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Urban Sci., Volume 8, Issue 1 (March 2024) – 22 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Demand for meal delivery services in urban areas has grown. To keep these services cost-effective, and therefore attractive, meal delivery platforms make use of an at-will workforce of self-contracted couriers. This work seeks to answer important, pressing questions about relying on such workforces. For this purpose, an ejection chain neighborhood-embedded tabu search heuristic for solving a dynamic courier routing problem under a simulated stochastic, dynamic discrete-event meal delivery environment is applied over a rolling horizon. Uncertainties related to orders, handling and travel times, courier availability and willingness to serve orders are analyzed. Conditional values of risk measures for service performance leading to late delivery due to uncertainty in workforce availability are also highlighted. View this paper
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34 pages, 6627 KiB  
Article
The Inter-Relationships of Territorial Quality of Life with Residential Expansion and Densification: A Case Study of Regions in EU Member Countries
by Eda Ustaoglu and Brendan Williams
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010022 - 19 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1268
Abstract
High-density urban development is promoted by both global and local policies in response to socio-economic and environmental challenges since it increases mobility of different land uses, decreases the need for traveling, encourages the use of more energy-efficient buildings and modes of transportation, and [...] Read more.
High-density urban development is promoted by both global and local policies in response to socio-economic and environmental challenges since it increases mobility of different land uses, decreases the need for traveling, encourages the use of more energy-efficient buildings and modes of transportation, and permits the sharing of scarce urban amenities. It is therefore argued that increased density and mixed-use development are expected to deliver positive outcomes in terms of contributing to three pillars (social, economic, and environmental domains) of sustainability in the subject themes. Territorial quality of life (TQL)—initially proposed by the ESPON Programme—is a composite indicator of the socio-economic and environmental well-being and life satisfaction of individuals living in an area. Understanding the role of urban density in TQL can provide an important input for urban planning debates addressing whether compact development can be promoted by referring to potential efficiencies in high-density, mixed land use and sustainable transport provisions. Alternatively, low-density suburban development is preferable due to its benefits of high per capita land use consumption (larger houses) for individual households given lower land prices. There is little empirical evidence on how TQL is shaped by high-density versus low-density urban forms. This paper investigates this topic through providing an approach to spatially map and examine the relationship between TQL, residential expansion, and densification processes in the so-called NUTS2 (nomenclature of terrestrial units for statistics) regions of European Union (EU) member countries. The relative importance of each TQL indicator was determined through the entropy weight method, where these indicators were aggregated through using the subject weights to obtain the overall TQL indicator. The spatial dynamics of TQL were examined and its relationship with residential expansion and densification processes was analysed to uncover whether the former or the latter process is positively associated with the TQL indicator within our study area. From our regression models, the residential expansion index is negatively related to the TQL indicator, implying that high levels of residential expansion can result in a reduction in overall quality of life in the regions if they are not supported by associated infrastructure and facility investments. Full article
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17 pages, 5477 KiB  
Article
The Contribution of Open Source Software in Identifying Environmental Crimes Caused by Illicit Waste Management in Urban Areas
by Carmine Massarelli and Vito Felice Uricchio
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 21; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010021 - 19 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1424
Abstract
This study focuses on the analysis, implementation and integration of techniques and methods, also based on mathematical algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), to acquire knowledge of some phenomena that produce pollution with an impact on environmental health, and which start from illicit practices [...] Read more.
This study focuses on the analysis, implementation and integration of techniques and methods, also based on mathematical algorithms and artificial intelligence (AI), to acquire knowledge of some phenomena that produce pollution with an impact on environmental health, and which start from illicit practices that occur in urban areas. In many urban areas (or agroecosystems), the practice of illegal waste disposing by commercial activities, by abandoning it in the countryside rather than spending economic resources to ensure correct disposal, is widespread. This causes an accumulation of waste in these areas (which can also be protected natural areas), which are then also set on fire to reduce their volume. Obviously, the repercussions of such actions are many. The burning of waste releases contaminants into the environment such as dioxins, polychlorinated biphenyls and furans, and deposits other elements on the soil, such as heavy metals, which, by leaching and percolating, contaminate water resources such as rivers and aquifers. The main objective is the design and implementation of monitoring programs against specific illicit activities that take into account territorial peculiarities. This advanced approach leverages AI and GIS environments to interpret environmental states, providing an understanding of ongoing phenomena. The methodology used is based on the implementation of mathematical and AI algorithms, integrated into a GIS environment to address even large-scale environmental issues, improving the spatial and temporal precision of the analyses and allowing the customization of monitoring programs in urban and peri-urban environments based on territorial characteristics. The results of the application of the methodology show the percentages of the different types of waste found in the agroecosystems of the study area and the degree of concentration, allowing the identification of similar areas with greater criticality. Subsequently, through network and nearest neighbour analysis, it is possible to start targeted checks. Full article
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20 pages, 1495 KiB  
Article
Cartographic Resources for Equitable University–Community Interaction in Slum Areas
by Marbrisa N. R. das Virgens, Patricia L. Brito, Ricardo Lustosa, Julio Pedrassoli, Philipp Ulbrich, João Porto de Albuquerque, Marcos Rodrigo Ferreira, Fernando G. Severo, Alessandra da S. Figueiredo, Marcel Fantin, Hussein Khalil and Federico Costa
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010020 - 14 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1683
Abstract
Cartographic resources play a crucial role in facilitating communication across various sectors, including research projects focused on low-income communities. Despite this, some researchers still adhere to colonialist and exploitative approaches. This study aims to promote equitable university–community interaction though cartographic resources, aid academic [...] Read more.
