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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 7 (July 2015), Pages 8051-9752

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Open AccessArticle Effect of a Toolkit and a One-Day Teacher Education Workshop on ESD Teaching Content and Methods—A Study from Kosovo
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8051-8066; doi:10.3390/su7078051
Received: 11 March 2015 / Revised: 7 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (326 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Environmental education in Kosovo is currently under reform. The new strategy for sustainable development demands a strong focus on education for sustainability in schools. However, a lack of teacher education might impede new approaches in the classroom. This study investigated how teachers in
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Environmental education in Kosovo is currently under reform. The new strategy for sustainable development demands a strong focus on education for sustainability in schools. However, a lack of teacher education might impede new approaches in the classroom. This study investigated how teachers in Kosovo approach locally-relevant environmental issues in the classroom before and after a one-day in-service workshop on teaching approaches related to education for sustainable development (ESD). Data were gathered in nine classes with a systematic observation scheme and processed using Flanders’ interaction analysis categories system. During the workshop, a specially designed toolkit was introduced to the participants (nine biology teachers from the upper secondary level). The toolkit included teaching approaches suitable for ESD and focused on air and water pollution, waste management, energy saving, and the conservation of biodiversity. Before the workshop, teacher-talk occupied more than 90% of a typical 45-min lesson, and instructions were frontal and directive. After the workshop, pupil-talk strongly increased (up to 88%), and pupils were actively engaged in activities suitable for ESD. Supportive training can thus help teachers to improve their instructional practices. However, only those teachers who had reported support from head teachers and colleagues were still frequently using the toolkit after one year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Evidence and Experience of Open Sustainability Innovation Practices in the Food Sector
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8067-8090; doi:10.3390/su7078067
Received: 26 April 2015 / Revised: 13 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The adoption of an “open sustainability innovation” approach in business could be a strategic advantage to reach both industry objectives and sustainability goals. The food sector is facing a constant increase in competition. In order to address the high competition that involves the
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The adoption of an “open sustainability innovation” approach in business could be a strategic advantage to reach both industry objectives and sustainability goals. The food sector is facing a constant increase in competition. In order to address the high competition that involves the food industry, sustainability and innovation practices can be strategically effective, especially with an open sustainability innovation approach. In the literature, we found many examples of open innovation applications and their implications for sustainable strategy. These applications are important for reducing cost and time to market, as well as for a company’s impact on the environment and food security. In this paper, the authors show the evidence of these implications. In particular, starting from the state of the art of the food sector, we highlight the empirical results of ten case studies. By analyzing these cases, we can gain a better awareness on how and why these approaches are currently being applied by food sector companies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Participatory Sustainability Approach to Value Capture-Based Urban Rail Financing in India through Deliberated Stakeholder Engagement
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8091-8115; doi:10.3390/su7078091
Received: 9 December 2014 / Revised: 26 May 2015 / Accepted: 27 May 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1597 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasingly, cities around the world are seeking innovative financial mechanisms to build rail transit projects. Land value capture (VC) is a financing mechanism to fund urban rail transit. Often VC mechanisms are viewed only as a financing tool applied in relation to increased
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Increasingly, cities around the world are seeking innovative financial mechanisms to build rail transit projects. Land value capture (VC) is a financing mechanism to fund urban rail transit. Often VC mechanisms are viewed only as a financing tool applied in relation to increased land values from the administration and legislation perspectives, without actively involving the community in the process. The lack of such participation has resulted in the under collection of the true value established. The transit beneficiary community and city tax payers are especially important stakeholders in this process as their willingness to participate is really critical to the overall VC success and transport outcome. This paper introduces a participatory sustainability approach to enable a more deliberated stakeholder engagement intervention across the VC life cycle. A four-step “Participatory Strategic Value Capture (PSVC)” framework is proposed offering step-by-step guidance toward facilitating a meaningful stakeholder dialogue, deliberation, and collaboration around the stated engagement interests. The PSVC framework, applied to the proposed Bangalore sub-urban rail project in India, has demonstrated the importance of stakeholder engagement using deliberated participatory approaches from a win-win perspective. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Integrating Regret Psychology to Travel Mode Choice for a Transit-Oriented Evacuation Strategy
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8116-8131; doi:10.3390/su7078116
