Special Issue "Responding to Climate Emergency: Design, Planning and Assessment of the Built Environment"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 December 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Deo Prasad
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Built Environment, University of New South Wales, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: sustainable buildings and cities; energy efficiency; climate change adaptation and mitigation; smart cities; regenerative cities; sustainability policy
Dr. Lan Ding
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Built Environment, University of New Sourth Wales, NSW 2052, Australia
Interests: sustainable buildings and cities; energy efficiency; climate change adaptation and mitigation; smart cities; regenerative cities; decision-making model; building and urban information modelling
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Urgent actions are needed for climate adaptation and mitigation in the built environment to respond to the challenges and opportunities of our time. Efforts to combat global warming and greenhouse gas emission, and achieve liveable, resilient cities are more important now than ever. This Special Issue will showcase a range of innovations from climate-oriented design to planning and policy in the built environment. It will feature new roadmaps and evidence, innovative processes, methodologies and tools, and emerging materials and technologies that address these challenges and opportunities. Researchers are invited to contribute to this Special Issue and present original research related to one or more of the following themes:

 

  • Sustainable design and planning in adapting to climate change;
  • Biophilic design to support resilience in environmental and human health;
  • Water-sensitive urban and building design to support city and building cooling;
  • Regenerative design and development for the potential of the capacity to reverse climate change;
  • Climate change mitigation strategies and assessment;
  • Vulnerability assessment for extreme heat;
  • Climate mitigation and health co-benefits;
  • Tools for assessing climate change mitigation and adaptation in buildings, precincts and cities.

Prof. Dr. Deo Prasad
Assoc. Prof. Dr. Lan Ding
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 design and planning
  • climate change adaptation and mitigation
  • water-sensitive urban and building design
  • biophilic design
  • regenerative design and development
  • vulnerability assessment
  • health co-benefits
  • resilience

Published Papers (4 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review

Article
Development and Validation of a Roadmap to Assist the Performance-Based Early-Stage Design Process of Adaptive Opaque Facades
Sustainability 2020, 12(23), 10118; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su122310118 - 03 Dec 2020
Viewed by 743
Abstract
Adaptive Opaque Facades (AOF) is an innovative concept with potential to achieve low carbon energy buildings. However, so far AOF are not integrated in the construction industry. One remarkable issue that designers have when dealing with alternative low-carbon technologies, such as AOF, is [...] Read more.
Adaptive Opaque Facades (AOF) is an innovative concept with potential to achieve low carbon energy buildings. However, so far AOF are not integrated in the construction industry. One remarkable issue that designers have when dealing with alternative low-carbon technologies, such as AOF, is the absence of previous built experiences and the lack of specialised technical knowledge. Design roadmaps can be convenient solutions to guide pioneer low carbon technology applications. This work presents a roadmap to assist the performance-based early-stage design process of Adaptive Opaque Facades. Previous research developed new approaches and tools to assist on the construction definition of AOF, so that their adaptive thermal performance was considered when specific design decisions needed to be made. The roadmap presented in this paper organises the implementation sequence of each methodological approach and tools in different design stages, which aims to provide a holistic design approach for AOF. The usability of the roadmap was validated in a workshop called “Performance-based Design and Assessment of Adaptive Facades” with master students representing the target group of this roadmap. Even though these students had never heard about AOF before, they could successfully design, define the early-stage characteristics of an AOF and quantify the thermal performance of their AOF designs. The roadmap was proven to be a useful support, which might make the implementation of AOF more approachable in the future. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Navigating Climate Change: Rethinking the Role of Buildings
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9527; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12229527 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1179
Abstract
This paper focuses on the design of buildings as part of society’s response to the climate crisis in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on a broad literature to address two interrelated goals—first, to align regenerative development and design with the [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the design of buildings as part of society’s response to the climate crisis in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic. It draws on a broad literature to address two interrelated goals—first, to align regenerative development and design with the necessary bottom-up adaptation strategies and human agency, and second, to identify new, broader possible roles of buildings and responsibilities of design professionals. This required a comparison of current green building and emerging regenerative approaches and identifying the relevant characteristics of top-down and bottom-up mechanisms. The paper accepts that adaptation to climate change will, to a large extent, depend on people’s day-to-day actions in the places they live, and argues that the built environment will have to be infused with the capability to enable inhabitants’ greater agency. Viewing buildings as playing a connective role in the existing urban fabric seriously challenges the primacy of the individual building as the focus of environmental strategies. The roles of building design professionals will likely expand to include mediating between top-down imposed government controls and increasing bottom-up neighborhood-scale social activism. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Spatial and Behavioral Thermal Adaptation in Net Zero Energy Buildings: An Exploratory Investigation
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7961; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12197961 - 25 Sep 2020
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 856
Abstract
Climate responsive design can amplify the positive environmental effects necessary for human habitation and constructively engage and reduce the energy use of existing buildings. This paper aims to assess the role of the thermal adaptation design strategy on thermal comfort perception, occupant behavior, [...] Read more.
Climate responsive design can amplify the positive environmental effects necessary for human habitation and constructively engage and reduce the energy use of existing buildings. This paper aims to assess the role of the thermal adaptation design strategy on thermal comfort perception, occupant behavior, and building energy use in twelve high-performance Belgian households. Thermal adaptation involves thermal zoning and behavioral adaptation to achieve thermal comfort and reduce energy use in homes. Based on quantitative and qualitative fieldwork and in-depth interviews conducted in Brussels, the paper provides insights on the impact of using mechanical systems in twelve newly renovated nearly- and net-zero energy households. The article calls for embracing thermal adaptation as a crucial design principle in future energy efficiency standards and codes. Results confirm the rebound effect in nearly zero energy buildings and the limitation of the current building energy efficiency standards. The paper offers a fresh perspective to the field of building energy efficiency that will appeal to researchers and architects, as well as policymakers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Urban Heat Island and Its Interaction with Heatwaves: A Review of Studies on Mesoscale
Sustainability 2021, 13(19), 10923; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su131910923 - 30 Sep 2021
Viewed by 425
Abstract
With rapid urbanization, population growth and anthropogenic activities, an increasing number of major cities across the globe are facing severe urban heat islands (UHI). UHI can cause complex impacts on the urban environment and human health, and it may bring more severe effects [...] Read more.
With rapid urbanization, population growth and anthropogenic activities, an increasing number of major cities across the globe are facing severe urban heat islands (UHI). UHI can cause complex impacts on the urban environment and human health, and it may bring more severe effects under heatwave (HW) conditions. In this paper, a holistic review is conducted to articulate the findings of the synergies between UHI and HW and corresponding mitigation measures proposed by the research community. It is worth pointing out that most studies show that urban areas are more vulnerable than rural areas during HWs, but the opposite is also observed in some studies. Changes in urban energy budget and major drivers are discussed and compared to explain such discrepancies. Recent studies also indicate that increasing albedo, vegetation fraction and irrigation can lower the urban temperature during HWs. Research gaps in this topic necessitate more studies concerning vulnerable cities in developing countries. Moreover, multidisciplinary studies considering factors such as UHI, HW, human comfort, pollution dispersion and the efficacy of mitigation measures should be conducted to provide more accurate and explicit guidance to urban planners and policymakers. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Resilient Buildings and Microgrids: A Grassroots Community Response to the Climate Emergency