Cartographic resources play a crucial role in facilitating communication across various sectors, including research projects focused on low-income communities. Despite this, some researchers still adhere to colonialist and exploitative approaches. This study aims to promote equitable university–community interaction though cartographic resources, aid academic and vulnerable community users in choosing a better platform for their work, and provide insights to developers for improving the platforms to better serve the user profiles of community members. To achieve this, we examined the use of cartographic resources in five projects within low-income communities (commonly referred to as favelas or so-called “slums”) in three Brazilian cities, all guided by equitable principles. The study unfolds in four stages: (i) data collection from documents and interviews; (ii) systematization into seven analytical categories—cartographic resources, data, personnel, processes, equipment, general objectives, and specific objectives; (iii) analysis of eight cartographic resources; and (iv) a critical examination of the outcomes. The synthesis of the collected information identified 65 characteristics/demands, with 17 common to all projects, including vector feature creation, thematic map design, printed map usage, and satellite imagery. We also identified 53 geographic information system (GIS) functionalities required for the projects, predominantly related to vector data generation and editing. The outcomes demonstrate the benefits of project methodologies, contributing to a decolonial university–community praxis. Additionally, they underscore the potential of digital cartographic resources, functioning not solely as data collection tools but also as powerful instruments that empower slum residents to advocate for improvements and foster local development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Deprived Area (Slum) Mapping)
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17 pages, 16143 KiB  
Article
The Role of GIS Data Post-Processing in the Environmental Assessment: The Case of Umbria, Italy
by Valeria Placidi, Michele Cenci, Francesco Castellani and Marta Falasca
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010019 - 12 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1600
Abstract
The increasingly complex dynamics of urban planning require an innovative approach to land use suitability analyses and environmental assessments. Traditionally, these disciplines have provided a critical foundation for sustainable urban development, but the current acceleration of change requires renewed attention to technology and [...] Read more.
The increasingly complex dynamics of urban planning require an innovative approach to land use suitability analyses and environmental assessments. Traditionally, these disciplines have provided a critical foundation for sustainable urban development, but the current acceleration of change requires renewed attention to technology and innovation. The integration of advanced territorial data is emerging as a key element to enrich the analysis and mapping of the landscape. This type of data allows for an updated and objective view of reality, providing urban planners and decision makers with a dynamic tool to quickly adapt to evolving urban needs. The use of new technologies increases the accuracy and effectiveness of these analyses, enabling more efficient and sustainable urban planning. This article explores how innovation and technology are transforming the field of land use suitability analyses and environmental assessments and provides real-life examples of how advanced territorial data can be used to model the landscape more accurately in the case of Umbria, a region in Italy characterised by a rich cultural history and picturesque landscapes. Umbria, with its unique geography and delicate environmental balance, provides a fertile ground for exploring how the implementation of territorial databases can contribute to the responsible management of industrial activities. This case study represents an important first step in applying a QGIS and Python geoprocessing approach to these issues. The methodology starts with the creation of territorial data and includes a post-processing phase using Python. This integrated approach not only provides an updated and objective view of the landscape but also represents the first instance in the literature of a study applied to such a small and environmentally rich region as Umbria. Full article
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17 pages, 6833 KiB  
Article
A Global Estimate of the Size and Location of Informal Settlements
by Anthony Boanada-Fuchs, Monika Kuffer and Jota Samper
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010018 - 5 Mar 2024
Viewed by 2888
Abstract
Slums are a structural feature of urbanization, and shifting urbanization trends underline their significance for the cities of tomorrow. Despite their importance, data and knowledge on slums are very limited. In consideration of the current data landscape, it is not possible to answer [...] Read more.
