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Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 July 2023) | Viewed by 14631

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pisa, 56124 Pisa, Italy
Interests: green infrastructures; building efficiency; sustainable development; Life Cycle Assessment; green roofs; rural buildings
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna, 40126 Bologna, Italy
Interests: green infrastructures; building efficiency; sustainable development; green roofs
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

It is well known that development models adopted to date are not practicable and usable anymore, since they were shown to be extremely resource-demanding. In this context, sustainable development, intended as development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the possibility of future generations to meet their needs, is a worldwide need and priority involving economic, social, and environmental components. On the other hand, the transition to a new, more sustainable development will require both new technical solutions and reliable sustainability indicators to properly identify the most effective interventions. Zero-impact or at least low-impact technical solutions should become the imperative.

In the general field of infrastructures, green infrastructures could play a major role, directly impacting progress on achieving several of the Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations. The adoption of green infrastructures can help to improve building energy use and stormwater managing, can attract investment, help to revive distressed neighborhoods, and encourage redevelopment, provide recreational and social opportunities, and help to achieve several other social, economic, public health, and environmental goals such as the reduction of air pollution in urbanized areas boosting ‘green mobility’. Green Infrastructure can offer solutions for both the prevention of farmland abandonment and for minimizing the negative impacts when farmland is already abandoned.

In recent years, applications such as green roofs, green walls, parking gardens, rain gardens, pocket parks, parkways, greenways, have increasingly attracted attention due to the wide range of benefits they provide. Green infrastructure offers a promising pathway and can contribute to making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable.

In this context, the role of researchers is fundamental, as we are responsible for the dissemination of results that could have a direct effect on society, policy decisions, and urban and rural management plans.

In this Special Issue, we are inviting contributions in which green infrastructures are used as a sustainable solution in both urban and rural contexts, supporting a transition to sustainable development models, from environmental, economic or social points of view. Although green infrastructure is already relatively well established in climate adaptation strategies, further contributions focusing on the link between green infrastructure and integrated landscape planning, long-term investments, and urban and rural planning and sustainability in decision making are strongly encouraged. Experimental tests, monitoring evidence, frameworks, examples of good green infrastructure design for climate change adaptation and mitigation, and viewpoints but also numerical analyses in the study, development, and application of green infrastructures, in addition to their environmental impact quantification, will be considered.

Prof. Carlo Bibbiani
Dr. Marco Bovo
Guest Editors

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. 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

  • sustainable development
  • resilient infrastructure
  • urban and rural planning
  • sustainability assessment
  • sustainability indicators
  • LCA
  • ecological footprint
  • green infrastructure
  • green roofs
  • green walls

