Special Issue "Smart Cities, City Dashboards, Planning and Evaluation of Urban Performances"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Margherita Azzari
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
SAGAS, Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Florence Via San Gallo, 10, 50129, Florence, Italy
Interests: human geography; smart cities; urban geography; assessment of environmental susceptibility; cultural heritage; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Prof. Dr. Ginevra Balletto
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari, Via Marengo 3, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Interests: urban and regional planning; cultural heritage; urban governance and urban policies; urban governance and urban policies (hard and soft); sport in the city
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Carlo Donato
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
DISEA, Department of Economics and Business, University of Sassari, Via Muroni 25, 07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: tourism; urban geography; migrations; smart cities
Prof. Dr. Chiara Garau
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Architecture (DICAAR), University of Cagliari, 09123 Cagliari, Italy
Interests: smart cities; urban and regional planning; participatory processes; cultural heritage; smart tourism; urban governance; urban policies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Beniamino Murgante
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Dr. Paola Zamperlin
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
SAGAS, Department of History, Archaeology, Geography, Fine and Performing Arts, University of Florence Via San Gallo, 10, 50129, Florence, Italy
Interests: human geography; smart cities; urban geography; assessment of environmental susceptibility; cultural heritage; Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In recent years, the applications for Smart Cities have developed in different directions, one of the most evident dealing with the realization of city dashboards—tools where data from various sources are gathered, arranged, and made available to citizens. It is a trend followed by many public administrations, opening their datasets and making them available for consultation and use by the general public. Additionally, the amount of big data constantly created by different sources can be considered as valuable means for providing information and knowledge for better urban life and planning.

An important use of the dashboards can be found in the opportunity to evaluate the performance of events (e.g., sports, expo, international events) connected to urban regeneration.

However, the attention has often been drawn towards tools, techniques, and data, and little given to processes and methods of smart urban planning. In this light, dashboards have been developed in many cases representing academic experiments and tests of city-to-citizens interface and communication channels, to produce indicators and indexes related to the performances of cities. Such indexes are seldom used in planning as benchmarks for policies, and therefore dashboards and their output are not frequently used as a consistent part of urban spatial planning policies.

The aim of this Special Issue is to propose a change in the model of urban dashboards from a linear one (that follows the logic of: data input–processing–visualization–information output) to a circular one (data input–processing–visualization–information output–indicators–use of indicators in planning–new data production–new data input). In this sense, the aim is to understand how the principles of the smart city can be put in action in terms of policies and decisions of urban and regional planning. However, the Special Issue is not limited to these specific topics. Original contributions regarding smart cities, new technologies, and urban planning will also be appreciated.

Prof. Giuseppe Borruso
Prof. Margherita Azzari
Prof. Dr. Ginevra Balletto
Prof. Carlo Donato
Prof. Dr. Chiara Garau
Prof. Dr. Beniamino Murgante
Dr. Paola Zamperlin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • smart cities
  • urban dashboards
  • urban and regional planning
  • smart governance
  • big data
  • open data
  • IoT
  • GIS

Published Papers (23 papers)

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Article
Exploring Walking Behavior in the Streets of New York City Using Hourly Pedestrian Count Data
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 7863; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12197863 - 23 Sep 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 584
Abstract
This paper explores hourly automated pedestrian count data of seven locations in New York City to understand pedestrian walking patterns in cities. Due to practical limitations, such patterns have been studied conceptually; few researchers have explored walking as a continuous, long-term activity. Adopting [...] Read more.
This paper explores hourly automated pedestrian count data of seven locations in New York City to understand pedestrian walking patterns in cities. Due to practical limitations, such patterns have been studied conceptually; few researchers have explored walking as a continuous, long-term activity. Adopting an automated pedestrian counting method, we documented and observed people walking on city streets and found that unique pedestrian traffic patterns reflect land use, development intensity, and neighborhood characteristics. We observed a threshold of thermal comfort in outdoor activities. People tend to seek shade and avoid solar radiation stronger than 1248 Wh/m2 at an average air temperature of 25 °C. Automated collection of detailed pedestrian count data provides a new opportunity for urban designers and transportation planners to understand how people walk and to improve our cities to be less dependent on the automobile. Full article
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Article
Smart Cities Oriented Project Planning and Evaluation Methodology Driven by Citizen Perception—IoT Smart Mobility Case
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7088; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12177088 - 31 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 907
Abstract
Smart Cities empower progress through technology integration directed with a strategic approach to sustainable development and citizen well-being. The creation of solid strategic planning boosts the development of infrastructure, innovation, and technology. However, the above can be compromised if citizens are not properly [...] Read more.