Sarah Niklas*, Scott Dwyer and Dani Alexander

Institute of Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney; [email protected] Correspondence: [email protected]

Abstract: The severity and incidence of extreme weather events are increasing with climate change. In particular, forest fires are becoming more frequent, more intense, and longer lasting than before. Fuelled by long periods of dryness and high temperatures, the Australia bushfires of 2019/2020 were record breaking in terms of destruction and chaos. Rural communities were badly affected with power cuts disabling access to essential services. A concept for resilient public buildings emerged as a grassroots community idea from the bushfire-affected area of Gippsland, southwest Australia. A combination of desktop and empirical research explored the lessons that can be learned from international examples of energy resilience and climate mitigation, the services that are needed, the technologies, involved, and the (legal) challenges and enablers. The findings were informed by case studies from New Zealand (earthquake), India (cyclone), California and Greece (wildfires). Findings disclose deployment of resilient buildings and microgrids is driven by: (1) environmental concerns and climate change, (2) shifts towards low-emission and distributed technologies, (3) economic in- centives of microgrids (low-cost solution for disaster recovery, high fire resilience of renewables), and (4) political will in meeting community needs. Microgrids offer year-around electricity supply and build social, political, and economic structures which create resilience. Keywords: Climate change, renewable energy, communities; grassroots movement, resilience, multi-governance, energy transition, grid infrastructure, buildings.

Understanding and Optimising Cooling Demand Response During Extreme Heat Days to Support a Net-Zero Carbon Built Environment

Lan Ding, Henry Petersen, William Craft, Chaojie Li, Deo Prasad, ZhaoYang Dong, Anir Upadhyay

Abstract: A net-zero carbon built environment is a global vision for tackling the climate emergency. It requires collective efforts to reduce carbon emissions and increase the use of renewable energy in the built environment. However, the recent climate trend of increased frequency, duration and intensity of extreme heat days is a big challenge a net zero carbon environment faces, because it has adverse effects on peak electricity demand, the reliability of the electricity systems and carbon emissions. This paper addresses this challenge by presenting key findings on residential cooling demand profile characteristics during extreme heat days from case studies in Greater Sydney in Australia, analysing potential correlations between peak cooling demand, renewable generation and key variables of dwellings and occupants, and developing smart interventions in the context of virtual power plants (VPP) to optimise cooling demand response and increase the effective use of renewable generation to reduce carbon emissions. The results of optimal cooling demand response and effective use of renewable generation during extreme heat days are quantified to demonstrate significant carbon emissions reductions to support a net-zero carbon built environment.

