Editor's Choice Articles

Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Opaque Urban Planning. The Megaproject Santa Cruz Verde 2030 Seen from the Local Perspective (Tenerife, Spain)
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010032 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Megaprojects, as a part of neoliberal urbanism, have become an important element of cities worldwide. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, the megaproject Santa Cruz Verde 2030 represents this type of project. The ambitious plan seeks to transform the city’s oil refinery into [...] Read more.
Megaprojects, as a part of neoliberal urbanism, have become an important element of cities worldwide. In Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain, the megaproject Santa Cruz Verde 2030 represents this type of project. The ambitious plan seeks to transform the city’s oil refinery into an urban quarter. However, since its announcement in summer 2018, no critical public discussion has taken place, although the project is expected to reconfigure the city’s waterfront and its tourist model. In this context, it is particularly the stakeholders’ point of view that is neglected. We thus offer a qualitative analysis of five interviews with local stakeholders from the real estate sector, politics, urban planning and an environmental association. The analysis shows that the interviewees feel insufficiently informed by the project’s initiators. The project is interpreted as an elitist symbol of how the project’s initiators understand urban development. While some of the stakeholders want to accelerate the whole process, others call for a more integrative and participative planning approach. Moreover, the observed marketing campaign is directly linked to the upcoming elections. The interviewees observe a simple top-down planning process, which contradicts the promises of the initiators to enable civic participation and integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fragmented City: International Mobility and Housing in Spain)
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Article
Gentrification on the Move. New Dynamics in Spanish Mature Urban-Tourist Neighborhoods
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010033 - 17 Mar 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Mature tourism neighborhoods are a valuable laboratory for the study of socio-urban processes. In them, it is possible to analyze the urban transformations and social changes linked to tourism cycles: those corresponding to the stage of tourism involvement, development, and consolidation; those of [...] Read more.
Mature tourism neighborhoods are a valuable laboratory for the study of socio-urban processes. In them, it is possible to analyze the urban transformations and social changes linked to tourism cycles: those corresponding to the stage of tourism involvement, development, and consolidation; those of stagnation and urban decline; and those of tourism rejuvenation and urban rehabilitation. Currently, there are indications of a fourth cycle, where vacation rentals and the arrival of new groups of foreigners are causing a tourism gentrification process. In this context, the aim of this work is to study the socio-urban transformations of two mature tourism neighborhoods in Palma (El Terreno) and Las Palmas de Gran Canaria (Santa Catalina-Canteras) and detect this tourism gentrification process. The analysis is based on indicators of resident population (total population and foreigners by nationalities), housing (holiday rental market and real estate market), and socio-economic levels (income), which allows us to detect the existence of a new urban-tourism cycle. This, supported by strong investments associated with rehabilitation plans, is producing the substitution of foreigners from the South for those from the North, changing from residential rental to vacation rentals, in a context of elitization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fragmented City: International Mobility and Housing in Spain)
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Article
Cities Exacerbate Climate Warming
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010027 - 05 Mar 2021
Abstract
Urbanization is a complex land transformation not explicitly resolved within large-scale climate models. Long-term timeseries of high-resolution satellite data are essential to characterize urbanization within land surface models and to assess its contribution to surface temperature changes. The potential for additional surface warming [...] Read more.
Urbanization is a complex land transformation not explicitly resolved within large-scale climate models. Long-term timeseries of high-resolution satellite data are essential to characterize urbanization within land surface models and to assess its contribution to surface temperature changes. The potential for additional surface warming from urbanization-induced land use change is investigated and decoupled from that due to change in climate over the continental US using a decadal timescale. We show that, aggregated over the US, the summer mean urban-induced surface temperature increased by 0.15 °C, with a warming of 0.24 °C in cities built in vegetated areas and a cooling of 0.25 °C in cities built in non-vegetated arid areas. This temperature change is comparable in magnitude to the 0.13 °C/decade global warming trend observed over the last 50 years caused by increased CO2. We also show that the effect of urban-induced change on surface temperature is felt above and beyond that of the CO2 effect. Our results suggest that climate mitigation policies must consider urbanization feedback to put a limit on the worldwide mean temperature increase. Full article
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Article
Food Consumption in Cologne Ehrenfeld: Gentrification through Gastrofication?
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 26; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010026 - 04 Mar 2021
Abstract
Food and nutrition trends cater for many more functions than simply satisfying the physical need for food. Given the fundamental significance of everyday food it seems clear that it is also relevant in urban development processes. Nutrition trends and food outlets influence the [...] Read more.
Food and nutrition trends cater for many more functions than simply satisfying the physical need for food. Given the fundamental significance of everyday food it seems clear that it is also relevant in urban development processes. Nutrition trends and food outlets influence the attractiveness and quality of life of neighborhoods, and therefore also reflect the development of urban space. This article aims to bring together the topics of urban development, consumption, and current nutrition trends. Attention is focused on the role played by gastronomic landscapes in urban gentrification processes and how current nutrition trends are manifested. Empirical research was conducted between 2019 and 2020 in the case-study district of Ehrenfeld in the city of Cologne. In the past, this industrial neighborhood was affected by downgrading processes. After years of decline, rising vacancy rates, and outwards migration, there have been clear signs of upgrading in Ehrenfeld since the end of the 1990s. The neighborhood is also characterized by an extensive and continuously growing gastronomic landscape, which combines a multiplicity of national and international cuisines and food cultures. About one-third of the food outlets located on Venloer Straße were established between 2010 and 2020. Full article
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Article
Real Estate Market Responses to the COVID-19 Crisis: Which Prospects for the Metropolitan Area of Naples (Italy)?
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 23; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010023 - 25 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
The health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world since the beginning of 2020, changing living and working conditions. The pandemic has generated a crisis that is having and will continue to have consequences on all sectors of the [...] Read more.
The health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the entire world since the beginning of 2020, changing living and working conditions. The pandemic has generated a crisis that is having and will continue to have consequences on all sectors of the economy, including the real estate market. During the lockdown period, houses became spaces for both living and working, as well as for leisure activities. Therefore, they were modified to meet the new requirements of communities forced to spend most of their time at home. This will also affect the real estate market in the near future in terms of trends and the characteristics of desirable houses. This research aims to analyse the trends in the residential market in Italy and in particular in the metropolitan area of Naples (Italy). Starting from official sources, the trends of the real estate market, and in particular in the metropolitan area of Naples from 2009 to 2020, have been analysed. Then, two surveys were conducted involving both the community and real estate agents operating in the territory, in order to investigate the effects that COVID-19 has had on the real estate market. The analysis carried out highlights structural changes in the demand for residential properties in the metropolitan area of Naples due to the new requirements as a result of COVID-19. Full article
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Article
A System Dynamics Model to Facilitate the Development of Policy for Urban Heat Island Mitigation
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 19; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010019 - 01 Feb 2021
Abstract
This article presents a customized system dynamics model to facilitate the informed development of policy for urban heat island mitigation within the context of future climate change, and with special emphasis on the reduction of heat-related mortality. The model incorporates a variety of [...] Read more.
