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Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 1 (January 2017)

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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review, Other

Open AccessEditorial Acknowledgement to Reviewers of Sustainability in 2016
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 90; doi:10.3390/su9010090
Received: 11 January 2017 / Accepted: 11 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract The editors of Sustainability would like to express their sincere gratitude to the following reviewers for assessing manuscripts in 2016.[...]
Full article
Open AccessEditorial Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 26; doi:10.3390/su9010026
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
Competitiveness is the ability and performance of a firm, subsector or country to sell or supply goods or services in a given market. The competitiveness and sustainability of an enterprise are closely related. Competitiveness has received ever-growing attention in the era of globalization.
[...] Read more.
Competitiveness is the ability and performance of a firm, subsector or country to sell or supply goods or services in a given market. The competitiveness and sustainability of an enterprise are closely related. Competitiveness has received ever-growing attention in the era of globalization. This Special Issue provides a forum for researchers and practitioners to review and disseminate quality research work on competitive and sustainable manufacturing in the era of globalization and their applications, and to identify critical issues for further developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)

Research

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Open AccessArticle Electricity Consumption and Economic Growth: Evidence from 17 Taiwanese Industries
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 50; doi:10.3390/su9010050
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
The current paper investigates the existence and nature of the Granger causality between electricity consumption and economic growth for 17 industries in Taiwan. Empirical results over the period 1998–2014 suggest that a panel cointegration test shows a long-run equilibrium relationship and a bi-directional
[...] Read more.
The current paper investigates the existence and nature of the Granger causality between electricity consumption and economic growth for 17 industries in Taiwan. Empirical results over the period 1998–2014 suggest that a panel cointegration test shows a long-run equilibrium relationship and a bi-directional Granger causality between electricity and economic growth has been found. The result indicates that a 1% increase in electricity consumption boosts the real GDP by 1.72%. The government can pursue energy conservation and carbon reduction policy in some industries without impeding the economic growth for adjusting the industrial structure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Application of Emergy Analysis to the Sustainability Evaluation of Municipal Wastewater Treatment Plants
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 8; doi:10.3390/su9010008
Received: 17 September 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
Municipal wastewater treatment plants consume much energy and manpower, are expensive to run, and generate sludge and treated wastewater whilst removing pollutants through specific treatment regimes. The sustainable development of the wastewater treatment industry is therefore challenging, and a comprehensive evaluation method is
[...] Read more.
Municipal wastewater treatment plants consume much energy and manpower, are expensive to run, and generate sludge and treated wastewater whilst removing pollutants through specific treatment regimes. The sustainable development of the wastewater treatment industry is therefore challenging, and a comprehensive evaluation method is needed for assessing the sustainability of different wastewater treatment processes, for identifying the improvement potential of treatment plants, and for directing policymakers, management measures and development strategies. This study established improved evaluation indicators based on Emergy Analysis that place total wastewater, resources, energy, economic input and emission of pollutants on the same scale compared to the traditional indicators. The sustainability of four wastewater treatment plants and their associated Anaerobic-Anoxic-Oxic (A2O), Constant Waterlevel Sequencing Batch Reactor (CWSBR), Cyclic Activated Sludge Technology (CAST) and Biological Aerated Filter (BAF) treatment processes were assessed in a city in northeast China. Results show that the CWSBR process was the most sustainable wastewater treatment process according to its largest calculated value of Improved Emergy Sustainable Index (2.53 × 100), followed by BAF (1.60 × 100), A2O (9.78 × 10−1) and CAST (5.77 × 10−1). Emergy Analysis provided improved indicators that are suitable for comparing different wastewater treatment processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Two Contrasting Scenarios for a Zero-Emission Future in a High-Consumption Society
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 20; doi:10.3390/su9010020
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
The Paris agreement on climate took effect on 4 November 2016. The agreement plans on holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above
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The Paris agreement on climate took effect on 4 November 2016. The agreement plans on holding the increase in the global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels and pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 °C above pre-industrial levels. This paper compares an ecological modernisation (EM) development path with a degrowth development path, using urban and land-use planning impact on housing and transportation as cases. The two positions (EM and degrowth) agree on the need for a fundamental reduction in climate gases but disagree on which strategies should be pursued. EM transitions do not challenge the values associated with the capitalistic market economy and believe that policies, such as the right-price signals, should nudge producers and consumers in an environmentally benign direction. Conversely, degrowth rejects the EM belief in green growth, and holds that it will not be possible to decouple the economy from environmental loads to the necessary extent if the economy keeps growing. We conclude that we need a fundamental transformational change in society, i.e., a steering away from the growth ideology, and pursue policies that introduce maximum housing standards and limit mobility to succeed with the goals of the Paris agreement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Social Innovation and Sustainable Rural Development: The Case of a Brazilian Agroecology Network
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 3; doi:10.3390/su9010003
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Food is central to human beings and their social life. The growing industrialization of the food system has led to a greater availability of food, along with an increasing risk perception and awareness in consumers. At the same time, there is an increasing
[...] Read more.
Food is central to human beings and their social life. The growing industrialization of the food system has led to a greater availability of food, along with an increasing risk perception and awareness in consumers. At the same time, there is an increasing resistance from citizens to the dominant model of production and a growing demand for healthy food. As a consequence, an increasing number of social networks have been formed worldwide involving the collaboration between producers and consumers. One of these networks, the Ecovida Agroecology Network, which operates in Southern Brazil, involves farming families, non-governmental organizations, and consumer organizations, together with other social actors. Using a qualitative approach based on participant observation and an analysis of documents, the article examines this network. The theoretical framework used is social innovation, which is commonly recognized as being fundamental in fostering rural development. Results show that Ecovida has instigated innovations that relate to its horizontal and decentralized structure, its participatory certification of organic food, and its dynamic relationship with the markets based on local exchanges and reciprocal relations. Furthermore, such innovation processes have been proven to impact on public sector policies and on the increasing cooperation between the social actors from rural and urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle A Quantitative Groundwater Resource Management under Uncertainty Using a Retrospective Optimization Framework
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 2; doi:10.3390/su9010002
Received: 3 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Water resources are a major concern for any socio-economic development. As the quality of many surface fresh water sources increasingly deteriorate, more pressure is being imparted into groundwater aquifers. Since groundwater and the aquifers that host it are inherently vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts,
[...] Read more.
Water resources are a major concern for any socio-economic development. As the quality of many surface fresh water sources increasingly deteriorate, more pressure is being imparted into groundwater aquifers. Since groundwater and the aquifers that host it are inherently vulnerable to anthropogenic impacts, there is a need for sustainable pumping strategies. However, groundwater resource management is challenging due to the heterogeneous nature of aquifer systems. Aquifer hydrogeology is highly uncertain, and thus it is imperative that this uncertainty is accounted for when managing groundwater resource pumping. This, therefore, underscores the need for an efficient optimization tool which can sustainably manage the resource under uncertainty conditions. In this paper, we apply a procedure which is new within the context of groundwater resource management—the Retrospective Optimization Approximation (ROA) method. This method is capable of designing sustainable groundwater pumping strategies for aquifers which are characterized by uncertainty arising due to scarcity of input data. ROA framework solves and evaluates a sequence of optimization sub-problems in an increasing number of realizations. We used k-means clustering sampling technique for the realizations selection. The methodology is demonstrated through application to an hypothetical example. The optimization problem was solved and analyzed using “Active Set” algorithm implemented under MATLAB environment. The results indicate that the ROA sampling based method is a promising approach for optimizing groundwater pumping rates under conditions of hydrogeological uncertainty. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Performance of Miscanthus, Switchgrass and Maize: Can C4 Perennials Increase the Sustainability of Biogas Production?
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 5; doi:10.3390/su9010005
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Biogas is considered a promising option for complementing the fluctuating energy supply from other renewable sources. Maize is currently the dominant biogas crop, but its environmental performance is questionable. Through its replacement with high-yielding and nutrient-efficient perennial C4 grasses, the environmental impact of
[...] Read more.
Biogas is considered a promising option for complementing the fluctuating energy supply from other renewable sources. Maize is currently the dominant biogas crop, but its environmental performance is questionable. Through its replacement with high-yielding and nutrient-efficient perennial C4 grasses, the environmental impact of biogas could be considerably improved. The objective of this paper is to assess and compare the environmental performance of the biogas production and utilization of perennial miscanthus and switchgrass and annual maize. An LCA was performed using data from field trials, assessing the impact in the five categories: climate change (CC), fossil fuel depletion (FFD), terrestrial acidification (TA), freshwater eutrophication (FE) and marine eutrophication (ME). A system expansion approach was adopted to include a fossil reference. All three crops showed significantly lower CC and FFD potentials than the fossil reference, but higher TA and FE potentials, with nitrogen fertilizer production and fertilizer-induced emissions identified as hot spots. Miscanthus performed best and changing the input substrate from maize to miscanthus led to average reductions of −66% CC; −74% FFD; −63% FE; −60% ME and −21% TA. These results show that perennial C4 grasses and miscanthus in particular have the potential to improve the sustainability of the biogas sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Energy Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Land Use Rights Transfer on Household Labor Productivity: A Study Applying Propensity Score Matching in Chongqing, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 4; doi:10.3390/su9010004
Received: 5 November 2016 / Revised: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
In order to improve the rural labor productivity and farmers’ income, land use transfer was launched and encouraged in recent years, especially the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). This study aims to shed light on the impact of land use rights transfer on household
[...] Read more.
In order to improve the rural labor productivity and farmers’ income, land use transfer was launched and encouraged in recent years, especially the Thirteenth Five-Year Plan (2016–2020). This study aims to shed light on the impact of land use rights transfer on household labor productivity, based on a case study of Chongqing in China. Studies have revealed that land use transfer entails a process of self-selection and does not occur in a random manner. The study, therefore, addressed the issue of sample selection by applying propensity score matching. The study results suggested significant differences in the effects of land use transfer on household labor productivity. Specifically, renting land from other households had a positive effect on total labor productivity (TLP) and agricultural labor productivity (ALP). Moreover, TLP and ALP were found to be higher for households that rented more land or that were located in plain areas. Renting out land had a robust and positive effect on the TLP and non-agricultural labor productivity (NALP). TLP and NALP were also higher for households that rented out more land or that were located in plain areas. These findings suggest that land use transfer should be actively encouraged in plain areas. However, in mountainous areas, there is a need to pay more attention to expanding agriculture to benefit poor and marginalized populations in these areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing Collective Measures in Rural Policy: The Effect of Minimum Participation Rules on the Distribution of Benefits from Irrigation Infrastructure
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 1; doi:10.3390/su9010001
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 2 December 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Despite the increasing interest from both policy makers and scholars in the collective management of natural resources in the rural sector, the literature has not covered many aspects of the incentives targeting collective actors. In this article, we analyze how embedding minimum participation
[...] Read more.
Despite the increasing interest from both policy makers and scholars in the collective management of natural resources in the rural sector, the literature has not covered many aspects of the incentives targeting collective actors. In this article, we analyze how embedding minimum participation rules in rural policies affect the distribution of benefits of a group of players that cooperate. The article applies the Shapley Value and the Nash–Harsanyi solution, two of the key solutions of cooperative game theory, to an incentive scheme in Emilia-Romagna (Italy) to support the construction of collective reservoirs for irrigation water. Results show that rules on the minimum storage capacity and on the minimum number of users affect the benefit distribution in opposite directions. The main conclusion of the article is that minimum participation rules should be carefully designed if welfare distribution is an issue. However, further studies are required to have a comprehensive assessment of minimum participation rules within rural policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring Urban Redevelopment Sustainability: Exploring Challenges from Downtown Seoul
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 40; doi:10.3390/su9010040
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
A main challenge for the design and building of green and smart cities is the redevelopment of existing built environments. This research investigates the usefulness of urban district sustainability evaluation systems in informing and guiding urban redevelopment projects. The German DGNB Urban District
[...] Read more.
A main challenge for the design and building of green and smart cities is the redevelopment of existing built environments. This research investigates the usefulness of urban district sustainability evaluation systems in informing and guiding urban redevelopment projects. The German DGNB Urban District (DGNB UD) sustainability assessment and certification system has been chosen among others due to its comprehensive method to evaluate eight awarded projects from the “Re-structuring Seunsangga Citywalk International Competition” organized for Seoul’s downtown redevelopment. The results have been compared with the sustainability assessment of the district status quo and the competition call text, noticing a generic enhancement of sustainability. However, sustainability categories and criteria were not addressed sufficiently by any project in order to meet the integrated and holistic certification requirements of DGNB UD. The findings from this research emphasize the need for integrated assessment and measurements of urban sustainability, beyond projects’ self-promotion emphasizing greening or single sustainability facets. The research findings particularly exemplify how awarded project proposals might still be stuck in a specific, limited framework of sustainability. This paper concludes that balanced sustainability could be achieved by utilization of comprehensive assessment and evaluation systems in the preparation and assessment of plans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Repositioning through Culture: Testing Change in Connectivity Patterns
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 6; doi:10.3390/su9010006
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
Symbolic knowledge-driven innovations can play an important role in the economic development of cities and regions. Cultural events and infrastructures can act as powerful connectivity engines, generating new connections, rewiring links, and repositioning institutions/cities/regions on the Internet map. Within this framework, this paper
[...] Read more.
Symbolic knowledge-driven innovations can play an important role in the economic development of cities and regions. Cultural events and infrastructures can act as powerful connectivity engines, generating new connections, rewiring links, and repositioning institutions/cities/regions on the Internet map. Within this framework, this paper aims to contribute to the analytical understanding of culture-led repositioning. For this purpose we perform regression analysis with cultural networks (observational cross-sectional network data) from digital media for a specific cultural case study: the Basque Culinary Center (BCC), a higher education faculty of haute cuisine promoted by the University of Mondragon along with a group of Michelin-starred chefs. Results show that a cultural sector, such as haute cuisine, can contribute to structural changes in connectivity patterns, putting an institution/city/region on the media map. It is the connection (in the online press) of the BCC to the influential Michelin-starred chefs that can fuel the accumulation of press articles (media items) on the BCC; and it is precisely this accumulation of press articles that can impact BCC revenues. Put differently, the co-branding between the influential Michelin chefs and the BCC may have put the BCC on the press map, promoting new student registrations and fostering Basque haute cuisine. The main contribution of this article is a prototype of regression analysis to test repositioning with network data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Control Scheme Formulation for the Production of Hydrogen on Demand to Feed an Internal Combustion Engine
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 7; doi:10.3390/su9010007
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 December 2016 / Published: 22 December 2016
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Abstract
In this work, a control strategy is presented to produce hydrogen on demand to feed an internal combustion (IC) engine. For this purpose, the modeling of the IC engine fueled by gasoline blended with 10%v/v of anhydrous ethanol (E10)
[...] Read more.
In this work, a control strategy is presented to produce hydrogen on demand to feed an internal combustion (IC) engine. For this purpose, the modeling of the IC engine fueled by gasoline blended with 10 % v/v of anhydrous ethanol (E10) and hydrogen as an additive is developed. It is considered that the hydrogen gas is produced according to the IC engine demand, and that the hydrogen gas is obtained by an alkaline electrolyzer. The gasoline–ethanol blend added into the combustion chamber is determined according to the stoichiometric ratio and the production of hydrogen gas is regulated by a proportional and integral controller (P.I.). The controller reference is varying according to the mass flow air induced into the cylinder, in order to ensure an adequate production of hydrogen gas for any operating condition of the IC engine. The main contribution of this work is the control scheme developed, through simulation, in order to produce hydrogen on demand for any operating point of an internal combustion engine fueled by an E10 blend. The simulation results showed that the use of hydrogen gas as an additive in an E10 blend decreases the E10 fuel consumption 23 % on average, and the thermal efficiency is increased approximately 2.13 % , without brake power loss in the IC engine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation Method for Autonomous Decision-Making Performance in Energy and Environmental Innovations: A Case Study of an Indonesian Community
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 80; doi:10.3390/su9010080
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper develops an evaluation method for assessing autonomous decision-making performance and demonstrates it using a case study. Focusing on community decision-making practice in energy-environmental innovation projects, a decision-making model is developed using Petri-net. This empirical model is then expanded to be able
[...] Read more.
This paper develops an evaluation method for assessing autonomous decision-making performance and demonstrates it using a case study. Focusing on community decision-making practice in energy-environmental innovation projects, a decision-making model is developed using Petri-net. This empirical model is then expanded to be able to accommodate autonomous properties and more pathways to reach various decision-making outcomes. The autonomous decision-making performance evaluation is employed by simulating the impact of various levels of autonomous conditions using the expanded model stochastically. Those results are further divided into six categories, based on the conditions (autonomous, semi-autonomous, and non-autonomous) and decision outcomes (fully successful, moderately successful, and failed). For each category, the specific stakeholders’ properties are analysed and explained. The categorised conditions are useful for estimating the outcomes of the particular community decision-making practice based on the stakeholders’ properties. The model can be modified in order to pre-evaluate other energy and environmental related decision-making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Measurement of Wave Field Variations around Wave Energy Converter Arrays
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 70; doi:10.3390/su9010070
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
Wave energy converters (WECs) inherently extract energy from incident waves. For wave energy to become a significant power provider in the future, large farms of WECs will be required. This scale of energy extraction will increase the potential for changes in the local
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Wave energy converters (WECs) inherently extract energy from incident waves. For wave energy to become a significant power provider in the future, large farms of WECs will be required. This scale of energy extraction will increase the potential for changes in the local wave field and coastal environment. Assessment of these effects is necessary to inform decisions on the layout of wave farms for optimum power output and minimum environmental impact, as well as on potential site selection. An experimental campaign to map, at high resolution, the wave field variation around arrays of 5 oscillating water column WECs and a methodology for extracting scattered and radiated waves is presented. The results highlight the importance of accounting for the full extent of the WEC behavior when assessing impacts on the wave field. The effect of radiated waves on the wave field is not immediately apparent when considering changes to the entire wave spectrum, nor when observing changes in wave climate due to scattered and radiated waves superimposed together. The results show that radiated waves may account for up to 50% of the effects on wave climate in the near field in particular operating conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
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Open AccessArticle Combining the Conservation of Biodiversity with the Provision of Ecosystem Services in Urban Green Infrastructure Planning: Critical Features Arising from a Case Study in the Metropolitan Area of Rome
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 10; doi:10.3390/su9010010
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 28 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
A large number of green infrastructure (GI) projects have recently been proposed, planned and implemented in European cities following the adoption of the GI strategy by the EU Commission in 2013. Although this policy tool is closely related to biodiversity conservation targets, some
[...] Read more.
A large number of green infrastructure (GI) projects have recently been proposed, planned and implemented in European cities following the adoption of the GI strategy by the EU Commission in 2013. Although this policy tool is closely related to biodiversity conservation targets, some doubts have arisen as regards the ability of current urban GI to provide beneficial effects not only for human societies but also for the ecological systems that host them. The aim of this work is to review the features that should be considered critical when searching for solutions that simultaneously support biodiversity and guarantee the provision of ecosystem services (ES) in urban areas. Starting from a case study in the metropolitan area of Rome, we highlight the role of urban trees and forests as proxies for overall biodiversity and as main ecosystem service providers. We look beyond the individual functional features of plant species and vegetation communities to promote the biogeographic representativity, ecological coherence and landscape connectivity of new or restored GI elements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Economic Assessment of Overtopping BReakwater for Energy Conversion (OBREC): A Case Study in Western Australia
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 51; doi:10.3390/su9010051
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
This paper constructs an optimal configuration assessment, in terms of the financial returns, of the Overtopping BReakwater for wave Energy Conversion (OBREC). This technology represents a hybrid wave energy harvester, totally embedded in traditional rubble mound breakwaters. Nine case studies along the southern
[...] Read more.
This paper constructs an optimal configuration assessment, in terms of the financial returns, of the Overtopping BReakwater for wave Energy Conversion (OBREC). This technology represents a hybrid wave energy harvester, totally embedded in traditional rubble mound breakwaters. Nine case studies along the southern coast of Western Australia have been analysed. The technique provides tips on how to estimate the quality of the investments, for benchmarking with different turbine strategy layouts and overlapping with the costs of traditional rubble mound breakwaters. Analyses of the offshore and nearshore wave climate have been studied by a high resolution coastal propagation model, forced with wave data from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF). Inshore wave conditions have been used to quantify the exploitable resources. It has been demonstrated that the optimal investment strategy is nonlinearly dependent on potential electricity production due to outer technical constraints. The work emphasizes the importance of integrating energy production predictions in an economic decision framework for prioritizing adaptation investments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
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Open AccessArticle Success in Transdisciplinary Sustainability Research
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 71; doi:10.3390/su9010071
Received: 22 June 2016 / Revised: 18 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
The complexity of sustainable development and societal transitions require both analytical understandings of how coupled human-environment systems function and transdisciplinary science-to-practice approaches. The academic discourse has advanced in developing a framework for defining success in transdisciplinary research (TDR). Further empirical evidence is needed
[...] Read more.
The complexity of sustainable development and societal transitions require both analytical understandings of how coupled human-environment systems function and transdisciplinary science-to-practice approaches. The academic discourse has advanced in developing a framework for defining success in transdisciplinary research (TDR). Further empirical evidence is needed to validate the proposed concepts with TDR case studies. This paper applies a widely used TDR framework to test and critically evaluate its design principles and criteria of success with five TDR case studies the author is intimately familiar with. Overall, the design principles of the framework are validated for the five cases. Additional design principles are derived from the case analysis and proposed to complement the applied framework: (1) A project origin from society as opposed to with and for society; (2) Quickly available initiation funding; (3) Flexibility in time, objectives and methods throughout the research process; (4) Acceptance of process vs. project results; (5) Inclusion of public science communication; and (6) A demand-driven transition to a prolonged or new project partnership. The complementing principles are proposed for integration in the applied framework and are subject to further empirical testing. The reflexive empirical approach I have taken in this paper offers a key step towards removing institutional barriers for successful TDR, demonstrating how conceptual frameworks can be applied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle The Distribution Dynamics of Carbon Dioxide Emissions Intensity across Chinese Provinces: A Weighted Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 101; doi:10.3390/su9010101
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper examines the distribution dynamics of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity across 30 Chinese provinces using a weighted distribution dynamics approach. The results show that CO2 emissions intensity tends to diverge during the sample period of 1995–2014. However, convergence
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This paper examines the distribution dynamics of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions intensity across 30 Chinese provinces using a weighted distribution dynamics approach. The results show that CO2 emissions intensity tends to diverge during the sample period of 1995–2014. However, convergence clubs are found in the ergodic distributions of the full sample and two sub-sample periods. Divergence, polarization, and stratification are the dominant characteristics in the distribution dynamics. Weightings with economic and population sizes have important impacts on current distributions and hence long-run steady distributions. Neglecting the size of the economy may underestimate the deterioration in the long-run steady state. The result also shows that conditioning on space and income cannot eliminate the multimodality in the long-run distribution. However, capital intensity has an important impact on the formation of convergence clubs. Our findings will contribute to an understanding of the spatial dynamic behaviors of CO2 emissions across Chinese provinces, and have important policy implications for CO2 emissions reduction in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Towards Transgressive Learning through Ontological Politics: Answering the “Call of the Mountain” in a Colombian Network of Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 21; doi:10.3390/su9010021
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
In line with the increasing calls for more transformative and transgressive learning in the context of sustainability studies, this article explores how encounters between different ontologies can lead to socio-ecological sustainability. With the dominant one-world universe increasingly being questioned by those who advocate
[...] Read more.
In line with the increasing calls for more transformative and transgressive learning in the context of sustainability studies, this article explores how encounters between different ontologies can lead to socio-ecological sustainability. With the dominant one-world universe increasingly being questioned by those who advocate the existence of many worlds—a so-called pluriverse—there lays the possibility of not only imagining other human–nature realities, but also engaging with them in practice. Moving towards an understanding of what happens when a multiplicity of worlds encounter one another, however, entails a sensitivity to the negotiations between often competing ontologies—or ontological politics. Based on an ethnographic methodology and narrative methods, data were collected from two consecutive intercultural gatherings called El Llamado de la Montaña (The Call of the Mountain), which take place for five days every year in different parts of Colombia. By actively participating in these gatherings of multiplicity, which address complex socio-ecological challenges such as food sovereignty and defence of territory, results show how encounters between different ontologies can result in transformative and potentially transgressive learning in terms of disrupting stubborn routines, norms and hegemonic powers which tend to accelerate unsustainability. Although we argue that a fundamental part of the wicked sustainability puzzle lies in supporting more relational ontologies, we note that such learning environments also lead to conflicts through inflexibility and (ab)use of power which must be addressed if sustained socio-ecological learning is to take place. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Topological Transitions in Collective Housing Units of South Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 31; doi:10.3390/su9010031
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Collective housing in South Korea started its introduction from the early 1960s, and became the most important residential type in 50 years. Because of the importance of collective housing in many countries and in South Korea, many studies on collective housing have been
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Collective housing in South Korea started its introduction from the early 1960s, and became the most important residential type in 50 years. Because of the importance of collective housing in many countries and in South Korea, many studies on collective housing have been conducted. Although these studies can provide criteria and methods quantitatively and objectively, classification of types is dependent on researcher’s judgment, and classification of type without considering the plan’s time of creation has a limitation to derive changes in type patterns. The purpose of this study is to analyze changes quantitatively and objectively in patterns of spatial structure and to derive types of spatial structure of collective housing in South Korea algorithmically using a time-based joining method that produced a phylogenetic tree using similarities of spatial structure and plan creation time. This study also supports a research frame for researchers who want the use of a time-based joining method. The study analyzed the relationships of changes in spatial structures of 890 collective housing unit plans in Seoul, South Korea, constructed from 1970 to 2015. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Extreme Weather Impacts on Maize Yield: The Case of Shanxi Province in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 41; doi:10.3390/su9010041
Received: 6 October 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Extreme weather can have negative impacts on crop production. In this study, we statistically estimate the impacts of dry days, heat waves, and cold days on maize yield based on household survey data from 1993 to 2011 in ten villages of Shanxi province,
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Extreme weather can have negative impacts on crop production. In this study, we statistically estimate the impacts of dry days, heat waves, and cold days on maize yield based on household survey data from 1993 to 2011 in ten villages of Shanxi province, China. Our results show that dry days, heat waves, and cold days have negative effects on maize yield, although these effects are marginal if these extreme events do not increase dramatically. Specifically, a one percent increase in extreme-heat-degree-days and consecutive-dry-days results in a maize yield declines of 0.2% and 0.07%, respectively. Maize yield also is reduced by 0.3% for cold days occurring during the growing season from May to September. However, these extreme events can increase dramatically in a warmer world and result in considerable reduction in maize yields. If all the historical temperatures in the villages are shifted up by 2 degrees Celsius, total impacts of these extreme events would lead to a reduction of maize yield by over 30 percent. The impacts may be underestimated since we did not exclude the offset effect of adaptation measures adopted by farmers to combat these extreme events. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Germination of Bouteloua dactyloides and Cynodon dactylon in a Multi-Polluted Soil
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 81; doi:10.3390/su9010081
Received: 16 October 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
Mining wastes generate high environmental impacts, and population exposure to metals and metalloids. Phytoremediation is a technology that uses plants to remediate polluted sites, but one of its limitations is seed germination in soil with a high content of metals and metalloids. Bouteloua
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Mining wastes generate high environmental impacts, and population exposure to metals and metalloids. Phytoremediation is a technology that uses plants to remediate polluted sites, but one of its limitations is seed germination in soil with a high content of metals and metalloids. Bouteloua dactyloides (former Buchloe dactyloides) is a native species from semiarid regions, while Cynodon dactylon is an invasive species; both are tolerant to harsh soil conditions. The objective of this research was to evaluate the germination of both species, exposed to a multi-polluted soil with As, Cd, Pb, and Zn of a mining site, considering different pH conditions (from 5.0 to 9.0). The study considered four repetitions by type of seed and soil pH. The highest germination of B. dactyloides was 83% at pH 7.8, while the greatest germination of C. dactylon was 34% at pH 6.0. These percentages are similar to those obtained in a standard germination test, which are 82.5% for B. dactyloides and 35% for C. dactylon. Germination was not reached in either species with soil at pH 5, owing to the fact that metals are more bioavailable in acid environments. B. dactyloides and C. dactylon had a high potential to germinate in multi-polluted soil at neutral pH, but further experiments are needed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Residents’ Attitudes towards Sustainable Tourism Development in a Historical-Cultural Village: Influence of Perceived Impacts, Sense of Place and Tourism Development Potential
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 61; doi:10.3390/su9010061
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 2 January 2017
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Abstract
This study aims to assess the residents’ support for sustainable tourism development in a destination that is in the initial tourism development stage. Residents’ perception of sustainable tourism development potential, sense of place, perceived tourism impacts, and tourism development support were involved in
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This study aims to assess the residents’ support for sustainable tourism development in a destination that is in the initial tourism development stage. Residents’ perception of sustainable tourism development potential, sense of place, perceived tourism impacts, and tourism development support were involved in this study. A total of 331 completed questionnaire surveys were collected in Luozhou, a historical-cultural village in China. The empirical data were analyzed using a structural equation modeling (SEM) technique, and the results revealed that perceived collective benefits had a significant positive effect on tourism development support, whereas the other three perceived impacts’ influence were not significant. The relationship between residents’ sense of place and perceived collective and personal benefits, perceived personal costs and tourism development support, were significant. Additionally, residents’ perceptions of tourism development potential had a significant influence on perceived impact and tourism development support except for perceived personal benefits. Some practical implications of those findings for tourism planning and development are also discussed. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Using Goal-Programming to Model the Effect of Stakeholder Determined Policy and Industry Changes on the Future Management of and Ecosystem Services Provision by Ireland’s Western Peatland Forests
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 11; doi:10.3390/su9010011
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 17 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Recent studies have highlighted land-use conflicts between stakeholder groups in Ireland. Some of these conflicts can be attributed to European directives, designed with sustainable forest management principles in mind, but imposing incoherencies for land-owners and stakeholders at the local level. This study, using
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Recent studies have highlighted land-use conflicts between stakeholder groups in Ireland. Some of these conflicts can be attributed to European directives, designed with sustainable forest management principles in mind, but imposing incoherencies for land-owners and stakeholders at the local level. This study, using Ireland’s Western Peatland forests as a case study area, focused on the development and implementation of a goal programming model capable of analysing the long term impact of policy and industry changes at the landscape level. The model captures the essential aspects of the changes identified by local level stakeholders as influencing forest management in Ireland and determines the future impact of these changes on ecosystem services provisions. Initially, a business as usual potential future is generated. This is used as a baseline against which to compare the impact of industry and policy changes. The model output indicated that the current forest composition is only really suited to satisfy a single, financial objective for forest management. The goal programming model analysed multiple objectives simultaneously and the results indicated that the stakeholders’ desired ecosystem service provisions in the future will be more closely met by diversifying the forest estate and/or by changing to an alternative, non-forest land-use on less productive areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Multinational Firm’s Production Decisions under Overlapping Free Trade Agreements: Rule of Origin Requirements and Environmental Regulation
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 42; doi:10.3390/su9010042
Received: 30 October 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
In this paper, we study the impact of the rule of origin (ROO) requirements accompanied by free trade agreements (FTAs), which specify the minimum portion of supplies that should satisfy the origin requirement, on a multinational firm’s production decisions. We consider a multinational
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In this paper, we study the impact of the rule of origin (ROO) requirements accompanied by free trade agreements (FTAs), which specify the minimum portion of supplies that should satisfy the origin requirement, on a multinational firm’s production decisions. We consider a multinational firm who exports its product to multiple countries and analyze its production decision in the presence of multiple free trading agreements (FTAs). The ROO requirements in FTAs not only refer to the origin of supplies but are also involved with an environmental regulation of a country of the supplies. As such, meeting multiple ROO requirements can be costly since it may be involved with an adjustment of production facility and suppliers according to different environmental standards. We investigate a multinational firm’s choice of the ROO level in its production decision under multiple FTAs. It is well known that, in the presence of overlapping FTAs, the firm may strategically choose not to comply with the minimum ROO requirements in the FTAs. Instead, the firm may choose to comply with an ROO level that is higher than required, or pay the tariff instead without enjoying tariff exemption by the FTA in the new country. Such unintended outcomes in the FTAs are called the Spaghetti Bowl Effect. We characterize and quantify two types of such Spaghetti Bowl Effects with the optimal production decisions of a multinational firm under multiple ROO requirements and derive policy implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle Two-Stage DEA Analysis of Water Resource Use Efficiency
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 52; doi:10.3390/su9010052
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 17 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
This paper presents an extended two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) method for analyzing water resource use efficiency (WRUE) and related WRUE issues, which was developed by introducing regional water resource metabolic theory into the two-stage DEA method. It has the following advantages: (1)
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This paper presents an extended two-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) method for analyzing water resource use efficiency (WRUE) and related WRUE issues, which was developed by introducing regional water resource metabolic theory into the two-stage DEA method. It has the following advantages: (1) it has the ability to reflect the inner difference and connection of the regional water resource consumption process, which developed the corresponding physical model instead of making it a “black box”; (2) the built physical model for WRUE divided the main body of water resource consumption into social and economic subsystems, which can thus elaborate WRUE; (3) it can analyze not only WRUE but also related WRUE issues. The proposed method was applied to a real-case study in Gansu Province, China. Results show that decision makers can determine the comprehensive and accurate WRUE and negative factors of WRUE in Gansu Province. Moreover, the results offer recommendations for decision makers to plan for efficient use of water resources in different cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Characterization of Polyethylene Oxide and Sodium Alginate for Oil Contaminated-Sand Remediation
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 62; doi:10.3390/su9010062
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 December 2016 / Published: 4 January 2017
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Abstract
Biopolymers have been employed in many soil applications, such as oil-contaminated soil remediation, due to their environmentally friendly characteristics. This study focused on changes in the wettability and viscosity of polyethylene oxide (PEO) and sodium alginate (SA), according to the variation in concentration
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Biopolymers have been employed in many soil applications, such as oil-contaminated soil remediation, due to their environmentally friendly characteristics. This study focused on changes in the wettability and viscosity of polyethylene oxide (PEO) and sodium alginate (SA), according to the variation in concentration and their impact on oil-contaminated soil remediation using biopolymer-decane displacement tests. The contact angle and interfacial tension vary with concentration by adding biopolymer to water; however both parameters yield relatively constant values within the range of 2–10 g/L for the concentration of PEO and SA. In this study, their influence on fluid invasion patterns is insignificant compared to viscosity and flow rate. Viscosity increases with the concentration of PEO and SA, within the range of 0–10 g/L, which causes the biopolymer-decane displacement ratio to increase with concentration. Biopolymer-decane displacement increases with injected fluid velocity. At low flow rates, the effect of the biopolymer concentration on the displacement ratio is prominent. However the effect decreases with an increase in flow rate. Thus both biopolymer concentration and injection velocity should be considered to achieve the economic efficiency of soil remediation. The experimental results for the distribution of soils with different grain sizes indicate that the displacement ratio increases with the uniformity of the coefficient of soils. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fast Removal of Polybrominated Diphenyl Ethers from Aqueous Solutions by Using Low-Cost Adsorbents
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 102; doi:10.3390/su9010102
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 3 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
4-Dibromodiphenyl ether (BDE-3) and 4,4′-dibromodiphenyl ether (BDE-15) are two of the major polybrominated diphenyl ethers used as flame-retardant additives in computer main boards and in fireproof building materials. In this study, we evaluated the potential of three low-cost adsorbents, black tea, green tea,
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4-Dibromodiphenyl ether (BDE-3) and 4,4′-dibromodiphenyl ether (BDE-15) are two of the major polybrominated diphenyl ethers used as flame-retardant additives in computer main boards and in fireproof building materials. In this study, we evaluated the potential of three low-cost adsorbents, black tea, green tea, and coconut palm leaf powders, to adsorb BDE-3 and BDE-15 from aqueous solutions. The results showed that pressure steam washing of the adsorbents increased their capacities to adsorb BDE-3 and BDE-15. The maximum adsorption capacities of pressure steam–washed black tea, green tea, and coconut palm leaf powders were 21.85 mg·L−1, 14.56 mg·L−1 and 22.47 mg·L−1, respectively. The results also showed that the adsorption equilibrium (qe) was achieved at 4 min. Moreover, 97.8% of BDE-3 and 98.5% of BDE-15 could be removed by adsorbents pretreated with pressure steam washing. The kinetic data fitted well with a pseudo-second-order equation. The adsorption rate constants (k2) of all pressure steam–washed adsorbents ranged from 8.16 × 10−3 to 6.61 × 10−2 g·(mg·L−1)−1·s−1, and the amount adsorbed at qe by all pressure steam–washed adsorbents ranged from 4.21 to 4.78 mg·L−1. Green alga Chlorella vulgaris was used as the test organism and the median effective concentration values of BDE-3 and BDE-15 were 7.24 and 3.88 mg·L−1, respectively. After BDE-3 and BDE-15 were removed from the solution, their biotoxicities markedly decreased. These findings indicate that these low-cost adsorbents can be used to remove BDE-3 and BDE-15 from aqueous solutions and wastewater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Car Tourism in Xinjiang: The Mediation Effect of Perceived Value and Tourist Satisfaction on the Relationship between Destination Image and Loyalty
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 22; doi:10.3390/su9010022
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 10 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
This study aims to test a model linking destination image, perceived value, tourist satisfaction, and tourist loyalty. Based on a sample of 300 tourists travelling by car from the World Natural Heritage Site of Tianchi, China, a new model of destination image was
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This study aims to test a model linking destination image, perceived value, tourist satisfaction, and tourist loyalty. Based on a sample of 300 tourists travelling by car from the World Natural Heritage Site of Tianchi, China, a new model of destination image was explored and data were analysed using partial least squares structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM). The results show that perceived value and satisfaction are direct antecedents of destination loyalty. Above all, perceived value and tourist satisfaction mediate the relationship between destination image and loyalty. Finally, this study discusses the theoretical and management implications of the findings in order to boost the tourism industry in the context of car trips. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustaining Regional Advantages in Manufacturing: Skill Accumulation of Rural–Urban Migrant Workers in the Coastal Area of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 72; doi:10.3390/su9010072
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
Extant research pays little attention to unorganized migrant workers’ skill accumulation/upgrading from the perspective of the labor supply. This paper takes China as an example to explore the factors influencing the skill accumulation of rural–urban migrant workers (RUMWs), with the purpose of discovering
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Extant research pays little attention to unorganized migrant workers’ skill accumulation/upgrading from the perspective of the labor supply. This paper takes China as an example to explore the factors influencing the skill accumulation of rural–urban migrant workers (RUMWs), with the purpose of discovering how to sustain or reshape regional competitive advantages by improving RUMWs’ skill accumulation. Structured questionnaire surveys were adopted for data collection in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province and Taizhou City, Zhejiang Province located in the Yangtze River Delta in eastern China. In total, 700 questionnaires were issued and 491 effective questionnaires were recovered. It takes the perspective of individual laborers, with special regard to the effects of localization on the laborers’ skill accumulation within the context of globalization. It adopts a broad viewpoint including intra-firm skill-biased strategy (as a response to intense competition), inter-firm relationships, and the accessibility of local non-firm organizations. The findings indicate that firms’ skill preference, which impacts employees’ skills and innovation ability and stimulates them to learn with initiative, have a significant influence on RUMWs’ skill accumulation. In terms of collective efficiency based on the co-competitive relationship between local firms, the more intensive interactions are, the more opportunities RUMWs are afforded for skill accumulation. The accessibility of local institutions and favorable policies also benefit RUMWs’ skill accumulation. In addition, the place itself, as a synthesized space of a firm’s internal labor-management relations and inter-organizational relations, also exerts an influence on and causes regional differences in RUMWs’ skill accumulation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustaining the Joint Production of Timber and Lactarius Mushroom: A Case Study of a Forest Management Planning Unit in Northwestern Turkey
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 92; doi:10.3390/su9010092
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 26 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
Forest management planning focusing on sustainable supply of forest-based services such as wood and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) is important for the sustainability of forest ecosystems over time. This study explores the development of a mushroom integrated decision support system (ETÇAPOptimization)
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Forest management planning focusing on sustainable supply of forest-based services such as wood and Non-Wood Forest Products (NWFPs) is important for the sustainability of forest ecosystems over time. This study explores the development of a mushroom integrated decision support system (ETÇAPOptimization) for multiple use forest management planning and for the analysis of long-term effects of different forest management scenarios on the joint production of timber and mushroom. The Decision Support System (DSS) integrates both mushroom and timber production derived from the same forest ecosystem using empirical models for mushroom occurrence and yield as well as for tree growth. The DSS takes further into account the spatial distribution and productivity models of Lactarius deliciosus and Lactarius salmonicolor generated for the Kızılcasu Planning unit in Northwest Turkey. Six different forest management scenarios were considered, each with a different set of objectives, e.g., maximization of both the amount and the income from timber or mushroom production. Some scenarios include further timber even flow constraints (10% fluctuation). The Net Present Value (NPV) and the amount of timber and of mushroom production were used as performance indicators to discuss and elaborate on forest dynamics under different management scenarios. The results indicated that forest management planning strategies to address the maximization of NPV from mushroom production scenarios are characterized by substantial decreases in total income from the forest due mainly to the conservation of forest areas to favor mushroom production. On the other hand, the integration of regulatory constraints into forest management plans lead to a substantial decrease of both the economic profit and the amount of forest ecosystem services, e.g., timber and mushroom. The results showed that the NPV from mushroom production can be two to three times higher than the NPV from timber production based on carefully designed management objectives and constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle An RVM-Based Model for Assessing the Failure Probability of Slopes along the Jinsha River, Close to the Wudongde Dam Site, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 32; doi:10.3390/su9010032
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 16 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
Assessing the failure potential of slopes is of great significance for land use and management. The objective of this paper is to develop a novel model for evaluating the failure probability of slopes based on a relevance vector machine (RVM), with a special
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Assessing the failure potential of slopes is of great significance for land use and management. The objective of this paper is to develop a novel model for evaluating the failure probability of slopes based on a relevance vector machine (RVM), with a special attention to the characteristics of failed slopes along the lower reaches of the Jinsha River, close to the Wudongde dam site. Seven parameters that influence the occurrence of landslides were selected as environmental factors; namely lithology, slope angle, slope height, slope aspect, slope structure, distance from faults, and land use. A total of 55 landslides mapped in the study area were used to train and test the RVM model. The results suggest that the accuracy of the model in predicting the failure probability of slopes, using both training and testing data sets, is very high and deemed satisfactory. To validate the model performance, it was applied to 28 landslide cases identified in the upper reaches of the Jinsha River, where environmental and geological conditions are similar to those of the study area. An accuracy of approximately 92.9% was obtained, which demonstrates that the RVM model has a good generalization performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Retail Chain Design for Perishable Food: The Case of Price Strategy and Shelf Space Allocation
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 12; doi:10.3390/su9010012
Received: 25 September 2016 / Revised: 7 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Managing perishable food in a retail store is quite difficult because of the product’s short lifetime and deterioration. Many elements, such as price, shelf space allocation, and quality, which can affect the consumption rate, should be taken into account when the perishable food
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Managing perishable food in a retail store is quite difficult because of the product’s short lifetime and deterioration. Many elements, such as price, shelf space allocation, and quality, which can affect the consumption rate, should be taken into account when the perishable food retail chain is designed. The modern tracking technologies provide good opportunities to improve the management of the perishable food retail chain. In this research, we develop a mathematical model for a single-item retail chain and determine the pricing strategy, shelf space allocation, and order quantity to maximize the retailer’s total profit with the application of tracking technologies. Then the single-item retail chain is extended into a multi-item one with a shelf space capacity and a simple algorithm is developed to find the optimal allocation of shelf space among these items. Finally, numerical experiments and real-life examples are conducted to illustrate the proposed models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Incumbents’ Conservation Strategies in the German Energy Regime as an Impediment to Re-Municipalization—An Analysis Guided by the Multi-Level Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 53; doi:10.3390/su9010053
Received: 12 October 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
After two decades of privatization and outsourcing being the dominant trends across public services, an inclination towards founding new municipal power utilities can be observed. In this article, the authors examine the preservation strategies of the German energy regime following the transition approach
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After two decades of privatization and outsourcing being the dominant trends across public services, an inclination towards founding new municipal power utilities can be observed. In this article, the authors examine the preservation strategies of the German energy regime following the transition approach developed by Geels. From the multi-level perspective, it can be stated that innovations take place in niches and have to overcome the obstacles and persistence of the conventional fossil–nuclear energy regime. Through an empirical analysis, it can be concluded that the established regime significantly delays the decentralization process required for a transformation of energy structures on local electricity grids. Furthermore, it is shown that municipal utilities (Stadtwerke) are important key actors for the German Energiewende (energy transition) as they function as local energy distributors and they meet a variety of requirements to promote fundamental structural change. The trend towards re-municipalization and the re-establishment of municipal utilities reveal the desire to further strengthen the scope of local politics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing the Transformation of Urban Infrastructures)
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Open AccessArticle Public Interest in Microclimate Data in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 23; doi:10.3390/su9010023
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 24 December 2016
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Abstract
New technologies can sense urban environmental conditions at finer scales than previously possible. This has paved the way for monitoring microclimates between and within neighborhoods. Equally vital, though much less studied, is stakeholder engagement in understanding and using such data. This study examines
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New technologies can sense urban environmental conditions at finer scales than previously possible. This has paved the way for monitoring microclimates between and within neighborhoods. Equally vital, though much less studied, is stakeholder engagement in understanding and using such data. This study examines interests and preferences for accessing neighborhood-scale microclimate data among residents of Knoxville, Tennessee, USA. Data are from randomly sampled phone surveys (N = 200) and purposively sampled focus group participants (N = 25). Survey participants expressed high interest in neighborhood air quality, temperature, and rainfall. Focus groups revealed four themes for designing smartphone applications or websites for neighborhood-scale data: easy access to integrated data, clear and intuitive design, information for everyday living and healthy behavior, and tools for civic engagement. Results support the value of creating meaningful, usable science interfaces with which the public can readily engage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Control of the Air Supply Subsystem in a PEMFC with Balance of Plant Simulation
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 73; doi:10.3390/su9010073
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper deals with the design of a control scheme for improving the air supply subsystem of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) with maximum power of 65 kW. The control scheme is evaluated in a plant simulator which incorporates the balance
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This paper deals with the design of a control scheme for improving the air supply subsystem of a Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC) with maximum power of 65 kW. The control scheme is evaluated in a plant simulator which incorporates the balance of plant (BOP) components and is built in the aspenONE® platform. The aspenONE® libraries and tools allows introducing the compressor map and sizing the heat exchangers used to conduct the reactants temperature to the operating value. The PEMFC model and an adaptive controller were programmed to create customized libraries used in the simulator. The structure of the plant control is as follows: the stoichiometric oxygen excess ratio is regulated by manipulating the compressor power, the equilibrium of the anode-cathode pressures is achieved by tracking the anode pressure with hydrogen flow manipulation; the oxygen and hydrogen temperatures are regulated in the heat exchangers, and the gas humidity control is obtained with a simplified model of the humidifier. The control scheme performance is evaluated for load changes, perturbations and parametric variations, introducing a growing current profile covering a large span of power, and a current profile derived from a standard driving speed cycle. The impact of the control scheme is advantageous, since the control objectives are accomplished and the PEMFC tolerates reasonably membrane damage that can produce active surface reduction. The simulation analysis aids to identify the safe Voltage-Current region, where the compressor works with mechanical stability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Electric Power Systems Research)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Measures of Urban Public Transport in Cities: A World Review and Focus on the Asia/Middle East Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 43; doi:10.3390/su9010043
Received: 6 September 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Previous studies of public transport sustainability in cities have been very limited to date, particularly in more developing countries located throughout Asia and the Middle East. This paper assesses the sustainability of urban public transport systems in cities by adopting a quantitative measurement
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Previous studies of public transport sustainability in cities have been very limited to date, particularly in more developing countries located throughout Asia and the Middle East. This paper assesses the sustainability of urban public transport systems in cities by adopting a quantitative measurement framework containing 15 public transport sustainability indicators. It compares aggregate sustainability performance of urban public transport in international regions of cities, and then examines the relative sustainability of selected cities in the Asia and Middle East region. The world region analysis shows that Eastern Europe, Asia, and Latin America achieve the highest aggregate normalised scores for sustainable public transport, in that order. In general, the results suggest that western developed countries (Western Europe, North America, and Oceania) have better performance on environmental and social indicators but poorer performance on system effectiveness and economic indicators. Asia and Latin America perform the other way round; better on economic and system effectiveness and worse on social and environmental indicators. Eastern Europe is one of the few regions with higher level performance all round. The city-based analysis of Asia/Middle East suggested that out of the 26 cities studied, the top 3 cities in terms of sustainable public transport in the Asia and Middle East Region are: 1st, Manila (Philippines); 2nd, Tokyo (Japan); and 3rd, Chennai (India). Dubai (United Arab Emirates (UAE), rated 26th), Shizuoka (Japan, rated 25th) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia, rated 24th) were the lowest rated cities. The paper explores the implications of the findings and makes suggestions for future research. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mapping Interests by Stakeholders’ Subjectivities toward Ecotourism Resources: The Case of Seocheon-Gun, Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 93; doi:10.3390/su9010093
Received: 13 October 2016 / Revised: 30 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
Ecotourism spatial planning requires the balance of both development and conservation. Through environmental data analysis, many researchers have suggested spatial planning that falls between these two polarizing concepts. Nonetheless, ecotourism development has been criticized as inconsiderate of places that are precious to local
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Ecotourism spatial planning requires the balance of both development and conservation. Through environmental data analysis, many researchers have suggested spatial planning that falls between these two polarizing concepts. Nonetheless, ecotourism development has been criticized as inconsiderate of places that are precious to local residents. The purpose of this study is to map local stakeholders’ perspectives for collaborative planning based on interests regarding ecotourism. Q methodology was used to analyse interest in space and conduct mapping. Upon analysis of a Seocheon ecotourism site, four preference factors that focus on (i) large-scale ecotourism resources and facilities; (ii) mud-flat ecotour villages; (iii) inland agricultural ecotour villages; and (iv) traditional ecotour villages were identified. Additionally, there was a consensus to conserve the harbours and reservoirs actually used by residents. However, there were differing opinions about coastal region development, and thus design alternatives are required. These results are significant because they enable spatial planning by theme and consider the lives of local residents beyond spatial planning based on physical data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Fuzzy Expression Way for Air Quality Index with More Comprehensive Information
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 83; doi:10.3390/su9010083
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 25 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an evaluating indicator for the atmospheric environment released by various environmental monitoring centers to communicate the present air quality status to the public, which is calculated by the aid of the monitored concentrations of six common air
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The Air Quality Index (AQI) is an evaluating indicator for the atmospheric environment released by various environmental monitoring centers to communicate the present air quality status to the public, which is calculated by the aid of the monitored concentrations of six common air pollutants and relevant computational formulae. Considering that the historical data of daily overall AQI illustrated by the traditional expression way merely contain limited information about the original data, this paper puts forward a more concrete and intuitive way to express the air quality in the past day. By analyzing the data concerning individual air quality indices of pollutants gathered from five cities of China for six consecutive months and conducting the curve fitting, each sub-index is recommended to be set as a Gaussian fuzzy number. Accordingly, taking advantage of the novel operational law for fuzzy numbers, the fuzzy distribution and membership function of the daily overall AQI can be deduced immediately, which as a reference contributes to the users acquiring the information more intuitively and facilitates making plans or decisions. Subsequently, a case study taking Shanghai as a background is conducted to elaborate the application of the proposed approach. Furthermore, the line chart reflecting the overall air quality status in a past period is depicted, based on which an example of selecting a tourist destination is given to demonstrate its utilization. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Discerning and Addressing Environmental Failures in Policy Scenarios Using Planning Support System (PSS) Technologies
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 13; doi:10.3390/su9010013
Received: 15 November 2016 / Revised: 13 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
The environmental consequences of planning decisions are often undervalued. This can result from a number of potential causes: (a) there might be a lack of adequate information to correctly assess environmental consequences; (b) stakeholders might discount the spatial and temporal impacts; (c) a
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The environmental consequences of planning decisions are often undervalued. This can result from a number of potential causes: (a) there might be a lack of adequate information to correctly assess environmental consequences; (b) stakeholders might discount the spatial and temporal impacts; (c) a failure to understand the dynamic interactions between socio-ecological systems including secondary and tertiary response mechanisms; or (d) the gravity of the status quo, i.e., blindly following a traditional discourse. In this paper, we argue that a Planning Support System (PSS) that enhances an assessment of environmental impacts and is integral to a community or regional planning process can help reveal the true environmental implications of scenario planning decisions, and thus improve communal planning and decision-making. We demonstrate our ideas through our experiences developing and deploying one such PSS—the Land-use Evolution and impact Assessment Model (LEAM) Planning Support System. University of Illinois researchers have worked directly with government planning officials and community stakeholders to analyze alternate future development scenarios and improve the planning process through a participatory, iterative process of visioning, model tuning, simulation, and discussion. The resulting information enables an evaluation of alternative policy or investment choices and their potential environmental implications that can change the way communities both generate and use plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Socio-Technical Features of Green Interior Design of Residential Buildings: Indicators, Interdependence and Embeddedness
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 33; doi:10.3390/su9010033
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 6 December 2016 / Accepted: 12 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
This research aims to develop indicators for assessing green interior design of new residential buildings in China, grounded in the socio-technical systems approach. The research was carried out through a critical literature review and two focus group studies. The results show that the
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This research aims to develop indicators for assessing green interior design of new residential buildings in China, grounded in the socio-technical systems approach. The research was carried out through a critical literature review and two focus group studies. The results show that the boundaries of green interior design were identified with respect to three dimensions, namely performance, methodology and stakeholders. The socio-technical systems approach argues for the recognition of the interdependence between the systems elements and the feature of embeddedness. The interdependence of the systems elements exists within each of these three dimensions and across them. It is also found that the socio-technical systems of green interior design are embedded in the social, regulatory and geographic context. Taking interior design of residential buildings as the empirical setting, this study contributes to the literature of green building assessment by presenting a socio-technical systems approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Assessments of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Community Gardens as Health Promoters: Effects on Mental and Physical Stress Levels in Adults with and without Mental Disabilities
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 63; doi:10.3390/su9010063
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
The study focuses on psychological and physical effects of stress while performing community garden activities of various intensity levels. The aim of this study was to determine the psychological and physical effects in adults with (case group) and without (control group) mental disabilities.
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The study focuses on psychological and physical effects of stress while performing community garden activities of various intensity levels. The aim of this study was to determine the psychological and physical effects in adults with (case group) and without (control group) mental disabilities. Salivary α-amylase (sAA) levels and the stress response scale (SRS-18) were used for the psychological analysis (n = 42). For physical assessment (n = 13), electrocardiogram (ECG), surface electromyogram (sEMG), and respiration rate were continuously measured while performing the activities using a multichannel telemetry system. The results showed that following the activities, the case group exhibited decreasing sAA levels while control group exhibited increasing sAA levels. However, both groups exhibited lower SRS-18 results following the activities. Compared with the control group, the case group had a significantly lower increase in the ratio of the heart rate (IRHR) (5.5%) during low-intensity work (filling pots with soil), but a significantly higher IRHR (16.7%) during high-intensity work (turning over soil). The case group experienced significantly higher levels of fatigue during high-intensity work (digging) than during the rest condition. These findings indicate that appropriate workload allocation, according to health, is necessary in the community garden setting because reducing the intensity of work assignments for people with mental disabilities will reduce their physical stress. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Configuration of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emissions of Shanghai, and Our Policy Suggestions
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 104; doi:10.3390/su9010104
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
This research constructs a 1 km × 1 km Shanghai energy consumption and carbon emission spatial grid through a bottom-up approach. First, we locate all energy consumption locations in Shanghai via GIS. Second, we calculate energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions by
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This research constructs a 1 km × 1 km Shanghai energy consumption and carbon emission spatial grid through a bottom-up approach. First, we locate all energy consumption locations in Shanghai via GIS. Second, we calculate energy consumption and associated CO2 emissions by energy type, by usage type, and by facilities. Finally, we use a spatial grid to represent the energy consumption and CO2 emissions. The grid shows CO2 emissions in Shanghai are highly spatially correlated with energy types and volumes of consumption. This research also finds out that high energy consumption and carbon emission locations in Shanghai display significant spatial aggregation. In 7209 spatial energy consumption cells, the top 10 grids of emissions account for 52.8% of total CO2 emissions in Shanghai; the top 20 grids account for 64.5% and the top 50 grids account for 76.5%. The most critical point emission sources are coal-fired power plants and iron and steel plants. The most important line emission sources are the Yan’an Road and Inner Ring viaducts. The area emission sources that account for the most future-projected growth are commercial and residential natural gas. After this spatial analysis, this paper makes policy suggestions and solutions to conserve energy consumption and mitigate carbon emissions in Shanghai. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Development of a Prototype Model to Establish an Economic Earthwork Plan that Includes the Selection of a Dump Site/Borrow Pit
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 74; doi:10.3390/su9010074
Received: 2 December 2016 / Revised: 1 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
Earthwork in road construction projects is the major activity that accounts for about 20%–30% of the total construction cost, and the internal/external hauling plan is the key factor for determining the successful completion of the project. However, the hauling plan at the site,
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Earthwork in road construction projects is the major activity that accounts for about 20%–30% of the total construction cost, and the internal/external hauling plan is the key factor for determining the successful completion of the project. However, the hauling plan at the site, which includes the selection of the dump site and borrow pit, is usually determined by the site manager’s subjective and empirical discretion alone. Therefore, this study has developed a prototype model that provides the optimal internal/external hauling plan. It includes the determination of the most economical dump sites and borrow pits (location and number) among other candidate sites as well. The transshipment problem theory is incorporated into the optimized algorithm with the consideration of various factors affecting earthwork cost. Direct costs from an optimized transport based on an existing model against another from this model were compared to prove its feasibility. As a result, the reduction of earthwork cost including the dump site/borrow pits reached 4%–8%. This result implies that this prototype model would also be useful in reducing both the earthwork cost and the occurrence of exhaust gas from earthwork equipment by providing optimized transportation paths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics of Suspended Sediment Loadings under Asian Summer Monsoon Climate Using the Hydrological Simulation Program-FORTRAN
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 44; doi:10.3390/su9010044
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
The extreme variation in the amount of annual precipitation and rainfall during single events is typical of the East Asian monsoon climate and may greatly influence the characteristics of the suspended sediment load. The turbidity in Lake Imha which is the eighth largest
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The extreme variation in the amount of annual precipitation and rainfall during single events is typical of the East Asian monsoon climate and may greatly influence the characteristics of the suspended sediment load. The turbidity in Lake Imha which is the eighth largest multipurpose dam in Korea has been the cause of major water quality problems for use as drinking water. The turbidity rose to 882 NTU, and it remained over 30 NTU continuously for 170 days during 2002, as the result of significant amounts of soil erosion from the watershed during the Asian monsoon typhoon. In this study, characteristics of suspended sediment loadings under the Asian summer monsoon climate was investigated by comparing the variation of yearly suspended sediment loads and the ratio of maximum suspended sediment loads in a single event to yearly suspended sediment load from Lake Imha watershed using the Hydrologic Simulation Program-FORTRAN (HSPF). The model calibration is performed according to the 2009–2010 events, and simulation results characterized suspended sediment loadings under the Asian summer monsoon climate for 2001–2010. Water sampling and flow rate measurements were performed every 4–6 h, and calibration was performed using hourly simulated sediment loads. The calibration results demonstrated good agreement with the observed data. The characteristics of suspended sediment loadings under the Asian summer monsoon climate are a high variance of the yearly suspended sediment load and a significant of amount of suspended sediment load during a single event influenced by the typhoon intensity. The maximum yearly suspended sediment load was 10 times higher than the minimum yearly value. About half of the yearly suspended sediment load was loaded with a single event under the Asian summer monsoon climate and the ratio of suspended sediment loads by a single event to total yearly loads ranged from 29% to 90%. Structural best management practices (BMPs) to trap suspended sediment in stormwater such as stormwater ponds or wetlands rely on much more storage volume or area and non-structural BMPs to minimize soil erosion by source control such as mulching or revegetation in disturbed areas, which are important BMPs, especially in the Asian summer monsoon region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Moving Low-Carbon Transportation in Xinjiang: Evidence from STIRPAT and Rigid Regression Models
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 24; doi:10.3390/su9010024
Received: 19 July 2016 / Revised: 13 November 2016 / Accepted: 12 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
With the rapid economic development of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the area’s transport sector has witnessed significant growth, which in turn has led to a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions. As such, calculating of the carbon footprint of Xinjiang’s transportation sector
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With the rapid economic development of the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, the area’s transport sector has witnessed significant growth, which in turn has led to a large increase in carbon dioxide emissions. As such, calculating of the carbon footprint of Xinjiang’s transportation sector and probing the driving factors of carbon dioxide emissions are of great significance to the region’s energy conservation and environmental protection. This paper provides an account of the growth in the carbon emissions of Xinjiang’s transportation sector during the period from 1989 to 2012. We also analyze the transportation sector’s trends and historical evolution. Combined with the STIRPAT (Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence and Technology) model and ridge regression, this study further quantitatively analyzes the factors that influence the carbon emissions of Xinjiang’s transportation sector. The results indicate the following: (1) the total carbon emissions and per capita carbon emissions of Xinjiang’s transportation sector both continued to rise rapidly during this period; their average annual growth rates were 10.8% and 9.1%, respectively; (2) the carbon emissions of the transportation sector come mainly from the consumption of diesel and gasoline, which accounted for an average of 36.2% and 2.6% of carbon emissions, respectively; in addition, the overall carbon emission intensity of the transportation sector showed an “S”-pattern trend within the study period; (3) population density plays a dominant role in increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Population is then followed by per capita GDP and, finally, energy intensity. Cargo turnover has a more significant potential impact on and role in emission reduction than do private vehicles. This is because road freight is the primary form of transportation used across Xinjiang, and this form of transportation has low energy efficiency. These findings have important implications for future efforts to reduce the growth of transportation-based carbon dioxide emissions in Xinjiang and for any effort to construct low-carbon and sustainable environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle An Occupational Disease Assessment of the Mining Industry’s Occupational Health and Safety Management System Based on FMEA and an Improved AHP Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 94; doi:10.3390/su9010094
Received: 17 October 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
In order to effectively analyze, control, and prevent occupational health risk and ensure the reliability of the weight, a method based on FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis) and an improved AHP (analytic hierarchy process) model was established. The occupational disease of the
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In order to effectively analyze, control, and prevent occupational health risk and ensure the reliability of the weight, a method based on FMEA (failure mode and effects analysis) and an improved AHP (analytic hierarchy process) model was established. The occupational disease of the occupational health and safety management system (OHSAS18001) of the mining industry in the southwest of Hubei Province is taken as an example, the three most significant risk factors (dust, noise, and gas) are selected as the research objects, the FMEA method is used, an expert questionnaire is carried out to establish the comprehensive assessment matrix of each indicator according to the RPN (risk priority number) value, and, finally, a case study is conducted through the FMEA and the improved AHP model The results show that the occupational disease of the mining industry’s occupational health and safety management system belongs to a “general” grade, which is in line with the physical examination results of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention of Ezhou City in 2015. The improved AHP and FMEA comprehensive assessment model of occupational disease is proved feasible. This method can be incorporated in the process management of the enterprise for the purpose of occupational disease prevention in advance and continuous improvement on the occupational health and safety of employees. Additionally, the area research on this integrated model should be optimized continually in actual situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Scale-Free Relationships between Social and Landscape Factors in Urban Systems
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 84; doi:10.3390/su9010084
Received: 20 October 2016 / Revised: 20 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
Urban planners and ecologists have long debated the relationship between the structure of urban landscapes and social activities. There have, however, been very few discussions as to whether any such relationships might depend on the scales of observation. This work applies a hierarchical
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Urban planners and ecologists have long debated the relationship between the structure of urban landscapes and social activities. There have, however, been very few discussions as to whether any such relationships might depend on the scales of observation. This work applies a hierarchical zoning technique to data from the city of Quito, Ecuador, to examine how relationships between typical spatial landscape metrics and social indicators depend on zoning scales. Our results showed that the estimates of both landscape heterogeneity features and social indicators significantly depend on the zoning scale. The mean values of the typical landscape metrics and the social indicators all exhibited predictable responses to a changing zoning scale, suggesting a consistent and significant scaling relationship within the multiple zoning scales. Yet relationships between these pairs of variables remain notably invariant to scale. This quantitative demonstration of the scale-free nature of the relationship between landscape characteristics and social indicators furthers our understanding of the relationships between landscape structures and social aspects of urban spaces, including deprivation and public service accessibility. The relationships between social indicators and one typical landscape aggregation metric (represented as the percentage of like adjacencies) were nevertheless significantly dependent on scale, suggesting the importance of zoning scale decisions for analyzing the relationships between the social indicators and the landscape characteristics related with landscape adjacency. Aside from this typical landscape aggregation metric, the general invariance to the zoning scale of relationships between landscape structures and socioeconomic indicators in Quito suggests the importance of applying these scale-free relationships in understanding complex socio-ecological systems in other cities, which are shaped by the conflated influences of both anthropogenic and natural factors. Moreover, this scale-free behavior of landscape–social relationships challenges the traditional modifiable area unit problem, and provides mechanistic insight into the conflicts and compatibilities between human activities and human-induced land use change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multi-disciplinary Sustainability Research)
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Open AccessArticle CEO Overconfidence, Leadership Ethics, and Institutional Investors
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 14; doi:10.3390/su9010014
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
This paper explores the influence of institutional investors’ external monitoring on CEOs’ overconfidence. We particularly examine institutional monitoring’s influence on overinvestments by overconfident CEOs and the likelihood of appointing these overconfident CEOs to firms. The results indicate that firms with overconfident CEOs have
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This paper explores the influence of institutional investors’ external monitoring on CEOs’ overconfidence. We particularly examine institutional monitoring’s influence on overinvestments by overconfident CEOs and the likelihood of appointing these overconfident CEOs to firms. The results indicate that firms with overconfident CEOs have more overinvestment, as the CEOs tend to be overly optimistic about investment opportunities and are more likely to act on them. The findings, more importantly, show that institutional monitoring mechanisms attenuate overconfident CEOs’ overinvestment. However, we find that institutional monitoring is only significant when long-term and/or large institutional investors hold the firms’ shares. We also discover that investors’ institutional monitoring not only actively reduces a CEO’s overinvestments, but also negatively influences the appointment of overconfident CEOs. Overall, our study provides insights into institutional monitoring’s role in corporate governance as an effective means of preventing value-destroying behaviors by an overconfident leader and cultivating an ethical business philosophy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Challenges of Implementing Sustainable Development: The Case of Sofia’s Master Plan
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 15; doi:10.3390/su9010015
Received: 16 June 2016 / Revised: 1 December 2016 / Accepted: 8 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
In this paper, we explore how master planning promotes and implements particular urban development patterns and, more generally, contributes to sustainability. Our goal is to understand the link between urban growth intentions articulated through the master planning process and realisation of its specific
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In this paper, we explore how master planning promotes and implements particular urban development patterns and, more generally, contributes to sustainability. Our goal is to understand the link between urban growth intentions articulated through the master planning process and realisation of its specific forms, e.g., monocentric or polycentric, compact or dispersed. As a case study, we examine the current General Urban Development Plan (GUDP) of the Bulgarian capital Sofia against the city’s actual development pattern. We observe that the primary goals of the GUDP are to promote a polycentric urban structure and low-density expansion, as well as preserve green edges. While the question of whether and how these goals reflect the sustainability ideal requires further consideration, there are some indications that Sofia’s GUDP may not be effective in encouraging sustainable forms of growth. Substantial inconsistencies exist between the plan’s overall goals and some of its measures and implementation tools. The results on the ground suggest that, despite the plan’s low-density aspirations, Sofia is becoming more compact and densified, while losing its green edges and failing to redirect growth to its northern territories where ample space and opportunities exist. We conclude that employing the achievements of research on sustainability and developing relevant implementation tools such as more effective zoning regulations and viable suburban transportation infrastructure are necessary for realising both the patterns proposed through master planning and achieving sustainable urban growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Resilience and Urban Sustainability: From Research to Practice)
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Open AccessArticle Quality Perspective on the Dynamic Balance of Cultivated Land in Wenzhou, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 95; doi:10.3390/su9010095
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
Cultivated land in China has faced severe challenges in recent years due to rapid urbanization. In 1997, the “cultivated land requisition-compensation balance” policy was implemented by the government to maintain the quantity and quality of cultivated land. Previous studies mainly focused on the
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Cultivated land in China has faced severe challenges in recent years due to rapid urbanization. In 1997, the “cultivated land requisition-compensation balance” policy was implemented by the government to maintain the quantity and quality of cultivated land. Previous studies mainly focused on the quantity changes of cultivated land. In this study, from a quality perspective, we characterized the occupation and compensation of cultivated land in Wenzhou City utilizing remote sensing and geographic information systems during 2005–2010 and 2010–2014. Our results indicated that although the quantity balance of cultivated land has been achieved in Wenzhou, there was a trend of consuming prime cultivated land for urbanization while compensating with less productive land. It was also found that topography, water resources, and accessibility play important roles in cultivated land changes, with urbanization occurring on the eastern coastal plain where high quality lands are prevalent. Less than 60% of the gained lands were under cultivation, with the majority of reclaimed land from forests and coastal areas and located in remote regions. Therefore, we suggest that a “cultivated land protection red line” policy should be implemented to protect the best cultivated lands, while preventing random land reclamation to secure agricultural and environmental sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Green Experiment: Cities, Green Stormwater Infrastructure, and Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 105; doi:10.3390/su9010105
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 7 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
Green infrastructure is a unique combination of economic, social, and environmental goals and benefits that requires an adaptable framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating. In this study, we propose an experimental framework for policy, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure within
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Green infrastructure is a unique combination of economic, social, and environmental goals and benefits that requires an adaptable framework for planning, implementing, and evaluating. In this study, we propose an experimental framework for policy, implementation, and subsequent evaluation of green stormwater infrastructure within the context of sociotechnical systems and urban experimentation. Sociotechnical systems describe the interaction of complex systems with quantitative and qualitative impacts. Urban experimentation—traditionally referencing climate change programs and their impacts—is a process of evaluating city programs as if in a laboratory setting with hypotheses and evaluated results. We combine these two concepts into a singular framework creating a policy feedback cycle (PFC) for green infrastructure to evaluate municipal green infrastructure plans as an experimental process within the context of a sociotechnical system. After proposing and discussing the PFC, we utilize the tool to research and evaluate the green infrastructure programs of 27 municipalities across the United States. Results indicate that green infrastructure plans should incorporate community involvement and communication, evaluation based on project motivation, and an iterative process for knowledge production. We suggest knowledge brokers as a key resource in connecting the evaluation stage of the feedback cycle to the policy phase. We identify three important needs for green infrastructure experimentation: (i) a fluid definition of green infrastructure in policy; (ii) maintenance and evaluation components of a green infrastructure plan; and (iii) communication of the plan to the community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Science Walden: Exploring the Convergence of Environmental Technologies with Design and Art
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 35; doi:10.3390/su9010035
Received: 10 October 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Science Walden, which is inspired by two prominent literary works, namely, Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) and Walden Two by Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904–1990), is aimed at establishing a community that embodies humanistic values while embracing scientific advancement to produce renewable energy
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Science Walden, which is inspired by two prominent literary works, namely, Walden by Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862) and Walden Two by Burrhus Frederic Skinner (1904–1990), is aimed at establishing a community that embodies humanistic values while embracing scientific advancement to produce renewable energy and water sources. This study attempts to capitalize on feces standard money (FSM) and artistic collaboration between scientists and artists as a means of achieving the forms of life depicted in Walden and Walden Two. On our campus, we designed and built a pavilion that serves as a laboratory where scientific advantages, design, and art are merged. In the pavilion, feces are processed in reactors and facilities for sustainable energy production, and rainwater is harvested and treated for use in daily life. Our application of design and art contributes to easing interaction between the general public and scientists because it visualizes an ambiguous theory and concretizes it into an understandable image. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Analysis and Buy-Back Coordination in a Fashion Supply Chain with Price Competition and Demand Uncertainty
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 25; doi:10.3390/su9010025
Received: 23 October 2016 / Revised: 27 November 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 26 December 2016
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Abstract
Supply chain sustainability has become significantly important in the fashion industry, and more and more fashion brands have invested in developing sustainable supply chains. We note that dual channel system comprising a brand-owned direct channel and retail outsourcing channel is quite common in
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Supply chain sustainability has become significantly important in the fashion industry, and more and more fashion brands have invested in developing sustainable supply chains. We note that dual channel system comprising a brand-owned direct channel and retail outsourcing channel is quite common in the fashion industry, and in the latter, buy-back contract is popular between brands and retailers. Therefore, we build a stylized dual channel model with price competition and demand uncertainty to characterize the main properties of a fashion supply chain. Our foci are the sustainability analysis and the channel coordination mechanism. We first design a buy-back contract with return cost to coordinate the channel. We then study supply chain sustainability and examine the effect of two key influencing factors, i.e., price competition and demand uncertainty. Interestingly, we find that a fiercer price competition will lead to a more sustainable supply chain. From the perspective of supply chain managers, we conclude that (1) if managers care about environmental sustainability, fierce price competition is not a suggested strategy; (2) if managers care about economic sustainability, fierce price competition is an advantageous strategy. We also find that high demand uncertainty results in a less sustainable supply chain, in both an environmental and economic sustainability sense. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Development for Emerging Markets)
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Open AccessArticle Modes of Governing and Policy of Local and Regional Governments Supporting Local Low-Carbon Energy Initiatives; Exploring the Cases of the Dutch Regions of Overijssel and Fryslân
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 75; doi:10.3390/su9010075
Received: 22 August 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
Recent scholarly attention shows increasing involvement of local low-carbon energy initiatives (LLCEIs) in governance and policy, in particular in relation to innovations regarding low-carbon energy and energy efficiency. The future perspective of active citizenship in the production of locally generated low-carbon energy is
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Recent scholarly attention shows increasing involvement of local low-carbon energy initiatives (LLCEIs) in governance and policy, in particular in relation to innovations regarding low-carbon energy and energy efficiency. The future perspective of active citizenship in the production of locally generated low-carbon energy is largely dependent on the existing institutional and policy frameworks and settings. Subnational governments, in particular, can have a prominent role in this process by engaging in institutional adaptation and policy innovation. The central research question of this paper is: In what ways do local and regional governments innovate in governing to respond to the emergence of LLCEIs? The research question is answered by comparing two case studies: the Dutch regions of Overijssel and Fryslân. We have conceptualized a meta-governing approach of experimentation, characterizing the innovations in governing that emerge when governments respond to the emergence of LLCEIs. We specifically focus on two capacities that subnational governments can use to enhance their governing capacity vis-à-vis LLCEIs and which substantiate the experimental meta-governance mode: institutional adaptation and policy innovation. We then formulated hypotheses that specify the expected policy innovations and institutional adaptations employed vis-à-vis LLCEIs. Data collection involved in-depth interviews and use of secondary data. The results show that a balancing process of authoritative and enabling modes of governing particularly characterized the type of policy innovations that were developed and the institutional adaptations that took place. Both provinces govern LLCEIs at arm’s length and issue significant capacity-building strategies that vary in terms of their conditions. Municipalities, however, incline towards impromptu and opportunistic responses, some of them having lasting effects by patching up existing institutional settings, others having more of an episodic character. The results will further the understanding of subnational low-carbon policy and governance innovation processes vis-à-vis the role of LLCEIs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle China’s New Urban Space Regulation Policies: A Study of Urban Development Boundary Delineations
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 45; doi:10.3390/su9010045
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 5 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 29 December 2016
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Abstract
China’s rapid urbanisation has led to ecological deterioration and reduced the land available for agricultural production. The purpose of this study is to develop an urban development boundary delineation (UDBD) model using the high-tech manufacturing area of Xinbei in the District of Changzhou
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China’s rapid urbanisation has led to ecological deterioration and reduced the land available for agricultural production. The purpose of this study is to develop an urban development boundary delineation (UDBD) model using the high-tech manufacturing area of Xinbei in the District of Changzhou as a case study, and by applying remote sensing, GIS, and other technologies. China’s UDBD policies are reviewed, spatiotemporal changes since 1985 are documented, and future expansion is modelled to 2020. The simulated urban-growth patterns are analysed in relation to China’s policies for farmland preservation, ecological redlines protection areas, and housing developments. The UDBD model developed in this study satisfies regional farmland and ecological space protection constraints, while being consistent with urban development strategies. This study provides theoretical references and technological support for the implementation of land management policies that will optimize land allocations for urban growth, agriculture, and ecological protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Comprehensive Benefit Evaluation of the Wind-PV-ES and Transmission Hybrid Power System Consideration of System Functionality and Proportionality
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 65; doi:10.3390/su9010065
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
In the background of decreasing fossil fuels and increasing environmental pollution, the wind-photovoltaic energy storage and transmission hybrid power system (or called the wind-PV-ES and transmission hybrid system) has become a strategic choice to achieve energy sustainability. However, the comprehensive benefit evaluation of
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In the background of decreasing fossil fuels and increasing environmental pollution, the wind-photovoltaic energy storage and transmission hybrid power system (or called the wind-PV-ES and transmission hybrid system) has become a strategic choice to achieve energy sustainability. However, the comprehensive benefit evaluation of such a combined power system is in a relatively blank state in China, which will hinder the reasonable and orderly development of this station. Four parts, the technical performance, economic benefit, ecological impact and social benefit, are considered in this paper, and a multi-angle evaluation index system of the wind-PV-ES and transmission system is designed. The projection pursuit model is used to evaluated system functionality conventionally; relative entropy theory is used to evaluate the system functionality simultaneously; and a comprehensive benefit evaluation model of the technique for order preference by similar to ideal solution (TOPSIS) considering both system functionality and proportionality is constructed. Finally, the national demonstration station of the wind-PV-ES-transmission system is taken as an example to testify to the practicability and validity of the evaluation index system and model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Electric Power Systems Research)
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Open AccessArticle Perspectives of Sustainable Development of Tourism in the North-East Region of Romania
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 56; doi:10.3390/su9010056
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 31 December 2016
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Abstract
In this paper we propose to highlight the tourism evolution and its intensity in the North-East region of Romania, compared to two regions with similar touristic potential from the Eastern European Union: Subcarpathia from Poland and Central Slovakia. We analysed if the EU
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In this paper we propose to highlight the tourism evolution and its intensity in the North-East region of Romania, compared to two regions with similar touristic potential from the Eastern European Union: Subcarpathia from Poland and Central Slovakia. We analysed if the EU attachment of Romania, Poland, and Slovakia had some effects on tourism development in the three regions mentioned. Issues arising from the analysis of the current situation of tourism will allow us to draw some sustainable development directions of tourism in the North-East region based on conserving and capitalizing the uniqueness of the area. We will consider the experience of the other two regions, trying to adapt them to the situation of the North-East region. Based on the analysis we have made, we consider that other countries can inspire us by authorities’ initiatives in supporting tourism, good human resources training, entrepreneurship stimulation, and assistance in accessing financial resources, including EU ones. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Towards a Wireless and Low-Power Infrastructure for Representing Information Based on E-Paper Displays
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 76; doi:10.3390/su9010076
Received: 7 October 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 7 January 2017
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Abstract
There has been much interest in replacing traditional information supports with more technological solutions in recent years. New technologies which allow paper-like perception with minimal power needs have emerged as low-power wireless scenarios. A priority for these new supports is to create the
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There has been much interest in replacing traditional information supports with more technological solutions in recent years. New technologies which allow paper-like perception with minimal power needs have emerged as low-power wireless scenarios. A priority for these new supports is to create the architecture for a scalable solution which maintains minimal power requirements. The retail industry demands a new information infrastructure that improves customer and employee satisfaction. In this work, authors propose an information provision architecture based on E-Paper and carry out an experiment where different smart labeling architectures based on Paper, E-Paper, LED liquid crystal display (LCD) and Dot-matrix LCD were tested in order to determine which is best suited for a real labeling environment. Enclosed in a research project called SMARKET, the authors pilot-tested the work in a real supermarket, having the opportunity to survey employees and customers about satisfaction and frustration with the use of the architectures proposed in this research work. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Identification and Prediction of Large Pedestrian Flow in Urban Areas Based on a Hybrid Detection Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 36; doi:10.3390/su9010036
Received: 8 November 2016 / Revised: 10 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
Recently, population density has grown quickly with the increasing acceleration of urbanization. At the same time, overcrowded situations are more likely to occur in populous urban areas, increasing the risk of accidents. This paper proposes a synthetic approach to recognize and identify the
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Recently, population density has grown quickly with the increasing acceleration of urbanization. At the same time, overcrowded situations are more likely to occur in populous urban areas, increasing the risk of accidents. This paper proposes a synthetic approach to recognize and identify the large pedestrian flow. In particular, a hybrid pedestrian flow detection model was constructed by analyzing real data from major mobile phone operators in China, including information from smartphones and base stations (BS). With the hybrid model, the Log Distance Path Loss (LDPL) model was used to estimate the pedestrian density from raw network data, and retrieve information with the Gaussian Progress (GP) through supervised learning. Temporal-spatial prediction of the pedestrian data was carried out with Machine Learning (ML) approaches. Finally, a case study of a real Central Business District (CBD) scenario in Shanghai, China using records of millions of cell phone users was conducted. The results showed that the new approach significantly increases the utility and capacity of the mobile network. A more reasonable overcrowding detection and alert system can be developed to improve safety in subway lines and other hotspot landmark areas, such as the Bundle, People’s Square or Disneyland, where a large passenger flow generally exists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Environments and Planning for Urban Renewal)
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Open AccessArticle Energy Saving in Public Transport Using Renewable Energy
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 106; doi:10.3390/su9010106
Received: 24 September 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Hydrogen produced by renewable sources represents an interesting way to reduce the energetic dependence on fossil fuels in the transportation sector. This paper shows a feasibility study for the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen in the western Sicilian context, using three different
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Hydrogen produced by renewable sources represents an interesting way to reduce the energetic dependence on fossil fuels in the transportation sector. This paper shows a feasibility study for the production, storage and distribution of hydrogen in the western Sicilian context, using three different renewable sources: wind, biomass and sea wave. The objective of this study is the evaluation of the hydrogen demand, needed to replace all diesel supplied buses with electrical buses equipped with fuel cells. An economic analysis is presented with the evaluation of the avoidable greenhouse gas emissions. Four different scenarios correlate the hydrogen demand for urban transport to the renewable energy resources present in the territories and to the modern technologies available for the production of hydrogen. The study focuses on the possibility of tapping into the potential of renewable energies (wind, biomass and sea wave) for the production of hydrogen by electrolysis. The use of hydrogen would reduce significantly the emissions of particulate and greenhouse gases in the urban districts under analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Participatory Approach to Minimizing Food Waste in the Food Industry—A Manual for Managers
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 66; doi:10.3390/su9010066
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
Based on their experiences gained in 15 companies in the catering sector and the bakery industry, the authors present a participatory concept to reduce food waste in the food industry. This five-phase concept, adapted to the PDCA (Plan–Do–Check–Act) cycle applied in the Total
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Based on their experiences gained in 15 companies in the catering sector and the bakery industry, the authors present a participatory concept to reduce food waste in the food industry. This five-phase concept, adapted to the PDCA (Plan–Do–Check–Act) cycle applied in the Total Quality Management, involves a participatory approach where employees are integrated into the process of developing and implementing measures to counteract food waste. The authors describe how the participatory approach can be used to raise awareness of the topic of food waste to improve employee commitment and responsibility. As a result, the authors further offer a Manual for Managers wishing to reduce food waste in their respective organizations. This manual includes information on the methodologies applied in each step of the improvement cycle. It also describes why the steps are necessary, and how results can be documented. The participatory concept and the Manual for Managers contribute to reducing food waste and to enhancing resource efficiency in the food industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Food Supply Chain and Food Industry)
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Open AccessArticle Agroecology and Ecological Intensification. A Discussion from a Metabolic Point of View
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 86; doi:10.3390/su9010086
Received: 26 November 2016 / Revised: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 10 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper documents the origin and conceptual ambiguity of the terms Sustainable, Ecological and Agroecological Intensification. It defines the concept of Ecological Intensification from an agroecological perspective, and examines in energy terms whether it may be sustainable. To illustrate the theory, we apply
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This paper documents the origin and conceptual ambiguity of the terms Sustainable, Ecological and Agroecological Intensification. It defines the concept of Ecological Intensification from an agroecological perspective, and examines in energy terms whether it may be sustainable. To illustrate the theory, we apply Land Cost of Sustainable Agriculture (LACAS) methodology to Spanish agriculture, which is representative of Mediterranean agroclimatic conditions. As a result, we demonstrate the impossibility of generalizing an extensive Organic Farming (OF) scenario under the techniques currently used by organic farmers. This is due to the fact that it would bring about a reduction of 13% in agricultural production. Which necessarily means that OF has to be intensified under agroecological criteria. This option is also explored in two scenarios. As a result, we show that it is possible to compensate the yield gap between OF and conventional agriculture by implementing low-entropy internal loop strategies which reduce the land cost of generating the necessary nitrogen flows. However, these cannot exceed the limits established by the structure of Spanish territory. That is, agroecological intensification cannot be prolonged indefinitely over time since it is limited by the land available. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Food Production and Consumption: City Regions between Localism, Agricultural Land Displacement, and Economic Competitiveness
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 96; doi:10.3390/su9010096
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 30 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
In the wider debate on urban resilience and metabolism, food-related aspects have gained increasing importance. At the same time, urban agro-food systems in city regions are facing major challenges with regard to often limited domestic supplies, resource-intensive producer–consumer relationships, and the competition for
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In the wider debate on urban resilience and metabolism, food-related aspects have gained increasing importance. At the same time, urban agro-food systems in city regions are facing major challenges with regard to often limited domestic supplies, resource-intensive producer–consumer relationships, and the competition for low-price products via global food chains. In this sense, novel methods for coupling local and global processes are required to better understand the underlying mechanisms between the above factors. Exploring the relationship between food supply and demand, this study presents a set of suitable fact-finding tools that are introduced and applied in a comparative study of five European city regions. The methodological framework, by introducing and combining economic-based indexes, aims at overcoming limits and gaps identified by means of a literature review. The model will explicitly address the main features of the regional agro-food systems by managing information on the capacities and opportunities of local agriculture to adequately respond to food demand, as well as by providing insights on the interconnections among localism, global competitiveness of agricultural sectors, and land use change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Region Foodscapes)
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Open AccessArticle Cheat Electricity? The Political Economy of Green Electricity Delivery on the Dutch Market for Households and Small Business
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 16; doi:10.3390/su9010016
Received: 14 October 2016 / Revised: 5 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
The European Commission’s renewable energy directive introduced a market-based Guarantees of Origin (GO)-trade system that gives consumers the choice of buying “real” green energy. This has been successful, as the market share of Dutch households that buy green energy grew to 64% in
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The European Commission’s renewable energy directive introduced a market-based Guarantees of Origin (GO)-trade system that gives consumers the choice of buying “real” green energy. This has been successful, as the market share of Dutch households that buy green energy grew to 64% in 2015. However, societal organizations are dissatisfied with the green energy offered, categorizing it as “cheat” electricity. This article aims to solve this riddle of a successful product created under the GO-trade system but also heavily criticized. Research reveals a lively marketplace with buyers eager to buy green energy and energy producers offering a wide range of labels. Marketplace mechanisms are strongly influenced by political choices, and financial support for energy suppliers makes green energy a credible option. Societal groups, however, argue that the information provided is incomplete and misleading, that buying green energy does not impact positively on greenhouse gas reduction, and that better information and structural reform are required. The GO-trade system is strongly influenced by member states’ national energy politics. Societal organizations have helped to optimize the implementation of the GO-trade system in the Netherlands, but they are not expected to be able to support the creation of a level playing field in which an optimal GO-trade system will flourish. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Changing Community Variations in Perceptions and Activeness in Response to the Spruce Bark Beetle Outbreak in Alaska
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 67; doi:10.3390/su9010067
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 28 December 2016 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
Local sociocultural processes including community perceptions and actions represent the most visible social impacts of various economic and environmental changes. Comparative community analysis has been used to examine diverse community perspectives on a variety of socioeconomic and environmental issues. However, as the temporal
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Local sociocultural processes including community perceptions and actions represent the most visible social impacts of various economic and environmental changes. Comparative community analysis has been used to examine diverse community perspectives on a variety of socioeconomic and environmental issues. However, as the temporal dimension of community processes remains understudied, relatively little is known regarding how such community variations change over time. This study draws on longitudinal survey data from six communities on the Kenai Peninsula, Alaska to explore temporal shifts in community differences in perceptions and activeness in response to forest disturbance associated with an extensive spruce bark beetle outbreak. The surveys were implemented in two phases over a 4-year study period. Results show that while community perceptions on the bark beetle condition waned and coalesced in some ways, significant differences remained or emerged with respect to other facets of local reactions. These shifting variances in community dimensions of the beetle disturbance were related to community positions along the beetle outbreak timeline and general community socioeconomic and biophysical situations (community context). The analysis also revealed community differences and contexts held an even more important role in predicting local responses to beetles in the re-survey. Taken together, findings from this research contribute a better understanding of the persistence and change in community variability as well as the continuity of community contextual effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Scenario Prediction of Energy Consumption and CO2 Emissions in China’s Machinery Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 87; doi:10.3390/su9010087
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
Energy conservation and CO2 abatement is currently an important development strategy for China. It is significant to analyze how to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in China’s energy-intensive machinery industry. We not only employ a cointegration method and scenario analysis
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Energy conservation and CO2 abatement is currently an important development strategy for China. It is significant to analyze how to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions in China’s energy-intensive machinery industry. We not only employ a cointegration method and scenario analysis to predict the future energy demand and CO2 emissions in China’s machinery industry, but we also use the Monte Carlo simulation to test the validity of the predictions. The results show that energy demand in the industry will respectively reach 678.759 Mtce (million ton coal equivalent) in 2020 and 865.494 Mtce in 2025 under the baseline scenario. Compared with the baseline scenario, the energy savings in 2020 will respectively be 63.654 Mtce and 120.787 Mtce in the medium and advanced scenarios. Furthermore, we forecast the corresponding CO2 emissions as well as the reduction potential respectively in 2020 and 2025. In order to achieve energy conservation and emissions reduction, the government should increase energy price, levy environmental taxes based on the emissions level of machinery enterprises, promote mergers and acquisitions of enterprises, and expand the scale of enterprises. This paper provides a reference for energy conservation and CO2 abatement policy in China’s machinery industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sprinkling: An Approach to Describe Urbanization Dynamics in Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 97; doi:10.3390/su9010097
Received: 19 November 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 12 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents research which has defined a new typology of urban patterns (sprinkling), different from the internationally recognized standard urban sprawl, as well as various indicators that have been implemented to measure sprinkling. It is important to highlight that the damage caused
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This paper presents research which has defined a new typology of urban patterns (sprinkling), different from the internationally recognized standard urban sprawl, as well as various indicators that have been implemented to measure sprinkling. It is important to highlight that the damage caused to the environment and communities by urban sprinkling is much more serious and irreversible than that notoriously caused by urban sprawl. The paper introduces the difficult methodological and planning aspects of retrofitting (de-sprinkling), a true challenge for land management. We argue that even partial inversion of many negative effects is impossible in the short term. Only medium- to long-term, organized, and politically coordinated programs can tackle the various issues associated with sprinkling. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Be Sustainable to Be Innovative: An Analysis of Their Mutual Reinforcement
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 17; doi:10.3390/su9010017
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 16 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
Sustainable development has attracted the increasing attention of both researchers and practitioners. While academicians and practitioners’ focus towards sustainability has shifted to innovation, there is a need to understand how sustainability and innovation are interlinked. Thus, this paper attempts to analyze, first, the
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Sustainable development has attracted the increasing attention of both researchers and practitioners. While academicians and practitioners’ focus towards sustainability has shifted to innovation, there is a need to understand how sustainability and innovation are interlinked. Thus, this paper attempts to analyze, first, the bidirectional impact of the firms’ pursuit of sustainability and innovation as the priority, second, the bidirectional impact of the adoption of sustainability innovation action programs and, third, to discern the bidirectional influence of sustainability and innovation performances. The evidence is drawn from a sample of 860 manufacturing plants in 22 countries from the sixth edition of the International Manufacturing Strategy Survey 2013. The survey was conducted using a self-administered questionnaire. Structural equation modelling has been employed to test the model. The results show that sustainability and innovation positively and significantly impact each other in terms of the adoption of their relevant action programs and performance. However, the pursuit of sustainability priority acts as an antecedent of innovation priority. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of the Carbon Footprint, Social Benefit of Carbon Reduction, and Energy Payback Time of a High-Concentration Photovoltaic System
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 27; doi:10.3390/su9010027
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 25 December 2016
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Abstract
Depleting fossil fuel sources and worsening global warming are two of the most serious world problems. Many renewable energy technologies are continuously being developed to overcome these challenges. Among these technologies, high-concentration photovoltaics (HCPV) is a promising technology that reduces the use of
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Depleting fossil fuel sources and worsening global warming are two of the most serious world problems. Many renewable energy technologies are continuously being developed to overcome these challenges. Among these technologies, high-concentration photovoltaics (HCPV) is a promising technology that reduces the use of expensive photovoltaic materials to achieve highly efficient energy conversion. This reduction process is achieved by adopting concentrating and tracking technologies. This study intends to understand and assess the carbon footprint and energy payback time (EPBT) of HCPV modules during their entire life cycles. The social benefit of carbon reduction is also evaluated as another indicator to assess the energy alternatives. An HCPV module and a tracker from the Institute of Nuclear Energy Research (INER) were applied, and SimaPro 8.0.2 was used for the assessment. The functional unit used in this study was 1 kWh, which is produced by HCPV, and inventory data was sourced from Ecoinvent 3.0 and the Taiwan carbon footprint calculation database. The carbon footprint, EPBT, and social benefit of carbon reduction were evaluated as 107.69 g CO2eq/kWh, 2.61 years, and 0.022 USD/kWh, respectively. Direct normal irradiation (DNI), life expectancy, and the degradation rate of HCPV system were subjected to sensitivity analysis. Results show that the influence of lifetime assumption under a low DNI value is greater than those under high DNI values. Degradation rate is also another important factor when assessing the carbon footprint of HCPV under a low DNI value and a long lifetime assumption. The findings of this study can provide several insights for the development of the Taiwanese solar industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Electric Power Systems Research)
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Open AccessArticle Food Waste Drivers in Europe, from Identification to Possible Interventions
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 37; doi:10.3390/su9010037
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
The growing volumes of food globally lost or wasted and implications for food security and sustainability have raised the concern of researchers, governments, international organizations and grass-root movements. Much research and experiences investigating food waste causes and drivers focus on one specific segment
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The growing volumes of food globally lost or wasted and implications for food security and sustainability have raised the concern of researchers, governments, international organizations and grass-root movements. Much research and experiences investigating food waste causes and drivers focus on one specific segment of the food supply chain and limit the analysis to the situation of one or few countries, while the few studies of wider geographical scope also target other relevant and diversified objectives (e.g., food waste definition, quantification, environmental and economic impacts, and recommendations for interventions). This study, carried out by a network of European institutions involved in research and initiatives against food waste, focuses on the analysis of a broad area, Europe, through a wide and systematic literature review and consultation with stakeholders in international focus groups. The food supply chain was divided into seven segments and three main contexts were defined for the examination of food waste sources: Technological, Institutional (related to organisational factors, i.e., business management, economy, legislation, and policy), and Social (related to consumers’ behaviours and lifestyles). Results suggest a wide and multifaceted problem, interconnected across all stages of the food supply chain, from primary production, to final consumption. Within each context, the identified drivers have been grouped according to the possibilities and the type of interventions for food waste reduction. A final cross-contextual prioritization distinguished food waste sources related to (A) inherent characteristics of food; (B) social and economic factors; (C) individual non-readily changeable behaviours; (D) other priorities targeted by private and public stakeholders; (E) diversified factors, such as mismanagement, inefficient legislation, lack of awareness or information; and sub-optimal use of available technologies, which could be more promptly changed. Such diversification of causes calls for specific monitoring systems, targeted policy measures, and actions of individual stakeholders at each stage of the food supply chain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Dynamic Relationship between Fluctuations in the Korean Housing Market and the Occurrence of Unsold New Housing Stocks
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 107; doi:10.3390/su9010107
Received: 13 August 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, we intend to identify the characteristics of occurrence of unsold new housing stocks and draw the implications for the housing business strategy that can effectively cope with the market risk under the Korean housing market. As a result of the
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In this paper, we intend to identify the characteristics of occurrence of unsold new housing stocks and draw the implications for the housing business strategy that can effectively cope with the market risk under the Korean housing market. As a result of the analysis, most of the theoretical causality of occurrence of unsold new housing stocks under the three-dimensional Korean housing market was found to correspond to the empirical analysis result. In addition, the chonsei market that produces the characteristic movement of Korean housing market had a significant relation with occurrence of unsold new housing stocks. Because of these results, it is thought that the proposed housing business strategy can effectively cope with the housing market risk. It is thought that we need to additionally examine the financial validity of the proposed housing business model by calculating the cash flow and grope for policy support measures to materialize it on the basis of the analysis result of this paper. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Use and Perception of Podium Gardens in Residential Neighborhoods in Hong Kong
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 57; doi:10.3390/su9010057
Received: 16 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper examines how a residential podium garden design can enhance the use of a garden and the satisfaction of its users. Two public and private housing estates are selected to analyze and compare spatial use and the perception of space in podium
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This paper examines how a residential podium garden design can enhance the use of a garden and the satisfaction of its users. Two public and private housing estates are selected to analyze and compare spatial use and the perception of space in podium gardens for public use. First, this paper explores the relationship between residential satisfaction and the physical conditions of podium gardens in public and private housing estates in Hong Kong. A total of 135 questionnaires are collected from two cohorts for each of these groups. People’s perceptions are compared with the physical conditions of the podium gardens. Second, this paper investigates how visibility and accessibility influence the quality and usability of podium gardens. The sense of community, safety and hygiene, and accessibility are examined and compared between public and private housing estate cohorts. In conclusion, opening a podium garden to public use can promote the degree of tolerance and enhance community cohesion. Regardless of whether a podium garden is open to the public or not, according to the responses, more people using the podium garden can increase its usability. Since public monitoring can enhance safety and hygiene, podium gardens should be highly visible from the surrounding buildings. A well-planned podium design thus can improve the social and physical qualities of living environments. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Determinants of Farmers’ Intention to Adopt Water Saving Measures: Evidence from Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 77; doi:10.3390/su9010077
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 2 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 8 January 2017
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Abstract
The present research is aimed at establishing how farmers can be encouraged to adopt irrigation water saving measures. By developing and implementing an extended version of the well-known Theory of Planned Behavior, we considered farmers’ propensity to adopt innovations and their water footprints.
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The present research is aimed at establishing how farmers can be encouraged to adopt irrigation water saving measures. By developing and implementing an extended version of the well-known Theory of Planned Behavior, we considered farmers’ propensity to adopt innovations and their water footprints. In a sample of 150 Italian farmers, we found that favorable attitudes towards water saving measures, and the orientations of environmental associations and public bodies favorably influence farmers’ intentions to adopt water saving measures. Farmers’ innovativeness and water footprints also exert a significant influence on their adoption intentions. The paper also discusses the contribution of these results to the previous literature and highlights practical implications for policy makers interested in promoting the adoption of irrigation water saving measures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Efficiency and Its Determinants for Manufacturing in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 47; doi:10.3390/su9010047
Received: 27 October 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 29 December 2016
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Abstract
In this study, we analyze the environmental efficiency performance and its determinants of 29 manufacturing industries in China from 2006 to 2011 by employing a two-stage DEA (data envelopment analysis)-Tobit model. For providing comparative and robust evidence, the 29 manufacturing industries are classified
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In this study, we analyze the environmental efficiency performance and its determinants of 29 manufacturing industries in China from 2006 to 2011 by employing a two-stage DEA (data envelopment analysis)-Tobit model. For providing comparative and robust evidence, the 29 manufacturing industries are classified into three groups based on the pollution intensity. In the first stage, a SBM (slacks-based measure)-DEA model is applied to assess economic efficiency and environmental efficiency scores to illustrate the effects of the environmental factors, while taking into consideration the undesirable output. In the second stage, utilizing these calculated environmental efficiency scores as dependent variables, we employ a Tobit regression model to study the determinants of the environmental efficiency by selecting three independent variables including the industry scale, the openness degree and the energy structure. It turns out that the environmental factors have a positive effect on the lightly polluted industries and a negative effect on the moderately polluted industries, the heavily polluted industries, and the overall industries, while the openness degree, the industry scale, and the energy structure can be effective measures to improve environmental efficiency. Based on these findings, we propose policy measures to enhance the environmental efficiency of manufacturing in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Employees’ Participation in Corporate Social Responsibility and Organizational Outcomes: The Moderating Role of Person–CSR Fit
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 28; doi:10.3390/su9010028
Received: 28 October 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 19 December 2016 / Published: 25 December 2016
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Abstract
This study investigated the moderating effects of person–corporate social responsibility (CSR)-fit for the relationships between CSR participation and job satisfaction, organizational identification, and organizational commitment. The study was conducted in South Korea and sampled 393 full-time employees from several conglomerates. The study found
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This study investigated the moderating effects of person–corporate social responsibility (CSR)-fit for the relationships between CSR participation and job satisfaction, organizational identification, and organizational commitment. The study was conducted in South Korea and sampled 393 full-time employees from several conglomerates. The study found CSR participation to be positively related with job satisfaction, organizational identification, and organizational commitment. Furthermore, person–CSR fit significantly moderated the relationships between CSR participation and job satisfaction, organizational identification, and organizational commitment. These findings suggest that CSR participation positively affects organizational outcomes and that person–CSR fit enhances the relationships between CSR participation and the organizational outcomes. Therefore, the study suggests the importance of CSR participation and person–CSR fit in CSR initiatives, as CSR participation and person–CSR can promote a healthy work environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Development of Reusable Luggage Tag with the Internet of Things for Mobile Tracking and Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 58; doi:10.3390/su9010058
Received: 13 August 2016 / Revised: 10 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 31 December 2016
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Abstract
With more than two billion passengers worldwide travelling by air each year, vast amounts of lost luggage and disposable paper adhesive luggage tags are pushing the aviation industry to improve luggage tracking and reduce the one-off adhesive luggage paper tags. This paper reviews
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With more than two billion passengers worldwide travelling by air each year, vast amounts of lost luggage and disposable paper adhesive luggage tags are pushing the aviation industry to improve luggage tracking and reduce the one-off adhesive luggage paper tags. This paper reviews the current application of Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) in the luggage handling system and proposes the Internet of Things’ (IoT) development of the reusable luggage tag to facilitate aviation luggage handling, the tracking process and environmental conservation. A framework of IoT and its RFID components for the proposed reusable tag are presented. An integrated cyber-physical system, including a database management system and mobile app, for the reusable luggage tag is developed. Future studies will enhance the methodology of integrating the retail system, luggage tag, airport check-in counter, luggage handling system, aircraft, and the destination airport through the use of the tag, readers, antenna, and mobile devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle A Support Vector Machine for Landslide Susceptibility Mapping in Gangwon Province, Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 48; doi:10.3390/su9010048
Received: 13 September 2016 / Revised: 17 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
In this study, the support vector machine (SVM) was applied and validated by using the geographic information system (GIS) in order to map landslide susceptibility. In order to test the usefulness and effectiveness of the SVM, two study areas were carefully selected: the
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In this study, the support vector machine (SVM) was applied and validated by using the geographic information system (GIS) in order to map landslide susceptibility. In order to test the usefulness and effectiveness of the SVM, two study areas were carefully selected: the PyeongChang and Inje areas of Gangwon Province, Korea. This is because, not only did many landslides (2098 in PyeongChang and 2580 in Inje) occur in 2006 as a result of heavy rainfall, but the 2018 Winter Olympics will be held in these areas. A variety of spatial data, including landslides, geology, topography, forest, soil, and land cover, were identified and collected in the study areas. Following this, the spatial data were compiled in a GIS-based database through the use of aerial photographs. Using this database, 18 factors relating to topography, geology, soil, forest and land use, were extracted and applied to the SVM. Next, the detected landslide data were randomly divided into two sets; one for training and the other for validation of the model. Furthermore, a SVM, specifically a type of data-mining classification model, was applied by using radial basis function kernels. Finally, the estimated landslide susceptibility maps were validated. In order to validate the maps, sensitivity analyses were carried out through area-under-the-curve analysis. The achieved accuracies from the SVM were approximately 81.36% and 77.49% in the PyeongChang and Inje areas, respectively. Moreover, a sensitivity assessment of the factors was performed. It was found that all of the factors, except for soil topography, soil drainage, soil material, soil texture, timber diameter, timber age, and timber density for the PyeongChang area, and timber diameter, timber age, and timber density for the Inje area, had relatively positive effects on the landslide susceptibility maps. These results indicate that SVMs can be useful and effective for landslide susceptibility analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Reporting in Family Firms: A Panel Data Analysis
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 38; doi:10.3390/su9010038
Received: 9 October 2016 / Revised: 3 December 2016 / Accepted: 26 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
We analyze the largely unexplored differences in sustainability reporting within family businesses using a sample of 230 non-financial Italian listed firms for the period 2004–2013. Drawing on legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory, integrated with the socio-emotional wealth (SEW) approach, we study how family
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We analyze the largely unexplored differences in sustainability reporting within family businesses using a sample of 230 non-financial Italian listed firms for the period 2004–2013. Drawing on legitimacy theory and stakeholder theory, integrated with the socio-emotional wealth (SEW) approach, we study how family control, influence and identification shape a firm’s attitude towards disclosing its social and environmental behavior. Our results suggest that family firms are more sensitive to media exposure than their non-family counterparts and that family control enhances sustainability disclosure when it is associated to a family’s direct influence on the business, by the founder’s presence on the board or by having a family CEO. In cases of indirect influence, without family involvement on the board, the level of family ownership is negatively related to sustainability reporting. On the other hand, a formal identification of the family with the firm by business name does not significantly affect social disclosure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Quick Green Scan: A Methodology for Improving Green Performance in Terms of Manufacturing Processes
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 88; doi:10.3390/su9010088
Received: 14 September 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 30 December 2016 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
The heating sector has begun implementing technologies and practices to tackle the environmental and social–economic problems caused by their production process. The purpose of this paper is to develop a methodology, “the Quick-Green-Scan”, that caters for the need of quick assessment decision-makers to
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The heating sector has begun implementing technologies and practices to tackle the environmental and social–economic problems caused by their production process. The purpose of this paper is to develop a methodology, “the Quick-Green-Scan”, that caters for the need of quick assessment decision-makers to improve green manufacturing performance in companies that produce heating devices. The study uses a structured approach that integrates Life Cycle Assessment-based indicators, framework and linguistic scales (fuzzy numbers) to evaluate the extent of greening of the enterprise. The evaluation criteria and indicators are closely related to the current state of technology, which can be improved. The proposed methodology has been created to answer the question whether a company acts on the opportunity to be green and whether these actions are contributing towards greening, maintaining the status quo or moving away from a green outcome. Results show that applying the proposed improvements in processes helps move the facility towards being a green enterprise. Moreover, the methodology, being particularly quick and simple, is a practical tool for benchmarking, not only in the heating industry, but also proves useful in providing comparisons for facility performance in other manufacturing sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Monitoring and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting the Survival of SMEs: A Study of Biotechnology Firms in South Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 108; doi:10.3390/su9010108
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Past studies examining survival factors of biotechnology firms have focused on pioneer countries, such as the USA, the UK and Germany. However, as the biotechnology industry in Asia is reaching the take-off stage and showing a high growth rate, the research on survival
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Past studies examining survival factors of biotechnology firms have focused on pioneer countries, such as the USA, the UK and Germany. However, as the biotechnology industry in Asia is reaching the take-off stage and showing a high growth rate, the research on survival factors in the context of Asian latecomers is needed. The present research investigates internal and external factors affecting the survival of SMEs (Small and Medium-sized Enterprises) in the biotechnology industry in South Korea. The Cox hazard model was employed to perform a robust estimation in survival analysis. The analysis of internal factors showed that the origin of a firm (i.e., having prior experience or spin-offs) and the business sub-sector (i.e., platform-based) affect the hazard rates of biotechnology firms. In terms of external factors, unlike strategic alliances, government R&D funding lowered hazard rates for the firm’s survival. Additionally, considering that the reasons of firm exit can be divided into bankruptcy and M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions), the different effects of origins from other firms and strategic alliance for firm survival are confirmed. The results suggest that prior experience, platform-based and constant government R&D funding contribute to the sustainable development of SMEs in the biotechnology industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Where Land Use Changes Occur: Using Soil Features to Understand the Economic Trends in Agricultural Lands
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 78; doi:10.3390/su9010078
Received: 5 November 2016 / Revised: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
This study investigates the major land use change processes over the 1990–2008 period in Abruzzo region (Central Italy) in relation to the characteristics of the soils and with particular regard to their capability for agricultural purposes, in order to highlight their implications on
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This study investigates the major land use change processes over the 1990–2008 period in Abruzzo region (Central Italy) in relation to the characteristics of the soils and with particular regard to their capability for agricultural purposes, in order to highlight their implications on agricultural productivity. The relative changes in the agricultural incomes and land values were also estimated. To this end, we proposed an inventory approach as a flexible and feasible way for monitoring land use changes at multiple scales. As main outcomes, the shrinkage of agricultural lands and their internal changes (intensification vs. extensification processes) were highlighted. The shrinkage of agricultural lands was strictly related to: (a) reforestation process in mountain areas and less productive lands after land abandonment; and (b) urbanization on plains and more productive lands. Although the intensification process was demonstrated to have a positive effect on the overall regional agricultural incomes, especially on high quality soils, this was not adequate to compensate the economic loss due to the other land use changes, especially in marginal areas and low-to-medium quality soils. Finally, the paper discusses the geographical pattern of land use change processes across the region, including their interrelations and combined effects, and ultimately offers recommendations to decision-makers addressing future sustainable development objectives from local to global scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Test and Simulations on a Linear Generator-Based Prototype of a Wave Energy Conversion System Designed with a Reliability-Oriented Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 98; doi:10.3390/su9010098
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 4 January 2017 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
In this paper, we propose a reliability-oriented design of a linear generator-based prototype of a wave energy conversion (WEC), useful for the production of hydrogen in a sheltered water area like Mediterranean Sea. The hydrogen production has been confirmed by a lot of
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In this paper, we propose a reliability-oriented design of a linear generator-based prototype of a wave energy conversion (WEC), useful for the production of hydrogen in a sheltered water area like Mediterranean Sea. The hydrogen production has been confirmed by a lot of experimental testing and simulations. The system design is aimed to enhance the robustness and reliability and is based on an analysis of the main WEC failures reported in literature. The results of this analysis led to some improvements that are applied to a WEC system prototype for hydrogen production and storage. The proposed WEC system includes the electrical linear generator, the power conversion system, and a sea-water electrolyzer. A modular architecture is conceived to provide ease of extension of the power capability of the marine plant. The experimental results developed on the permanent magnet linear electric generator have allowed identification of the stator winding typology and, consequently, ability to size the power electronics system. The produced hydrogen has supplied a low-power fuel cell stack directly connected to the hydrogen output from the electrolyzer. The small-scale prototype is designed to be installed, in the near future, into the Mediterranean Sea. As shown by experimental and simulation results, the small-scale prototype is suitable for hydrogen production and storage from sea water in this area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
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Open AccessArticle Social Sustainability: A New Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 68; doi:10.3390/su9010068
Received: 5 October 2016 / Revised: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 29 December 2016 / Published: 5 January 2017
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Abstract
There is a lack of theoretical and empirical studies regarding social sustainability. The literature reveals that the “social” was integrated late into debates on sustainable development. This paper aims to fill this gap and proposes a new conceptual framework of social sustainability. We
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There is a lack of theoretical and empirical studies regarding social sustainability. The literature reveals that the “social” was integrated late into debates on sustainable development. This paper aims to fill this gap and proposes a new conceptual framework of social sustainability. We suggest that risk is a constitutive concept of sustainability and that the contemporary conditions of risk resulting primarily from climate change and its ensuing uncertainties pose serious social, spatial, structural, and physical threats to contemporary human societies and their living spaces. Within the framework of sustainability, we propose that social sustainability strives to confront risk while addressing social concerns. Although we agree that without socially oriented practices, efforts to achieve sustainability will be undermined, as too many gaps exist in practice and theory. Thus, we propose a comprehensive Conceptual Framework of Social Sustainability, which is composed of four interrelated concepts of socially oriented practices, where each concept has a distinctive function in the framework and incorporates major social aspects. The concept of Equity encompasses three dimensions: recognition, which “revalues unjustly devalued identities”, redistribution, which suggests that the remedy for injustice is some form of economic restructuring, and parity of participation, which promotes substantive public involvement in the production of space. These efforts may, in turn, reduce alienation and enhance civility and a sense of community and place attachment. The concept of Safety is the ontological foundation of sustainability in general and social sustainability in particular. The concept refers to the right to not only be safe but adopt all measures of adaptation and security to prevent future casualties and physical harm. The concept of Eco-prosumption refers to modes of producing and gaining values in socially and environmentally responsible ways. The concept of Urban Forms represents the physical dimensions of socially desired urban and community physical forms. Eventually, a desired physical form should promote a sense of community, safety, health, and place attachment, among other environmental objectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability and Justice)
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Open AccessArticle Changing Structure and Sustainable Development for China’s Hog Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 69; doi:10.3390/su9010069
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 29 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 6 January 2017
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Abstract
Supply shortages and competitive disadvantages are the main problems faced by China’s hog sector. The non-essential import of pork products, triggered by competitive disadvantages, poses great challenges to hog farms. Structural changes are an important policy concern in China and elsewhere. Previous literature
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Supply shortages and competitive disadvantages are the main problems faced by China’s hog sector. The non-essential import of pork products, triggered by competitive disadvantages, poses great challenges to hog farms. Structural changes are an important policy concern in China and elsewhere. Previous literature has ignored whether the ongoing structural changes from backyard to large farms can contribute to sustainable development. This study adopts the micro-level data of hog farms collected from Jiangsu Province, and uses a two-step metafrontier model and a primal system approach. The empirical results reveal that the ongoing structural changes are capable of boosting the growth in output in China’s hog sector, since the stronger increase in comparable technical efficiency compensates for the inappropriate technology. Furthermore, the ongoing structural changes are also beneficial in the reduction of production costs and in improving competitiveness in China’s hog sector. The decline in technical and allocative inefficiency costs, particularly for technical inefficiency costs, contributes to the cost advantage with the increasing farm size. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring a Novel Agricultural Subsidy Model with Sustainable Development: A Chinese Agribusiness in Liaoning Province
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 19; doi:10.3390/su9010019
Received: 1 September 2016 / Revised: 9 December 2016 / Accepted: 20 December 2016 / Published: 23 December 2016
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Abstract
To improve the incomes of farmers in China, the Chinese government is paying increased attention to the reform of its agricultural subsidy policy. However, the effectiveness of the subsidy remains insufficient and thus fails to encourage farmers to cultivate their land and develop
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To improve the incomes of farmers in China, the Chinese government is paying increased attention to the reform of its agricultural subsidy policy. However, the effectiveness of the subsidy remains insufficient and thus fails to encourage farmers to cultivate their land and develop sustainability. Thus, there is a need for a novel model that will improve the effectiveness and efficiency of subsidies. The proposed novel agricultural subsidy model comprises four major actors: farmers, specialized farmers’ cooperatives, agribusiness and government. Furthermore, the subsidy in this novel model would no longer go directly to farmers but to the agribusiness. To develop the model, the empirical data for this study are obtained from a Chinese agribusiness in Liaoning Province that was selected as a benchmark. With this novel model, farmers receive triple rebates: the price received when the rice is initially sold; a share of the profits of the specialized farmers’ cooperatives; and a share of the profits of the agribusiness. Accordingly, exploring the optimal subsidy rate for agribusinesses is the critical task of this study, and the results demonstrate that agribusinesses must use the government subsidy policy as the basis for a dynamic subsidy model that ensures the income of farmers and encourages sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Design of Safety Instrumented Systems for Pressure Control of Methanol Separation Columns in the Bisphenol a Manufacturing Process
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 49; doi:10.3390/su9010049
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 12 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 30 December 2016
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Abstract
A bisphenol A production plant possesses considerable potential risks in the top of the methanol separation column, as pressurized acetone, methanol, and water are processed at an elevated temperature, especially in the event of an abnormal pressure increase due to a sudden power