Developing a Decision-Making Framework for Regenerative Precinct Development

William Craft, Lan Ding, Deo Prasad

Abstract: The consequences of the extractive and disconnected relationship with nature that has dominated past and current sustainability approaches are now being witnessed. A harmonious relationship with nature needs to be reestablished to guide how we can live, act and respond to the global climate emergency. Regenerative development has emerged as a process which enables the reconnection between human and natural systems to create the necessary conditions for a healthy and thriving future. While several frameworks and tools have been developed to support the implementation of regenerative development practices, few deal specifically with decision-making and its associated challenges and opportunities. This paper presents the development of a novel decision-making framework for regenerative precinct development. It is an evidence-based framework established from the key findings of a case study investigation into the decision-making approaches of regenerative precinct developments. It is a visual guiding framework that poses challenging questions to enable decision-makers to structure and align their thinking, decisions and actions with the fundamental principles of regenerative development. This paper discusses the framework’s development, its key features and theoretical basis, and its potential to influence decision-making practices towards regenerative development.

Cities and Flood Tolerance: Lessons Learned and Design Principles from 20 Years of Safe-to-Flood Projects in China

Dr Elisa Palazzo 1 and Dr Sisi Wang 2

1 Corresponding author - UNSW, Sydney

2 Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture - Beijing

Abstract: In highly urbanised floodplains, it is becoming widely accepted that a change in cities design is needed to replace flood control/resistance with flood adaptation measures to build urban ecological resilience. To address riverine and flash flooding in urban areas, planners have developed solutions that contemplate to "live with the water" by adopting safe-to-flood responses that make room to fluctuating water levels. Landscape Architecture/ design has been at the forefront of these blue-green infrastructure initiatives that have been particularly popular within the Sponge cities initiatives in China. However, despite the abundant literature, a comprehensive study is not yet available to assess the functionalities and performance of those designed schemes that restore floodplain functions in urban areas to prevent downstream flooding. With the purpose of operationalising flood resilience, this paper explores how multi-equilibria and ecological resilience paradigms are applied in planning and urban design practice to adapt to flood and make flood water beneficial to the urban system. The study examines 20 projects in urban floodplains from the Sponge Cities initiatives in China and develops a toolbox of blue-green solutions for urban design practitioners and administrators. The research aim is to inform operations in the planning and design professions and proposes an appropriate framework for scenario management to make cities flood resilient. This will support evidence-based decisions in planning and urban design to evaluate the most suitable response to flood at different scales and urban conditions.

 

Rethinking Delta Urbanism. Are Australian Delta Cities Prepared to Anticipate Disturbances Linked to the Climate Emergency?

Perez Lopez, Irene; Grech, Alexandra

Abstract: Urbanized deltas are unique landscapes, strongly modified by an intensive history of inhabitation, industrial activity, habitat modification and destruction and cultural disruption, amongst other natural and man-made transformation processes. Simultaneously, as liminal zones where land and water converge, are dynamic systems exposed to unpredictable forces currently exacerbated by the impact of a climate system we are changing. Such conditions, simultaneously, constrain delta and estuary cities while also offering opportunities to both built and natural environments to recreate themselves with greater resilience and liveability. As a part of a wider debate around the future of delta and estuary cities, the research investigates the challenges and opportunities of medium-sized urbanised deltas within Australia to tackle climate change disturbances. The aim is to define and model multiple scenarios and design strategies able to move the urban sustainability, liveability and resilience of urbanised deltas from “keep feet dry” to “living with water.” Water becomes an instrument of change to re-think the design of the city and its relationship with the non-built environment. The paper analyses existing coastal and flood management assessment plans, climate action and spatial planning policies ranging from the transnational to local levels, to identify how cities and government are preparing to anticipate disturbances linked to the climate emergency. The final goal is to identify strengths and weakness in order to challenge and inform current policies and guidelines. Resulting from the analysis of current approaches, new models of inhabitation will be presented that anticipate and respond resiliently to the climate emergency instead of reacting to the hazards after the fact. The paper aims to conclude whether resilient thinking can be found at all levels of policy and decision making and identify how medium-size cities within Australia are assessed and prepared to face disturbances and the unpredictable effects of the climate change.

Back to TopTop