This article presents a customized system dynamics model to facilitate the informed development of policy for urban heat island mitigation within the context of future climate change, and with special emphasis on the reduction of heat-related mortality. The model incorporates a variety of components (incl.: the urban heat island effect; population dynamics; climate change impacts on temperature; and heat-related mortality) and is intended to provide urban planning and related professionals with: a facilitated means of understanding the risk of heat-related mortality within the urban heat island; and location-specific information to support the development of reasoned and targeted urban heat island mitigation policy. Full article
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Article
Urban Form Resilience: A Comparative Analysis of Traditional, Semi-Planned, and Planned Neighborhoods in Shiraz, Iran
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010018 - 01 Feb 2021
Cited by 2
Abstract
As cities are exposed to a portfolio of risks, the concept of resilience has risen to prominence over the past two decades. Consequently, a large volume of research has been published on different aspects of urban resilience. However, urban form resilience is still [...] Read more.
As cities are exposed to a portfolio of risks, the concept of resilience has risen to prominence over the past two decades. Consequently, a large volume of research has been published on different aspects of urban resilience. However, urban form resilience is still relatively understudied. As a step toward filling this gap, this study examines resilience of nine selected neighborhoods from Shiraz, an old Iranian city. The selected cases represent three different urban form patterns, namely, traditional, semi-planned, and planned. Different indicators related to the physical configuration of lots, blocks, open and green spaces, and street networks are used to examine resilience of each neighborhood to three major stressors, namely, earthquakes, extreme heat events, and floods. Additionally, a combination of Shannon entropy and the VIKOR (VlseKriterijumska Optimizcija I Kaompromisno Resenje in Serbian) method is used to rank the resilience of each neighborhood to each of the three stressors. Results show that, overall, the physical form of the planned neighborhoods is more conducive to urban resilience. In contrast, the urban form of traditional neighborhoods was found to be less resilient. There were, however, some variations depending on the type of stressor considered. The paper concludes by emphasizing the need to consider social and economic factors in future studies of urban form resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-Urbanism)
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Article
Using Citizen Sensing to Identify Heat-Exposed Neighbourhoods
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 14; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010014 - 26 Jan 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
Rural areas cool off by night but built-up urban areas lack similar relief and may threaten vulnerable people’s health during heat waves. Temperature varies within a city due to the heterogenous nature of urban environments, but official measurement stations are unable to capture [...] Read more.
Rural areas cool off by night but built-up urban areas lack similar relief and may threaten vulnerable people’s health during heat waves. Temperature varies within a city due to the heterogenous nature of urban environments, but official measurement stations are unable to capture local variations, since they use few measurement stations typically set up outside of urban areas. Meteorological measurements may as such be at odds with citizen sensing, where absolute accuracy is sacrificed in pursuit of increased coverage. In this article, we use geographic information processing methodologies and generate 144 hourly apparent temperature surfaces for Rotterdam during a six-day heat wave that took place in July 2019 in The Netherlands. These surfaces are used to generate a humidex degree hours (HDH) composite map. The HDH metric integrates apparent temperature intensity with duration into one spatially explicit value and is used to identify geographical areas in Rotterdam where citizens may experience adverse health effects of prolonged heat exposure. Combining the HDH map with demographic data allows us to identify the most heat-exposed areas with the largest share of vulnerable population. These neighbourhoods may be the locations most in need of adaptation measures. Full article
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Article
Finite Element Method for the Estimation of Insertion Loss of Noise Barriers: Comparison with Various Formulae (2D)
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 77; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040077 - 21 Dec 2020
Abstract
Noise barriers are a critical part of noise mitigation in urban and rural areas. In this study, a comparison of the insertion loss calculations of noise barriers via the Finite Element Method (FEM) and various formulae (Kurze–Anderson, ISO 9613-2/Tatge, Menounou) is presented in [...] Read more.
Noise barriers are a critical part of noise mitigation in urban and rural areas. In this study, a comparison of the insertion loss calculations of noise barriers via the Finite Element Method (FEM) and various formulae (Kurze–Anderson, ISO 9613-2/Tatge, Menounou) is presented in the case of two-dimensional acoustic radiation problems. Some of the cases explored include: receiver in the illuminated zone, in the shadow zone, in the shadow border, source in medium, long, short distance from the barrier, source and receiver near barrier, and source above the barrier. Comparisons of the results indicate that FEM results comply well (less than 1 dB in each case) with Menounou’s formula which in turn complies with the analytic solution (MacDonald Solution). In certain cases, the differences between FEM and Menounou’s formula compared to Kurze–Anderson and ISO 9613-2/Tatge formulae are substantial (source and receiver near the barrier (10 dB) and source near the barrier and receiver in the shadow border (5 dB)). Similar differences are also confirmed by the analytic solution. The findings suggest that FEM can be applied effectively for the precise estimation of the insertion loss of noise barriers. Especially in cases where ISO 9613-2 formula shows large deviations from the analytic solution (e.g., near barrier), possible applications may arise in cases such as balconies, facades, etc. Furthermore, the study supports the idea that FEM could possibly be effectively utilized in real life applications for microscale urban acoustic modeling as a viable alternative to expensive noise prediction software. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Acoustic Environments)
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Article
The Impact of Forest Usage and Accessibility on the Perceptions of its Users and Surrounding Residents
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 79; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040079 - 21 Dec 2020
Abstract
Forests provide valuable ecosystem services to individuals that live near them and visit them. However, many forests, especially in highly developed areas, are specifically managed for resource conservation purposes. A common practice for conservation is restricting access to people to ensure minimal human-driven [...] Read more.
Forests provide valuable ecosystem services to individuals that live near them and visit them. However, many forests, especially in highly developed areas, are specifically managed for resource conservation purposes. A common practice for conservation is restricting access to people to ensure minimal human-driven harm. While the restriction of human access to a forest increases its biological ecosystem services, it limits its cultural services and may reduce the public’s perceived value of the forest. To investigate how access influences the perceived value of a forest, two forests in the state of New Jersey, USA, were compared. The forests, the Rutgers Ecological Preserve (RUEP) and Hutcheson Memorial Forest (HMF), represent accessible and inaccessible forests respectively. The study reported here evaluated the effects of visitation and accessibility on public perception of both sites. Residents near the RUEP and HMF, and visitors of both sites, were surveyed (n = 48). The results of the surveys demonstrated that the frequency of visitation and community location can have noticeable influences on a number of variables, including one’s belief that forests provide important services and the thought that protected areas take away from an individual’s freedom to use the area. A more positive view of the forests was present in those who visited the public forest most often. Full article
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Article
Shopping Centres, Cycling Accessibility and Planning—The Case of Nova Lund in Sweden
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 70; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040070 - 04 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper evaluates the history and cycling accessibility of Nova, a shopping centre established in Lund, Sweden, in 2002. The current situation was also analysed through observation and a literature review. Moreover, the study conducted a closer analysis of the history and role [...] Read more.
This paper evaluates the history and cycling accessibility of Nova, a shopping centre established in Lund, Sweden, in 2002. The current situation was also analysed through observation and a literature review. Moreover, the study conducted a closer analysis of the history and role of the municipality based on further literature study and interviews with officials. The conclusion of the analysis indicates poor and unsafe bikeways caused by conflicts of interest between politicians, officials, landowners and the general public. It also depicts a situation in which the municipality’s master plan has been ignored, and, in contrast to the local goals, cycling accessibility at Nova has seen no significant improvement since the shopping centre was first established. The reasons for this, arguably, are a relatively low budget for bikeway improvements in the municipality, as well as a situation in which decision-makers have stopped approaching the subject, as a result of the long and often boisterous conflicts it has created in the past. Lastly, it must be noted that it is easy to regard the whole process of Nova, from its establishment to the current situation, as being symptomatic of the power structures between drivers and cyclists that still affect decision-makers at all levels. Full article
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Article
The Relationship between Land Cover and Sociodemographic Factors
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 68; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040068 - 02 Dec 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Multiple social and environmental justice concerns are linked to the urban form such as the distribution of socioeconomic class populations, healthcare spending, air pollution exposure, and human mobility. Because of this, the implications of the relationships between built urban form, sociodemographic factors, and [...] Read more.
