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Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure

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 March 2022) | Viewed by 27970

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
School of Design, The University of Western Australia (UWA), Perth 6009, Australia
Interests: urban ecology; urban biodiversity and design; landscape architecture; green infrastructure; garden history; garden restoration
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

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Guest Editor
Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Interests: urban landscape ecology; nature-based solutions; ecosystem services; urban green infrastructure; environmental health research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In this Special Issue, the questions which can be discussed range from urban hydrology and coastal urban ecosystems and their resilience to climate change to the design of sustainable waterfronts, restoration and conservation of urban rivers, lakes, streams, and marine ecosystems as well as innovative approaches, such as water-sensitive design and low-impact design that can help to create a new generation of sustainable urban landscapes. In addition to these questions, other areas could be covered—for example, integrated sustainable planning and design and management of blue-green infrastructure. We also welcome papers that analyze environmental and socioeconomic benefits of blue-green infrastructure and nature-based solutions promoting sustainable green and blue urban areas.

Prof. Dr. Maria Ignatieva
Prof. Dr. Dagmar Haase
Dr. Diana Dushkova
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

  • Urban water landscapes
  • Sustainable blue-green infrastructure
  • Urbanization
  • Design
  • Sustainable waterfronts
  • Climate change
  • Coastal urban ecosystems
  • Restoration of urban water landscapes
  • Nature-based solutions
  • Coastal resilience

