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  • Open access
  • 85 Reads
Low-Cost Multispecies Air Quality Sensor
Field measurements of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are important in a range of disciplines including air pollution science, medical diagnostics and security screening. There is an enduring need for a portable device that provides reliable compound-specific measurements, at mixing ratios in the part per billion and part per trillion range. Outdoor VOCs sources are primarily from traffic, and the information provided from such measurements could inform the public of the sources of emission and potentially affect their decisions and behaviour. Similarly, measurements of VOCs in indoor environments could increase awareness of emissions from building materials or the use of various consumer products and provide information on indoor ventilation. This work describes the development of a lab-on-a-chip (LOC) device for VOC measurements, a collaboration of multiple disciplines, involving research and development from a number of different fields in sciences and engineering. The objective is to develop a multispecies sensor for measuring VOCs in gas phase samples, through the deployment of thermal desorption methods in combination with a micro-fabricated gas chromatography – photoionization detection (GC-PID) device. Most of the work has been done in the evaluation of the PID detection means, which has shown to offer substantial potential for the development of a field portable air quality sensor. Initial tests on a Peltier device to control the temperature of a GC column have also been carried out. The use of such device removes the dependence on the bulky GC oven which has high power consumption, and allows the initial temperature of the column to be as low as 10oC, potentially enabling the analysis of VOCs without the need for cryogenic cooling. The final developed system will be validated using controlled experiments and against reference standards and measurement techniques, and applied in number of real-world monitoring investigations, including indoor atmospheres and air pollution studies.

  • Open access
  • 127 Reads
Urban Density, Accessibility and Energy Consumption in the Transport Sector: Analysis of 30 Cities in China

The growth and diversification of transport demand accompanied with social and economic development led to increasing energy consumption in transport sector. In order to find a way that can not only contribute to reducing transportation energy consumption but also fully meet the transport demand, the research firstly formulated three indicators. Urban density implies population size and intensity of social and economic activities that is related to transport demand. Accessibility is defined by per capita road area and average bus numbers of ten thousand people and reflects transport conditions of private and public traffic. Per capita energy consumption in transport sector was used to characterize environmental effects. The data of urban density and accessibility was collected from the National Statistical Yearbook, while the data of transport energy consumption was obtained by conversion of DMSP/OLS (Defense Meteorological Satellite Program/Operational Lines-can System) night lighting data which is a sign of human activity. Secondly, considering the different levels of transport infrastructure and economic development in different regions of China, only 30 provincial capital cities were selected to analyze the relationships of the three indicators mentioned above. Based on relationship analysis, 30 cities were divided into three patterns. It was founded that the first pattern would be optimal because of a good match of transport demand and supply coupled with low energy consumption. The second pattern is non-ideal, since it is at high level of energy consumption and less balanced between transport demand and supply. The third pattern should improve accessibility and reduce energy consumption. Finally, some suggestions about urban transport development that are suitable to local conditions were proposed for different urban patterns.

  • Open access
  • 121 Reads
Urban Naturalization, A Recently Adopted Approach Towards Sustainable Cities
Naturalization is a relatively new management strategy for green areas within the urban environment. The approach undertaken in this research was to stop mowing and then plant with native species. The information available for decision makers regarding naturalization is very limited. The urban planner based on previous experiences is recommended to establish native species to the region. Native species have specific adaptations that allow them to withstand and survive in their endemic habitat. By limiting human intervention and reintroducing native species an area is eventually naturalized, meaning no further management of the area is needed to become an assemblage of the naturally occurring landscape. The current study assesses how successfully these native plant species establish in an urban setting using naturalization as a management approach. A comparison between soil tillage and no tillage combined with compost and topsoil amendments being tested to identify the most suitable species for urban naturalization and the best management practices to enhance this practice. Naturalization is a strategy that presents a great opportunity for urban centers to integrate native species into the landscape. If done properly, a successful naturalization strategy can significantly improve city management costs, promote preservation of local species, restore environmental services and encourage more members of these communities to embrace naturalization as a desirable strategy to follow.
  • Open access
  • 104 Reads
Campus WU A Holistic History

To create architecture today is a nomic game. The rules of the game are paradoxical, players are continually changing their minds and every operational process ends up being self-referential (1). The basic democratic rights pertaining to the built environment are: the right to natural light, the right to visual perception and the right to water. Therefore, the job of an architect nowadays is to find a new balance between ecology and urban planning. Our aim as thinkers and operators should be to once again play an active role in environmental quality optimization by acknowledging the complexity of this process and searching for sustainable changes.