Multiple social and environmental justice concerns are linked to the urban form such as the distribution of socioeconomic class populations, healthcare spending, air pollution exposure, and human mobility. Because of this, the implications of the relationships between built urban form, sociodemographic factors, and air quality warrant analysis at a high spatial resolution. This study used 1m resolved LiDAR data to characterize land use in Salt Lake County, Utah, and associate it with sociodemographic and air quality data at the census block group and zip code levels. We found that increasing tree cover was associated with higher per capita income and lower minority populations while increasing built cover was linked to lower per capita income and higher minority populations. Air quality showed less strong correlations, however, decreased non-irrigated cover, increased built cover, and higher amounts of households living under poverty were related to higher long-term PM2.5 exposure. Due to regional air pollution concerns, several policy efforts have been undertaken to improve air quality and reduce negative health outcomes in Utah which are being informed by regulatory and research-grade air quality sensors. Full article
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Communication
A Note on Variation of the Acoustic Environment in a Quiet Residential Area in Kobe (Japan): Seasonal Changes in Noise Levels Including COVID-Related Variation
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 63; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040063 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
This communication compares the previously reported results of the acoustic environment, mainly noise levels at a fixed point, in a quiet residential area in Kobe, Japan, under the declaration of the COVID-19 state of emergency in May 2020 with the results of two [...] Read more.
This communication compares the previously reported results of the acoustic environment, mainly noise levels at a fixed point, in a quiet residential area in Kobe, Japan, under the declaration of the COVID-19 state of emergency in May 2020 with the results of two follow-up studies in the same area: subsequent follow-up noise measurements in June and July–August 2020, and the present results of measurements in September–October 2020. The results of the comparison among the above three measurements suggest that noise levels were lower during September-October 2020 than during the declaration of the state of emergency in May 2020. In the period from May to October 2020, the noise level was significantly higher in July and August of the same year due to the sound of cicadas, which are common in this area. This suggests that it is difficult to set the target values of the acoustic environment planning by referring to the low noise level at lockdown or similar measures in areas with large seasonal variations in acoustic environment. Although many case studies are necessary to obtain appropriate target values, one case study is presented in this communication to illustrate an example and discuss its difficulty. Full article
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Article
Predicting the Likelihood of Using Car-Sharing in the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 61; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040061 - 11 Nov 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
This research investigates the influencing variables that affect the likelihood of choosing car-sharing if it launches in the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area, Egypt. It adopts a binary logistic regression model to analyze the findings of an online stated preference survey. The results include [...] Read more.
This research investigates the influencing variables that affect the likelihood of choosing car-sharing if it launches in the Greater Cairo Metropolitan Area, Egypt. It adopts a binary logistic regression model to analyze the findings of an online stated preference survey. The results include 419 valid responses with different choice scenarios, which are based on the revealed preference of each respondent. The generated model shows statistical significance for age, car ownership, cost, and buffer time of the current mode of transport, travel time, and leisure trips. In addition, car-sharing experience, public transit, ride-hailing, walking, and biking also have significant effects. The highest-impact attributes are the car-sharing cost and access time, as the combination of setting the fare to 2 EGP per minute and limiting the access time of the shared vehicle to nearly 5 min achieved a likelihood of choosing car-sharing in nearly 77% of the responses. Full article
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Article
How Might the COVID-19 Pandemic Affect 21st Century Urban Design, Planning, and Development?
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 56; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040056 - 04 Nov 2020
Cited by 7
Abstract
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform lives and ways of living across the globe, it is becoming increasingly clear that adaptations involving both physical and institutional infrastructure are warranted. Cities are at the forefront of these adaptive changes as dense urban environments [...] Read more.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to transform lives and ways of living across the globe, it is becoming increasingly clear that adaptations involving both physical and institutional infrastructure are warranted. Cities are at the forefront of these adaptive changes as dense urban environments are particularly vulnerable to the spread of contagious airborne diseases such as the novel coronavirus. This paper considers how COVID-19 might influence where and how people live, work, recreate, and move about the city, and how these changing patterns might in turn shape future development trajectories. We also discuss how cities are currently responding to the public health threat posed by COVID-19, and how they might use planning and design strategies to improve resilience in the face of future pandemics. Full article
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Article
Maladaptive Planning and the Pro-Innovation Bias: Considering the Case of Automated Vehicles
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 41; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4030041 - 01 Sep 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
This article argues that a more critical approach to innovation policy within planning is needed and offers recommendations for achieving this. These recommendations entail rethinking the values, focus, speed, and legitimacy of innovations. It takes a critical perspective on how contemporary societies treat [...] Read more.
This article argues that a more critical approach to innovation policy within planning is needed and offers recommendations for achieving this. These recommendations entail rethinking the values, focus, speed, and legitimacy of innovations. It takes a critical perspective on how contemporary societies treat rapid innovation as having necessarily positive results in the achievement of objectives such as sustainability and justice. This critical perspective is needed because innovation can both contribute to and drive a form of maladaptive planning: a collective approach to reality that imposes constant and rapid changes to societal configurations due to an obsession with the new and with too little rapport with the problems in place or that it creates. A maladaptive direction for transport planning is used as a sectorial illustration of the broader conceptual ideas presented: for both sustainability and social justice reasons, it would be desirable to see peak car occurring. However, the car industry is presenting driving automation as an innovation with the potential to restore the vitality of the private vehicles market while creating effective means to dismiss alternatives to car dominance. Full article
Article
Regional Densities of Cooperation: Are There Measurable Effects on Regional Development?
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4030040 - 30 Aug 2020
Abstract
Almost three decades ago, a paradigm change in funding policies for rural regions became effective in Europe and Germany, involving a move towards cooperative, actor-oriented regional development. However, little research has been published on the extent to which funding approaches intended to activate [...] Read more.
Almost three decades ago, a paradigm change in funding policies for rural regions became effective in Europe and Germany, involving a move towards cooperative, actor-oriented regional development. However, little research has been published on the extent to which funding approaches intended to activate cooperation have led to regional-economic effects in the regions. This paper presents a countrywide statistical evaluation of the link between the deployment of funding programmes and established regional development indicators. The investigation is based on the analysis of 27 funding programmes, pilot projects and competitions from five policy fields, covering the period from 1991 to 2016. Its analyses are founded on the largest database of regional-development programmes implemented in Germany and the first attempt to detect cumulative effects of a large number of programmes over a long period. Further research in this direction should first gather detailed information on the scope of funding programmes in the regions. Full article
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Article
Spatial Factor—Using a Random Forest Classification Model to Measure an Internationally Comparable Urbanity Index
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4030036 - 10 Aug 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Travel behavior can be determined by its spatial context. If there are many shops and restaurants in close proximity, various activities can be done by walking or cycling, and a car is not needed. It is also more difficult (e.g., parking space, traffic [...] Read more.