Smart Cities empower progress through technology integration directed with a strategic approach to sustainable development and citizen well-being. The creation of solid strategic planning boosts the development of infrastructure, innovation, and technology. However, the above can be compromised if citizens are not properly involved; therefore, it is relevant to enhance citizen participation when a new Smart City project appears on the horizon. This work presents a Smart Cities Oriented Project Planning and Evaluation (SCOPPE) Methodology that combines the citizen participation and the Minimum Viable Product creation through adaptive project management. Moreover, since the smart mobility projects represent the first step towards a Smart City, a case of study of an Intelligent Parking System (SEI-UVM) is presented following the SCOPPE Methodology. The application’s steps results lead us to key and useful information when defining, designing, and implementing the minimum viable product of the cornerstone device of the SEI-UVM: the Smart Vehicle Presence Sensor (SPIN-V). It is worthwhile to mention that the proposed SCOPPE Methodology could be extended to any Smart City project. Full article
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Article
Ostracod Fauna: Eyewitness to Fifty Years of Anthropic Impact in the Gulf of Trieste. A Potential Key to the Future Evolution of Urban Ecosystems
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6954; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12176954 - 26 Aug 2020
Viewed by 563
Abstract
For the first time, the distribution and modifications of living ostracod associations present in the Gulf of Trieste (GoT) in relation to alterations caused by human activity in the last 20 years were investigated. The results were compared with the main physicochemical parameters [...] Read more.
For the first time, the distribution and modifications of living ostracod associations present in the Gulf of Trieste (GoT) in relation to alterations caused by human activity in the last 20 years were investigated. The results were compared with the main physicochemical parameters (especially nitrogen and phosphorus) measured over the same period, which can lead to a general decrease in environmental quality. For a more in-depth analysis of the changes recorded by ostracods in the last 50 years, a period in which eutrophication and anoxia increased, we revisited the study carried out by Masoli in the GoT in 1967. The results obtained made it possible to verify how, over the last 20 years, ostracod assemblages have suffered a decrease both qualitatively and quantitatively. Most of the species recovered show characteristics of opportunism and tolerance to environmentally stressful conditions, high organic matter concentrations, and oxygen deficiency. The ostracods analyzed in 1967 showed similar results with few dominant opportunistic species. We verified how ostracods recorded in GoT, similar to Mollusks and Foraminifera, have been impaired by the possible environmental crisis linked to the recurrence of mucilage and hypoxic events documented for the GoT in the last 50 years. Finally, a comparison with the best environmental conditions found in the Marine Nature Reserve of Miramare (MPA) allowed us to emphasize the important role of protected areas to avoid loss of biodiversity due to urbanization. Full article
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Article
Driving Municipal Recycling by Connecting Digital Value Endpoints in Smart Cities
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6433; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12166433 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
Uncontrolled global economic growth at any cost is having palpable and general consequences for SC (smart cities) environments and sustainability worldwide. The current economic growth model is, according to experts, decidedly unsustainable, and if urgent measures are not taken, the quality of life [...] Read more.
Uncontrolled global economic growth at any cost is having palpable and general consequences for SC (smart cities) environments and sustainability worldwide. The current economic growth model is, according to experts, decidedly unsustainable, and if urgent measures are not taken, the quality of life for future citizens will decline. In the search for solutions that would make cities sustainable, the deployment of the ICT factor is playing a decisive role. However, in its role as a driver, the ICT factor needs to increase the numbers of value endpoint connectors by incorporating citizens, corporations and institutions into city decision-making, thereby becoming a real integrative tool that achieves sustainability and is more than merely a tech flag. In this sense, the present paper proposes that the digital and programmable economy as an ecosystem should become a sustainability city driver because it facilitates the integration of different value endpoints in order to work in the same purpose, allowing, for example, increased sustainability levels in cities such as improving municipal recycling. This paper will apply ICT and digital concepts, the environment-social-economy model and fuzzy logic methodology. Full article
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Article
Planning and Managing the Integrated Water System: A Spatial Decision Support System to Analyze the Infrastructure Performances
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6432; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12166432 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 670
Abstract
The demand for water is constantly increasing, while there are factors related to climate change and pollution that make it less and less available. Addressing this problem means being able to face it with a global approach, which takes into account that human [...] Read more.
