Green and Ecological Technologies for Urban Planning: Creating Smart Cities

Green and Ecological Technologies for Urban Planning: Creating Smart Cities

Ozge Yalciner Ercoskun (Gazi University, Turkey)
Release Date: December, 2011|Copyright: © 2012 |Pages: 404|DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-453-6
ISBN13: 9781613504536|ISBN10: 1613504535|EISBN13: 9781613504543
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Ecological and technological (eco-tech) planning provides a possible response to the essential issues of sustainability and rehabilitation in rapidly growing urban spaces.

Green and Ecological Technologies for Urban Planning: Creating Smart Cities addresses the ecological, technological, and social challenges faced in the smart urban planning and design of settlements when using eco-technologies – from sustainable land use to transportation, and from green areas to municipal applications – with a focus on resilience. Containing research from leading international experts, this book provides comprehensive coverage and definitions of the most important issues, concepts, trends, and technologies within the planning field.

Topics Covered

The many academic areas covered in this publication include, but are not limited to:

  • Adapting Cities to Ecological and Economic Challenges
  • Advanced environmental technologies
  • Eco-Municipalities
  • Energy Efficient Design
  • Geographic Information Systems
  • Intelligent Transportation Systems
  • Land-Use Sustainability
  • Smart Cities
  • Smart information and communication technologies
  • Sustainable Transportation
  • Sustainable Urbanism
  • Urban and Transport Planning
  • Urban Resilience
  • Zero Energy Buildings (ZEB)

Reviews and Testimonials

This book represents a timely contribution to researchers, people in spatial sciences, students, and decision makers, containing a deep and broad discussion of eco-technologies and their potential contribution to sustainable urban planning, which is an area of rapidly growing importance. It not only provides answers, but also stimulates new questions and areas for study in sustainable urban planning, smart & green cities, and technical development.

– Ozge Yalciner Ercoskun, Gazi University, Turkey

Table of Contents and List of Contributors

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At the beginning of 1900s around 15% of the world’s population was living in urban areas, but today this figure has reached over 50%, and is estimated to rise to around 65% in 2025. In addition, the United Nations has suggested that in 50 years time from 2010 to 2060, the world’s urban population will have doubled, and for this reason, cities can be deemed as spaces for consumption. Ensuring the sustainability of a city or rehabilitating one that has been destroyed is no easy task, as urban problems are increasing day by day; however ecological and technological (eco-tech) planning or design may offer a possible response to these problems. It is the intention with this book to present a new perspective of what our future might hold, approaching the subject in a proactive rather than reactive way with the firm belief that we can still shape that future within the rapidly changing energy context.
Central to this book are the concepts of sustainable urbanism and eco-technologies, with eco-tech design focusing around such topics as “cities of tomorrow,” “resilience,” “ecological development,” “energy efficiency,” “sustainable transportation,” “smart information and communication technologies,” “open and green area planning,” “geographic information systems,” and “advanced environmental technologies.”

There are four separate eco-technologies that may be utilized by city planners and other professions dealing with space in the planning and design of a settlement: “Environmental Technologies (ET)” encompass a broad range of technologies related to energy, water, and waste, while “Information Technologies (IT)” include a broad range of computer-based hardware and software and environmental sensing technologies for the gathering of environmental data. “Geographic Information Technologies (GIS)” provide for the storage, transformation, manipulation, management, visualization, updating, querying, and reporting in related databases of geo-referenced data in a tabular format, and incorporates an Urban Information System that facilitates land use analyses, the preparation of development and environmental plans, monitoring and control of eco-zones, transportation, et cetera, and allows for their dissemination on the Internet. Finally, “Communication Technologies (CT)” are used for the transfer of environmental data, information, knowledge, and decisions in wired or wireless environments.  

This book addresses the ecological, technological, and social challenges faced in the smart urban planning and design of settlements when using eco-technologies – from sustainable land-use to transportation, and from green areas to municipal applications – with the focus being on resilience. Containing research from leading international experts, this book provides comprehensive coverage and definitions of the most important issues, concepts, trends, and technologies within the planning field.

The overall aim of the book is to develop an understanding of how the different perspectives of sustainable development, urban planning/design, and technological development interact in scientific, administrative, as well as community collaborations, and what steps can be taken in settlements to combat climate change. The book contains several discussions and a variety of case studies that combine to fill an existing void in this field. The contributors offer different perspectives on eco-tech cities, sustainable communities, energy efficiency in urban design and building, and technologies used in urban design and sustainable transportation, all of which can be interpreted in a variety of ways. The book aims to answer such questions as:

What form will be the cities of tomorrow take?
What changes will result in the creation of smart cities?
What are the impacts of eco-technologies on social and cultural sustainability?
Is there any way of incorporating eco-technologies into settlement planning and design to ensure the construction of sustainable communities?
How are cities supported by eco-tech transportation?
What local solutions are made available by GIS for the protection of the natural resources of the city and its periphery?
How can engineering and construction support eco-tech planning and design?

