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Sustainability, Volume 6, Issue 6 (June 2014), Pages 3124-3992

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Open AccessArticle Understanding the Geographies of Transport and Cultural Heritage: Comparing Two Urban Development Programs in Oslo
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3124-3144; doi:10.3390/su6063124
Received: 18 March 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract
This paper elaborates on how policies and strategies for sustainable urban development can be understood and shows how development programs can be strategically important and flexible tools in the creation of the modern city. We examine two typical contemporary cases for urban [...] Read more.
This paper elaborates on how policies and strategies for sustainable urban development can be understood and shows how development programs can be strategically important and flexible tools in the creation of the modern city. We examine two typical contemporary cases for urban development, inner city/waterfront and modernistic suburbs, using the two areas of transport and cultural heritage as prisms to explore divergences or convergences between the two programs, and ask: How come two urban development programs within the same city turn out so differently? By comparing these programs, urban development trends relating to entrepreneurialism are highlighted. There are clear differences between the two programs under study, and the paper tries to grasp their internal logic in order to shed light on their strengths and weaknesses. While the city center program has much to do with realizing the commercial potential of the area and strengthening sustainable transport through large-scale changes in infrastructure, such means seem to be outside the scope of the suburban program. Meanwhile, cultural heritage is interwoven with entrepreneurial projection-strategies in the city center, whereas heritage sites and projects are used more as a means for social cohesion in the suburb. The paper concludes that the programs vary in the two policy fields in accordance with the institutionalized and anticipated potential of the urban areas in question. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Reporting: An Approach to Get the Right Mix of Theory and Practicality for Local Actors
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3145-3170; doi:10.3390/su6063145
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract
Many local government or regional plans have “a sustainable future for our community” as a goal. However, few local or regional governments have a sustainability reporting tool in place that enables them to understand how far along the pathway to sustainability their [...] Read more.
Many local government or regional plans have “a sustainable future for our community” as a goal. However, few local or regional governments have a sustainability reporting tool in place that enables them to understand how far along the pathway to sustainability their community is. There are a range of reasons for this, including current sustainability indicators and indices not matching the needs or capacity of local actors. This paper argues that a collaborative approach to developing sustainability reporting tools, that involves sustainability experts and local actors working together, will be more successful at developing a tool that has a theoretical basis with locally relevant indicators, which is practical for informed decision making. This process will also build the sustainability reporting capacity of local actors. This collaborative approach was tested in South West Victoria, Australia, resulting in a locally relevant, practical and theoretically sound sustainability reporting tool that met the needs of local actors. This outcome shows that a collaborative approach can overcome some of the barriers to sustainability reporting for local actors; however, further testing is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Agri-Environmental Externalities at Regional Levels in Finland
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3171-3191; doi:10.3390/su6063171
Received: 24 January 2014 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract
This study used a synthetic evaluation method to assess agri-environmental externalities at the regional level in Finland. The article developed a relative measure that made it possible to rank the 15 regions studied for seven agri-environmental indicators, which were based on the [...] Read more.
This study used a synthetic evaluation method to assess agri-environmental externalities at the regional level in Finland. The article developed a relative measure that made it possible to rank the 15 regions studied for seven agri-environmental indicators, which were based on the preferences of the evaluators. The results indicated significant differences in the provision of public goods between the regions. The provision of public goods tended to increase over the 10-year study period. The results were robust with respect to changes in preferences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Stagnating Jatropha Biofuel Development in Southwest China: An Institutional Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3192-3212; doi:10.3390/su6063192
Received: 22 November 2013 / Revised: 25 February 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract
Biodiesel from jatropha has been considered as a promising alternative to fossil fuels for some time. Consequently, China started promoting jatropha as one of the options to meet its ever-increasing energy consumption, and the Chinese biodiesel industry also gained interest. However, the [...] Read more.
Biodiesel from jatropha has been considered as a promising alternative to fossil fuels for some time. Consequently, China started promoting jatropha as one of the options to meet its ever-increasing energy consumption, and the Chinese biodiesel industry also gained interest. However, the excitement of the biofuel industry in jatropha faded after it did not bring about the expected results. This article investigates the stagnation in jatropha development and production for biodiesel in China, using two detailed case studies of jatropha biofuel production in southeast China. It is found that the underdeveloped biodiesel policy and regulation, such as a rather late formulation of standards for biodiesel (especially the B5) and the absence of mandatory targets, is an important reason for hampering jatropha development. Besides that, lack of financial support undermined sustained jatropha planting at the farm level and lack of sustained commitment from state-owned enterprises or private companies over a long time span further contributed to jatropha project’s failure. Better implementation of the rule of law, mandatory blending requirements, hazard insurance, as well as continuous financial support, might improve the continuation of jatropha plantation schemes. Full article
Open AccessCommunication Opportunities and Constraints of Promoting New Tree Crops—Lessons Learned from Jatropha
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3213-3231; doi:10.3390/su6063213
Received: 16 December 2013 / Revised: 29 April 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (251 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is not uncommon that new crops suddenly attract a lot and international attention from private and public actors based on their acclaimed potential to contribute to sustainable development. Such sharp increases in attention can lead to big investments and promotion campaigns [...] Read more.
It is not uncommon that new crops suddenly attract a lot and international attention from private and public actors based on their acclaimed potential to contribute to sustainable development. Such sharp increases in attention can lead to big investments and promotion campaigns to domesticate and commercialize these crops at industrial scale. However, in many cases the research of these plants is still in its infancy and investors generally lack sufficient insight into uncertainties and risks related to their investments, which consequently hold sustainability risks. Full article
Open AccessArticle Environmental Orientation of Small Enterprises: Can Microcredit-Assisted Microenterprises be “Green”?
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3232-3251; doi:10.3390/su6063232
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 12 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
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Abstract
The objective of this research was to explore, both theoretically and empirically, the ecological impacts of small-scale entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. To this end, six microenterprises in rural southwestern Bangladesh established using green-microcredit strategies were evaluated in terms of goals, operational [...] Read more.
The objective of this research was to explore, both theoretically and empirically, the ecological impacts of small-scale entrepreneurial ventures in developing countries. To this end, six microenterprises in rural southwestern Bangladesh established using green-microcredit strategies were evaluated in terms of goals, operational procedures, economic viability, social contributions, and impact on local ecological sustainability. This research revealed that the majority of such enterprises are not only sustainable and comply with current ecological standards, but also contribute a considerable number of vital ecosystem services while simultaneously maintaining suitably high profit margins to promise long-term economic viability. These findings indicate that microenterprises given environmental guidance by developmental non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—especially NGOs microfinance institutions, NGO-MFIs—have the potential to make significant ecological contributions and address the issue of climate change from the bottom of the social ladder upwards. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Reasons for the Resistance to Sustainable Management within Non-Profit Organizations
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3252-3270; doi:10.3390/su6063252
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 13 May 2014 / Published: 26 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (629 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The numerous empirical and conceptual studies that have been conducted over recent years concerning the social responsibility of enterprises and their contributions towards sustainable development have given very little consideration to non-profit organizations (NPOs). This is surprising, because NPOs are confronted with [...] Read more.