Travel behavior can be determined by its spatial context. If there are many shops and restaurants in close proximity, various activities can be done by walking or cycling, and a car is not needed. It is also more difficult (e.g., parking space, traffic jams) to use a car in high-density areas. Overall, travel behavior and dependencies on travel behavior are influenced by urbanity. These relationships have so far only been examined very selectively (e.g., at city level) and not in international comparison. In this study we define an Urbanity Index (UI) at zip code level, which considers factors influencing mobility, international comparability, reproducibility as well as practical application and the development of a scalable methodology. In order to describe urbanity, data were collected regarding spatial structure, population, land use, and public transport. We developed the UI using a supervised machine learning technique which divides zip codes into four area types: (1) super-urban, (2) urban, (3) suburban/small town, (4) rural. To train the model, the perception from experts in known zip codes concerning urbanity and mobility was set as ground truth. With the UI, it is possible to compare countries (Germany and France) with a uniform definition and comparable datasets. Full article
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Article
COVID, CITIES and CLIMATE: Historical Precedents and Potential Transitions for the New Economy
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 32; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4030032 - 13 Jul 2020
Cited by 22
Abstract
The 2020 collapse of the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to think about long term trends and what the future could hold for our cities and regions, especially due to the climate agenda. The paper sets out the [...] Read more.
The 2020 collapse of the global economy due to the Covid-19 pandemic has enabled us to think about long term trends and what the future could hold for our cities and regions, especially due to the climate agenda. The paper sets out the historical precedents for economic transitions after collapses that unleash new technologically based innovation waves. These are shown to be associated with different energy and infrastructure priorities and their transport and resulting urban forms. The new technologies in the past were emerging but mainstreamed as the new economy was built on new investments. The paper suggests that the new economy, for the next 30 years, is likely to be driven by the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) agendas (summarised as zero carbon–zero poverty) and will have a strong base in a cluster of innovative technologies: renewable energy, electromobility, smart cities, hydrogen-based industry, circular economy technologies, and biophilic urbanism. The first three are well underway, and the other three will need interventions if not cultural changes and may miss being mainstreamed in this recovery but could still play a minor role in the new economy. The resulting urban transformations are likely to build on Covid-19 through “global localism” and could lead to five new features: (1) relocalised centres with distributed infrastructure, (2) tailored innovations in each urban fabric, (3) less car dependence, (4) symbiotic partnerships for funding, and (5) rewritten manuals for urban professionals. This period needs human creativity to play a role in revitalising the human dimension of cities. The next wave following this may be more about regenerative development. Full article
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Article
A Fine-Grain Multi-Indicator Analysis of the Urban Form of Five Informal Settlements in East Africa
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(3), 31; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4030031 - 09 Jul 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
Few studies have investigated the urban morphology of informal settlements at fine-grain level, limiting effective urban planning and policies targeting such areas. This study presents a high-resolution morphological analysis of five informal settlements located in central areas of major cities in East Africa. [...] Read more.
Few studies have investigated the urban morphology of informal settlements at fine-grain level, limiting effective urban planning and policies targeting such areas. This study presents a high-resolution morphological analysis of five informal settlements located in central areas of major cities in East Africa. The analysis is based on indicators of urban form, statistical comparison, and field interviews on household conditions. The method improves the replicability and increases the spatial granularity compared to previous studies. Outcomes show that all case studies are characterised by organic street layouts. Three settlements form a comparable group with denser urban fabrics (small block size, high coverage ratios, and small private spaces), while the remaining two cases have less compact forms. The field interviews show high rates of tenancy, overcrowding, and inadequate access to water and sanitation in the first group and low rates of these conditions in the second group. We suggest that these differences are partially an outcome of levels of informal land supply. We argue that decreased informal land supply leads to increased competition and higher prices of accommodation, leaving fewer household resources for infrastructure investments and consequent compromised livelihoods. Accordingly, we argue that some modes of informal urban development should be accepted in Sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
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Article
Family Income and Gang Presence in the Neighborhood: Diminished Returns of Black Families
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(2), 29; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4020029 - 24 Jun 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Background: Based on the Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) framework, indicators of high socioeconomic status, such as higher family income, show weaker protective effects on various developmental, behavioral, and health outcomes for Black than White families. As a result of these MDRs, Black families [...] Read more.
Background: Based on the Minorities’ Diminished Returns (MDRs) framework, indicators of high socioeconomic status, such as higher family income, show weaker protective effects on various developmental, behavioral, and health outcomes for Black than White families. As a result of these MDRs, Black families who access education and income still report high levels of depression, smoking, obesity, and chronic disease. Limited knowledge exists on MDRs of income on neighborhood quality. Aims: Built on the MDRs framework, this study tested the hypothesis of whether the effect of family income and maternal education at birth on neighborhood gang presence varies between Black and White families. The hypotheses were that: (1) higher income families would report lower gang presence in their neighborhood, and (2) compared to Whites, Blacks would show weaker protective effects of family income on gang presence in their neighborhood. Methods: The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is a 15-year follow up study of a random sample of births in cities with larger than 200,000 population. Two thousand nine hundred and nineteen White or Black families were included and were followed from birth of their child for 15 years. The predictors were family income and maternal education at birth, treated as categorical variables. The outcome was gang presence in the neighborhood at age 15. Logistic regression was used for data analysis. Results: Higher maternal education at birth was inversely associated with gang presence in the neighborhoods, while family income at birth did not show an effect on reducing gang presence in the neighborhood at age 15. Family income at birth and race interact, suggesting that the association between family income at birth and gang presence in the neighborhood at age 15 was weaker for Black than White families. Our race-stratified models also showed an inverse effect of family income at birth on gang presence in the neighborhood at age 15 in White but not Black families. Conclusions: Diminished returns of family income at birth on neighborhood safety and social disorder may be a mechanism that contributes to racial health disparities in higher socioeconomic status and also poor outcomes for Black families across socioeconomic status (SES) levels. That is, a smaller protective effect of family income on changing the real lives of Black compared to White families may be one of the mechanisms by which health is worse than expected in Black families, across the entire SES spectrum. The health, behavioral, and developmental disparities are not only due to the racial gap in SES but also diminishing returns of socioeconomic status indicators such as family income for racial minorities. Research should study contextual and structural factors that reduce Black families’ ability to mobilize their human capital and secure health outcomes in urban settings. Full article
Article
The “Paris-End” of Town? Deriving Urban Typologies Using Three Imagery Types
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(2), 27; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4020027 - 27 May 2020
Abstract
Urban typologies allow areas to be categorised according to form and the social, demographic, and political uses of the areas. The use of these typologies and finding similarities and dissimilarities between cities enables better targeted interventions for improved health, transport, and environmental outcomes [...] Read more.