BUSarchitektur has been working on issues affecting our contemporary society since it was founded in 1986. BOA bureau für offensive aleatorik has been developing cultural interactions since its establishment in 2003. Through their proposals both companies develop realistic utopias that help us to value and redefine our inherited legacy in a conscientious and committed way.

The new Campus WU project was launched in 2005 within the academic setting of the Vienna University of Economics and Business. The project will culminate in 2013 with the handing over of the finished university complex within its budgetary framework of EUR 500 million. It is the largest University of Economics in the European Union with a population of 25,000 students, teachers and administrative staff and is moving into a neighborhood with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. This is where future generations of, hopefully competent, economists will be trained. It is a strategic example of a star system, employed by the user, which seeks to obtain the necessary funding by awarding the projects to Zaha Hadid Architects, Hamburg - CRABstudio, London - Carme Pinós, Barcelona - NO.mad Madrid, Hitoshi Abe - Sendai as well as to the Masterplan winner, Vienna’s BUSarchitektur.

The democratic organization of users, the power structures of the state, leading agencies’ inspections, monitoring costs and budgets, branding inflicted on architecture, multiple regulations, contract award mechanisms, the historical burden of a privileged place, the social tensions associated with one of the established centers of prostitution, the dissatisfaction of the student population, etc. – these are some of the factors causing stakeholder interests to be in permanent unstable equilibrium.

As a result, the Masterplan authors’ constant search for a holistic equilibrium continued throughout the entire project process and into the execution, with an unstable balance of power between users, residents, developers, politicians, experts and author design implementers. We will present the architect’s roles in three micro-worlds, which seek to put forward the idea that a sustainable balance between the four quadrants (2) is not a pre-existing element of our work as architects and urban planners.

Ultimately, striking the balance between personal achievement, objectifiable technology, cultural interaction and social urges, means recognizing the importance of permanently changing our point of view and encourages us to take other factors into consideration. Every single detail should force us to recognize the many different ways a given intervention’s micro-action can be interpreted and to proceed accordingly. However, our open-minded approach to searching for added-value, which must necessarily incorporate our actions, often leads us to adopt casual strategies for managing projects. The imbalance between the four quadrants is the starting state that compels us to set off interrelated chain reactions in an attempt to awaken the potential for coOpetition (3). This potential is present both in the direct actors and in the domino effect that will occur once we take control of the reality in which we act. CoOpeting public and private actors that acknowledge the simultaneous presence of both cooperation and competition when talking about quality of life and capital repayment. Competing cooperatively in order to successfully invent and develop alternative design mechanisms to those of globalization.

Intellectual curiosity as a journey to discover not-so-obvious game theory applications in architecture – this is our way to play an active role in our daily productive output. The game played is a game of society since it leads to the socialization of the individual in a virtual community and, as a consequence, to the development of a real community. The only way for Campus to have a future is if we activate the urban potential of the educational habitat.


MSc. Arch. Arq. Laura P. Spinadel

Masterplan and Executive Project Director for Campus WU in Vienna

BUSarchitektur & BOA büro für offensive aleatorik, Vienna, 2015



1          Peter Suber 1990 The Paradox of Self-Amendment: A Study of Logic, Law, Omnipotence, and Change  ISBN-10: 0820412120  ISBN-13: 978-0820412122

2          Ken Wilber 2000 A Theory of Everything. An Integral Vision for Business, Politics, Science and Spirituality  ISBN 3-924195-79-X

3          Adam Brandenburger, Barry Nalebuff 1996 Co-Opetition : A Revolution Mindset That Combines Competition and Cooperation ISBN 0-385-47950-6

