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About this book

This proceedings book focuses on advanced technologies to monitor and model urban soils, vegetation and climate, including internet of things, remote sensing, express and non-destructive techniques. The Smart and Sustainable Cities (SSC) conference is a regular event, organized each second year in RUDN University (Russia) and providing a multidisciplinary platform for scientists and practitioners in urban environmental monitoring, modeling, planning and management.

Table of Contents


Tree Health of Larix sibirica Ledeb. in the Railway Impact Zone on Kola Peninsula

The environmental conditions on Kola Peninsula are affected by industry and transport with substantial consequences for tree health. The research aimed to assess the tree health of Larix sibirica in the railway impact zone in four settlements: Apatity, Murmansk, Polyarnye Zori, and Olenegorsk. The methodology included determining the state of plants, a comparative analysis of the heavy metals’ content in soil and needles, and seed regeneration analysis. In results, the middle-weakened specimens were shown to dominate the forecourt areas in all locations excluding Murmansk, where only the highly weakened plants were observed. Soil survey revealed pollution by Ni, Cu and Zn, which contents were 2 to 6 times above the health thresholds. The content of Ni and Cu in needles was also 3 to 8 times higher compared to the natural references. The extremely high Fe contents in needles ranging from 1.87 g kg−1 in Murmansk to 4.28 g kg−1 in Apatity also witnesses the impact of railway transport. At the same time chloroses or any other damage to the assimilating apparatus were not found in the observed Larix sibirica trees. It was also shown that the ability to natural regeneration in Larix sibirica was preserved. Laboratory seed germination rates ranged from 4% (Murmansk) to 31% (Polyarnye Zori). No viable seeds were found in Olenegorsk. Based on the research outcomes, Larix sibirica can be recommended for introduction to the protective plantings along the railway track and used for greening train stations due to high resistance to pollution and long lifetime.
Natalya V. Saltan, Ekaterina A. Sviatkovskaya

The Influence of Soil Quality on Trees’ Health in Urban Forest

Urbanization leads to a higher degradation of soil quality and trees’ health in the parks. A comprehensive assessment of the green spaces state and soil properties in the recreational zone of urban forest fund was carried out. The research work included chemical (pH, K2O and P2O5 content and heavy metals) and physical (bulk density) composition of urban soils, visual trees assessment with a species diversity description. It was found that the concentrations of trace elements in the soils located in different parts of the park differ depending on their localization. Therefore, two sample points with the same functional component produce various results. Correlation analysis did not reveal the effect of potassium on trees’ health. The phosphorus content in the soil was insufficient. The Nemerow Pollution Index showed heavy pollution of soil. High levels of cadmium and arsenic in the soil were observed in comparison with the backgrounds. The topsoil horizons (0–10 cm) are more polluted, but have less impact on generative trees’ quality. Other factors can also influence the ecology of parks, for instance, location, proximity to highways, filling functional zones, etc.
Ksenia Makhinya, Sofiya Demina, Marina Pavlova, Irina Istomina, Alexey Terekhin

Ground Penetrating Radar Tomography Application to Study of Live Tree Trunks: Case Studies of Defects Detection

The report describes the use of the method of ground penetrating radar (GPR) ray tomography, applied to non-living objects , as a tool for studying the internal structure of trunk of living trees. Due to the lack of mechanical impact on the object of study and high resolution, GPR has an advantage in comparison with other methods of examining the state of trees , such as micro-drilling or acoustic tomography. Field experiments were conducted on different tree species in different states. The results obtained on healthy oak, dry spruce and chestnut with a cavity inside are described. Observations were made in summer of 2017. A two-channel GPR “Zond 12e” (“RadarSystems”, Latvia) with two 2 GHz antennas was used in experiment. GPR tomography is used to determine the distribution of permittivity in the trunk, which is directly related to the moisture of wood. Different parts of the trunk (bark, core, sapwood), as well as healthy and affected areas differ in humidity, so the method of GPR tomography allowed us to see both the structure of the trunk of a healthy tree, and the presence and dimensions of defects.
Maria Sudakova, Eugenia Terentieva, Alexey Kalashnikov

Morphological and Macroanatomical Indicators of Long-Term and Current State of Trees of Quercus Robur L.