The demand for water is constantly increasing, while there are factors related to climate change and pollution that make it less and less available. Addressing this problem means being able to face it with a global approach, which takes into account that human beings need water to survive, as well as all the systems on which they rely, namely sanitation, health, education, business, and industry. While human behavior is influenced by the growing awareness on this topic promoted by organizations specifically targeting this mission, the need to protect water resources in operational terms has led mainly to the need for smart urban infrastructure planning, consistent with the objective of promoting sustainable development. To this aim, the authorities in charge of monitoring the implementation of the investment plans by operators need to perform accurate evaluations of the technical quality of the services provided. The present paper introduces a framework to design a Multi-criteria Spatial Decision Support System, conceived to help decision-makers define and analyze the investment priorities of the individual service operators. By building a knowledge model of the network under investigation, decision-makers are aware of physical components of the whole system and are provided with an intervention priority index related to the network objects that could be affected by the planning action to be implemented. Full article
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Article
A Bibliometric Diagnosis and Analysis about Smart Cities
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6357; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12166357 - 07 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 648
Abstract
This article aims to present a bibliometric analysis of Smart Cities. The study analyzes the most important journals during the period between 1991 and 2019. It provides helpful insights into the document types, the distribution of countries/territories, the distribution of institutions, the authors’ [...] Read more.
This article aims to present a bibliometric analysis of Smart Cities. The study analyzes the most important journals during the period between 1991 and 2019. It provides helpful insights into the document types, the distribution of countries/territories, the distribution of institutions, the authors’ geographical distribution, the most active authors and their research interests or fields, the relationships between principal authors and more relevant publications, and the most cited articles. This paper also provides important information about the core and historical references and the most cited papers. The analysis used the keywords and thematic noun-phrases in the titles and abstracts of the sample papers to explore the hot research topics in the top journals (e.g., ‘Smart Cities’, ‘Intelligent Cities’, ‘Sustainable Cities’, ‘e-Government’, ‘Digital Transformation’, ‘Knowledge-Based City’, etc.). The main objective is to have a quantitative description of the published literature about Smart Cities; this description will be the basis for the development of a methodology for the diagnosis of the maturity of a Smart City. The results presented here help to define the scientific concept of Smart Cities and to measure the importance that the term has gained through the years. The study has allowed us to know the main indicators of the published literature in depth, from the date of publication of the first articles and the evolution of these indicators to the present day. From the main indicators in the literature, some were selected to be applied: The most influential journals on Smart Cities according to the general citation structure in Smart Cities, Global Impact Factor of Smart Cities, number of publications, publications on Smart Cities around the world, and their correlation. Full article
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Article
Adoption-Driven Data Science for Transportation Planning: Methodology, Case Study, and Lessons Learned
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 6001; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12156001 - 26 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 819
Abstract
The rising availability of digital traces provides a fertile ground for data-driven solutions to problems in cities. However, even though a massive data set analyzed with data science methods may provide a powerful and cost-effective solution to a problem, its adoption by relevant [...] Read more.
The rising availability of digital traces provides a fertile ground for data-driven solutions to problems in cities. However, even though a massive data set analyzed with data science methods may provide a powerful and cost-effective solution to a problem, its adoption by relevant stakeholders is not guaranteed due to adoption barriers such as lack of interpretability and interoperability. In this context, this paper proposes a methodology toward bridging two disciplines, data science and transportation, to identify, understand, and solve transportation planning problems with data-driven solutions that are suitable for adoption by urban planners and policy makers. The methodology is defined by four steps where people from both disciplines go from algorithm and model definition to the development of a potentially adoptable solution with evaluated outputs. We describe how this methodology was applied to define a model to infer commuting trips with mode of transportation from mobile phone data, and we report the lessons learned during the process. Full article
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Article
Evaluation System: Evaluation of Smart City Shareable Framework and Its Applications in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2957; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12072957 - 08 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 891
Abstract
Smart city evaluation is a critical component in smart city construction and plays an important role in guiding and promoting smart development of cities. Currently, existing research and applications of smart city evaluation are still in the exploration stage. They mainly focus on [...] Read more.