Slums are a structural feature of urbanization, and shifting urbanization trends underline their significance for the cities of tomorrow. Despite their importance, data and knowledge on slums are very limited. In consideration of the current data landscape, it is not possible to answer one of the most essential questions: Where are slums located? The goal of this study is to provide a more nuanced understanding of the geography of slums and their growth trajectories. The methods rely on the combination of different datasets (city-level slum maps, world cities, global human settlements layer, Atlas of Informality). Slum data from city-level maps form the backbone of this research and are made compatible by differentiating between the municipal area, the urbanized area, and the area beyond. This study quantifies the location of slums in 30 cities, and our findings show that only half of all slums are located within the administrative borders of cities. Spatial growth has also shifted outwards. However, this phenomenon is very different in different regions of the world; the municipality captures less than half of all slums in Africa and the Middle East but almost two-thirds of all slums in cities of South Asia. These insights are used to estimate land requirements within the Sustainable Development Goals time frame. In 2015, almost one billion slum residents occupied a land area as large as twice the size of the country of Portugal. The estimated 380 million residents to be added up to 2030 will need land equivalent to the size of the country of Egypt. This land will be added to cities mainly outside their administrative borders. Insights are provided on how this land demand differs within cities and between world regions. Such novel insights are highly relevant to the policy actions needed to achieve Target 11.1 of the Sustainable Development Goals (“by 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums”) as interventions targeted at slums or informal settlements are strongly linked to political and administrative boundaries. More research is needed to draw attention to the urban expansion of cities and the role of slums and informal settlements. Full article
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17 pages, 1910 KiB  
Article
Navigating Efficiency and Uncertainty: Risks of Relying on an At-Will Workforce in Urban Meal Delivery
by Weiwen Zhou, Elise Miller-Hooks and Sagar Sahasrabudhe
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010017 - 22 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1523
Abstract
Increasing popularity in gig employment has enabled the use of an at-will workforce of self-contracted couriers to participate in many service industries serving urban areas. This gig workforce has come to play a particularly important role in the growing meal delivery service industry. [...] Read more.
Increasing popularity in gig employment has enabled the use of an at-will workforce of self-contracted couriers to participate in many service industries serving urban areas. This gig workforce has come to play a particularly important role in the growing meal delivery service industry. Hiring at-will couriers for delivery job fulfillment can decrease the costs of satisfying nonstationary demand. However, at-will workers can show up for work at their will and without notice. Thus, this puts the service performance of the delivery company that relies on effective workforce management to ensure timely delivery of orders at risk. This work investigates the tradeoffs between using such an at-will workforce of couriers in place of a fixed fleet of drivers in servicing a meal delivery environment. A stochastic DES with tabu search heuristic and embedded ejection chain approach for optimal delivery job bundling, routing, and assignment was developed and run within a rolling horizon framework to replicate the dynamics of the meal delivery setting. Condition Value at Risk (CVaR) is adopted to measure the risk of late delivery due to uncertainty in workforce availability. Results from a numerical case study with 25 restaurants and 613 orders arriving over a 14-h period show tradeoffs from using at-will couriers in place of a comparable fixed fleet of drivers in terms of delivery resource utilization, efficiency risk of failing to satisfying orders and risk of significantly late delivery. Results indicate that using at-will couriers for meal delivery can enable more efficient use of delivery resources, but at the cost of a higher risk of late delivery, and sometimes intolerably late delivery, as compared to using a fixed fleet of drivers to fulfill orders. Full article
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39 pages, 1162 KiB  
Article
Creativity and Innovation in Civic Spaces Supported by Cognitive Flexibility When Learning with AI Chatbots in Smart Cities
by Sarah A. Chauncey and H. Patricia McKenna
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 16; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010016 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 2038
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to advance conceptual understandings of the cognitive flexibility construct, in support of creativity and innovation in smart city civic spaces, employing the use of large language model artificial intelligence chatbots such as ChatGPT. Based on a review [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to advance conceptual understandings of the cognitive flexibility construct, in support of creativity and innovation in smart city civic spaces, employing the use of large language model artificial intelligence chatbots such as ChatGPT. Based on a review of the research and practice literature, this study formulates a conceptual framework for cognitive flexibility in support of creativity and innovation in AI environments, adaptable to smart cities. A research design is used that employs AI as a design material, in combination with a topical inquiry involving boundary setting and perspective taking, to co-pilot an exploration with ChatGPT-3.5/4. This study operationalizes the framework for applications to learning approaches, addressing flexibility and inclusivity in smart city spaces and regions. With the rapid evolving of chatbot technologies, ChatGPT-4 is used in the exploration of a speculative real-world urban example. This work is significant in that AI chatbots are explored for application in urban spaces involving creative ideation, iteration, engagement, and cognitive flexibility; future directions for exploration are identified pertaining to ethical and civil discourse in smart cities and learning cities, as well as the notion that AI chatbots and GPTs (generative pre-trained transformers) may become a zeitgeist for understanding and learning in smart cities. Full article
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16 pages, 6783 KiB  
Article
Hemeroby Mapping of the Belém Landscape in Eastern Amazon and Impact Study of Urbanization on the Local Climate
by Leonardo Seabra Furtado, Raimundo Vitor Santos Pereira and Everaldo Barreiros de Souza
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 15; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010015 - 9 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1731
Abstract
This work contributes to the studies on landscape mapping induced by human pressure directly related to the urbanization process, whose approach is based on the concept of hemeroby adapted to the metropolitan area of Belém in the eastern Amazon. The mapping results using [...] Read more.
