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Special Issue "Governance Mixes for Sustainable Peri-Urbanization"

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 October 2021) | Viewed by 6885

Special Issue Editors

1. Department of Sustainable Landscape Development, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Von-Seckendorff-Platz 4, 06120 Halle, Germany
2. Faculty of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Opole University of Technology, 45758 Opole, Poland
Interests: peri-urban landscape; governance; planning; urban open spaces; ecosystem services
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano, 20133 Milan, Italy
Interests: ecosystem services; spatial planning; landscape; green infrastructure; environmental assessment
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Centre for Environmental and Climate Research, Lund University, Lund, Sweden
Interests: urban planning; urban development; ecosystem services; nature-based solutions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Peri-urbanization processes involving urban expansion through land take and soil sealing are massive, often taking place beyond any regulations, threatening the performance of ecosystems and the provision of ecosystem services, and are becoming one of the most unsustainable forms of urban development. Those transformations lead to emerging of peri-urban landscapes (PULs), which are transition territories connecting cities with their surrounding environment, where urban, rural and natural or semi-natural characteristics are mixed.

Vertically and horizontally fragmented management and planning, increasing pressure of market forces, speed of peri-urbanization processes, and lack of awareness about the potential consequences of peri-urbanization are just a few different challenges related to the governance of PULs. The governance of PULs needs to address urban, regional and (cross-) national development goals such as air pollution reduction, integrated watershed management, infrastructure planning and management, biodiversity conservation, provision of and accessibility to ecosystem services.

To foster sustainable development, PULs can be approached as interfaces that, beyond many conflicts, can also create opportunities for governance experimentation and thus, for new governance mixes to emerge. In our Special Issue, we are interested in spatial planning-oriented governance mixes which do not refer to a particular type of governance. Governance mixes in our understanding are broader than a combination of different policy instruments and indicate a thoughtful mix of different top-down and bottom-up governance approaches, which are introduced at different administrative levels, bringing different formal and informal outcomes, discussed and implemented by the wide range of governance actors.

With this Special Issue, we welcome innovative research concerning governance mixes oriented towards a more sustainable development of PULs. We encourage contributions that address case studies, exemplary applications, theoretical frameworks and perspectives, as well as proposals of innovative planning processes, methods, and tools.

Research questions:

  • How should future peri-urban development pattern be governed for contributing to more sustainable development?
  • What governance mixes could increase the sustainability of PULs, and how?
  • What are the good practices related to the successful implementation of governance mixes in PULs?
  • What are the challenges for implementing governance mixes in PULs?

Dr. Marcin Spyra
Dr. Silvia Ronchi
Dr. Chiara Cortinovis
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. 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.


  • Peri-urban landscapes
  • governance
  • land-use policy
  • sustainable development
  • ecosystem services

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Land Consumption and Land Take: Enhancing Conceptual Clarity for Evaluating Spatial Governance in the EU Context
Sustainability 2020, 12(19), 8269; - 08 Oct 2020
Cited by 39 | Viewed by 5433
Rapid expansion of settlements and related infrastructures is a global trend that comes with severe environmental, economic, and social costs. Steering urbanization toward well-balanced compactness is thus acknowledged as an important strategic orientation in UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG-11) via the SDG-indicator [...] Read more.
Rapid expansion of settlements and related infrastructures is a global trend that comes with severe environmental, economic, and social costs. Steering urbanization toward well-balanced compactness is thus acknowledged as an important strategic orientation in UN Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG-11) via the SDG-indicator “Ratio of land consumption rate to population growth rate.” The EU’s simultaneous commitment to being “a frontrunner in implementing […] the SDGs” and to striving for “no net land take until 2050” calls for relating the concepts of land consumption and land take to each other. Drawing on an EU-centred questionnaire study, a focus group and a literature review, we scrutinize definitions of land consumption and land take, seeking to show how they are interrelated, and questioning the comparability of respective indicators. We argue that conceptual clarifications and a bridging of the two notions are much needed, and that the precision required for definitions and applications is context-dependent. While approximate understandings may suffice for general communication and dissemination objectives, accurate and consistent interpretations of the discussed concepts seem indispensable for monitoring and reporting purposes. We propose ways of addressing existing ambiguities and suggest prioritizing the term land take in the EU context. Thereby, we aim to enhance conceptual clarity around land consumption and land take—a precondition for solidly informing respective policies and decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governance Mixes for Sustainable Peri-Urbanization)
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