The study’s purpose was to examine the conjugacy of the dynamics of morphological and macroanatomical indicators of the long-term and current states of oak trees. The data were collected in upland and floodplain oak groves on the southern border of the forest-steppe zone. The average dynamics of the groups of 10 most developed oak trees each was studied as a model of well-sunlit urban trees. The indicators used are nonspecific, which makes it possible to assess the complex impact of the factors, acting in urban conditions.
A correlation between the 25–35-year cyclical dynamics of the crown development and the number of vessels rows of the radial increment of stem earlywood as indicators of the long-term state of oak trees. The stages of damage and restoration of crown foliage were compared with the extremes of 8–12-year cycles of the number of vessels rows of stem earlywood as indicators of the current state of oak.
The superposition of the minimums of 25–35- and 8–12-year cycles of oak trees state increased the risk of damage and death. In both types of oak groves, the cyclical state of the oak was similar, and its trends differed depending on the age and density dynamics of the stands. Based on the proposed approach, retrospective and predictive assessments of the long-term and current state of oak trees are possible.
Natalia Kaplina

Carbon Dioxide Fluxes of an Urban Forest in Moscow

Mitigation of urban carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is crucial to combat climate change. Although urban forests are expected to sequester atmospheric carbon, few studies have evaluated net CO2 fluxes of extensive urban vegetation. In order to assess the mitigation potential of an urban forest, we measured CO2 fluxes with an eddy covariance tower in the Timiryazevsky urban forest located in northern Moscow during the two vegetation periods 2014 and 2017 and analyzed them regarding diurnal and seasonal patterns. Results of the carbon budget indicate that the forest area was on average a CO2 source in every month, although in early summer it was consistently a sink during daytime and also at daily scale on few occasions. The warmer and drier vegetation period of 2014 was in general a stronger source than the cooler and wetter vegetation period 2017. The results expand the sparse evidence of urban forests’ CO2 fluxes, though the impact of anthropogenic source contributions to the measured fluxes cannot be completely excluded. In order to validate our findings, independent verification of net CO2 flux components, enhanced footprint calculations and observations spanning over larger periods of time should be the next step.
Oliver Reitz, Alexey Yaroslavtsev, Joulia L. Meshalkina, Ivan Ivanovich Vasenev, Viacheslav Vasenev, Riccardo Valentini, Michael Leuchner

Regulating Ecosystem Services in Russian Cities: Can Urban Green Infrastructure Cope with Air Pollution and Heat Islands?

Urban green infrastructure (GI) performs a number of ecosystem services that can improve urban environment. Many studies are dedicated to regulating services (RS), heat mitigation and air pollutants removal in particular, since they directly effect the urban comfortability and human health. Most methods of RS assessment require time-consuming field works, usually not suited for multicity scale, but limited by smaller urban areas. We offer time-efficient methods to evaluate heat mitigating and air purifying services in 16 largest Russian cities, using available statistics, remote sensing data and results of similar works. For the assessment indicators we took 1) the percentage of removed pollutants by vegetation from total emissions from transport; 2) from point sources; 3) the percentage of urban area, influenced by the GI’s cooling effect. Our study revealed that the majority of cities do not have enough tree vegetation to absorb a significant part of all emissions, especially carbon oxide. At the same time, in many cases GI has a potential to cool more than 100% of urban area. However, the distribution of green elements is mostly uneven, leaving densely populated city centers not effected enough by cooling islands. The method we applied is still to be improved, as it does not consider meteorological and landscape differences for air purifying service, or all forms and sizes of GI to differentiate their cooling range. It enables, however, to get a general picture of the situation with RS volume in large cities of Russia, to define and locate the most problematic parts.
O. Illarionova, O. Klimanova, Yu. Kolbovsky

Effects of Small Water Bodies on the Urban Heat Island and Their Interaction with Urban Green Spaces in a Medium-Size City in Germany

We analyze urban temperature data from mobile measurements on a late summer day in combination with land use data to identify climate effects of urban water bodies in the German city of Münster. Direct effects on urban air temperature are heterogeneous and – in the evening – rather warming than cooling, while effects of urban green spaces are clearly cooling in the afternoon and evening. Depending on the distance to the next water body, cooling effects of urban green spaces are clearly intensifying, which can be interpreted as a result of better water supply of urban green.
Gunnar Ketzler, Sophie Goertz, Michael Leuchner

Assessment of Soil Properties and Tree Performance on Fountain Avenue and Pennsylvania Avenue Landfills in New York City

Revegetating closed landfills offer a unique opportunity to transfer underutilized lands into green spaces which are on high demand in large cities with dense urban population. Planting woody vegetation on landfills could also help improve wildlife habitats, store carbon dioxide, reduce stormwater runoff, and provide public amenity. Unfortunately, previous studies showed that ecological restoration of landfills is challenging due to many limiting factors such as soil compaction, acidification, and lack of nutrient. More detailed, long term studies are required to develop optimal ecological restoration protocols. This project assesses soil quality and tree performance of two large and capped landfills in New York City. The landfill soil generally has a poor condition with some pH lower than optimum for trees, low levels of P, K, N, nitrate-N, and high level of Fe. Quercus, Pinus, and Junipercus are the most prevalent genus. Naturally occurring species especially Salix sp. also has a high coverage. Statistical analysis of tree density shows a medium strong positive correlation with plant-available Fe and negative correlation with plant-available Mg. The results show that nutrient levels of landfill soil could be important for the success of vegetation.
Saidan Qi, Zhongqi Cheng