This work contributes to the studies on landscape mapping induced by human pressure directly related to the urbanization process, whose approach is based on the concept of hemeroby adapted to the metropolitan area of Belém in the eastern Amazon. The mapping results using 1985 and 2021 Landsat satellite data indicated that the artificial coverage characterized as medium to the high urban system (polyhemerobic and metahemerobic degrees) has increased by almost 17% toward northern districts and Outeiro/Mosqueiro islands, while the natural vegetation cover suppression (ahemerobic degree) was around 11%. In addition, we investigated the impacts of urban expansion on seasonal (WET from January to April and DRY from July to November) surface air temperature (minimum TN and maximum TX) patterns. From statistical comparisons between 18-year samples (2004/2021 to 1985/2002), we find evidence of a current significantly warmer climate, with a notable indication of higher surface temperature over densely urbanized areas compared to lower values over natural areas. In the TX climatology, particularly for the DRY regime, we identified a pattern similar to the classic heat island model with concentric isotherms reaching a maximum center over the more urbanized continental region of Belém and a thermal decrease at the edges. Therefore, the findings of this work are convincing that Belém already faces the direct impacts of urbanization on the local climate, so it is crucial to develop government strategies aimed at taking action to mitigate socioenvironmental risks and threats to the well-being of urban populations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Urban Land Use and Spatial Analysis)
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18 pages, 8756 KiB  
Article
Assessing the Connectivity of Urban Green Spaces for Enhanced Environmental Justice and Ecosystem Service Flow: A Study of Tehran Using Graph Theory and Least-Cost Analysis
by Seyed Ali Alavi, Saeed Esfandi, Amir Reza Khavarian-Garmsir, Safiyeh Tayebi, Aliakbar Shamsipour and Ayyoob Sharifi
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010014 - 5 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2232
Abstract
This research aims to analyze the relationship between environmental justice and urban green space connectivity in Tehran, Iran. The evaluation of green space connectivity in this study is conducted through two distinct cost layers: one aimed at enhancing existing connections and another focused [...] Read more.
This research aims to analyze the relationship between environmental justice and urban green space connectivity in Tehran, Iran. The evaluation of green space connectivity in this study is conducted through two distinct cost layers: one aimed at enhancing existing connections and another focused on establishing new green spaces. Key factors influencing connectivity, extracted from the relevant literature, were identified to facilitate this analysis. Employing graph theory and least-cost analysis, the results determined critical resistance factors, current connectivity and cost status, the varying degrees to which different districts benefit from green space ecosystem services, and the most effective routes for establishing green corridors. Research findings highlight significant disparities in access to these services, particularly in the underserved central districts of Tehran. Moreover, spatial analysis reveals a higher potential for enhancing east–west ecosystem service corridors due to the higher density of green hubs and lower costs in this orientation, while north–south connectivity faces more challenges. By exploring land use/land cover, and physical and socio-economic factors affecting urban green space connectivity, this study provides urban and environmental planners with a novel methodology and comprehensive insights for effective decision making, resource allocation, and land use planning. Full article
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20 pages, 38468 KiB  
Article
Investigating Noise Mapping in Cities to Associate Noise Levels with Sources of Noise Using Crowdsourcing Applications
by Esraa Othman, Iva Cibilić, Vesna Poslončec-Petrić and Dina Saadallah
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010013 - 2 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1843
Abstract
Environmental noise is a major environmental concern in metropolitan cities. The rapid social and economic growth in the 20th century is not always accompanied by adequate land planning and environmental management measures. As a consequence of rapid urbanization processes, cities are facing an [...] Read more.
Environmental noise is a major environmental concern in metropolitan cities. The rapid social and economic growth in the 20th century is not always accompanied by adequate land planning and environmental management measures. As a consequence of rapid urbanization processes, cities are facing an increase in noise pollution. Noise is being recognized as a serious environmental problem and one which must be accounted for in a sustained development policy designed to improve the quality of life for citizens. Therefore, the monitoring of noise is a crucial aspect of urban planning to allow urban planners to create harmonious and livable environments for communities worldwide. This research aims at assessing the noise levels and associated sources of noise in downtown areas through the involvement of crowdsourcing techniques. The incorporation of noise mapping and increased public awareness are achieved by a framework that enables a comparative scheme between two cities: Alexandria, Egypt and Zagreb, Croatia. The methodology depends on combining crowdsourcing techniques using mobile applications and geographic information system (GIS) tools to detect and analyze noise. Finally, this research provides a comparison between the two cities using the adopted methodology and introduces recommendations to enhance urban planning decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Urban Acoustic Environments)
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16 pages, 1730 KiB  
Article
The Needs and Requirements of People with Disabilities for Frequent Movement in Cities: Insights from Qualitative and Quantitative Data of the TRIPS Project
by Tally Hatzakis, Laura Alčiauskaitė and Alexandra König
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 12; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010012 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Moving is an indispensable component of travelling. This paper discusses the experiences of persons with disabilities when moving around cities on foot or wheels, based on research conducted during the EU-funded project TRIPS. Findings comprise participants’ vignettes from 49 interviews in seven European [...] Read more.
