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2021 | Book

Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions

Results of SSPCR 2019

Editors: Dr. Adriano Bisello, Dr. Daniele Vettorato, Dr. Håvard Haarstad, Dr. Judith Borsboom-van Beurden

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

Book Series: Green Energy and Technology


About this book

This book offers a selection of research papers and case studies presented at the 3rd international conference “Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions”, held in December 2019 in Bolzano, Italy, and explores the concept of smart and sustainable planning, including top contributions from academics, policy makers, consultants and other professionals.

Innovation processes such as co-design and co-creation help establish collaborations that engage with stakeholders in a trustworthy and transparent environment while answering the need for new value propositions.

The importance of an integrated, holistic approach is widely recognized to break down silos in local government, in particular, when aimed at achieving a better integration of climate-energy planning. Despite the ongoing urbanization and polarization processes, new synergies between urban and rural areas emerge, linking development opportunities to intrinsic cultural, natural and man-made landscape values. The increasing availability of big, real-time urban data and advanced ICT facilitates frequent assessment and continuous monitoring of performances, while allowing fine-tuning as needed. This is valid not only for individual projects but also on a wider scale. In addition, and circling back to the first point, (big) urban data and ICT can be of enormous help in facilitating engagement and co-creation by raising awareness and by providing insight into the local consequences of specific plans. However, this potential is not yet fully exploited in standard processes and procedures, which can therefore lack the agility and flexibility to keep up with the pulse of the city and dynamics of society.

The book provides a multi-disciplinary outlook based on experience to orient the reader in the giant galaxy of smart and sustainable planning, support the transposition of research into practice, scale up visionary approaches and design groundbreaking planning policies and tools.

Table of Contents


Shaping the Climate and Energy Transition: Clean Energy and Robust Systems for All

Smart Approach to Management of Energy Resources in Smart Cities: Evaluation of Models and Methods

A smart city represents a complex approach to the development of all systems, directions and spheres aimed at providing comfortable living conditions for citizens and qualitative management and reliable infrastructure for the city. The paper answers questions about how to estimate the ability of the implementation approach within a smart city, and how the stakeholders, such as energy policy makers, governance, utilities and municipalities, can choose a model that would promote maximum efficiency by the implementation in the energy sector of the city. The paper has three main sections, the first of which provides a literature review with a classification of different approaches to the implementation of a smart city depending on the scope and tasks. The main emphasis is placed on the analysis of the energy component of smart city decisions. The second section proposes a series of criteria for evaluating the existing approaches to a smart city. The ability to flexibly react to the changes in consumption, unpredicted situations, changes in the needs, sustainability in generation and the supply of electricity and heat, as well as considering alterations in the legislative base, has been taken into account when analysing smart city infrastructure. Finally, the third section presents a decision-making scheme related to choosing the development methodology in a smart city that enables accounting of multifaceted nature of urban environment development, as well as describing a scheme of the block-integrated approach to the methodology of smart city development. In the authors’ opinion, it can have the largest potential for flexible, sustainable and stable development and will produce the greatest qualitative impact on smart city development. As a result, convolving the approaches to the development of a smart city according to various criteria makes possible highlighting the most optimal decision-making process.

Jana Teremranova, Anna Mutule
City-Level Evaluation: Categories, Application Fields and Indicators for Advanced Planning Processes for Urban Transformation

Advanced urban-planning processes need methods and analysis tools to guide cities toward sustainable urban planning. This provides a realistic and specific urban strategy for each city. Leveraging current developments in various European Smart City projects (MAtchUP and MAKING-CITY), a city-level evaluation framework is proposed to support cities in their strategic-planning process. This process goes through the definition of a methodology to help municipalities in the progress of cities toward sustainability and smartness. Then, through the city-level evaluation, city needs and challenges are identified in order to help municipalities when prioritizing a city strategy. It also aims to evaluate the current status of the city to know to what extent the city is sustainable and smart, as well as to monitor the progress of the city to become sustainable and smart. This evaluation also provides information to the municipality and sets the methodology included in this paper to benchmark and compare multiple aspects within and between cities. This indicator-based methodology enables assessing specific characteristics of the city, diagnosing challenges or discovering patterns through reliable metrics, but also allows comparing various aspects of cities thanks to the normalization and weighting of indicators and the calculation of indexes. Based on the outcome of the literature review, the structure of the city-evaluation framework is performed under the concept of sustainable development, establishing a framework for comparison and evaluation. This framework works as a baseline for all cities in the context of defining their targets, needs, priority areas or action lines. The definition of this methodology has been a learning process based on the study of several methods of normalization, weighting and aggregation, such as the ones described by the Joint Research Centre (JRC) from the European Commission through the Competence Centre on Composite Indicators and Scoreboards (COIN), to build the indexes by category and application field. The sensitivity analysis stage would be the last step to examine the suitability of the proposed evaluation methodology, from the selection of indicators to aggregation techniques. As a result, city’s needs, priorities and progress will be easily identified thanks to the both numerical and graphical results, from which to establish strategic objectives and priority actions in the planning processes for urban transformation.

Carla Rodríguez, Cecilia Sanz-Montalvillo, Estefanía Vallejo, Ana Quijano
Proposal for an Integrated Approach to Support Urban Sustainability: The COSIMA Method Applied to Eco-Districts

Cities represent the places with the greatest environmental and energy impacts in the world. Their transformation through a sustainable key would make possible reducing the pressures registered in these areas. According to the Sustainable Development Goals, attention has shifted more and more to the creation of sustainable and safe communities, characterized by low energy-consuming buildings due to smart heating and cooling systems, and sustainable transport solutions based on the use of private electric and hybrid vehicles. Besides the energy and environmental impacts, actions to tackle climate change provide the opportunity to create collateral benefits that can potentially generate economic and social improvement for the whole community. The co-benefits inclusion in the decision analysis is crucial to remove barriers and reveal the real potential of renovation projects at the urban/district scale. Following the guidelines of the European Commission, the tool used when evaluating public projects and policies is the Cost–Benefit Analysis (CBA). One of the main limitations of the CBA method is the estimation of all positive and negative externalities in monetary value that can lead to imprecise assessment. To overcome this obstacle, a growing scientific literature on the application of Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis (MCDA) to assess the sustainability of investment at district scale is emerging. In this study, we propose a new assessment framework based on the COmpoSIte Modeling Assessment (COSIMA) to address the multidimensionality that characterizes the redevelopment process of eco-districts considering energy, environmental, economic and social evaluation criteria. The COSIMA method enables considering both the tangible and intangible aspects of the problem and the opinion of the various stakeholders involved in the decision-making process, which are crucial aspects in urban transformations.

Cristina Becchio, Marta Carla Bottero, Stefano Paolo Corgnati, Federico Dell’Anna, Giulia Pederiva, Giulia Vergerio
Open Innovation Strategies, Green Policies, and Action Plans for Sustainable Cities—Challenges, Opportunities, and Approaches

Planning for smart and sustainable cities is vital since the world is currently witnessing a rapid increase in urban population. Cities globally are encountering colossal challenges in terms of high-energy use, transport, and traffic congestion resulting in high GHG emissions, in addition to huge consumption of resources such as water and materials, and high levels of air pollution, especially in megacities. Cities are facing the urban heat islands effect and other climate change impacts. Such vast increases of population put pressure on cities’ infrastructures that are not resilient, as well as putting pressure on local governments and municipalities in planning and managing cities. Therefore, reducing energy use, mitigating CO2 emissions, and improving air quality by utilizing open innovation, and green design strategies and policies (urban-framing innovation and technologies, and green facades), as adaptive tools for urban areas, are essential planning to achieve sustainability and liveability in megacities, yet mitigate and adapt to climate change (CC). This paper presents strategies and policies needed for developing sustainable cities. It also highlights the major challenges facing cities globally and the means to support local governments in tackling these challenges to bring about smart and sustainable cities. In addition, it presents policies and tools for greening cities, using opportunities in terms of city innovation and open innovation models. We review smart and green strategies that drive cities to solve such challenges through energy efficiency tools and mobilizing stakeholders. In this work, we present adaptive natural-based green solutions to ensure city resilience and we highlight strategies and policies related to sustainable energy, urban farming, and green facades. We also illustrate strategies, policies, and action plans that drive green cities to lessen climate change risks. We present and discuss the actions and stakeholders’ mobilization needed for liveable and smart urban areas for CC adaptation.

