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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 10 (October 2015), Pages 12974-14426

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Open AccessArticle Influencing Factors of Energy-Related CO2 Emissions in China: A Decomposition Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14408-14426; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014408
Received: 11 September 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 21 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (4677 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2
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China is the largest CO2 emitter in the world and is still reliant on energy consumption for economic growth. Research has focused on effective approaches of reducing and mitigating CO2 emissions. This paper undertakes a decomposition study of energy-related CO2 emissions from the industrial and household sectors during the period 1996–2012, with the objectives of investigating trends of the changes in energy-related CO2 emissions, the driving forces of these changes, and approaches of mitigating CO2 emission. Results show the following: (1) the expansion of economic activity is the dominant stimulatory factor of the increase of CO2 emissions in China and that a sustained increase in CO2 emissions can be expected; (2) the decline in energy intensity and the adjustment of energy mix and industrial structure effectively mitigate CO2 emissions; and (3) the government should give more attention to enhancing the energy utility efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions in rural households. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Hotspot Pattern Analysis of Provincial Environmental Pollution Incidents and Related Regional Sustainable Management in China in the Period 1995–2012
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14385-14407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014385
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 26 October 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (4156 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spatial-temporal hotspot pattern analysis of environmental pollution incidents provides an indispensable source of information for the further development of incident prevention measures. In this study, the spatial-temporal patterns of environmental pollution incidents in China in the period of 1995–2012 were analyzed, using the
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Spatial-temporal hotspot pattern analysis of environmental pollution incidents provides an indispensable source of information for the further development of incident prevention measures. In this study, the spatial-temporal patterns of environmental pollution incidents in China in the period of 1995–2012 were analyzed, using the Spatial Getis-Ord statistic and an Improved Prediction Accuracy Index (IAPI). The results show that, in this period, the occurrence of environmental incidents exhibited a dynamic growth pattern but then dropped and continued to drop after the year 2006, which was considered a crucial turning point. Not coincidentally, this corresponds to the year when the State Council issued its National Environmental Emergency Plan, and following the examination of major incidents, special actions were taken to strengthen the control of incidents and emergency responses. The results from Getis-Ord General G statistical analysis show that the spatial agglomeration phenomenon was statistically significant after 1999 and that the level of spatial agglomeration was rising, while the Getis-Ord Gi* statistical analysis reveals that environmental pollution incidents were mainly agglomerated in the Pan Yangtze River Delta and Pan Pearl River Delta regions. Accordingly, the spatial-temporal hotspot pattern based on the IAPI values at the provincial scale could be categorized into: stable hotspots, unstable hotspots, and cold-spot areas. The stable hotspots category was further divided into three subtypes: industrial distribution type, industrial transfer type, and extensive economic growth type. Finally, the corresponding measures for sustainable management were proposed: stable hotspots were classified as essential regions requiring the immediate prevention and control of environmental pollution incidents; unstable hotspots were characterized by their need for ongoing and continual prevention measures, and cold-spots were those areas that required strengthened environmental monitoring. Meanwhile, it was identified that a multi-level environmental pollution incident emergency response and regional (incident) joint control plan needed to be well prepared and carried out effectively. To prevent environmental pollution and the regional transfer of pollution from incidents, measures towards achieving regional environmental planning, environmental risk prevention, environmental emergency monitoring and adequate emergency responses must be efficiently implemented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Typology of Cities Based on City Biodiversity Index: Exploring Biodiversity Potentials and Possible Collaborations among Japanese Cities
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14371-14384; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014371
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (734 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A City Biodiversity Index (CBI) has been proposed and applied at the international level to enable local municipalities and cities to manage biodiversity and ecosystem services in a sustainable manner. CBI databases are being constructed as global platforms, though the available dataset is
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A City Biodiversity Index (CBI) has been proposed and applied at the international level to enable local municipalities and cities to manage biodiversity and ecosystem services in a sustainable manner. CBI databases are being constructed as global platforms, though the available dataset is limited. The land-use dataset is one of the datasets that can be utilized to apply the CBI on the national level in countries including Japan. To demonstrate the importance and potential of the CBI under the limitation of the available dataset, we attempted to apply the CBI to the 791 Japanese cities by using available land-use indicators, and categorized the cities based on the indicators. The focus of the CBI is self-assessment, but we propose that grouping of cities with similar profiles is possible and can serve as a basis for potential collaboration. Coordinating policies on various scales is necessary in order to enhance biodiversity on a global scale; one option is to increase collaboration among cities. As a result, we found three groups with similar characteristics amongst cities with forests, paddies, and croplands as major compositions in terms of biodiversity. These findings will contribute to policy formation and efficient information sharing for ecosystem services management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Team Organization Method Using Salary Auction Game for Sustainable Motivation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14358-14370; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014358
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 17 October 2015 / Accepted: 20 October 2015 / Published: 23 October 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (679 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In performing team-based projects in engineering class, students usually face many problems, such as free-riding, lack of responsibility, boredom, and insufficient initiative. This papers proposes a new method for performing team-based projects in engineering class—specifically, a gamified method for team organization using a