Smart city evaluation is a critical component in smart city construction and plays an important role in guiding and promoting smart development of cities. Currently, existing research and applications of smart city evaluation are still in the exploration stage. They mainly focus on evaluation of one single aspect, use indicators with distinct regional characteristics and poor extensibility, and cannot be well-integrated with common and shareable smart city frameworks; these limitations have led to biased evaluation results. Based on a common and shareable smart city framework, this paper proposes a well-integrated, universal, strongly practical, and highly extensible evaluation system. Then, using the above-mentioned evaluation system, 17 smart cities in China are assessed. This application demonstrates that the evaluation system plays an important guiding role for better understanding the overall smart city platform construction situation in China, performing horizontal comparisons and establishing benchmarks among smart cities. Comparative analyses of indicators demonstrate that future smart city construction in China should pay more attention to novel innovations, the construction of dynamic information resources and spatiotemporal big data. Full article
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Article
Smart City-Ranking of Major Australian Cities to Achieve a Smarter Future
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2797; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12072797 - 01 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1581
Abstract
A Smart City is a solution to the problems caused by increasing urbanization. Australia has demonstrated a strong determination for the development of Smart Cities. However, the country has experienced uneven growth in its urban development. The purpose of this study is to [...] Read more.
A Smart City is a solution to the problems caused by increasing urbanization. Australia has demonstrated a strong determination for the development of Smart Cities. However, the country has experienced uneven growth in its urban development. The purpose of this study is to compare and identify the smartness of major Australian cities to the level of development in multi-dimensions. Eventually, the research introduces the openings to make cities smarter by identifying the focused priority areas. To ensure comprehensive coverage of all aspects of the smart city’s performance, 90 indicators were selected to represent 26 factors and six components. The results of the assessment endorse the impacts of recent government actions taken in different urban areas towards building smarter cities. The research has pointed out the areas of deficiencies for underperforming major cities in Australia. Following the results, appropriate recommendations for Australian cities are provided to improve the city’s smartness. Full article
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Article
Integrating Different Data Sources to Address Urban Security in Informal Areas. The Case Study of Kibera, Nairobi
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2437; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12062437 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 823
Abstract
Nowadays, levels of crime and violence appear to be much higher in large cities in developing countries. This is the result of several factors, such as: the speed of urbanization, the inability of cities to provide sufficient infrastructure and the widening disparities in [...] Read more.
Nowadays, levels of crime and violence appear to be much higher in large cities in developing countries. This is the result of several factors, such as: the speed of urbanization, the inability of cities to provide sufficient infrastructure and the widening disparities in income and access to housing and services. These levels of inequality can have negative consequences from a social, economic and political point of view, with a destabilizing impact on societies and higher risks for the most disadvantaged people, especially those living in informal settlements. The paper presents the results of a study carried out by the Authors at the Department of Architecture and Design of the Polytechnic of Turin. Urban security is investigated in the context of Kibera slum (Nairobi) through the integration of two different tools, namely Participatory Mapping and Space Syntax. The research analyses the relation between criminal activities and the spatial and configurational features of the street network, with the aim to highlight some key environmental factors to take into consideration while constructing the new road Missing link #12. Specifically, the research identifies and studies seven parameters from the literature review: integration, illumination, vitality and diversity, visibility, active facades, territoriality and maintenance and image. The findings show that urban planning and design strongly impact crime occurrence. The crime hot-spots’ distribution in Kibera depends on the simultaneous interrelation of multiple components in the space. Full article
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Article
Urban Digital Twins for Smart Cities and Citizens: The Case Study of Herrenberg, Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2307; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12062307 - 16 Mar 2020
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 4998
Abstract
Cities are complex systems connected to economic, ecological, and demographic conditions and change. They are also characterized by diverging perceptions and interests of citizens and stakeholders. Thus, in the arena of urban planning, we are in need of approaches that are able to [...] Read more.
Cities are complex systems connected to economic, ecological, and demographic conditions and change. They are also characterized by diverging perceptions and interests of citizens and stakeholders. Thus, in the arena of urban planning, we are in need of approaches that are able to cope not only with urban complexity but also allow for participatory and collaborative processes to empower citizens. This to create democratic cities. Connected to the field of smart cities and citizens, we present in this paper, the prototype of an urban digital twin for the 30,000-people town of Herrenberg in Germany. Urban digital twins are sophisticated data models allowing for collaborative processes. The herein presented prototype comprises (1) a 3D model of the built environment, (2) a street network model using the theory and method of space syntax, (3) an urban mobility simulation, (4) a wind flow simulation, and (5) a number of empirical quantitative and qualitative data using volunteered geographic information (VGI). In addition, the urban digital twin was implemented in a visualization platform for virtual reality and was presented to the general public during diverse public participatory processes, as well as in the framework of the “Morgenstadt Werkstatt” (Tomorrow’s Cities Workshop). The results of a survey indicated that this method and technology could significantly aid in participatory and collaborative processes. Further understanding of how urban digital twins support urban planners, urban designers, and the general public as a collaboration and communication tool and for decision support allows us to be more intentional when creating smart cities and sustainable cities with the help of digital twins. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the presented results and further research directions. Full article
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Article
Exploring the Use of a Spatio-Temporal City Dashboard to Study Criminal Incidence: A Case Study for the Mexican State of Aguascalientes
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2199; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12062199 - 12 Mar 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 797
Abstract
By considering public safety as a relevant component of a smart city framework, the development and use of city dashboards that explore the spatio-temporal monitoring of crime incidence to help local governments base their decision-making process on evidence is becoming more relevant. This [...] Read more.
