Special Issue "Development of Smart and Sustainable Cities in Era of Industry 5.0 and Net Zero Economy"

A special issue of Buildings (ISSN 2075-5309). This special issue belongs to the section "Construction Management, and Computers & Digitization".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 January 2024 | Viewed by 797

Special Issue Editors

Guildhall School of Business and Law, London Metropolitan University, London N7 8DB, UK
Interests: sustainability; circular economy; sustainable operations; Industry 4.0/5.0; artificial intelligence; net zero economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Jindal Global Business School, OP Jindal Global University, Sonipat, India
Interests: sustainability; circular economy; sustainable operations; Industry 4.0/5.0; blockchain technology; net zero economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
International Trade, Supply Chain and Logistics, University of Stavanger Business School, University of Stavanger, N-4036 Stavanger, Norway
Interests: sustainability; circular supply chain; logistics and supply chain management; Industry 4.0/5.0; project management; circular economy
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The conditions and barriers that must be overcome to achieve sustainable development differ drastically from city to city around the world. The present challenges of ensuring urban sustainability include a wide range of environmental concerns. These issues include local traffic congestion, a continual rise in solid waste output, emissions from diverse industrial and home activities, air and water contamination, high energy consumption, inefficient material usage, and climate change (Bouzguenda et al., 2019). The ongoing effort to develop smart cities is based on the possibility of using digital technologies such as IoT, AI, cloud computing, and blockchain technologies. Furthermore, many researchers argue that the use of these technologies might aid in the advancement of low-carbon operations in smart cities. While these technologies may alleviate some of the aforementioned issues, their impact on health and the environment has yet to be fully explored.

It has been suggested that data collected through information and communication technologies (ICT) could be utilised to educate citizens about their environment and promote awareness, which could motivate citizens to be proactive in protecting their surroundings (Bouzguenda et al., 2019). In other words, in addition to technological advancements that contribute to the smartness of cities, we should consider the relationships that these technologies may help us cultivate or better understand and, as a result, consider them in city planning and urban designs to ensure the plan’s sustainability.

Even though digitising stakeholder engagement processes has the potential to produce positive results, some scholars are concerned that it may result in the formation of a digital gap in society (Janowski, 2015). It has also been stated that the sphere of public involvement is being undercut by the hazards inherent in new technology and innovation, where there is little connection or reciprocity (Lee, 2017). The European Union (EU) highlighted that this redirection away from present production automation and towards technology, which is more human-inclusive, is a key paradigm change that has been jointly named Industry 5.0 (Breque et al., 2021). Currently, industries are preparing to implement Industry 5.0 techniques since they provide a high level of automation. However, Industry 5.0 adoption stresses enhanced human‒machine collaboration.

Additionally, the EU identifies three key areas that may play a significant role in the future of industrial research and development activities during the next ten to fifteen years (Yao et al., 2017):

  1. Sustainability, as measured by decreased energy usage, carbon dioxide emissions, trash production, and increased material reuse and recycling within a circular economy.
  2. Strengthening the industry's ability to withstand disruptions by creating and implementing more resilient processes and infrastructure and by strengthening supply networks.
  3. Human-centred production places people and their needs at the centre of attention, while technological advancements in the workplace improve the prospects for employees' professional development and economic success.

For Industry 5.0 to "guarantee the long-term evolution of a society based on people," it is crucial that the "physical to digital to physical loop..." is established, as argued by Mourtzis et al. (2022). There is little doubt that the idea of Industry 5.0 is shaping and gaining traction in business and beyond. The study of Nahavandi (2019) on the developing agenda of Industry 5.0 centres on human-centeredness and environmental sustainability concerns. The author contends that many ecological concerns connected to product manufacturing may be solved by combining AI with human engagement and focusing on human needs. When humans are involved in making decisions or performing actions (at decision nodes) inside an otherwise automated process flow, this concept is referred to as "human in the loop," which is another way of expressing the idea of human-centeredness in artificial/digital systems. Several researchers have examined the concept of "human in the loop" to determine its applicability in a manufacturing context. They have found that it has significant importance within the Industry 5.0 agenda. As a result, learning about the unintended repercussions of using digital stakeholder partnership technologies is an important component to investigate (Kumar et al., 2021).