Variability of Infiltration Rates at Selected Green Infrastructure Sites in New York City

Green infrastructure is a cost-effective, resilient approach to managing wet weather impacts and provides many additional benefits. In New York City, Green Infrastructure (GI) is designed to effectively capture stormwater runoff at the source, thereby reducing combined sewer overflow (CSO) – a leading cause of water quality problem in urban areas. The infiltration rate is the most important measurement of a soil’s capacity to capture stormwater in a GI system. The objectives of this research are to examine the variability of infiltration rates at different sites and within a site, and to investigate the factors that contribute to such variability. Field variables such as vegetation and root density were noted. Surface soil samples were collected and analyzed for moisture, organic content, bulk density and texture. Linear correlation and Principal Component Analysis (PCA) were performed to examine the relationships between these variables and infiltration rates. The surface infiltration rates varied significantly (5–20 cm/h) among sites as well as at different locations within the same site. The effect of surface capping is minimal at most sites. There is no significant correlation between infiltration rates and single soil properties, except for that between bulk density and Ksat. PCA analysis suggests that multiple inter-related soil properties and field variables that affect infiltration rates. Soil texture and organic content appear to be the most important variables that control other properties and infiltration rates at the sites included in this study.
Bulent Alagoz, Anna A. Paltseva, Richard Shaw, Zhongqi Cheng

Assessment of Soil Heavy Metal Pollution by Land Use Zones in Small Towns of the Industrialized Arctic Region, Russia

The European part of the Arctic zone of Russia is one of the most industrially developed regions with a high level of urbanization and many mining enterprises. Soil pollution of different land use zones (parks, urban forests, traffic zones) in three small towns of Murmansk region of Russia (Monchegorsk, Apatity, Kirovsk, population 26–55 thousand people) was studied. Agricultural and background zones near Apatity were also investigated. The total content of heavy metals (HM) (Ni, Cu, Co, Pb, Zn, Mn), the content of acid-soluble (0.2 N HCl extracted), and water-soluble metal fractions (deionized water), hot-water extracted organic matter, and organic carbon were analyzed. Murmansk region has an increased regional background for heavy metals due to the functioning of non-ferrous enterprises. HM content in agricultural soils corresponded to the regional background. The total pollution index (Zc) had the maximal values for Monchegorsk (17–37), which is situated near the Cu/Ni smelter. In Apatity, only soils of the dividing lane had a similar pollution level (17–26), but it was likely related to the not local origin of sand. Soils of different land-use categories in Apatity and Kirovsk have a high share of acid-soluble metals fraction in their total content: Pb (up to 54%) and Zn (up to 47%); in Monchegorsk - Ni (up to 48%), Pb (up to 67%), Zn (up to 80%) and especially Cu (up to 99%), which indicates the anthropogenic origin of these elements. About 1% of the water-soluble fraction of heavy metals in the studied soils was found. Organic matter played a significant role as a geochemical barrier for metal fixing in urban soils. At the same time, the deposition of metals did not have a significant effect on the content of hot-water extracted organic matter as an indicator of the microbial community state. The lowest content of readily available carbon and nitrogen was observed in the areas with young vegetation cover. The preservation of natural green areas and the maintenance of high-quality vegetation cover and urban soils are necessary actions not only for the aesthetic appeal of cities in the Far North, but also to reduce an anthropogenic load on urban ecosystems.
Natalya Saltan, Marina Slukovskaya, Irina Mikhaylova, Evgeny Zarov, Pavel Skripnikov, Sergey Gorbov, Alexandra Khvostova, Svetlana Drogobuzhskaya, Anna Shirokaya, Irina Kremenetskaya

Activity Concentration of Natural Radionuclides and Total Heavy Metals Content in Soils of Urban Agglomeration