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

39 pages, 13377 KiB  
Article
Study on the Green Space Patterns and Microclimate Simulation in Typical Urban Blocks in Central China
by Haifang Tang, Junyou Liu and Bohong Zheng
Sustainability 2022, 14(22), 15391; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142215391 - 18 Nov 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2619
Abstract
This study attempted to classify blocks in the second ring road of Changsha, a central city of urban agglomeration in central China, according to their green space patterns, and to explore the influence of green spaces in different blocks on the surrounding microclimate. [...] Read more.
This study attempted to classify blocks in the second ring road of Changsha, a central city of urban agglomeration in central China, according to their green space patterns, and to explore the influence of green spaces in different blocks on the surrounding microclimate. Researchers divided the blocks into five types: green space enclosed by buildings type, green space parallel with buildings type, green space centralized in buildings type, green space interspersed in the block type, and green space dispersed in the block type. Thermal comfort conditions in the different blocks were studied by ENVI-met simulations and using the thermal comfort indicators physiological equivalent temperature (PET), predicted mean vote (PMV), and standard effective temperature (SET). Because the green space was more evenly distributed in the block of green space parallel type and green space interspersed type, the overall fluctuation of the thermal comfort value of all areas of the whole block was small, with more areas having a value close to the median value of the thermal comfort value of the block. In the green enclosed blocks, thermal comfort was better within the green space in the area enclosed in the middle when the surrounding buildings were lower. The green areas in the green space enclosure type significantly improved the thermal comfort around the buildings, and the thermal comfort in the areas decreased rapidly as the distance between the green areas and the buildings increased. The green space dispersion type was found more in older blocks that were not well planned and had poor thermal comfort in the areas. On the premise that the green space area in the different high-rise blocks was equal, if only the thermal comfort of the green space coverage area was considered, in the summer, the green space parallel type was the best (|ΔPET| = 7.96, |ΔPMV| = 1.22). In the winter, the green space centralized type was the best (|ΔPET| = 11.26, |ΔSET| = 10.88). On the premise of equal green space area in the different multilayer blocks, if only the thermal comfort of green space coverage area was considered, in the summer, the green space parallel type was the best (|ΔPET| = 8.89, |ΔPMV| = 1.49). In the winter, the green space centralized type (|ΔPET| = 11.04, |ΔSET| = 10.64) was the best. This shows that different greening patterns have different advantages and disadvantages in different seasons and different situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development)
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23 pages, 3590 KiB  
Article
Green Fences for Buenos Aires: Implementing Green Infrastructure for (More than) Air Quality
by María del Carmen Redondo Bermúdez, Juan Miguel Kanai, Janice Astbury, Verónica Fabio and Anna Jorgensen
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14074129 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3893
Abstract
Schoolyards in North America and Europe are increasingly using green fences as one measure to protect vulnerable populations from localised air pollution. This paper assesses the possibilities and limits for mobilising this format of site-specific green infrastructure in cities in low- and middle-income [...] Read more.
Schoolyards in North America and Europe are increasingly using green fences as one measure to protect vulnerable populations from localised air pollution. This paper assesses the possibilities and limits for mobilising this format of site-specific green infrastructure in cities in low- and middle-income countries beset by air pollution and multiple other socio-environmental challenges, and particularly questions the definition of green fences as a green infrastructure for air quality (GI4AQ). We applied several qualitative and action research methods to the question of green fence implementation in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a Latin American city with weak air-quality policies, limited green infrastructure, and little experience with nature-based solutions. Firstly, we conducted a literature review of the role that urban vegetation and ecosystem services may play in AQ policy and the implementation barriers to such approaches globally and in the city. Secondly, we planned, designed, constructed, maintained, and evaluated a pilot green fence in a school playground. Thirdly, we carried out supplementary interviews with stakeholders and expert informants and compiled project members’ narratives to respectively characterise the barriers that the project encountered and delineate its attributes based on the associated actions that we took to overcome such barriers to implementation and complete the pilot. Our findings identify multiple barriers across seven known categories (institutional, engagement, political, socio-cultural, built environment and natural landscape, knowledge base and financial) and highlight examples not previously considered in the extant international literature. Furthermore, learning from this experience, the paper proposes an expanded model of green infrastructure for air quality plus multi-dimensional co-benefits (GI4AQ+) to increase implementation chances by attending to local needs and priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development)
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12 pages, 3095 KiB  
Article
Effect of Leaf Area Index on Green Facade Thermal Performance in Buildings
by Fabiana Convertino, Evelia Schettini, Ileana Blanco, Carlo Bibbiani and Giuliano Vox
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 2966; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14052966 - 3 Mar 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 2681
Abstract
Green facades applied on a building’s envelope allow achieving the building’s passive thermal control and energy consumption reduction. These are complex systems and many site- and plant-specific parameters influence their energy behavior. The leaf area index (LAI) is a relevant plant characteristic to [...] Read more.
Green facades applied on a building’s envelope allow achieving the building’s passive thermal control and energy consumption reduction. These are complex systems and many site- and plant-specific parameters influence their energy behavior. The leaf area index (LAI) is a relevant plant characteristic to consider. Solar shading and latent heat loss of plant evapotranspiration are the two main cooling mechanisms. The aim of this study was to assess the cooling effect provided by an evergreen south oriented green facade in summer in a Mediterranean area and to investigate what happens when LAI changes. Experimental data were used to calculate the cooling effect provided by the facade. Simulations with different LAI values were performed to determine the related cooling effect. The canopy solar transmissivity decreased by 54% for every LAI unit increase. LAI significantly influenced the green facade cooling performance. As LAI increased, solar shading and latent heat increased; this was relevant until an upper limit value of 6. An exponential equation to calculate the mean extinction coefficient (km), and a polynomial relationship, with very good agreement, were proposed to calculate shading and latent heat as function of LAI. The findings of this research can effectively contribute to fill still existing gaps on green facades’ energy performance and to the energy simulation of buildings equipped with them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 3167 KiB  
Article
Urban Planning Insights from Tree Inventories and Their Regulating Ecosystem Services Assessment
by Luca Rossi, Maria Elena Menconi, David Grohmann, Antonio Brunori and David J. Nowak
Sustainability 2022, 14(3), 1684; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14031684 - 1 Feb 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3489
Abstract
With the uncertainties that our societies are living with (the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change), it becomes essential to provide urban planners and decision-makers with state-of-the-art and user-friendly methodologies to incorporate ecosystem service considerations into their designs for resilient cities. In this regard, [...] Read more.
With the uncertainties that our societies are living with (the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change), it becomes essential to provide urban planners and decision-makers with state-of-the-art and user-friendly methodologies to incorporate ecosystem service considerations into their designs for resilient cities. In this regard, urban forests play a crucial role. The quantification of the ecosystem services is geo-specific and needs studies in different urban contexts. At this scope, we evaluated the urban forest of a neighborhood of a densely built-up Italian city (Perugia) with a low level of urban greenery management and with a tree inventory still in progress. Furthermore, we defined a tool helpful in tree-planting decisions and management. This paper involves citizens in field research for trees inventory. Then, it uses i-Tree Eco to evaluate four ecosystem services (carbon storage and sequestration, pollution removal, and runoff avoided) provided by 373 inventoried urban trees belonging to 57 species. Our results show that Italian Municipal tree inventories do not adequately represent their urban forest and that citizens’ participation provides a cost-effective method for integrating field data. Finally, the paper develops an easy tool helping local administrations enhance the ecosystem services provisions in urban green design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development)
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