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Special Issue "Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges"

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 May 2017

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Davide Geneletti

Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, via Mesiano, 77 I-38123 Trento, Italy
Website1 | Website2 | E-Mail
Phone: +39 0461282685
Fax: +39 0461282672
Interests: impact assessment (Strategic Environmental Assessment, sustainability assessment); ecosystem services; spatial planning; multicriteria analysis; ecosystem-based adaptation strategies; equity in land use decisions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature-based solutions (NBS) are broadly defined as the use of nature and ecological functions to address societal challenges. In urban areas, NBS are receiving increasing attention to tackle issues such as climate change adaptation and mitigation, population health, food security, and natural disasters. NBS in cities include, for example, green areas and corridors, ponds for phytoremediation, sustainable urban drainage systems, green roofs and walls, interventions to reduce soil sealing and to increase ventilation. Evidence is needed to improve our understanding of the range of economic, social, and environmental benefits provided by NBS in urban areas, as well as to promote their inclusion in urban planning and decision-making processes.

This Special Issue aims at constructing a first body of knowledge to discuss the opportunities and challenges associated to the development of NBS in urban areas. Papers are sought that critically examine the advantages and disadvantages of NBS, by presenting pilot applications, desk-top reviews of case studies, proposal of analytical methods and tools. Examples of topics of interests include:

-       Co-benefits and trade-off associated to NBS in urban environments;

-       Cost-effectiveness of NBS, particularly vis-à-vis more traditional approaches, such as “gray” infrastructures;

-       Inclusion of NBS in urban planning and design, policy formulation and other decision-making processes;

-       NBS to improve urban life and create more livable urban environment;

-       NBS for brownfield regeneration and revitalization of fringe or marginal areas;

-       Scalability of NBS;

-       Disservices and limitations associated to NBS;

-       Flexibility of NBS to fit different ecological and climatic conditions, as well as planning and governance mechanisms.

Dr. Davide Geneletti
Guest Editor

Submission

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. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as 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 refereed through a 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 monthly 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 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs).


Keywords

  • ecosystem services
  • ecosystem-based adaptation
  • nature-based solutions
  • climate
  • health
  • biodiversity
  • urban well-being

