Special Issue "Urban Legacies of the Late 20th Century"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Eduardo Medeiros
Guest Editor
DINÂMIA'CET, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Iscte – Lisbon University Institute, 1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: urban and regional development and planning; territorial cohesion; territorial impact assessment; territorial cooperation; spatial planning
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Paulo Tormenta Pinto
Guest Editor
DINÂMIA'CET, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Iscte – Lisbon University Institute, 1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: architecture; urban planning and urban studies
Dr. Ana Brandão
Guest Editor
DINÂMIA'CET, Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies, Iscte – Lisbon University Institute, 1649-026 Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: urban design; public space; urban planning and urban studies

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue will comprise papers covering a wide range of aspects related to the legacies of the late 20th century urban policies and transformations.

The late 20th century featured an optimistic feeling about social and economic models of the western democracies, which was described by Francis Fukuyama in 1992 as “the end of History”. The move to a post-industrial society, the growth of the tertiary sector of the economy, the impacts of new technologies, and the widespread use of the internet strengthened globalization and introduced new challenges to the world economy.

Since then, urban mega-projects have become more and more strategic in processes of urban and regional change, e.g., the organization of mega-events (such as the Olympics, Expo, Football World Cup, as well as the European Capital of Culture), the redevelopment of large brownfields, the development of new cultural and sport venues, the construction of new infrastructures, the growth of real estate and tourism sectors, as well as the international repositioning of cities and regions.

The growing interest in mega-projects and mega-events was also influenced by a strengthening and urban entrepreneurial culture in many cities. In most cases, the transformations took place in vacant areas located close to city centers, redeveloped for idleness and cultural programs as well as real estate investments. These areas were labs of architecture and urban design rehearsal, inspiring people’s imagination for new century landscapes. The role of architects was decisive in this period, which was defined by exploring new shapes and typologies and a renovated sense of monumentality.

Despite the recurrent use of these strategies over the last two decades, and some positive legacies, the model has been criticized for the unsustainable economic cost and the social and territorial imbalances produced. Nevertheless, it is still seen as being implemented as a viable strategy to carry out urban development.

Almost twenty years have passed from the “golden era” of the 1990s, and today, the unprecedented urban and economic changes in hand seem to be the overwhelming closure of a cycle. The world is committed to new challenges to respond to pandemics, to climate changes, to the refugee crises and new democracy demands, as well as geopolitical uncertainties.

In this sense, this Special Issue intends to debate and analyze the impacts that policies and urban models inherited from the 20th century have had on different territories and to discuss the relevance of those legacies to facing present-day challenges. It aims to contribute to the literature and debate on the sustainability of mega-projects and mega-event developments, assessing their economic, social, spatial, and cultural impacts and their implications to the current global challenges of climate change, health crisis, economic downturn, and social justice.

The Special Issue is connected to the conference ‘Grand Projects 2021—Urban Legacies of the late 20th Century”, from which articles will be selected to be submitted as full papers, but also welcomes contributions outside this event.

Evidence-based and theoretical articles addressing the following topics are welcome:

  • Mega-events
  • Starchitecture and architecture as economic value;
  • Terrain vague and brownfield redevelopments;
  • Environmental awareness and green policies;
  • Urban policies, urban competitiveness, and social challenges;
  • Urban art and urban creativity;
  • Mega-projects and events in the Global South;
  • Methods and technologies on architectural design and urban planning;
  • Urban analytics and city design.

Papers selected for this Special Issue are subject to a rigorous peer review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications. Please note that Sustainability is an open access journal providing fast review process but requiring a compulsory Article Processing Charge. However, discounts are potentially available for authors with a good academic background.

Prof. Dr. Eduardo Medeiros
Prof. Dr. Paulo Tormenta Pinto
Dr. Ana Brandão
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 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.


  • urban planning
  • urban development
  • Global South
  • urban creativity
  • urban sustainability

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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