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[Online] Sustainable Infrastructure

Guest Editors-in-Chief 
Hao, Jiming, Chinese Academy of Engineering, China
Crittenden, John, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
 
Executive Editor-in-Chief
Song, Yonghui, Chinese Research Academy of Environmental Sciences, China
 
Members
Alvarez, Pedro J. J., Rice University Sweden, USA
Ariaratnam, Samuel T., Arizona State University, USA
Davidson, Cliff I., Syracuse University, USA
Dzombak, David A., Carnegie Mellon University, USA
Guhathakurta, Subhrajit, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Meng, Xiaoguang, Stevens Institute of Technology, USA
Qu, Jiuhui, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Shao, Yisheng, China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, China
Sedlak, David L., University of California, USA
Wu, Zhiqiang, Tongji University, China
 
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Impact of Low-Impact Development Technologies from an Ecological Perspective in Different Residential Zones of the City of Atlanta, Georgia
Zackery B. Morris, Stephen M. Malone, Abigail R. Cohen, Marc J. Weissburg, Bert Bras
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 194-199.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.005
Abstract   PDF (660KB)

Low-impact development (LID) technologies have a great potential to reduce water usage and stormwater runoff and are therefore seen as sustainable improvements that can be made to traditional water infrastructure. These technologies include bioretention areas, rainwater capturing, and xeriscaping, all of which can be used in residential zones. Within the City of Atlanta, residential water usage accounts for 53% of the total water consumption; therefore, residential zones offer significant impact potential for the implementation of LID. This study analyzes the use of LID strategies within the different residential zones of the City of Atlanta from an ecological perspective by drawing analogies to natural ecosystems. The analysis shows that these technologies, especially with the addition of a graywater system, work to improve the conventional residential water network based upon these ecological metrics. The higher metric values suggest greater parity with healthy, natural ecosystems.

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Understanding Infrastructure Resiliency in Chennai, India Using Twitter’s Geotags and Texts: A Preliminary Study
Wai K. Chong, Hariharan Naganathan, Huan Liu, Samuel Ariaratnam, Joonhoon Kim
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 218-223.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.010
Abstract   PDF (1691KB)

Geotagging is the process of labeling data and information with geographical identification metadata, and text mining refers to the process of deriving information from text through data analytics. Geotagging and text mining are used to mine rich sources of social media data, such as video, website, text, and Quick Response (QR) code. They have been frequently used to model consumer behaviors and market trends. This study uses both techniques to understand the resilience of infrastructure in Chennai, India using data mined from the 2015 flood. This paper presents a conceptual study on the potential use of social media (Twitter in this case) to better understand infrastructure resiliency. Using featureextraction techniques, the research team extracted Twitter data from tweets generated by the Chennai population during the flood. First, this study shows that these techniques are useful in identifying locations, defects, and failure intensities of infrastructure using the location metadata from geotags, words containing the locations, and the frequencies of tweets from each location. However, more efforts are needed to better utilize the texts generated from the tweets, including a better understanding of the cultural contexts of the words used in the tweets, the contexts of the words used to describe the incidents, and the least frequently used words.

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A Scheme for a Sustainable Urban Water Environmental System During the Urbanization Process in China
Huibin Yu, Yonghui Song, Xin Chang, Hongjie Gao, Jianfeng Peng
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 190-193.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.009
Abstract   PDF (1063KB)

Urbanization is a potential factor in economic development, which is a main route to social development. As the scale of urbanization expands, the quality of the urban water environment may deteriorate, which can have a negative impact on sustainable urbanization. Therefore, a comprehensive understanding of the functions of the urban water environment is necessary, including its security, resources, ecology, landscape, culture, and economy. Furthermore, a deep analysis is required of the theoretical basis of the urban water environment, which is associated with geographical location, landscape ecology, and a low-carbon economy. In this paper, we expound the main principles for constructing a system for the urban water environment (including sustainable development, ecological priority, and regional differences), and suggest the content of an urban water environmental system. Such a system contains a natural water environment, an economic water environment, and a social water environment. The natural water environment is the base, an effective economic water environment is the focus, and a healthy social water environment is the essence of such a system. The construction of an urban water environment should rely on a comprehensive security system, complete scientific theory, and advanced technology.

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Estimation of the Impact of Traveler Information Apps on Urban Air Quality Improvement
Wenke Huang, Mingwei Hu
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 224-229.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.003
Abstract   PDF (1283KB)

With the rapid growth of vehicle population and vehicle miles traveled, automobile emission has become a severe issue in the metropolitan cities of China. There are policies that concentrate on the management of emission sources. However, improving the operation of the transportation system through apps on mobile devices, especially navigation apps, may have a unique role in promoting urban air quality. Real-time traveler information can not only help travelers avoid traffic congestion, but also advise them to adjust their departure time, mode, or route, or even to cancel trips. Will such changes in personal travel patterns have a significant impact in decreasing emissions? If so, to what extent will they impact urban air quality? The aim of this study is to determine how urban traffic emission is affected by the use of navigation apps. With this work, we attempt to answer the question of whether the real-time traffic information provided by navigation apps can help to improve urban air quality. Some of these findings may provide references for the formulation of urban traffic and environmental policies.