Urban typologies allow areas to be categorised according to form and the social, demographic, and political uses of the areas. The use of these typologies and finding similarities and dissimilarities between cities enables better targeted interventions for improved health, transport, and environmental outcomes in urban areas. A better understanding of local contexts can also assist in applying lessons learned from other cities. Constructing urban typologies at a global scale through traditional methods, such as functional or network analysis, requires the collection of data across multiple political districts, which can be inconsistent and then require a level of subjective classification. To overcome these limitations, we use neural networks to analyse millions of images of urban form (consisting of street view, satellite imagery, and street maps) to find shared characteristics between the largest 1692 cities in the world. The comparison city of Paris is used as an exemplar and we perform a case study using two Australian cities, Melbourne and Sydney, to determine if a “Paris-end” of town exists or can be found in these cities using these three big data imagery sets. The results show specific advantages and disadvantages of each type of imagery in constructing urban typologies. Neural networks trained with map imagery will be highly influenced by the structural mix of roads, public transport, and green and blue space. Satellite imagery captures a combination of both urban form and decorative and natural details. The use of street view imagery emphasises the features of a human-scaled visual geography of streetscapes. However, for both satellite and street view imagery to be highly effective, a reduction in scale and more aggressive pre-processing might be required in order to reduce detail and create greater abstraction in the imagery. Full article
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Article
Long Live the Heritage of Petroleum—Discoveries of Former Oil Sites in the Port City of Dunkirk
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(2), 22; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4020022 - 01 May 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In the early days of the petroleum industry, oil infrastructure had a short lifespan. Individuals were creating their own company and competing with others, without the financial means of current great companies. Many oil facilities were established in port cities like Dunkirk, because [...] Read more.
In the early days of the petroleum industry, oil infrastructure had a short lifespan. Individuals were creating their own company and competing with others, without the financial means of current great companies. Many oil facilities were established in port cities like Dunkirk, because they were the entrance gates to many nations. In the case of Dunkirk, many former oil sites became houses and schools in the current urban tissue, and official records lost track of many others. The limited data available on official records to inform the people on the pollution of their soil is a threat to their safety and health, and an obstacle for the planning strategies of public authorities. The analysis of archival documents, past and present aerial pictures, paintings and mapping techniques related to geographic information systems (GIS) can reveal lost industrial sites, and thus indicate potential pollution. This paper investigates the oil history of Dunkirk as a background for its petroleum history and its transferability to other petroleum related cities. A cross analysis of sources will attempt to complete French files and locate oil sites. The objective is to illustrate the transformation of former oil sites, and why the current land use is often not compatible with its history. Full article
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Article
Contradictions of Transit-Oriented Development in Low-Income Neighborhoods: The Case Study of Rosengård in Malmö, Sweden
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(2), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4020020 - 25 Apr 2020
Cited by 4
Abstract
Transit-oriented development (TOD) has become a leading model of urban planning worldwide that promises to meet a broad range of local and regional objectives: improving mobility, expanding ridership, attracting investment, reducing urban poverty, improving quality of life, making affordable housing and fostering urban [...] Read more.
Transit-oriented development (TOD) has become a leading model of urban planning worldwide that promises to meet a broad range of local and regional objectives: improving mobility, expanding ridership, attracting investment, reducing urban poverty, improving quality of life, making affordable housing and fostering urban integration. At the same time, the implementation of TOD in many cities has raised concerns about gentrification, displacement, re-segregation, and more polarization. This article aims to shed light on these issues by bringing together previously disparate literature that mentions these contradictions and discusses policymakers’ hopes and critics’ concern for the implementation of a newly started TOD project in a universal housing system in Rosengård—a segregated, low-income neighborhood in Malmö, Sweden. Although policy advocates view the project as a significant development strategy for a more sustainable Malmö, there are also real concerns about gentrification and the potential displacement of low-income residents. Furthermore, the mixed-methods study showes how integration might be achieved, but concerns have arisen about the possible exclusion of the current low-income residents, which brings up issues of inequality, representation of poverty, and marginalization. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Sustainability Development in Urban Areas of Morocco
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(2), 18; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4020018 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
In Morocco, the last census counted 70% of houses in cities, with seven cities accounting for 25% of the total population and 41% of the urban population. This paper questioned the sustainability indicator in Moroccan cities using a novel methodology based on Earth [...] Read more.
In Morocco, the last census counted 70% of houses in cities, with seven cities accounting for 25% of the total population and 41% of the urban population. This paper questioned the sustainability indicator in Moroccan cities using a novel methodology based on Earth observations and census data. We estimated the indicator for the 25 largest urban areas between 2003 and 2013. A stratification based on urbanization fractions allowed for the definition and comparison of hierarchically ordered zones consistent across urban areas and scales. We found no systematic pattern of growth between cities. However, three categories of development were identified: a group of large cities with an indicator less than unity and land consumption commensurate to population growth, a group of medium-sized cities trending moderately towards unsustainability with an indicator between one and two, and a group including small cities with significant departure from sustainability. The disparate sustainability levels between urban areas appear to be related to the rapid economic growth, typical of an emerging economy. Our results indicate a continuous population growth pushing outwards the perimeters of existing urban areas. Unless regulated, land consumption is increasing faster than the population in most parts of Morocco, in line with global trends. Full article
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Article
Place-Making through the Creation of Common Spaces in Lima’s Self-Built Settlements: El Ermitaño and Pampa de Cueva as Case Studies for a Regional Urbanization Strategy
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 112; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3040112 - 10 Dec 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Lima has become the first Peruvian megacity with more than 10 million people, resulting from the migration waves from the countryside throughout the 20th century, which have also contributed to the diverse ethnic background of today’s city. The paper analyzes two neighborhoods located [...] Read more.
Lima has become the first Peruvian megacity with more than 10 million people, resulting from the migration waves from the countryside throughout the 20th century, which have also contributed to the diverse ethnic background of today’s city. The paper analyzes two neighborhoods located in the inter-district area of Northern Lima: Pampa de Cueva and El Ermitaño as paradigmatic cases of the city’s expansion through non-formal settlements during the 1960s. They represent a relevant case study because of their complex urbanization process, the presence of pre-Hispanic heritage, their location in vulnerable hillside areas in the fringe with a protected natural landscape, and their potential for sustainable local economic development. The article traces back the consolidation process of these self-built neighborhoods or barriadas within the context of Northern Lima as a new centrality for the metropolitan area. The analysis of urban form and mobility, heritage and environmental challenges, governance, and social integration leads to a proposal for neighborhood upgrading, capacity building with participatory processes, and a vision for future local development to decentralize the traditional metropolitan centers, which can be scaled to other peripheral neighborhoods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Regional Urbanization)
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Article
The TRAX Light-Rail Train Air Quality Observation Project
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 108; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3040108 - 01 Dec 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Observing air quality from sensors onboard light rail cars in Salt Lake County, Utah began as a pilot study in 2014 and has now evolved into a five-year, state-funded program. This metropolitan region suffers from both elevated ozone levels during summer and high [...] Read more.
Observing air quality from sensors onboard light rail cars in Salt Lake County, Utah began as a pilot study in 2014 and has now evolved into a five-year, state-funded program. This metropolitan region suffers from both elevated ozone levels during summer and high PM2.5 events during winter. Pollution episodes result predominantly from local anthropogenic emissions but are also impacted by regional transport of dust, chemical precursors to ozone, and wildfire smoke, as well as being exacerbated by the topographical features surrounding the city. Two electric light-rail train cars from the Utah Transit Authority light-rail Transit Express (“TRAX”) system were outfitted with PM2.5 and ozone sensors to measure air quality at high spatial and temporal resolutions in this region. Pollutant concentration data underwent quality control procedures to determine whether the train motion affected the readings and how the sensors compared against regulatory sensors. Quality assurance results from data obtained over the past year show that TRAX Observation Project sensors are reliable, which corroborates earlier preliminary validation work. Three case studies from summer 2019 are presented to illustrate the strength of the finely-resolved air quality observations: (1) an elevated ozone event, (2) elevated particulate pollution resulting from 4th of July fireworks, and (3) elevated particle pollution during a winter time inversion event. The mobile observations were able to capture spatial gradients, as well as pollutant hotspots, during both of these episodes. Sensors have been recently added to a third light rail train car, which travels on a north–south oriented rail line, where air quality was unable to be monitored previously. The TRAX Observation Project is currently being used to provide reliable pollutant data for health studies and inform urban planning efforts. Links to real-time data displays and updated information on the quality-controlled data from this study are available on the webpage for the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technologies and Humanities for Smart Cities)
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Article
Prioritizing Sustainable City Indicators for Cambodia
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 104; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3040104 - 22 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
This research is based on our previous research that developed consensus sustainable city indicators for Cambodia through three-round Delphi panel surveys. That research developed indicators in the first round based on UN sustainable development goal 11, ASEAN environmentally sustainable city, Korean case study, [...] Read more.
