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Enhancing Sustainability and Resiliency through Nature-Based Solutions

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Social Ecology and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2023) | Viewed by 7260

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Faculty of Architecture & Planning, Thammasat University, Bangkok, Pathum Thani, Thailand
Interests: applied hydrologic process and watershed pollutant modeling; in situ monitoring techniques for water quality; sustainable urban waterscapes; smart city planning; integration of hydrologic modeling with architectural design, particularly in relation to nature-based solution design

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Guest Editor
School of Engineering, Deakin University, Geelong, Australia
Interests: water quality monitoring and modelling; rainfall-runoff modelling; watershed management; water resources engineering

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Guest Editor
Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Interests: technology in landscape architecture; brownfield remediation; design theory
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) design has been gaining traction globally as an approach that integrates elements of greenscape and bluescape to provide a more naturalized, sustainable, and resilient urban and peri-urban space and appears to have taken shape particularly through support from the European Commission in 2015 and the International Union for Conservation of Nature, IUCN. NbS has a connection with the earlier design traditions of Frederick Law Olmsted, Ebenezer Howard, Ian McHarg, and Berkley’s Urban Ecology group of the 1970s, together with the more recent concepts of Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD), also known variously as Low Impact Development (LID), Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS), and Sponge Cities. However, NbS takes a broader, more holistic approach to urban design than green urban water management approaches such as WSUD, as it additionally considers habitat, biodiversity, aesthetics, community well-being and resiliency, urban microclimate, and other ecosystem services. NbS designs also consider a greater diversity of landscapes than WSUD approaches, including coastal zones. Given this broader, holistic NbS framework, it is essential to consider better integration of form and function, or the duality of design and engineering, together with community consultation or participatory planning in creating an aesthetic, new, green urban commons. Despite the current popularity of NbS design, a number of research questions remain, and as such, we invite articles that address the following, or related, themes:

  • How does NbS truly enhance resiliency and sustainability?
  • What role can ecosystem services assessment play in guiding NbS design?
  • How can we better integrate landscape architecture and engineering (or form and function) to optimize the benefits of NbS?
  • What emerging numerical and visualization approaches (e.g., integration of BIM and stormwater modeling) are available to help design and planning teams better analyze and communicate NbS designs to decision-makers and the public?
  • How can meaningful public consultation be incorporated into the NbS process?
  • What are the costs and efforts required in maintaining NbS projects?
  • Recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all design solution for NbS, are there best practices or typologies that can be standardized into design guidelines?
  • How does NbS reflect smart city development?
  • What spatial and temporal scales do we need to consider in planning for NbS design and implementation?
  • How does NbS design vary by climatic region?
  • How can outcomes from NbS projects be empirically verified through existing and emerging (e.g., low-cost IoT sensors) approaches?
  • What are the policy barriers to mainstreaming NbS designs?

We seek a rich, multidisciplinary, multi-continent exchange of ideas and experiences in this Special Issue and, in particular, invite practitioners to submit case studies of NbS implementation to better link experiential understanding of NbS with academic research.

Dr. Kim Neil Irvine
Dr. Lloyd Hock Chye Chua
Prof. Dr. Niall Kirkwood
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 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

  • ecosystem services
  • NbS typologies
  • NbS design guidelines
  • building information modeling (BIM)
  • stormwater modeling
  • urban microclimate
  • coastal protection
  • monitoring technologies
  • community consultation
  • community resiliency
  • NbS and planning policy
  • NbS and smart cities
  • multidisciplinary approaches

