Special Issue "Urban Policies"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 10 December 2021.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Paulo Silva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social, Political and Territorial Sciences, University of Aveiro, 3810-193 Aveiro, Portugal
Interests: urban policies; planning institutions; informality; urban design; urban regeneration

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The aim of this Special Issue is to discuss urban policies as a result of the interaction between planning institutions (as formal bodies and norms and rules dealing with spatial planning and urbanism) and private organizations or citizens individually considered. Since the 1970s, different ways of formulating policies have gradually emerged as a result of new governance arrangements. At the same time, answers to new spatial planning challenges have lost their straightforward ground and become informed by their complexity. While the loss of relevance of planning institutions in decision-making can be seen as a threat, the new setting also invites innovation. With this Special Issue, we wish to shed light on the interactions between planning institutions and private bodies and/or individuals as something positive, from which innovative planning processes emerge and urban policies are formulated in a more responsive way. It has as a main goal to look at the potential and opportunity of interactions between formal and informal bodies and how this can contribute to innovative ways of formulating urban policies. Examples can come from different angles, different national contexts, and different scales, where informal processes are vis-à-vis with formal procedures—for instance, in formal planning processes and parallel tactical urbanism initiatives, or planning institutions directly confronted with informal settlements’ dynamics, or even planning institutions as internally differentiated bodies with different levels of permeability and plasticity. From the pressure to evolve to other processes of adaptation, the main goal is to invite authors to reflect on exceptional contexts of change at spatial planning level, made at different scales and cultures, which can lead to the design of new urban policies.

Prof. Dr. Paulo Silva
Guest Editor

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

  • Urban policies
  • Planning institutions
  • Informality
  • Adaptation
  • Innovation
  • Design

