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Frontiers in Sustainable Cities
Number of Followers: 2  

  This is an Open Access Journal Open Access journal
ISSN (Online) 2624-9634
Published by Frontiers Media Homepage  [96 journals]
  • Delivering sustainable, resilient and liveable cities via transformed

    • Authors: Christopher D. F. Rogers, Nick Grayson, Jonathan P. Sadler, Lee Chapman, Christopher J. Bouch, Marianna Cavada, Joanne M. Leach
      Abstract: In the context of steadily declining Natural Capital and universal recognition of the imperative to reverse this trend before we get to the point that nature is not able to restore itself, cities have a crucial role to play. The UK Government commissioned a comprehensive study into the value of biodiversity, and by extension nature, reinforcing “why we should change our ways”—yet what is missing is the “how'”. This paper uniquely describes both the “how'” and a conclusive demonstration of the remarkable benefits of implementing it in a city. Critical to this process, it took a UK Parliamentary Inquiry to reveal that nature has become invisible within the economy, yet the ecological ecosystem services nature provides have enormous benefits to both people and the economy. Therefore integration—or seamless weaving—of urban greenspace and nature into people's lives and the places where they live, work, and spend their leisure time is vital. Moreover, what nature does not provide must be provided by engineered systems, and these have an economic cost; put another way, there are enormous cost savings to be made by taking advantage of what nature provides. In addressing these issues, this paper is the definitive paper from a 20-year portfolio of research on how to bring about transformative change in the complex system-of-systems that make up our cities, providing as it does the crucial in-depth research into the many diverse strands of governance—the last link in a chain of the creation, testing and proof of efficacy of methodologies underpinning a theory and practice of change for infrastructure and cities. The impact of this portfolio of research on Birmingham is two-fold: the Star Framework that placed natural environment considerations at the heart of all decision-making in the city, and the successful bid for the largest of the UK Future Parks Accelerator awards. While both are transformative in their different ways, yet mutually supportive, the latter enabled the design of a suite of system interventions from which the value of Birmingham's greenspaces is estimated to rise from £11.0 billion to £14.4 billion—a remarkable return on investment from the research's conceptualization of Birmingham's urban greenspace as a “business” (with its associated business models). In achieving this, the necessary enablers of thinking and practicing systemically, seamlessly working across disciplinary boundaries, an unusually strong focus on both the aspirations of all stakeholders and the context in question to define “the problem,” and the testing of proposed system intervention(s) both now and in the future have been iteratively combined. However, it is the critical enabling steps of identifying the complete range of value-generating opportunities that the interventions offer, formulating them into alternative business models to underpin the case for change and ensuring that they are synergistic with all the dimensions of governance that yielded the profound outcomes sought.
      PubDate: 2023-12-04T00:00:00Z
  • Editorial: Citizen engagement and innovative approaches in sustainable
           urban transitions

    • Authors: Hai-Ying Liu
      PubDate: 2023-12-01T00:00:00Z
  • Commuters Opinion on Public Transport Services in Mega Cities: The Case of
           Istanbul Buses

    • Authors: Atakan Genç, Khaled A. Alkhaledi, Sait Sağlam, Salaheddine Bendak
      Abstract: Using public transport is an important part of daily routine of many people in large cities and consumes considerable time and financial resources. Enhancing public transport can help in encouraging less use of privately owned motor vehicles and, therefore, in emitting less greenhouse gases. Hence, there is a need to improve public transport and make it more attractive than private motor vehicles. This study aims to assess commuters opinion on several aspects related to using public buses in Istanbul with the ultimate aim of making them more attractive than private motor vehicles. A total of 620 randomly selected bus commuters responded to a questionnaire specially prepared for this purpose. Satisfaction rates with most aspects related to public buses were found to be high. Nevertheless, non-parametric test results revealed that female commuters recorded significantly lower satisfaction rates than male commuters on many aspects related to public buses. Results also revealed that a significant minority of commuters walk for long distances to the nearest bus stop or wait for very long times for the next bus to come. Moreover, results revealed that commuters of older ages and higher income levels recorded significant higher satisfaction rates than others.Results also show that the majority of commuters support increasing bus fees during peak hours in order to minimise crowdedness during these hours. Implications of these results for decision makers in megacities on ways to encourage the use of public buses are discussed at the end.
      PubDate: 2023-11-27T04:07:49Z
  • Mechanisms linking economic potential of European cities to housing
           inequalities of young people

