sustainability-logo

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Intelligent Rural Areas—Novel Solutions for Sustainability and Livability"

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 September 2021).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Karina Pallagst
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department International Planning Systems, Faculty of Urban and Environmental Planning, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: comparative urban development; shrinking cities; urban growth; planning cultures; border studies; green infrastructure
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Martin Berchtold
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Digitalization, Visualization and Monitoring in Spatial Planning, Faculty of Urban and Environmental Planning, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: digital transformation in spatial planning; digital tools; GIS; hybrid (digital-analogue) design methods; spatial planning für climate adaptation & mitigation; urban & rural transformation
Prof. Dr. Annette Spellerberg
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department Urban Sociology, Technische Universität Kaiserslautern, Erwin-Schrödinger-Straße 1, 67663 Kaiserslautern, Germany
Interests: housing; urban sociology; ageing, migration and integration; social structures; urban-rural divide; digitalization

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In ongoing debates regarding the future development of rural areas, the discourse is often problematized—and almost stigmatized—as rural areas are often challenged by their location at the periphery, an aging and out-migrating population, and the absence of political power.

At the same time, rural areas are spaces where sustainability can be highlighted in terms of social capital, and where environmental aspects could offer an important catalyst for change. In the context of lower pressure on land and population and plentiful space, they offer multiple opportunities for new uses of this space. This might include new places to experiment with innovative environmental options, such as low-energy projects; new management processes in infrastructure, such as flood prevention; autonomous driving; or new solutions for artificial intelligence in sustaining an aging population.

Can rural areas, in a setting of restricted financial resources, be considered as opportunities of various forms? Are rural areas new spaces for intelligent solutions, creativity, and sustainability and what form could they take?

This Special Issue will focus on how the future of rural areas depends on the way in which local and regional actors are able to embrace new opportunities with a focus on sustainability. We address a wide range of approaches for exploring and addressing these questions, including case studies all over the world encompassing both quantitative and qualitative empirical research as well as original theoretical contributions.

Prof. Dr. Karina Pallagst
Prof. Dr. Martin Berchtold
Prof. Dr. Annette Spellerberg
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

  • rural areas
  • planning policies
  • infrastructure and mobility
  • aging smart
  • sustainable rural development
  • comparative rural development
  • peripheral areas
  • digital transformation
  • artificial intelligence in spatial solutions
  • demographic change

Published Papers (8 papers)

