Special Issue "Mainstreaming Recommendations to Future Sustainable Urban Planning in Developing and Emerging Economies"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 December 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Chiara Delmastro
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Energy (DENERG), Polytechnic University of Turin (PoliTo), Turin, Italy
Interests: urban energy planning; energy system modeling; energy transition; heat strategies; energy efficiency; climate mitigation
Dr. Sara Torabi Moghadam
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST), Polytechnic University of Turin (PoliTo), Turin, Italy
Interests: smart cities; sustainable urban development and planning; KPIs impact assessment and evaluation; urban energy planning; multi-criteria spatial decision support system; participatory approaches

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to announce a new Special Issue that aims to mainstream recommendations for future sustainable urban planning in developing and emerging economies.

Cities play a central role in facing the big challenges of our time, such as climate change, resilience, and the need for more livable urban spaces. Urban areas occupy less than 10% of the Earth’s surface and are responsible for more than 70% of energy-related GHG emissions. According to UN projections and driven by developing and emerging economies, the global population will reach 8.5 billion by 2030, with the urbanization rate expected to be close to 60%. Enormous challenges are caused by rapid urbanization, including air pollution, inadequate basic services and infrastructure, unplanned urban sprawl, energy security, and open public spaces, which also make cities more vulnerable to disasters. With the areas occupied by cities growing faster than their populations, there are profound repercussions for sustainability.

In particular, over the last few decades, many developing and emerging economies have experienced rapid urbanization and rising living standards, bringing associated dilemmas and threats to sustainability that may not be taken into account in future sustainable planning scenarios. In this context, typically, poverty allevation and fast economic development take precedence over environmental aspects.

Indeed, better urban planning and management are needed to limit the impact of this unprecedented growth on the livability of cities. In 2015, the UN adopted the Sustainable Development Agenda 2030, and among its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), goal 11 is fully dedicated to cities and human settlements, with the aim of making them inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

Several opportunities are available to learn from current practices and to move towards the objectives of the Agenda. In this regard, the aim of this Special Issue is to mainstream interdisciplinary recommendations from the best urban planning practices that could foster sustainable urban development in developing and emerging economies, avoiding the lock-in of inadequate infrastructures and settlements. By highlighting these recommendations, this Special Issue will shine a light on the significance of proper sustainable urban planning to inform and influence policy and decision making in rapidly evolving cities.

Hence, for this Special Issue, we invite interdisciplinary experts focusing on planning at the urban scale, including but not limited to, buildings, mobility, infrastructures, and digitalization. Articles that deliver techno-economic, social, and environmental recommendations towards more sustainable and liveable cities are welcome, with a special focus on the key existing challenges and opportunities.

This Special Issue focuses on, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Accessibility: access for all to adequate, safe, and affordable basic services and transport systems with special attention to the needs of those in vulnerable situations; capacity enhancement for participatory approaches towards integrated settlements.
  • Energy transition: integrated energy system analyses; clean energy sources, resources, and opportunities; distributed energy generation, energy efficiency, and green communities; innovations to improve air quality; circular economy.
  • Data management and smart cities: smart cities and digitalization challenges; opportunities and best practices; big data; machine learning and artificial intelligence applications; case studies; data protocol and data collection.
  • Assessment and evaluation techniques: financial analysis, costs–benefits analysis; multi-criteria analysis (MCA); spatial decision support systems (MC-SDSS); operations research; decision processes; methodological aspects in the field of the science of valuation; social qualitative methods.
  • Policy framework: adopting and implementing integrated policies and plans towards inclusion, resource efficiency, mitigation, and adaptation to climate change; financial, technical, and environmental regulatory support.

Dr. Chiara Delmastro
Dr. Sara Torabi Moghadam
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

  • SDG 11
  • recommendations
  • sustainability
  • resilience
  • urban planning
  • developing and emerging economies
  • energy transition
  • digitalization
  • access to services for all
  • assessment and evaluation