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Article
Improvement of Services for People with Disabilities by Public Administration in Silesian Province Poland
Sustainability 2021, 13(2), 967; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13020967 - 19 Jan 2021
Viewed by 553
Abstract
The publication presents the results of extensive research analyzing the satisfaction with the services of people with disabilities. The goal of the study was to analyze the level of disabled customer service by city councils at the example of the Silesian Province in [...] Read more.
The publication presents the results of extensive research analyzing the satisfaction with the services of people with disabilities. The goal of the study was to analyze the level of disabled customer service by city councils at the example of the Silesian Province in Poland and to determine the factors that affect the quality of service studied. The research was carried out in 33 municipal offices located in Poland in the Silesian Province on a sample of 2846 people with disabilities. The research shows that disability type has a significant impact on the perceived level of disabled customer service. Moreover, the age of the disabled person has a significant impact on the perceived level of service quality. It turns out that the younger people with disabilities are, the better they assess the level of quality of services provided by the surveyed offices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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Article
Exploring the Emergence of Innovative Multi-Actor Collaborations toward a Progressive Urban Regime in Madrid (2015–2019)
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 415; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13010415 - 05 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
For the last decade, urban actors around the globe have been struggling to adapt to a post-crisis and austerity context through increasing social mobilization and experimentation, calling for an urban democracy renewal and challenging established neoliberal urban regimes and governance systems. This has [...] Read more.
For the last decade, urban actors around the globe have been struggling to adapt to a post-crisis and austerity context through increasing social mobilization and experimentation, calling for an urban democracy renewal and challenging established neoliberal urban regimes and governance systems. This has triggered social innovations, in which novel collaborative formulas have been envisioned and implemented. In particular, civil-public collaborations (CPCs) have come to the fore as an empowering alternative to the well-established private–public partnerships (PPP). This article examines the conditions of possibility, enabling mechanisms and constraints for the emergence of innovative multi-actor collaborations (IMACs). For this aim, we developed a three-fold analytical framework combining social innovation, public governance, and urban regime theory. We applied this framework to the case of the so-called “government of change” in Madrid between 2015 and 2019. After exploring the pre-2015 context, the institutional innovations implemented once Ahora Madrid accessed the local government, and the post-2019 context, it points to the preconditions that allowed experimentation with IMAC, identifies the institutional mechanisms and governance innovations that support their emergence, and assesses to what extent and how power to act was created and used to accomplish urban regime change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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Article
Combined Rental and Transportation Affordability under China’s Public Rental Housing System—A Case Study of Nanjing
Sustainability 2020, 12(21), 8771; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12218771 - 22 Oct 2020
Viewed by 669
Abstract
As a core element of China’s housing security system, public rental housing (PRH) has gradually become an effective means of providing low- and moderately low-income groups with viable housing options and is regarded as the embodiment of housing justice values under the Chinese [...] Read more.
As a core element of China’s housing security system, public rental housing (PRH) has gradually become an effective means of providing low- and moderately low-income groups with viable housing options and is regarded as the embodiment of housing justice values under the Chinese socialist system. Affordability for the groups covered by this system is crucial to its sustainable positive role. By modifying the housing and transportation affordability index (H&TAI) equation proposed by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) and Center for Transit-Oriented Development (CTOD), United States, this paper establishes a novel rental and transportation affordability index (R&TAI), introduces transportation-time-cost and comprehensive-transportation-cost concepts and obtains transportation-time-cost data through accessibility analysis, which are incorporated into calculations of comprehensive transportation cost with the ArcGIS spatial analysis software. Based on the ratio of the combined cost of rental housing and transportation to household residual income (RI), this paper studies and measures the combined affordability for low- and moderately low-income residents under the PRH system. The burden of high combined rental and transportation costs not only greatly reduces residents’ ability to cope but also limits sustainable PRH system development, exacerbating the gaps between social strata. This study and its conclusions provide a reference for the Chinese government for reforming the macro-housing system and practically regulating the housing market while providing residents with options to reduce their comprehensive burden and improve their quality of life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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Article
Lack of Spatial Approach in Urban Density Policies: The Case of the Master Plan of Tehran
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7285; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12187285 - 04 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
This paper aims to investigate the approach of density policies in the Tehran Master Plan and the consequences of ignoring the macro spatial scale in density policymaking. In this study, the floor area ratio (FAR) regulations of the Master Plan of Tehran (which [...] Read more.
This paper aims to investigate the approach of density policies in the Tehran Master Plan and the consequences of ignoring the macro spatial scale in density policymaking. In this study, the floor area ratio (FAR) regulations of the Master Plan of Tehran (which are defined by specific land use zones) are used as one of the main densification tools. Then, employing the Getis–Ord Local G and geographic weighted regression (GWR) statistical tests, Arc GIS 10.3 software, and population and employment variables, the spatial outcomes of the Master Plan density policies were modeled. In this research, both population and employment (job) variables and their relationship were utilized to depict the urban spatial structure of the city. The model will show the resulting spatial structure of Tehran if the densification policies of the plan are realized. The findings of the research are surprising, as they indicate that the Master Plan’s densification policies would worsen the current spatial structure by disrupting the current population and employment spatial structure and neglecting their logical relationships. In fact, the Master Plan would change the current polycentric structure into a highly dispersed structure due to its densification approach, which is mainly based on the neighborhood micro scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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Article
Touching Down in Cities: Territorial Planning Instruments as Vehicles for the Implementation of SDG Strategies in Cities of the Global South
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6778; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12176778 - 21 Aug 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 904
Abstract
We discuss municipal physical-spatial planning instruments as vehicles for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in cities in the Global South. We do this by focusing on Medellin, Colombia, a city that has endured significant challenges–mainly related to poverty and violence–, but [...] Read more.
We discuss municipal physical-spatial planning instruments as vehicles for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in cities in the Global South. We do this by focusing on Medellin, Colombia, a city that has endured significant challenges–mainly related to poverty and violence–, but has attracted significant international attention due to its approach to territorial planning and its innovative application of new and existing legal tools to transform realities and repay historical debts with the urban poor. We performed a review of the most important documents related to SDG implementation in the country and the city, as well as Municipal Development Plans and legal planning instruments issued from 1 January 2016. The article maps active planning instruments and suggests the analysis, already from the diagnosis and formulation phases, of the linkage among strategies and projects, and SDGs, and the inclusion of SDG considerations in citizen participation instruments such as so-called Local Development Plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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Article
Evolution and Management of Illegal Settlements in Mid-Sized Towns. The Case of Sierra de Santa Bárbara (Plasencia, Spain)
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3438; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12083438 - 23 Apr 2020
Viewed by 892
Abstract
The illegal urbanization of rural areas near cities has unveiled failures in urban management. In many cases, urban policies have ignored this fact until the spaces have consolidated. This is the example of the Sierra de Santa Bárbara (Plasencia, Spain), where legalization becomes [...] Read more.
The illegal urbanization of rural areas near cities has unveiled failures in urban management. In many cases, urban policies have ignored this fact until the spaces have consolidated. This is the example of the Sierra de Santa Bárbara (Plasencia, Spain), where legalization becomes one of the most feasible solutions. The present work analyses its residential evolution during the last four decades through historical orthophotos review. Along with this, it evaluates public–private conflicts (homeowners vs municipal government) using regional newspaper archives. The results indicate that the strategy of ignoring illegal development increases these problems, leading to legalization as the only possible urban policy. In conclusion, the administration’s response is delayed and forced by critical consequences, which prevents learning in urban policies and new solutions that join legality and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Policies)
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