Special Issue "Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities"

Quicklinks

A special issue of Challenges (ISSN 2078-1547).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 August 2011)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Kongjian Yu

Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Urban and Environmental Studies, Peking (Beijing) University, Room401, Innovation Center, Peking University Science Park, 127-1 Zhongguancun North Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100080, China
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +86-10-62745788
Fax: +86-10-62745656/62977779
Interests: the theory and method of landscape; ecological urbanism

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In 1900, only about 13% of the world’s population lived in cities; now the figure has increased to over 50%, and is expected to reach 60% by populations in cities and suburban areas, developing countries are still in the process of urbanization. Every day, hundreds and thousands of people move to the city. Why do we choose to concentrate ourselves in cities? What is the value of cities? What do cities offer us?

To understand the value of cities is to understand the nature of human beings as a biological species, as social animals and as cultural organisms. Food, warmth, clean water and air, safety, cultural identity and social status— these are the needs and desires we seek in cities. But often we find that the city turns against our will. Pollution and environmental degradation, poverty, unaffordable housing, crime, immobility, lose of health, loss of cultural identity or no sense of community, etc. become the common issues that occur side-by-side in urbanization worldwide. More currently issues such as climate change, and the dangers of nuclear power as demonstrated by the aftermath of the recent Japanese earthquake, etc. has further dampened our dreams for cities.

How can we design our cities to overcome the dark sides of urbanization while pursuing the full benefits of city life, so that the value of cities can be fully realized? This issue of Challenges will focus on both the scientific analysis and case studies concerning the relationship between the physical design of cities and their function as resilient organisms that can adapt to ever-changing environments, provide multiple ecosystem services, give cultural identity and facilitate social justice.

Prof. Dr. Kongjian Yu
Guest Editor

Keywords

  • agricultural urbanism
  • eco-city
  • ecological infrastructure
  • ecological urbanism
  • green infrastructure
  • green urbanism
  • landscape architecture
  • landscape urbanism
  • livable city
  • resilient city
  • urban design
  • urban ecology