This research is based on our previous research that developed consensus sustainable city indicators for Cambodia through three-round Delphi panel surveys. That research developed indicators in the first round based on UN sustainable development goal 11, ASEAN environmentally sustainable city, Korean case study, and domestic green and clean city indicators, and validated the developed indicators in the last two rounds. After consensus analysis, that research obtained 32 assessment indicators categorized by nine criteria. However, these indicators are not prioritized yet due to the limitation of the Delphi technique. Hence, this research aims to prioritize these indicators by applying the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) technique and to confirm whether the levels of importance verified by Delphi can be used for prioritizing or ranking the indicators. This research surveyed potential respondents experienced and working in relevant fields both offline and online. Online surveys were processed through E-mail, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A total of 118 questionnaires were gathered from the surveys, and 16 were inconsistent (consistency ratio > 0.1). The results showed that the highest and lowest weights are 0.0557 and 0.086. The top ten indicators are slum population (0.0557), unemployment (0.0516), crime prevention (0.0470), water supply (0.0469), city’s migration (0.0462), low-income housing (0.0445), solid waste collection (0.0437), labor-force (0.0421), construction safety (0.0400), and traffic congestion (0.0398). The rank of all indicators based on their levels of importance is completely different from the rank of their weights. Therefore, this research confirms that the levels of importance verified by Delphi cannot be used for ranking or prioritizing the consensus indicators. The priority weights in this research would be useful to policymaking, strategic direction, and budget allocation for the development and management of sustainable cities in Cambodia. Full article
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Article
Integrating Satellite-Derived Data as Spatial Predictors in Multiple Regression Models to Enhance the Knowledge of Air Temperature Patterns
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(4), 101; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3040101 - 21 Sep 2019
Cited by 6
Abstract
With the phenomenon of urban heat island and thermal discomfort felt in urban areas, exacerbated by climate change, it is necessary to best estimate the air temperature in every part of an area, especially in the context of the on-going rationalization weather stations [...] Read more.
With the phenomenon of urban heat island and thermal discomfort felt in urban areas, exacerbated by climate change, it is necessary to best estimate the air temperature in every part of an area, especially in the context of the on-going rationalization weather stations network. In addition, the comprehension of air temperature patterns is essential for multiple applications in the fields of agriculture, hydrology, land development or public health. Thus, this study proposes to estimate the air temperature from 28 explanatory variables, using multiple linear regressions. The innovation of this study is to integrate variables from remote sensing into the model in addition to the variables traditionally used like the ones from the Land Use Land Cover. The contribution of spectral indices is significant and makes it possible to improve the quality of the prediction model. However, modeling errors are still present. Their locations and magnitudes are analyzed. However, although the results provided by modelling are of good quality in most cases, particularly thanks to the introduction of explanatory variables from remote sensing, this can never replace dense networks of ground-based measurements. Nevertheless, the methodology presented, applicable to any territory and not requiring specific computer resources, can be highly useful in many fields, particularly for urban planners. Full article
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Article
A Machine Learning Approach to Study the Relationship between Features of the Urban Environment and Street Value
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 100; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3030100 - 14 Sep 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Understanding what aspects of the urban environment are associated with better socioeconomic/liveability outcomes is a long standing research topic. Several quantitative studies have investigated such relationships. However, most of such works analysed single correlations, thus failing to obtain a more complete picture of [...] Read more.
Understanding what aspects of the urban environment are associated with better socioeconomic/liveability outcomes is a long standing research topic. Several quantitative studies have investigated such relationships. However, most of such works analysed single correlations, thus failing to obtain a more complete picture of how the urban environment can contribute to explain the observed phenomena. More recently, multivariate models have been suggested. However, they use a limited set of metrics, propose a coarse spatial unit of analysis, and assume linearity and independence among regressors. In this paper, we propose a quantitative methodology to study the relationship between a more comprehensive set of metrics of the urban environment and the valorisation of street segments that handles non-linearity and possible interactions among variables, through the use of Machine Learning (ML). The proposed methodology was tested on the French Riviera and outputs show a moderate predictive capacity (i.e., adjusted R 2 = 0.75 ) and insightful explanations on the nuanced relationships between selected features of the urban environment and street values. These findings are clearly location specific; however, the methodology is replicable and can thus inspire future research of this kind in different geographic contexts. Full article
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Article
Living Structure Down to Earth and Up to Heaven: Christopher Alexander
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 96; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3030096 - 29 Aug 2019
Cited by 9
Abstract
Discovered by Christopher Alexander, living structure is a physical phenomenon, through which the quality of the built environment or artifacts can be judged objectively. It has two distinguishing properties just like a tree: “Far more small things than large ones” across all scales [...] Read more.
Discovered by Christopher Alexander, living structure is a physical phenomenon, through which the quality of the built environment or artifacts can be judged objectively. It has two distinguishing properties just like a tree: “Far more small things than large ones” across all scales from the smallest to the largest, and “more or less similar things” on each scale. As a physical phenomenon, and mathematical concept, living structure is essentially empirical, discovered and developed from miniscule observation in nature- and human-made things, and it affects our daily lives in some practical ways, such as where to put a table or a flower vase in a room, helping us to make beautiful things and environments. Living structure is not only empirical, but also philosophical and visionary, enabling us to see the world and space in more meaningful ways. This paper is intended to defend living structure as a physical phenomenon, and a mathematical concept, clarifying some common questions and misgivings surrounding Alexander’s design thoughts, such as the objective or structural nature of beauty, building styles advocated by Alexander, and mysterious nature of his concepts. For this purpose, we first illustrate living structure—essentially organized complexity, as advocated by the late Jane Jacobs (1916–2006)—that is governed by two fundamental laws (scaling law and Tobler’s law), and generated in some step by step fashion by two design principles (differentiation and adaptation) through the 15 structural properties. We then verify why living structure is primarily empirical, drawing evidence from Alexander’s own work, as well as our case studies applied to the Earth’s surface including cities, streets, and buildings, and two logos. Before reaching conclusions, we concentrate on the most mysterious part of Alexander’s work—the luminous ground or the hypothesized “I”—as a substance that pervasively exists everywhere, in space and matter including our bodies, in order to make better sense of living structure in our minds. Full article
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Article
A Statistically Rigorous Approach to Experimental Design of Vertical Living Walls for Green Buildings
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 71; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3030071 - 15 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Living walls (LW) have been widely proposed as a form of green infrastructure to improve aesthetics, energy consumption, and microclimate in urban environments by adding densely-planted vegetation to the outside walls of buildings. Scientific studies using multiple treatments in a single LW face [...] Read more.