Mohsen Aboulnaga, Marco Sala, Antonella Trombadore
Governing and Planning Local Climate-Change Adaptation in the Alps

Several studies show that mountain territory has special vulnerabilities and is subject to specific impacts of climate change. This article investigates governance of climate change in mountain areas, focusing on the case of Italy where national and regional instruments address adaptation to climate change at various scales. The study intends to provide a methodological framework aimed to elicit adaptation actions applicable in mountain areas and consistent with specific impacts and adaptation objectives, supported by indicators and at the same time suitable for being perfected for use in other territories. The research stems from the “Budoia Charter,” a voluntary declaration of commitment to implement adaptation measures to climate change in Alpine municipalities. This study illustrates the methods used in support of the application of the charter, particularly for a set of five pilot areas exposed to climate impacts, from the western to the eastern Alps in Italy. The units under investigation are described based on geographical characterization, available sources of knowledge, local climate context and impacts, vulnerabilities, preparedness on specific vulnerabilities, governance type, resources and key planning instruments, and public awareness of climate change. Scientific information is then coupled and weighed with local demands and perceptions through a mixed model (qualitative and quantitative). An analysis of coherence and comparison between the impacts, objectives and measures of adaptation to climate change was conducted through national, regional and sub-regional plans and other sources. Aiming at identifying a set of site-specific adaptation measures applicable to mountain areas, the alignment of all actions to overarching and/or legally binding plans has been carefully checked to designate adaptation measures coherent with the national and regional adaptation frameworks. The main goal of the study is to provide a standard procedure aimed at identifying suitable adaptation actions for sub-regional geographical units in a mountain environment as a basis for framing a background to a decision support system (DSS) for sub-regional adaptation in mountain areas, aligned with the overarching planning and policy context.

Luca Cetara, Marco Pregnolato, Pasquale La Malva
Projections of Electricity Demand in European Cities Using Downscaled Population Scenarios

This work projects future residential electricity demand derived from cities and municipalities’ population and residential land-use projections. Starting from national-level energy intensity data, we derived statistically downscaled residential electricity consumption with the aim to disaggregate residential electricity at the local administrative unit level for all EU member states in the year 2050. The intensity in 2050 is obtained from population density that, in turn, depends on the evolution of population and residential land-use. Residential land-use is projected to 2050 according to a model linked to population trajectories at the LAU level via the share-of-growth method. Finally, country-level intensity multiplied by the projected value of LAU residential area returns the electricity demand for every LAU. The results suggest that the amount of electricity required by cities depends on their land-use patterns, but with an evident between-and-within-country heterogeneity. The national average temperature does not provide significant effects over the evolution of electricity demand, highlighting the need for more detailed climate-related variables. This evidence poses significant challenges for the planning of future cities because it points out how the current patterns of land-use will need to be properly categorized with respect to the development of future electricity requirements.

Gianni Guastella, Enrico Lippo, Stefano Pareglio, Massimiliano Carlo Pietro Rizzati
Integrated Building Data for Smart Regions and Cities—An Italian Pilot

Regional and local decision-makers still require relevant information and training in order to establish long-term strategies and to contribute to national and supranational energy and climate targets. As an example, a widespread participation of local authorities to comply with the Italian long-term building renovation strategy has not occurred so far. Thus, the overall target, annual 1% floor area of new or deeply renovated buildings to the nearly zero-energy building (nZEB) standard by 2020 (PanZEB 2015), proves to have been disregarded to date. Evidence-based, data-enabled assessment of the building stock and of its relationship with the energy system as a whole at a capillary level is crucial to this extent. In Italy, various building databases are already being used with the ultimate purpose of EPBD implementation and to track and record incentives for public and private building renovation. These datasets have an untapped potential for local energy planning that could be released from wider integration, also including energy consumption data and smart-metering data. Moreover, the regulatory landscape is changing toward an interaction of the building with the user, the energy grid and other buildings in a dynamic and functional way. Within this context, the paper will investigate how integrated data could unlock the value of a more evidence-based planning starting from the DIPENDE integrated dataset, a REQUEST2ACTION (IEE 2014–2017) pilot project combining data from energy performance certificates (EPCs) with bottom-up information on building renovation, and other data in order to support decision making at different territorial scales.

Ezilda Costanzo, Bruno Baldissara
Thermal Performance Evaluation of Unshaded Courtyards in Egyptian Arid Regions

Effective architectural features such as courtyards can mitigate heat stress in hot arid regions. Appropriate configuration of the courtyard leads to significant improvement in the thermal performance of the building and directly influences the behavior of its users and the functionality of the space. The aim of the study was to evaluate the thermal performance of various courtyards by examining various sky view factors (SVF) and courtyard orientations so that suggestions could be offered for future guidelines for construction designs in Egyptian arid regions. The study was conducted on the new Aswan University campus built in the desert region of new Aswan city. Field measurements and simulations were used to evaluate the thermal conditions of these courtyards. Thermal comfort was measured by physiologically equivalent temperature (PET). The study determined that unshaded courtyards should be oriented in a north–south direction to mitigate the effects of solar radiation intensity. Whereas SVF can be lowered to less than 0.2 for courtyards in a north–south orientation, further SVF reduction for courtyards in other orientations might result in heat-trapping. Adding a greening area improves the thermal performance of courtyards.

Hatem Mahmoud, Ayman Ragab
Societal, Research and Innovation Challenges in Integrated Planning and Implementation of Smart and Energy-Efficient Urban Solutions: How Can Local Governments Be Better Supported?

This paper reports on a special session organized during the SPPCR 2019 conference by Urban Europe Research Alliance and the Action Cluster Integrated Planning, Policy and Regulations of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities, in collaboration with several key networks, projects, and programs. The aim of this special session was to discuss how integrated planning and implementation can help to boost the transition to low-carbon cities and how good examples and best practices of such an integrated approach can foster wider replication of smart and energy-efficient solutions in cities across Europe. European Commission policy officers updated the audience on expected changes in smart sustainable city policies in the new programming period between 2021 and 2027. Ambitious and comprehensive on-going European smart city projects highlighted how they designed and deployed a holistic, integrated perspective during the phases of project preparation and execution, often in a living lab approach, and the challenges they had to overcome in doing so. Cities and researchers committed to replication of smart and energy-efficient solutions, shared their needs and dilemmas, in particular regarding the role of holistic, integrated approaches. However, it was also pointed out that specific constraints, make that replication has to explicitly designed for in the very early stages of any project and should be part of any holistic approach. Others presented different avenues for stepping up the efforts to create smart and energy-efficient cities in an integrated way: from providing low-threshold roadmaps for developing customized strategies and building collective transformative capacity through pooling of national research resources, to setting up learning energy communities and deploying Interreg funds for innovative decision-making on energy-efficient public buildings. Interactive sessions explored persistent knowledge gaps regarding integrated planning and implementation and how new projects can be built for positive energy districts. It is concluded that the value of a holistic or integrated approach is generally acknowledged and several good tools have been developed in EU-funded projects helping to concretize it, but that the concept needs to be better articulated, made accessible to time-pressured city administrations, geared toward specific urban situations and contexts, and translated into specific local processes and procedures to better support local governments.

Judith Borsboom-van Beurden, Simona Costa

Urban (Big) Data: Challenges for Information Retrieval and Knowledge Discovery

Transposing Integrated Data-Driven Urban Planning from Theory to Practice: Guidelines for Smart and Sustainable Cities

The smart city (SC) discourse is a dynamic academic field pushed by a drive for urban digitalization and the convergence of urban planning and management with advances in information-communication technologies (ICT). A standardization of the professional profile “smart city expert” would benefit both the academic discourse, by positioning the field and outlining a competence set for education and cities, by characterizing the disruption of the SC paradigm to their current practices. One approach to define such a profile is through a literature review; however, a bottom-up approach deriving standards from practice is equally important. This study presents a step-by-step methodology for smart urban planning, defining accompanying activities to a conventional planning process. These activities use ICT to accessorize planning with improving the efficiency of evidence generation, increasing the range of actions based on evidence, and the transferability of knowledge expanding participation scope. The planning process is validated in four case studies on planning challenges with complex, multi-sectoral implications. The practice-based approach demonstrated the impact of the chosen ICT-accessorized planning process, and the feedbacks outlined the necessity of a professional with a broad knowledge of urban planning that is supplemented by specific data science skills and an understanding of the ICT market.