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

14 pages, 7060 KiB  
Article
The Green Infrastructure of Sandy Coastlines: A Nature-Based Solution for Mitigation of Climate Change Risks
by Jasper Knight
Sustainability 2024, 16(3), 1056; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16031056 - 25 Jan 2024
Viewed by 828
Abstract
Natural coastal landforms such as sand dunes and sandy beaches have been proposed as green infrastructure that can reduce climate change risks along coastlines. As such, they can offer a nature-based solution to rising sea levels, increased storminess and wave erosion associated with [...] Read more.
Natural coastal landforms such as sand dunes and sandy beaches have been proposed as green infrastructure that can reduce climate change risks along coastlines. As such, they can offer a nature-based solution to rising sea levels, increased storminess and wave erosion associated with climate change. However, these proposed advantages are not always based on a sound understanding of coastal sediment system dynamics or tested against field evidence of coastal morphodynamic behavior. This study critically examines the basis of the claim for coastal landforms as green infrastructure, by considering how and in what ways these landforms provide resilience against ongoing climate change along sandy coasts, and proposes a theoretical framework for understanding this relationship. The analysis highlights that natural coastal landforms do not always have properties that provide resilience against future climate change. They can only be considered as offering nature-based solutions against climate change when their pre-existing morphodynamic behavior is fully understood. Thus, not all coastal landforms can be considered as ‘green infrastructure’ and the resilience offered by them against climate change forcing may vary from one place or context to another. This should be considered when using landforms such as sandy beaches and sand dunes as nature-based solutions for coastal management purposes. A 10-step framework is proposed, guiding coastal managers on how such green infrastructure can be used to mitigate climate change risks along coasts. Full article
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17 pages, 7937 KiB  
Article
Enhancing Water-Sensitive Urban Design in Chiang Mai through a Research–Design Collaboration
by Chulalux Wanitchayapaisit, Nadchawan Charoenlertthanakit, Vipavee Surinseng, Ekachai Yaipimol, Damrongsak Rinchumphu and Pongsakorn Suppakittpaisarn
Sustainability 2023, 15(22), 16127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152216127 - 20 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1075
Abstract
Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) is a subset of nature-based solutions (NbSs) that are implemented worldwide. However, the WSUD guidelines in some local contexts, such as Southeast Asia, remain unclear both for ecological and cultural reasons. This study aims to gather collaborations between researchers, [...] Read more.
Water-sensitive urban design (WSUD) is a subset of nature-based solutions (NbSs) that are implemented worldwide. However, the WSUD guidelines in some local contexts, such as Southeast Asia, remain unclear both for ecological and cultural reasons. This study aims to gather collaborations between researchers, designers, and laypeople in WSUD, which have the potential to be implemented to address water quality issues. The study consisted of three stages: site selection, a design workshop, and public interviews. Utilizing geo-design principles and geographical data, the potential pilot site was identified: a vacant space next to the Tha Phae Gate Plaza. A two-day workshop with landscape design experts yielded six conceptual designs, focusing on diverse themes such as water treatment, plant-based solutions, educational opportunities, and cultural enrichment. Public interviews provided insights into the community’s perspectives on stormwater management, desired amenities, environmental considerations, and governance concerns. The results highlighted a collective interest in using NbSs for stormwater treatment and enhancing the area’s recreational and educational potential. This study offers a comprehensive approach to addressing water quality issues in urban settings while considering local cultural, recreational, and environmental needs. Full article
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17 pages, 5251 KiB  
Article
Building Urban Resilience with Nature-Based Solutions: A Multi-Scale Case Study of the Atmospheric Cleansing Potential of Green Infrastructure in Southern Ontario, Canada
by Vidya Anderson, Matej Zgela and William A. Gough
Sustainability 2023, 15(19), 14146; https://doi.org/10.3390/su151914146 - 25 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1078
Abstract
Green infrastructure is a nature-based solution that supports sustainable development and restores urban, suburban, and peri-urban environments. Using a multi-scale evaluation, this study explores the impact of the application of green infrastructure, as a form of atmospheric cleansing, on tropospheric nitrogen dioxide. The [...] Read more.
Green infrastructure is a nature-based solution that supports sustainable development and restores urban, suburban, and peri-urban environments. Using a multi-scale evaluation, this study explores the impact of the application of green infrastructure, as a form of atmospheric cleansing, on tropospheric nitrogen dioxide. The impacts are not limited to specific green infrastructure treatments nor geographic location and land use type. Using both site-specific stationary air monitoring and coarser resolution satellite derived remote sensing, this study demonstrates the nature-based remediation effect of green infrastructure on nitrogen dioxide concentrations in Southern Ontario, Canada. At these scales, remote sensing and stationary air monitoring observations support the hypothesis that green infrastructure can cleanse the atmosphere by reducing nitrogen dioxide through scavenging by trees and dense vegetation at the neighbourhood level, consistent with the findings from microscale field campaigns. The study showed a clear link between compact, built-up, industrialized areas and higher nitrogen dioxide levels at the mesoscale, particularly notable to the west of the city of Toronto. Nature-based solutions provide an opportunity to address the impacts of urbanization, increase climate resilience, and support healthy urban environments. Full article
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20 pages, 4140 KiB  
Article
Nature-Based Solutions as Building Blocks for the Transition towards Sustainable Climate-Resilient Food Systems
by Saskia Keesstra, Jeroen Veraart, Jan Verhagen, Saskia Visser, Marit Kragt, Vincent Linderhof, Wilfred Appelman, Jolanda van den Berg, Ayodeji Deolu-Ajayi and Annemarie Groot
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4475; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054475 - 02 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 3453
Abstract
Food systems—encompassing food production, transportation, processing and consumption, including food losses and waste—are currently not delivering what is expected or needed to ensure their full contribution to societal well-being and ecological sustainability. In this paper, we hypothesize that nature-based solutions (NBS; solutions that [...] Read more.
Food systems—encompassing food production, transportation, processing and consumption, including food losses and waste—are currently not delivering what is expected or needed to ensure their full contribution to societal well-being and ecological sustainability. In this paper, we hypothesize that nature-based solutions (NBS; solutions that are inspired by, supported by, or copied from nature) can overcome system challenges related to the functioning of the biosphere, society, or economy (including governance arrangements), and support a transition to sustainable climate-resilient food systems. We develop a conceptual framework to assess NBS contributions to such transitions. Three types of NBS are evaluated: intrinsic NBS which make use of existing ecosystems; hybrid NBS which manage and adapt ecosystems; and inspired NBS which consist of newly constructed ecosystems. We show that inspired NBS in particular will increase opportunities to achieve sustainable development in food systems. NBS can facilitate the much-needed transition to a different way of using our natural resources to reach the SDGs by 2030. We identify the knowledge gaps that impede the development of NBS to support a transition towards sustainable, climate-resilient food systems. Full article
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