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

Research

Article
When Housing and Communities Were Delivered: A Case Study of Post-Wenchuan Earthquake Rural Reconstruction and Recovery
Sustainability 2021, 13(14), 7629; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13147629 - 08 Jul 2021
Viewed by 351
Abstract
This study contributes to an in-depth examination of how Wenchuan earthquake disaster survivors utilize intensive built environment reconstruction outcomes (housing and infrastructural systems) to facilitate their long-term social and economic recovery and sustainable rural development. Post-disaster recovery administered via top-down disaster management systems [...] Read more.
This study contributes to an in-depth examination of how Wenchuan earthquake disaster survivors utilize intensive built environment reconstruction outcomes (housing and infrastructural systems) to facilitate their long-term social and economic recovery and sustainable rural development. Post-disaster recovery administered via top-down disaster management systems usually consists of two phases: a short-term, government-led reconstruction (STGLR) of the built environment and a long-term, survivor-led recovery (LTSLR) of human and social settings. However, current studies have been inadequate in examining how rural disaster survivors have adapted to their new government-provided housing or how communities conducted their long-term recovery efforts. This qualitative case study invited sixty rural disaster survivors to examine their place-making activities utilizing government-delivered, urban-style residential communities to support their long-term recovery. This study discovered that rural residents’ recovery activities successfully perpetuated their original rural lives and rebuilt social connections and networks both individually and collectively. However, they were only able to manage their agriculture-based livelihood recovery temporarily. This research suggests that engaging rural inhabitants’ place-making expertise and providing opportunities to improve their housing and communities would advance the long-term grassroots recovery of lives and livelihoods, achieving sustainable development. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Digital Networking in Home-Based Support of Older Adults in Rural Areas: Requirements for Digital Solutions
Sustainability 2021, 13(4), 1946; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13041946 - 11 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 536
Abstract
Given the increasing numbers of elders in need of support living at home, digital solutions are developed to ensure good home-based care and support. From a perspective of qualitative urban sociology, the presented study aims to provide an overview of existing technologies for [...] Read more.
Given the increasing numbers of elders in need of support living at home, digital solutions are developed to ensure good home-based care and support. From a perspective of qualitative urban sociology, the presented study aims to provide an overview of existing technologies for communication as well as networking social support for older adults especially in rural areas, as well as requirements for their dissemination. The focus is on digital networking via apps and platforms in Germany that provide digital support in the areas of participation/communication, mutual aid and/or professional services for older adults. For this purpose, interviews with representatives of 12 projects as well as workshops were conducted. Support mediated via the digital solutions was not always accepted as expected, not even during the COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure a sustainable and long-term use of the digital solutions, it is necessary to take into account the digital skills of the users, to deploy a supervisor and local networker, to find a suitable spatial dimension, to create an awareness of existing problems on site and to anchor the support in suitable structures. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Development of a Self-Sustaining Wastewater Treatment with Phosphorus Recovery for Small Rural Settlements
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1363; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13031363 - 28 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 681
Abstract
Global trends such as climate change and the scarcity of sustainable raw materials require adaptive, more flexible and resource-saving wastewater infrastructures for rural areas. Since 2018, in the community Reinighof, an isolated site in the countryside of Rhineland Palatinate (Germany), an autarkic, decentralized [...] Read more.
Global trends such as climate change and the scarcity of sustainable raw materials require adaptive, more flexible and resource-saving wastewater infrastructures for rural areas. Since 2018, in the community Reinighof, an isolated site in the countryside of Rhineland Palatinate (Germany), an autarkic, decentralized wastewater treatment and phosphorus recovery concept has been developed, implemented and tested. While feces are composted, an easy-to-operate system for producing struvite as a mineral fertilizer was developed and installed to recover phosphorus from urine. The nitrogen-containing supernatant of this process stage is treated in a special soil filter and afterwards discharged to a constructed wetland for grey water treatment, followed by an evaporation pond. To recover more than 90% of the phosphorus contained in the urine, the influence of the magnesium source, the dosing strategy, the molar ratio of Mg:P and the reaction and sedimentation time were investigated. The results show that, with a long reaction time of 1.5 h and a molar ratio of Mg:P above 1.3, constraints concerning magnesium source can be overcome and a stable process can be achieved even under varying boundary conditions. Within the special soil filter, the high ammonium nitrogen concentrations of over 3000 mg/L in the supernatant of the struvite reactor were considerably reduced. In the effluent of the following constructed wetland for grey water treatment, the ammonium-nitrogen concentrations were below 1 mg/L. This resource efficient decentralized wastewater treatment is self-sufficient, produces valuable fertilizer and does not need a centralized wastewater system as back up. It has high potential to be transferred to other rural communities. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Sustainability through Non-Agricultural Business Development in Resident Cooperative Planning: A Case of Korea’s Rural Area
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1323; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13031323 - 27 Jan 2021
Viewed by 425
Abstract
This study analyzes a participatory regeneration project implemented for sustainable improvement as the center of Yeongju, a rural area in Korea, declines. The paper explains how participants were chosen from the mostly elderly population and encouraged to participate. In this case, a small, [...] Read more.
This study analyzes a participatory regeneration project implemented for sustainable improvement as the center of Yeongju, a rural area in Korea, declines. The paper explains how participants were chosen from the mostly elderly population and encouraged to participate. In this case, a small, non-agricultural business that existing residents could maintain was conceived and implemented with a focus on cooperation rather than agricultural recovery or urbanization through the construction of large apartments and new industrial complexes. To this end, the administration continues to support the community from a long-term perspective, and experts have consistently made practical implementations among them. The participating community is not fixed but flexibly reorganized based on the progress of the project. In addition, by creating public community facilities, residents can continue their activities. This study emphasizes that participatory planning does not necessarily imply a retreat to the administration and experts and provides important guidance for implementation under similar conditions in the future. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Manor Parks in Poland—Costly Heritage or Potential for the Development of Rural Communes