This essential publication will be a worthy addition to academic and research libraries, and may prove useful to people with an interest in eco-technologies in urban planning. Students, researchers, and educators in the fields of urban planning and design, architecture, landscape planning and design, environmental engineering, civil engineering, mechanical engineering, agricultural engineering, sociology, and geography will find that this resource provides cutting-edge research on techniques, trends, and practical applications for use in these fields. Finally, central government bodies such as Ministries of Public Works, Settlement and Energy, as well as local governmental offices, may find practical ideas for application.

The contents of the book are presented under six headings: Social Sustainability, Smart Cities, Energy Efficiency, Urban Transportation, Geographic Information Systems/Natural Areas and Urban Sustainability, and Municipalities and Sustainable Communities. Each section contains chapters that range from basic research to case descriptions, as well as more visionary ideas, presenting the reader with new insights and answering a broad array of questions.

The first theme, Social Sustainability, contains chapters that suggest how resilient communities can be created, how an environmentally sound and human-friendly framework for sustainable urbanism can be put in place, and how ICT can be used to encourage more ecologically friendly habits and improve social equity. Here, I have contributed a chapter that searches for new ways of creating resilient communities with the sustainable use of technologies, while discussing the significance of equity, economy, and traditional knowledge in resilient cities. The chapter puts forward a green approach that encompasses both mitigation and adaptation, and explores potential and practical ways of creating urban resilience. A detailed review of the existing definitions and policies on urban resilience is presented, as well as the role of eco-technologies and the city planner. A set of urban design strategies and a list of key stakeholders are proposed as the critical ingredients towards achieving urban resilience. 

In the following chapter, Derya Oktay establishes an environmentally sound and human-friendly framework for sustainable urbanism. She begins by providing a conceptual understanding of sustainable urbanism and a critical review of its philosophical and practical framework, and follows this up with an assessment of contemporary approaches to sustainable urbanism. Finally, she analyses the traditional Turkish (Ottoman) city to search for valuable clues for sustainable development, and discusses possible research directions that may help promote the concept of sustainable urbanism.

The next chapter throws light on the general principles of technological assistance in the attainment of social equity, and explores how information and communication technologies (ICT) can be used in urban sustainability planning to encourage more ecologically friendly habits and improve social equity. Abby Spinak and Federico Casalegno start by asking why current initiatives in the teaching of ecological urban practices are not more aligned with socially equity goals. To understand this misalignment, they review the historical relationship between environmental and social concerns within evolving notions of sustainable development, before defining a framework for urban sustainability that more fully incorporates equity concerns. Unraveling the idea that there are no technical solutions to urban poverty, they argue that intelligent applications of ICT in urban services can significantly improve the reach of public transportation, resource distribution and civic engagement.  

Smart Cities are covered in the second section, with offerings dealing with network models and architectural utopias. This section opens with a chapter by Patrizia Lombardi, Silvia Giordano, Andrea Caragliu, Chiara Del Bo, Mark Deakin, Peter Nijkamp, and Karima Kourtit who put forward a decision network model built around an analytical hierarchy that is able to verify whether the development of cities within the North Sea Region has been “smart.” It aims to offer a profound analysis of the interrelations between the components of smart cities, including human and social relations, connecting the intellectual capital, wealth, and governance of their regional development. The chapter demonstrates that the inclusion of the abovementioned relations in the analytical hierarchy framework is significant, in that it allows for the first time the opportunity for this network model to capture the triple helix of a smart urban or regional development. Additionally, it verifies whether the transformation of the cities it ushers in is based merely on an index of intellectual capital, or if there is a measure of wealth creation whose standards of governance are smart.

The chapter written by Akin Sevinc looks at mankind’s struggle with natural circumstances, and especially the changes undergone in the mid-twentieth century as a result of architectural structures of utopias. This may be considered as a research of imaginary projects that have had as a starting point “peace and happiness, assessing them to see if they have peaceful approaches to nature or not.” The chapter examines a number of projects, ranging from the first simple efforts to the more notable examples, looking in particular at how nature was handled and how the projects responded to the scarcity of natural resources that would come in the future. As smart cities come to terms with meeting their contemporary requirements with scarce resources, the question that comes to mind in the examination of utopias is “Could these imaginary projects be the first sketches of smart cities?”