    • Authors: Éva Gerőházi, Nóra Katona, Sándor György Kollár
      Abstract: This study aims to identify and present mechanisms through which the economic potential of European urban areas is converted into social inequalities among the young population in the field of housing. The role of national and local housing systems in this conversion is analyzed through the examples of Amsterdam, Tallinn, Chemnitz, and Pécs. These four cities represent four major ideal types with different levels of economic power and housing welfare structures. The article, through these case studies, initially delineates the ramifications of increasing housing demand arising from population growth and varied wage structures in cities experiencing economic prosperity. It also delves into the repercussions of population decline and financial constraints in cities with weaker economic foundations. Subsequently, it evaluates the efficacy of local housing policies in addressing housing affordability and spatial segregation, considering the presence of either a unitary or dual public housing sector. The article's conclusion underscores that local housing policies are tightly bound to national housing concepts, legislation, and resources, which constrains their capacity to adapt measures to the changing dynamics of economic development. The primary source of information underpinning this analysis is derived from research conducted in these urban areas as part of the UPLIFT project, funded by the European Commission within the framework of Horizon 2020.
      PubDate: 2023-11-27T00:00:00Z
  • Holistic wild bee management in urban spaces

    • Authors: Julie A. Weissmann, Sandra Rader, Rasmus Ritz, Iris R. M. Walldorf, Juliane Probst, Kristin R. Szydlik, Hanno Schaefer
      Abstract: Projects promoting bees in urban areas are initiated in cities around the world but evidence-based conservation concepts at a city-wide scale are scarce. We developed a holistic approach for assessment of bee and flowering plant diversity in a medium-sized city. In addition to standard mapping approaches in bee hotspots, we initiated citizen science projects for participative urban bee research to be able to collect comprehensive bee data across the entire city. We identified 22 hotspots of bee diversity, analyzed connectivity between those hotspots and evaluated the impact of flower patches planted in collaboration with the municipal gardens department as stepping stones for oligolectic bee species throughout the city. Participation by urban citizens in bee identification trainings was high (c. 630 persons) but their subsequent contribution through observation reports was relatively low (1,165 records by 140 observers). However, we identified a total of 139 bee taxa, seven of them only discovered by citizen scientists. Total species richness was higher in extensively managed orchards than in semi-natural and wasteland areas. Half of the stepping stone flower patches were occupied by the target oligolectic bee species in the year of planting. After 3 years, all but two species could be confirmed. We suggest a 5-step concept for bee management in cities: (1) identification of bee hotspots combined with standardized surveys, especially of rare species; (2) training of citizen scientists at two different levels for comprehensive surveys in all parts of the city: (a) half-day introductions to wild bee diversity, ecology and conservation in order to create more awareness and (b) 2-weeks workshops for in-depth training of a small number of dedicated citizen scientists; (3) extensive management of existing habitats and special conservation programs for very rare species; (4) creation of high-value habitats which take into account the varied resource needs of bees within flight ranges of only a few hundred meters; (5) creation of stepping stone habitats as floral and nesting resources, integrating educative and participative aspects.
      PubDate: 2023-11-23T00:00:00Z
  • From social engineering to neoliberal governance, and then what' Mapping a
           sustainability shift in urban planning in a medium-sized Swedish