Viktor Bukovszki, Ahmed Khoja, Natalie Essig, Åsa Nilsson, András Reith
City Indicators Visualization and Information System (CIVIS)

Sustainable urban transformation is characterized by multiple factors (e.g. technical, socioeconomic, environmental and ethical perspectives) that should address the evaluation of alternative urban planning scenarios or opportunities. This defines a complex decision-making process that includes various stakeholders where several aspects need to be considered simultaneously. In spite of the knowledge and experiences during the recent years, there is a need for methods that lead decision-making processes. In response, a City Evaluation Framework is proposed in the TEC4ENERPLAN project aiming at supporting cities during the preliminary stages of the strategic planning process through the definition of an evaluation framework to assist city managers in transforming cities towards sustainability. This methodology, based on indicators allows assessing specific characteristics of the city, diagnoses challenges or discovers patterns through reliable metrics but also compares various aspects of the cities thanks to the standardization of the indicators and indexes defined. Additionally, there is a need for tools that support the city planners when handling and interpreting data, solving automatically the complex processes of data processing and storage, selection of indicators, and valorization of the city-related values. Inside the TEC4ENERPLAN project, a full web-based application called City Indicators Visualization and Information System (CIVIS) is being developed to fulfil the aforementioned goals. Combining programming in Shiny under R language and the usage of storage with PostgreSQL databases, with the integration of advanced statistical techniques, the multidisciplinary data from the cities can be evaluated within an evaluation framework defined by indicators extracted from related ISO standards. Currently, the tool is in its final stage of development, prior to final validation with data from the cities. The result will be a web-based application tool that will inform users about the city’s progress towards sustainable development through the visualization of the city indicators aggregated per city pillar; it will even enable their comparison with the ones belonging to other cities. The application works this way as a valuable advisor during the decision-making process by highlighting in accordance with the resulting indexes which city assets need to be enhanced, which ones comply with the objectives set by the city, and the degree of development of those assets compared with similar municipalities. In a long-term view, the graphics and data would help to trace the evolution of the various different city strategies or politics, exposing clearly if those actions have had a positive or negative impact on the sustainable development. Considering this, the application should perform as a reliable measure for the city policies through time.

Álvaro Samperio-Valdivieso, Paula Hernampérez-Manso, Francisco Javier Miguel-Herrero, Estefanía Vallejo-Ortega, Gema Hernández-Moral
Methodology and Operating Tool for Urban Renovation: The Case Study of the Italian City of Meran

Nowadays, hundreds of cities around the globe are undergoing smart urbanization: The concept of smart cities is rapidly gaining worldwide attention. The agenda for smart urban renovation is expected to solve a multiplicity of challenges, with the key aim of significantly increasing the urban quality of life. In this wide scenario, the majority of methods for becoming ‘smart’ imply the use of a strategic approach. Considering this, the following question arises: how should local authorities, small and medium enterprises, as well as utility providers, approach smart urbanization? This research work aims at contributing to this issue, through the development and application of a methodology for the smart city implementation. The assumption is made that holistic enabling tools designed to support smart urban development are more than ever crucial. Their adoption is necessary to establish new smart city services and to manage processes and data information flows, as well as to allow better communication and collaboration among stakeholders. Starting from these observations, the main objective of this work is to develop an operating tool that supports cities in defining a smart city roadmap for strategic decision-making that is in line with their defined city vision and that enables the implementation of smart services. The concept was developed during the research project ‘OPENIoT4SmartCities’, funded by the Operational Program for the European Regional Development Fund ERDF 2014-2020 (CUP: B11B17000720008) in Südtirol/Alto Adige. The tool was tested on the city of Meran, in the Italian province of South Tyrol. The smart services to be studied were chosen as a result of workshops held together with the city’s key-stakeholders, during which brainstorming was done on the basis of the most important issues linked to urban development, i.e., energy, mobility, security and public lighting, environment and waste, and e-governance as transversal topic. In a first screening, all smart services were evaluated based on: (i) their importance according to the cities’ stakeholders; (ii) their contribution to the city vision; (iii) the service’s smartness; and (iv) their estimated potential impact. All the services that contribute to the city vision and are considered to have a positive impact on the city’s inhabitants are subjected to a pre-feasibility study in which the technical, economical and legal feasibility are evaluated in order to generate a strategic roadmap. The results are presented in the form of a classification of the urban services, together with an explanation of the smart city roadmap for the city of Meran.

Alice Schweigkofler, Katrien Romagnoli, Dieter Steiner, Michael Riedl, Dominik T. Matt
Investigate Walkability: An Assessment Model to Support Urban Development Processes

This chapter is about defining and testing a multi-methodological framework able to measure the “walkability” in the urban practice perspective, based on assessment indicators and Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Nowadays, cities are facing a complex challenge concerning sustainability, which is fueling the search for new development solutions. Among others, one of the most important problems is how to make cities sustainable and resilient, as stressed by the Sustainable Development Goal 11 (SDG11) highlighted by the United Nations through the 2030 Agenda. The topic of “walkability” appears in this framework: Walking has ecological, social, economic and political benefits. Moreover, designing walkable networks is important to create a functional and multi-modal city with transport choices and makes urban settlements sustainable and inclusive from the perspective that a sustainable city is also a walkable city. However, despite the positive impact of walkability on public space, it is still difficult to fully include it in governmental strategies because of its novelty in the scientific debate. The ongoing research proposed here aims at: (i) describing the problem, related to what trends and strategies have been implemented to face it; (ii) investigating walkability, understanding its definition in the scientific panorama, and how it is evaluated; (iii) understanding the current evaluation methods to assess the walkability of spaces; (iv) proposing a new multi-methodological framework based on existing methods that are able to measure the walkability degree from the perspective of better planning of cities. The multi-methodological framework has been tested through a case study: the Politecnico di Torino Campus (Torino, Italy).

Francesca Abastante, Marika Gaballo, Luigi La Riccia
Assessing the Level of Accessibility of Railway Public Transport for Women Passengers Using Location-Based Data: The Case of H2020 DIAMOND Project

The chapter presents a data-driven approach based on the use of Geographic Information Systems and data analytics for assessing the level of accessibility for the women passengers of the railway network service managed by FGC—the Railway Agency in Catalunya (Spain). A series of geolocated open and proprietary datasets related to the land and sociodemographic and mobility characteristics of the Province of Barcelona and to the FGC’s railway network has been analyzed and merged with disaggregated social-media data collected from Twitter. This was aimed at maximizing the diversity of station samples that will be observed, in order to ensure that the observed cases are representative of the different situations and locations of any single station. The selected stations are currently under investigation through on-site observations about universal design indicators and survey questionnaires focused on women passengers’ needs and expectations. Within the objectives of the H2020 project DIAMOND, the final aim of the proposed research is to support the definition of guidelines and policies for the inclusion of women’s needs in the design of future urban transport services.

Andrea Gorrini, Rawad Choubassi, Anahita Rezaallah, Dante Presicce, Ludovico Boratto, David Laniado, Pablo Aragón

New Value Propositions in Times of Urban Innovation Ecosystems and Sharing Economies

Assessing Integrated Circular Actions as Nexus Solutions Across Different Urban Challenges: Evidence Toward a City-Sensitive Circular Economy

Cities across the world are actively exploring the circular economy concept, a key urban planning and design approach for the green transition, simultaneously enabling greater energy and material efficiency and lower pollution, as well as job creation, social inclusion, human health, and well-being. The city can be viewed as a complex socio-ecological system, in which infrastructures and urban forms have co-evolved along with sociocultural practices and the lifestyles of urbanites. Circular design and systemic thinking have not yet been incorporated into the planning and design of the urban built environment, and this limit has progressively created vulnerabilities and risks. Among the various urban resources, available land is often scarce, as it is natural landscape. Consequently, it is particularly important that vacant public space is re-functionalized and brownfield sites are restored. Equally, green infrastructure—urban forests, green roofs, green walls, permeable pavements, and constructed wetlands—provides critical ecosystem services (supporting, provisioning, regulating, and cultural services) at different scales: building, district, city, and region. Green elements and systems in the urban built environment regulate climate, air, and water quality; enable nutrient and water cycling and soil formation; provide space for growing food and for recreation. Using a mixed methods approach, including a literature review and case study analysis, the research identifies several opportunities and challenges to integrated circular actions, “nexus solutions” across various urban challenges, i.e., sociocultural, economic and financial, regulatory, political, institutional, ecological, environmental, and technological. The study then focuses on critical dilemmas faced when implementing nexus solutions. Providing an overview of selected international initiatives, the contribution, leveraging on an extensive interdisciplinary research, aims at showcasing how districts and cities are advancing the circular economy concept in practice. Evidence provided by projects and case studies—such as: Freshkills Park, a landfill reclamation project on Staten Island, in New York City; Royal Seaport, a major urban regeneration project in Stockholm; and Buiksloterham, a neighborhood and an urban living lab in Amsterdam North—are provided, aiming at testing and validating circularity at different scales. The outcomes of the conducted study identify in particular the impacts, both positive (benefits) and negative (trade-offs) of incorporating circularity into the urban planning and design processes, as well as how these can be assessed in order to stir robust systemic change in the long term.