By considering public safety as a relevant component of a smart city framework, the development and use of city dashboards that explore the spatio-temporal monitoring of crime incidence to help local governments base their decision-making process on evidence is becoming more relevant. This research deals with the case study of the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico, whose capital hosts the annual San Marcos Fair, considered the most important fair in the country. By developing an online dynamic platform consisting of several different modules that rely on the use of geovisual analytics for dynamic and interactive data display and exploration, authorities can gain insights about the times and locations of the impact of criminal incidence, detect patterns over space and time, and look into what actions could be put in place. This becomes useful in advancing a circular model of the smart city in which urban processes are observed, data is collected and analyzed, management and decision actions occur, and more data is collected to measure their effectiveness. By comparing statistics for the three year period of 2016–2018, it is found that the second year of the study had a significant decrease in pedestrian crime incidence during the Fair, supporting the use of city dashboards with geovisual analytics to help monitor urban processes and aid authorities in making decisions. Further research is needed to uncover more efficient practices to achieve inter-institutional collaboration and data sharing schemes that adhere to and boost the principles of the smart city. Full article
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Article
Model for Estimating Urban Mobility Based on the Records of User Activities in Public Mobile Networks
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 838; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12030838 - 22 Jan 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1168
Abstract
Urban mobility of a population is usually estimated within procedures that focus on specific domains, using limited datasets, indicators, and indices related to the targeted subsets of the urban population. This paper proposes a new approach to urban mobility estimation, based on the [...] Read more.
Urban mobility of a population is usually estimated within procedures that focus on specific domains, using limited datasets, indicators, and indices related to the targeted subsets of the urban population. This paper proposes a new approach to urban mobility estimation, based on the telecommunication activities within the public mobile telecommunication networks. The urban mobility indicators in this research are generated from a database of mobile phone users call data records and are integrated into the urban mobility index of the population based on the model defined through the adaptive neuro-fuzzy inference system (ANFIS). The following has been considered in the process: an initial fuzzy inference system, model learning, model quality control, limitations, errors, and deficiencies. The model is practically applied in the programming environment, on a set of real word data. The research results prove the following hypothesis set in this paper: the urban mobility of inhabitants in a specific timeframe, can be described with an urban mobility index based on the data on the recorded telecommunication activities of the public mobile communication network users. Full article
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Article
Opinions on Sustainability of Smart Cities in the Context of Energy Challenges Posed by Cryptocurrency Mining
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 169; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010169 - 24 Dec 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1797
Abstract
Next to climate change on the list of challenges faced by humankind in today’s technological age is energy management. While “smart” ideas continue to gather momentum as some of the ways earmarked to combat the menace of a changing climate, coupled [...] Read more.
Next to climate change on the list of challenges faced by humankind in today’s technological age is energy management. While “smart” ideas continue to gather momentum as some of the ways earmarked to combat the menace of a changing climate, coupled with efficient management of energy, research and development in the blockchain is not retracting, recently giving rise to digital currencies capable of fueling massive energy consumption via mining of “crypto-coins”. Given that sustainability is a crucial goal in the design of smart cities nowadays, there are currently no assurances of sustainable cities where cryptocurrency mining is at full scale. Nevertheless, alternative energy sources may come to the rescue in no distant time. In this paper, we contextualize energy-use in smart cities through mining of virtual currencies, in order to predict whether or not smart cities can truly be sustainable if crypto-mining is sustained. An attempt is also made to emphasize the possible ways of reducing energy use and all activities involving digital currencies by seeking to replace “Proof of Work” (PoW) with improved alternatives. Full article
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Article
Sustainable Cities: A Reflection on Potentialities and Limits based on Existing Eco-Districts in Europe
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5794; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11205794 - 18 Oct 2019
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
The need for more sustainable cities has become a primary objective of urban strategies. The urgency for a radical transition towards sustainability in a long term-vision has brought with it several new concepts, such as smart urbanism, and models, such as smart city, [...] Read more.
