Channeling Smart Technology to Improve the Sustainability of Cities

The Source
By: Guest contributor, Tue May 9 2023

Author: Guest contributor

Human ambitions are gradually dragging our planet to its limits. Global urban population growth has led to a multitude of social, economic, and environmental challenges, that are entwined in one another. 

The need for creating smart, sustainable cities is becoming more widely recognized, especially in ways that promotes inclusion, fairness, and sound governance, and particularly with regards to the integration and application of technology for improving well-being and socio-economic conditions of city dwellers. 

Research has a key role in supporting SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities. Responding to this mission, the new open access journal Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities aims to provide an interdisciplinary forum for the application of information science and advanced digital technologies to the construction and management of sustainable cities.

While cities are the specific topic of SDG11: Sustainable Cities and Communities, it is interesting to realize that cities account for a large part of the various targets (65%) and indicators (a whopping 86%!) that make up the United Nation’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). What is it about cities that put them at the heart of sustainable development?

Cities: A Myriad of Challenges and Potentials 

The world has been experiencing unprecedented urban growth over the last decades. Over half of the world’s population lives in cities, and the trend is expected to continue growing. 

Cities are economic powerhouses, serving as nerve centers for the global economy and society, and they have the potential to be agents of positive change. Yet rapid and disorderly urbanization has been leading to deep inequalities and an unsustainable urban environmental reality.

The challenges posed by this trend of urbanization are numerous, spanning social, economic, and environmental issues, that are entangled and entwined. Insecurity, public health, inequality, as well as pollution, waste management, and accessibility of services, are all responsible for the well-being and development of people and plant. Making cities more inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, as called for in SDG11, is a timely—indeed pressing—necessity.

Making Cities More Sustainable: What Does it Take?
Smart Construction © UNECE

The internaltional community has resolutely grasped the necessity to make cities sustainable and smart to ensure well-being, inclusion, resilience, and sustainability. This is enshrined in SDG11 and its aims to enable safe housing, providing sustainable transport systems, achieving inclusive and sustainable urbanization, protecting the world's cultural and natural heritage, and reducing the adverse effects of natural disasters.

Accelerating progress towards the achievement of the SDGs, and particularly when it comes to making cities more sustainable, requires understanding, predicting, and influencing the inherent complexity of relationships between technology, humans, and the living environment. Any policy and strategy decisions must be based on solid scientific understanding of the complex issues at hand.

Understanding and addressing the challenges for sustainable cities dictates a complex, inter- and trans-disciplinary endeavor. Furthermore, the integration of technology to city dynamics should be explored as a key to improving living conditions and tackling pressing environmental, social, and economic challenges.

The intersection of various disciplines associated with smart and sustainable cities, however, is not yet sufficient. Various fields relating to smart and sustainable constructions studies have been covered independently by excellent discipline-specific journals, albeit lacking comprehensive cross-disciplinary coverage. The new open access journal Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities fills this gap, providing an interdisciplinary forum for the application of information science and advanced digital technologies to the construction and management of sustainable cities.

Research in Support of SDG11

The research community has a central role to play in scaling up innovative scientific advances to support the implementation of SDG11 (as for the other SDGs). Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities aims to foster that effort.

The journal encourages knowledge heterogeneity, and thus aims to showcase research relating to and combining the various fields that together can support the achievement of smart and sustainable cities. These include civil engineering, artificial intelligence, urban planning and management, manufacturing, urban governance, data science, transportation, mechanical engineering, electronic information, computer science, etc. Positioning the human and the environment at the heart of research is considered essential to successfully assure long-term sustainable, livable, inclusive cities.

What kind of topics will be featured in the journal, in support of SDG11? Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities will feature research focused on transformative solutions, systematic approaches, science-policy-practice, and innovative systems to support the development of urban intelligent construction and maintenance, Intelligent manufacturing, intelligent perception and digital image processing, future urban brain, and intelligent computing.

How to Make an Impact with Research

The variety of contribution types available in Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities are intended to highlight scientific knowledge and offer insights that inspire the best decision making. Contributions will spark debate (Comment articles), critically analyze existing knowledge (Review articles), shed an incisive light on key findings in research (Perspective articles), report cases that contributes to existing knowledge (Case studies), and present new innovative results (original articles). 

The journal’s Editorial Board—comprising the most prolific experts in their respective domains—will ensure the publication of highest quality and innovative research. 

With a view to maximizing impact and reach, the journal is published open access. Furthermore, in support of innovation and novelty, the journal has waived the article processing charges, so authors do not need to pay any article processing charge for its early issues.

Put Your Research to Work 
44268 © Springer Nature 2023

Accelerating the pace of progress towards the achievement of the SDGs requires the contribution, support, and foundation of research. How can your work—based in such various disciplines as engineering, energy, environmental, materials, social sciences, and beyond—be part of research that supports a sustainable future? Ensure your SDG11-related research makes real-life impact: Find out now about Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities’s aims and scope and the submission guidelines. The article processing charges have been waived - authors do not need to pay any article processing charges for its early issues.

For the latest on sustainable cities, explore Springer Nature’s SDG11 Hub, part of the Sustainable Development Programme.

About the authors:

Professor Shui-Long Shen

Shui_long Shen © Shui_long Shen

Professor Shui-Long Shen is the Dean and distinguished Professor, College of Engineering, Shantou University, China, while collaborating with other international institutions, including Saga University, Virginia Tech, The University of Kansas, The University of Hong Kong, Suranaree University of Technology, Ecole Centrale de Nantes, Swinburne University of Technology, RMIT University, as a guest/visiting/adjunct professor. He is a distinguished leading talent of Guangdong Province, China. 

Editor-in-Chief of Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities, Professor Shen’s research interests focus on the urban underground infrastructural system, smart maintenance of urban underground facilities, risk modeling and artificial intelligence.

Pierre Guy Atangana Njock © Pierre Guy Atangana Njock

Dr. Pierre Guy Atangana Njock

Dr. Pierre Guy Atangana Njock received his PhD degree in Civil Engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in 2021. He is currently a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at Shantou University. 

He currently serves as a member of the Early Career Editorial Board for Smart Construction and Sustainable Cities.


Author: Guest contributor

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