    • Authors: Ida Sjöberg
      Abstract: IntroductionThis paper focuses on how a (assumed) entrepreneurial shift in urban planning and development has been implemented in a medium-sized city in northern Sweden, and how sustainability-as in sustainable urban development-can be argued to be a second shift in urban planning and development or represents an alternative form of neoliberal governance.MethodTo explore how and when urban entrepreneurialism and sustainability are interlinked, as well as when they are not, urban policy documents from 1988, 2007 and 2016 focusing on the development of Sundsvall city center has been examined using thematic content analysis.ResultsThe result shows that the 1988 document is significantly influenced by social democratic welfare politics, with prioritizing social bonds and the Sundsvall resident being the focus, while the newer documents emphasize visitors, potential residents and architectural design to promote the flow of people, money and goods. In this sustainability is put forward as a mobilizing metaphor, and serves to conceal the potential paradoxes of the priorities of the strategy, which involve the contradictions between economic, environmental and social values.DiscussionConsequently, it is possible to claim that sustainability, as a concept, has acquired a new function: to disguise the less palatable consequences of growth by evoking sustainability as a guarantee of the strategy's quality.
      PubDate: 2023-11-09T00:00:00Z
  • Trading off sustainable development in Canadian cities: theoretical
           implications of SDG 11 indicator aggregation approaches

    • Authors: Muhammad Adil Rauf, Cameron McCordic, James Sgro, Bruce Frayne, Jeffrey Wilson
      Abstract: Sustainable Urban Development requires an optimization of multi-dimensional targets across social, economic, and environmental pillars of development. These multi-dimensional targets are largely captured by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which comprise 17 goals spread across pillars of sustainable development. The pursuit of these targets, however, often exposes synergies and trade-offs between the goals. Broader discussions of trade-offs between human and natural capital have been conceptualized along the contours of weak versus strong conceptualizations of sustainable development. This challenge is exposed not only in strategizing sustainable urban development but also in measuring progress toward that aim. With this background in mind, there is limited research to indicate how Canadian cities are progressing toward the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and the extent to which trade-offs in SDG performance should be treated. This investigation collected indicators for SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities, on 18 Census Metropolitan Areas in Canada for the purpose of designing an index of SDG achievement. The resulting index aggregation measures compared performance depending on whether the CMAs were allowed to trade-off performance across the SDG 11 indicators. The results expose the significant role of non-compensatory aggregation methods (which do not allow the trade-off of performance) when measuring sustainable development. The implications of these findings demonstrate the need to consider policy pathways that address these trade-offs and consider how that progress is measured.
      PubDate: 2023-11-09T00:00:00Z
  • Broad Brush Surveys: a rapid qualitative assessment approach for water and
           sanitation infrastructure in urban sub-Saharan

    • Authors: Melissa Nel, Melvin Simuyaba, Justina Muchelenje, Taonga Chirwa, Musonda Simwinga, Vanessa Speight, Zenzile Mhlanga, Heinz Jacobs, Nicole Nel, Janet Seeley, Erastus Mwanaumo, Lario Viljoen, Graeme Hoddinott, Virginia Bond
      Abstract: IntroductionBroad Brush Surveys (BBS) are a rapid, qualitative assessment approach using four meta-indicators -physical features, social organization, social networks and community narratives - to gauge how local context interfaces with service/intervention options, implementation and uptake.MethodsIn 2021, responding to rapid urbanization and the accompanying need for water and sanitation services, BBS was innovatively applied by social scientists and engineers to assess water and sanitation infrastructure, both formal and informal, in two African cities - Lusaka and Cape Town. In four urban communities, identified with local stakeholders, BBS data collection included: four mapping group discussions with local stakeholders (participants = 24); eight transect walks/drives; 60 structured observations of water and sanitation options, transport depots, health facilities, weekends, nights, rainy days; seven mixed gender focus group discussions (FGDs) with older and young residents (participants = 86); 21 key-informant interviews (KII, participants = 21).ResultsFindings were rapidly summarized into community profiles, including narrative reports, maps and posters, and first discussed with community stakeholders, then at national/provincial levels. The meta-indicator framework and set sequence of qualitative activities allowed the detail on water and sanitation to gradually emerge. For example, the mapping discussion identified water sources considered a risk for waterborne infections, further observed in the transect walks and then structured observations, which compared their relative condition and social interactions and what local residents narrated about them. FGDs and KIIs elaborated on the control of these sources, with nuanced detail, including hidden sources and the use of different water sources for different activities also emerging.DiscussionWe demonstrated that despite some limitations, BBS provided useful insight to systems and social processes surrounding formal and informal water and sanitation infrastructure in and across designated urban areas. Furthermore, BBS had the potential to galvanize local action to improve infrastructure, and illuminated the value of informal options in service delivery.
      PubDate: 2023-11-08T00:00:00Z
  • Change in urban forest age structure affects the value of ecosystem
           services provided