Maria Beatrice Andreucci, Edoardo Croci
Build or Reuse? Built Environment Regeneration Strategies and Real Estate Market in Seven Metropolitan Cities in Italy

To redevelop the existing city without consuming additional land, there are many regeneration strategies. The choice between the various strategies depends essentially on the expectations of developers. This study considers two in particular: the demolition and reconstruction of obsolete buildings and the reuse of existing assets. The research examines the feasibility conditions of the two strategies, highlighting the aspects that favor demolition and reconstruction over reuse with a model that holds together spatial and economic variables. The model is tested in seven metropolitan cities. The results show that demolition and reconstruction is an option that can only be pursued under favorable settlement and market conditions, forcing smaller cities to focus on recovery strategies for existing assets.

Alessia Mangialardo, Ezio Micelli
Addressing the Problem of Private Abandoned Buildings in Italy. A Neo-Institutional Approach to Multiple Causes and Potential Solutions

The problem of having abandoned buildings in urban contexts is animating policy debates at various institutional levels (e.g., local, regional, and national). In Italy, as elsewhere, the often concerned tones concerning issues of “vacancy” or “decay” of buildings tend to overlap with “abandonment” problem. However, public discussions are not always able to identify and separate truly problematic states of built assets from totally legitimate states of affairs. In order to design viable policy strategies to tackle abandonment problem at various scales, it is important to understand: (i) Why private owners opt for the abandonment of their assets instead of using or selling them, and (ii) What can be done to bring properties back onto the regular market. The aim of this chapter is to explore the various causes and solutions to the abandonment problem in reference to Italian urban contexts and institutional settings. The study adopts a neo-institutional approach to address the problem of abandoned private buildings in Italy. The methods used for the investigation are mainly qualitative and based on (a) an extensive literature review, (b) official data found in official documents and reports from national and international agencies, (c) eleven interviews with relevant actors, (d) an analysis of local normative records and national regulations, and (e) on-site investigations in various Italian urban contexts. This paper intends to enlarge the analytical focus on urban abandonment processes, questioning how this empirical phenomenon is influenced by institutional and public policy settings at various levels of governance.

Anita De Franco
Unlocking the Social Impact of Built Heritage Projects: Evaluation as Catalyst of Value?

To be sustainable, projects concerning built heritage resources need to take into account multiple dimensions, including the social one. More particularly, the implementation of initiatives combining either restoration or adaptive reuse with the achievement of social goals may be in some cases greatly recommendable: In fact, these types of interventions could be able not only to preserve and transmit the intrinsic and cultural components of built heritage but also to extend the relevance of the resources to larger segments of society and generate a multifaceted social impact overall. However, to effectively achieve social objectives, the adoption of evaluative thinking seems recommendable. Given this framework, this chapter strives to integrate the regeneration project of a system of historical farmhouses located in Volpiano, Italy, with actions aiming to favor the social inclusion of NEETS (i.e., youths not in education, employment, or training). Considering that the redevelopment of the system of the historical farmhouses was previously studied under the lens of corporate social responsibility, the integration of the social impact perspective represents an evolution in the discourse. By a methodological and processual perspective, the paper then proposes to follow the steps of logic models, while combining qualitative and quantitative evaluation approaches able to firstly describe and then quantify the multiple values engendered through the interventions. Finally, the contribution highlights that the application of evaluative thinking and evaluation procedures to built heritage projects with social objectives may facilitate both the definition and achievement of shared goals and thus function as a real catalyst of value.

Cristina Coscia, Irene Rubino
Renewable Energy Communities: Business Models of Multi-family Housing Buildings

The new European directive on renewable sources (RED II), which entered into force in December 2018, has opened new perspectives on the consumers and the decentralization of energy production. The purpose of this work is to analyze the inclusion of the energy communities in the Italian regulatory framework. The analysis focuses on the strategies that can be adopted by tenants to share rooftop photovoltaic module production and stored electricity and the consequent economic impact on their electricity bills. We have created a program that simulates various business models to be proposed to prosumers of multi-family housing buildings through which the economic return of every participant in the energy community is evaluated. The program receives as input the data of the renewable energy community, and it returns as output the electricity bill of each tenant, while considering the cost of the energy purchased from the grid and the economic revenues from self-consumption and from the sale of the excess production for each of the business model adopted. Therefore, the advantages and disadvantages of the models are highlighted. The net metering is profitable, but excluding it, energy sharing within communities would be the best scenario: In the considered case study, with 10 kW of PV installed power for a community, the reduction in costs is equal to 15%. Moreover, the convenience of a heterogeneous set of electricity demand profiles of the members is clearly evident (in the considered case study, this entails a 10% reduction in costs). Finally, the most proper business model must be selected, to assure the benefit for each energy community participant: The examined models result in a bill differential between −20 and 36% for each participant.

Valeria Casalicchio, Giampaolo Manzolini, Matteo Giacomo Prina, David Moser
Relevance of Cultural Features in Contingent Valuation: A Literature Review of Environmental Goods Assessments

This contribution is a literature review of contingent valuation (CV) applied to the assessment of environmental goods and municipal waste management (MWM), in particular. MWM activities and works do not guarantee private entrepreneurs a profit, so they are only conducted by public authorities. The positive externalities resulting from MWM can nonetheless be assessed and assigned a monetary value. The most often used approach in the environmental field is the contingent valuation method (CVM), which enables an estimation of the willingness to pay (WTP) for MWM. Given the paucity of empirical research on the economic sustainability of MWM, the aim of the present study is to review published CVM case studies in the field of waste management (municipal solid waste recycling, landfill mining). We collected 50 surveys on the WTP for MWM and established a set of statistically significant variables influencing the feasibility and/or enhancing waste treatment at the municipal level. The review underscores the prominent role of cultural factors, rather than strictly economic influences on the WTP for a given service. High levels of education and awareness of environmental issues and of the impact of waste management on the environment encourage people to pay more for enhancing MWM and to support new MWM policies. These data may be helpful in the design of further empirical research on other environmental activities, such as landfill mining, based on the benefit transfer (BT) methodology, given the lack of case studies and empirical research on these issues in southern Europe.

Valentina Antoniucci, Giuliano Marella, Roberto Raga, Shinya Suzuki
Circular Economy Meets the Fashion Industry: Challenges and Opportunities in New York City

With increasing awareness and urgency to address the risks of climate change, resource depletion, and waste accumulation, the concept of the circular economy is gaining momentum as a guiding framework to design and implement system-level strategies and policies to enable sustainable economic development. Today’s fashion industry is one of the sectors that has the greatest opportunity to transform from a linear take-make-waste approach to a circular model that minimizes non-renewable resource consumption and landfilling of textile waste. The key is to extend the fashion product life cycle and incentivize value-creation opportunities. With the principles of making the fashion industry circular in mind, this paper focuses on New York City to examine the various stakeholders and their collaborations that seek novel ways of closing the loop of the fashion value chain. The stakeholders’ current strategies and main bottlenecks are analyzed to assess opportunities for technological and policy interventions. We argue that, while technologies such as the Internet of things and digital identification have great potential to increase feedback loops and transparency throughout the fashion product value chain, thereby addressing existing challenges in making the circular transition, it is crucial to understand the context in which to apply these technologies and assess policy and regulatory incentives that need to accompany them. This paper provides an explorative overview of the experiences in New York City, which serves as a useful case study for policymakers, organizations, and individuals who are interested in knowing the actual practice and challenges in applying circular economy principles to the fashion industry.