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In performing team-based projects in engineering class, students usually face many problems, such as free-riding, lack of responsibility, boredom, and insufficient initiative. This papers proposes a new method for performing team-based projects in engineering class—specifically, a gamified method for team organization using a salary auction game. On the description of the design and use of a salary auction game in engineering class, a case study conducted using a survey method is reported to validate the practical value of the proposed auction game. The salary auction game proposed in this paper demonstrates that a gamified team organization method in engineering class could be used as an effective tool to enhance motivation and to improve learning outcomes of engineering students. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainability and Challenges of Business Incubators in the Western Cape Province, South Africa
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14344-14357; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014344
Received: 26 May 2015 / Revised: 5 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Notwithstanding the growing interest in business incubation programmes and the benefits derived from such programmes, the path is beset by numerous challenges. This paper investigates the challenges faced by business incubators (BIs) as they strive to support their clients. The study utilized a
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Notwithstanding the growing interest in business incubation programmes and the benefits derived from such programmes, the path is beset by numerous challenges. This paper investigates the challenges faced by business incubators (BIs) as they strive to support their clients. The study utilized a qualitative approach to collect data by way of interviews to gain in-depth knowledge and understanding of the concept and challenges of business incubators. The data were collected using structured and unstructured in-depth personal interviews, which were carried out with the respondents of business incubators in the Western Cape. The research participants for this study were limited to the business incubators on the database of a local organization that promotes small and medium enterprises (SMEs) development strategy and programmes in the Western Cape Province. All five business incubators on the database were deemed suitable for the study. The results indicated that an average of twenty-five entrepreneurs graduated from the incubation programme in the last five years. Furthermore, lack of sponsorship, production space, advanced technological facilities (prototype) and expansion to different areas were found to be among the challenges hindering incubators. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Linear Model for the Estimation of Fuel Consumption and the Impact Evaluation of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14326-14343; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014326
Received: 3 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Reduction of the environmental impact of cars represents one of the biggest transport industry challenges. Beyond more efficient engines, a promising approach is to use eco-driving technologies that help drivers achieve lower fuel consumption and emission levels. In this study, a real-time microscopic
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Reduction of the environmental impact of cars represents one of the biggest transport industry challenges. Beyond more efficient engines, a promising approach is to use eco-driving technologies that help drivers achieve lower fuel consumption and emission levels. In this study, a real-time microscopic fuel consumption model was developed. It was designed to be integrated into simulation platforms for the design and testing of Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), aimed at keeping the vehicle within the environmentally friendly driving zone and hence reducing harmful exhaust gases. To allow integration in platforms employed at early stages of ADAS development and testing, the model was kept very simple and dependent on a few easily computable variables. To show the feasibility of the identification of the model (and to validate it), a large experiment involving more than 100 drivers and about 8000 km of driving was carried out using an instrumented vehicle. An instantaneous model was identified based on vehicle speed, acceleration level and gas pedal excursion, applicable in an extra-urban traffic context. Both instantaneous and aggregate validation was performed and the model was shown to estimate vehicle fuel consumption consistently with in-field instantaneous measurements. Very accurate estimations were also shown for the aggregate consumption of each driving session. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Land Use and Slope Gradient on Soil Erosion in a Red Soil Hilly Watershed of Southern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14309-14325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014309
Received: 30 July 2015 / Revised: 15 October 2015 / Accepted: 16 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2195 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A study was undertaken to develop an appropriate plan of land use under suitable slope gradient to control soil erosion from a red soil hilly watershed of southern China by using the GeoWEPP (Geo-spatial Interface for the Water Erosion Prediction Project) model. The
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A study was undertaken to develop an appropriate plan of land use under suitable slope gradient to control soil erosion from a red soil hilly watershed of southern China by using the GeoWEPP (Geo-spatial Interface for the Water Erosion Prediction Project) model. The model was calibrated and validated using monitoring data of the outlet from 2010 to 2012, in which the 2010 and 2012 annual total runoff and sediment yield data were used for calibration, and the 2011 monthly runoff and sediment yield data for validation. The performance of the model in validation period were good with a high coefficient of determination values of 0.98 and 0.93 and Nash-Sutcliffe simulations of 0.96 and 0.91 while low root mean square error values of 6.91 mm and 0.35 t respectively for runoff and sediment yield. Subsequently, the model was used to simulate four typical land use (forest, farm, orchard, and fallow land) in the study area to evaluate their impacts on soil erosion production. The results showed that the runoff decreased by 44.7% and 61.1% for forest and orchard land compared to the current land use, as well as the sediment yield decreased by 43.7% and 68.6%. While the runoff and sediment yield increased by 52.2% and 42.6% for farm land, and 48.8% and 29.6% for fallow land. As the same time, soil erosion increased with increasing of the slope gradient of the quadratic regression equation for all land use. The critical slope gradient of 15° for returning the farmland to forest or others is suitable in the red soil region but is not accurate. The result of the study provides good scientific evidence for developing an appropriate plan of land use in the watershed and other similar areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Seismic Performance Evaluation of Multistory Reinforced Concrete Moment Resisting Frame Structure with Shear Walls
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14287-14308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014287
Received: 18 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 11 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (5351 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper is intended to evaluate the seismic performance of a twelve-story reinforced concrete moment-resisting frame structure with shear walls using 3D finite element models according to such seismic design regulations as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guideline and seismic building codes including