Energy Efficiency is covered under the book’s third theme. Here, discussions are opened into zero energy buildings, energy efficient residential block design, and computational tools in urban design. Paris A. Fokaides discusses the potential consequences to European cities resulting from the widespread implementation of zero energy buildings (ZEBs) and other relevant environmental technologies in accordance with the national goals set by the EU Member States. He presents a detailed review of the existing EU member states’ definitions and policies on low energy buildings and ZEBs, as well as the current status of Renewable Energy Source (RES) technologies for ZEBs. He concludes by sharing his thoughts on the minimization of energy consumption in the building sector and the green city goal, given that energy is considered to be one of the most important issues in the creation of a green community. 

In their chapter, Hakan Hisarligil and Sule Karaaslan present a methodological approach to residential block design for sustainable urban development in hot-summer and cold-winter climates. Presenting the case of Ankara, the authors focus on developing an energy efficient design process for residential block geometry that offers optimum performance for both climate and energy use. The numerous variables analyzed are orientation, building geometry, and envelope, heating and cooling loads of buildings and microclimatic conditions including solar radiation, air and wall temperature, and wind speed. The authors demonstrate the potential use of “free and user-friendly” simulation tools for such analyses early in the design phase.

In the next chapter, Yan Zhu and Tim Heath argue that urban sustainability necessitates the consideration of the end user’s engagement and the influence of physical urban environmental conditions. As environmental performance is a crucial factor influencing a person’s use of the urban environment, this should, therefore, be fully integrated into the urban design process. To this end, available and affordable computational tools can enable designers to deliver more successful physical urban environments. Through live project case studies, the authors demonstrate that the use of such computational tools can help mainstream urban designers, architects, and landscape designers to improve and adjust physical urban environmental conditions, and therefore encourage outdoor activities that can deliver more sustainable urban places.

The section entitled Urban Transportation collects chapters on eco-methodology for future eco-technologies and intelligent transportation systems from Singapore. In their chapter, Herman Knoflacher and Ebru Vesile Ocalir give the reasons and basics of a new approach that adopts eco-technologies in urban and transport planning. Research findings describing human behavior in artificial and technical modified environments are presented, from which the discrepancies between assumptions and real system behavior can be assessed. The authors criticize the use of technology in creating vulnerable urban structures instead of sustainable ones, with particular focus on the last 150 years, during which the availability of cheap fossil fuels for new transport modes and for heating and cooling has changed urban life dramatically. They introduce a new methodology in the use of eco-technologies in urban and transport planning, with validation being provided from some success stories.

Leo Tan Wee Hin and Ramathan Subramaniam focus on the Singapore experience, where intelligent transportation solutions have managed to alleviate a range of problems, thus contributing to its positioning as a smart city. Emphasis is on seven issues: public transportation using modern mass rapid transit trains; congestion control using electronic road pricing; electronic monitoring and advisory systems to guide road users in adverse conditions or incidents on the roads; parking guidance systems to alert motorists to the nearest car park, thus decreasing the level of floating traffic on the roads; integrated ticketing systems to promote inter-modal transfer; intelligent dispatch of taxis to help minimize idle cruising time; and island-wide computerized traffic signaling systems to streamline the throughput of vehicles. 

The next section, Geographic Information Systems, Natural Areas, and Urban Sustainability, combines articles on environmental applications, land-use assessment, and natural areas using GIS, coupled with an analysis of sustainable waterfronts and townscapes. Buket Aysegul Ozbakir points out some of the vital tools and methods used in GIScience (including GIS, remote sensing and 3D modeling) that can be used to address the issues of our urban environments and encourage the creation of livable cities. Erkan Polat presents a technique that integrates a SWOT-CATWOE analysis, the Delphi and Inquiry Technique, the Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP), and GIS for the evaluation of land-use suitability in cities. His proposed method begins with an identification of settlement requirements, followed by the derivation of settlement evaluation criteria through a SWOT-CATWOE analysis and the Delphi and Inquiry Technique, after which pair-wise comparisons (PC matrices) are formed between each pair of settlement criteria. The AHP is then used to measure the relative importance or weighting of each settlement criterion. Polat concludes by providing a theoretical and scientific base for an AHP and GIS combination in decision support systems. 