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A bisphenol A production plant possesses considerable potential risks in the top of the methanol separation column, as pressurized acetone, methanol, and water are processed at an elevated temperature, especially in the event of an abnormal pressure increase due to a sudden power outage. This study assesses the potential risks in the methanol separation column through hazard and operability assessments and evaluates the damages in the case of fire and explosion accident scenarios. The study chooses three leakage scenarios: a 5-mm puncture on the methanol separation column, a 50-mm diameter fracture of a discharge pipe and a catastrophic rupture, and, simulated using Phast (Ver. 6.531), the concentration distribution of scattered methanol, thermal radiation distribution of fires, and overpressure distribution of vapor cloud explosions. Implementation of a safety-instrumented system equipped with two-out-of-three voting as a safety measure can detect overpressure at the top of the column and shut down the main control valve and the emergency shutoff valve simultaneously. By applying a safety integrity level of three, the maximal release volume of the safety relief valve can be reduced and, therefore, the design capacity of the flare stack can also be reduced. Such integration will lead to improved safety at a reduced cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Elite Polarization: A Comparative Perspective on How Party Elites Influence Attitudes and Behavior on Climate Change in the European Union
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 39; doi:10.3390/su9010039
Received: 21 October 2016 / Revised: 18 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 December 2016 / Published: 28 December 2016
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Abstract
There is considerable variability in attitudes towards climate change between citizens of different countries. By using individual-level and country-level data, I examine if this variability in public opinion is partially caused by political party elites. The results show that when elites are united
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There is considerable variability in attitudes towards climate change between citizens of different countries. By using individual-level and country-level data, I examine if this variability in public opinion is partially caused by political party elites. The results show that when elites are united in their support for environmental issues, the perceived threat of climate change is higher than in countries where party elites are divided. The results also demonstrate that the perceived threat influences behavior related to climate change, and that threat mediates the effect of party positions. Consequently, the effect of party elites is stronger than previously acknowledged. The models rely on Generalized Method of Moments estimation and instrumental variables with clustering on EU member-states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Consumer Behavior)
Open AccessArticle Adaptation of C4 Bioenergy Crop Species to Various Environments within the Southern Great Plains of USA
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 89; doi:10.3390/su9010089
Received: 19 September 2016 / Revised: 14 December 2016 / Accepted: 5 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
As highly productive perennial grasses are evaluated as bioenergy feedstocks, a major consideration is biomass yield stability. Two experiments were conducted to examine some aspects of yield stability for two biofuel species: switchgrass (Panicum vigratum L.) and Miscanthus x giganteus (Mxg
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As highly productive perennial grasses are evaluated as bioenergy feedstocks, a major consideration is biomass yield stability. Two experiments were conducted to examine some aspects of yield stability for two biofuel species: switchgrass (Panicum vigratum L.) and Miscanthus x giganteus (Mxg). Biomass yields of these species were evaluated under various environmental conditions across the Southern Great Plains (SGP), including some sites with low soil fertility. In the first experiment, measured yields of four switchgrass ecotypes and Mxg varied among locations. Overall, plants showed optimal growth performance in study sites close to their geographical origins. Lowland switchgrass ecotypes and Mxg yields simulated by the ALMANAC model showed reasonable agreement with the measured yields across all study locations, while the simulated yields of upland switchgrass ecotypes were overestimated in northern locations. In the second experiment, examination of different N fertilizer rates revealed switchgrass yield increases over the range of 0, 80, or 160 kg N ha−1 year−1, while Mxg only showed yield increases between the low and medium N rates. This provides useful insights to crop management of two biofuel species and to enhance the predictive accuracy of process-based models, which are critical for developing bioenergy market systems in the SGP. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Energy Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle The Economic Efficiency of Urban Land Use with a Sequential Slack-Based Model in Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 79; doi:10.3390/su9010079
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 24 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 9 January 2017
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Abstract
Since the inauguration of the government-led five year economic plans in the 1960s, Korea has achieved remarkable economic development. Korea’s economic strategy, known as ‘The Miracle on the Han River’, focused on heavy and chemical industries such as ship building and petrochemicals and
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Since the inauguration of the government-led five year economic plans in the 1960s, Korea has achieved remarkable economic development. Korea’s economic strategy, known as ‘The Miracle on the Han River’, focused on heavy and chemical industries such as ship building and petrochemicals and was based on resource intensive urbanization. This rapid urban development caused a series of problems, such as over-development in urban areas, bottlenecks in utilities, and environmental degradation. Nevertheless, the Korean government has recently moved toward deregulation of the greenbelts of major city areas. Since very few studies have analyzed the urban land use economic efficiency (ULUEE) in Korea, this paper assesses the feasibility of recent deregulation policy concerning the greenbelts utilizing the sequential slack-based measure (SSBM) model under environmental constraints across 16 South Korean cities from 2006 to 2013. Our research makes three significant contributions to urbanization research. First, this paper uses an SSBM model to analyze the dynamic changes of urban land use economic efficiency in Korea at the regional level; Second, this paper analyzes factors influencing ULUEE in Korea, and the feasibility of the deregulation policies on the greenbelts; Third, this paper suggests more performance-oriented policy alternatives to improve the ULUEE and implement sustainable greenbelt management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mapping Social Vulnerability to Air Pollution: A Case Study of the Yangtze River Delta Region, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 109; doi:10.3390/su9010109
Received: 5 December 2016 / Revised: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Many frequent and severe air pollution incidents have emerged across the vast parts of China recently. The identification of factors and mapping social vulnerability has become extremely necessary for environmental management and sustainable development. However, studies associating social vulnerability with air pollution remain
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Many frequent and severe air pollution incidents have emerged across the vast parts of China recently. The identification of factors and mapping social vulnerability has become extremely necessary for environmental management and sustainable development. However, studies associating social vulnerability with air pollution remain sparse. With reference to research achievements of social vulnerability, this study made a new trial regarding social vulnerability assessment to air pollution. With the projection pursuit cluster (PPC) model, the top three factors contributing to social vulnerability index (SVI) were discovered and SVI and SVI dimensions (susceptibility, exposure, and adaptability) were evaluated. Results revealed that adaptability values are higher than susceptibility and exposure values. SVI is in a poor condition as, for the whole region, most values belong to the high-medium level. High SVI values mainly appear in the northern and the southern ends of study area. SVI in Shanghai is lower than in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces. On the scale of prefecture-level city, it can be found that the low-value centers of SVI always occurred in urban core areas. The spatial variation and inequality in social vulnerability provide policy-makers a scientific basis for air pollution prevention and sustainable management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mass Releases of Genetically Modified Insects in Area-Wide Pest Control Programs and Their Impact on Organic Farmers
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 59; doi:10.3390/su9010059
Received: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 December 2016 / Published: 1 January 2017
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Abstract
The mass release of irradiated insects to reduce the size of agricultural pest populations of the same species has a more than 50-year record of success. Using these techniques, insect pests can be suppressed without necessarily dispersing chemical insecticides into the environment. Ongoing
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The mass release of irradiated insects to reduce the size of agricultural pest populations of the same species has a more than 50-year record of success. Using these techniques, insect pests can be suppressed without necessarily dispersing chemical insecticides into the environment. Ongoing release programs include the suppression of medfly at numerous locations around the globe (e.g., California, Chile and Israel) and the pink bollworm eradication program across the southern USA and northern Mexico. These, and other successful area-wide programs, encompass a large number of diverse organic farms without incident. More recently, mass release techniques have been proposed that involve the release of genetically modified insects. Given that the intentional use of genetically modified organisms by farmers will in many jurisdictions preclude organic certification, this prohibits the deliberate use of this technology by organic farmers. However, mass releases of flying insects are not generally conducted by individual farmers but are done on a regional basis, often without the explicit consent of all situated farms (frequently under the auspices of government agencies or growers’ collectives). Consequently, there exists the realistic prospect of organic farms becoming involved in genetically modified insect releases as part of area-wide programs or experiments. Herein, we describe genetically modified insects engineered for mass release and examine their potential impacts on organic farmers, both intended and unintended. This is done both generally and also focusing on a hypothetical organic farm located near an approved experimental release of genetically modified (GM) diamondback moths in New York State (USA). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and Gene Manipulation)
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Open AccessArticle Pressure-Point Strategy: Leverages for Urban Systemic Transformation
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 99; doi:10.3390/su9010099
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 January 2017 / Published: 11 January 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability can be understood as a specific kind of problem framing that emphasizes the interconnectedness of different problems and scales and calls for new forms of problem handling that are much more process-oriented, reflexive and iterative in nature. Closely related with the notion
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Sustainability can be understood as a specific kind of problem framing that emphasizes the interconnectedness of different problems and scales and calls for new forms of problem handling that are much more process-oriented, reflexive and iterative in nature. Closely related with the notion of reflexive governance, we propose such an alternative strategy for societal problem handling and change management in the urban context. The strategy starts from stress states in the urban system(s) and uses their initial momentum to encourage systemic change through intraventions—rather than interventions—at selected pressure points. This paper highlights the potential to evolve what has often been an intuitive practice, led by community or elected leaders with unique wisdom about functions and pressure points in their urban system, into a more accessible strategy for shaping socio-ecological transformation in urban practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Multi-Criteria Assessment of Spatial Robust Water Resource Vulnerability Using the TOPSIS Method Coupled with Objective and Subjective Weights in the Han River Basin
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 29; doi:10.3390/su9010029
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 December 2016 / Published: 27 December 2016
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Abstract
This study developed a multi-criteria approach to spatially assess the robust water resource vulnerability in sub-basins and applied it to the Han River basin. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested three factors of vulnerability; namely, exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were
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This study developed a multi-criteria approach to spatially assess the robust water resource vulnerability in sub-basins and applied it to the Han River basin. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) suggested three factors of vulnerability; namely, exposure, sensitivity and adaptive capacity were used in this study with respect to water quantity and quality. In this study, 16 water quantity indicators and 13 water quality indicators were selected to identify the vulnerability using the Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS) method. Environmental and socioeconomic data were obtained from the national statistics database, and hydrological data were simulated using the calibrated Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model. Expert surveys and Shannon entropy method were used to determine subjective and objective weights for all indicators, individually. As a result, water quantity-vulnerable sub-basins were associated with high water use and water leakage ratios. Water quality-vulnerable sub-basins were associated with relatively high values of maximum consecutive dry days and heatwave days. The water quantity indices of both weighting methods showed relatively similar spatial distributions, while the distribution of water quality indices was distinct. These results suggest that considering different weighting methods is important for assessing the robust water resource vulnerability of sub-basins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Determinants of Residential Solid Waste Management Services Provision: A Village-Level Analysis in Rural China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 110; doi:10.3390/su9010110
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Providing residential solid waste collection (RSWC) services is the first and most indispensable part of residential solid waste management and is crucial for rural environment protection. This paper seeks to analyze the determinants of RSWC services’ provision at the village level, based on
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Providing residential solid waste collection (RSWC) services is the first and most indispensable part of residential solid waste management and is crucial for rural environment protection. This paper seeks to analyze the determinants of RSWC services’ provision at the village level, based on a latest survey data set of 150 villages in the Poyang Lake Eco-Economic Zone (PLEEZ) in Jiangxi Province. Using a Probit regression model and a Bivariate Probit regression model, our results indicated that: (1) The provision of RSWC services is not evenly distributed and richer villages have more RSWC services; (2) A showcasing phenomenon exists in the provision of RSWC services. Villages that are more populous, nearer to the township government, and located in the new countryside and old liberated areas saw an increase in the provision of RSWC facilities, services that will more easily showcase village leaders’ political achievement, while the provision of RSWC workers and both RSWC facilities and workers, services that will less easily showcase village leaders’ political achievement, do not increase in these villages; (3) Informal governance characteristics, such as the ratio of largest family clans, whether village leaders come from the village’s largest family clans, and the number of people working in the upper-level government have strong predictive power over the provision of RSWC services, while formal governance characteristics, such as elections, do not matter in RSWC services’ provision. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Annual Precipitation Fluctuation and Spatial Differentiation Characteristics of the Horqin Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 111; doi:10.3390/su9010111
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 31 December 2016 / Accepted: 4 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
Precipitation is the main water source for vegetation survival in arid and semi-arid areas. However, previous studies always focus on the effects of precipitation in different time scales, but ignore the effects of precipitation in different spatial scales. To further study the effects
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Precipitation is the main water source for vegetation survival in arid and semi-arid areas. However, previous studies always focus on the effects of precipitation in different time scales, but ignore the effects of precipitation in different spatial scales. To further study the effects of precipitation fluctuation in different spatial scales, we used the wavelet analysis method to analyze its temporal and spatial change based on data from eighteen meteorological stations during 1961–2015 in Horqin region. Results showed that: (1) from the overall tendency of precipitation changes, the precipitation inter-annual variations in Horqin region had the tendency of gradually decreasing from the southeast (District IV) to the northwest; (2) the precipitation anomalies of District I–IV between 1960 and 1980 were small and approximate to the normal value; (3) in the time scale of 23–32 years, the cyclical fluctuations were very significant and the annual precipitation underwent two cyclical fluctuations from a period of low precipitation to a period of high precipitation; and (4) as results of analyzing the spatial wavelet variance of sub-region, the main cycle of precipitation in District I, District II and District III was between 10 and 11 years, while the main cycle of precipitation in District IV was 25 years. The main conclusions include the following. (1) This region tended to be arid, and the precipitation gradually decreased from the southeast (District IV) to northwest (District I). (2) The influence of spatial differentiation characteristics on precipitation fluctuation in this region was cyclical fluctuation, which gradually decreased from the southeast to the northwest. The length of the cyclical change period gradually shortened. In the first main cycle, whose annual precipitation changes were most significant, the changing characteristic was District IV and District I decreased from 25 years to 10 years. (3) Predicated from the cyclical changing law that the annual precipitation decreases from high to low, the Horqin region will remain in a period of low precipitation between 2016 and 2020. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Managing European Cross Border Cooperation Projects on Sustainability: A Focus on an MESP Project
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 112; doi:10.3390/su9010112
Received: 28 September 2016 / Revised: 22 December 2016 / Accepted: 3 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
International cooperation is a must to achieve the goal of sustainable development, since only through cross border actions’ complex issues like environmental degradation can be faced. Supranational initiatives and shared objectives are the only path for getting a durable and effective green strategy,
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International cooperation is a must to achieve the goal of sustainable development, since only through cross border actions’ complex issues like environmental degradation can be faced. Supranational initiatives and shared objectives are the only path for getting a durable and effective green strategy, which transcends boundaries or governments and fosters a common effort for sustainability through networking. The European Neighborhood and Partnership Instrument (ENPI) aims at reinforcing cooperation between the European Union (EU) and partner countries’ regions placed along the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. To this extent, MESP (Managing the Environmental Sustainability of Ports for a durable development) can be considered as a typical cross border cooperation project, willing to create a sustainable environmental management of port in northern and southern shores of the Mediterranean basin. This has been achieved through the development of specific guidelines towards environmental sustainability and the collection of common tools, methodologies, good practices and innovations focused on pollution reduction that can be replicated in Mediterranean ports and further. This was possible through the creation of a strong cooperation network and long-lasting collaborations among partners and stakeholders such as harbour cities, port authorities, universities, research centres and scientific skills. Full article
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Open AccessArticle On the Relationship between Holocene Geomorphic Evolution of Rivers and Prehistoric Settlements Distribution in the Songshan Mountain Region of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 114; doi:10.3390/su9010114
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 13 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper deals with the study of Holocene geomorphic evolution of rivers around Songshan Mountain in relation to human frequentation in Prehistoric periods. The investigations were performed by means of an integration of GIS data processing; field surveys and particle size analysis. In
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This paper deals with the study of Holocene geomorphic evolution of rivers around Songshan Mountain in relation to human frequentation in Prehistoric periods. The investigations were performed by means of an integration of GIS data processing; field surveys and particle size analysis. In 8000–3000 aBP; in the Songshan Mountain Region, large-scale river sedimentation occurred. This increased the elevation of river beds that were higher than today. After 3000 aBP; the upper reaches of the rivers experienced a down cut; while the lower reaches experienced continuing sedimentation. The data on the elevation of prehistoric settlements above the river levels were obtained from Digital Elevation Models (DEMs). These data were corrected according to the evolutionary features of fluvial landforms in order to obtain synchronous elevations above river levels of prehistoric settlements. The relationship between sediment distribution and the Holocene geomorphic evolution was investigated through the statistical analysis of the elevation above the river levels. Outputs from our analyses enabled us to differentiate three evolutionary stages. During the first one, related to Peiligang culture (9000–7500 aBP), populations mainly settled on both hilly relief and high plateaus depending on their agriculture production modes. During the second stage, from Yangshao (7500–5000 aBP) to the Longshan period (5000–4000 aBP), settlements were mainly distributed on mountainous areas and hilly lands to avoid flooding and to develop agriculture. Finally, during the Xiashang culture (4000–3000 aBP), a large number of settlements migrated to the plain area to facilitate trade of goods and cultural exchanges. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Validation of a Wave Energy Converter Array Hydrodynamics Tool
Sustainability 2017, 9(1), 115; doi:10.3390/su9010115
Received: 15 October 2016 / Revised: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 10 January 2017 / Published: 14 January 2017
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Abstract
This paper uses experimental data to validate a wave energy converter (WEC) array hydrodynamics tool developed within the context of linearized potential flow theory. To this end, wave forces and power absorption by an array of five-point absorber WECs in monochromatic and panchromatic
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This paper uses experimental data to validate a wave energy converter (WEC) array hydrodynamics tool developed within the context of linearized potential flow theory. To this end, wave forces and power absorption by an array of five-point absorber WECs in monochromatic and panchromatic waves were measured from a set of deep-water wave basin experimental tests. Unlike the few other examples of WEC array experimental campaigns, the power take-off (PTO) system of each WEC was simulated by means of advanced equipment capable of accurately reproducing linear control strategies and, thereby, reducing the uncertainty in the physical model. Experimental measurements are then compared with numerical predictions showing reasonable agreement; the measured trends are, in the same way, well captured by the numerical predictions. Further analysis demonstrates that the developed tool can predict, on the safe side, wave forces and power absorption with less than 17.5% and 23.0% error, respectively, for more than 68% of the predictions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
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