The need for more sustainable cities has become a primary objective of urban strategies. The urgency for a radical transition towards sustainability in a long term-vision has brought with it several new concepts, such as smart urbanism, and models, such as smart city, eco-city, sustainable neighborhood, eco-district, etc. While these terms are fascinating and visionary, they often lack a clear definition both in terms of theoretical insight and empirical evidence. In this light, this contribution aims at defining a conceptual framework through which to further substantiate the blurred concept of eco-district and sustainable neighborhood. It does so by reviewing the concepts of smart urbanism and sustainable neighborhood/eco-districts in the literature, including also references to other well-known sustainability-oriented models of urban development. It then explores whether several indicators, emerging from the analysis of exemplary case studies of sustainable neighborhoods in Europe, can be used to clearly identify the characteristics of a sustainable approach at the district scale. The analysis, built on a review of existing literature, allows for both the clarification of several issues related to these fields of inquiry, as well as for the identification of the potential bridges to link these issues. Full article
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Article
Fostering and Planning a Smart Governance Strategy for Evaluating the Urban Polarities of the Sardinian Island (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4962; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11184962 - 11 Sep 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
The interrelations between cities, inland areas, connecting road networks, urban, and political polarities have evolved, thereby determining economic, social, and place-based impacts. Thus, via a case study of Sardinia island (Italy), this study analyses regional transport data to evaluate the interrelations and mobility [...] Read more.
The interrelations between cities, inland areas, connecting road networks, urban, and political polarities have evolved, thereby determining economic, social, and place-based impacts. Thus, via a case study of Sardinia island (Italy), this study analyses regional transport data to evaluate the interrelations and mobility issues between the main cities and the settlement geographies of internal areas with a predominantly agricultural vocation. First, it frames the problems (common to the islands) theoretically and focuses on how the internal areas (considered marginal for a long time) have considerable material and immaterial resources to be valorised. Second, the study evaluates the internal relationship networks that characterise the island territory through the cluster and principal components analysis using origin–destination data to represent vocations and population needs. A smart governance strategy is proposed for Sardinia through an assessment of the functionality of urban settlements and interconnections between the hinterlands (the small and the main cities of the case study), following the smart region paradigm. The study underlines the importance of the interconnection between urban geographical areas. Thus, given an analytical-numerical approach, the originality of this research is highlighted in how it is possible to extract social vocations of the territory, which is generally not easily quantifiable. Full article
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Article
Smart Urban Planning: Evaluating Urban Logistics Performance of Innovative Solutions and Sustainable Policies in the Venice Lagoon—the Results of a Case Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4580; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11174580 - 23 Aug 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1421
Abstract
Currently, remarkable gaps of operational, social and environmental efficiency and overall sub-optimization of the logistics and mobility systems exist in urban areas. There is then the need to promote and assess innovative transport solutions and policy-making within SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) to [...] Read more.
Currently, remarkable gaps of operational, social and environmental efficiency and overall sub-optimization of the logistics and mobility systems exist in urban areas. There is then the need to promote and assess innovative transport solutions and policy-making within SUMPs (Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans) to deal with such critical issues in order to improve urban sustainability. The paper focuses on the case study of the Venice Lagoon, where islands—despite representing a relevant feature of urban planning—face a tremendous lack of accessibility, depopulation, social cohesion and they turn out to be poorly connected. By developing an original scenario-building methodological framework and performing data collection activities, the purpose of the paper consists of assessing the feasibility of a mixed passenger and freight transport system —sometimes called cargo hitching. Mixed passenger and freight systems/cargo hitching are considered as an innovative framework based on the integration of freight and passenger urban systems and resources to optimize the existing transport capacity, and thus, urban sustainability. Results show that the overall existing urban transport capacity can accommodate urban freight flows on main connections in the Lagoon. The reduction in spare public transport capacity, as well as in the number (and type) of circulating freight boats show—in various scenarios—the degree of optimization of the resulting urban network configuration and the positive impacts on urban sustainability. This paves the way for the regulatory framework to adopt proposed solutions. Full article
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Article
Smart City: A Shareable Framework and Its Applications in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4346; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11164346 - 12 Aug 2019
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2052
Abstract
Smart City is a new concept that uses information and communication technology (ICT) to promote the smartification of urban construction, planning and services. Currently, a number of cities have conducted studies on smart cities, but they have mostly focused on analyzing the conceptual [...] Read more.