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This paper is intended to evaluate the seismic performance of a twelve-story reinforced concrete moment-resisting frame structure with shear walls using 3D finite element models according to such seismic design regulations as Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) guideline and seismic building codes including Los Angeles Tall Building Structural Design Council (LATBSDC) code. The structure is located in Seismic Zone 4, considered the highest-seismic-risk classification established by the U.S. Geological Survey. 3D finite element model was created in commercially available finite element software. As part of the seismic performance evaluation, two standard approaches for the structure seismic analysis were used; response spectrum analysis and nonlinear time-history analysis. Both approaches were used to compute inter-story drift ratios of the structure. Seismic fragility curves for each floor of the structure were generated using the ratios from the time history analysis with the FEMA guideline so as to evaluate their seismic vulnerability. The ratios from both approaches were compared to FEMA and LATBSDC limits. The findings revealed that the floor-level fragility mostly decreased for all the FEMA performance levels with an increase in height and the ratios from both approaches mostly satisfied the codified limits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Exergy, Economic and Environmental Analyses of Gas Turbine Inlet Air Cooling with a Heat Pump Using a Novel System Configuration
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14259-14286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014259
Received: 9 August 2015 / Revised: 7 October 2015 / Accepted: 10 October 2015 / Published: 22 October 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1116 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Gas turbines incur a loss of output power during hot seasons due to high ambient air temperatures, and input air cooling systems are often used to partly offset this problem. Here, results are reported for an investigation of the utilization of a heat
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Gas turbines incur a loss of output power during hot seasons due to high ambient air temperatures, and input air cooling systems are often used to partly offset this problem. Here, results are reported for an investigation of the utilization of a heat pump to cool the inlet air of a gas turbine compressor. The analyses are carried out for two climates: the city of Yazd, Iran, which has a hot, arid climate, and Tehran, Iran, which has a temperate climate. The heat pump input power is obtained from the gas turbine. The following parameters are determined, with and without the heat pump: net output power, first and second law efficiencies, quantities and costs of environmental pollutants, entropy generation and power generation. The results suggest that, by using the air-inlet cooling system, the mean output power increases during hot seasons by 11.5% and 10% for Yazd and Tehran, respectively, and that the costs of power generation (including pollution costs) decrease by 11% and 10% for Yazd and Tehran, respectively. Also, the rate of generation of pollutants such as NOx and CO decrease by about 10% for Yazd and 35% for Tehran, while the average annual entropy generation rate increases by 9% for Yazd and 7% for Tehran, through air-inlet cooling. The average increase of the system first law efficiency is 2% and of the system second law efficiency is 1.5% with the inlet-air cooling system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Building an Elastic Parallel OGC Web Processing Service on a Cloud-Based Cluster: A Case Study of Remote Sensing Data Processing Service
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14245-14258; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014245
Received: 3 September 2015 / Revised: 4 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (1517 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposed the geospatial Web Processing Service (WPS), standard OGC Web Service (OWS)-based geospatial processing has become the major type of distributed geospatial application. However, improving the performance and sustainability of the distributed geospatial applications has become the
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Since the Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) proposed the geospatial Web Processing Service (WPS), standard OGC Web Service (OWS)-based geospatial processing has become the major type of distributed geospatial application. However, improving the performance and sustainability of the distributed geospatial applications has become the dominant challenge for OWSs. This paper presents the construction of an elastic parallel OGC WPS service on a cloud-based cluster and the designs of a high-performance, cloud-based WPS service architecture, the scalability scheme of the cloud, and the algorithm of the elastic parallel geoprocessing. Experiments of the remote sensing data processing service demonstrate that our proposed method can provide a higher-performance WPS service that uses less computing resources. Our proposed method can also help institutions reduce hardware costs, raise the rate of hardware usage, and conserve energy, which is important in building green and sustainable geospatial services or applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Informatics in Resource Management & Sustainable Ecosystem)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Lighting Project for a Small Town: Comparing Citizens and Authority Benefits
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14230-14244; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014230
Received: 28 July 2015 / Revised: 14 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2032 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect
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The smart and resilient city evolves by slow procedures of mutation without radical changes, increasing the livability of its territory. The value of the city center in a Smart City can increase through urban lighting systems: its elements on the territory can collect and convey data to increase services to city users; the electrical system becomes the so-called Smart Grid. This paper presents a study of smart lighting for a small town, a touristic location inside a nature reserve on the Italian coast. Three different approaches have been proposed, from minimal to more invasive interventions, and their effect on the territory has been investigated. Based on street typology and its surroundings, the work analyzes the opportunity to introduce smart and useful services for the citizens starting from a retrofitting intervention. Smart city capabilities are examined, showing how it is possible to provide new services to the cities through ICT (Information and Communication Technology) without deep changes and simplifying the control of basic city functions. The results evidence an important impact on annual energy costs, suggesting smart grid planning not only for metropolis applications, but also in smaller towns, such as the examined one. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Developing More Insights on Sustainable Consumption in China Based on Q Methodology
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14211-14229; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014211
Received: 10 July 2015 / Revised: 5 September 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (735 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Being an important aspect of sustainable development, sustainable consumption has attracted great attention among Chinese politicians and academia, and Chinese governments have established policies that encourage sustainable consumption behaviors. However, unsustainable consumption behavior still remains predominant in China. This paper aims to classify