Moving is an indispensable component of travelling. This paper discusses the experiences of persons with disabilities when moving around cities on foot or wheels, based on research conducted during the EU-funded project TRIPS. Findings comprise participants’ vignettes from 49 interviews in seven European cities, views on smart assistive technologies (e.g., Augmented Reality) from a pan-European quantitative survey, and design concepts related to walking based on a co-creation workshop that actively engaged persons with various types of disabilities in ideation. Findings suggest that people need reliable and clear wayfaring information on accessible travel routes featuring the coordinated design of streets, pavement, stops, stations, and vehicles to ensure seamless, step-free, and obstacle-free access, as well as disability-sensitive management of disruptions such as maintenance works, for example. Findings also suggest that users are open to using any assistive technology that can enable them to live more independently, assuming it is accessible, and are keen to co-innovate. Finally, we make recommendations for policy changes that can facilitate the redesign of urban infrastructure to make cities more accessible for people with disabilities and drive structural changes in urban planning. Full article
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33 pages, 21959 KiB  
Article
Assessing Peri-Urbanisation and Urban Transitions between 2010 and 2020 in Ho Chi Minh City using an Urban Structure Type Approach
by Nigel K. Downes, Harry Storch, Pham Quoc Viet, Nguyen Kieu Diem and Le Canh Dinh
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 11; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010011 - 1 Feb 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2757
Abstract
This paper contributes to the understanding of the recent urban development of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Previous studies have aimed at quantifying the city’s spatial growth yet have disregarded its inherent morphological and socio-economic heterogeneity. To overcome this knowledge gap, we employ [...] Read more.
This paper contributes to the understanding of the recent urban development of Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Previous studies have aimed at quantifying the city’s spatial growth yet have disregarded its inherent morphological and socio-economic heterogeneity. To overcome this knowledge gap, we employ an urban structure type approach for the spatially explicit quantification of urbanisation patterns for the period 2010–⁠2020, categorising 77,000 blocks across the entire administrative area of 2095 km2. The approach allows us to understand the basic underlying processes of urbanisation, both quantitatively and qualitatively, and the main growth corridors along the rural–urban gradient. By contextualizing and combining our findings within current literature and official planning reports, we discern between traditional urban growth and the contemporary new town development patterns, highlighting their driving forces and policy implications. Incremental plot-by-plot development along the northwest development corridor is observed as the principal mode of urban development, whilst bypass urbanisation is seen along both the eastern and southern development corridors. Our block-based results highlight the city’s key growth challenges and provide insights on a scale that is meaningful for official spatial and infrastructure planning, and periodic analysis and monitoring. As far as the authors are aware, this is the first time that an urban structure type approach was applied to understand the rapid urban growth dynamics of an emerging megacity in Southeast Asia. Full article
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18 pages, 1173 KiB  
Article
Analysis of the Barriers to Smart City Development Using DEMATEL
by Anas A. Makki and Ammar Y. Alqahtani
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010010 - 1 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1745
Abstract
This study analyzes the barriers to developing smart cities (SCs) using the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) approach. The primary objective is to identify, classify, and assess the main barriers hindering the progress of SCs. Through an extensive literature review, twelve main [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the barriers to developing smart cities (SCs) using the decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) approach. The primary objective is to identify, classify, and assess the main barriers hindering the progress of SCs. Through an extensive literature review, twelve main barriers were identified. The DEMATEL approach models and analyzes the relationships among these barriers based on expert input. The results reveal that technical problems, a lack of infrastructure, and high costs are classified as cause barriers. Security and privacy concerns and the absence of coordinated planning are classified as effect barriers. This study emphasizes the need for established criteria and iterative development requirements. Although the influence of knowledge and skills gaps and a lack of awareness is less significant, these aspects still require attention. The findings suggest that a comprehensive approach focusing on technical solutions, infrastructure development, strategic planning, and cybersecurity measures can effectively overcome barriers. Regular evaluation of barrier dynamics is crucial for implementing adaptive measures. The results provide decision-makers with a valuable model to address the challenges and foster the efforts of SC stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart City and Well-Being)
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25 pages, 2242 KiB  
Article
Strategies for Co-Creation and Co-Governance in Urban Contexts: Building Trust in Local Communities with Limited Social Structures
by Sean Bradley and Israa H. Mahmoud
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010009 - 25 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2277
Abstract
Over the last few years, community empowerment has become a central focus when discussing the sustainability of large-scale urban regeneration processes, especially those related to the implementation of nature-based solutions. In this article, the authors describe the experience of the CLEVER Cities project [...] Read more.