The total heavy metal content and activity concentration of natural radionuclides were obtained in native and anthropogenically transformed soil of the Rostov agglomeration (south of the Russia). The specific activity of natural radionuclides in soils of the has been comparable with indicators typical for chernozems of the Rostov region. The increase of radionuclides activity is observed in the lower horizons, which is due to the nature of the radionuclides themselves and to the fact that the main source of their inflow into the soil cover and biosphere is the parent rock. The correlation between activity concentration of radionuclide and total content of heavy metals were derived by Spearman’s Rank-Order Correlation. The study was revealed that the activity concentration of thorium and radium doesn’t provide significant correlation with the total content of heavy metals. The group of buried horizons have shown a positive correlation with naturally occurring 40K in contrast with humus horizon (A). The carbonates-accumulating group of horizons (B, B b) have random correlation sign by each of metals. The most significant correlation was observed for the B horizons group.
Denis Kozyrev, Sergey Gorbov, Olga Bezuglova, Elena Buraeva, Suleiman Tagiverdiev, Nadezhda Salnik

Metabolic Adjustments in Urban Lawns in Response to Soil Salinization

Soil salinization is typical for urban environment where de-icing agents are released in considerable amounts. Urban lawns with turf grasses are the primary components of the urban green infrastructure and are exposed to different rates of soil salinity, depending on the distance to the paved surfaces where de-icing agents are released. Plant metabolic adjustments supported by nutrients availability in soil are the key parameters necessary to cope with soil salinity. In this study we evaluated the mechanisms activated at a plant level in response to low and moderate soil salinity in a popular turf-grass mixture used for urban lawn greening. Carbohydrates and starch content as well as content of chloride were measured in plant biomass after 2.5 months of continuous irrigation with salt solution. Nutrients availability and plant-soil interactions were assessed by analyzing extracellular soil enzymatic activity in the rhizosphere and N content of plant tissues. Plants increased the amount of compounds involved in the osmotic regulation in expense of storage compounds and isolated the toxic ions to old tissues. Increased plant demand for N at soil salinity was accompanied by an increase in the activity of chitinase in the rhizospheric soil, suggesting no potential restrictions for future accumulation of osmotic N-containing compounds in vegetation.
O. Gavrichkova, R. A. Brykova, D. Liberati, M. C. Moscatelli, S. Moscatello, Viacheslav Vasenev

Impact of Overgrown Plant Deposit on Physicochemical Properties: SodPodzolic Soils During the Last 60 years in the Central State Biosphere Forest Reserve, Western European Part of Russia

Podzols are highly influenced by the creation of a thick organic layers. A study was conducted to assess the Impact of succession on physicochemical properties of sod-podzolic soils during the last 60 years, Western European part of Russia, CFSNBR. Samples were taken from three representatives pedons: MGD, DOB (20–30 years) and DBAS (50–60 years). The data were processed and analyzed using standard methods in laboratory. Statistical analyzed was using ANOVA in accordance with GLM procedure (IBM SPSS) version 25. There was a significant (p < 0.05) difference in SOM, SOC, BD, P2O5 & K2O between succession stages & soil depth. However, there was no significant difference (p < 0.05) in Ph of (H20 & KCL). Among the succession stages, DBAS (50–60 years) resulted is the highest MOC, MOM & MTN. The greatest Mean P2O5 & K2O was found in DOB (20–30 years). The highest MBD and high pH acidity of KCl & H2O were recorded in MGD. Considering the soil depth, the amount of SOM, TN & SOC soil contained in the surface horizons (A and E) is comparatively higher than the subsurface horizons (B, C) confined in Pedon under DBAS (50–60 years). The correlation analysis showed a positive and highly significant correlation (p < 0.01) between SOC, SOM, K2O and negatively correlation in soil bulk density. It has been noted that overgrown plant in different succession stage have a profound impact on soil physicochemical properties.
Solomon Melaku Melese, Ivan Ivanovich Vasenev

Culturable Airborne Fungi of Urban, Forest and Coastal Areas of the Kola Peninsula

The quantitative and qualitative indicators of airborne fungi of different areas on the territory of the Kola Peninsula, which is part of the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation, were evaluated. The air above the coast was the cleanest, the number of culturable airborne fungi varied from 11 to 75 CFU/m3 compared to the 55–260 CFU/m3 in the forest and 350 CFU/m3 in the city. In the urban environment, there was an increase in the species diversity of fungi, the appearance of new species from genera Alternaria, Torula, Aspergillus, Paecilomyces, Penicillium, Oidiodendron, Pseudogymnoascus, Acremonium, and Acaulium, that are not found in the forest and coastal areas. In the city, the changes in the species structure of airborne fungi community were revealed. On the coast, Penicillium decumbens, P. raistrickii dominated; in the forest, P. raistrickii, Aureobasidium pullulans and fungi with white sterile mycelium dominated; in the city, Cladosporium cladosporioides, Aspergillus fumigatus, Penicillium glabrum prevailed. In the city, the increase (up to 60%) in the portion of pathogenic, allergenic and toxigenic fungi compared to the forest and coastal areas was found.
Maria V. Korneykova, Anastasia S. Soshina, Olga V. Gavrichkova