Younghyun Kim, Savannah Wu

Dissolving Borders: Towards Integrated Territorial Approaches, from Smart Cities to Smart Regions

Beyond the City Limits—Smart Suburban Regions in Austria

The majority of the population in Austria lives and interacts in (sub)urban regions. Their areas of activity cross the borders of cities, municipalities, and countries. The urban regions consist of the core city and the catchment areas, and the balance and the equilibrium between the city and its surroundings is very important for sustainable spatial development. The size of the urban regions in Austria ranges from small- and medium-sized regions to polycentric agglomerations and the metropolis of Vienna. Nevertheless, urban regions are currently not sufficiently defined by type of region nor established at the planning or action level among political and administrative stakeholders. One of the reasons is that urban regions as functional spaces with flexible borders extend beyond political and administrative borders. Due to this lack of clarity with respect to political responsibility for urban regions, it is often difficult to find support for urban–regional cooperation on the political level. The “Agenda for Urban Regions in Austria” is a first milestone to implement an Austrian policy for its urban regions. It identifies measures for regional actors and especially policymakers on different administrative levels to remain urban regions sustainable in the future and to encourage and support collaboration. Urban regions have to master challenges in many different fields covering the entire spectrum of spatial development. They have to take actions to improve mobility and accessibility across city borders, to secure free space for everyone by a prudent use of free space and natural resources and to support diversity and cohesion to provide space for the diversity of lifestyles. A very important action is the sustainable development of settlements and business locations through improved interaction of cities and municipalities within urban regions to achieve more for less investment. One of the key points is that urban regions practice governance to support cooperation among their actors. The steering and coordination of the spatial development in urban regions (i.e., the governance) affects not only various actors in urban regions but also the coordination between federal government, provinces, municipalities, and cities. With the establishment of governance structures in urban regions, steering and coordination areas will be adjusted to functional areas. In this way, it is possible to solve spatial challenges jointly, to bundle resources and to raise the willingness to cooperate among the actors in urban regions.

Nina Svanda, Petra Hirschler
Rural Areas as an Opportunity for a New Development Path

The paper proposes an integrated view of the territory in which there is no conflict between rural areas and urban areas. This is in line with the indications of the 2007 EU Charter of Leipzig which calls for integrated planning strategies between rural and urban, small, medium, large, and metropolitan areas. Therefore, an ecological multidisciplinary approach to the territory, using the concept of ecology proposed by the 1950s by Dioxiadis, is suggested, concept then taken up by Appold and Kasarda in the early 1990s. And it is the key word of the Encyclical Laudato Sii for the Care of the Common House of Pope Francis 2015 which refers to the principles of the 1992 Rio Conference based on the centrality of “human ecology” and on the alliance between man and nature, which in 1995 Scandurra had requested in L’ambiente dell’uomo (The Environment of Man). The phenomenological, from the Greek world phenomenon, is the methodological keystone of the paper. The well-being of the person and of the communities must be the objective of those who deal with the development of the territory. Rural areas in this sense can offer great opportunities, generated today by the many technological innovations, both tangible and intangible, potentially available. However, this should not overshadow the need for links that facilitate access to these areas. One of the important positive effects of the presence in rural areas is the reduction of hydrogeological risk thanks to the presence and daily maintenance of them. Among the aspects that raise questions that are difficult to answer is the risk that the more accessible an area becomes, the more there is a threat of its loss of uniqueness. Last but not least, it should be pointed out that the rural areas are a sort of territorial “reserve” for populations that have to abandon their lands due to climate change or who seek a quality of life not possible in large metropolitan areas. All this means that some geographical areas, primarily Calabria, are potentially territories where scenarios can be hypothesized for a different modes of anthropizations indispensable to move toward the objectives of the UN 2020–2030 Charter on sustainable development. In light of the COVID 19 emergency, these indications are even more relevant.

Stefano Aragona
The Impact of Action Planning on the Development of Peripheral Rural Villages: An Empirical Analysis of Rural Construction in Yanhe Village, China

As a central factor for building, smart and sustainable regions innovation requires the effective combination of local knowledge with expert knowledge, as well as the support of an extensive network. However, due to geographic distance, less agglomeration, and insufficient capacity, rural regions have fewer opportunities to actively communicate with the outside world, which limits their ability to learn and absorb external knowledge. Quite a lot of spatial planning has greatly improved ICT infrastructure in rural regions, but cannot guarantee the improvement of the knowledge level and innovation ability there. How can we effectively enhance knowledge learning and innovation networks in the construction of rural regions? This paper takes the rural construction of Yanhe Village in Hubei Province, China as a case, and discusses the issues mentioned above. Located in the southwest mountainous area of Hubei Province, Yanhe Village is relatively remote. It faces many problems, such as serious environmental pollution, economic backwardness. Since 2003, with the help of Green Cross NGO, the village committee led the villagers to carry out a large number of construction projects. The environment and economy of the village have been rapidly improved. More significantly, after the withdrawal of the NGO, the economy of Yanhe Village has maintained steady growth and the environment has been well maintained. Via literature research, fieldwork, and in-depth interviews, this research finds that besides the infrastructure improvement, the curriculum training conducted by Green Cross NGO considerably helps to enhance knowledge learning. In this process, local elites were effectively driven by external knowledge disseminators and became local knowledge disseminators. The seminars and collective construction actions carried out by the village collective itself further digested the new knowledge. As the initiative of village committee members, township and village enterprises and migrant workers grow, and the formal and informal relationships between a multitude of actors became richer. This article emphasizes that, besides ICT infrastructure, it is very important to provide training and guidance to villagers, especially the localelites. Moreover, diverse subjects should be encouraged to participate in rural construction. The resulting innovative environment makes the introduction and implementation of innovations possible.

Qiuyin Xu, Tianjie Zhang
Sustainability of Cultural Diversity and the Failure of Cohesion Policy in the EU: The Case of Szeklerland

The study focuses on the issue of preserving and maintaining the cultural and linguistic diversity of the EU and presents a possible way to utilize the tools of regional development planning for such purposes. The issue is of relevance for many reasons. Most importantly, the founding Treaties of the EU contain obligations of the Union to uphold its linguistic and cultural diversity. Additionally, maintaining this diversity is a crucial part of the human rights-based approach to sustainable development and as such forms an integral part of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations. The study first discusses why linguistic and cultural diversity is important from the point of view of sustainable development. It then presents the case study of Szeklerland in Romania as an illustrative example of how such diversity is under threat and concludes with a discussion on a possible way the EU can foster the preservation of its rich linguistic diversity through its regional development policy planning.

Attila Dabis

Thriving Governance and Citizenship in a Smart World: Environments and Approaches Fostering Engagement and Collaborative Action

Toward a Smart Urban Planning. The Co-production of Contemporary Citizenship in the Era of Digitalization

This paper investigates mediated negotiations in ‘smart city’ experimentalism. As often claimed, data can open pathways for innovative planning processes. However, the idea of planning underpinned by the interplay between citizens and data too often remains unquestioned. How might we move the idea of planning from data to provide (technical solutions) to data to transform (urban societal realities)? How can data empower citizens as true drivers of a transformative urban change? This paper argues for a planning perspective to enhance a new sense of citizenship in a future technology-driven urban democracy. The framework combines planning theory with theories of societal change under a critical pragmatism. The empirical research derives from Mobility Urban Values (MUV2020), a Horizon 2020 innovation and research project (2017–2020), with the ambition to change mobility endeavors toward a more participatory and sustainable urban policy. The paper synthesizes analysis of the ‘practice stories’ of professionals dealing with and facilitating the interplay between data and citizens in six European cities. It then discusses MUV’s deliberative planning process in which citizens generate data (co-creation of values), interpret data (co-design of facts) and perform utterances to call for new urban policy (co-production of actions). The conclusions draw a possible pathway to enhance smart urban planning as a perspective to empower citizens with data for a progressive democracy in the era of digitalization. Change-oriented practitioners can potentially facilitate smart urban planning through: 1) technological devices that engage individual citizens (choices) with data practices in everyday life; 2) frames for the interpretation of data with citizens’ and communities (practice) and 3) public conversations between citizens with other publics (system) for new street-level practices of urban democracy.