Over the last few years, community empowerment has become a central focus when discussing the sustainability of large-scale urban regeneration processes, especially those related to the implementation of nature-based solutions. In this article, the authors describe the experience of the CLEVER Cities project in the city of London, by looking at the dynamics of the early stages of co-creation and the implications on co-governance, motivation and policy. Particular attention is given to the importance of carefully evaluating the project context to guide where emphasis is given on the use of specific co-creation strategies such as building trust, raising awareness or networking. In this case, a set of strategies emerge that are a response to several factors but are strongly influenced by the backdrop of limited social structuring encountered in South Thamesmead, South London. The methods are derived based on a qualitative and looped observation approach over three phases applied to three urban living labs in the project area. Finally, to structure the results, an iterative co-production of knowledge approach is used to cluster the strategies into ten more synthetic recommendations based on collaborative governance, communication and capacity building, as well as incentives and motivation. Further, guidance is given by highlighting priorities to inform policy and place-based planning actions. Full article
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24 pages, 5001 KiB  
Article
Monitoring Net Land Take in a Metropolitan Region—Portugal
by Rita Nicolau and Beatriz Condessa
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 8; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010008 - 18 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1547
Abstract
This study seeks to contribute to the definition of a “no net land take” policy by 2050 for Portugal’s second-largest metropolitan region (AMP, Porto Metropolitan Area) while sensitising those involved in regional and local planning to the European target. Based on an assessment [...] Read more.
This study seeks to contribute to the definition of a “no net land take” policy by 2050 for Portugal’s second-largest metropolitan region (AMP, Porto Metropolitan Area) while sensitising those involved in regional and local planning to the European target. Based on an assessment of land use changes in AMP and its municipalities during 2007–2018, soil sealing levels in 2018 and population evolution, the study quantifies the processes that may impart achievement of the 2050 objective and identifies the regional drivers of net land take, to support the definition of both interventions to decrease land take and soil sealing and related targets. The main contribution of the research is the exploration of new indicators in terms of soil sealing and population data to identify the potential for implementing interventions proposed by the EU Soil Strategy that do not jeopardise the maintenance of biodiversity in urban areas. The land take rate in the AMP was the highest among mainland Portugal regions. Its main drivers were the development of transport networks, industrial and commercial units and dispersed housing. The reuse and re-naturalisation of artificial land have seen little use in the region. Accordingly, the daily net land taken in the AMP (0.59 ha/day) still needs to decrease until 2050. While artificial land increased across the AMP, most of its municipalities lost population. To reverse this trend, the AMP should implement tighter control mechanisms that ensure that infrastructure and housing needs are fully met through the reuse of urban areas that are already sealed. However, given that the share of impermeable soil in most urban areas is already significantly high, there will have to be a careful choice of locations where intensifying land use will cause less environmental damage. It is concluded that the degree of soil sealing within urban areas is fundamental for deciding on the interventions to be carried out to reduce net land take and for defining a policy towards meeting the 2050 target. Full article
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17 pages, 6200 KiB  
Article
A GIS-Based Emotion Detection Framework for Multi-Risk Analysis in Urban Settlements
by Barbara Cardone, Ferdinando Di Martino and Vittorio Miraglia
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 7; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010007 - 15 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1497
Abstract
The application of sentiment analysis approaches to information flows extracted from the social networks connected to particular critical periods generated by pandemic, climatic and extreme environmental phenomena allow the decision maker to detect the emotional states of citizens and to determine which areas [...] Read more.
The application of sentiment analysis approaches to information flows extracted from the social networks connected to particular critical periods generated by pandemic, climatic and extreme environmental phenomena allow the decision maker to detect the emotional states of citizens and to determine which areas are most at risk and require specific resilient adaptation interventions. Of particular relevance today is the need to analyze the multiple risks generated by extreme phenomena in urban settlements in order for the decision maker to identify which areas are most at risk and prepare resilient intervention plans with respect to all the phenomena analyzed. In recent years, the COVID 19 pandemic emergency has forced citizens to undergo specific restrictions to protect their health; to these were added critical issues due to the occurrence of extreme climatic or environmental phenomena. In order to monitor pandemic and climate/environmental multi-risks in urban settlements, we propose a GIS-based framework in which an emotion detection method is applied to determine the prevailing emotional categories in urban study areas during pandemic periods and in the presence of extreme climatic phenomena. The framework was tested on a study area based in the six districts of the city of Bologna (Italy) in order to detect, based on the emotions expressed on social channels, which were the most critical city neighborhoods in pandemic periods and in the presence of extreme heat wave climatic events. The results show that the proposed model can represent a valid tool to support decision makers in identifying the most critical urban areas in the presence of pandemic and climate/environmental multi-risks. Full article
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23 pages, 19227 KiB  
Article
Using a Space Syntax Approach to Enhance Pedestrians’ Accessibility and Safety in the Historic City of George Town, Penang
by Mo Fan, Massoomeh Hedayati Marzbali, Aldrin Abdullah and Mohammad Javad Maghsoodi Tilaki
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 6; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010006 - 11 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2077
Abstract
Contemporary urban development places a critical emphasis on pedestrian environments, especially in historic cities like George Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia. Although survey questionnaires effectively captured public perceptions of issues such as poor road connectivity, weak accessibility, crime [...] Read more.