Toxic Cyanobacteria in the Arctic Lakes: New Environmental Challenges. A Case Study

From the beginning of the XXI century, due to eutrophication along with arctic climate warming, algae blooms have become a typical feature in the waters of some areas, along with an increase in the proportion of cyanoprokaryota in the plankton. The presence of toxic cyanobacteria in arctic Imandra Lake (N67,57° E32,89°) have been found since 2006. Sporadic cases of HABs (bloom spots) were caused by cyanobacteria Dolichospermum lemmermannii. Its biomass reached to 85.2 mg/L in bloom spots, where cyanotoxin presence was evaluated using mass-spectrometry method. The profile of the detected toxins was represented by arginine-containing congeners of microcystins (MC-LR, MC-RR and their demethylated forms). In 2017, MC-LR concentration exceeded the WHO standard for drinking water more than twice, which creates new risks to public health especially in drinking and fishery water bodies.
Dmitrii B. Denisov, Ekaterina N. Chernova, Iana V. Russkikh

Unfavorable Impact of the Urbanization on the Immune Antiviral Protection in Children: The Relationship with Recurrent Respiratory Infections

In the conditions of steadily increasing urbanization and emerging negative microclimates, there is increase the morbidity of children in megacities. The damaging effect of environmental factors causes the development of “minimal persistent inflammation” of mucosa. We had studied 55 children in age 1–8 years suffering from recurrent ARVI associated with different chronic HVI (HSV I/II, EBV, CMV, HHV VI) and chronic recurrent bacterial diseases. The comparison group was 40 conditionally healthy children, comparable by sex and age. Clinical and immunological methods: ELISA, PCR, cytofluorimetry were used. We studied 2 groups of children: 1 group – 1–4 years old (early children) and 2 group – 5–8 years old, suffering from recurrent ARVI of a high rate of frequency. Clinical and anamnestic data showed that the incidence of ARVI was in 1 group – 7–15 and in 2 groups – 7–24 or more episodes per year, and the duration of these episodes was: 7.5 and 15.8 days, respectively. In all children, repeated ARI in combination with chronic respiratory diseases with frequent exacerbations were associated with recurrent and/or mono- and mixed HVI. Comparative analysis showed that in the children from group 1 demonstrate deficient in IFN-α, serum IgA and various NG disorders. However more severe disorders in IFN-α, NK-cells, NG system were detected in group 2, which is associated with a greater age of infectious history. Our study revealed the urgency to create new approaches for targeted immunoprophylaxis for immunocompromised children living in the megapolis.
I. V. Nesterova, E. O. Khalturina, S. V. Kovaleva, G. A. Chudilova, V. V. Malinovskaya

Urbanization Effect on Children’s Autonomic Nervous System

Over the last decade, the active transformation of live environment, urbanization and social stress have intensified the current negative trends in children’s public health and led to the development of new ones. [1] The expanding environmental problems derived from urbanization have played a crucial role in the deterioration of children’s health which have resulted in an increase in acute and chronic diseases; development of immunodeficiency and allergic conditions, vascular and psycho-emotional disorders [2, 3].
The cardiovascular system is regulated at many levels and constitutes a functional system, the final outcome of its activity is to provide a desired level of the entire body operation [4, 5]. And the autonomic nervous system is responsible for setting links between the body, ambient and internal environment through the regulation of metabolism, functioning of organs and tissues based on changes in this environment; it also provides the integration of all organs into a single whole acting as one of the main body’s adaptive systems [6].
Since the autonomic nervous system governs the body and homeostasis uniting separate pathogenetic links of disease progression and sets the basis for structural and functional unity [7]. In light of this, the failure of neuroregulatory mechanisms takes the lead among the causes of systemic changes in the microvasculature, which, in turn, reflects general pathogenetic processes in the body. [8] The regulatory mechanism is implemented through nerves and reflexes by different neurohumoral factors, their nature has been studied under experimental conditions and is beyond doubt to date [9].
The study of basic heart rate and microcirculation variability indicators for children living under different conditions will help to outline major trends in changes of the autonomic nervous system functional state and propose an individual rehabilitation plan for children tailored to the socio-economic and medical-ecological conditions of living in a megapolis or a rural area.
P. V. Berezhansky, N. S. Tataurschikova