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Being an important aspect of sustainable development, sustainable consumption has attracted great attention among Chinese politicians and academia, and Chinese governments have established policies that encourage sustainable consumption behaviors. However, unsustainable consumption behavior still remains predominant in China. This paper aims to classify consumers with similar traits, in terms of the characteristics of practicing sustainable consumption, into one group, so that their traits can be clearly understood, to enable governments to establish pointed policies for different groups of consumers. Q methodology, generally used to reveal the subjectivity of human beings involved in any situation, is applied in this paper to classify Chinese consumers based on Q sample design and data collection and analysis. Next, the traits of each group are analyzed in detail and comparison analyses are also conducted to compare the common and differentiating factors among the three groups. The results show that Chinese consumers can be classified into three groups: sustainable (Group 1), potential sustainable (Group 2) and unsustainable consumers (Group 3), according to their values and attitudes towards sustainable consumption. As such, Group 1 cares for the environment and has strong environmental values. They understand sustainable consumption and its functions. Group 2 needs more enlightenments and external stimuli to motivate them to consume sustainably. Group 3 needs to be informed about and educated on sustainable consumption to enable them to change their consumption behavior from unsustainable to sustainable. Suggestions and implications of encouraging each group of consumers to engage in sustainable consumption are also provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Assessing and Monitoring the Sustainability in Rural World Heritage Sites
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14186-14210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014186
Received: 27 February 2015 / Revised: 12 October 2015 / Accepted: 15 October 2015 / Published: 21 October 2015
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (1162 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2002, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the importance of the sustainability and the need of management plans for the safeguard of cultural heritage. No models, rules or specific definitions have been provided for this purpose. By 2014,
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In 2002, the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) established the importance of the sustainability and the need of management plans for the safeguard of cultural heritage. No models, rules or specific definitions have been provided for this purpose. By 2014, UNESCO had recognized 16 rural landscapes as cultural heritage sites. This paper aims to understand the management systems adopted by the rural World Heritage Sites over time in order to identify the best practices, strategies, actions and measures applied for the conservation of their universal value with a particular focus on sustainability. A comparative study, analyzing the management plans for these sites, was conducted. The drawing up of site management plans for such rural landscapes is a difficult process. In fact, private and public authorities and several stakeholders are involved, and all of them should participate actively in the decision making process. To ensure the sustainability of these sites, it is important to evaluate several parameters and to design an integrated plan. We focused on assessing and monitoring sustainability in rural World Heritage Sites, and our results could be useful for the implementation of existing plans and processes for drawing up management plans for future UNESCO cultural heritage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Management of Geomorphological Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring Resilience to Natural Hazards: Towards Sustainable Hazard Mitigation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14153-14185; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014153
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 1 October 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3337 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Measuring resilience to natural hazards is a central issue in the hazard mitigation sciences. This paper applied a confirmatory factor methodology to operationalize the biophysical, built-environment, and socioeconomic resilience dimensions for local jurisdictions in large urban metropolitan areas in South Korea. Mapping the
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Measuring resilience to natural hazards is a central issue in the hazard mitigation sciences. This paper applied a confirmatory factor methodology to operationalize the biophysical, built-environment, and socioeconomic resilience dimensions for local jurisdictions in large urban metropolitan areas in South Korea. Mapping the factor scores of the dimensions revealed great spatial variations. The factor covariances showed a trade-off relationship between natural infrastructure and human activities. A hierarchical cluster analysis was used to classify the localities into heterogeneous groups with respect to the identified resilience dimensions. Densely developed and affluent urban areas tend to lack biophysical resilience. Some local governments, sorted into the same groups, turn out to be located in different metropolitan areas. The spatial variation and inequality in the resilience dimensions suggest the necessity of integrated and flexible governance for sustainable hazard mitigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Attitudes and Pro-Environmental Behaviors in a Chilean Community
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14133-14152; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014133
Received: 10 August 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (743 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental protection and restoration are some of the major challenges faced by our society. To address this problem, it is fundamental to understand pro-environmental behaviors in the population, as well as the factors that determine them. There are, however, very few studies conducted
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Environmental protection and restoration are some of the major challenges faced by our society. To address this problem, it is fundamental to understand pro-environmental behaviors in the population, as well as the factors that determine them. There are, however, very few studies conducted in Latin America that are focused in understanding the environmental behavior of its citizens. The main goal of this research was to study the environmental behaviors of a Chilean community and identify the factors that determine them. To that end, a diverse set of environmental behaviors (power and water conservation, environmentally-aware consumer behavior, biodiversity protection, rational automobile use and ecological waste management) and sociodemographic and attitudinal factors—based on the VBN model—were evaluated. Survey data was obtained from a statistically representative sample (N = 1537) in Santiago, Chile. Our results suggest that several participants displayed tendencies that favor more responsible environmental behaviors, with high environmental concern, and demonstrating their ample awareness of the consequences of failing to protect the environment. Nevertheless, the highest average scores of environmental behavior were related to low cost behaviors and those that imposed the fewest behavioral restrictions. In global terms, we concluded that the youngest subjects in the lowest socioeconomic group obtained the lowest scores across the pro-environmental behavior spectrum. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Do Dietary Changes Increase the Propensity of Food Riots? An Exploratory Study of Changing Consumption Patterns and the Inclination to Engage in Food-Related Protests
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14112-14132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014112
Received: 4 August 2015 / Revised: 13 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2227 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Following widespread food riots in 2008, many people argued that high food prices cause political instability and civil unrest in the form of food riots. However, subsequent research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining
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Following widespread food riots in 2008, many people argued that high food prices cause political instability and civil unrest in the form of food riots. However, subsequent research has demonstrated that political, cultural, and economic factors confound the impact of price in determining whether a food riot occurs. This paper contributes to this growing body of literature by exploring: (1) the relationship between household demographic characteristics and reported intent to riot due to future food price rises; and (2) the relationships between people’s diets and their reported intent to riot due to future food price rises. We hypothesize that local context, including demographic factors and dietary patterns, combine to predispose some groups of people to riot when food prices rise. This hypothesis is tested using household surveys (N = 300) and three focus groups discussions (N = 65) carried out in three cities in the Central African nation of Cameroon that experienced widespread food riots in 2008. Results show that some 70% of the respondents would riot if food prices went up. Also, in the event of food price rises: (1) households in Cameroon’s major cities are more likely to riot than the citizens of smaller cities; (2) Households with relatively higher educational level, high incomes, are less likely to riot. Finally, the relationship between dietary patterns and propensity to riot is not straightforward as changes in consumption of different food groups influence propensity to riot in different ways. Overall, this paper demonstrates that preemptive strategies designed to avoid future food riots in Cameroon must take into consideration these spatial, demographic, and dietary factors. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Efficiency and Its Determinants for China’s Medical Care System: Some Policy Implications for Northeast Asia
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14092-14111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014092
Received: 4 July 2015 / Revised: 11 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (762 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The medical care system in China has experienced significant changes during three decades of reform, and thus result in a need to investigate the effects of medical reform. This paper investigates the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals in 31 provinces during the period
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The medical care system in China has experienced significant changes during three decades of reform, and thus result in a need to investigate the effects of medical reform. This paper investigates the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals in 31 provinces during the period from 2002 to 2013 by proposing a new global generalized directional distance function (GGDDF) approach taking account of undesirable output, i.e., mortality. Results show that despite the technical efficiency had being improved with time trend, most Chinese provinces are not performing well on hospitals’ technical efficiency and leave a large potential to improve. Some provinces display better performance compared to other provinces of China. We further investigate the factors that affect the technical efficiency of Chinese hospitals with Tobit models. It concludes that the medical insurance reforms have improved the performance of Chinese hospitals, while public subsidies have decreased it. The provinces with higher GDP per capital and population density, the performance of their hospitals is better. The related policy implications for Northeast Asia are derived, including encouraging the development of private hospitals, enlarging the coverage of medical services, and pursuing different policies for the provinces with higher GDP per capital and population density. Full article
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Open AccessProject Report Participatory Development of Key Sustainability Concepts for Dialogue and Curricula at The Ohio State University
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14063-14091; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014063
Received: 25 July 2015 / Revised: 24 September 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (816 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The Ohio State University (OSU) is one of the many universities committed to sustainability within its operations, traditions, and university framework. The university continues to evolve in relation to its sustainability goals, and currently seeks to both build on and deepen the culture
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The Ohio State University (OSU) is one of the many universities committed to sustainability within its operations, traditions, and university framework. The university continues to evolve in relation to its sustainability goals, and currently seeks to both build on and deepen the culture of sustainability at OSU. One way to do this is through increasing the sustainability literacy of students on campus, by creating an introductory sustainability curriculum, which would put forth the definitions, concepts, and initiatives that represent sustainability at Ohio State. However, before such a curriculum can be developed, it is important to first understand the current sustainability perceptions at OSU: what definition does the university want to embrace? What is most pertinent to teach OSU students? Twenty sustainability leaders across the university were interviewed in a participatory development process to produce consensus-based, local definitional concepts that are not only beneficial for student knowledge, but for OSU sustainability progress as a whole. The results of their recommendations have provided a solid framework from which the university can build in its future curricular efforts, and provides insights that may be particularly helpful in promoting sustainability in other large American universities. This study also describes a case of using participatory development (PD) methods, which have been under-utilized in a higher education setting, particularly in sustainability implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Young Tourists and Sustainability. Profiles, Attitudes, and Implications for Destination Strategies
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14042-14062; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014042
Received: 31 August 2015 / Accepted: 13 October 2015 / Published: 20 October 2015
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Abstract
Global trends highlight the growing tourist interest in authentic and sustainable holiday experiences. Designing strategies that enable destinations to catch this tourist segment is, therefore, becoming more and more important for competitiveness. A long-term outlook calls into question the “next generation” of actual
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Global trends highlight the growing tourist interest in authentic and sustainable holiday experiences. Designing strategies that enable destinations to catch this tourist segment is, therefore, becoming more and more important for competitiveness. A long-term outlook calls into question the “next generation” of actual and potential tourists, i.e., young people: understanding their attitude towards sustainability is paramount to drive tourism development in a direction which is coherent to the forthcoming demand. Drawing from an ad hoc survey of 1156 members of the largest Italian association of student and youth tourism, this contribution (a) discusses youth attitudes towards sustainability, their travel motivations and behavior (b) identifies different profiles of young tourists with reference to sustainability. By using characteristics and dimensions linked with “harder ecotourists” we identify hard path young tourists (HPYT) and soft path young tourists (SPYT). The findings confirm young people’s interest in certain dimensions of sustainability and the influence this interest has on their decision-making processes, motivations, and behaviors. HPYT and SPYT are profiles which should be considered in destination strategies: the strong sensitivity of HPYT to sustainability suggests the possibility of creating offers that optimize the unique features of a territory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecotourism and Sustainability Strategy)
