Feature Papers for Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions Section

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: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 15020

Special Issue Editor

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The Special Issue “Feature Papers for Urban Contexts and Urban-Rural Interactions Section” welcomes positioning, overview and reflecting contributions focusing on both patterns and processes in urban landscapes and cities as well as along the urban–rural gradient. The section is open to submissions dealing with urban land use and its change, urbanization impacts on ecosystems and their services in cities, the future of peri-urbanization, the urban heat island and impacts of climate change on human and ecosystems quality of life including biodiversity aspects, wildlife and nature conservation in urban ecosystems and along urban boundaries, urban planning and governance of green infrastructure and nature-based solutions, sustainable cities, and the role of technology and big data in urban social-ecological land study.

Inter- and transdisciplinary manuscripts are highly welcome. And we also welcome case studies and other applied research, “state of science and beyond’’ reviews, and topical short communications and opinion papers.

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Haase
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All 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.

Keywords

  • urban landscapes
  • urban land use change
  • urban heat island and climate change
  • urbanization impacts on ecosystems and their services
  • biodiversity, wildlife, and nature conservation in urban ecosystems
  • urban planning and governance of green-blue infrastructures
  • green infrastructure and nature-based solutions
  • sustainable cities
  • environmental justice in cities
  • technology for cities and big data