    • Authors: Miia M. Mänttäri, Leena Lindén, Eeva-Maria Tuhkanen
      Abstract: To achieve resilience goals, urban planners and decision-makers need accurate information on the benefits provided by urban trees and on the effects that management may have on them. This study investigates the impacts of management and disturbances on urban forest structure and function in Turku, Finland. Using a comprehensive urban tree database and the i-Tree software suite, we assessed the current structure and estimated the value of ecosystem services provided by Turku's urban forest. Additionally, we simulated changes in the urban forest over a 50-year period, considering different tree planting scenarios and the potential outbreak of the Asian longhorned beetle (ALB). Turku's urban forest comprised 38,438 public trees, dominated by Acer platanoides, Pinus sylvestris, Tilia × europaea, and Betula pendula. The estimated carbon storage was 12,336 t, valued at 1.98 million €, with an annual sequestration rate of 284 t (45,549 €/year). The trees also removed 8.97 t of pollutants annually, with an estimated value of 153,273 €. At the current rate of tree planting, the number of trees would decline over the course of 50 years resulting in a gradual decrease in the provision of ecosystem services. Although doubling the tree planting rate could slowly increase carbon storage and sequestration even under moderate ALB attack, it was insufficient to offset the damage caused by ALB if tree mortality rate reaches 50%. Compared to carbon storage and sequestration, changes in urban forest age structure had a more immediate impact on the removal of air pollution. These findings emphasize the importance of prioritizing investments in urban forests on grounds of their capacity to provide diverse ecosystem services. Incorporating these findings into decision-making processes would promote sustainable and resilient urban environments.
      PubDate: 2023-11-07T00:00:00Z
  • Building upcycling or building reconstruction' The ‘Global Benefit’
           perspective to support investment decisions for sustainable cities

    • Authors: Elena Fregonara
      Abstract: Investment decisions on demolition and reconstruction vs. refurbishment of the existing building stock can extend beyond financial and economic criteria. However, they must involve energy savings, environmental preservation, material consumption, and waste management for sustainable cities. The regulatory framework used in the past decades and the correlated research seem more unbalanced toward the containment of building energy consumption than toward embodied energy (EE) management in production processes and environmental impact management. Foreshadowing the perspective of a more restrictive regulatory framework on EE, such as prohibiting the displacement of materials with residual energy potential, such as waste in landfills, some challenging frontier issues are involved when facing the limits of the economic evaluation methodologies for transformation projects. Thus, this study aimed to propose a reasoning and an operative modality to support urban governance policies and investment decisions involving private and public subjects in the construction sector. Circular economy and life cycle thinking principles, through life cycle costing (LCC) and life cycle assessment (LCA), are assumed and harmonized with the discounted cash-flow analysis (DCFA): (1) monetizing and modeling into the DCFA the EE and the embodied carbon (EC); (2) internalizing the Global Cost and the new ‘Global Benefit’ into the net present value (NPV) calculation; and (3) focusing on the residual end-of-life value calculation from the early design and investment decision stages. The reasoning can be extended to single buildings, the urban scale, or even entire portions of existing buildings in urban areas concerning typological sub-segments. The operative modality is yet to be explored in a concrete application for orienting urban governance policies and sustainable public–private partnerships, including environmental and, thus, social externalities even in the private real estate investment decision process, in the scope of evolving regulations.
      PubDate: 2023-11-03T00:00:00Z
  • Balance on social inclusion and environmental justice at the end of the
           30 years of the drinking water service concession in the city of
           Aguascalientes, Mexico