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9422; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12229422 - 12 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 541
Abstract
Historical parks, as an inseparable element of manors and landowners’ palaces, constitute a valuable cultural heritage, commemorating the times of the Polish nobility. From among the 16,000 manor houses existing before 1939, only 3433 objects remained, including 1965 of them are residential parks [...] Read more.
Historical parks, as an inseparable element of manors and landowners’ palaces, constitute a valuable cultural heritage, commemorating the times of the Polish nobility. From among the 16,000 manor houses existing before 1939, only 3433 objects remained, including 1965 of them are residential parks without the dominant feature in the form of a building. Numerous studies and activities are carried out to protect, restore, maintain and adapt these facilities to current needs. They are general, often theoretical, or individual concern objects, or only mansions or palaces, excluding parks, which makes it difficult to assess the problem objectively. The aim of this study is a comprehensive assessment of the distribution (in terms of spatial, social and administrative terms), the state of preservation (in terms of area size, technical, phytosanitary and original composition) and the use of the potential of historical parks in manor or palace complexes. The authors examined the distribution of these objects using relative indicators and descriptive statistics. The economic potential of the parks was explored in comparison to the facilities based on their sale offers, using the analysis of variance and the Tukey test. The results show the detailed distribution, state of preservation and problems related to the current and potential use of post-manor parks, manor and palace parks in 16 voivodeships of the country. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Young People’s Perceptions about the Difficulties of Entrepreneurship and Developing Rural Properties in Family Agriculture
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8783; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12218783 - 22 Oct 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 697
Abstract
This article aims to understand the perceptions of young rural entrepreneurs about the difficulties in investing in family farms in which they work. Ninety-eight people were interviewed at the event “Meeting of Young Entrepreneurs of the Rural Environment of Santa Catarina: the rural [...] Read more.
This article aims to understand the perceptions of young rural entrepreneurs about the difficulties in investing in family farms in which they work. Ninety-eight people were interviewed at the event “Meeting of Young Entrepreneurs of the Rural Environment of Santa Catarina: the rural youth leading the sustainable development”, held in May 2019. The methodology applied in this paper is qualitative and quantitative, through a bibliographic review and a numerical analysis on work conditions and workers’ profile. A brief theoretical background is presented to facilitate the understanding of the results and their relation to family farming, entrepreneurship and its reality in Brazil. As a result, the economic issue was pointed out with 34% of the cases, as a hinter to undertake in rural properties, followed by the lack and low qualification of the workforce available with 12.6% of the cases and the lower selling price for the producer with 7.6% of the cases. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Lessons in Rural Persuasion: Village Infill Development in Bavaria, Germany
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8678; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12208678 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 806
Abstract
Sustainable rural development in Germany was examined by linking conceptual and applied aspects of the land and housing question, broadly considering the ownership, use, and regulation of land. In the state of Bavaria, a new interagency initiative aims to curb land consumption by [...] Read more.
Sustainable rural development in Germany was examined by linking conceptual and applied aspects of the land and housing question, broadly considering the ownership, use, and regulation of land. In the state of Bavaria, a new interagency initiative aims to curb land consumption by persuading villagers to embrace rural infill development. The study explored the background debate leading up to the Space-saving Offensive (Flächensparoffensive), the resource providers involved, and the options for funding actual rural infill building and renovation projects. Here, space-saving managers and other resource providers actively promote the positive societal meaning of central infill sites in contrast to unsustainable land consumption. In addition to the communications campaign, planning, regulatory, and funding interventions round out the multi-level initiative, as described in this study. A modern barn reuse exemplifies the Bavarian bundle of resources, while demonstrating how modern village infill redevelopment also contests oversimplified notions of stagnant rural peripheries. The initiative’s focus on linking key resources and bolstering communications can be read as validation for a more social perspective on land consumption and village infill development. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Advancing Revolving Funds for the Sustainable Development of Rural Regions
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8455; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12208455 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 656
Abstract
Financing measures and incentive schemes for (existing and new) building owners can promote the sustainable settlement development of rural regions or municipalities and, in a wider sense, entire countries or cross-border regions. In order to be used on a broad scale, the concept [...] Read more.
Financing measures and incentive schemes for (existing and new) building owners can promote the sustainable settlement development of rural regions or municipalities and, in a wider sense, entire countries or cross-border regions. In order to be used on a broad scale, the concept of revolving funds must continue to be further developed. In this research, the concept of an advanced revolving housing fund (ARF) for building owners to support the sustainable development of rural regions and potential mechanisms are introduced. The ARF is designed to reflect impacts and challenges with regard to rural regions in Germany, Europe and beyond. Based on New Institutional Economics, the Theory of Spatial Organisms, an expert workshop, interviews and discussions and further literature research, the fundamentals for incentive schemes and the essential mechanisms and design aspects of the ARF are derived. This includes the principal structure and governance of a holding fund and several regional funds. Based on this, input parameters for the financial modelling of an ARF are presented as well as guiding elements for empirical testing to promote more research in this area. It is found that the ARF should have a regional focus and must be a comprehensive instrument of settlement development with additional informal and formal measures. The developed concept promises new impulses, in particular, for rural regions. It is proposed to test the concept by means of case studies in pioneer regions of different countries. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop