This page is older archived content from an older version of the Emerald Publishing website.

As such, it may not display exactly as originally intended.

Urban Nature for Resilient and Liveable Cities

Guest Editors

Dr Cheryl Desha, [email protected]
Prof Timothy Beatley, [email protected]
Dr Jennifer Firn, [email protected]

Population growth, urbanisation and a decline in urban industrial activities are driving higher density urban infill and redevelopment globally. Concurrently, the increasing impacts of climate change and resource shortages create an imperative for innovative urban design that is well adapted to changing conditions.

The importance of integrating nature into the built environment has been an emergent conversation over the last several decades. Within this broad conversation, the urban design concept of biophilic urbanism has been fostered by seminal researchers such as Edward Wilson, Stephen Kellert, Judith Heerwagen, and Timothy Beatley. Biophilic urbanism proposes that nature be intentionally and systematically integrated into the built environment in a way that provides people with daily experiences of nature, meeting an inherent and evolved affiliation for living things. There has concurrently been an emergence of more technical conversations around the merits of urban nature from the disciplines of engineering, architecture and design, with consideration for how the ecosystem services provided by urban nature can build resilience to climate change and resource shortages.

Despite broad recognition of the importance of nature in cities within these discourses, mainstream urban greening within dense urban areas is challenging. Competing land use demands, misaligned stakeholder motivations, incompatible regulatory landscapes, economic externalities and a lack of awareness remain substantial barriers to the systemic inclusion of urban nature in the built environment. Strategic measures are needed to address these technical and institutional barriers.

This special issue seeks papers from researchers who are enquiring systemically into the urban greening and biophilic urbanism agendas, within the context of the 21st Century challenges and opportunities. The special issue will focus on research and actions that contribute to the mainstreaming of nature as a formal design mechanism within the built environment. In this context the term ‘built environment’ spans the central inner city through to suburban contexts, and the interface with peri-urban functions.
Papers from multi-disciplinary and trans-disciplinary teams, collaborating research groups, and international collaborations are encouraged.


The topics would include, but not be limited to the following:
- Case studies of comprehensive, systemic urban greening
- Case studies of retrofitting biophilic elements into existing infrastructure and/or new infrastructure
- Factors contributing to the mainstream use of integrated urban nature in developments
- Transition processes in urban development norms to establish biophilic urbanism
- Mechanisms for valuing and incorporating intangible benefits into decision making processes
- Policy and planning mechanisms conducive to systemic urban greening
- Quantification of the role of urban nature in climate change mitigation and/or adaptation
- Measurement of the role of urban nature in enhancing human health and wellbeing
- Investigations of citizen engagement in the creation and maintenance of urban nature
- Innovations in urban nature features to enhance ecological and anthropogenic benefits

Biophilic Urbanism; Green Infrastructure; Urban Forest; Urban Greening; Mainstreaming; Ecosystem Services

Important dates and publication timeline:

Deadline for full paper submission: 31 October 2015
Final paper acceptance decisions completed: 30 April 2016
Special Issue Publication: August 2016

Submission Guidelines

Manuscripts should be submitted to the Special Issue of SASBE, Resilient and liveable urban development using the journals online submission and peer review system, ScholarOne manuscripts.  Registration and access is available at Comprehensive instructions on how to submit a paper (including full manuscript requirements) can be found in the author guidelines. For further information on the journal’s editorial criteria and or editorial team please visit the journal web page: For any query please contact the following Guest Editors or Special Issue Coordinator.

Guest Editors:

Dr Cheryl Desha (lead Guest Editor)
Discipline Leader of Environmental Systems; Senior Lecturer in Sustainable Development
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
P: +61 (0) 7 3138 4072 M: +61 (0) 422 994 143 E: [email protected]

Prof Timothy Beatley
Teresa Heinz Professor of Sustainable Communities
Chair, Department of Urban and Environmental Planning
University of Virginia, USA
P: +01 434 924 6457 E: [email protected]

Dr Jennifer Firn
Senior Lecturer, Environmental Systems
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
P: +61 7 3138 9016 E: [email protected]

Coordinator Contact:

Dr Angela Reeve
Senior Researcher, Environmental Systems
School of Earth, Environmental and Biological Sciences, Science and Engineering Faculty
Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
P: +61 (0) 7 3138 1235 M: +61 (0) 415 175 930 E: [email protected]