    • Authors: Alex Ricardo Caldera Ortega, Daniel Tagle Zamora
      Abstract: After three decades since the concession for drinking water and sewerage services was granted to a private company, which eventually became part of the Veolia group in the city of Aguascalientes, Mexico, it is necessary to assess the situation. The local government chose not to renew the contract and, furthermore, opted to remunicipalize the system and its management. This document provides an evaluation from the perspective of political ecology, which focuses on two dimensions: social inclusion and environmental justice. The primary outcomes are within the framework of water commodification, where the service operation primarily views users as customers who must pay their fees promptly, while the city’s growth is seen as a business opportunity. The logic of market environmentalism also restricts the exploration of options to secure water resources for the region’s future. Currently, there is a failure to address the substantial overexploitation of groundwater sources that the drinking water service relies upon, which jeopardizes both the population’s fundamental right to water and the city’s sustainability. The case of Aguascalientes, Mexico, is significant because it represents not only the initial foray into private company involvement in providing drinking water services in this country but also stands as the first instance where the contractual term concluded. Consequently, local authorities opted for remunicipalizing the service to be administered by a public organization.
      PubDate: 2023-11-03T00:00:00Z
  • Longevity of rain gardens in Minnesota (US) as a stormwater solution: a
           question of homeowner motivation and satisfaction

    • Authors: Linda B. Jahnke, Michael R. Barnes
      Abstract: Rain gardens are gardens with a specific purpose. Designed as a shallow depression that captures stormwater runoff from impervious surfaces, rain gardens are planted with deep-rooted, wet/dry-cycle tolerant plants that enable the water to slowly permeate and be filtered by the soil. They are used as stormwater best management practices by municipalities and organizations as part of their overall plans to meet water quality goals as mandated by the United States (US) Clean Water Act. City and watershed administrators are counting on these rain gardens to be durable, effective solutions for managing stormwater runoff. But when the rain gardens are installed in the yards of privately owned homes, control of these solutions lands on the homeowners' shoulders. How effective are the rain gardens years after installation' How do the social factors of motivation and satisfaction relate to the longevity of the rain gardens' The objective of this case study was to determine the perceived performance of residential rain gardens as well as homeowner motivation and satisfaction with them over time. Data was collected via an email survey from homeowners located in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, MN, US that had installed a rain garden. Key findings include (1) almost all rain gardens performed effectively, though some were not seen as successful, (2) motivations for installing rain gardens differ widely for successful vs. challenged gardens and (3) satisfaction with the rain gardens decreases over time.
      PubDate: 2023-11-03T00:00:00Z
  • Some like it complex: building a common multidisciplinarity background
           from local experiences within the South-Mediterranean environmental
           research communities

