystem services in cities, meaning their application by designers is potentially limited. This research reviews and compares a range of ecosystem services assessment tools to find those that are most suited for the urban context of Oceania. The tool classification includes considerations of type of input and output data, time commitment, and necessary skills required. The strengths and limitations of the most relevant tools are further discussed alongside illustrative case studies, some collected from literature and one conducted as part of this research in Wellington, Aotearoa using the Land Utilisation and Capability Indicator (LUCI) tool. A major finding of the research is that from the 95 tools reviewed, only four are judged to be potentially relevant for urban design projects. These are modelling tools that allow spatially explicit visualisation of biophysical quantification of ecosystem services. The ecosystem services assessed vary among tools and the outputs’ reliability is often highly influenced by the user’s technical expertise. The provided recommendations support urban designers and architects to choose the tool that best suits their regenerative design project requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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22 pages, 5413 KiB  
Article
From Eco-Urbanism to Eco-Fusion: An Augmented Multi-Scalar Framework in Sustainable Urbanism
by Ali Cheshmehzangi, Andrew Flynn, May Tan-Mullins, Linjun Xie, Wu Deng, Eugenio Mangi and Weixuan Chen
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 2373; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13042373 - 23 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3676
Abstract
This paper introduces the new concept of “eco-fusion” through an exploratory case study project. It suggests the importance of multi-scalar practice in the broader field of eco-urbanism. This study introduces eco-fusion as a multiplexed paradigm, which is then discussed in two different development [...] Read more.
This paper introduces the new concept of “eco-fusion” through an exploratory case study project. It suggests the importance of multi-scalar practice in the broader field of eco-urbanism. This study introduces eco-fusion as a multiplexed paradigm, which is then discussed in two different development models. This paper first highlights the position of “eco” in urbanism by providing a brief account of key terms and how they relate to one another. It then points out the associations between eco-fusion and sustainable urban development. Through an exploratory case study example in China, the practical factors of eco-development are assessed. The study aims to provide a set of intermediate development stages while maintaining each spatial level’s interface in their own defined and distinguished contexts. The key objective is to consider integrating the natural and built environments, which is considered the best practice of eco-development in urbanism. This study’s findings highlight integrated methods in eco-urbanism and suggest new directions for eco-planning/eco-design strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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17 pages, 2482 KiB  
Article
Digital Twin Aided Sustainability and Vulnerability Audit for Subway Stations
by Sakdirat Kaewunruen, Shijie Peng and Olisa Phil-Ebosie
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7873; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12197873 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 55 | Viewed by 6897
Abstract
Digital twin (DT) or so-called ‘building information model (BIM)’ has brought great revolution to the current building industry. Its applications to life cycle management of buildings and infrastructures can further increase the social and economic benefits. As a complete information model, a digital [...] Read more.
Digital twin (DT) or so-called ‘building information model (BIM)’ has brought great revolution to the current building industry. Its applications to life cycle management of buildings and infrastructures can further increase the social and economic benefits. As a complete information model, a digital twin integrates the information of a project from different stages of the life cycle into a model, in order to facilitate better asset management and communicate through data visualizations with participants. This paper unprecedently introduces a digital-twin aided life cycle assessment to evaluate a subway station. Dadongmen subway station in Hefei was used as a case study. This new study benchmarks the cost estimation and carbon emission at each life cycle stage of the project. The cost in the construction stage of the project is the highest, accounting for 78% of the total cost. However, the amount of carbon emissions in the operation and maintenance is higher than the amount during the production of building materials, accounting for 67%. Among them, concrete only accounts for 43.66% of the carbon emissions of building materials, even though concrete was mainly used for constructing the metro station. Steel bar and aluminum alloy have carbon emissions of 29.73% and 17.64%, respectively. In addition, emerging risks of the subway stations can be identified. The digital twin has been used to illustrate vulnerability and potential solutions to emerging risks, and to assess the suitability through life cycle cost and carbon footprint. This initiative is relatively new to the industry. The new insight into life cycle assessment or LCA (especially carbon footprint over the life cycle) integrated with digital twin applications will enable sustainable development that will enhance resilience of metro railway systems globally. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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21 pages, 1765 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Co-Design with Older People: The Case of a Public Restorative Garden in Milan (Italy)
by Natalia Fumagalli, Elisabetta Fermani, Giulio Senes, Marco Boffi, Linda Pola and Paolo Inghilleri
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3166; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083166 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 5403
Abstract
The demographic aging and the evolution of lifestyles require new strategies to promote the well-being and active aging of elderly. Active aging depends on many factors: some of these are related to objective data such as physical environment, others are personal elements; it [...] Read more.