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

16 pages, 1395 KiB  
Article
Envisaging the Intrinsic Departure from Zipf’s Law as an Indicator of Economic Concentration along Urban–Rural Gradients
by Adele Sateriano, Giovanni Quaranta, Rosanna Salvia, Francisco Escrivà Saneugenio, Alvaro Marucci, Luca Salvati, Barbara Zagaglia and Francesco Chelli
Land 2024, 13(4), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/land13040415 - 24 Mar 2024
Viewed by 639
Abstract
A rank-size rule following Zipf’s law was tested along a complete urban–rural hierarchy in Greece using 2021 census data released at different administrative levels. Testing five econometric specifications (linear, quadratic, and cubic forms, together with refined logistic and Gompertz forms) on log-transformed population [...] Read more.
A rank-size rule following Zipf’s law was tested along a complete urban–rural hierarchy in Greece using 2021 census data released at different administrative levels. Testing five econometric specifications (linear, quadratic, and cubic forms, together with refined logistic and Gompertz forms) on log-transformed population numbers, deviations from the rank-size rule were assumed as an indicator of economic concentration (considering settlements, population, and activities jointly) along the density gradient in Greece. This hypothesis was verified using progressively disaggregated population numbers at (i) regional units (n = 75), (ii) ‘Kallikratis’ municipalities (n = 333), (iii) ‘Kapodistrian’ municipalities (n = 1037), and (iv) local communities (n = 6126). Econometric results were stable across geographical levels and indicate a relatively poor fit of linear specifications, the classical formulation of Zipf’s law. Quadratic specifications displayed a good fit for all territorial levels outperforming cubic specifications. Gompertz specifications outperformed logistic specifications under aggregate partitions (e.g., regional units and ‘Kallikratis’ municipalities). Quadratic specifications outperformed both logistic and Gompertz specifications under disaggregated levels of investigation (‘Kapodistrian’ municipalities and local communities). Altogether, these findings indicate the persistence of non-linear rank-size relationships estimated over a cross-section of population data at progressively detailed observational units. Such evidence enriches the recent literature on Zipf’s law, demonstrating the inherent complexity of rank-size rules tested on real data along the whole density gradient in a given country. Full article
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21 pages, 4380 KiB  
Article
“The Urban Poor and Vulnerable Are Hit Hardest by the Heat”: A Heat Equity Lens to Understand Community Perceptions of Climate Change, Urban Heat Islands, and Green Infrastructure
by Mahbubur Meenar, Md Shahinoor Rahman, Jason Russack, Sarah Bauer and Kul Kapri
Land 2023, 12(12), 2174; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12122174 - 16 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1444
Abstract
As the global temperature and rapid urbanization continue to rise, urban heat islands (UHIs) also continue to increase across the world. Following the heat equity concept, UHIs disproportionately impact disadvantaged or overburdened communities. Green infrastructure (GI) has been at the forefront of UHI [...] Read more.
As the global temperature and rapid urbanization continue to rise, urban heat islands (UHIs) also continue to increase across the world. Following the heat equity concept, UHIs disproportionately impact disadvantaged or overburdened communities. Green infrastructure (GI) has been at the forefront of UHI mitigation efforts, including nature-based solutions like parks, pervious open spaces, wooded areas, green roofs, rain gardens, and shade trees. In this paper, we use a heat equity lens to analyze community perceptions of the intersection of climate change, UHI, and GI in Camden, New Jersey—a post-industrial city with a history of environmental injustices. Based on a mixed-methods analysis of survey responses (n = 107), 11 years of relevant X (formerly Twitter) posts (n = 367), and geospatial data, we present community perceptions of and connections between climate change, UHI, and GI and discuss major themes that emerged from the data: perceived heat inequity in Camden triggers negative emotions; a public knowledge gap exists regarding climate change-UHI-GI connections; and perceived inequitable distribution of GI and certain GI planning and maintenance practices may negatively impact UHI mitigation strategies. We argue these themes are useful to urban planners and relevant professionals while planning for heat equity and mitigating UHI effects in disadvantaged urban communities like Camden. Full article
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22 pages, 5321 KiB  
Article
The Eco-Cathedric City: Rethinking the Human–Nature Relation in Urbanism
by Rob Roggema
Land 2023, 12(8), 1501; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12081501 - 28 Jul 2023
Viewed by 1796
Abstract
Current planning of urban landscapes is dominated by a human-centric view. This leads to short-term orientation, predictable planning outcomes, and decisions being taken by a small group of humans. Alternatively, a symbiotic human–nature relationship could be a prelude to a balanced future in [...] Read more.
Current planning of urban landscapes is dominated by a human-centric view. This leads to short-term orientation, predictable planning outcomes, and decisions being taken by a small group of humans. Alternatively, a symbiotic human–nature relationship could be a prelude to a balanced future in which sustaining all living organisms prevails. In this article, a novel approach to designing such an urban landscape is presented: the Eco-cathedric City. In this proposition, the design process thrives on high complexity, deep uncertainty, contingent nature–human relations, slow urbanism, and imaginability. It is concluded that three mechanisms should be core to this approach: (eco-)cathedral thinking, considering the impact of current decisions on seven future generations; (eco-)acupuncturist design, which plans for the process by igniting a single small intervention; and (eco-)cracy, in which a variety of actors, human and non-human organisms, co-decide. In a practical sense, the Eco-cathedric City finds its foundation in understanding local ecosystems and using this knowledge to design a self-organizing ecosystem in which regenerative resource management is prioritized, after which social constructs are formed to support this design and to fit human uses within the boundaries of this framework to conclude with an evolving belief system in which reciprocity and symbiocity are the core values. Full article