Living walls (LW) have been widely proposed as a form of green infrastructure to improve aesthetics, energy consumption, and microclimate in urban environments by adding densely-planted vegetation to the outside walls of buildings. Scientific studies using multiple treatments in a single LW face challenges due to the close physical proximity of different treatments, particularly the potential for plants above to influence those below. A study on a west-facing LW was undertaken to investigate 36 unique treatments in Adelaide, South Australia, for nine months. The LW comprised combinations of six native plant species, three soil substrates and two irrigation volumes. The LW consisted of 144 modular trays mounted on a wall in a 12 × 12 grid with four replicates of each treatment. The location of each treatment was designed to account for a cascading carry-over effect that may be present when one plant is placed above another. Carry-over effect of the model designed showed mixed results among the plant groups identified. It was also found that long-form plants can significantly shade smaller plants below them. Experimental research into the performance of plants in mixed species LW should consider the carry-over effect to account for this. Full article
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Article
Anatomy of an Informal Transit City: Mobility Analysis of the Metropolitan Area of Lima
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 67; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3030067 - 11 Jul 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Lima, as the capital of Peru, has become its first megacity with more than 10 million people in an area that extends over 80 km in a North-South direction. As a city of this size, it faces complex mobility issues with a strong [...] Read more.
Lima, as the capital of Peru, has become its first megacity with more than 10 million people in an area that extends over 80 km in a North-South direction. As a city of this size, it faces complex mobility issues with a strong reliance on informal transport modes (buses, minibuses, and paratransit vehicles) due to the deterioration of its transit system quality during the 20th century. This paper examines the current urban situation in Lima through an analysis of the city’s structure, with an emphasis on its transport history and the resulting types of walking, transit, and car-oriented fabrics that can be identified. The mobility analysis was made through data collection, including daily trips by public and private modes, annual passenger kilometers and vehicle kilometers of travel, length of exclusive lanes for public transport and freeways, car and paratransit modes ownership, transport emissions, and safety. These data are used to position Lima in a comparative global context showing its relative strengths and weaknesses in urban form and mobility and providing suggestions for a more sustainable transport and land use system. It is asserted that Lima is an informal transit-oriented city, as distinct from recognized transit metropolises (e.g., Tokyo or German cities such as Berlin or Munich), which often involve private companies, operating under an umbrella of strong government regulation, fare setting, and high service standards. Lima is shown to have some important qualities such as a high density, comparatively low car ownership and freeway provision and still healthy levels of transit and non-motorized mode use despite non-ideal conditions for either. These qualities, if combined with effective governance structures, government commitment to higher quality formal transit systems, which better integrate the important informal transit sector, cessation of high capacity road building, greater protection and encouragement for non-motorized modes and some effective controls over growing car and motorcycle ownership, would see Lima develop a more sustainable transport system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Urban Transportation and Mobility Systems)
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Article
Barriers to Food Security and Community Stress in an Urban Food Desert
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 46; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci2020046 - 31 May 2018
Cited by 10
Abstract
By analyzing data from focus groups in a poor, mostly African American neighborhood in a large U.S. city, we describe how residents in urban food deserts access food, the barriers they experience in accessing nutritious, affordable food, and how community food insecurity exacerbates [...] Read more.
By analyzing data from focus groups in a poor, mostly African American neighborhood in a large U.S. city, we describe how residents in urban food deserts access food, the barriers they experience in accessing nutritious, affordable food, and how community food insecurity exacerbates prior social, built, and economic stressors. Provided the unwillingness of supermarkets and supercenters to locate to poor urban areas and the need for nutritious, affordable food, it may be more efficient and equitable for government programs to financially partner with ethnic markets and smaller locally-owned grocery stores to increase the distribution and marketing of healthy foods rather than to spend resources trying to entice a large supermarket to locate to the neighborhood. By focusing on improving the conditions of the neighborhood and making smaller grocery stores and markets more affordable and produce more attractive to residents, the social, built, and economic stressors experienced by residents will be reduced, thereby possibly improving overall mental and physical health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Food Security)
Article
Neurodivergent Themed Neighbourhoods as A Strategy to Enhance the Liveability of Cities: The Blueprint of an Autism Village, Its Benefits to Neurotypical Environments
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 42; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci2020042 - 30 Apr 2018
Cited by 1
Abstract
In the next decades, it is expected that there will be a significant number of adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who will continue to strive in the neurotypical environment. Despite the recent rise of developments that deviate from the institutional type [...] Read more.
In the next decades, it is expected that there will be a significant number of adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who will continue to strive in the neurotypical environment. Despite the recent rise of developments that deviate from the institutional type of facility, many parents continue to voice their struggle to find safe and appropriate living environments for their adult children. The problem is not just the limited option on where to live, financing a home is also another dilemma. Thus, the challenge to provide appropriate living environments coincide with the need to provide meaningful opportunities that allows them to thrive and function in the society. This paper explores the existing design guidelines through recommendations on how spaces can be articulated by considering the value of savant skills and productive vocational skills for individuals living with ASD. This optimistic approach hopes to enlighten built environment practitioners in designing spaces where different populations can co–exist, particularly those with varied abilities. The environmental needs of ASDs and the proposed spatial interventions also extend its benefits to the well–being of neurotypicals. In addition, the participation of the ASD population in the built environment bridges accessibility and spatial experience. Therefore, designing neurodivergent neighbourhoods can be employed as a strategy to improve and enhance the liveability of urban regions. Full article
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Article
A Method for Mapping Future Urbanization in the United States
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 40; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci2020040 - 24 Apr 2018
Cited by 6
Abstract
Cities are poised to absorb additional people. Their sustainability, or ability to accommodate a population increase without depleting resources or compromising future growth, depends on whether they harness the efficiency gains from urban land management. Population is often projected as a bulk national [...] Read more.
Cities are poised to absorb additional people. Their sustainability, or ability to accommodate a population increase without depleting resources or compromising future growth, depends on whether they harness the efficiency gains from urban land management. Population is often projected as a bulk national number without details about spatial distribution. We use Landsat and population data in a methodology to project and map U.S. urbanization for the year 2020 and document its spatial pattern. This methodology is important to spatially disaggregate projected population and assist land managers to monitor land use, assess infrastructure and distribute resources. We found the U.S. west coast urban areas to have the fastest population growth with relatively small land consumption resulting in future decrease in per capita land use. Except for Miami (FL), most other U.S. large urban areas, especially in the Midwest, are growing spatially faster than their population and inadvertently consuming land needed for ecosystem services. In large cities, such as New York, Chicago, Houston and Miami, land development is expected more in suburban zones than urban cores. In contrast, in Los Angeles land development within the city core is greater than in its suburbs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Futures—Landscape)
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An Agent-Based Modeling Framework for Simulating Human Exposure to Environmental Stresses in Urban Areas
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 36; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci2020036 - 17 Apr 2018
Cited by 8
Abstract
Several approaches have been used to assess potential human exposure to environmental stresses and achieve optimal results under various conditions, such as for example, for different scales, groups of people, or points in time. A thorough literature review in this paper identifies the [...] Read more.