Open AccessArticle A Novel Approach for the Removal of Lead(II) Ion from Wastewater Using Mucilaginous Leaves of Diceriocaryum eriocarpum Plant
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14026-14041; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014026
Received: 24 August 2015 / Revised: 6 October 2015 / Accepted: 7 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
Lead(II) ion is a very toxic element known to cause detrimental effects to human health even at very low concentrations. An adsorbent prepared using mucilaginous leaves from Diceriocaryum eriocarpum plant (DEP) was used for the adsorption of lead(II) ion from aqueous solution. Batch
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Lead(II) ion is a very toxic element known to cause detrimental effects to human health even at very low concentrations. An adsorbent prepared using mucilaginous leaves from Diceriocaryum eriocarpum plant (DEP) was used for the adsorption of lead(II) ion from aqueous solution. Batch experiments were performed on simulated aqueous solutions under optimized conditions of adsorbent dosage, contact time, pH and initial lead(II) ion concentration at 298 K. The Langmuir isotherm model more suitably described the adsorption process than the Freundlich model with linearized coefficients of 0.9661 and 0.9547, respectively. Pseudo-second order kinetic equation best described the kinetics of the reaction. Fourier transform infra-red analysis confirmed the presence of amino (–NH), carbonyl (–C=O) and hydroxyl (–OH) functional groups. Application of the prepared adsorbent to wastewater samples of 10 mg/L and 12 mg/L of lead(II) ion concentration taken from a waste stabilization pond showed removal efficiencies of 95.8% and 96.4%, respectively. Futhermore, 0.1 M HCl was a better desorbing agent than 0.1 M NaOH and de-ionized water. The experimental data obtained demonstrated that mucilaginous leaves from DEP can be used as a suitable adsorbent for lead(II) ion removal from wastewater. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Design and Implementation of Emergy-Based Sustainability Decision Assessment System for Protected Grape Cultivation
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 14002-14025; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71014002
Received: 14 August 2015 / Revised: 30 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
The characteristic “high input and output” in protected production has caused some environmental and ecological issues. Hence, emergy-based sustainability assessments are necessary and valuable. However, traditional emergy analysis is time consuming, tedious, and inefficient. Such disadvantages can be addressed by the integration of
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The characteristic “high input and output” in protected production has caused some environmental and ecological issues. Hence, emergy-based sustainability assessments are necessary and valuable. However, traditional emergy analysis is time consuming, tedious, and inefficient. Such disadvantages can be addressed by the integration of emergy analysis with information technology. This paper reports the development of the emergy-based sustainability decision assessment system (ESDAS) for protected grape cultivation systems. This system was established by first analyzing the business process, users, and requirements through survey, and the findings of which were used to design the system’s function, architecture, database, model base, and knowledge base with a combination of emergy methods. The results showed that ESDAS passed the system test and achieved the real-time calculation of emergy data and the automatization of emergy analysis. Therefore, this research is a beneficial attempt to apply information technology in improving the efficiency of sustainability assessments. The results also revealed that the protected grape cultivation system is characterized by a heavy dependence on purchased and non-renewable resource emergy, lower emergy yield ratio, higher emergy investment rate and environmental loading ratio, and lower emergy sustainability index. Some suggestions were made to improve the sustainability of the protected grape system. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Hybrid Renewable Power System for an Emerging Island of South Korea: The Case of Yeongjong Island
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13985-14001; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013985
Received: 22 July 2015 / Revised: 12 October 2015 / Accepted: 14 October 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
South Korea, which has led in “green growth” since 2012, is now focusing on investigating new-growth engine industries such as the gaming industry and mega-resort development. Yeongjong Island is the most representative and promising location for nurturing the gaming industry, which has already
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South Korea, which has led in “green growth” since 2012, is now focusing on investigating new-growth engine industries such as the gaming industry and mega-resort development. Yeongjong Island is the most representative and promising location for nurturing the gaming industry, which has already generated more than 20 billion USD. However, the construction of mega resort clusters generates critical energy issues. Despite this potential problem, local governments and South Korea’s central government have not yet established a sustainable energy blueprint plan. Therefore, the objective of our research is to analyze and suggest an optimal hybrid renewable power system for Yeongjong Island by using empirical data (load data, climate data, equipment data, and economic variables). The results of the study academically show 100% of electricity in Yeongjong Island with renewable energy-oriented hybrid system technologically, economically, and socially feasible for the following reasons: First, the island’s renewable energy station has a lower cost and a shorter construction period than other energy stations. Second, the island’s renewable energy station produces no carbon dioxide and has no risk of other environmental pollution that may encounter resistance from local residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Sustainable and Renewable Energy: An Overview of the Application of Multiple Criteria Decision Making Techniques and Approaches
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13947-13984; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013947
Received: 2 September 2015 / Revised: 21 September 2015 / Accepted: 30 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related
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The main purpose of this paper is to present a systematic review of MCDM techniques and approaches in sustainable and renewable energy systems problems. This study reviewed a total of 54 papers published from 2003–2015 in more than 20 high-ranking journals, most related to sustainable and renewable energies, and which were extracted from the Web of Science database. In the category of application areas, papers were classified into two main groups: (1) sustainable energy and (2) renewable energy. Furthermore, in the classification of techniques and approaches, the papers were categorized into six groups: (1) AHP and F-AHP; (2) ANP and VIKOR; (3) TOPSIS and F-TOPSIS; (4) PROMETHEE; (5) integrated methods and (6) other methods. In addition, papers were reviewed based on the authors’ nationalities, the publication date, techniques and approaches, the name of journal and studies criteria. The results of this study indicated that, in 2015, scholars have published more papers than in other years. Furthermore, AHP/fuzzy AHP and integrated methods were ranked as the first rank, with 14 papers. Additionally, Journal of Renewable Energy is the first journal, with 16 publications, and this was the most significant journal in this study. Findings of this review paper confirm that MCDM techniques can assist stakeholders and decision makers in unravelling some of the uncertainties inherent in environmental decision making, and these techniques demonstrate a growing interest of previous scholars to apply these techniques for solving different stages of sustainable and renewable energy systems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Low-Frequency Noise Pollution on the Quality of Life and Place in Sustainable Cities: A Case Study from Northern Portugal