The Prevalence of Atopic Dermatitis Among Children and Adults in Kazakhstan

The accelerated pace of industry, science and technology development coincide with global environmental problems and health risks. Recent research has proven that environmental factors play a significant role in the development and exacerbation of many diseases, including allergic pathologies. Skin diseases occupy a special place among allergic disorders, while atopic dermatitis occupy a leading place among children’s skin diseases. Kazakhstan’s allergists, dermatologists and healthcare system give special attention to patients with atopic dermatitis. This is linked not only to the increase in the disease prevalence, secondary infection complications, processes of chronicity due to an uncontrolled use of topical hormonal drugs, but also to its impact on economic and social sphere. Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a multifocal disease of various etiology. The treatment of this disease is mostly symptomatic or pathogenetic and is aimed at repairing skin barrier, preventing exposure to hazardous agents and reducing inflammatory processes. The numbers of patients with AD is higher in developed countries and is observed in 20% of minor patients. This is facilitated by global urbanization, excessive cleanliness during the early childhood stage, uncontrolled use of medication, including antibacterial drugs, reduction in breastfeeding duration. Our research on the basis of the Republican allergy center demonstrates the negative impact of global urbanization on the prevalence of atopic dermatitis Thus, the number of patients who applied from the urban (87%) is several times higher than the number of patients from the rural (17%). Interrelationships between the quality of life and AD occurrence is widely accepted.
V. V. Khan, N. S. Tataurschikova, T. T. Nurpeissov

Some Features of the Key Phenotypes of Allergic Rhinitis Among Children in a Metropolis

In Russia, over the past decade, as a result of social stress and the transformation of the human environment, there has been an increase in existing negative trends and the emergence of new negative trends in the formation of public health, in particular, an increase in the number of patients with allergic diseases.
Allergic rhinitis (AR) occupies a special place among allergic diseases.
Allergic rhinitis is a serious medical, social and economic problem. AR is characterized as a disease caused by IgE -Dependent mucosal inflammation with the predominant generation of a Th2 response in a sensitized organism.
The microcirculation system is an important pathogenetic link in the development of allergic diseases, including allergic rhinitis, the autonomic nervous system affects both the microcirculation system and the body’s response to various foreign agents, including allergens, to maintain homeostasis.
Prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of allergic rhinitis among children is not only a purely medical but also a social problem. They account for a considerable part of both direct (the cost of drugs, hospital and outpatient care), and indirect (early mortality, disability, payment temporary disability) expenses of the company. They have a significant impact on the quality of patients’ life.
The study of the main indicators of microcirculation and the autonomic nervous system among children with allergic rhinitis in various combinations with concomitant pathology will highlight new AR phenotypes and choose an individual treatment and rehabilitation plan for children, taking into account the socio-economic and medical-environmental features of living in a metropolis.
N. S. Tataurschikova, P. V. Berezhansky

Playground Arrangement for Children with Special Health Needs

The article describes the tasks set by the creators and organizers of playgrounds which were designed for children with disabilities including children with autism spectrum disorders. The study was carried out with the assistance of correctional pedagogy and rehabilitation specialists. The literature on this subject was studied, as well as regulatory sources, the photo fixation of objects was made, and the survey of different age respondents was conducted. As a result of the analysis, several recommendations were prepared that are of key importance for creating an inclusive space under conditions of leisure activities organization for children with disabilities: 1) involving children in general games; 2) encouraging peer interaction; and 3) collaborative activities stimulation aimed at the development of social and communicative qualities among children. Architects and designers can use the gained experience for inclusive program development. The model of space organization presented in the article is given for children with different abilities, where the possibility of interaction between healthy children and children with disabilities is taken into account.
T. E. Zhukova, O. P. Krasilnikova, M. I. Podchernina, P. V. Zhukov, D. V. Neyman

Environmental, Social and Economic Potentials of Urban Protected Areas: Case Study of Moscow, Russia

Protected areas (PAs) are becoming more and more vulnerable to urbanization processes, expansion of built-up areas and severe shortage of space. Moscow is one of the most fast-growing European cities, therefore, this problem has a great relevance there. Two case study areas, Severny and Altufjevsky reserves, covering about 94 and 82 hectares, are located in the north of Moscow. PA Regulations, published in 2020 and approved by Government of Moscow, are the main data sources, particularly for land-use planning, protection regimes and special structures. Besides, the results of landscape structure investigations, open-access data by Information System Ensuring Spatial Planning (ISOGD), Moscow Government open-access data hub were used. According to Regulations, natural and semi-natural zones constitute only 37% и 16% of the total area. Spatial differences between present environment state and zoning established by regional laws were analyzed by GIS-overlay and rating scales. Moreover, PA socio-economic potential was investigated, using rating scales of 7 groups of functions. Overlay difference between environmental and socio-economic potentials (EP1-SEP parameter) has become the tool to detect spaces providing ecosystem protection functions, but exposed to strong human impact. Although some areas are used mostly for social and economic purposes, semi-natural zones are under quite strict protection regimes. Area-weighted EP1-SEP parameter of PA are estimated to 2.9 and 2.4 respectively (from a possible range from −20 to 20) and hence zoning is correlated with ecosystem functions in general, except large-scale inconsistencies. This algorithm can be used to resolve a dilemma between protection and exploitation.
Vitaly A. Kryukov