    • Authors: Mehdi Saqalli, Laurent Kupelian, Hedia Chakroun, Gil Mahé, Carla Khater, Laurent Drapeau, Johnny Fenianos, Stéphane Cartier, Zohra Lili Chaabane, Jean-Luc Probst, Melio Saenz
      Abstract: This article addresses the difficulty of introducing and establishing multidisciplinarity in environmental research within and among the South-Mediterranean environmental research national communities. Moreover, this work attends to assess the internal and external structural factors treating such complex issues in rural, urban, and peri-urban contexts as well as the connections and dependencies of these factors. Throughout a series of programs, projects, and actions that involved scientists and scholars from Algeria, France, Lebanon, Morocco, and Tunisia, some common patterns can be observed despite notable differences in environmental and political contexts. Thus, the main common issues involve funding matters (budget reductions and less versatility), administrative and social hierarchy, relatively small connections with public services and community representatives, and finally the reluctance shown by many researchers to make data available for the community. Nevertheless, the fact that national and international (Arabic and French speaking sphere) researcher's communities have progressively built mutual knowledge thanks to different collaborations is a major achievement, sustaining multidisciplinarity in environmental research. Indeed, this allowed the elaboration of sustainability metrics, demarches, and procedures for assessing environmentally and socioeconomically complex issues.
      PubDate: 2023-11-02T00:00:00Z
  • Assessing five decades of garden bee studies

    • Authors: Nicole C. S. Bell, John S. Ascher, Jen J.-M. Hayes, Mallory Mead, Gail A. Langellotto
      Abstract: Urban garden spaces are potentially important habitats for bee conservation. Gardens can host diverse flora, which provide floral resources across foraging seasons for bee species. Recent reviews have focused on the impacts of cityscapes on urban bee assemblages in different green spaces. Urban gardens are distinct from other urban green spaces, and bee communities in urban spaces have been an increasing topic of study over the past few decades. We reviewed 28 urban garden bee studies spanning five decades and 14 countries to compile an original metadataset of bee species' functional traits to understand the conservation value of gardens, identify gaps in bee sampling efforts, and summarize the calls to action included by their authors. Studies of urban garden bees have documented between 674 (conservative count, excluding morphospecies) and 830 (liberal count, including morphospecies) bee species. Urban garden bee communities were taxonomically and functionally diverse, although bee species that were non-eusocial, ground-nesting, generalist foragers, and native were most common in garden habitats. The proportion of parasitic bee species and specialist foragers found in urban gardens was comparable to proportions for global bee taxa. This suggests that gardens contain the hosts and forage needed to support bees with specialized life history requirements, and thus represent high quality habitat for a subset of bee communities. Garden bee research was strongly biased toward the northern hemisphere, which signifies a large gap in our understanding of garden bee communities in other regions. The variety of, and non-standard sampling methods in garden bee research makes it difficult to directly compare results between studies. In addition, both intentional low taxonomic resolution and a lack of collaboration with taxonomists constrains our understanding of bee diversity. Our analyses highlight both successes of past urban garden bee studies, and areas of opportunity for future research as we move into a sixth decade of garden bee research.
      PubDate: 2023-10-30T00:00:00Z
  • Urban ecosystem services and climate change: a dynamic interplay

    • Authors: Bhanu Pandey, Annesha Ghosh
      Abstract: Urban ecosystems play a crucial role in providing a wide range of services to their inhabitants, and their functioning is deeply intertwined with the effects of climate change. The present review explores the dynamic interplay between urban ecosystem services and climate change, highlighting the reciprocal relationships, impacts, and adaptation strategies associated with these phenomena. The urban environment, with its built infrastructure, green spaces, and diverse human activities, offers various ecosystem services that enhance the wellbeing and resilience of urban dwellers. Urban ecosystems offer regulatory services like temperature control, air quality upkeep, and stormwater management, plus provisioning like food and water. They also provide cultural benefits, promoting recreation and community unity. However, climate change poses significant challenges to urban ecosystem services. Rising temperatures, altered precipitation patterns, and increased frequency of extreme weather events can disrupt the functioning of urban ecosystems, impacting the provision of services. Heatwaves and urban heat island effects can compromise human health and energy demands, while changes in rainfall patterns can strain stormwater management systems and lead to flooding. Moreover, climate change can disrupt biodiversity and ecological processes, affecting the overall resilience and sustainability of urban ecosystems. To address these challenges, cities are adopting various adaptation strategies that recognize the interdependence between urban ecosystems and climate change. Green infrastructure interventions, such as the creation of urban parks, green roofs, and community gardens, aim to mitigate the impacts of climate change by enhancing the regulation of temperature, improving air quality, and reducing stormwater runoff. Additionally, urban planning and design approaches prioritize compact and walkable neighborhoods, promoting public transportation and reducing reliance on fossil fuels. Furthermore, engaging communities in the management of urban ecosystems and climate change adaptation measures is crucial for ensuring equitable distribution of ecosystem services and building social resilience. Therefore, the review article highlights a comprehensive understanding of the dynamic interrelationship between urban ecosystem services and climate change and their implications. By recognizing and integrating the contributions of urban ecosystems, cities can develop sustainable and resilient strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change, ensuring the wellbeing and habitability of urban environments for present and future generations.
      PubDate: 2023-10-30T00:00:00Z
  • Fighting the hunger games through permaculture: a scoping review to inform
           urban planning