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13920-13946; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013920
Received: 8 June 2015 / Revised: 7 September 2015 / Accepted: 23 September 2015 / Published: 19 October 2015
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Abstract
Discussing urban planning requires rethinking sustainability in cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of life have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to conflicting land
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Discussing urban planning requires rethinking sustainability in cities and building healthy environments. Historically, some aspects of advancing the urban way of life have not been considered important in city planning. This is particularly the case where technological advances have led to conflicting land use, as with the installation of power poles and building electrical substations near residential areas. This research aims to discuss and rethink sustainability in cities, focusing on the environmental impact of low-frequency noise and electromagnetic radiation on human health. It presents data from a case study in an urban space in northern Portugal, and focuses on four guiding questions: Can power poles and power lines cause noise? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort? Do power poles and power lines cause discomfort due to noise? Can power poles and power lines affect human health? To answer these questions, we undertook research between 2014 and 2015 that was comprised of two approaches. The first approach consisted of evaluating the noise of nine points divided into two groups “near the source” (e.g., up to 50 m from power poles) and “away from the source” (e.g., more than 250 m away from the source). In the second approach, noise levels were measured for 72 h in houses located up to 20 m from the source. The groups consist of residents living within the distance range specified for each group. The measurement values were compared with the proposed criteria for assessing low-frequency noise using the DEFRA Guidance (University of Salford). In the first approach, the noise caused discomfort, regardless of the group. In the second approach, the noise had fluctuating characteristics, which led us to conclude that the noise caused discomfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle A New Method to Energy Saving in a Micro Grid
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13904-13919; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013904
Received: 11 June 2015 / Revised: 2 October 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but
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Optimization of energy production systems is a relevant issue that must be considered in order to follow the fossil fuels consumption reduction policies and CO2 emission regulation. Increasing electricity production from renewable resources (e.g., photovoltaic systems and wind farms) is desirable but its unpredictability is a cause of problems for the main grid stability. A system with multiple energy sources represents an efficient solution, by realizing an interface among renewable energy sources, energy storage systems, and conventional power generators. Direct consequences of multi-energy systems are a wider energy flexibility and benefits for the electric grid, the purpose of this paper is to propose the best technology combination for electricity generation from a mix of renewable energy resources to satisfy the electrical needs. The paper identifies the optimal off-grid option and compares this with conventional grid extension, through the use of HOMER software. The solution obtained shows that a hybrid combination of renewable energy generators at an off-grid location can be a cost-effective alternative to grid extension and it is sustainable, techno-economically viable, and environmentally sound. The results show how this innovative energetic approach can provide a cost reduction in power supply and energy fees of 40% and 25%, respectively, and CO2 emission decrease attained around 18%. Furthermore, the multi-energy system taken as the case study has been optimized through the utilization of three different type of energy storage (Pb-Ac batteries, flywheels, and micro—Compressed Air Energy Storage (C.A.E.S.). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Features Analysis of Dry Stone Walls of Tuscany (Italy)
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13887-13903; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013887
Received: 7 August 2015 / Revised: 18 September 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Terraced systems currently represent an indubitable added value for Tuscany, as well as for other Italian regions and for several Mediterranean countries. This value goes beyond their original function of hosting new areas for cultivation. The hydrological functions performed by these systems, including
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Terraced systems currently represent an indubitable added value for Tuscany, as well as for other Italian regions and for several Mediterranean countries. This value goes beyond their original function of hosting new areas for cultivation. The hydrological functions performed by these systems, including control of erosion, stabilisation of the slopes, prolongation of runoff times and the possible reduction of the volumes of surface runoff, are well-known. In addition, they also play a strategic role in the conservation of biodiversity and in maintaining local identity. At a national level, the terraced agricultural systems fall within the scope of actions scheduled in the National Strategic Plan for Rural Development 2007–2013, and the standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAECs) envisages that they be maintained through the granting of economic aid as laid down in the Rural Development Plans 2007–2013 and 2014–2020. Eighteen sample areas, previously selected on the basis of the terracing intensity index (defined as the ratio between the lines representing the walls and the surface of 1 ha), were subjected for on-site surveys to determine the geo-typological features through the identification and measurement of the main technical-construction parameters of the dry stone walls. This analysis also enabled assessments of the overall state of conservation of the dry stone walls in order to suggest operations for safeguarding and protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle How Local Intermediaries Improve the Effectiveness of Public Payment for Ecosystem Services Programs: The Role of Networks and Agri-Environmental Assistance
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13856-13886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013856
Received: 23 June 2015 / Revised: 29 September 2015 / Accepted: 1 October 2015 / Published: 15 October 2015
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Abstract
Large governmental payments for ecosystem services programs (PES) have frequently been criticized for their limited environmental effectiveness. The use of local intermediaries has been considered as one possibility for improving the environmental effectiveness of such programs. German Landcare Associations (LCAs) have been identified