Assessing the Proposed Volume of Recreational Ecosystem Services: A Case Study of Moscow’s Urban Protected Areas

The importance of urban protected areas is increasing all over the world because of urbanization. Protected areas in cities provide many ecosystem services; one of the most important is daily recreation. The study is devoted to the recreational ecosystem services of urban protected areas in Moscow. The article proposes an approach to assess the proposed volume of the recreational ecosystem services on the basis of the recreational development and recreational potential of the protected area. The study takes into account various types of recreation and the corresponding infrastructure facilities.
Ksenia Aleksandriiskaia, Oxana Klimanova

National Park «Elk Island» in the Moscow Region’s Green Infrastructure

Urban green infrastructure is a key element of a comfortable living environment and a driver for sustainable development of urban areas. Protected areas as a core of ecological framework in Moscow play a huge role in maintaining an ecological balance of urban space through a number of life-supporting ecological functions. In this context the national park “Elk island” is not only the natural recreational area, located within the Russia’s largest city, but also the unique example of nature-based solution for urban sustainability. Environment of Moscow city and its suburbs is polluted by emissions from transport and local industries, and the green spaces operate as a natural absorber. Despite this green areas are the subject of conflicts between road network, living space and protected areas. On the basis of own field researches in 2018–2019 ecological functions of the national park were assessed, as well as their social significance. The results allows to conclude that the national park «Elk island»’s preservation and development can be considered as an effective nature-based solution in order to improve environmental situation and to raise quality of life in the city.
Alla Pakina, Alla Lelkova

Ecosystem Services in Russian Urban Legislation

The article analyzes four fundamental Russian urban planning documents: “SP 42.13330.2016. City building. Planning and development of urban and rural settlements”, “Urban planning code of the Russian Federation”, “Spatial development Strategy of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2025”, “Methodology for the formation of the urban environment quality index” and one methodological document “Standard for integrated development of territories”, created within the framework of the National project “Housing and urban environment”, with a view to mentioning ecosystem services. Despite the fact that the concept of “ecosystem services” is absent in the studied documents, 35 types of ecosystem services are described. They were analyzed according to TEEB classification.
Olga Maximova

Environmental Safety of Urbanized Territories as a Developing Institution for Ensuring the Vital Interests of Mankind

The article deals with the current theoretical and scientific - practical problems of legal regulation of protecting nature and the mechanism for ensuring environmental safety as an integral part of environmental protection, in particular, concerning urbanized areas. Topical issues of environmental safety as a new direction of legal regulation are raised in the context of sustainable development and public health.
The assessment of the achievement of sustainable urban development and ensuring the environmental safety of urbanized areas has been carried out at the international law level and with the help of national legislation. The work analyzes international methods of assessing the quality of the environment and the damage caused. The article also provides a brief overview of the mechanisms of environmental legislation in Russia. The authors consider that it is necessary to develop ecological safety indicators to ensure interest in the implementation of environmental protection measures. An increase or decrease in the monetized assessment of environmental losses within a selected period should ultimately serve as an indicator of the effectiveness of the environmental policy and be the basis for determining the degree of environmental safety in a particular area.
As a result, the importance of legal regulation of the environmental safety’s concept in its relationship with the concept of “favorable environment” and the term “environmental protection” is emphasized.
Marina Anatolievna Vakula, Irina Anatolievna Umnova-Koniukhova

Environmental Assessment of Thermal Energy Facilities Impact on Ecosystem Services for the Production of Oxygen in Urban Settlements

The article provides a comparative environmental assessment of thermal energy facilities impact on ecosystem services for the production of oxygen in the area of their direct influence in urban settlements. A significant share of thermal power plants in atmospheric pollution indicators was noted. Types of terrestrial ecosystems with the greatest potential for oxygen production have been identified. Based on the calculations made by the Index O (oxygen production index), the differentiation of the impact of TPPs on the environmental service of oxygen production by local terrestrial ecosystems is detailed by 3 load groups: high, medium and optimal. At the same time, it is necessary to consider not only the local capacity of terrestrial ecosystems, but also the regional potential, as well as the geographical location of energy facilities in the Russian Federation and their capacity. The presence of a large number of forests in the Asian part of the country allows for increased buffering of the ecosystem service of oxygen production in the zone of direct influence of the majority of thermal energy facilities located there.
Grigorii E. Artamonov, Ivan Ivanovich Vasenev, Vladimir A. Gutnikov, Viktoria V. Erofeeva