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23 pages, 3004 KiB  
Article
A Comparative Study on the Identification Methods of Urban–Rural Integration Zones from the Perspective of Symbiosis Theory and Urban Expansion Theory
by Jiaxiang Wang, Fanqi Meng, Li Dong, Shiwei Yu and Yu Zhang
Land 2023, 12(7), 1272; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12071272 - 21 Jun 2023
Viewed by 1180
Abstract
Urban–rural integration zones are areas with the most prominent and complex contradictions in economic and social, humanistic and geographical, and urban–rural contexts. Properly identifying such zones is essential for promoting urban–rural integrated development and rural revitalization efforts. In this study, symbiosis theory and [...] Read more.
Urban–rural integration zones are areas with the most prominent and complex contradictions in economic and social, humanistic and geographical, and urban–rural contexts. Properly identifying such zones is essential for promoting urban–rural integrated development and rural revitalization efforts. In this study, symbiosis theory and urban expansion theory are employed to analyze and identify the spatial characteristics of urban–rural integration zones in the main urban area of Dalian City. Two distinct methods, namely the G-statistic (G-S) method and the urban–urban–rural integration zone–rural gradient model (U-URIZ-R GM) method, are used to delimit these zones. Furthermore, the results of these methods are compared and analyzed to explore their respective practical applications. The results indicate that both methods produce satisfactory identification outcomes for delimiting urban–rural integration zones in the main urban area of Dalian. Specifically, the identified urban–rural integration zones are predominantly situated in the northwest and south regions, aligning with the coastline and major transportation routes. However, hilly terrain is a crucial factor that influences the delimitation of urban–rural integration zones, and it is worth considering whether forested areas located in the urban fringe should be included based on the development needs of different cities. Notably, within the core area of Dalian’s main city, an extensive expanse of mountainous woodland exists, leading to limitations in the applicability of certain indicators within the index system, such as surface temperature and vegetation cover, for determining urban–rural integration zones. Symbiosis and urban expansion theories play a vital role in guiding the identification of urban–rural integration zones. Although both methods can be used to demarcate these zones, the G-statistics method is probably more useful in cities with significant topographical features, while the urban–urban–rural integration zone–rural gradient model is more appropriate for cities with less impact from topography on urban expansion. Full article
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31 pages, 1920 KiB  
Article
An Explicit Spatial Approach to the Value of Local Social Amenities in Metro and Non-Metro Counties in the U.S.: Implications for Comprehensive Wealth Measurement
by Jinhyoung Kim, Thomas G. Johnson and Byung Min Soon
Land 2023, 12(3), 586; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12030586 - 28 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1357
Abstract
This study extends and reinterprets Roback’s general spatial equilibrium model by casting it within the comprehensive wealth framework. Considering the explicit spatial effects among regions, the analysis refines estimates of the contribution of natural, built, social, cultural, and human capital to residents’ wealth. [...] Read more.
This study extends and reinterprets Roback’s general spatial equilibrium model by casting it within the comprehensive wealth framework. Considering the explicit spatial effects among regions, the analysis refines estimates of the contribution of natural, built, social, cultural, and human capital to residents’ wealth. We develop an empirical model and apply it to secondary data from 3109 counties in the United States. Our analysis provides a means of partitioning the sources of wealth in traditionally measured financial wealth and various types of amenities, while avoiding double counting the values of natural and publicly provided assets. Our findings indicate that rising property values are not simply an outcome of limited supply but are often an indicator of rising demand for improving amenities, suggesting different strategies for property and income taxation policy. There are apparently differences between the value of amenities in metro and non-metro counties. Our model explicitly estimates the spatial spillover and feedback effects of policy changes on local land values and wages. It also measures the differences in determinants of asset values and wages in metro from non-metro counties in the U.S. Full article
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15 pages, 2793 KiB  
Article
Urbanization Paradox of Environmental Policies in Korean Local Governments
by Yongrok Choi, Hyoungsuk Lee, Hojin Jeong and Jahira Debbarma
Land 2023, 12(2), 436; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020436 - 07 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1476
Abstract
Many developing countries have been experiencing the problems of urbanization, particularly regarding carbon emission and polluted air emission mitigation. Is it possible to simultaneously achieve these two different clean and green economic strategies? This study analyzes this paradoxical issue of air pollution in [...] Read more.
Many developing countries have been experiencing the problems of urbanization, particularly regarding carbon emission and polluted air emission mitigation. Is it possible to simultaneously achieve these two different clean and green economic strategies? This study analyzes this paradoxical issue of air pollution in terms of PM2.5 efficiency. To evaluate the performance of regulatory policies on air pollution and to find out the governance factors, this paper adopts the stepwise approach. In the first stage, we evaluate the cross-sectional PM2.5 efficiency of 16 Korean municipalities for the period between 2012 and 2017 and determine whether this performance is sustainable using the Malmquist Productivity Index (MPI). We concluded that most local governments lack sustainable governance on regulation policies for clean air. Using the Tobit model in the second stage, this study showed that regional economic development (GRDP) and an patent for clean air technology innovation are the most important strategic factors that promote sustainability in regulation policy performance. Full article