The numerous empirical and conceptual studies that have been conducted over recent years concerning the social responsibility of enterprises and their contributions towards sustainable development have given very little consideration to non-profit organizations (NPOs). This is surprising, because NPOs are confronted with very similar challenges to profit-orientated enterprises regarding their evolution into sustainable organizations. This paper is a preliminary conceptual study and explores the question of why the corporate social responsibility, or corporate sustainability, of NPOs has to date been both neglected by research establishments and also extensively ignored by the NPOs during their day-to-day practical management. The example of church and pastoral institutions in Germany is used to demonstrate the extent to which they take account of ecological and social aspects in their management systems and processes and, thus, implement sustainable management within their day-to-day practice. The paper concludes with some proposals for further empirical and conceptual research projects, which are designed to analyze developments within NPOs with relation to the integration of sustainability into their management systems and processes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Financial Sustainability of China’s Rural Pension System
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3271-3290; doi:10.3390/su6063271
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (795 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Considering the rapid growth of China’s elderly rural population, establishing both an adequate and a financially sustainable rural pension system is a major challenge. Focusing on financial sustainability, this article defines this concept of financial sustainability before constructing sound actuarial models for [...] Read more.
Considering the rapid growth of China’s elderly rural population, establishing both an adequate and a financially sustainable rural pension system is a major challenge. Focusing on financial sustainability, this article defines this concept of financial sustainability before constructing sound actuarial models for China’s rural pension system. Based on these models and statistical data, the analysis finds that the rural pension funding gap should rise from 97.80 billion Yuan in 2014 to 3062.31 billion Yuan in 2049, which represents an annual growth rate of 10.34%. This implies that, as it stands, the rural pension system in China is not financially sustainable. Finally, the article explains how this problem could be fixed through policy recommendations based on recent international experiences. Full article
Open AccessArticle Supporting the Integration of Sustainability into Higher Education Curricula—A Case Study from Switzerland
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3291-3300; doi:10.3390/su6063291
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (619 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
From the perspective of different stakeholders, education for sustainable development (ESD) in higher education is highly desirable. In practice, however, this may present challenges, as it involves systemic and cultural changes as well as organizational transformation. A working group at the Zurich [...] Read more.
From the perspective of different stakeholders, education for sustainable development (ESD) in higher education is highly desirable. In practice, however, this may present challenges, as it involves systemic and cultural changes as well as organizational transformation. A working group at the Zurich University of Applied Sciences supported such a transformative process with the aim of fostering, linking and subsequently deepening the dimensions of sustainable development in the existing curricula. By means of an assessment tool (spider diagram) developed through a bottom-up action research procedure, the working group initiated a discussion on sustainability among university lecturers, research associates and students. Results support the hypothesis that resistance to incorporating dimensions of sustainability into the curriculum can effectively be avoided by such an approach. The effectiveness of the assessment tool increased the commitment and the willingness of lecturers to share a common goal of demonstrating the relevance of sustainability in higher education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle An Extended Input Output Table Compiled for Analyzing Water Demand and Consumption at County Level in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3301-3320; doi:10.3390/su6063301
Received: 6 March 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 28 | PDF Full-text (837 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper attempts to propose hybrid methodology of compiling water resource extended input-output (IO) table at county level (According to administrative structure of China, a county is subordinate to its province, and provincial level is parallel to state level of other countries). [...] Read more.
This paper attempts to propose hybrid methodology of compiling water resource extended input-output (IO) table at county level (According to administrative structure of China, a county is subordinate to its province, and provincial level is parallel to state level of other countries). By combining Non-Survey-based RAS-technique for possible iterated results and Partial-Survey-based current situation for actual ongoing resource-consumption, we aimed to depict a more accurate structure for water resource consumption and regional economic impact analysis at a county level in the arid area. Additionally, non-parameter methodology was adopted to interpolate missing data. Since human interventions continually have impacted on the natural environment that would finally lead to over-consumption of natural resources, we introduced water consumption caused by cultivation in the Primary Industry and water usage in other industries into a local input-output matrix of Shandan County in Gansu Province, China. Evidence of empirical analysis shows that the modified IO table can more accurately describe economic structure than weighted provincial average IO table does. Moreover, industrialization is ongoing with economic diversity and continually generating water use demand even though also stimulating imports of light industrial products according to the Partial-Survey reports. It demonstrates that industrialization and increasing household consumption drive a high speed of economic growth but with a high cost of water consumption through the Secondary and Tertiary Industries, even at a far rural area. Hence, water scarcity would be a constraint on sustainable development in regions such as Shandan County when taking economic valuation of natural water consumption into account. Full article
Open AccessArticle Thermal Performance of Traditional and New Concept Houses in the Ancient Village of San Pedro De Atacama and Surroundings
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3321-3337; doi:10.3390/su6063321
Received: 29 March 2014 / Revised: 8 May 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1557 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Earth, wood and others traditional materials are still used in house constructions in many regions of the world, especially in the Andes. San Pedro de Atacama, for example, is a small town where earth blocks (adobes) and rammed earth (tapial) are important [...] Read more.
Earth, wood and others traditional materials are still used in house constructions in many regions of the world, especially in the Andes. San Pedro de Atacama, for example, is a small town where earth blocks (adobes) and rammed earth (tapial) are important ways to construct, an art passed on through generations. Energy properties of earth are very interesting: thermal conductivity is low; heat storage capacity is high; color is variable and can be used to absorb or to reject solar radiation. However, nowadays the government social dwelling service is proposing a different type of construction, which does not maintain any relation with the tradition. This paper presents simulation studies and monitoring of four different San Pedro houses, constructed by using different techniques and materials. Results can be used to discuss the thermal performance needed in desert climate and the reliability of social dwelling service houses, under construction at this time in the town. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Can Companies Induce Sustainable Consumption? The Impact of Knowledge and Social Embeddedness on Airline Sustainability Programs in the U.S.
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3338-3356; doi:10.3390/su6063338
Received: 4 April 2014 / Revised: 10 May 2014 / Accepted: 14 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
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Abstract
This paper investigates how consumers’ level of knowledge and social embeddedness can influence sustainable consumption. An extended model of goal-directed behavior (MGB) is tested by U.S. airline consumers who have participated in UNICEF’s Change for Good (CFG) and voluntary carbon offsetting (VCO) [...] Read more.
This paper investigates how consumers’ level of knowledge and social embeddedness can influence sustainable consumption. An extended model of goal-directed behavior (MGB) is tested by U.S. airline consumers who have participated in UNICEF’s Change for Good (CFG) and voluntary carbon offsetting (VCO) programs. Results show that consumers’ knowledge positively influenced their subjective norms and attitudes towards participation of VCO and CFG. Increasing consumers’ sense of social embeddedness is also found to be crucial in forming their subjective norms for both CFG and VCO. Moreover, positive anticipated emotion is found to influence consumers’ desire to participate in VCO, while negative anticipated emotion influences desire towards CFG participation. The findings of this research provide a practical implication on strategies for the airline industry to induce sustainable consumption behavior, as well as demonstrate the need for different emotional elicitation strategies for different sustainability programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Method-Based Higher Education in Sustainability: The Potential of the Scenario Method
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3357-3373; doi:10.3390/su6063357
Received: 1 April 2014 / Revised: 9 May 2014 / Accepted: 11 May 2014 / Published: 27 May 2014
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Abstract
Both sustainability and education are challenging process-oriented objectives. When the aim is to combine both notions, as in Higher Education in Sustainability (HES), it is indispensable to first establish a common ground between them. In this paper, we characterise this common ground [...] Read more.
Both sustainability and education are challenging process-oriented objectives. When the aim is to combine both notions, as in Higher Education in Sustainability (HES), it is indispensable to first establish a common ground between them. In this paper, we characterise this common ground in terms of four aspects: future orientation, normativity, global perspective, and theory engaged in practice. Based on an analysis of the common ground, one method that is well-established in a wide range of sustainability sciences shows high potential for use in HES because it covers all four aspects in detail: the scenario method. We argue that a didactical reconstruction of the scenario method is necessary to utilise its potential and develop adequate forms of teaching in higher education. The scenario method is used to construct and analyse a set of alternative future developments to support decisions that have to be made in the present. Didactical reconstruction reveals a spectrum of objectives for which the scenario method can be employed: (1) projection; (2) teleological planning and (3) an explorative search for possibilities not yet considered. By studying and experimenting with this spectrum of objectives, students in HES can develop fundamental reflexive competencies in addressing the future in different ways that are relevant for both sustainability and education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proceedings of the 3rd International Sustainability Conference)
Open AccessArticle Measuring and Analysis of Urban Competitiveness of Chinese Provincial Capitals in 2010 under the Constraints of Major Function-Oriented Zoning Utilizing Spatial Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3374-3399; doi:10.3390/su6063374
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 10 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2511 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban competitiveness aids local development by encouraging the exploitation of opportunities for economic development and by enhancing overall performance. Previous studies have evaluated urban competitiveness primarily from an economic perspective and few studies have considered locational conditions as factors that might influence [...] Read more.
Urban competitiveness aids local development by encouraging the exploitation of opportunities for economic development and by enhancing overall performance. Previous studies have evaluated urban competitiveness primarily from an economic perspective and few studies have considered locational conditions as factors that might influence local industrialization and urbanization. In response to the publishing of a national plan for the development of major function-oriented zones (MFOZs) in 2010, the present essay employs MFOZs as constraints to enable a balanced and comprehensive study of urban competitiveness that includes four dimensions of competitiveness: Economic, social-cultural, environmental, and locational (accessibility and hypsography). A four-level hierarchical indicator system and an entropy weighting method were used to assess the urban competitiveness of 31 Chinese provincial capitals based on a spatial analysis of data acquired in 2010 using Geographic Information System technology. The results reveal the overall ranking of provincial capitals in terms of urban competitiveness and their performances with respect to the four dimensions of competitiveness. Unlike previous studies, this analysis was performed by overlaying the strategy of the national MFOZ with the urban competitiveness rankings. The development orientation of each provincial city is discussed according to its characteristics of urban competitiveness under the conditions of a MFOZ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Land-Development Offset Policies in the Quest for Sustainability: What Can China Learn from Germany?
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3400-3430; doi:10.3390/su6063400
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 16 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land-development offset policies consist of measures that require compensation to be made for the negative impact of land development on agricultural production, ecological and environmental conservation, and the sustainability of economic and social development. However, when such policies are inappropriately designed, unexpected [...] Read more.
Land-development offset policies consist of measures that require compensation to be made for the negative impact of land development on agricultural production, ecological and environmental conservation, and the sustainability of economic and social development. However, when such policies are inappropriately designed, unexpected problems can result. This paper describes certain land-development offset policies that have recently been implemented in China, with a particular emphasis on three such policies: the Balancing Policy, the Linkage Policy, and the Integrated Policy. These well-intentioned environmental policies have led to unexpected ecological, social, and cultural problems. This paper also describes the core of German land-development policy, which features a distinctive compensation system that has been employed since the 1970s, and compares Chinese and German land-development policies to highlight differences in three main areas: policy purposes, governance structures, and fundamental institutions. The comparisons might help explain the unexpected outcomes in China, and they also lead to land-development offset policy recommendations for China in the near future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Institutional Change)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes toward Sustainability and Green Economy Issues Related to Some Students Learning Their Characteristics: A Preliminary Study
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3484-3503; doi:10.3390/su6063484
Received: 21 February 2014 / Revised: 4 April 2014 / Accepted: 7 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (285 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present paper proposes and describes a new method, called L2A (listen-to-apprise), conceived of in order to improve the commitment of all the participants involved in an educational process specifically dedicated to sustainability and the green economy. The first stage consists in [...] Read more.
The present paper proposes and describes a new method, called L2A (listen-to-apprise), conceived of in order to improve the commitment of all the participants involved in an educational process specifically dedicated to sustainability and the green economy. The first stage consists in listening to the students and, when possible, in listening to the environment, the people, and the territory, while, in the second stage, the acquired information is used to exploit everyone’s talents and to achieve the maximum advantage and satisfaction for all. The first phase of L2A is mainly dedicated to listening to the students via the submission of an on-line questionnaire that measures their learning preferences, self-efficacy and sensitivity to the themes of sustainability and the green economy. The investigation has been extended from Italy to Honduras, where the authors are involved in the development of major projects concerning sustainability. The results of the survey have been analyzed by means of standard significance and correlation analysis, and therefore, significant differences among the groups and correlations within each group have been detected. The results have been discussed in order to explain how the L2A method works and how useful and powerful a tool it could be to improve teaching, learning and practical activities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Education and Skills for the Green Economy)
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Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Pattern and Driving Forces of Arable Land-Use Intensity in China: Toward Sustainable Land Management Using Emergy Analysis
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3504-3520; doi:10.3390/su6063504
Received: 21 January 2014 / Revised: 17 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1180 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The level of arable land-use intensity has important impacts on food security and rural sustainable development. Using the emergy method, we investigate the spatial disparities and driving forces of arable land-use intensity in China from 1999 to 2008 at the national, regional [...] Read more.
The level of arable land-use intensity has important impacts on food security and rural sustainable development. Using the emergy method, we investigate the spatial disparities and driving forces of arable land-use intensity in China from 1999 to 2008 at the national, regional and provincial levels. The empirical results show that chemical fertilizer was the largest component of agricultural inputs and that agricultural diesel oil recorded the highest growth rate. The degree of heterogeneities in arable land-use intensity in China showed a decreasing trend, which resulted mainly from the differences among the eastern, northeastern, central and western regions. The regional disparities in labor, pesticides and plastic sheeting decreased from 1999 to 2008. The per capita annual net incomes of household operations and the agricultural policies had a significant positive correlation with total inputs, fertilizer inputs, pesticide inputs and agricultural plastic sheeting. In addition, the nonagricultural population had a greater impact on agricultural plastic sheeting. Finally, we suggest that there is an urgent need to focus on the effects of chemical fertilizer and pesticide inputs on the ecological environment. Agricultural support policies should be introduced for the poor agricultural production provinces. Full article
Open AccessArticle Happy Environments: Bhutan, Interdependence and the West
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3521-3533; doi:10.3390/su6063521
Received: 28 March 2014 / Revised: 21 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
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Abstract
There is a growing trend to understand economic and environmental policies in terms of multiple dimensions and “interdependence.” Bhutan is increasingly seen as an operational model with its Gross National Happiness (GNH) strategy. GNH, which is rooted in Mahayana Buddhism, is a [...] Read more.
There is a growing trend to understand economic and environmental policies in terms of multiple dimensions and “interdependence.” Bhutan is increasingly seen as an operational model with its Gross National Happiness (GNH) strategy. GNH, which is rooted in Mahayana Buddhism, is a framework and set of policy tools that conceptualizes sustainability as interdependent ecological, economic, social, cultural and good governance concerns. Bhutan’s practical GNH experience illustrates a significant ability to positively couple economic growth with a healthy environment. Can the “West”—with its legacy of either/or economics—learn anything from Bhutan’s multidimensional policy experiment? At first, it would seem not. It is questionable whether the West can replicate Bhutan’s unorthodox policy tools as we do not have a balancing set of Buddhist values rooted in mainstream culture. We are not equipped to respond to the many unintended consequences of interdependent policy because we do not yet understand what “interdependence” actually entails. There is hope, but much of it exists in the grey literature of ecological economics. This literature is in urgent need of greater exposure if we are to imagine and enact sustainability policy tools that are truly sensitive to interdependence, and thus follow Bhutan on its perilous but necessary journey. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Multi-Scalar Examination of Law for Sustainable Ecosystems
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3534-3551; doi:10.3390/su6063534
Received: 27 March 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 15 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The loss of resilience in social-ecological systems has the capacity to decrease essential ecosystem services, posing threats to human survival. To achieve sustainability, we must not only understand the ecological dynamics of a system, such as coral reefs, but must also promulgate [...] Read more.
The loss of resilience in social-ecological systems has the capacity to decrease essential ecosystem services, posing threats to human survival. To achieve sustainability, we must not only understand the ecological dynamics of a system, such as coral reefs, but must also promulgate regulations that promote beneficial behavior to address ecological stressors throughout the system. Furthermore, laws should reflect that systems operate at multiple spatial and temporal scales, thus requiring management across traditional legal jurisdictions. In this paper, we conducted a multi-scalar examination of law for sustainable ecosystems and how law pertains to coral reef ecosystems in particular. Findings indicate that, in order to achieve sustainability, we must develop new or reform existing legal mechanisms to protect ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Law for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Perspective on Dietary Risk Assessment of Pesticide Residues in Organic Food
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3552-3570; doi:10.3390/su6063552
Received: 11 January 2014 / Revised: 19 March 2014 / Accepted: 22 May 2014 / Published: 30 May 2014
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (835 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Previous studies have shown that organically produced food has lower risks of pesticide contamination than food that is not organically produced. However, organically produced food is not entirely free of pesticide residues. A large, high-quality U.S. Department of Agriculture database reports pesticide [...] Read more.
Previous studies have shown that organically produced food has lower risks of pesticide contamination than food that is not organically produced. However, organically produced food is not entirely free of pesticide residues. A large, high-quality U.S. Department of Agriculture database reports pesticide residues in several dozen organic and conventionally grown foods on an annual basis, and supports detailed analyses of the frequency of residues in conventional and organic food, the number of residues found in an average sample of food, residue levels, and potential dietary risk. These data are used to estimate pesticide dietary exposures and relative risk levels, and to assess the impacts of the current pesticide-related provisions of the National Organic Program (NOP) rule. Fraud appears to be rare based on the available data. Most prohibited residues found in organic produce are detected at levels far below the residues typically found in food grown with pesticides. Relatively high-risk residues are more common in imported foods—both organic and conventional—compared to domestically grown food. The authors conclude that incorporating relative dietary risk into the organic standard would be a more precautionary, risk-based approach than targeting enforcement to organic foods found to contain 5% or more of the applicable Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) tolerance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and a Systems Approach to Sustainable Agroecosystems)
Open AccessArticle A Multi-Level and Multi-Dimensional Measuring on Urban Sprawl: A Case Study in Wuhan Metropolitan Area, Central China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3571-3598; doi:10.3390/su6063571
Received: 9 April 2014 / Revised: 22 May 2014 / Accepted: 27 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2748 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Chinese cities are experiencing rapid urban expansion and being transformed into more dispersed urban form which necessitate the quantification of fine-scale intra-urban characteristics for sustainable urban development. We propose an integrated multi-level and multi-dimensional method to characterize urban sprawl and apply it [...] Read more.
Chinese cities are experiencing rapid urban expansion and being transformed into more dispersed urban form which necessitate the quantification of fine-scale intra-urban characteristics for sustainable urban development. We propose an integrated multi-level and multi-dimensional method to characterize urban sprawl and apply it to Wuhan, a typical metropolitan area in central China from 1996 to 2006. The specifications of levels are parcel at micro-level, district at meso-level and metropolitan area at macro-level. The measurements are implemented in seven dimensions: composition, configuration, gradient, density, proximity, accessibility and dynamics. Metrics are assigned to each dimension and innovative metrics such as derived contagion index, distance-based correlation coefficient and weighted centroid migration are defined to quantify the sprawling process. This bottom-up approach is capable of exploring spatio-temporal variation of urban growth at finer scales, capturing the multi-dimensional features of urban sprawl and providing policy implications for authorities at different levels. The results reveal that industrial sites and built-up land for special use are the most scattered and randomly distributed land use types, parcels and districts at the urban fringe present higher fragmentation than those in the urban core areas and urban expansion is largely enforced by assigning development zones. Full article
Open AccessArticle Household, Personal and Environmental Correlates of Rural Elderly’s Cycling Activity: Evidence from Zhongshan Metropolitan Area, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3599-3614; doi:10.3390/su6063599
Received: 18 April 2014 / Revised: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 30 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
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Abstract
Cycling is an important form of active transport and physical activity to provide substantial health benefits to the elderly. Among voluminous physical activity-related literature, few studies have investigated the correlates of active transport of the rural elderly in China. This study was [...] Read more.
Cycling is an important form of active transport and physical activity to provide substantial health benefits to the elderly. Among voluminous physical activity-related literature, few studies have investigated the correlates of active transport of the rural elderly in China. This study was the first attempt to investigate the impact of the household, personal, and environmental attributes on rural elderly’s cycling activity with data collected in 102 rural neighborhoods of Zhongshan Metropolitan Area, China. The negative binomial regression models suggest that, all else being equal, living in a neighborhood with low proportion of elderly population (over 60), abundant bike lanes, and a compact urban form related to high density and mixed development, are associated with the increase of frequency and duration of the rural elderly’s cycling trips. The models also detect that attitude towards cycling and household bicycle and motorized vehicle ownership are strongly related to cycling trips of the rural elderly in Zhongshan. The findings provide insights for transportation and public health agencies, practitioners, and researchers into the effective design of interventions from the prospective of attitudes, social and built environment on health promotion of the rural elderly in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Rise, Fall and Potential Resilience Benefits of Jatropha in Southern Africa
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3615-3643; doi:10.3390/su6063615
Received: 3 February 2014 / Revised: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
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Abstract
Jatropha is the latest in a list of “miracle crops” that have been promoted in southern Africa for their perceived development benefits. This was based on promises of high yields, low water requirement, ability to grow on marginal land and lack of [...] Read more.