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A GIS-Based Evaluation of Environmental Sensitivity for an Urban Expressway in Shenzhen, China
Qian Li, Fengqing Guo, Yuntao Guan
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 230-234.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.002
Abstract   PDF (1783KB)

Urban eco-environmental degradation is becoming inevitable due to the extensive urbanization, population growth, and socioeconomic development in China. One of the traffic arteries in Shenzhen is an urban expressway that is under construction and that runs across environmentally sensitive areas (ESAs). The environmental pollution from urban expressways is critical, due to the characteristics of expressways such as high runoff coefficients, considerable contaminant accumulation, and complex pollutant ingredients. ESAs are vulnerable to anthropogenic disturbances and hence should be given special attention. In order to evaluate the environmental sensitivity along this urban expressway and minimize the influences of the ongoing road construction and future operation on the surrounding ecosystem, the environmental sensitivity of the relevant area was evaluated based on the application of a geographic information system (GIS). A final ESA map was classified into four environmental sensitivity levels; this classification indicates that a large proportion of the expressway passes through areas of high sensitivity, representing 11.93 km or 52.3% of the total expressway, and more than 90% of the total expressway passes through ESAs. This study provides beneficial information for optimal layout schemes of initial rainfall runoff treatment facilities developed from low-impact development (LID) techniques in order to minimize the impact of polluted road runoff on the surrounding ecological environment.

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A Project-Based Sustainability Rating Tool for Pavement Maintenance
Yibo Zhang, J.P. Mohsen
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 200-208.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.001
Abstract   PDF (425KB)

Pavements require maintenance to prevent undue distress or to restore performance; however, pavement maintenance and its impacts do not receive enough attention in many cases, and are either ignored or treated as a low priority. Most current maintenance activities have budget issues and only focus on removing deteriorated pavement sections. Deferred pavement maintenance has impacts on the environment and on society, and may thus affect the costs associated with maintenance. A sustainability rating tool is a good way to list, explain, and evaluate such impacts. Various sustainability rating tools have been developed for pavement; however, pavement maintenance has its own features that are different from those of the new construction, expansion, or reconstruction of pavements. This research project reviews nine sustainability rating tools for pavement, although none of these tools fully describe maintenance features or can be directly applied to evaluate maintenance projects. A new sustainability rating tool is then developed for pavement maintenance; this new tool can be used to evaluate individual projects and raise public awareness about the importance of pavement maintenance. Its details are described, and its use is demonstrated through an example to show the evaluation process and results.

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Industrial Ecosystems and Food Webs: An Ecological-Based Mass Flow Analysis to Model the Progress of Steel Manufacturing in China
Stephen M. Malone, Marc J. Weissburg, Bert Bras
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 209-217.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.008
Abstract   PDF (1658KB)

Materials and energy are transferred between natural and industrial systems, providing a standard that can be used to deduce the interactions between these systems. An examination of these flows is an essential part of the conversation on how industry impacts the environment. We propose that biological systems, which embody sustainability, provide methods and principles that can lead to more useful ways to organize industrial activity. Transposing these biological methods to steel manufacturing is manifested through an efficient use of available materials, waste reduction, and decreased energy demand with currently available technology. In this paper, we use ecological metrics to examine the change in structure and flows of materials in the Chinese steel industry over time by means of a systems-based mass flow analysis. Utilizing available data, the results of our analysis indicate that the Chinese steel manufacturing industry has increased its efficiency and sustainable use of resources over time at the unit process level. However, the appropriate organization of the steel production ecosystem remains a work in progress. Our results suggest that through the intelligent placement of cooperative industries, which can utilize the waste generated from steel manufacturing, the future of the Chinese steel industry can better reflect ecosystem maturity and health while minimizing waste.

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A Geodesign Method of Human-Energy-Water Interactive Systems for Urban Infrastructure Design: 10KM2 Near-Zero District Project in Shanghai
Perry Pei-Ju Yang, Cheryl Shu-Fang Chi, Yihan Wu, Steven Jige Quan
Engineering    2018, 4 (2): 182-189.   https://doi.org/10.1016/j.eng.2018.03.014
Abstract   PDF (1507KB)

The grand challenges of climate change demand a new paradigm of urban design that takes the performance of urban systems into account, such as energy and water efficiency. Traditional urban design methods focus on the form-making process and lack performance dimensions. Geodesign is an emerging approach that emphasizes the links between systems thinking, digital technology, and geographic context. This paper presents the research results of the first phase of a larger research collaboration and proposes an extended geodesign method for a district-scale urban design to integrate systems of renewable energy production, energy consumption, and storm water management, as well as a measurement of human experiences in cities. The method incorporates geographic information system (GIS), parametric modeling techniques, and multidisciplinary design optimization (MDO) tools that enable collaborative design decision-making. The method is tested and refined in a test case with the objective of designing a near-zero-energy urban district. Our final method has three characteristics.①Integrated geodesign and parametric design: It uses a parametric design approach to generate focal-scale district prototypes by means of a custom procedural algorithm, and applies geodesign to evaluate the performances of design proposals. ② A focus on design flow: It elaborates how to define problems, what information is selected, and what criteria are used in making design decisions.③Multi-objective optimization: The test case produces indicators from performance modeling and derives principles through a multi-objective computational experiment to inform how the design can be improved. This paper concludes with issues and next steps in modeling urban design and infrastructure systems based on MDO tools.

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