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle A Model for Assessing Pedestrian Corridors. Application to Vitoria-Gasteiz City (Spain)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 434; doi:10.3390/su9030434
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
From a mobility perspective, walking is considered to be the most sustainable transport mode. One of the consequences of motor-oriented urban configuration on pedestrian mobility is urban fragmentation, which affects sustainability in cities. In this paper, we use a natural-based approach to landscape
[...] Read more.
From a mobility perspective, walking is considered to be the most sustainable transport mode. One of the consequences of motor-oriented urban configuration on pedestrian mobility is urban fragmentation, which affects sustainability in cities. In this paper, we use a natural-based approach to landscape fragmentation and connectivity (inherited from landscape ecology) for pedestrian mobility planning. Our aim is to design a useful methodology to identify priority pedestrian corridors, and to assess the effects of implementing barrier-free pedestrian corridors in the city. For this purpose, we developed a method that integrates Geographical Information Systems (GIS) network analysis with kernel density methods, which are commonly used for designating habitat corridors. It was applied to Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain). Pedestrian mobility was assessed by comparison of travel times between different scenarios. Results show that the implementation of pedestrian corridors reduces travel time by approximately 6%. Thus, an intervention in a small percentage of the city’s street network could considerably reduce pedestrian travel times. The proposed methodology is a useful tool for urban and transport planners to improve pedestrian mobility and manage motorised traffic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle Linear Parks along Urban Rivers: Perceptions of Thermal Comfort and Climate Change Adaptation in Cyprus
Sustainability 2016, 8(10), 1023; doi:10.3390/su8101023
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 25 September 2016 / Accepted: 9 October 2016 / Published: 17 October 2016
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Abstract
The development of green space along urban rivers could mitigate urban heat island effects, enhance the physical and mental well-being of city dwellers, and improve flood resilience. A linear park has been recently created along the ephemeral Pedieos River in the urban area
[...] Read more.
The development of green space along urban rivers could mitigate urban heat island effects, enhance the physical and mental well-being of city dwellers, and improve flood resilience. A linear park has been recently created along the ephemeral Pedieos River in the urban area of Nicosia, Cyprus. Questionnaire surveys and micrometeorological measurements were conducted to explore people’s perceptions and satisfaction regarding the services of the urban park. People’s main reasons to visit the park were physical activity and exercise (67%), nature (13%), and cooling (4%). The micrometeorological measurements in and near the park revealed a relatively low cooling effect (0.5 °C) of the park. However, the majority of the visitors (84%) were satisfied or very satisfied with the cooling effect of the park. Logistic regression analysis indicated that the odds of individuals feeling very comfortable under a projected 3 °C future increase in temperature would be 0.34 times lower than the odds of feeling less comfortable. The discrepancies between the observed thermal comfort index and people’s perceptions revealed that people in semi-arid environments are adapted to the hot climatic conditions; 63% of the park visitors did not feel uncomfortable at temperatures between 27 °C and 37 °C. Further research is needed to assess other key ecosystems services of this urban green river corridor, such as flood protection, air quality regulation, and biodiversity conservation, to contribute to integrated climate change adaptation planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Stormwater Management: Examining the Role of Local Planning Capacity in Mitigating Peak Surface Runoff
Sustainability 2016, 8(9), 763; doi:10.3390/su8090763
Received: 24 April 2016 / Revised: 21 July 2016 / Accepted: 25 July 2016 / Published: 31 August 2016
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Abstract
The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is rich in natural resources. Its watershed has been impacted by excessive and degraded stormwater runoff from rapid urbanization. We used an empirical approach to investigate how local planning capacity in the Chesapeake
[...] Read more.
The Chesapeake Bay, the largest estuary in the United States, is rich in natural resources. Its watershed has been impacted by excessive and degraded stormwater runoff from rapid urbanization. We used an empirical approach to investigate how local planning capacity in the Chesapeake Bay watershed affected stream flow. A multiple regression analysis was employed to examine to what extent that the planning factors and other contextual variables were associated with peak runoff. Counterintuitively, we found that sub-basins included in the sample jurisdictions with a relatively high plan quality score tend to generate higher volumes of peak runoff. Results further indicate that specific geographical, basin characteristic, and biophysical factors affected mean annual peak runoff significantly. Overall, our findings highlight the importance of local planning capacity and sustainable stormwater management concepts in mitigating excessive runoff. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle Examining the Association between Physical Characteristics of Green Space and Land Surface Temperature: A Case Study of Ulsan, Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 777; doi:10.3390/su8080777
Received: 9 May 2016 / Revised: 1 August 2016 / Accepted: 5 August 2016 / Published: 9 August 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4658 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The rapid increase of impervious surfaces and the dense development that accompanies urban growth has reduced the amount of green space in urban landscapes and increased urban surface temperatures. Accordingly, the greening of urban spaces has been proposed as one approach to mitigating
[...] Read more.
The rapid increase of impervious surfaces and the dense development that accompanies urban growth has reduced the amount of green space in urban landscapes and increased urban surface temperatures. Accordingly, the greening of urban spaces has been proposed as one approach to mitigating urban heat island (UHI) effects. To find the most practical green space design for reducing land surface temperatures (LSTs), we explored the effects of the physical characteristics of green spaces on cooling intensity and distance. The physical characteristics of green spaces were defined as shape, size, Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), and the land-use type of their surroundings. LANDSAT 8 images were used to examine 30 green spaces in Ulsan, Korea. The analytical results showed that the cooling effect was mainly observed within 120 m of a green area and that the intensity of the cooling effects did not exceed 3.0 K. A belt-shaped green space had a greater cooling distance compared to a compact green space. We also found that the NDVI and size of a green space had a positive but non-linear association with cooling intensity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Characterisation of Nature-Based Solutions for the Built Environment
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 149; doi:10.3390/su9010149
Received: 1 October 2016 / Revised: 7 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 January 2017 / Published: 20 January 2017
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Abstract
Nature has provided humankind with food, fuel, and shelter throughout evolutionary history. However, in contemporary cities, many natural landscapes have become degraded and replaced with impermeable hard surfaces (e.g., roads, paving, car parks and buildings). The reversal of this trend is dynamic, complex
[...] Read more.
Nature has provided humankind with food, fuel, and shelter throughout evolutionary history. However, in contemporary cities, many natural landscapes have become degraded and replaced with impermeable hard surfaces (e.g., roads, paving, car parks and buildings). The reversal of this trend is dynamic, complex and still in its infancy. There are many facets of urban greening initiatives involving multiple benefits, sensitivities and limitations. The aim of this paper is to develop a characterisation method of nature based solutions for designing and retrofitting in the built environment, and to facilitate knowledge transfer between disciplines and for design optimisation. Based on a review of the literature across disciplines, key characteristics could be organised into four groups: policy and community initiatives, multiple benefits assessment, topology, and design options. Challenges and opportunities for developing a characterisation framework to improve the use of nature based solutions in the built environment are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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