Jatropha is the latest in a list of “miracle crops” that have been promoted in southern Africa for their perceived development benefits. This was based on promises of high yields, low water requirement, ability to grow on marginal land and lack of competition with food. In less than 10 years, tens of thousands of hectares were acquired for jatropha plantations and thousands of hectares were planted, most of which are now unused or abandoned. Overestimations of jatropha yields coupled with underestimations of the management costs have probably been the prime contributors to the collapse of most jatropha projects in southern African. However, a few projects still survive and show signs of possible long-term sustainability. We consider two such projects, a smallholder-based project in Malawi and a large-scale plantation in Mozambique. Though their long-term sustainability is not proven, both projects may increase resilience by diversifying household income streams and contributing to national fuel security. By identifying what seems to be working in these projects we provide insights as to why other projects may have failed in southern Africa and whether there is still place for jatropha in the region. In essence can jatropha still enhance local/national resilience or are jatropha’s benefits just a myth? Full article
Open AccessArticle The Transformation of Agricultural Development towards a Sustainable Future from an Evolutionary View on the Chinese Loess Plateau: A Case Study of Fuxian County
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3644-3668; doi:10.3390/su6063644
Received: 4 March 2014 / Revised: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 5 June 2014
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Abstract
The Loess Plateau in China receives lots of attention from around the world. The expansion of bad agricultural practices for hundreds of years aggravated the soil erosion on the Loess Plateau, however, and a lot of efforts were and are being made [...] Read more.
The Loess Plateau in China receives lots of attention from around the world. The expansion of bad agricultural practices for hundreds of years aggravated the soil erosion on the Loess Plateau, however, and a lot of efforts were and are being made to reduce the serious soil erosion as well as regional poverty. Agricultural development of the Loess Plateau is still confronted with intricate challenges such as food concerns, environment concerns, and regional poverty. The strategy of development towards sustainability offers a possible and important way to face the challenges. This study tried to develop a holistic “variation-selection-replication-retention” model to analyze the transformation of agricultural development from an evolutionary view which is generally integrative. It is indicated that policies should be lively and vibrant organisms full of innovations owning to ever-changing environment in the evolutionary view. Under this analytical framework, one possible path from serious soil erosion region to region with sustainable agriculture could be recognized in the case study of Fuxian County: serious soil erosion regions → regions with poor production conditions → production-optimized regions → regions with developed agriculture → regions with sustainable agriculture. Diversified integrative development is suggested due to regional differences and the possible developing order in Fuxian County. State-subsidized “Grain for Green” policy and diversified land use are necessary for the transformation of serious soil erosion regions which are usually trapped in regional poverty. To the transformation of regions with poor production conditions, a state-subsidized “production optimization” policy and diversified land use deserve to be considered, due to regional poverty in regions with poor production conditions. Agricultural scale operation is priority for the transformation of production-optimized regions towards agricultural modernization. Ecological thinking is very helpful for the transformation of regions with developed agriculture. The area of serious soil erosion regions in Fuxian County has dropped down from 1760 km2 in 1949 to 360.6 km2 in 2010. The diversified integrative routine tends to be one possible way to realize the development towards sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Insights into the Regional Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emission of Industrial Processes: A Case Study of Shenyang, China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3669-3685; doi:10.3390/su6063669
Received: 29 March 2014 / Revised: 23 May 2014 / Accepted: 23 May 2014 / Published: 6 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1063 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines the GHG emission of industrial process in Shenyang city, in the Liaoning province of China, using the 2006 IPCC greenhouse gas inventory guideline. Results show that the total GHG emissions of industrial process has increased, from 1.48 Mt in [...] Read more.
This paper examines the GHG emission of industrial process in Shenyang city, in the Liaoning province of China, using the 2006 IPCC greenhouse gas inventory guideline. Results show that the total GHG emissions of industrial process has increased, from 1.48 Mt in 2004 to 4.06 Mt in 2009, except for a little decrease in 2008. The cement industry, and iron and steel industries, are the main emission sources, accounting for more than 90% of the total carbon emissions. GHG emissions in 2020 are estimated based on scenario analysis. The research indicates that the cement industry, and iron and steel industries, will still be the largest emission sources, and the total carbon emissions under the business as usual (BAU) scenario will be doubled in 2020 compared with that of 2009. However, when countermeasures are taken, the GHG emission will reduce significantly. Using more clinker substitutes for blended cement, and increasing direct reduction iron process and recycled steel scraps are efficient measures in reducing GHG emission. Scenario 4, which has the highest ratio of 30/70 blended cement and the highest ratio of steel with recycled steel-EAF process, is the best one. In this scenario, the industrial process GHG emission in 2020 can almost stay the same as that of 2009. From the perspective of regions, cement industry and iron and steel industry accounted for the vast majority of GHG emission in all industries. Meanwhile, these two industries become the most potential industries for reduction of GHG emission. This study provides an insight for GHG emission of different industries at the scale of cities in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Improving the Bearing Strength of Sandy Loam Soil Compressed Earth Block Bricks Using Sugercane Bagasse Ash
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3686-3696; doi:10.3390/su6063686
Received: 24 March 2014 / Revised: 19 May 2014 / Accepted: 20 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Abstract
The need for affordable and sustainable alternative construction materials to cement in developing countries cannot be underemphasized. Compressed Earth Bricks have gained acceptability as an affordable and sustainable construction material. There is however a need to boost its bearing capacity. Previous research [...] Read more.
The need for affordable and sustainable alternative construction materials to cement in developing countries cannot be underemphasized. Compressed Earth Bricks have gained acceptability as an affordable and sustainable construction material. There is however a need to boost its bearing capacity. Previous research show that Sugarcane Bagasse Ash as a soil stabilizer has yielded positive results. However, there is limited research on its effect on the mechanical property of Compressed Earth Brick. This current research investigated the effect of adding 3%, 5%, 8% and 10% Sugarcane Bagasse Ash on the compressive strength of compressed earth brick. The result showed improvement in its compressive strength by 65% with the addition of 10% Sugarcane Bagasse Ash. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Economic Growth and Climate Change: A Cross-National Analysis of Territorial and Consumption-Based Carbon Emissions in High-Income Countries
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3722-3731; doi:10.3390/su6063722
Received: 26 April 2014 / Revised: 21 May 2014 / Accepted: 3 June 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (558 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
An important question in the literature on climate change and sustainability is the relation between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. While the “green growth” paradigm dominates in the policy arena, a growing number of scholars in wealthy countries are questioning the [...] Read more.