Published Papers (5 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-5
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle Eco-Polycentric Urban Systems: An Ecological Region Perspective for Network Cities
Challenges 2012, 3(1), 1-42; doi:10.3390/challe3010001
Received: 23 December 2011 / Revised: 28 March 2012 / Accepted: 29 March 2012 / Published: 3 April 2012
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (977 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The research presented in this paper is a work in progress. It provides linkages between the author’s earlier research under the sustainable land planning framework (SLP) and emergent ideas and planning and design strategies, centered on the (landscape) ecological dimension of cities’ sustainability.
[...] Read more.
The research presented in this paper is a work in progress. It provides linkages between the author’s earlier research under the sustainable land planning framework (SLP) and emergent ideas and planning and design strategies, centered on the (landscape) ecological dimension of cities’ sustainability. It reviews several concepts, paradigms, and metaphors that have been emerging during the last decade, which can contribute to expand our vision on city planning and design. Among other issues, city form—monocentric, polycentric, and diffused—is discussed. The hypothesis set forth is that cities can improve the pathway to sustainability by adopting intermediate, network urban forms such as polycentric urban systems (PUS) under a broader vision (as compared to the current paradigm), to make way to urban ecological regions. It discusses how both the principles of SLP and those emergent ideas can contribute to integrate PUS with their functional hinterland, adopting an ecosystemic viewpoint of cities. It proposes to redirect the current dominant economic focus of PUS to include all of the other functions that are essential to urbanites, such as production (including the 3Rs), recreation, and ecology in a balanced way. Landscape ecology principles are combined with complexity science in order to deal with uncertainty to improve regional systems’ resilience. Cooperation in its multiple forms is seen as a fundamental social, but also economic process contributing to the urban network functioning, including its evolving capabilities for self-organization and adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities)
Open AccessArticle The Dynamics of People Movement Systems in Central Areas
Challenges 2011, 2(4), 94-108; doi:10.3390/challe2040094
Received: 31 October 2011 / Accepted: 17 November 2011 / Published: 29 November 2011
PDF Full-text (555 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Certain pedestrian facilities, by their nature and the spatial imperatives they impose, exert a powerful role in organizing and promoting the development of associated central places. The need for an expanded public space in the city has found expression in the new public
[...] Read more.
Certain pedestrian facilities, by their nature and the spatial imperatives they impose, exert a powerful role in organizing and promoting the development of associated central places. The need for an expanded public space in the city has found expression in the new public spaces that have emerged in relation to this transport infrastructure within long developed urban environments. In contemporary, advanced urban society, such new spaces need to have polyvalent purposes and to respond to emergent demands. It is proposed that certain characteristics of these pedestrian systems support intensification and multiplication of activities over a particular spatial environment defined by activities. In the three cases—the Underground system of Montreal, Tokyo Station City and the Central Mid-levels Escalator area—common characteristics proposed as important to the achievement of the developmental goals include specific spatial relations, system open-endedness and structural complexity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities)
Open AccessArticle Challenges and Opportunities in Transforming a City into a “Zero Waste City”
Challenges 2011, 2(4), 73-93; doi:10.3390/challe2040073
Received: 15 August 2011 / Revised: 16 October 2011 / Accepted: 25 October 2011 / Published: 2 November 2011
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The currently consumption-driven society produces an enormous volume of waste every day. Continuous depletion of natural finite resources by urban populations is leading the globe to an uncertain future. Therefore, to prevent further depletion of global resources, sustainable consumption and a strategic waste
[...] Read more.
The currently consumption-driven society produces an enormous volume of waste every day. Continuous depletion of natural finite resources by urban populations is leading the globe to an uncertain future. Therefore, to prevent further depletion of global resources, sustainable consumption and a strategic waste management system would be required. It is evident that a significant number of global non-renewable resources such as cadmium, mercury and tellurium will experience permanent shortfall in global supply within the next two to three decades. Astonishingly, the current recycling rate of these very scarce metals is significantly low in all cities around the globe. The concept of the zero waste city includes a 100% recycling of municipal solid waste and a 100% recovery of all resources from waste materials. However, transforming currently over-consuming cities into zero waste cities is challenging. Therefore, this study aims to understand the key factors waste management systems in cities such as consumption, resource depletion and possible decoupling opportunity through implementing the “zero waste city” concept. The study proposes five significant principles for transforming current cities into zero waste cities in the context of long-term sustainability. A simultaneous and harmonized application of sustainable behaviour and consumption, product stewardship, a 100% recycling and recovery of resources, legislated zero landfill and incineration are required to transform current city into a zero waste city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities)
Open AccessArticle The Metacity: A Conceptual Framework for Integrating Ecology and Urban Design
Challenges 2011, 2(4), 55-72; doi:10.3390/challe2040055
Received: 31 August 2011 / Revised: 29 September 2011 / Accepted: 29 September 2011 / Published: 20 October 2011
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (2444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We introduce the term metacity as a conceptual framework that can be shared by ecologists and designers and applied across the wide variety of urban habitats found around the world. While the term metacity was introduced by UN-HABITAT to designate hyper cities of
[...] Read more.
We introduce the term metacity as a conceptual framework that can be shared by ecologists and designers and applied across the wide variety of urban habitats found around the world. While the term metacity was introduced by UN-HABITAT to designate hyper cities of over twenty million people, for us it is not limited to large urban agglomerations, but rather refers to the proliferation of new forms of urbanization, each with distinct ecological and social attributes. These various urban configurations when combined with new digital sensing, communication and social networking technologies constitute a virtual meta-infrastructure, present in all cities today. This new metacity has the potential to integrate new activist forms of ecological and urban design research and practice in making the transition from sanitary to sustainable city models globally. The city of Baltimore, Maryland will be used both as a site to illustrate these recent urban trends, and also as an example of the integration of ecology and urban design pursued by the two authors over the past seven years [1,2]. Metacity theory is drawn from both an architectural analysis of contemporary forms of urbanism, new forms of digital monitoring and communication technologies, as well as metapopulation and metacommunity theories in ecology. We seek to provide tools and lessons from our experiences for realizing an integrated metacity approach to achieving social sustainability and ecological resilience on an increasingly urbanized planet. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities)
Open AccessArticle Reinventing Detroit: Reclaiming Grayfields—New Metrics in Evaluating Urban Environments
Challenges 2011, 2(4), 45-54; doi:10.3390/challe2040045
Received: 31 August 2011 / Revised: 20 September 2011 / Accepted: 21 September 2011 / Published: 27 September 2011
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4794 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Planners, designers, citizens, and governmental agencies are interested in creating environments that are sustainable and fulfill a wide range of economic, ecological, aesthetic, functional, and cultural expectations for stakeholders. There are numerous approaches and proposals to create such environments. One vision is the
[...] Read more.
Planners, designers, citizens, and governmental agencies are interested in creating environments that are sustainable and fulfill a wide range of economic, ecological, aesthetic, functional, and cultural expectations for stakeholders. There are numerous approaches and proposals to create such environments. One vision is the 1934 “Broadacre City” proposed by Frank Lloyd Wright for the Taliesin, Wisconsin area that was never implemented. Frank Lloyd Wright’s vision integrated transportation, housing, commercial, agricultural, and natural areas in a highly diverse pattern forming a vast urban savanna complex. He also applied his “Broadacre City” idea to the 1942 Cooperative Homesteads Community Project in Detroit, Michigan, another un-built project. This vision concerning the composition of the urban environment may be conceptually realized in the ongoing gray-field reclamation in suburban Detroit, Michigan. Recent science-based investigations, concerning the metrics to measure and evaluate the quality of designed spaces, suggest that this “Broadacre City” approach may have great merit and is highly preferred over past spatial treatments (p ≤ 0.05). These metrics explain 67 to 80% of the variance concerning stakeholder expectations and are highly definitive (p < 0.001). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges in City Design: Realize the Value of Cities)

Journal Contact

MDPI AG
Challenges Editorial Office
St. Alban-Anlage 66, 4052 Basel, Switzerland
challenges@mdpi.com
Tel. +41 61 683 77 34
Fax: +41 61 302 89 18
Editorial Board
Contact Details Submit to Challenges
Back to Top