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Large governmental payments for ecosystem services programs (PES) have frequently been criticized for their limited environmental effectiveness. The use of local intermediaries has been considered as one possibility for improving the environmental effectiveness of such programs. German Landcare Associations (LCAs) have been identified as one intermediary that holds the potential to positively influence the implementation of agri-environmental measures (AEMs). This paper empirically assesses the involvement of LCAs in the context of AEM implementation in Germany. An online questionnaire was distributed to all LCAs in Germany. In a first step, we examine if LCAs (1) provide social networks between stakeholders and (2) provide agri-environmental information and assistance to farmers. In a second step, the LCAs assess (3) their perception of how strongly their work influences farmers’ participation in PES schemes and (4) if they pursue the spatial targeting of AEMs. In a third step, we relate the relative level of social networks and the provision of agri-environmental information and assistance to their stated influence on farmers’ participation in and spatial targeting of AEMs. Finally we derive overall conclusions on how intermediaries can enhance the effectiveness of PES programs in general. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Advancing Environmental Mainstreaming in the Caribbean Region: The Role of Regional Institutions for Overcoming Barriers and Capacity Gaps
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13836-13855; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013836
Received: 21 August 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 9 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
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Abstract
Environmental mainstreaming (EM) is a policy instrument to integrate environmental risks and opportunities into planning and implementation. A body of knowledge exists on identifying barriers for EM at the national level. This paper identifies contributions of regional institutions for improving capacities for EM
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Environmental mainstreaming (EM) is a policy instrument to integrate environmental risks and opportunities into planning and implementation. A body of knowledge exists on identifying barriers for EM at the national level. This paper identifies contributions of regional institutions for improving capacities for EM at the national level, using the Caribbean region as a case study. The methodology adopted combines in-depth interviews with senior policy-makers and participatory workshops for medium- and junior-level staff of government agencies. Four barriers for EM are analyzed with specific roles for regional agencies, including weak leadership, insufficient science–policy linkages, deficits in quantity and quality of human resources, and institutional aspects. Research findings identify regional leadership as crucial to supporting the science–policy interface, to share data and knowledge across countries facing similar challenges, to provide assistance with national policy development for EM involving transboundary issues, and to ensure cross-sectoral perspectives in regional initiatives, especially those on economic development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Dynamics of Paddy Field Patterns in Response to Urbanization: A Case Study of the Hang-Jia-Hu Plain
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13813-13835; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013813
Received: 1 September 2015 / Revised: 6 October 2015 / Accepted: 8 October 2015 / Published: 14 October 2015
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Abstract
Urban land has increasingly expanded and encroached upon a significant number of paddy fields in Hang-Jia-Hu Plain, due to the rapid socio-economic development and agro-pedoclimatic conditions favorable to rice cultivation and human settlement. Although many studies have analyzed the characteristics of urban land
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Urban land has increasingly expanded and encroached upon a significant number of paddy fields in Hang-Jia-Hu Plain, due to the rapid socio-economic development and agro-pedoclimatic conditions favorable to rice cultivation and human settlement. Although many studies have analyzed the characteristics of urban land expansion, relatively less attention has been paid to exploring the various urban expansion patterns and the impact of different urban expansion patterns on paddy field at a regional scale. This paper characterized the changing patterns of paddy fields in response to various urban expansion patterns in the Hang-Jia-Hu Plain integrating geographic information systems, gradient analyses and landscape metrics. Our results demonstrate that the amount of urban land expanded to nearly four times that of the initial area during 1980–2010 and that 88% of new urban land was developed on paddy fields. Of the total area of paddy fields, paddy fields of level I accounted for 96%. Moreover, various urban expansion styles differentially influenced the patterns of paddy fields. In autonomous expansion cities, sprawled urban land mainly occupied paddy fields in urban centers. However, the irregular expansion of passive expansion cities encroached on a number of paddy fields in the urban fringe where the landscape of urban patches and paddy fields was more complex and irregular in shape. Furthermore, the urbanization curve implies that future urbanization efforts will focus on the passive expansion cities, indicating that paddy fields still face the risk of disruption. We suggest that the boundary of urban development should be restricted, permanent paddy reserves should be delimited, and ecologically oriented management systems that target paddy field protection should be implemented to ensure the sustainable development of this region. This work improved the understanding of the urbanization process that governed paddy fields dynamics, and provides a scientific basis for decision-making processes to achieve regional sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Measurement and Sustainability of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area through an Employment Survey on Access to the Labour Market
Sustainability 2015, 7(10), 13777-13812; https://doi.org/10.3390/su71013777
Received: 14 July 2015 / Revised: 25 September 2015 / Accepted: 29 September 2015 / Published: 13 October 2015
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Abstract
There is a clear need to measure the correct implementation of the European Framework through the employability of the alumni. The evaluation of the deployment of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA/QF) should shed significant light on the action
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There is a clear need to measure the correct implementation of the European Framework through the employability of the alumni. The evaluation of the deployment of the Qualifications Frameworks in the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA/QF) should shed significant light on the action that must be taken by legislators and higher education managers to foster employability and guarantee the sustainability of the EHEA. We propose a methodology based on a Survey on Access to the Labour Market (SALM) to assess the correlation between the education provided to the students and the practical utility of the knowledge acquired in the workplace. A questionnaire has been produced to measure the competencies and descriptors that had been theoretically defined within the QF-EHEA. Fifteen questions were disguised so that the six QF-EHEA descriptors were quantified through the difference between education and utility. The quantification methodology for the framework has been tested successfully on the former students of a higher education center in Spain. In this center, the alumni perceived that the utility of their acquired competencies and their employability level was greater than their education content, while both levels were reasonably high. The results hold for both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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