Enza Lissandrello
Digital Technologies for Community Engagement in Decision-Making and Planning Process

The way that we describe and understand cities is radically transforming—just like the tools we use for designing and implementing them. The change is often seen only as a technological aspect, for example, in the concept of smart cities. Smart cities are believed to provide societies with a higher quality of life thanks to modern technologies. However, there is also a human factor that is needed to make these changes go smoothly: acceptance. For many, change and innovation cause fear and disrupt everyday habits. Public participation is crucial both for understanding citizens’ needs and for adopting new programs. The ability to try, engage, or entertain with new technologies will move innovation from the abstract level to the level of understanding. A smart city can be a living laboratory that tests new technologies and services where citizens and urban communities are active actors in the process. Innovation can be used by the city to improve its services, mutual communication, and engage citizens in its activities and projects, co-creating urban space and city strategy through new participatory tools. Trends in European cities show that the use of modern digital technologies and interactive tools can be used to involve citizens in urban decision-making processes, e.g., when creating or revitalizing public spaces. Modern participatory technologies that enable citizens to explore, analyze, design, and evaluate spatial information on the basis of shared and open data that bring new challenges and new opportunities to cities, as well as for citizens. Our knowledge of the use of these new technologies, however, is still narrow and limited today. In the following research, the authors intend to explore the potential of digital technologies for community engagement in the decision-making process in smart cities by examining the specific settings upon which social innovation builds. We discuss the potential of digital participation for community development and propose good-practice examples for facilitating the process of adopting and integrating digital technologies within such settings. Rather than conclusions, some final reflections are proposed, based on how digital technologies can play a crucial role in involving new groups of people, empowering citizens and building new relationships at the local level.

Antonella Galassi, Lucia Petríková, Micaela Scacchi
Emerging Interpretation Models of Social and Institutional Innovation in the City. The Role of ‘Intermediate Places’ Between the USA and Italy

Distinguished schools of thought, within the increasing impact of the ‘Innovation District’ phenomenon, have highlighted the ‘Innovation Center’ idea and its interpretations as physical structures able to build a powerful nexus for social and institutional innovation in urban regeneration. These ‘intermediate places’ can be considered interactive playgrounds, triggering new horizons in urban policies toward shared, inclusionary solutions more likely to meet the needs of local communities. Social innovation is strictly path-dependent, enabled by ‘opportunity windows’ in which local actors get mutual engagement and advantage, addressing contextual needs, while creating virtuous cooperation and new governance arrangements. The thesis of the paper is that innovation centers—as ‘intermediate places’—can be successful if they are built to recover direct relationships between the various stakeholders in the urban arena; consequently, the operative capacity of practices can expand the planning strategies providing the perspective of a long-term change. Through comparisons and drawbacks arising from case studies selected from different cultural and physical geographies (City of Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and Bologna, Italy), the paper emphasizes the recognition of the variety of ‘intermediate places’, encompassing the diversity of actors, within a strategy for an authentic urban innovation ecosystem.

Bruno Monardo, Martina Massari
Smart Creative Cities and Urban Regeneration Policy: Culture, Innovation, and Economy at Nexus. Learning from Lyon Metropolis

In 1995, the English planner Charles Landry and Franco Bianchini published “The Creative City”, focusing on three intertwined topics: the cultural, social, and economic impact that arises from creativity in cities; the need to promote integrated urban planning levering on knowledge from other disciplines; and the active inclusion in urban planning processes of ordinary, often marginalized people. A few years later, Landry issues “The Creative City. A Toolkit for Urban Innovation”, a book in which he challenges and further develops his ideas by proposing them as a “toolbox for urban renaissance.” At the beginning of the twenty-first century, the American economist Richard Florida delivers what is considered a milestone on the subject of the creative city: “The Rise of the Creative Class”, in which he emphasizes the characteristics of people performing creative activities in cities, as well as the conditions that cities must offer in order for the “creative class” to be attracted and settle in them. The Smart Creative City is a more recent concept. It grew out of economic science, especially the so-called Experience Economy. Regarding specifically the economic development of cities, creativity, art, and culture represent strategic assets in the urban regeneration process, and the socioeconomic feature of smart creative cities can be considered the most evident and critical one. This study thus springs from the recognition of the relevance of smart creative cities, and of an integrated and visionary planning approach to urban regeneration—itself creative. This analysis has been conducted focusing on selected experiences developed by Lyon metropolis, aiming at understanding whether and how the municipality is levering on creativity, art and culture within its urban regeneration programmes. This objective is addressed through a mixed-qualitative methodology that investigates the political discourse and adopts a descriptive case study approach to analyse policy processes, drivers, and obstacles that are fostering or limiting that vision in the local context of Lyon. The research responds to the questions posed, showing both the transformative capacity and the trade-offs of explicitly integrating cultural and artistic projects and events, as urban “innovative” regeneration devices, within the “common” planning and design practice of the municipality of Lyon.

Maria Beatrice Andreucci
Analysis of National Research Programs to Boost Urban Challenges in Transnational Cooperation

The paper analyzes of National Research and Innovation Programs related to urban topic, still ongoing in 2018; the main aim is in to highlight the possibility to align, around joint urban research priorities, the national programs of 16 European Member States (Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Netherland, Norway, Poland, Romania, Slovenia, Sweden, and the United Kingdom). According to the GPC (High Level Group on Joint Programming), “alignment” is the strategic approach taken by Member States to modify their strategies, priorities, or activities as a consequence of the adoption of joint research priorities in the context of joint programming, with a view to implement changes to improve the efficiency of investment in research at the level of Member States and the European Research Area. The analysis is based on data collected with an online survey among funding agencies in the framework of the EXPAND project, the Coordination and Support Action to boost the Joint Programming Initiative Urban Europe. The main goal of the survey is to highlight how the research national programs are close to each other, in order to develop strategies for sustainable and liveable cities. The overall approach analyzes the key elements of each program and compare it with the five thematic priorities of Strategic Research and Innovation Agenda—S.R.I.A. The aim is to cause all the funding agencies involved in JPI Urban Europe to have a common vision of what is “aligned” beyond the different rules and applications at the national level. The information was provided and gathered through the Web tool and collected to identify similarities and differences among national programs relating to their main features: research topics, aims, eligibility, and funding criteria. Finally, the activity identifies suitable tracks and criteria to foster the alignment, thus providing a basis to build on a strategy for the sustainable, resilient, and liveable urban areas. The main outcomes of this analysis were: national program’ aims, objectives, and results; national funders/management; programs name linked with research area or research topic; program relations to SRIA thematic priorities.

Gilda Massa
The Role of Stakeholders’ Risk Perception in Water Management Policies. A Case-Study Comparison in Southern Italy

Across Italy, water-related risks have affected communities, environmental systems, urban areas, and economic activities, due to the hydro-geomorphological characteristics of the country. Around 16.6% of the Italian territory is classified as being vulnerable to such risks, and the approximately 8,300 km length of the Italian coastline further increases the complexity of this system. Evidence demonstrates that it is not easy to determine the effectiveness of a risk-management policy to reduce water-related risks. The unsuccessful results of such policies, based on the traditional paradigm of operation research, led practitioners and policy-makers to consider stakeholders’ risk perception, such as socioeconomic dynamics, interaction, previous experience, values, and cultural factors, facilitating bottom-up approaches. The literature highlights that the effectiveness of risks related to water management policies heavily depends on human behaviors, decisions, actions, and interactions that depend on the perspectives and frames of stakeholders involved. The perceived risk influences stakeholders’ decisions and actions. Therefore, differences in risk perception could have a twofold implication. On the one hand, they could lead to conflicting situations. On the other hand, they can offer opportunities for the development of innovative solutions hampering the effectiveness of the risk-management policies. In order to understand the role of stakeholders’ risk perception about natural hazards in urban contexts, a multistep methodology has been applied to two case studies in the Apulia region (Southern Italy). Specifically, analyses of flood risk in the city of Brindisi and the coastal erosion in the town of Margherita di Savoia have been conducted. This work is subdivided into two steps. The first part gives an overview on the traditional risk-management tools and the factors influencing stakeholders’ risk perception. The second part tries to elicit stakeholders’ risk perception through problem structuring methods. Finally, a comparison is carried out between the two case studies. It is aimed at highlighting the common points and the differences regarding the role of stakeholders’ risk perceptions about water-related risks in management policies.