    • Authors: Denise Janse van Rensburg, Karen Puren
      Abstract: In 2020, more than seven million people across the globe starved, and 868 million people were estimated to be undernourished globally. Although the eradication of hunger is a noble goal, the continuously growing world population together with the warning of a future characterized by food insecurity spells ongoing hardship for the future of humankind. This study explores the extent of permaculture literature to establish its potential place within urban systems. A scoping review looks at permaculture literature from the last 8 years to establish its benefits and limitations, possibly within urban systems. Permaculture is mainly studied from social, environmental, and economic perspectives, and mostly within rural contexts. Urban planning directly concerns the social, environmental, and economic dimensions of urban systems. This study thus reveals the possible merits of permaculture for food production within urban systems; however, certain limitations should be kept in mind that may encumber the implementation of permaculture by urban planning.
      PubDate: 2023-10-30T00:00:00Z
  • Data-driven approach for AI-based crack detection: techniques, challenges,
           and future scope

    • Authors: Priti S. Chakurkar, Deepali Vora, Shruti Patil, Sashikala Mishra, Ketan Kotecha
      Abstract: This article provides a systematic literature review on the application of artificial intelligence (AI) technology for detecting cracks in civil infrastructure, which is a critical issue affecting the performance and longevity of these structures. Traditional crack detection methods involve manual inspection, which is laborious and time-consuming, especially in urban areas. Therefore, automatic crack detection with AI technology has gained popularity due to its ability to identify degradation of roads in real-time, leading to increased safety and reliability. This review emphasizes two key approaches for crack detection: deep learning and traditional computer vision, with a focus on data-driven aspects that rely primarily on data from training datasets to detect and quantify the severity level of the crack. The article highlights the advantages and drawbacks of each approach and provides an overview of various crack detection models, feature extraction techniques, datasets, potential issues, and future directions. The research concludes that deep learning-based methods used for crack classification, localization and segmentation have shown better performance than traditional computer vision techniques, especially in terms of accuracy. However, deep learning methods require large amounts of training data and computational power, which can be a significant limitation. Additionally, the article identifies a lack of 3D datasets, unsupervised learning algorithms are rarely used to train crack detection model, and datasets having road images with variety of road textures such as asphalt and cement etc. as challenges for future research in this field. A need for 3D and combined texture datasets as challenges for future research in this field.
      PubDate: 2023-10-25T00:00:00Z
  • Multi-sensory evaluation of urban design in creating obesity encouraging
           environments: The experience of town centres in Auckland, New Zealand