An important question in the literature on climate change and sustainability is the relation between economic growth and greenhouse gas emissions. While the “green growth” paradigm dominates in the policy arena, a growing number of scholars in wealthy countries are questioning the feasibility of achieving required emissions reductions with continued economic growth. This paper explores the relationship between economic growth and carbon dioxide emissions over the period 1991–2008 with a balanced data set of 29 high-income countries. We present a variety of models, with particular attention to the difference between territorial emissions and consumption-based (or carbon footprint) emissions, which include the impact of international trade. The effect of economic growth is greater for consumption-based emissions than territorial emissions. We also find that over this period there is some evidence of decoupling between economic growth and territorial emissions, but no evidence of decoupling for consumption-based emissions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
Open AccessCommunication Drivers and Consequences of the First Jatropha curcas Plantations in Mexico
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3732-3746; doi:10.3390/su6063732
Received: 3 March 2014 / Revised: 5 May 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (995 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Jatropha curcas has received great attention and national support by Mexican authorities interested in promoting cash crops to alleviate poverty and rural crises. Thus, several states have implemented programs to sponsor its cultivation and research. This paper analyzes the policies generated by [...] Read more.
Jatropha curcas has received great attention and national support by Mexican authorities interested in promoting cash crops to alleviate poverty and rural crises. Thus, several states have implemented programs to sponsor its cultivation and research. This paper analyzes the policies generated by the Mexican government to promote the establishment of Jatropha plantations for biofuel purposes. The supporting schemes, the state-of-the-art national research and the environmental implications of establishing this new crop were reviewed to assess their impact on small-scale producers that participated in these programs. Scientific research on native germplasm indicates the existence of great diversity in Mexico, including non-toxic ecotypes, from which highly productive varieties are being developed. However, when the plantation programs started, producers were not technically or economically prepared to face the risks associated with this new crop, nor was there a good internal supply-chain. Consequently, some programs have been abandoned and the low productivity and income generated by the plantations have not satisfied producer expectations. Thus, there is a need to review the national strategy to support this crop and to develop a well-structured biofuel market in the country for the success of Jatropha plantations in Mexico. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Sustainable Urban Food Provisioning: The Case of Eggs in Dar es Salaam
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3747-3779; doi:10.3390/su6063747
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 27 May 2014 / Accepted: 28 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Abstract
Global food supply is dominated by transnational corporations, which have great power and are widely critiqued for the negative environmental and social impacts of their operations. Many argue that this industrial food system is unsustainable, yet its expansion seems inevitable and alternatives [...] Read more.
Global food supply is dominated by transnational corporations, which have great power and are widely critiqued for the negative environmental and social impacts of their operations. Many argue that this industrial food system is unsustainable, yet its expansion seems inevitable and alternatives are seen as incapable of feeding the world’s growing and increasingly urban population. Since much of the world’s future population growth is going to happen in the cities of the developing world, they have become the frontline for the expansion of the industrial food system, raising the serious challenge of ensuring food security for residents. This paper, based on a qualitative study of patterns of egg provisioning in Dar es Salaam, explores whether existing patterns of food supply in this rapidly growing city, of over four million people, provide workable alternatives. Eggs are an important source of nutrition and patterns of egg supply offer a lens through which to explore the sustainability of different modes of provisioning. A range of non-corporate provisioning patterns, based on small-scale enterprises, are found to have social, economic and environmental advantages, challenging assumptions that corporate food chains are necessary, or desirable, to feed cities sustainably. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Chains)
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Open AccessArticle Riding the Hype: The Role of State-Owned Enterprise Elite Actors in the Promotion of Jatropha in Indonesia
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3780-3801; doi:10.3390/su6063780
Received: 16 December 2013 / Revised: 17 April 2014 / Accepted: 12 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (643 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Within a few years following its ambitious promotion in 2006, the development of jatropha in Indonesia came to a halt. Claimed as a potential solution to problems in energy and poverty, the introduction of jatropha in Indonesia’s energy policy had been triggered [...] Read more.
Within a few years following its ambitious promotion in 2006, the development of jatropha in Indonesia came to a halt. Claimed as a potential solution to problems in energy and poverty, the introduction of jatropha in Indonesia’s energy policy had been triggered by the high oil prices in 2005. While studies by biofuel scholars have generally focused on what brought the end of the “miracle crop” hype by underlining various technical problems and the absence of market structure as the cause of its failure, few have examined jatropha as part of a policy-making trajectory, which began with, and was influenced by, the development narratives disseminated by individual actors. This article sheds light on the role of elite actors in the making of biofuel energy policy in Indonesia. Taking the case of the promotion of jatropha in 2005–2007, the article illustrates the role of the director of Indonesia’s leading sugar state-owned enterprise (SOE), Rajawali Nusantara Indonesia (RNI), whose decision in promoting jatropha became influential in forwarding its narratives into the national energy and development policy in 2006. In order to discover why a specific elite actor decided to promote jatropha, the article relies on data, including the SOE’s documents and interviews with key actor(s). The analysis is conducted using an actor-oriented approach, which underlines the discrepancy between the ideals and the operational practice of developmental goals. Full article
Open AccessArticle Exploring the Gap between Ecosystem Service Research and Management in Development Planning
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3802-3824; doi:10.3390/su6063802
Received: 6 February 2014 / Revised: 7 May 2014 / Accepted: 27 May 2014 / Published: 12 June 2014
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The gap between science and practice has been highlighted in a number of scientific disciplines, including the newly developing domain of ecosystem service science, posing a challenge for the sustainable management of ecosystem services for human wellbeing. While methods to explore science-practice [...] Read more.
The gap between science and practice has been highlighted in a number of scientific disciplines, including the newly developing domain of ecosystem service science, posing a challenge for the sustainable management of ecosystem services for human wellbeing. While methods to explore science-practice gaps are developing, testing and revisions of these methods are still needed so as to identify opportunities for mainstreaming ecosystem service science into development policies and practice. We designed and tested an approach to explore the presence and nature of a research-management gap in order to identify ways to close the gap, using a South African case study. Our combining of traditional review processes with stakeholder interviews highlighted that ecosystem services are not explicitly referred to by the majority of ecosystem management-related documents, processes or individuals. Nevertheless, at the local level, our approach unearthed strategic opportunities for bridging the gap in the tourism, disaster management and conservation sectors. We also highlighted the current trend towards transdisciplinary learning networks seen in the region. While we found a gap between the research and management of ecosystem services, a rigorous study thereof, which transcends its mere identification, proved useful in identifying key opportunities and challenges for bridging the gap. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment in Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Efficiency of Low Carbon Industrialization in Cultural and Natural Heritage: Taking Leshan as an Example
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3825-3842; doi:10.3390/su6063825
Received: 18 March 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 13 June 2014
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Abstract
This paper concentrates on the evaluation of the efficiency of low carbon industrialization in the tourism sector. Combining the general indices of the regional industrialization with the specific characteristics of low carbon development in the tourism sector, a comprehensive index system is [...] Read more.