Adnan Kaplan presents two different cases, Melbourne (Australia) and Izmir (Turkey), in his exploration and conceptualization of green infrastructure (GI), suggested as a comprehensive system in the planning schemes of metropolitan cities. Following his assessment of Melbourne’s GI and its relevance to planning history, Kaplan undertakes a comparative analysis of Melbourne and Izmir in order to address the development of a metropolitan GI system for these cities that would support policies and strategies relating to sustainable urban development. Mihai Nita, Iulian Niculae, Diana Onose, Maria Patroescu, Gabriel Vânau, and Cristiana Ciocanea present four models for the conservation of natural resources in the influence areas of cities: protected areas, yellow-green belts, regional parks, and oxygen generating surfaces, claiming that the establishment and management of these areas can be better realized using GIS techniques.

In the next chapter, Matthew Bradbury discusses how a methodology for the development of a sustainable waterfront might be shaped through an understanding and consideration of environmental remediation technologies. He summarizes the history of waterfront development in Europe and America, and looks into how this model has become codified into a generic real estate process, and develops a critique of this model from an environmental perspective. A case study waterfront project is presented that emphasizes urban ecology and urban biodiversity towards the development of a waterfront design process for the ecological health of the city. Tan Kamil Gurer focuses on the visual sustainability of the character of a townscape, and the sustainable development of the city and its relation with the urban form. He introduces a typomorphology as a method for understanding the character of the urban form, and discusses its importance in the sustainability of townscapes.  

The final theme, Municipalities and Sustainable Communities, contains chapters focusing on eco-municipalities, eco-neighborhoods, and a transition model for sustainable communities. Seda H. Bostanci looks at the advantages of eco-municipality models and municipal applications for sustainability with the aim of finding a sustainable development model for Turkish municipalities. Her methodology is based on a literature review of eco-projects within municipalities, followed by a SWOT analysis of these projects. She suggests that LA21 processes and integrated models should adopt an eco-municipal approach in efforts towards transformation. Aysen Eren focuses on transition and resilience concepts in relation to socio-ecological and socio-technical systems. Transition Movement and Transition Models are investigated with an analysis of their characteristics and fundamental processes, from which it is concluded that Transition Movement is both a socio-ecological and a socio-technical system. She closes by answering the question of how the Transition Model can be adopted by cities in their attempts at transformation into resilient communities that are ready to face the ecological and economical challenges of tomorrow. 

The final chapter takes us to Denmark, where Laure Heland presents the main characteristics of sustainable neighborhoods in Europe, concentrating specifically on the creation of sustainable urban neighborhoods amid the ecological rehabilitation process of the city of Albertslund in Denmark. Her hypothesis is that the implementation of sustainable development brings about a renewal of local planning practices. She analyses how districts have attempted to overcome a major contradiction inherent in new eco-neighborhoods by combining a search for eco-technological performances with the incorporation of more social and cultural challenges. It is her belief that local action by inhabitants can play an important role in making sustainable development work.

Concluding remarks: The age of cheap oil is over in the world. Developed countries continue to fight for oil. Climate change and its effects are an ongoing and serious concern.  During the year-long process of editing this book, many countries suffered serious natural disasters; while water shortages, malnutrition, and widening eco-footprints continue to be a problem the world over. Local natural capital and local production is on the decline in cities, and social relationships, local values and traditions are being lost, meaning that cities need a radical, massive, and urgent eco-technological overhaul.

This book represents a timely contribution to researchers, people in spatial sciences, students, and decision makers, containing a deep and broad discussion of eco-technologies and their potential contribution to sustainable urban planning, which is an area of rapidly growing importance. It not only provides answers, but also stimulates new questions and areas for study in sustainable urban planning, smart & green cities, and technical development.

Author(s)/Editor(s) Biography

Ozge Yalciner Ercoskun is a Research Assistant in the City and Regional Planning Department of the Gazi University, Ankara, Turkey. She graduated from the City and Regional Planning Department of the Istanbul Technical University in 1998. She completed her Master’s studies in the Geodetic and Geographic Information Technologies Department of the METU in 2002. She got her Ph.D. degree from the City and Regional Planning Department of the Gazi University in 2007. She has attended several national and international congresses; summer schools and workshops related to ecological urban planning and geographic information systems. She has written more than 40 papers on sustainable urban design and ecological and smart urban planning, geographic information systems, and information technologies. She worked as a researcher in many national and institutional projects. She has awards about sustainability, urban growth, and sustainable tourism.

Editorial Board

  • Dushko Bogunovich, UNITEC, New Zealand
  • Derya Oktay, Eastern Mediterranean University, Turkey
  • Semra Atabay, Yildiz Technical University, Turkey
  • Inci Gokmen, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
  • Ali Gokmen, Middle East Technical University, Turkey
  • Sule Karaaslan, Gazi University, Turkey
  • Kerem Ercoskun, Yeditepe University, Turkey
  • Ebru Ocalir, Gazi University, Turkey