Contemporary urban development places a critical emphasis on pedestrian environments, especially in historic cities like George Town, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Malaysia. Although survey questionnaires effectively captured public perceptions of issues such as poor road connectivity, weak accessibility, crime and safety concerns in George Town, they fell short in providing a comprehensive understanding of the root causes. This study leverages space syntax theory to model and analyze George Town’s unique pedestrian landscape, aiming to identify strategies for improving pedestrian networks in historical urban landscapes. Space syntax theory, known for revealing structural issues within urban contexts, is applied after a thorough examination of George Town’s urban layout, climate, architectural features, and development policies. George Town employs an informal grid layout widely utilized in British colonial port cities to enhance overall efficiency. The predominant architectural form is the shophouse, which is characterized by a ground level designed for pedestrian movement known as the “five-foot way” and adapted to Malaysia’s climate. Various axis drawing methods for the unique five-foot way under different circumstances are considered. The George Town special area plan (SAP) emphasizing heritage preservation guides development policies, thus requiring an inclusive approach to pedestrian environments. This enhances the practical significance of the current study, with the eastern and northern coastal areas serving as crucial focal points for investigation. This approach results in a comprehensive spatial model that captures the essence of George Town’s pedestrian landscape. Evaluation using space syntax indicators such as connectivity, integration, intelligibility, and choice reveals issues like poor overall network connectivity, inadequate access to key attractions, suboptimal integration, concentrated pedestrian flows, and significant safety concerns, which are exacerbated by limited infrastructure on certain two-way roads and a lack of zebra crossings. The practical implications of this study include recommendations for enhancing pedestrian spaces along identified roads and strategically installing zebra-crossings. This research is significant for its focus on a historical city in a Southeast Asian developing country, deeply integrating local environmental characteristics and providing insights into urban planning and optimization, thereby serving as a reference for similar cities. Full article
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15 pages, 2313 KiB  
Article
Urbanisation in Sub-Saharan Cities and the Implications for Urban Agriculture: Evidence-Based Remote Sensing from Niamey, Niger
by Ibrahim Abdoul Nasser and Elhadi Adam
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 5; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010005 - 4 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2012
Abstract
Urbanisation is the process whereby cities are transformed into large sprawling areas. Urbanisation combined with a continuous increase in population makes food security crucial for sustainable development. Urbanisation poses a threat to agricultural land use within built-up and peri-urban areas. It has resulted [...] Read more.
Urbanisation is the process whereby cities are transformed into large sprawling areas. Urbanisation combined with a continuous increase in population makes food security crucial for sustainable development. Urbanisation poses a threat to agricultural land use within built-up and peri-urban areas. It has resulted in the rapid disappearance and/or total change of agricultural farmland in urban and peri-urban areas. To monitor the changes in agricultural farmland, an understanding of changes in the urban landscape is becoming increasingly important. In this study, multi-temporal Landsat imagery were used to analyse the impact of urbanisation on urban agriculture in the city of Niamey. Changes in the urban landscape were determined using the support vector machine (machine learning) algorithm. Results of this study showed a decrease in land with crops from 3428 ha to 648 ha and an increase in built-up areas from 1352 ha to 11,596 ha between 1975 and 2020. Urbanisation and population growth are the main drivers of urban landscape change in Niamey. There was also a decrease in bare land, rock and vegetation classes, while a small increase in rice and water body classes, comparing the 1975 and 2020 values. This study demonstrates the importance of remote sensing in showing the implications of urbanisation on urban agriculture. These results can assist city planners and resource managers in decision-making and adoption of sustainable mitigation measures which are crucial for urban development. Full article
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18 pages, 4677 KiB  
Article
Prediction of the Subgrade Soil California Bearing Ratio Using Machine Learning and Neuro-Fuzzy Inference System Techniques: A Sustainable Approach in Urban Infrastructure Development
by Sachin Gowda, Vaishakh Kunjar, Aakash Gupta, Govindaswamy Kavitha, Bishnu Kant Shukla and Parveen Sihag
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 4; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010004 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2519
Abstract
In the realm of urban geotechnical infrastructure development, accurate estimation of the California Bearing Ratio (CBR), a key indicator of the strength of unbound granular material and subgrade soil, is paramount for pavement design. Traditional laboratory methods for obtaining CBR values are time-consuming [...] Read more.