Additionally, the push for Net Zero is now the most important trend in all sectors. The success of this endeavour depends on the use of digitisation and data-led building methods. It allows us to predict both the present and the future, uncover inefficiencies, and find opportunities for waste reduction that would have been impossible to achieve using more conventional methods (Pei, 2022).

Incorporating BIM modelling and Lean Construction into engineering operations is one way to achieve Net Zero goals. Lean Construction is a methodology that optimises building operations to reduce waste and costs while increasing productivity. Together with a 3D BIM-compliant model, this allows for the simplification of a wide range of processes, including but not limited to: interdisciplinary coordination; prefabrication; automated work packages; and resource levelling; all while decreasing the need for human intervention on the job site and cutting down on waste (Pei, 2022). With construction in mind throughout the design and engineering phases, resources may be allocated most efficiently and the project timeline and energy requirements can be reduced to achieve the goals of the Net Zero programme. It may seem like a lot of work to ramp up engineering and building to Net Zero standards (PEi, 2022). More projects require more workers, but the global workforce is now or soon will be at capacity in many places. The construction sector, to achieve its objectives, will need to improve its historically low productivity growth rate and use data-driven technology. The moment to go digital is now if you are serious about reaching zero emissions (Pei, 2022).

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • How much does the idea of a “smart city” that emphasizes sustainability help the social and economic growth of our societies as a whole?
  • Adoption of Industry 5.0 technologies in a net zero supply chain.
  • How and to what extent would the DSP be able to make it easier for stakeholders to take part in decision-making and how would it deal with some of the problems that social sustainability brings up?
  • How can the social sustainability of contemporary societies be tested and evaluated with the use of smart constitutive technologies?
  • How can the Digital Stakeholder Partnership (DSP) be improved even further by making the best use possible of the most cutting-edge technology that is currently on the market?
  • What unforeseen repercussions may arise, both financially and ethically, as a result of digitalised procedures for stakeholder participation?
  • In what ways are the tools for effective digital engagement different from their analogue counterparts?
  • What role may digital stakeholder participation play in the effort to de-carbonization of supply chain activities?
  • To what extent can the goals of smart cities to have net zero emissions be realised through the participation of digital stakeholders through co-creation or co-design activities?
  • What role may information and communications technology play in the construction of smart cities that go above and beyond the requirements of human beings?
  • The creation and implementation of low-carbon operations through digital stakeholder partnerships, to reach net-zero emission levels.


Bouzguenda, I.; Alalouch, C.; Fava, N. Towards smart sustainable cities: A review of the role digital citizen participation could play in advancing social sustainability. Sustain. Cities Soc., 2019, 50, 101627. 

Breque, M.; De Nul, L.; Petridis, A. Industry 5.0. towards a Sustainable, Human-Centric and Resilient European Industry. Publications Office of the European Union: Luxembourg. 2021. 

Janowski, T. Digital government evolution: From transformation to contextualization. Government information quarterly, 2015, 32, 221–236. 

Kumar, R.; Gupta, P.; Singh, S.; Jain, D. Human Empowerment by Industry 5.0 in Digital Era: Analysis of Enablers. In Advances in Industrial and Production Engineering: Select Proceedings of FLAME 2020; Springer: Singapore, 2021, 401. 

Lee, C.W. Public participation professionals in the US: Confronting challenges of equity and empowerment. In The professionalization of public participation. Routledge. 2017, pp. 65–86. 

Mourtzis, D.; Angelopoulos, J.; Panopoulos, N. A literature review of the challenges and opportunities of the transition from industry 4.0 to society 5.0. Energies, 2022, 15, 6276. 

Nahavandi, S. Industry 5.0—A human-centric solution. Sustainability, 2019, 11, 4371. 

PEi. Exclusive: Using digitalisation to achieve net zero infrastructure in power and renewables. https://www.powerengineeringint.com/digitalization/using-digitalisation-to-achieve-net-zero-infrastructure-in-power-and-renewables/ (accessed on 22nd December 2022). 

Yao, X.; Zhou, J.; Zhang, J.; Boër, C.R. From Intelligent Manufacturing to Smart Manufacturing for Industry 4.0 Driven by Next Generation Artificial Intelligence and Further On. 5th International Conference on Enterprise Systems, 2017, 311–318.

Dr. Anil Kumar
Dr. Kamalakanta Muduli
Dr. Ashutosh Samadhiya
Dr. Arvind Upadhyay
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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