Special Issue "Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments"

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 March 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. David Fonseca Escudero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Carrer de Sant Joan de la Salle, 42, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: technology enhanced learning, augmented and virtual reality; interaction; 2D/3D architecture and urbanism representation; educational data mining; learning/academic analytics; serious games; gamification; usability; accessibility
Prof. Dr. Mónica Vanesa Sánchez-Sepúlveda
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Architecture La Salle, Ramon Llull University, Carrer de Sant Joan de la Salle, 42, 08022 Barcelona, Spain
Interests: technology enhanced learning; architecture; urbanism; urban design visualization; learning analytics; teaching innovation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

People spend a long time every single day using visual technologies in their homes, at work, for entertainment, or for their education. Visual technologies are omnipresent in the development, execution, and assessment of all kinds of digital projects and solutions, and they are changing the rules of customer experience and revolutionizing humanity and business.

The recent eclosion of a great variety of affordable and accessible media equipment and digital applications, as well as methodologies and approaches, has enabled new types of knowledge, especially in science. The intersection of these technologies, the new environments, and their uses offers an opportunity to explore how they are interacting and taking into account all types of sustainability assumptions.

This Special Issue will cover how visual technologies can add, improve, or assess the sustainability of digital products, experiences, and environments, considering a wide range of variables and indicators. The “Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments” Special Issue will address a broad range of topics that should help readers, researchers, teachers, and professionals to understand both generic and specific approaches related with the representation of digital data and spaces with a large range of visual technologies, such as virtual or augmented reality, serious games, mobile devices, artificial intelligence, haptic devices, etc.

Prof. Dr. David Fonseca Escudero
Prof. Dr. Mónica Vanesa Sánchez-Sepúlveda
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.

Keywords

  • Sustainable technolog enhanced learning
  • interactive and customized 3D systems
  • digital environments assessment
  • technological space visualization
  • user interaction experience
  • systems analysis methods
  • digital applications of sustainability
  • representation methods assessment
  • usability, accessibility and sustainability
  • sustainability design and project management
  • sustainability approaches for smart-cities design
  • applications, methods and digital technologies for sustainable civil, architecture, and urban planning projects
  • BIM for a sustainable projects and construction processes

