Interrelations in Urban–Rural Transects: Planning Sustainable Transformations for Human Wellbeing

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 26 August 2024 | Viewed by 835

Special Issue Editors

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Guest Editor
Laboratory of Sustainable Planning and Design for Cities and Landscapes, Department of Architecture, University of Catania 64, Via S. Sofia, 95125 Catania, Italy
Interests: spatial and land use planning; sustainable urban development; landscape planning; sustainable mobility

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Guest Editor
Laboratorio per la Pianificazione Territoriale e Ambientale (LAPTA), Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture, University of Catania, Viale S. Sofia 64, 95123 Catania, Italy
Interests: urban planning and sustainability; environmental management; environmental impact assessment; climate change; spatial analyses; ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Department of Civil Engineering and Architecture (DICAR), University of Catania | UNICT, 95124 Catania, CT, Italy
Interests: GIS applications for the evaluation of urban and land risks; sustainable and just urban development; green infrastructure planning and environmental policies
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Understanding the nexus among ecosystems’ functioning, landscape patterns’ change, and socio-demographic trends is crucial to spatial planning research and the achievement of human health and well-being. The effects of the structure and organization of human settlements on health and quality of life have been explored in the last decades (Bramley et al., 2009; Mouratidis, 2021, Tonne et al., 2021), and this dimension has quite recently also been discussed from the spatial planning perspective (Shekhar et al., 2019; Ala-Mantila et al., 2018). The gradient of well-being, which rises in some contexts from its lowest levels in large central cities to its highest levels on the small-town–rural periphery (Berry & Okulicz-Kozaryn, 2013), is actually challenged by several factors such as environmental challenges and the risks posed by climate change, aging societies, accessibility to green areas, social and health services, and infrastructural and economic gaps (Schwanen, T., & Ziegler, F., 2011, Adger et al., 2022).

The goal of this Special Issue is to collect papers (original research articles and review papers) that provide insights about the effects of spatial planning policies, tools and practices on human wellbeing, as well as on the measurement and monitoring of its diverse aspects. This Special Issue aims to overview the latest frontiers in managing urban–rural interrelations both across the transect, as well as in the urban fringes as a very peculiar in-between space, and to collect the most advanced methodological proposals for assessing human wellbeing based on the spatial features of human settlements.

This Special Issue welcomes manuscripts that link the following themes:

  • Novel interdisciplinary analytical tools, spatially explicit methods, experimental and modelling;
  • Approaches to investigate material and non-material aspects that affect human well-being in the urban–rural transect;
  • Cross-sectional and integrated approaches and scaling of policies and practices with focus on sustainable spatial, environmental and landscape planning;
  • Active mobility networks for improved liveability standards, and the transposition of the DNSH principle in planning for environmental enhancement;
  • Collaboration with communities and local authorities and bottom-up initiatives in urban design practice to shape sustainable transformations.

We look forward to receiving your original research articles and reviews.

Dr. Luca Barbarossa
Dr. Daniele La Rosa
Dr. Viviana Pappalardo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • urban–rural transect
  • urban fringes
  • human well-being
  • active mobility
  • sustainable urban transformation
  • environmental and landscape planning

Published Papers (1 paper)

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30 pages, 10852 KiB  
Unveiling the Dynamics of Rural Revitalization: From Disorder to Harmony in China’s Production-Life-Ecology Space
by Ningning Liu, Qikang Zhong and Kai Zhu
Land 2024, 13(5), 604; - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 370
This study utilizes provincial panel data from China spanning the period from 2011 to 2020 to assess the coupled and coordinated development of spatial functions related to production, life, and ecology (PLE) in rural areas. The assessment is based on quantifying the spatial [...] Read more.
This study utilizes provincial panel data from China spanning the period from 2011 to 2020 to assess the coupled and coordinated development of spatial functions related to production, life, and ecology (PLE) in rural areas. The assessment is based on quantifying the spatial function indices for PLE in China’s rural regions. Additionally, it examines the characteristics of their spatial and temporal evolution, spatial correlation, and driving factors. The findings indicate a modest upward trend in the spatial coupling and coordination levels of these functions across rural China, although a significant proportion of provinces still exhibit a near-disordered decline. Exploratory spatial data analysis reveals a geographical disparity, with higher levels of coupled and coordinated development observed in the eastern regions, lower levels in the west, and noticeable spatial clustering. By employing the spatial Durbin model to investigate the determinants of coupling degrees, we discovered that factors such as regional economic development, urbanization, the urban–rural income gap, financial support for agriculture, science and technology investment level, and agricultural structural adjustments significantly influence the spatial coupling of rural PLE functions. Furthermore, using the geographic detector model, the analysis identifies science and technology investment level, economic development, and financial support for agriculture as key drivers influencing the spatial coupling and coordination of these functions. These findings provide valuable reference points for policies and strategies related to rural management. Full article
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