Ecological Assessment of Rapeseed Cultivation to Improve Chemically Degraded Urban Albic Luvisol

Urban ecosystems, compared to natural, are often characterised with the presence of plots with high content of different heavy metals. In this regard, the complex continuous monitoring of the dynamics of on-going changes in urban ecosystems against the background of natural processes is of enormous importance. The principal indicators of the urban soil environmental sustainability include its respiration ones and balance of microbial carbon that could be sensitive to the increased content of heavy metals too.
Experiments were conducted to determine the phytoremediation potential of spring rapeseed plants cultivated on the Albic Luvisol artificially contaminated with zinc and nickel in the dose range of 400–800 and 30–60 mg kg−1 of soil respectively. The aim of the study was a comprehensive environmental assessment of biological productivity and zinc and nickel uptake by the spring rapeseed plants with determination of eco-physiological indicators of its microbial community state and metal accumulation indices. The experimental data showed, that the rapeseed plants were able to overcome heavy metal-induced toxicity and accumulate zinc and nickel in the aboveground part of the plants with enrichment factor (EF) 0,9–4,8 and 2,0–3,4 respectively. The microbial activity of Albic Luvisol at the beginning of vegetation had strong positive correlation with the rapeseed plants cultivation on the presence of toxic elements in the soil.
Irina V. Andreeva, Miljan Samardžić, Ivan Ivanovich Vasenev

Cultural Ecosystem Services of Urban Green Spaces. How and What People Value in Urban Nature?

This paper discusses the concept of cultural ecosystem services (CES) as a part of a broader framework of ecosystem services provided by urban green spaces. It is based on literature review and evaluation of results from two research projects of urban green spaces conducted in Russia (three public parks in Moscow) and China (six public parks in Xi’an). Both case studies conducted face-to-face interviews of park visitors and stakeholders (in Xi’an) and utilized questionnaires as well as observational studies of people’s activities within parks and their infrastructure. This paper aims to explore how urban dwellers perceive and value urban green spaces (parks) and what particular CES/benefits can be drawn as being most important. CES of urban green spaces (especially urban parks) are discussed from the following viewpoints: a) visitors’ perception and behaviour, b) indicators and methods adapted to CES research and c) identifying and understanding the ecosystem service capacity of an urban green space for attracting visitors of different cultural backgrounds. The results highlight the importance of CES which are provided by urban green spaces for quality of life and human health in cities, and the role of CES in raising environmental awareness and social cohesion and interaction. This paper also provides suggestions for a research framework and conceptual models that can be applied in future studies of CES and provides useful tools for indicators selection and assessment.
Diana Dushkova, Maria Ignatieva, Anastasia Konstantinova, Fengping Yang

Ecosystem Services Approach for Landscaping Project: The Case of Metropolia Residential Complex

Redevelopment of former industrial areas provides a great opportunity to consider the ecosystem services assessment in urban planning to improve sustainability of major cities worldwide as urban green infrastructure provides wide range of regulatory and supporting services. However, most of the landscaping projects in Russia does not use this approach due to both the lack of legislations and low level of interactions between science and practitioners. To meet this challenge an eco-hackathon (competition between projects) was organized to demonstrate the possibilities of using the ecosystem services concept to evaluate the effectiveness of project solutions. An existing landscaping project was chosen as a good example to assess several basic benefits that people will achieve from soils and green infrastructure after redevelopment of the industrial area in Moscow.
We used the report on engineering and environmental surveys, a plan of landscaping and other support data from project architects (landscape bureau UTRO) to calculate carbon sequestration by biomass and soils, water transpiration and infiltration, air purification and climate regulation. Estimations and modeling were performed with ENVI-MET, HYDRUS software and i-TreeEco model. Our results showed after project implementation, the created ecosystems will absorb one kilogram of PM10 per year, transpire 200–300 thousand liters of water, accumulate 720–1000 kg of carbon, and perform up to one billion kWh work on reducing thermal stress on 10%. Based on our results we provided some recommendations to improve the project quality in terms of better ecosystem services provisioning and sustainable functioning.
V. Matasov, Alexey Yaroslavtsev, S. Bukin, P. Konstantinov, Viacheslav Vasenev, V. Grigoreva, O. Romzaykina, Yu. Dvornikov, A. Sayanov, Olga Maximova


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