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Immersive Robotic Telepresence for Remote Educational Scenarios
Sustainability 2021, 13(9), 4717; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13094717 - 23 Apr 2021
Viewed by 344
Abstract
Social robots have an enormous potential for educational applications and allow for cognitive outcomes that are similar to those with human involvement. Remotely controlling a social robot to interact with students and peers in an immersive fashion opens up new possibilities for instructors [...] Read more.
Social robots have an enormous potential for educational applications and allow for cognitive outcomes that are similar to those with human involvement. Remotely controlling a social robot to interact with students and peers in an immersive fashion opens up new possibilities for instructors and learners alike. Using immersive approaches can promote engagement and have beneficial effects on remote lesson delivery and participation. However, the performance and power consumption associated with the involved devices are often not sufficiently contemplated, despite being particularly important in light of sustainability considerations. The contributions of this research are thus twofold. On the one hand, we present telepresence solutions for a social robot’s location-independent operation using (a) a virtual reality headset with controllers and (b) a mobile augmented reality application. On the other hand, we perform a thorough analysis of their power consumption and system performance, discussing the impact of employing the various technologies. Using the QTrobot as a platform, direct and immersive control via different interaction modes, including motion, emotion, and voice output, is possible. By not focusing on individual subsystems or motor chains, but the cumulative energy consumption of an unaltered robot performing remote tasks, this research provides orientation regarding the actual cost of deploying immersive robotic telepresence solutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Visualizing Digital Traces for Sustainable Urban Management: Mapping Tourism Activity on the Virtual Public Space
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3159; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063159 - 13 Mar 2021
Viewed by 356
Abstract
One of the challenges of heritage cities is sustainably balancing mass tourism and the daily life of its residents. Urban policies can modulate the impact of tourism through regulations focusing on areas with outstanding visitor pressure, which must consequently be delimited accurately and [...] Read more.
One of the challenges of heritage cities is sustainably balancing mass tourism and the daily life of its residents. Urban policies can modulate the impact of tourism through regulations focusing on areas with outstanding visitor pressure, which must consequently be delimited accurately and objectively. Within a traditionally data-scarce discipline, urban practitioners can currently employ a wide range of tracking technologies, but because of their limitations can also greatly benefit from new sources of data from social media. Using Barcelona as a testbed, a methodology is presented to identify and visualize hot spots of visitor activity using more than a million public geotagged images collected from the Flickr photo-sharing community. Multiple complementary visualization approaches are discussed that are suitable for different scales of analysis, from global to sub-block resolution. The presented methodology is firmly grounded in a well-established spatial statistics framework, adapted to a “big data” environment, to extract knowledge from social media. It is designed to generalize to other urban settings, providing substantial advantages over other surveying methods in terms of cost-efficiency, scalability, and accuracy, while capturing the behavior of a larger number of participants and covering more extensive areas or temporal spans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Evidence-Based Assessment of Student Performance in Virtual Worlds
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010244 - 29 Dec 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 571
Abstract
Virtual Worlds (VWs) are popular tools for teaching/learning in the twenty-first century classroom. The challenge remains however, to provide the means by which teachers could sustainably analyse and assess the performance of large groups of students in such environments. Unfortunately, external game features [...] Read more.
Virtual Worlds (VWs) are popular tools for teaching/learning in the twenty-first century classroom. The challenge remains however, to provide the means by which teachers could sustainably analyse and assess the performance of large groups of students in such environments. Unfortunately, external game features such as game scores and play duration have turned out to be unfair in some assessments. In this context, a case study was carried out in a foreign language course, illustrating how teachers could easily retrieve a number of performance indicators from VW-interaction logs and harness them to conduct a fine-grained analysis of students’ performance, while facilitating at the same time valuable tools for their assessment. Objective performance indicators in a server database were made accessible using an end-user development programming language. This way, a range of data visualisation methods could be employed to contrast different assumptions regarding learner performance when playing a VW-based game, which was designed to help CEFR A1 level students to learn German. This way, factors such as randomisation of game tasks, which could negatively affect learner performance, were alleviated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability and Interoperability: An Economic Study on BIM Implementation by a Small Civil Engineering Firm
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9581; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229581 - 17 Nov 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 489
Abstract
Sustainability and interoperability are two closely related concepts. By analyzing the three fundamental facets of sustainability—economic, ecological and ethical/social—it is easier to address their connection with the concept of interoperability. This paper focuses on the economic aspect, in the field of civil engineering. [...] Read more.
Sustainability and interoperability are two closely related concepts. By analyzing the three fundamental facets of sustainability—economic, ecological and ethical/social—it is easier to address their connection with the concept of interoperability. This paper focuses on the economic aspect, in the field of civil engineering. In this area, due to the local nature of many of the software tools used, interoperability problems are frequent, with few studies addressing the economic impact of this, especially in small engineering firms. The main contribution of this paper is a design methodology for linear works based on the federation of building information modelling (BIM) models created with different software tools, conceived to break the interoperability issues between these applications. As an example, this methodology is applied to a mountain road widening project. A detailed economic analysis of the application of this methodology by an engineering Spanish firm reveals the important cost reductions that the integration of the software tools provides versus the prior practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Building Orientation in Green Facade Performance and Its Positive Effects on Urban Landscape Case Study: An Urban Block in Barcelona
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 9273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12219273 - 08 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 707
Abstract
This paper addresses the effect of building orientation efficiency of the green facade in energy consumption, for which the case study is an urban block in Passeig de Gracia, L’Eixample, Barcelona. Nowadays, many countries are faced with the trouble of the deficiency of [...] Read more.
This paper addresses the effect of building orientation efficiency of the green facade in energy consumption, for which the case study is an urban block in Passeig de Gracia, L’Eixample, Barcelona. Nowadays, many countries are faced with the trouble of the deficiency of energy resources and the incapability of saving them. Most of this energy is consumed in the cooling, heating, and artificial ventilation of buildings. For this reason, the development of an integrated strategy like a green facade is essential to transform buildings into structures that consume less energy and to improve the occupants’ comfort conditions. From the perspective of the urban landscape, the green facade can influence the quality of life in cities due to its positive effects such as the purification of air, the absorption of carbon dioxide, and the mitigation of dust, as well as the aesthetic and psychological aspects. Such criteria are based on the adoption of suitable orientation for the green facade, which is the second layer of the facade in an office building with a curtain wall as the main facade. Since the most important factor in the implementation of a green facade is the building’s orientation, the optimum orientation could be the key factor in regards to the reduction of energy consumption and cost and the improvement of overall energy efficiency. We used software that helped simulate the total energy consumption, the cost, and the energy use intensity annually and monthly. Consequently, after testing was carried out, it was proven that a green facade as a second layer with a southeast and/or a southwest orientation results in the maximum energy saving in a coastal city with a Mediterranean climate like Barcelona. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Visual Technologies for Sustainable Digital Environments)
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