The demographic aging and the evolution of lifestyles require new strategies to promote the well-being and active aging of elderly. Active aging depends on many factors: some of these are related to objective data such as physical environment, others are personal elements; it is important to improve environmental physical factors to encourage personal attitudes to the green spaces in use. To design a small sustainable restorative green space in Milan, Italy, restorative garden design criteria are summarized in the first section of the paper and both social and environmental sustainability are considered. The methodology section describes the co-design process and how it was applied to include different older user groups in the design of the area. In the results section authors apply a taxonomy based on the four properties of restorative settings according to the Attention Restoration Theory by Kaplan (compatibility, being away, extent, fascination): this provides a unified system to classify users’ expectations and to describe the final project. The proposed co-design process combines social and environmental sustainability, as it provides designers an insight about the user’s experience in nature. Such information can be fruitfully integrated with professional competences about comfort aspects and environmental protection in order to improve the whole design project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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20 pages, 5631 KiB  
Article
Distribution of Urban Blue and Green Space in Beijing and Its Influence Factors
by Haoying Wang, Yunfeng Hu, Li Tang and Qi Zhuo
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062252 - 13 Mar 2020
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 4788
Abstract
Urban blue and green space is a key element supporting the normal operation of urban landscape ecosystems and guaranteeing and improving people's lives. In this paper, 97.1k photos of Beijing were captured by using web crawler technology, and the blue sky and green [...] Read more.
Urban blue and green space is a key element supporting the normal operation of urban landscape ecosystems and guaranteeing and improving people's lives. In this paper, 97.1k photos of Beijing were captured by using web crawler technology, and the blue sky and green vegetation objects in the photos were extracted by using the Image Cascade Network (ICNet) neural network model. We analyzed the distribution characteristics of the blue–green space area proportion index and its relationships with the background economic and social factors. The results showed the following. (1) The spatial distribution of Beijing's blue–green space area proportion index showed a pattern of being higher in the west and lower in the middle and east. (2) There was a positive correlation between the satellite remote sensing normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the proportion index of green space area, but the fitting degree of geospatial weighted regression decreased with an increasing analysis scale. (3) There were differences in the relationship between the housing prices in different regions and the proportion index of blue–green space, but the spatial fitting degree of the two increased with the increase of study scale. (4) There was a negative correlation between the proportion index of blue–green space and population density, and the low-population areas per unit blue–green space were mainly distributed in the south of the city and the urban fringe areas beyond the Third Ring Road. The urban blue–green space analysis that was constructed by this study provides new aspect for urban landscape ecology study, and the results proposed here also provide support for government decision-makers to optimize urban ecological layouts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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19 pages, 10469 KiB  
Article
Research on the Spatial Structure of County Greenway Network Based on Gravitation-Resistance Measurement—A Case Study of Ning’an in China
by Xue Jiang and Tianyu Zhao
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1352; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041352 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2445
Abstract
The ecological value, cultural value, economic value and industrial value of the county space, where a variety of human activities and natural ecological processes are carried out, act as the key elements considered in county spatial planning. However, there is a lack of [...] Read more.
The ecological value, cultural value, economic value and industrial value of the county space, where a variety of human activities and natural ecological processes are carried out, act as the key elements considered in county spatial planning. However, there is a lack of carrying space for integrating these values in the actual Chinese county construction. In this article, the construction of a county greenway network is based on multiple needs, such as ecological protection, characteristic landscape, leisure and recreation. The ecological, cultural and economic values of resources are taken as the basis of identifying a greenway network. We establish the gravitation-resistance model to measure network flow based on the attraction and resistance between resources. In particular, by means of network flow analysis and the geographic information system (GIS), the resistance and gravity are assigned to the resources and landscapes, respectively. The attraction between elements is then measured using the gravitation-resistance model. The distribution of resources and the trend of integration are analyzed by the combination of the centrality of resources and the ratio of supply to demand. Based on the analysis results of network flow, the paper puts forward a strategy for developing a county greenway network, and improves the scientific evaluation of the spatial resource. It provides a new perspective for the construction of a county greenway network. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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20 pages, 7250 KiB  
Brief Report
Multicase Study Comparison of Different Types of Flood-Resilient Buildings (Elevated, Amphibious, and Floating) at the Vistula River in Warsaw, Poland
by Łukasz Piątek and Magdalena Wojnowska-Heciak
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9725; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229725 - 21 Nov 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 4442
Abstract
The study aims to present, compare, and assess three different types of buildings considered as flood-resilient construction: building on piles (also called static elevation), amphibious building (also called can-float), and floating building in terms of their performance in the context of a semiwild [...] Read more.
The study aims to present, compare, and assess three different types of buildings considered as flood-resilient construction: building on piles (also called static elevation), amphibious building (also called can-float), and floating building in terms of their performance in the context of a semiwild river in a large city. The comparative multiple-case study covers three objects realized between 2014 and 2017 at the Vistula riverbanks in Warsaw, Poland: pile founded Beach Pavilion, amphibious Boulevard Pavilion, and floating Water Tram Terminal. The research was based on the blueprints analysis as well as on on-site observations in the phase of construction and operation and interviews. The general characteristic of the three resilient typologies has been confirmed in the study. The pile building has an almost unlimited range of operation regarding the water level on the cost of a relatively remote location from the river, but during an exceptionally extreme flood, it will be flooded. Floating buildings provide the best visual and physical contact with water, cannot be flooded, and may be relocated but access to them from land is hampered, especially during very low and very high water levels. Amphibious buildings seem to be a compromise of water proximity and reliability of operation in all circumstances. A closer look reveals technical problems with buoyant structures. In the case of the floating terminals, problems with mooring on the semiwild freezing river remain a challenge. The amphibious buildings are still in the phase of implementation, waiting for their first test in natural flooding conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Cities, Green-Blue Design and Regenerative Sustainability)
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