This paper concentrates on the evaluation of the efficiency of low carbon industrialization in the tourism sector. Combining the general indices of the regional industrialization with the specific characteristics of low carbon development in the tourism sector, a comprehensive index system is scientifically designed. Due to the complexity of the index system and the tight correlation among some indices, rough set theory (RST) is applied to reduce the dimensions of the index system and delete some overlapped information. Then, the data envelopment analysis (DEA) is used to evaluate the efficiency of low carbon industrialization in every year, in order to investigate the development of regional economy, where the year is considered as the Decision-Making Unit (DMU). Furthermore, the super efficiency value of each DMU is calculated to compare the level of low carbon industrialization in each year. Finally, Leshan city, which is a typical representative of a World Cultural and Natural region in China, is considered as a practical application to show the effectiveness of the proposed model. Then, some valuable suggestions are given to help decision makers improve regional development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Organization of Laundry Facility Types and Energy Use in Owner-Occupied Multi-Family Buildings in Sweden
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3843-3860; doi:10.3390/su6063843
Received: 25 April 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
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Abstract
The way in which we plan and produce buildings today will influence our energy consumption in the future. This paper explores how the types of laundry facilities provided in owner-occupied multi-family buildings in Sweden have changed since the 1990s and seeks to [...] Read more.
The way in which we plan and produce buildings today will influence our energy consumption in the future. This paper explores how the types of laundry facilities provided in owner-occupied multi-family buildings in Sweden have changed since the 1990s and seeks to draw attention to how this may impact energy consumption for laundry. Three factors are analyzed that influence energy consumption: the number of laundry appliances, energy performance in laundry appliances and user demand for laundry. The results indicate that there has been a change in building practices, from the domination of communal laundry rooms towards in-unit laundry facilities. The findings imply that the changes in provision of laundry facilities increase the number of appliances but do not necessarily increase energy consumption during the usage phase depending on energy performance and user behavior. Thus, developers should consider laundry facility organization when designing multi-family buildings in order to optimize the use of space and resources, given user demand and building regulations. This paper is exploratory in nature and indicates a shift in building practices that up until now has been undocumented in a research context which in turn opens up for many new research questions related to resource use but also related to the economics of developers, housing firms and households. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Carbon Subsidy Analysis in Remanufacturing Closed-Loop Supply Chain
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3861-3877; doi:10.3390/su6063861
Received: 5 April 2014 / Revised: 6 June 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 16 June 2014
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Abstract
Carbon subsidy is an important measure for the government to encourage enterprises to reduce carbon emission. This paper analyzes the impact of carbon subsidy on remanufacturing closed-loop supply chain (RCLSC). We explore the profits and the carbon emission quantities of three types [...] Read more.
Carbon subsidy is an important measure for the government to encourage enterprises to reduce carbon emission. This paper analyzes the impact of carbon subsidy on remanufacturing closed-loop supply chain (RCLSC). We explore the profits and the carbon emission quantities of three types of a supply chain: forward supply chain, remanufacturing closed-loop supply chain, and RCLSC with the carbon subsidy. This paper also discusses when and how the government implements the policy of carbon subsidy to encourage an enterprises’ behavior of cutting carbon emission from the view of RCLSC. We provide the close form of the conditions under which the government should implement the carbon subsidy strategy and the carbon subsidy of government could increase the profits of agents of the supply chain and deduce the carbon emission of the whole supply chain simultaneously. It is found that the government should implement the carbon subsidy strategy only when the recycling price is within a certain range, and the carbon subsidy of government should be within a reasonable range. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Economic Risk and Efficiency Assessment of Fisheries in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE): A Stochastic Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3878-3898; doi:10.3390/su6063878
Received: 28 February 2014 / Revised: 4 June 2014 / Accepted: 5 June 2014 / Published: 17 June 2014
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Abstract
The fishing industry in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), plays an important role in diversifying food sources in order to enhance national food security. The fishing industry is facing an increasing risk that may impact the sustainability (i.e., quantity and [...] Read more.
The fishing industry in Abu-Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), plays an important role in diversifying food sources in order to enhance national food security. The fishing industry is facing an increasing risk that may impact the sustainability (i.e., quantity and quality) of the fish caught and consumed in the UAE. Therefore, the main objective of this study is to analyze common Abu-Dhabi fishing management alternatives using various stochastic dominance techniques (i.e., first/second degree stochastic dominance, stochastic dominance with respect to a function and stochastic efficiency with respect to a function) to assess the risk facing UAE fishermen. The techniques represent a risk assessment continuum, which can provide a ranking of management alternatives to improve decision making outcomes and help maintain long-term UAE fishing sustainability. Data for the stochastic dominance analyses were obtained from a cross-sectional survey conducted through face-to-face interviews of Abu Dhabi, UAE, fishermen. Analysis of fishing methods, trap sizes and trap numbers using stochastic efficiency with respect to a function (SERF) showed that fishermen efficient practices were not the same for risk-neutral fishermen compared to risk averse fishermen. Overall, the stochastic dominance results illustrated the importance of considering both attitude towards risk and economic inefficiencies in managing UAE fishery practices and designing successful fishery policies, as well as improving decision-making at the fishermen level. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simulating Urban Growth Using the SLEUTH Model in a Coastal Peri-Urban District in China
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3899-3914; doi:10.3390/su6063899
Received: 8 April 2014 / Revised: 15 May 2014 / Accepted: 9 June 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s southeast coastal areas have witnessed rapid growth in the last two decades, owing mostly to their economic and social attractions. In this paper, we chose Jimei, a coastal peri-urban district of Xiamen city on the southeast coast of China, as a [...] Read more.
China’s southeast coastal areas have witnessed rapid growth in the last two decades, owing mostly to their economic and social attractions. In this paper, we chose Jimei, a coastal peri-urban district of Xiamen city on the southeast coast of China, as a study area to explore the district’s growth dynamics, to predict future sprawl during the next decade and to provide a basis for urban planning. The SLEUTH urban growth model was calibrated against historical data derived from a series of Landsat TM 5 satellite images taken between 1992 and 2007. A Lee-Sallee value of 0.48 was calculated for the district, which is a satisfactory result compared with related studies. Five coefficients of urban growth, diffusion, spread, breed, slope resistance and road gravity had values of 25, 68, 86, 24 and 23, respectively, in 2007. The growth coefficients (i.e., urban character) can capture urban growth characteristics in Jimei district. The urban DNA revealed that, over the study period, urban growth in the district was dominated both by urbanization through establishment of new urban centers, and by expansion outward from existing urban centers. In contrast to interior cities, in which expansions are dramatically shaped by actual road patterns, urban expansion in the district was likely constrained by the nearby coastline. Future urban growth patterns were predicted to 2020 assuming three different development scenarios. The first scenario simulated a continuation of historical urban growth without changing current conditions. The second scenario projected managed growth in which urban growth is limited by a layer with areas excluded from urbanization, which is the future development plan for Jimei district and Xiamen city. The third scenario depicted a growth with maximum protection in which growth was allowed to continue, similar to the second scenario, but with lower diffusion and spread coefficients applied to the growth pattern. The third scenario demonstrated that valuable land could be saved, which is the most desirable outcome for Jimei urban development. The study showed that SLEUTH can be an extremely useful tool for coastal city managers to explore the likely outcomes of their city development plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle An Index of Human Well-Being for the U.S.: A TRIO Approach
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3915-3935; doi:10.3390/su6063915
Received: 26 February 2014 / Revised: 3 June 2014 / Accepted: 6 June 2014 / Published: 18 June 2014
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3149 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development program, Sustainable and Healthy Communities, coined the term TRIO (Total Resources Impact Outcome) to represent approaches that fully incorporate all three pillars of community sustainability—environmental, economic and social. This [...] Read more.