Stefania Santoro, Giulia Motta Zanin
Devising a Socioeconomic Vulnerability Assessment Framework and Ensuring Community Participation for Disaster Risk Reduction: A Case-Study Post Kerala Floods of 2018

In addition to planning for smart, sustainable, equitable and economically strong communities, physical planners must now simultaneously tackle the imminent ramifications of disasters like floods and cyclones to ensure that no individual is left behind from being a part of a resilient community. This study attempts to prove that, by developing and adapting an approach that understands, quantifies and maps vulnerability, we can help in curbing the adverse effects of disasters. The research is done in the context of the 2018 Kerala floods, in a case-study area specific to the coastal region of Ernakulam District. In August of 2018, the state experienced its worst-ever widespread calamity; floods, affecting more than 75% of the villages spread across its 14 districts and impacting the lives of around 5.4 million people. This humanitarian crisis exposed an array of hidden, as well as obvious, vulnerabilities of the many coastal communities in the small state. Therefore, the aim is to develop an approach-based framework for decision-makers and physical planners to understand and reduce vulnerability to disasters and ensure community participation; we strive to make the existing disaster management process and disaster risk reduction measures much more effective. The research began as an attempt to explore the concept of disaster risk and vulnerability while examining the past trends and methods of flood vulnerability assessments, with a primary focus on the parameters/indicators that are used to quantify it. Subsequently, an approach was devised to assess vulnerabilities, and the analysis that follows traces this approach in the context of the floods, across the various levels of jurisdiction in the state, from the state to the community level. Finally, the study examines the multiple dimensions of vulnerability and disaster management across state policies and district plans in Kerala to identify gaps. In the context of those findings, an analysis is done of the missing link of socioeconomic vulnerability, from district to local self-government to community level (top-down approach), mapping its entire process. Later, an identification of the issues and their implications is done through community participation, and the findings are added to the skeleton of the proposed approach to complete a disaster (flood) vulnerability-reduction framework and prove its applicability.

Fathimah Tayyiba Rasheed
Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Cities: Discrimination Against Vulnerable and Marginalized Groups—A Review of a Hidden Barrier to Sustainable Urbanization

Implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (or, in abbreviated form, SDGs) is a global obligation. SDG 11 focuses on the issues of sustainability in cities and other communities, which has a strong correlation with significant human rights, such as the right to a healthy environment or the right to water and sanitation. The most worrying barrier to the implementation of this SDG is the discrimination against vulnerable and marginalized groups of the society. This study aims to identify the various forms of discrimination in this context and propose a solution framework. In the study's context, sustainable urbanization is extended to the promotion of human rights and the improved meaning of security, which involves the respect of fundamental rights. This context is based on the principle of sustainable development and its three systems (ecological, economic, and social).The classical legal methods—the analysis of the international and national legal background and the related literature—are complemented by the qualitative case-study legal method. Analysis of the secondary and primary data, from Hungary and Transylvania (Romania), revealed the various, sometimes additional, discrimination against specific vulnerable groups, like passengers with special needs or socially, politically disadvantaged ethnic groups. The results indicate that sustainable urbanization must be based on the respect for human rights, and this shall be addressed at all levels of decision making and practical implementation. To achieve this, on the one hand, the exploration of the potential discrimination is essential, and this should be based on independent actors’ reports. This also requires the extension of the SDGs’ indicators, therefore the criteria of the evaluation. On the other hand, the state's active steps are also needed to eliminate the violations, such as specific measures concerning the special need of the vulnerable people of the particular community. Taking all this into consideration, it is possible to create human-centred cities and other human communities to bring about territorial balance and prevent human-rights violations.

Vivien Benda

Tackling Energy Poverty

Exposure and Vulnerability Toward Summer Energy Poverty in the City of Madrid: A Gender Perspective

Recent research has addressed the special relationship between energy poverty and women. Despite that not many studies are yet available, results show that there might be strong gender inequalities connected with household’s energy deprivation. Furthermore, differentiated health impacts have been detected between men and women, putting women into a more vulnerable position. In this sense, the so-called feminization of energy poverty is urging a revision of the existing studies from a gender perspective to foster its inclusion within energy poverty alleviation policies. The present study explores the links between summer energy poverty and gender in the city of Madrid. Summer energy poverty is considered another variety of energy deprivation particularly relevant within mid- and low-latitude countries, in which energy consumption for cooling is heavily increasing. It also seems to be particularly relevant in cities in which the urban heat island introduces relevant variations in the microclimatic conditions that might increase the housing-cooling demand. Following the methodology developed in previous studies, the risk of suffering from summer energy poverty is, in this paper, explored considering the household’s gender composition. The geospatial distribution of their vulnerability is compared with other indicators related to their exposure to high temperatures: the housing energy efficiency and the cooling degree hours. The evaluation at the sub-municipal scale is carried out among the different subgroups in which a woman is the main breadwinner: single women with children and single women over 65 years old. Their situation is also compared to those households in which a man is the main breadwinner. The analysis of the selected variables is conducted using a hot spot analysis, which evaluates the autocorrelation of each variable according to its spatial distribution. Results show that women living alone and above 65 years old seem to be under the highest risk. They concentrate in areas with low energy-efficient housing stock and strong urban heat island intensities. On a general basis, the income gap between women and men makes it advisable to address energy poverty with a gender perspective.

Miguel Núñez-Peiró, Carmen Sánchez-Guevara Sánchez, Ana Sanz-Fernández, Marta Gayoso-Heredia, J. Antonio López-Bueno, F. Javier Neila González, Cristina Linares, Julio Díaz, Gloria Gómez-Muñoz
The Ecobonus Incentive Scheme and Energy Poverty: Is Energy Efficiency for All?

With 2017, National Energy Strategy, Italy introduced a definition of energy poverty, combining three elements: the presence of a high level of energy expenditure, an amount of total expenditure below the relative poverty threshold and a null value for the purchase of heating products. The Integrated National Plan for Energy and Climate adopts the same definition, provides an estimation on the evolution of energy poverty in 2030 and lists the tax deduction scheme for energy renovation of the existing building stock (Ecobonus) among the specific measures dedicated to energy poverty. Implemented as an alternative measure under Article 7 of EED (European Energy Efficiency Directive), Ecobonus enables the households in the no-tax area—which are likely to be energy poor—to transfer their tax credits to financial institutions, work suppliers or other private entities, reducing the investment cost for energy/efficiency interventions. Based on information at the regional level, namely ENEA microdata on Ecobonus, this paper examines the possible relationship between indicators such as household income and the access to Ecobonus. Additionally, the study analyzes if this relationship changes for the different categories of interventions incentivized by Ecobonus, such as the replacement of windows and shutters or of heating systems. The hypothesis is that the incentive measure, with its current approach, has a regressive distributive effect on households, and it does not effectively support energy-poverty eradication. To our knowledge, the relationship between income and interventions incentivized by Ecobonus has not been investigated before, neither at the regional level nor in an energy-poverty framework.

Chiara Martini
A Behavioral Model for In-Home Displays Usage in Social Housing Districts

The SINFONIA project is one of the first attempts to combine technological and behavioral policy levers to fight energy poverty in social housing districts. Tenants of Bolzano social housing are provided with renovated dwellings. To enhance the management of the renovated capital stock, they are also supplied with an in-home display (IHD) that provides real-time feedback on energy consumption and indoor parameters. But how will tenants react to IHDs? Previous studies investigate which features and benefits of IHDs generate engagement, but they yield little useful information on their effectiveness in low socioeconomic-status settings. With this study, we examine the behavioral process underlying tenants’ usage of IHDs. In contrast to the existing literature, we consider how cognitive biases, specifically, locus of control and present bias, affect the degree of interaction with IHDs. Their consideration is particularly important in this setting: Scarcity affects the cognitive process in a way that may undermine the effectiveness of projects requiring active behavioral change (such as IHDs). To integrate the various elements and account for their relative importance, we develop a theoretical model of the decision to interact with in-home displays (IHDs). On the one hand, by interacting with IHDs, tenants reduce their energy bills and CO2 emissions, deriving economic and moral utility. On the other hand, interacting with the IHDs generates disutility, for instance, in terms of opportunity cost of time to put in place their feedback. The interaction will occur only if the expected benefits are higher than the expected costs. We argue that such cost-benefit evaluation is further affected by present bias and locus of control. First, a stronger present bias may lead to higher discounting of such benefits and make them loom weaker than the immediate effort required to use the IHD. Second, a more external locus of control may downgrade the perception of energy saving resulting from IHDs usage, thereby reducing the expected economic and environmental benefits associated with a specific level of interaction. Through a theoretical discussion, our work contributes to informing the design of policies aimed at tackling energy poverty.