Several approaches have been used to assess potential human exposure to environmental stresses and achieve optimal results under various conditions, such as for example, for different scales, groups of people, or points in time. A thorough literature review in this paper identifies the research gap regarding modeling approaches for assessing human exposure to environment stressors, and it indicates that microsimulation tools are becoming increasingly important in human exposure assessments of urban environments, in which each person is simulated individually and continuously. The paper further describes an agent-based model (ABM) framework that can dynamically simulate human exposure levels, along with their daily activities, in urban areas that are characterized by environmental stresses such as air pollution and heat stress. Within the framework, decision-making processes can be included for each individual based on rule-based behavior in order to achieve goals under changing environmental conditions. The ideas described in this paper are implemented in a free and open source NetLogo platform. A basic modeling scenario of the ABM framework in Hamburg, Germany, demonstrates its utility in various urban environments and individual activity patterns, as well as its portability to other models, programs, and frameworks. The prototype model can potentially be extended to support environmental incidence management through exploring the daily routines of different groups of citizens, and comparing the effectiveness of different strategies. Further research is needed to fully develop an operational version of the model. Full article
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Article
Developing Policy for Urban Autonomous Vehicles: Impact on Congestion
Urban Sci. 2018, 2(2), 33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci2020033 - 13 Apr 2018
Cited by 28
Abstract
An important problem for surface transport is road traffic congestion, which is ubiquitous and difficult to mitigate. Accordingly, a question for policymakers is the possible impact on congestion of autonomous vehicles. It seems likely that the main impact of vehicle automation will not [...] Read more.
An important problem for surface transport is road traffic congestion, which is ubiquitous and difficult to mitigate. Accordingly, a question for policymakers is the possible impact on congestion of autonomous vehicles. It seems likely that the main impact of vehicle automation will not be seen until driverless vehicles are sufficiently safe for use amid general traffic on urban streets. Shared use driverless vehicles could reduce the cost of taxis and a wider range of public transport vehicles could be economic. Individually owned autonomous vehicles would have the ability to travel unoccupied and may need to be regulated where this might add to congestion. It is possible that autonomous vehicles could provide mobility services at lower cost and wider scope, such that private car use in urban areas could decline and congestion reduce. City authorities should be alert to these possibilities in developing transport policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Future of Urban Transportation and Mobility Systems)

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Review
How Lack of Knowledge and Tools Hinders the Eco-Design of Buildings—A Systematic Review
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 20; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010020 - 07 Feb 2021
Abstract
The building sector is responsible for extensive resource consumption and waste generation, resulting in high pressure on the environment. A way to potentially mitigate this is by including environmental considerations during building design through the concept known as eco-design. Despite the multiple available [...] Read more.
The building sector is responsible for extensive resource consumption and waste generation, resulting in high pressure on the environment. A way to potentially mitigate this is by including environmental considerations during building design through the concept known as eco-design. Despite the multiple available approaches of eco-design, the latter is not easily achieved in the building sector. The objective of this paper is to identify and discuss what barriers are currently hindering the implementation of eco-design in the building sector and by which measures building designers can include environmental considerations in their design process. Through a systematic literature review, several barriers to implementation were identified, the main ones being lack of suitable legislation, lack of knowledge amongst building designers, and lack of suitable tools for designers to use. Furthermore, two specific tools were identified that allow the inclusion of environmental consideration in building design, along with nine design strategies providing qualitative guidance on how to potentially minimize energy and material consumption, as well as waste generation. This paper contributes a holistic overview of the major barriers to and existing tools and method for the eco-design of buildings, and provides guidance for both future research and practice. Full article
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Review
Towards Psychosocial Well-Being in Historic Urban Landscapes: The Contribution of Cultural Memory
Urban Sci. 2020, 4(4), 59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci4040059 - 09 Nov 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
A crucial element in the human search for well-being is achieving a sense of identity within, and belonging to, the landscape in which we live. Landscape should be understood as not only the visible environment but the affective values we attach to it [...] Read more.
A crucial element in the human search for well-being is achieving a sense of identity within, and belonging to, the landscape in which we live. Landscape should be understood as not only the visible environment but the affective values we attach to it and how we shape it in our mind’s eye. These inner reflections of our landscapes constitute one of our richest archives, in particular, in terms of creating and passing down to future generations our cultural memories. The current paper is a review of literature on the concepts of urban heritage conservation, and, in particular, the development of the historic urban landscape (HUL) approach, with reference to the role and contribution of cultural memory and its presence in the urban landscape. We also investigate how the notions of place attachment and identity interrelate with cultural memory to elucidate how such interrelations can contribute to human psychosocial well-being and quality of life (QOL). This review points to the neglected role of cultural memory in the maintenance of psychosocial well-being in HULs, a topic which requires further research to deepen our understanding about its importance in urban environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature & Culture for Cities and Territories)
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Review
Urban Green Spaces and Their Need in Cities of Rapidly Urbanizing India: A Review
Urban Sci. 2019, 3(3), 94; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci3030094 - 25 Aug 2019
Cited by 11
Abstract
Urbanization offers several opportunities for the growth of economic, social, and technology sectors, offering benefits to society in terms of better living and healthcare facilities, as well as employment opportunities. However, some major downsides of urbanization are overcrowding and environmental degradation. In order [...] Read more.
Urbanization offers several opportunities for the growth of economic, social, and technology sectors, offering benefits to society in terms of better living and healthcare facilities, as well as employment opportunities. However, some major downsides of urbanization are overcrowding and environmental degradation. In order to realize sustainable and environmentally friendly urbanization, there is an urgent need for comprehensive land use planning and of urban settlements by giving due consideration to create and sustain urban green spaces (UGS) such as parks, gardens, roadside vegetation, etc. UGS play a vital role in reducing air pollution, mitigating climate change, and providing various ecosystem services. UGS are being deteriorated substantially due to booming urbanization in developing countries such as India. This review is focused on highlighting the many challenges in creating and maintaining UGS in the Indian context. It is a compilation of available reports on problems linked with poor land use and/or planning of urban settlements. The challenges associated with the management and maintenance of UGS are described. The poor and irregular watering of many existing UGS is one of the major issues among several others requiring immediate attention to resolve the problem of deteriorating UGS in some cities of India. As the groundwater resources are rapidly depleting because of ever increasing water demand, UGS are being dispensed with poor and irregular watering resulting in their deterioration. A list of possible solutions and prospects of UGS in cities aiming to become smart cities soon are discussed in this review. Efficient wastewater treatment and a non-potable reuse system are possible solutions for better prospects of UGS, and therefore, optimism of better cities with low to null urban heat island effect. Full article
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Commentary
The Urban Mirror of the Socioeconomic Transformations in Spain
Urban Sci. 2021, 5(1), 13; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/urbansci5010013 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study offers an interpretation of the most significant characteristics of Spanish cities in the post-Fordist capitalist era, as a mirror of the economic and social transformations that have led to them, differentiating: (i) the stage of economic expansion at the turn of [...] Read more.
This study offers an interpretation of the most significant characteristics of Spanish cities in the post-Fordist capitalist era, as a mirror of the economic and social transformations that have led to them, differentiating: (i) the stage of economic expansion at the turn of the century; (ii) the stage of the economic crisis from 2008 onwards; and (iii) the uncertain times we face for the future. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to identify the economic, housing, and political factors conditioning this evolution according to the processes of capitalist accumulation, dispossession, and repossession, and how they shape the social and urban configuration of Spanish cities. A careful selection of urban and economic indicators, its mapping, as well as an in-depth bibliographical review lead to this commentary and make it possible to identify urban developments in Spain in the light of the economic and social transformations of post-industrial capitalism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fragmented City: International Mobility and Housing in Spain)
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