In 2011, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Research and Development program, Sustainable and Healthy Communities, coined the term TRIO (Total Resources Impact Outcome) to represent approaches that fully incorporate all three pillars of community sustainability—environmental, economic and social. This holistic approach to sustainability is embodied in the Human Well-Being Index (HWBI) comprised of sub-indices representing environmental well-being, economic well-being and societal well-being (which includes basic human needs and subjective well-being). The development of the HWBI is described in this manuscript along with its application at national, state and county spatial scales. In addition, application at even smaller spatial scales (communities, neighborhoods, demographic and economic sub-groups, and even individuals) is discussed. The potential utility of HWBI for comparing the intended and unintended consequences of alternative decisions is described. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Densification without Growth Management? Evidence from Local Land Development and Housing Trends in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3975-3990; doi:10.3390/su6063975
Received: 14 April 2014 / Revised: 5 June 2014 / Accepted: 17 June 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2096 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In urban America, land development and residential real estate have passed through a number of different phases during the post-WWII era. In contemporary discourse on urban sustainability, attention is often expressed in terms of intensity of land development, lot sizes, and square-footage [...] Read more.
In urban America, land development and residential real estate have passed through a number of different phases during the post-WWII era. In contemporary discourse on urban sustainability, attention is often expressed in terms of intensity of land development, lot sizes, and square-footage of housing units. In this paper, we reconstruct the land development trajectory of a rapidly growing southern city in the United States and assess whether this trajectory has experienced any reversal in the face of socio-economic transformations that have occurred over the past decade or so. Starting with current land and real estate property records, we reconstitute the urban map of Charlotte using World War II as a starting point. Results highlight a decline in the average single family lot size over the past decade, while the average home size has consistently grown, suggesting that the city of Charlotte and its county have witnessed a densification trend along a path towards greater land development. This analysis both helps situate Charlotte with respect to other U.S. urban regions, and provides support for potential land-use policies, especially densification, when a balance between urban development, environment preservation, energy savings, and the achievement of quality of life for current and future generations are concerned. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Density and Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Genetically-Improved Tilapia Strains in Africa: Potential Benefits and Negative Impacts
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3697-3721; doi:10.3390/su6063697
Received: 27 December 2013 / Revised: 13 May 2014 / Accepted: 30 May 2014 / Published: 10 June 2014
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Abstract
Two genetically improved tilapia strains (GIFT and Akosombo) have been created with Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia), which is native to Africa. In particular, GIFT has been shown to be significantly superior to local African tilapia strains in terms of growth rate. While [...] Read more.
Two genetically improved tilapia strains (GIFT and Akosombo) have been created with Oreochromis niloticus (Nile tilapia), which is native to Africa. In particular, GIFT has been shown to be significantly superior to local African tilapia strains in terms of growth rate. While development economists see the potential for food security and poverty reduction in Africa from culture of these new strains of tilapia, conservationists are wary of potential ecological and genetic impacts on receiving ecosystems and native stocks of tilapia. This study reviews the history of the GIFT technology, and identifies potential environmental and genetic risks of improved and farmed strains and tilapia in general. We also estimate the potential economic gains from the introduction of genetically improved strains in Africa, using Ghana as a case country. Employing a combination of the Economic-Surplus model and Monte Carlo simulation, we found the mean net present value (NPV) of the introduction of the GIFT strain in Ghana to be approximately 1% of the country’s gross domestic product. Sensitivity analysis indicated that the difference in growth or yield between the GIFT and locally-available strains has the largest effect on mean NPV. We conclude that improvements in management practices and infrastructure could increase the yield and profitability of the local strains even if genetically-improved strains are not introduced. These improvements also will ensure the realization of the full potential of introduced strains. Full article
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Open AccessReview The Historical Development of Sewers Worldwide
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3936-3974; doi:10.3390/su6063936
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 13 April 2014 / Accepted: 13 April 2014 / Published: 20 June 2014
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Abstract
Although there is evidence of surface-based storm drainage systems in early Babylonian and Mesopotamian Empires in Iraq (ca. 4000–2500 BC), it is not until after ca. 3000 BC that we find evidence of the well organized and operated sewer [...] Read more.
Although there is evidence of surface-based storm drainage systems in early Babylonian and Mesopotamian Empires in Iraq (ca. 4000–2500 BC), it is not until after ca. 3000 BC that we find evidence of the well organized and operated sewer and drainage systems of the Minoans and Harappans in Crete and the Indus valley, respectively. The Minoans and Indus valley civilizations originally, and the Hellenes and Romans thereafter, are considered pioneers in developing basic sewerage and drainage technologies, with emphasis on sanitation in the urban environment. The Hellenes and Romans further developed these techniques and greatly increased the scale of these systems. Although other ancient civilizations also contributed, notably some of the Chinese dynasties, very little progress was made during the Dark ages from ca. 300 AD through to the middle of the 18th century. It was only from 1850 onwards that that modern sewerage was “reborn”, but many of the principles grasped by the ancients are still in use today. This paper traces the development of the sewer from those earliest of civilizations through to the present day and beyond. A 6000 year technological history is a powerful validation of the vital contribution of sewers to human history. Full article

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Open AccessEssay Ecological Econophysics for Degrowth
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3431-3483; doi:10.3390/su6063431
Received: 17 February 2014 / Revised: 22 April 2014 / Accepted: 19 May 2014 / Published: 28 May 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (350 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper outlines a synthesis of ecological economics with econophysics and other complexity approaches to economics. Arguably, the resulting “ecological econophysics” will be scientifically sounder than mainstream economics and much better suited to addressing a major challenge of our times: the development [...] Read more.
This paper outlines a synthesis of ecological economics with econophysics and other complexity approaches to economics. Arguably, the resulting “ecological econophysics” will be scientifically sounder than mainstream economics and much better suited to addressing a major challenge of our times: the development of democratically-based policies to reduce economic throughput to an environmentally sustainable level without triggering economic crises and without excluding part of the world’s population, i.e., to implement degrowth. Degrowth will need major structural changes, which leads us to question whether there are limits to the malleability of the economic system’s architecture. A fundamental limit will be encountered if, as suggested by the physics of complexity, long-lasting complex systems always occur midway between an ordered and a disordered state. There is much evidence that this hypothesis holds and that the current economic system satisfies this condition. However, this does not mean that the problems posed by this system should be unavoidable. Ecological econophysics gives clues to identifying alternative economic systems that would also function between order and chaos, but which would have radically different implications for environmental sustainability and social justice. Full article
Open AccessCorrection Correction: Tamura, S. and Fujie, K. Material Cycle of Agriculture in Miyakojima Island: Material Flow Analysis for Sugar Cane, Pasturage and Beef Cattle. Sustainability 2014, 6, 812–835.
Sustainability 2014, 6(6), 3991-3992; doi:10.3390/su6063991
Received: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 20 June 2014 / Published: 24 June 2014
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Abstract We found a typo in our previous published paper [1]. “Okinawa Main Ilsand” and “Kyushu Ilsand” are supposed be “Okinawa Main Island” and “Kyushu Island”. [...] Full article

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