    • Authors: Jayesh Parekh, Wen Liu, Lee Beattie
      Abstract: This article presents a multi-sensory study on pedestrian activities in the public realm of two town centers in Auckland, New Zealand. We utilize mixed-method and multi-sensory evaluation methods, combined with sensory experience and activity mapping, to explore the effects of the obesity encouraging environment of town centers on the activity concentrations of pedestrians. We further discuss the influences of urban design and land use diversity on generating obesity encouraging environments of town centers. The article aims to provide a basis to initiate discussion around the importance of understanding the multiple-sensory experience of public space beyond merely sight sense which traditionally dominates urban design discipline. Furthermore, this article demonstrates the role and quality of sensory experience in shaping obesogenic behaviors within the built environment of two town centres; with a diversity of type and quality of land uses. It also highlights that the mere provision of urban morphology or built form factors linked with walking activities is not a precursor for healthier communities. Thus, the impacts of urban design and quality uses of the built environment on the multiple senses of the users should be considered in urban design research and practices.
      PubDate: 2023-10-24T00:00:00Z
  • Understanding the role of cities and citizen science in advancing
           sustainable development goals across Europe: insights from European
           research framework projects

    • Authors: Hai-Ying Liu, Sohel Ahmed, Antonella Passani, Alena Bartonova
      Abstract: This paper examines the potential impact of citizen science on achieving SDGs in cities. The analysis focuses on projects funded through the European Research Framework Programmes that utilize citizen science practices to involve cities and citizens in addressing sustainability issues. We analyzed a total of 44 projects active between 2016 and 2027, encompassing both ongoing and completed projects. Instead of relying solely on existing literature, we utilized a project database called CORDIS to gather project information. This approach allowed us to develop a comprehensive framework by utilizing uniformly classified data from the database, which is not typically available in literature. Using a four-stage framework analysis method, we assessed the projects' thematic areas, goals, types of solution promoted or tested to address sustainability challenges, methodologies employed, and the impacts achieved or expected. Through this analysis, we identified successful collaborations between citizen science and cities, showcasing examples of effective practice where citizens and cities co-created and tested solutions that contribute to SDGs. This highlights the active role that citizens, as participants or citizen scientists, play in the transition toward SDGs. This study focuses on more than 100 European cities that have been involved in EU-funded research projects implementing and planning to conduct citizen science activities, which directly and indirectly link to various SDGs. Our findings reveal that citizen science practices in cities predominantly address SDG3 (Good health and wellbeing), 11 (Sustainable cities and communities), and 13 (Climate action). Cities that engage citizens in co-creating solutions can enhance their capacity to improve quality of life and reduce climate and environmental impacts. Citizen engagement at the city and community levels can bolster efforts toward achieving SDGs and monitoring progress on a city-wide scale. However, to fully integrate citizen science and its contribution to cities in achieving SDGs, further research is needed to align the SDGs formulated at the national level with those at the city level. This entails exploring how citizen science can align with SDGs indicators and the quantification of SDG targets. Such efforts will facilitate the mainstreaming of citizen science and its potential to drive progress toward SDGs in cities.
      PubDate: 2023-10-18T00:00:00Z
  • Advancing flood resilience: the nexus between flood risk management, green
           infrastructure, and resilience|Introduction|Methods|Results|Discussion

    • Authors: Mehrafarin Takin, Elizelle Juanee' Cilliers, Sumita Ghosh
      Abstract: IntroductionClimate change and the fast pace of urbanization are two major factors contributing to the exacerbated risk of flooding in urban areas. Flood resilience strategies, underpinned by the principles of green infrastructure, are gaining importance as within broader spatial planning approaches, and various global cities are adopting revised policies and frameworks to improve flood risk management. Yet, such responsive approaches are still limited and context-specific.MethodsIn this article, thematic analysis using NVivo was employed to analyse 49 documents related to flood risk management, resilience, and green infrastructure planning.ResultsThis paper reflects on the concepts of flood risk management, flood resilience and green infrastructure planning to identify the synergies between these concepts, and identify challenges that are prohibiting global flood resilience.DiscussionEnhancing flood resilience requires coordinated efforts, effective communication, and collaborative governance among stakeholders. The paper also draws planning recommendations for advancing flood resilience through governance and an integrated planning approach, in support of the global goals toward flood resilience.
      PubDate: 2023-10-04T00:00:00Z
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