  • Open access
  • 99 Reads
Low Impact Development Applications in Urban Watersheds: Efficacy Evaluation by Imperviousness Connctivity Estimations
Although recent studies have emphasized the benefits of Low Impact Development (LID), the influence of LID on impervious surface connectivity to downstream drainage has not yet been fully investigated by using quantitative measurements. Some previous studies have attempted to measure correlates between discharged stormwater volume and the directly connected impervious areas (DCIA), a fraction of the impervious area that is hydraulically connected to downstream drainage by a piped route. They found that DCIA could be a more accurate predictor of urban development impacts on stream ecosystems than is the total impervious area. This study measured the DCIA of urban watersheds in the Energy Corridor District, Houston, Texas, where rapid urbanization and increasing impervious surfaces have caused urban stream degradation during the past decades. This study primarily prioritized land use into four types based on the contribution of hypothetically implemented LID facilities to DCIA reduction for each land use. Stormwater infrastructure and impervious cover data were analyzed using Geographic Information Systems. Sutherland's equations taken from Sutherland, R.C. (1995) were utilized to compute DCIA at the parcel level. The results were 1) a greater value of current DCIA in commercial areas than in residential areas (single family houses 40%, multi-family houses 64%, big box retails 77%, scattered small-scale retails 71%); 2) a significant reduction of DCIA for all land uses after hypothetically implementing LID applications (reduction rates ranged from 6.4% to 52.2%); and 3) the greatest change of DCIA in big box retail areas with pervious pavement and vegetated swale installation. The results will contribute to determining which land use type is of higher priority in implementing source-control stormwater infrastructure and providing local governments with a better index to calculate drainage fees, which are currently imposed on property owners based on total impervious area.
  • Open access
  • 204 Reads
Where's Wally? In Search of Citizen Perspectives on the Smart City
Academics, technology companies, public administrators, journalists and marketing agents have celebrated, critiqued, bought, sold, reimagined and redefined the smart city concept. Despite the rise in research and news articles regarding the smart city, perspectives of smart city citizen have been noticeably absent from this growing discourse. The authors' recent systematic literature review, a forthcoming publication, highlighted that citizen perspectives on what a smart city should and could be are largely absent from peer-reviewed publications. In the few exceptions found by the review, the incorporation of citizen perspectives was superficial at best. The primary purpose of this paper is to address that absence of citizen voices. This paper details a research project that explored how citizens in London, Manchester, and Glasgow responded to the smart city concept. Participants were asked questions regarding their prior knowledge of the phrase 'smart city', their thoughts relating to what it means for a city to be smart and what a 'true' smart city might mean to them. The paper compares and contrasts the findings from the research with the dominant rhetoric about smart cities, as identified through the systematic literature review. Furthermore the paper offers a critical assessment of the values underlying the phrase 'the smart city'. It aims to deconstruct some of the expectations that citizens hold for their cities' politicians, policy makers, planners, academics, and technology companies. We argue that these perspectives from citizens can be used to inform responsible development, spatially and socially inclusive technologies, and ultimately more resilient cities.
  • Open access
  • 120 Reads
London Green Belt: From a Landscape for Health to Metropolitan Infrastructure
The idea of a green belt around London emerged in the 19th century in response to the health-wise catastrophic conditions of that period. At a time when cholera was believed to be airborne, providing fresh air for the city became a question of public heath, made urgent by such disasters as the cholera outbreak in Soho in 1853-54. Communal parks and green girdles or belts were installed as a policy response to such emergencies, to serve as the "green lungs" for the city. In recent years, the Green Belt has been foregrounded in the effort to promote environmentally friendly sustainable development; the last two mayors of London have both declared further protection and extension of London's Green Belt. This paper examines how the narrative and functionality of London's Green Belt has evolved since its conception as an urban public health strategy. Today, health issues are no longer the primary argument for preserving the Green Belt. A close analysis of the actual uses and spaces of the Green Belt reveals that, contrary to the image its name might conjure—that of open, vegetated parks—the Belt is actually a variegated landscape of varying degrees of urbanization, serving the modern city of London with such vital infrastructure as highways and airports. The paper concludes with suggestions on how the narrative and management of the London Green Belt could be adapted to contemporary ideas for environmental and social sustainability, including promoting health and livability for Londoners.
  • Open access
  • 174 Reads
Social and Governance Innovations for Enabling Place-Based Sustainability Transitions: The Case of Village Communities in Seoul
This paper discusses current efforts of the city of Seoul to grapple with some of its most pressing sustainability problems through conjoint social and governance innovations. Drawing on pertinent strands of urban-, transition-, and resilience-studies, it reviews the design and implementation of activities aimed at establishing a self-organizing social innovation ecosystem nurtured by place-based networks at neighborhood scale ("village communities"), and reflects on their potential to effectively enable wider sustainability transition dynamics. The case shows a relevant potential in that it demonstrates a civil-society and policy-driven experimental approach to fostering bottom-up community initiatives in a variety of sustainability-relevant domains, linking e.g. education, consumption, energy, construction, green space, cohesion and local economies. Through empowerment, networking and learning-by-doing at various urban scales, such deeply embedded urban innovation 'niches' could play a crucial role with a view to providing alternative solutions, discourses, lifestyles and related learning opportunities that can underpin the transformation of multiple socio-technical and social-ecological systems in parallel. Yet, in addition to successful individual initiatives this would also require to further develop shared visions and expectations, to create linkages between village communities and incumbent regimes, as well as to conceive of a strategy for dealing with the emerging spatial disparities at the scale of the metropolitan area.Conceptually the Seoul case study thus also traces some of the limitations of current (urban) transition research. By looking at the formation stage of urban social and governance innovations in the context of an Asian megacity, it draws attention to interactions between forms of agency, processes and domains mostly discussed in separation from each other, and/or without a clear account for their local embeddedness and the scalar relations within cities. In turn, this underlines the significant potentials inherent to cities for building transformative capacity, as well as some of the options available for urban governance, policy and planning related to this.
  • Open access
  • 118 Reads
Education for Sustainable Architecture in Asian Countries

The architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry towards a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. While in the professional world the development of green assessment tools and new professional fields of specialization are a fact, the schools of architecture at undergraduate level have still to struggle to fit a new field of knowledge within an established academic tradition balanced towards design and aesthetics. Even though the sustainable city movement requests a global effort, regional idiosyncrasies call for local specific approaches to the problem, and generates regionally applicable solutions pulling from local wisdom, knowledge and experience taking climate, culture, resources and technology into account. Especially, Asia is urbanizing with high-density systems more rapidly than any other area in the world, a fact that demonstrates a substantial difference with the West. It is necessary to educate professionals who have well balanced and integrated knowledge of local issues and global standards. However, in many researches, the cases of the US and Europe are highlighted and discussed as the leading stream. Therefore this paper focuses on the education for sustainable architecture in Asian countries, especially China, Hong-Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore. The study is exploratory, digging into the curricula of selected influential schools, comparing them in regards of their methods and degrees of implementation of sustainability education, particularly focusing on philosophy, system, curriculums and cooperation of interdisciplinary expertise. Furthermore similarities and differences with the West are investigated. The results are very heterogeneous, ranging from little more than individual professors inclusion of sustainability issues in their individual courses, to more organized plans. However we are far from finding a final perfect system, the This paper study finds useful references and suggests ways of integrating the spare solutions researched into a more complete approach, with further study and effort still necessary to update the current systems, to make them more efficient and realistic, while keeping the personality and uniqueness of each urban culture and school. 

  • Open access
  • 150 Reads
A Case Study on Passive vs. Active Strategies for an Energy-Efficient School Building Design
This paper presents a simulation study to reduce heating and cooling demand of a school building. This study aims to cross-compare the impact of passive vs. active design on building energy savings. Firstly, the original design of the school building was assessed in terms of heating and cooling energy consumption. Then, the authors made several active energy saving strategies including dynamic blind control, lighting control (dimming), heat recovery ventilator and the use of heat pump. Then, based on the results from the aforementioned simulation study, the authors redesigned the building by changing insulation, windows, and the shape and orientation of the building. It was found that the energy saving of the original design by lighting control is most significant. In addition, the energy savings from the original design to the new design increases by 32%. However, the contribution of the thermal performance improvement of the building envelopes is marginal since the thermal performance of the envelopes of the original design is already good enough. With regard to ventilation, sensible heat & total heat exchangers are very advantageous only in heating season. In intermediate and cooling seasons, their energy saving potential is insignificant. With regard to blind and lighting controls, blind control is less effective than lighting control in heating season. In Intermediate and cooling seasons, blind and lighting controls are very advantageous. When all the active controls are integrated together, total energy savings for the whole building would range from 34.3-48.4%. Finally, it was concluded that energy saving potentials of each room significantly vary depending on room's thermal characteristics (window-wall-ratio, internal heat generation, ventilation requirement) and orientation.