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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20 pages, 78746 KiB  
Article
Urban Fabrics to Eco-Friendly Blue–Green for Urban Wetland Development
by Carolina Rojas Quezada and Felipe Jorquera
Sustainability 2021, 13(24), 13745; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132413745 - 13 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3629
Abstract
In an urbanized world, the sustainability of cities will depend on their form and urban structure. In this sense, fabrics that are compact, dense, green, and suitable for non-motorized transport methods are more environmentally efficient. For the purpose of contributing new tools to [...] Read more.
In an urbanized world, the sustainability of cities will depend on their form and urban structure. In this sense, fabrics that are compact, dense, green, and suitable for non-motorized transport methods are more environmentally efficient. For the purpose of contributing new tools to the design, urban planning, and sustainability of nature in residential areas, this study characterizes the urban fabrics of six urban wetlands in the Latin American city of Concepción (Chile), which is known for its blue–green spaces. In a wetland city, we model urban patterns through spatial relationship using a statistical regression model (OLS—ordinary least squares) with the urban variables of density, distance, population, housing, highways, green areas, and building permits. Concepción shows predominantly low- to medium-density fabrics, and it is not integrated with the urban wetlands. In fact, it was observed that the residential areas do not take advantage of the blue–green spaces and that the urban fabrics do not favor proximity, with a transportation network that promotes the use of cars, leading to the wetlands being inaccessible and fragmented. However, as they are still surrounded by open spaces with abundant vegetation, there are highly feasible opportunities for the future development of blue–green infrastructure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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36 pages, 7614 KiB  
Article
River Restoration Integrated with Sustainable Urban Water Management for Resilient Cities
by Aline Pires Veról, Ianic Bigate Lourenço, João Paulo Rebechi Fraga, Bruna Peres Battemarco, Mylenna Linares Merlo, Paulo Canedo de Magalhães and Marcelo Gomes Miguez
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4677; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114677 - 08 Jun 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 6392
Abstract
Urban floods can threaten citizens’ quality of life, produce socioeconomic losses, and act as an urban degradation driver. Restoring urban rivers, however, is not simple and its results are usually limited. It would be desirable to enhance urban fluvial systems, control flood risks, [...] Read more.
Urban floods can threaten citizens’ quality of life, produce socioeconomic losses, and act as an urban degradation driver. Restoring urban rivers, however, is not simple and its results are usually limited. It would be desirable to enhance urban fluvial systems, control flood risks, and increase city resilience while improving the city itself. This work suggests that river restoration, when applied to an urban watershed, should be supported by sustainable urban drainage measures to compensate for the negative effects induced by city growth in the water cycle, in a systemic approach to the entire watershed. A methodological framework is proposed to verify this hypothesis intending to assess urban flooding projects in a wide sense. This framework uses a hydrodynamic mathematical model and a set of multicriteria indices. A case study in Dona Eugênia Watershed, in Brazil, was developed. Two different design concepts were considered: the usual drainage design and the river restoration combined with sustainable urban drainage. Both solutions were designed to completely solve the problems, leading to virtually zero flooding in the present situation; however, environmental and urban gains were greater when using the proposed combination. Besides, when testing resilience behavior, it was also shown to be more consistent over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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21 pages, 2397 KiB  
Article
Towards A Relational Model for Emerging Urban Nature Concepts: A Practical Application and an External Assessment in Landscape Planning Education
by Juanjo Galan
Sustainability 2020, 12(6), 2465; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12062465 - 20 Mar 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 4274
Abstract
The increasing interest in urban nature and its connection to urban sustainability and resilience has promoted the generalized use of new concepts such as green infrastructure, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions. However, due to their heterogeneous origins and interpretations, the usage and understanding [...] Read more.
The increasing interest in urban nature and its connection to urban sustainability and resilience has promoted the generalized use of new concepts such as green infrastructure, ecosystem services and nature-based solutions. However, due to their heterogeneous origins and interpretations, the usage and understanding of these concepts may vary considerably between different academic and professional groups, affecting their coordinated and synergistic use in integrative planning education and emphasizing the need for the exploration of clearer syntaxes and articulations between them. Accordingly, the main aim of this research was to develop a relational model and to investigate, through an external evaluation process, the benefits that these types of models can provide in higher education and in professional practice. This article presents the background theory and process that led to the development of the relational model, the outcomes of its academic implementation and the results of the assessment of both the model and the students’ work by different types of planners, researchers and practitioners. The findings show the potential of the defined relational model to integrate different concepts operating in complex socio-ecological systems and the benefits of developing, testing and validating models by linking research, education and professional practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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16 pages, 2512 KiB  
Article
You Can’t See the Woods for the Trees: Invasive Acer negundo L. in Urban Riparian Forests Harms Biodiversity and Limits Recreation Activity
by Daria Sikorska, Piotr Sikorski, Piotr Archiciński, Jarosław Chormański and Richard J. Hopkins
Sustainability 2019, 11(20), 5838; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11205838 - 21 Oct 2019
Cited by 26 | Viewed by 4536
Abstract
Public access to high quality green environments has become a key issue for city managers and a matter of environmental justice. Urban pressures on ecosystem remnants may act to favor the expansion of some invasive species in cities. Whilst the negative impacts of [...] Read more.
Public access to high quality green environments has become a key issue for city managers and a matter of environmental justice. Urban pressures on ecosystem remnants may act to favor the expansion of some invasive species in cities. Whilst the negative impacts of invasive species on ecosystem function is well documented, little is known about how invasive species influence the use of green space by people. Here, we examined one of the few remnants of urban riparian forests in Europe, the Vistula river valley in Warsaw, which has recently become an attractive recreation site. Despite their high ecological value, the poplar and willow forests have been increasingly taken over by the invasive tree species Acer negundo. We examined the status of the invasion process and the relationship between recreational ecosystem services and the characteristics of the tree stands—tree species, tree density, and age and NDVI values. We found the willow forest to be more susceptible to invasion by A. negundo than the poplar forest, which was revealed in significantly higher share of the maple individuals and their greater volume per unit area. Ash-leaved maples also prevailed in numbers in younger stands (<10 years) than in older ones. The presence of A. negundo affected biodiversity, resulting in decreased undergrowth density and biodiversity expressed in number of species. The use intensity by the public, assessed on the basis of soil compaction of existing informal tracks, as revealed by GLM analysis, was related to volume of invasive maple and distance from the main track. This study highlights the need to integrate invasive species management into green infrastructure planning and management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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Review