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22 pages, 14134 KiB  
Article
The Role of Brownfields and Their Revitalisation for the Functional Connectivity of the Urban Tree System in a Regrowing City
by Manuel Wolff, Dagmar Haase, Jörg Priess and Tobias Leander Hoffmann
Land 2023, 12(2), 333; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12020333 - 26 Jan 2023
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1831
Abstract
The connectivity of green infrastructure facilitating the movement of organisms is the key to strengthening biodiversity in cities. Brownfields are a valuable land resource, with their revitalisation as a Nature Based Solution high on the policy agenda. In supporting cities which simultaneously aim [...] Read more.
The connectivity of green infrastructure facilitating the movement of organisms is the key to strengthening biodiversity in cities. Brownfields are a valuable land resource, with their revitalisation as a Nature Based Solution high on the policy agenda. In supporting cities which simultaneously aim for densification and the maintenance or further development of greenery, this paper develops a model for identifying and prioritising the role of revitalised and prevailing brownfields for the connectivity of green infrastructure using the example of Leipzig, Germany. Comparing metrics between land use categories, brownfields have a central role as stepping stones, with a value of 13%, while revitalised brownfields substantially contribute to global connectivity, with a value of 87% being equally important, for example, with Leipzig’s central parks. This paper’s spatial-explicit network approach provides a complementary planning tool for prioritising brownfields and the added value of their renaturing by identifying (a) strategic functional corridors formed by brownfields, (b) the connectivity relevance and exposure of individual brownfields, and (c) how renatured brownfields would strengthen existing corridors and form alternative paths. This paper presents an approach using freely available software tools and high-resolution canopy data as a proxy for functional connectivity which serves as a standardised and comparable ex-ante evaluation of NBS strategies being implemented in other cities. Full article
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18 pages, 4749 KiB  
Article
Lacustrine Urban Blue Spaces: Low Availability and Inequitable Distribution in the Most Populated Cities in Mexico
by Ina Falfán and Luis Zambrano
Land 2023, 12(1), 228; https://doi.org/10.3390/land12010228 - 11 Jan 2023
Viewed by 1579
Abstract
Lacustrine blue spaces provide benefits to the urbanites and wildlife habitat. Their availability varies depending on the city in which they are established and intra-urban social interactions. We analyzed the presence, distribution, and size of lentic water bodies in Mexico’s 145 most populated [...] Read more.
Lacustrine blue spaces provide benefits to the urbanites and wildlife habitat. Their availability varies depending on the city in which they are established and intra-urban social interactions. We analyzed the presence, distribution, and size of lentic water bodies in Mexico’s 145 most populated cities. We searched for patterns in their distribution concerning demographic, socioeconomic, and geographic data, aiming to understand their socio-ecological interactions in cities. We digitized lacustrine spaces to obtain their number per city, total surface, area of blue space per inhabitant, and surface as a percentage of the city’s total area. We tested for relationships between their number and surface and city population, hydrological regions, and urban marginalization index through linear and generalized linear models. We delimited 1834 lacustrine blue spaces, finding almost two-thirds of them artificial. Their presence and surface in Mexican cities were generally low, except for hydrological regions close to the Gulf of Mexico. Their number and surface decreased as the urban marginalization index increased. The lack of equitable provision of lacustrine space at the national level has implications for urban planning and land management. Blue spaces should maximize their ecosystem services’ provision for the whole society to promote cities’ sustainability and resilience. Full article
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16 pages, 751 KiB  
Article
The Constellation of Plans: Toward a New Structure of Comprehensive Plans in US Cities
by Christine Quattro and Thomas Daniels
Land 2022, 11(10), 1767; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11101767 - 12 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1805
Abstract
The comprehensive plan is a fundamental planning document to direct growth and change in land use in US cities. This paper investigates whether US cities are structuring comprehensive plans to resemble a ‘constellation’ of functional, special topic, and neighborhood subplans tied to a [...] Read more.
The comprehensive plan is a fundamental planning document to direct growth and change in land use in US cities. This paper investigates whether US cities are structuring comprehensive plans to resemble a ‘constellation’ of functional, special topic, and neighborhood subplans tied to a central guiding plan. A traditional comprehensive plan features a central plan with few, if any, subplans. We analyzed the comprehensive plans of 39 cities and identified 20 cities that are using the constellation structure with at least four subplans. We then evaluated the quality of the constellation-type plans and surveyed planners in 14 cities to understand how and why they are drafting and implementing constellation-type plans. The responses of planners illustrate how this approach to comprehensive planning allows cities to increase the size and number of functional and area subplans. The constellation structure enables land use planners to add new topics to the central plan in a timely manner leading to more effective land use planning as cities and environments change. Full article
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