Smart City is a new concept that uses information and communication technology (ICT) to promote the smartification of urban construction, planning and services. Currently, a number of cities have conducted studies on smart cities, but they have mostly focused on analyzing the conceptual connotations or applications in specific domains and lack a shareable and integrated framework, which has led to significant barriers for individual smart projects. By analyzing the framework and applications of Smart City, this paper proposes a common, shareable and integrated conceptual framework. Then, based on this framework, it further proposes a unified portal platform that can balance multiple stakeholders, including the government, citizens and businesses, as well as for common, custom and other application modes. Finally, the implementation of Smart Weifang based on this platform is discussed. The applications indicate that this shareable platform can effectively eliminate the data and technological barriers between different smart city systems while also avoiding redundant financial investments. The investigation of this proposed framework and platform is highly significant for the unified construction of smart cities and the intensification of the hardware environment, thus representing a true achievement in the transition from ‘information islands’ to ‘information sharing and interconnection’ for urban informatization. Full article
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Article
Blockchain-Based Secure Device Management Framework for an Internet of Things Network in a Smart City
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3889; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11143889 - 17 Jul 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1194
Abstract
The broadly configured smart city network requires a variety of security considerations for a heterogeneous device environment. Because a network of heterogeneous devices facilitates an attacker’s intrusion through a specific device or node, a device management framework is required to manage each node [...] Read more.
The broadly configured smart city network requires a variety of security considerations for a heterogeneous device environment. Because a network of heterogeneous devices facilitates an attacker’s intrusion through a specific device or node, a device management framework is required to manage each node comprehensively. This paper proposes a blockchain-based device management framework for efficient device management, scalable firmware update and resiliences on attacks against smart city network. This framework offers four device management and firmware update mechanisms based on the performance and requirements of each device: bidirectional mechanism of general end node and a unidirectional mechanism of the lightweight end node. This difference optimizes the resource of network and devices in terms of management and security. All management history of each device is stored in the blockchain and transmitting firmware between vendor and management node is conducted through a smart contract of blockchain for security and resilience on the attack. Through the framework proposed in this paper, the confidentiality and availability of device management on smart city network as well as integrity, auditability, adaptability and authentication for each node are ensured and the effectiveness of the proposed framework is presented through the security analysis. Full article
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Article
The Role of the Sharing Economy for a Sustainable and Innovative Development of Rural Areas: A Case Study in Sardinia (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(11), 3004; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11113004 - 28 May 2019
Cited by 16 | Viewed by 2307
Abstract
Depopulation is a problem felt in many regions of the European Union, mainly affecting inland and rural areas. In many cases, these areas are characterized by economic, social, and infrastructural marginalization. Their rehabilitation is desirable in view of a better balance of social [...] Read more.
Depopulation is a problem felt in many regions of the European Union, mainly affecting inland and rural areas. In many cases, these areas are characterized by economic, social, and infrastructural marginalization. Their rehabilitation is desirable in view of a better balance of social and infrastructural management. This said, there are no proven solutions for depopulation that can be applied to all territories in the same way. On the contrary, if we examine progress in the fields of ITC and digitization, we can gather interesting suggestions on how to deal with this issue. This essay intends to analyze these aspects and to examine ways to strengthen, through programs and instruments of the sharing economy, the competitiveness and potential attraction of geographical areas considered marginal and that risk demographic collapse. Full article
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Article
Evaluating the Effects of Human Activity over the Last Decades on the Soil Organic Carbon Pool Using Satellite Imagery and GIS Techniques in the Nile Delta Area, Egypt
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2644; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11092644 - 08 May 2019
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1520
Abstract
The study aims to clarify the relationship between soil organic carbon (SOC) and human activity under arid conditions, in the east area of the Nile Delta, Egypt. SOC is one of the critical factors in food production and plays an important role in [...] Read more.