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21 pages, 3396 KiB  
Review
Combining Marine Ecology and Economy to Roadmap the Integrated Coastal Management: A Systematic Literature Review
by Bruno Hay Mele, Luca Russo and Domenico D’Alelio
Sustainability 2019, 11(16), 4393; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11164393 - 14 Aug 2019
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 5215
Abstract
Integrated coastal management (ICM) relies on the inclusion of economic issues within marine ecology. To assess the progress of this integration, we applied topic modelling and network analysis to explore the pertinent literature (583 Isi-WoS, and 5459 Scopus papers). We classified the topics [...] Read more.
Integrated coastal management (ICM) relies on the inclusion of economic issues within marine ecology. To assess the progress of this integration, we applied topic modelling and network analysis to explore the pertinent literature (583 Isi-WoS, and 5459 Scopus papers). We classified the topics of interest (i.e., concepts, approaches, and sectors) that combined ecological and economic issues within marine science, we aggregated these topics in fields pertinent to ICM, and tracked the knowledge-exchange between these fields by using an information-flow network. Main findings were: (i) the high trans-disciplinary fashion of studies about marine protection and of those about commercial fisheries, (ii) the weak interaction between studies focusing on potential biohazards and those about environmental management, (iii) the isolation, in the overall information-flow, of studies about ecotourism and aquaculture. We included in a roadmap all the integration routes we detected within ICM, based on the combination of ecological and economic issues. We conclude that, to improve integration, ICM should: (i) Exploit marine protection as a bridge between ecological and economic concepts and approaches, and between maritime economy sectors, (ii) employ systems ecology to pursue trans-disciplinary investigations, (iii) complement systems ecology with citizen science by means of inclusive economic initiatives, such as ecotourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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Other

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29 pages, 8958 KiB  
Concept Paper
From One to Many Natures: Integrating Divergent Urban Nature Visions to Support Nature-Based Solutions in Australia and Europe
by Maria Ignatieva, Diana Dushkova, Daniel Jan Martin, Fahimeh Mofrad, Katherine Stewart and Michael Hughes
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054640 - 06 Mar 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2472
Abstract
Urban nature and ways of protecting, designing and even mimicking natural processes are some of the most popular themes inspiring humanities and natural science studies in different disciplines around the globe. Urban nature, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are three intertwined concepts. This [...] Read more.
Urban nature and ways of protecting, designing and even mimicking natural processes are some of the most popular themes inspiring humanities and natural science studies in different disciplines around the globe. Urban nature, green infrastructure and nature-based solutions are three intertwined concepts. This paper will highlight some of the many visions for urban nature (e.g., four urban natures: native, cultivated, designed/horticultural and spontaneous natures) and interpretations of nature-based solutions. While there are some similarities in the interpretation of urban natures by different disciplines, some significant differences exist. This paper analyses and synthesises knowledge from divergent theoretical concepts of urban natures in Europe and Australia, and the associated ecological concepts of novel and designed ecosystems. The complexity of urban natures and native landscapes has fostered the development of several typologies that often lead to misunderstanding between discipline areas and difficulties with practical implementation, such as in urban planning or landscape design. We argue that differences in interpreting the scope of urban nature are often underlined by the specific socio-political, historical, cultural and ecological contexts of a country or region (e.g., Australia and Europe). By applying an interdisciplinary approach, we explore the concept of urban natures by analysing and synthesising links between different disciplines. A transdisciplinary perspective is an important premise for collaboration between ecological sciences and landscape architecture in many restoration projects, or when social and ecological sciences jointly address societal challenges with the help of nature-based solutions co-created using participatory approaches. The latter highlights the role of transdisciplinary research to link practitioners, policymakers and scientists, helping to engage with citizens and inform design. The analysis of several examples from Europe and Australia allowed us to depict different approaches to existing urban natures and methods of their design, enhancement and conservation. These examples highlight that different urban natures are sources of inspiration for nature-based solutions that can be successfully implemented in contemporary landscape and planning practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Water Landscapes and Blue-Green Infrastructure)
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