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

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Article
An Empirical Approach to Differences in Flexible Electricity Consumption Behaviour of Urban and Rural Populations—Lessons Learned in Germany
Sustainability 2021, 13(16), 9028; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13169028 - 12 Aug 2021
Viewed by 365
Abstract
This article analyses two major trends of the 21st century. Firstly, the transition from fossil fuel-based energy production to renewable energy sources. Secondly, the inexorable urbanisation which can be witnessed all over the globe. The most promising renewable energy production technologies for the [...] Read more.
This article analyses two major trends of the 21st century. Firstly, the transition from fossil fuel-based energy production to renewable energy sources. Secondly, the inexorable urbanisation which can be witnessed all over the globe. The most promising renewable energy production technologies for the near future, i.e., wind and solar energy, are volatile by nature which makes matching supply and demand essential for a successful transition. Therefore, the aspects that determine the willingness of consumers to flexibilise their demand has gained growing attention. Initial research shows that different settings for (co-)ownership in terms of available prosumption options and used production technologies have a varying impact on demand flexibility. However, existing research has analysed flexibility drivers solely for the general population as an aggregate without any distinction regarding spatial, economic, or social factors. In this article, the authors go one step further and analyse whether those drivers for flexible consumption behaviour differ in rural or urban areas acknowledging differences in day-to-day life in both cases. This study is based on 2074 completed questionnaires from German consumers which were analysed using propensity score matching. The results show that people from rural and urban areas do not significantly differ in their willingness to be demand flexible in general. However, (co-)owners of RE installations from rural areas are generally significantly more demand flexible than (co-)owners of RE installations from urban areas. Further, when looking at different RE technologies, the results show that (co-)owners of solar installations are significantly more demand flexible if they are from rural areas. Lastly, when looking at usage options, people who solely consume produced electricity are more demand flexible if they are from rural areas as well. Full article
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Article
Scenario Analysis for Incremental Community Planning in an African Context
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12198133 - 02 Oct 2020
Viewed by 720
Abstract
Urban areas are gradually becoming more viable places in terms of life quality than most rural areas. This phenomenon generates human movements, both at a local and at an international scale, the latter usually being labeled as irregular migration. This study aims at [...] Read more.
Urban areas are gradually becoming more viable places in terms of life quality than most rural areas. This phenomenon generates human movements, both at a local and at an international scale, the latter usually being labeled as irregular migration. This study aims at analyzing urban scenario proposals that part from incremental urbanism principles to create opportunities for youth and women in the area of Pikine Est (Senegal), a neighborhood with a high vocation toward migration. An integrated planning approach is proposed, where an initial project identification stage reveals through documentary analysis and discussion the adequate project strategies to apply and shines a light on proper life quality indicators (LQIs). In the successive stage, project formulation, future-oriented scenarios are proposed. Finally, at the evaluation stage, each urban scenario is assessed to determine which one contains a more suitable set of strategies in function of the community’s needs, employing multi-criteria analysis (MCA) and preference ranking organization method for enrichment evaluation (PROMETHEE) methods. As a result, this study proves through measurable data that assessing incremental urban interventions makes sense in developing communities, not only as a study of their response to scarce financial resources, but also as means to overcome and avoid environmental issues that cities face at a global scale today. Full article
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Article
Decentralized Renewable Hybrid Mini-Grids for Rural Communities: Culmination of the IREP Framework and Scale up to Urban Communities
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7411; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12187411 - 09 Sep 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1279
Abstract
The Integrated Rural Energy Planning (IREP) framework offers a unified road map for locating, planning and operating decentralized renewable hybrid off-grid energy systems for localized (rural) applications in low-income countries. This paper presents the culmination of the IREP framework and aims to illustrate [...] Read more.
The Integrated Rural Energy Planning (IREP) framework offers a unified road map for locating, planning and operating decentralized renewable hybrid off-grid energy systems for localized (rural) applications in low-income countries. This paper presents the culmination of the IREP framework and aims to illustrate the final step of the IREP framework for two communities in Nigeria. It is focused on two aspects. Firstly, the techno-economic modeling (investment and operation optimization) of a hybrid mini-grid system using HOMER Pro, a techno-economic evaluation tool; and evaluating the benefits of demand side management (DSM) based on energy efficiency on the overall system economics using a scenario-based approach. Secondly, the conceptualization of a sustainable business model using the business model canvas scheme to deliver measurable socio-economic impacts in these communities. The results provide valuable insights into rural electrification via renewable hybrid mini-grids powered primarily with solar photovoltaic technology. Transcending mere electricity access, electricity is provided for productive uses (considering disaggregated end-uses) by harnessing other dispatchable renewable energy resources such as waste biomass. Given high share of rural population in developing countries, these insights are applicable in these regions and further the realization of the United Nations’ goal of sustainable energy (SDG7) and sustainable cities and communities (SDG11). Full article
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Review

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Review
Three Decades of Research on Smart Cities: Mapping Knowledge Structure and Trends
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7140; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137140 - 25 Jun 2021
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1591
Abstract
The concept of smart cities has gained significant momentum in science and policy circles over the past decade. This study aims to provide an overview of the structure and trends in the literature on smart cities. Bibliometric analysis and science mapping techniques using [...] Read more.
The concept of smart cities has gained significant momentum in science and policy circles over the past decade. This study aims to provide an overview of the structure and trends in the literature on smart cities. Bibliometric analysis and science mapping techniques using VOSviewer and CiteSpace are used to identify the thematic focus of over 5000 articles indexed in the Web of Science since 1991. In addition to providing insights into the thematic evolution of the field, the three-decade study period is divided into two sub-periods (1991–2015 and 2016–2021). While splitting the dataset into more sub-periods would have been desirable, we decided to only examine two sub-periods as only very few papers have been published until 2010. The annual number of publications has progressively increased since then, with a surge in the annual number of publications observable from 2015 onwards. The thematic analysis showed that the intellectual base of the field has been very limited during the first period, but has expanded significantly since 2015. Over time, some thematic evolutions, such as further attention to linkages to climate change and resilience, and more emphasis on security and privacy issues, have been made. The thematic analysis shows that existing research on smart cities is dominated by either conceptual issues or underlying technical aspects. It is, therefore, essential to do more research on the implementation of smart cities and actual and/or potential contributions of smart cities to solving societal issues. In addition to elaborating on thematic focus, the study also highlights major authors, journals, references, countries, and institutions that have contributed to the development of the smart cities literature. Full article
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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.

Title: (Co-)Ownership in Renewable Energy Production: How Types of Energy Sources and Energy Production Purposes Impact Consumption Behavior

Corresponding Author: Lucas Roth

Affiliation: Research Associate at European University Viadrina, Germany

 

Title: Planning the Urban Peripheries—From Urban Sprawl to Sustainable and Resilient Development. A Critical Approach on Planning System and Territorial Governance in Romania

Corresponding Author: Bogdan Suditu

Affiliation: University of Bucharest, Faculty of Geography, Romania

 

Title: Sustainable Planning Foundations of Urban Value, TOD and Real Estate Spatial Economics in China

Corresponding Author: Serge Salat

Affiliation: Urban Morphology and Complex Systems Institute, Paris, France

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