The study aims to clarify the relationship between soil organic carbon (SOC) and human activity under arid conditions, in the east area of the Nile Delta, Egypt. SOC is one of the critical factors in food production and plays an important role in the climate change because it affects the physio-chemical soil characteristics, plant growth, and contributes to sustainable development on global levels. For the purpose of our investigations, 120 soil samples (0–30 cm) were collected throughout different land uses and soil types of the study area. Multiple linear regressions (MLR) were used to investigate the spatiotemporal relationship of SOC, soil characteristics, and environmental factors. Remote sensing data acquired from Landsat 5 TM in July 1995 and operational land imager (OLI) in July 2018 were used to model SOC pool. The results revealed significant variations of soil organic carbon pool (SOCP) among different soil textures and land-uses. Soil with high clay content revealed an increase in the percentage of soil organic carbon, and had mean SOCP of 6.08 ± 1.91 Mg C ha−1, followed by clay loams and loamy soils. The higher values of SOCP were observed in the northern regions of the study area. The phenomenon is associated with the expansion of the human activity of initiating fish ponds that reflected higher values of SOC that were related to the organic additions used as nutrients for fish. Nevertheless, the SOC values decreased in southeast of the study area with the decrease of soil moisture contents and the increase in the heavy texture profiles. As a whole, our findings pointed out that the human factor has had a significant impact on the variation of soil organic carbon values in the Eastern Nile Delta from 1995 to 2018. As land use changes from agricultural activity to fish ponds, the SOCP significantly increased. The agriculture land-use revealed higher SOCP with 60.77 Mg C ha−1 in clay soils followed by fish ponds with 53.43 Mg C ha−1. The results also showed a decrease in SOCP values due to an increasing in land surface temperature (LST) thus highlighting that influence of temperature and ambient soil conditions linked to land-use changes have a marked impact on surface SOCP and C sequestration. Full article
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Article
On the Use of Satellite Imagery and GIS Tools to Detect and Characterize the Urbanization around Heritage Sites: The Case Studies of the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel in Alexandria, Egypt and the Aragonese Castle in Baia, Italy
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2110; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11072110 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1273
Abstract
The sustainable development of urban growth is a mandatory challenge to be addressed, as also highlighted in the Agenda 2030, and this requires suitable and sustainable planning strategies, as well as systematic and timely monitoring of urban expansion and its effects. In this [...] Read more.
The sustainable development of urban growth is a mandatory challenge to be addressed, as also highlighted in the Agenda 2030, and this requires suitable and sustainable planning strategies, as well as systematic and timely monitoring of urban expansion and its effects. In this context, satellite data (today also available free of charge) can provide both (i) historical time-series datasets, and (ii) timely updated information related to the current urban spatial structure and city edges, as well as parameters to assess urban features and their statistical characterization to better understand and manage the phenomenon. Nevertheless, it is important to highlight that the identification and mapping of urban areas is still today a complex challenge, due to the heterogeneities of materials, complexity of the features, etc. Our approach, herein adopted, addresses the challenges in using heterogeneous data from multiple data sources for change detection analysis to improve knowledge and monitoring of landscape over time with a specific focus on urban sprawl and land-use change around cultural properties and archaeological areas. Two significant test cases were selected: (i) one in Egypt, the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel in Alexandria, and (ii) one in Italy, the Aragonese Castle in Baia–Naples. For both study areas, the changes in urban layers were identified over time from satellite data and investigated using spatial analytic tools to statistically characterize them. The results of this study showed that (i) the increase in urban areas is the main phenomenon around both heritage areas, (ii) this increase is sharper in developing countries (e.g., Egypt) than developed countries (e.g., Italy), (iii) the methodology herein adopted is suitable for both big and small urban changes as observed around the Catacombs of Mustafa Kamel and the Aragonese Castle. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

Review
Geospatial Dashboards for Monitoring Smart City Performance
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5648; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11205648 - 14 Oct 2019
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 1951
Abstract
Geospatial dashboards have attracted increasing attention from both user communities and academic researchers since the late 1990s. Dashboards can gather, visualize, analyze and advise on urban performance to support sustainable development of smart cities. We conducted a critical review of the research and [...] Read more.
Geospatial dashboards have attracted increasing attention from both user communities and academic researchers since the late 1990s. Dashboards can gather, visualize, analyze and advise on urban performance to support sustainable development of smart cities. We conducted a critical review of the research and development of geospatial dashboards, including the integration of maps, spatial data analytics, and geographic visualization for decision support and real-time monitoring of smart city performance. The research about this kind of system has mainly focused on indicators, information models including statistical models and geospatial models, and other related issues. This paper presents an overview of dashboard history and key technologies and applications in smart cities, and summarizes major research progress and representative developments by analyzing their key technical issues. Based on the review, we discuss the visualization model and validity of models for decision support and real-time monitoring that need to be further researched, and recommend some future research directions. Full article
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