In the realm of urban geotechnical infrastructure development, accurate estimation of the California Bearing Ratio (CBR), a key indicator of the strength of unbound granular material and subgrade soil, is paramount for pavement design. Traditional laboratory methods for obtaining CBR values are time-consuming and labor-intensive, prompting the exploration of novel computational strategies. This paper illustrates the development and application of machine learning techniques—multivariate linear regression (MLR), artificial neural networks (ANN), and the adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS)—to indirectly predict the CBR based on the soil type, plasticity index (PI), and maximum dry density (MDD). Our study analyzed 2191 soil samples for parameters including PI, MDD, particle size distribution, and CBR, leveraging theoretical calculations and big data analysis. The ANFIS demonstrated superior performance in CBR prediction with an R2 value of 0.81, surpassing both MLR and ANN. Sensitivity analysis revealed the PI as the most significant parameter affecting the CBR, carrying a relative importance of 46%. The findings underscore the potent potential of machine learning and neuro-fuzzy inference systems in the sustainable management of non-renewable urban resources and provide crucial insights for urban planning, construction materials selection, and infrastructure development. This study bridges the gap between computational techniques and geotechnical engineering, heralding a new era of intelligent urban resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resources and Environment)
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15 pages, 2946 KiB  
Article
Rehabilitation of Urban Beaches on the Mediterranean Coast in Valencia (Spain) Observed by Remote Sensing
by Juan Víctor Molner, Rebeca Pérez-González and Juan M. Soria
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 3; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010003 - 2 Jan 2024
Viewed by 2495
Abstract
Beaches, as ecosystems of high ecosocial and biodiversity importance, are threatened by human activities such as city development and port construction. This study used satellite imagery (Landsat 5, Landsat 8, and Sentinel-2) to detect a significant reduction of 70% in the beach areas [...] Read more.
Beaches, as ecosystems of high ecosocial and biodiversity importance, are threatened by human activities such as city development and port construction. This study used satellite imagery (Landsat 5, Landsat 8, and Sentinel-2) to detect a significant reduction of 70% in the beach areas of El Saler and La Garrofera (Valencia, Spain) from 170 ha in the 1990s to 43 ha in the year 2022. This process has occurred in parallel with the successive expansion of the Port of Valencia, a modifying agent of marine sedimentation in the region. In addition, encouraging results have been observed in the rehabilitation efforts in different periods. The latest work in the autumn of 2023 has improved the beach area to 112 ha. In this context, remote sensing emerges as an essential tool to monitor these ecosystems, which are important for both human welfare and biodiversity conservation, as well as to allow for monitoring during ecological restoration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal Urban Dynamics under Climate Change)
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18 pages, 4380 KiB  
Article
Spatial Distribution and Quality of Urban Public Spaces in the Attica Region (Greece) during the COVID-19 Pandemic: A Survey-Based Analysis
by Athina Mela, Evgenia Tousi, Emmanouil Melas and George Varelidis
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010002 - 25 Dec 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2059
Abstract
This study investigates the spatial distribution and quality of urban public spaces in the Attica region during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted to gather data on the availability, accessibility, and quality of open urban public spaces. The findings indicate that, [...] Read more.
This study investigates the spatial distribution and quality of urban public spaces in the Attica region during the COVID-19 pandemic. A questionnaire survey was conducted to gather data on the availability, accessibility, and quality of open urban public spaces. The findings indicate that, although several respondents reported the presence of outdoor public spaces in their respective areas, these spaces often did not meet the desired quality standards. Notably, a clear preference was expressed for open public spaces located within a convenient walking distance, typically within a 15-min walk. Quality assessments varied across different sectors of Attica, with the central Athens and central Piraeus sectors receiving lower ratings in terms of availability, quality, and safety. Compared to the rest of Attica, the residential suburbs of Athens’s Northern Sector appear to have more accessible, safe, and well-maintained public areas. The research underscores the critical importance of quality public spaces, particularly during times of crisis. This study emphasizes the need for a re-evaluation of urban planning strategies to ensure that public spaces remain functional and accessible to citizens. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Post-COVID Urbanism)
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18 pages, 1290 KiB  
Article
The Role of Performance in Smart Meter’s Acceptance: A Survey in Joinville, Brazil
by Diego Fettermann, Pedro Christoffel, Jaime Castillo and Angelo Sant’Anna
Urban Sci. 2024, 8(1), 1; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci8010001 - 20 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1744
Abstract
The incorporation of renewable energy sources necessitates the upgrade of the electrical grid to a smart grid, which involves the implementation of smart meters. Although smart meters provide benefits to users, many smart meter implementation projects have failed to be accepted by users. [...] Read more.
The incorporation of renewable energy sources necessitates the upgrade of the electrical grid to a smart grid, which involves the implementation of smart meters. Although smart meters provide benefits to users, many smart meter implementation projects have failed to be accepted by users. This article assesses the factors influencing the acceptance of household smart meters in Joinville, a city in the south of Brazil. Based on the Unified and Extended Theory of Acceptance and Use of Technology (UTAUT2), a structural equation model was estimated using data from a sample of 136 respondents in the city of Joinville. The results indicate that Performance Expectancy, Hedonic Motivation, and Social Influence constructs have a more substantial effect on the Intention to Use smart meters. The results provide evidence for planning the upgrade of the electrical grid by implementing smart meters in southern Brazil. Full article
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