Valeria Fanghella, Nives Della Valle
Investigating the Role of Occupant Behavior in Design Energy Poverty Strategies. Insights from Energy Simulation Results

Energy poverty is very much interlinked with housing stock characteristics in terms of energy performance. Energy-led building renovation within the social housing stock combines the energy-saving goal with social and economic co-benefits (e.g., poverty alleviation and health improvements), thus contributing to facing stigmatization, social segregation and energy poverty, particularly prevalent in the social housing sector. However, to design renovation strategies aimed at achieving multi-benefits rather than just improving the buildings energy performance still remains a challenge, and considerations concerning energy poverty alleviation are far from being embedded. To the aim of this investigation, building energy renovation is believed to be a key opportunity to roll-out a comprehensive urban regeneration strategy with the goal of tackling energy poverty. However, at the same time, it is important to acknowledge that the gap between expected and actual energy consumption in buildings is highly dependent upon the human factor. Indeed, energy saving is not only a matter of technology, but it is influenced by the use by and the behavior of occupants. The overall aim of the paper is to provide an insight into building energy simulation and occupant behavior modeling as tools to support policymakers in making decisions on which strategies to apply to energy poverty through improvement of energy efficiency of public housing stock. To do so, this contribution investigates the impact of occupant behavior to reduce energy consumption at the household level. The Italian public housing sector is taken as a reference. A multi-family public housing building is assumed as a case study. Three dwellings with different sizes and exposures are considered, having three different occupancy patterns in turn. The results show to what extent the heating loads are influenced by occupant behavior and dwelling characteristics. The results are then discussed to form a basis for exploring how and to what extent housing policies and energy-led regeneration strategies can contribute to addressing energy poverty.

Angela Santangelo, Simona Tondelli, Da Yan
Energy Retrofitting in Public Housing and Fuel Poverty Reduction: Cost–Benefit Trade-Offs

The Italian housing stock is one of the least energy-efficient in Europe. The residential sector accounts for 36% of primary energy consumption, and nearly 76% of Italian dwellings were built before 1981 (49% are more than 50 years old). According to the Italian Ministry of Economic Development, almost 90% of the Italian building stock exhibits an excessive energy demand. This condition widely affects public properties and specifically public housing. Due to the lack of financial resources, public-housing energy retrofitting is nowadays a critical issue in Italy. Nonetheless, energy retrofitting may play a key role in reducing fuel poverty, especially in public-housing contexts where there is a convergence of factors aggravating it: low-income households, which cannot afford high energy prices, and poor energy efficiency of homes due to the lack of insulation and/or inefficient heating systems. Although the urgent need for investments in the improvement of public-housing energy performance to comply with the Directive 2010/31/EU (recast in 2018—Directive 2018/844/EU) is widely recognized, the spread of good practices is strongly hampered by their cost-effectiveness and the split incentive issue. The aim of the paper is to provide a methodological framework to identify cost-effective and cost-optimal strategies of intervention that match technological advancements and knowledge in energy retrofitting, with both social and environmental needs and end-users behavior. We take into consideration the adoption of basic energy efficiency measures involving the building envelope, HVAC and domestic hot-water systems. We compare costs (e.g., investment and operating costs) and benefits (e.g., energy cost savings) and determine how far and how much it is optimal to push on retrofitting of public-housing assets. To solve this issue, we proposed to split monetary benefits due to energy savings between landlords and tenants to find a compromise solution that accounts for both landlords’ and tenants’ interests. Our results show that installation of building envelope thermal insulation guarantees paying back investment costs as quickly as possible. Nonetheless, this investment is not the most profitable from tenants’ perspective, due to relatively small monetary benefits obtained after a discounted payback period. From the tenants’ perspective, the replacement of existing boilers and the installation of building envelope thermal insulation proved to be the most profitable with respect to our split incentive hypothesis.

Chiara D’Alpaos, Paolo Bragolusi

Rural-Urban Relationships for a Better Territorial Development

Rural–Urban Relationships for Better Territorial Development

Well-established relationships between urban and rural areas are key drivers for a balanced territorial development. By promoting spatial and functional interdependencies between cities and countryside, they provide opportunities for inclusive, smart, and sustainable development. The chapter presents different contributions related to various types of urban–rural relationships among different types of spaces, across different sectors, using different instruments or initiatives, which overall contribute to targets of territorial cohesion. It collects reflections on the following inquiry: theoretical, methodological, or empirical reflection on smart rural–urban relationships; digital technological developments, to incorporate digital tools as opportunities for smart solutions to live, work, and move; entrepreneurship and new business models to attract labor markets and ways of cooperation between urban and rural actors as an opportunity for new value-added chains; social innovation as initiatives and creative ways to improve social services across rural–urban areas, to reduce, adapt, or address natural risks. Finally, the chapter shed light on some of the relevant future trends in the urban–rural relationship.

Elisa Ravazzoli, Christian Hoffman, Francesco Calabrò, Giuseppina Cassalia
Multiscale Urban Analysis and Modelling for Local and Regional Decision-Makers

In today’s increasingly complex urban environments, decision-makers are facing far-reaching uncertainties regarding the possible impact of their implemented measures. Moreover, dynamic transformation processes involve a large number and variety of stakeholders representing intertwined and oftentimes conflicting interests and constraints. It is therefore extremely urgent that interventions in the urban realm be supported by innovative instruments. Amongst others, they must provide assistance in setting priorities for urban design and planning actions and in optimizing and foreseeing their possible effects on an extensive timescale. Against this background, we propose a comprehensive seven-step methodology for urban analysis and modelling, with a special focus on their effective integration. We believe that for accuracy, credibility and real-world-applicability purposes, spatial models must rest on a thorough investigation of existing space–time patterns and processes. Firstly, the analysis part identifies the most important regional trends and their shaping factors for our case study, the Ruhr area in Germany. Secondly, it investigates prevailing demographic, socioeconomic and economic profiles and derives their characteristic scales. Moving forward, we discuss how empirical findings may be infiltrated into the multiscale urban model (MURMO) and proceed to highlight the model’s main features. Finally, we run simulations under a “Smart City” scenario and review how results can form the recommendation-basis for both spatial and non-spatial measures. We will explicitly discuss the relevance of each of the steps for urban stakeholders in their decision-making processes.

Janka Lengyel, Jan Friedrich
Preference-Based Planning of Urban Green Spaces: A Latent-Class Clustering Approach

Green spaces within cities are important oases of restoration and space for physical activities. Due to the health benefits provided by visits to urban green space, encouraging people to increase frequentation may be a public policy objective. To do this, individual attitudes should be considered because individuals may not respond in the same way to the increasing availability of green spaces. In this paper, we propose a latent-class analysis to probabilistically allocate respondents into homogeneous groups, each with similar attitudes towards green-space visitation. The data originated from a questionnaire survey of adult Irish citizens who resided in major Irish cities. Results identified three groups of users with varying visitation and attitudes and suggested that the conditions of the neighbourhood where people reside can influence attitudes and willingness to visit green spaces, thus raising questions about access to green spaces.

Gianluca Grilli, John Curtis
A Smart and Open-Source Framework for Cultural Landscape Policies

This paper will emphasize that a smart and open-source framework based on meaningful and relevant open-source principles for future cultural landscapes policies is a viable option for the local policymakers. Relevant to our research will be the open-source paradigms that could be used in urban and rural development, the relationships between cultural landscapes and open-source principles, the importance of open-source innovation and the issue of open-topic argumentation in cultural landscapes policies and projects, with direct implications to the policy development in Romania. To achieve this, the paper will expose findings on some of the most important and relevant theories around concepts like cultural landscapes, smart cities, big data and open innovation. In the end, the goal is to build upon those findings and create a draft for a feasible framework for future cultural landscape and policies based on specific open-source principles.

Alexandru Calcatinge
Smart and Sustainable Planning for Cities and Regions
Dr. Adriano Bisello
Dr. Daniele Vettorato
Dr. Håvard Haarstad
Dr. Judith Borsboom-van Beurden
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