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (191 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Facing the potential dangers from sudden disasters in urban cities, emergency administrators have to make an appropriate evacuation plan to mitigate negative consequences. However, little attention has been paid to evacuee real decision psychology when developing a strategy. The aim of this paper
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Facing the potential dangers from sudden disasters in urban cities, emergency administrators have to make an appropriate evacuation plan to mitigate negative consequences. However, little attention has been paid to evacuee real decision psychology when developing a strategy. The aim of this paper is to analyze evacuee mode choice behavior considering regret aversion psychology during evacuation. First, the utility-based and regret-based models are formulated to obtain evacuees’ preferences on travel mode choice, respectively. According to the data collected from the stated preference (SP) survey on evacuee mode choice, the estimation results show that the regret-based model performs better than the utility model. Moreover, based on the estimates from behavioral analysis, the elasticities of evacuee mode choices are calculated, and transit strategy simulation is undertaken to investigate the influence on evacuee mode switching from private automobile to public transit. The results are expected to help emergency administrators to make a transit-oriented strategy for a sustainable evacuation plan, especially for the benefit of carless people. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
Open AccessArticle Managing Knowledge to Promote Sustainability in Australian Transport Infrastructure Projects
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8132-8150; doi:10.3390/su7078132
Received: 30 March 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (177 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To deliver tangible sustainability outcomes, the infrastructure sector of the construction industry needs to build capacities for the creation, application and management of ever increasing knowledge. This paper intends to establish the importance and key issues of promoting sustainability through knowledge management (KM).
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To deliver tangible sustainability outcomes, the infrastructure sector of the construction industry needs to build capacities for the creation, application and management of ever increasing knowledge. This paper intends to establish the importance and key issues of promoting sustainability through knowledge management (KM). It presents a new conceptual framework for managing sustainability knowledge to raise the awareness and direct future research in the field of transport infrastructure, one of the fast growing sectors in Australia. A holistic KM approach is adopted in this research to consider the potential to “deliver the right information to the right person at the right time” in the context of sustainable development of infrastructure. A questionnaire survey among practitioners across the nation confirmed the necessity and identified priority issues of managing knowledge for sustainability. During infrastructure development, KM can help build much needed industry consensus, develop capacity, communicate decisions, and promote specific measures for the pursuit of sustainability. Six essential elements of the KM approach and their priority issues informed the establishment of a conceptual KM framework. The transport infrastructure sector has come to realise that development must not come at the expense of environmental and social objectives. In practice however, it is facing extensive challenges to deliver what has been promised in the sustainability agenda. This research demonstrates the importance of managing sustainability knowledge, integration of various stakeholders, facilitation of plans and actions and delivery of tangible benefits in real projects, as a positive step towards meeting these challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Assessment in Wine-Grape Growing in the New World: Economic, Environmental, and Social Indicators for Agricultural Businesses
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8178-8204; doi:10.3390/su7078178
Received: 21 April 2015 / Revised: 2 June 2015 / Accepted: 11 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (324 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Indicators have been used in many sustainability assessment methods, however, disagreements over a common definition and scope for the sustainability concept have led to many distinct assessment methods, which are not often directly comparable. Before developing a sustainability assessment, it is essential to:
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Indicators have been used in many sustainability assessment methods, however, disagreements over a common definition and scope for the sustainability concept have led to many distinct assessment methods, which are not often directly comparable. Before developing a sustainability assessment, it is essential to: define sustainability and specify the viewpoint of the assessor, the purpose of the assessment, and the context and time frame of the assessment. This article presents a short list of indicators and a method that can be readily adopted by any agricultural business or region to assess sustainability, making any organization, region or crop qualitatively comparable. These indicators were proposed by 83 top-level executives in 14 group interviews conducted using our adapted nominal group technique (ANGT). Executives were sourced from wine-grape growing organisations from New World wine-producing countries that also owned vineyards, and they considered everyday management practices of farms. These indicators, grouped within three categories (economic, environmental, and social) were ranked by their importance. The method defines qualitative indicators that, in the context of distinct wine regions or crops should be quantified to maintain their relevance and usefulness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Fostering Sustainable Energy Entrepreneurship among Students: The Business Oriented Technological System Analysis (BOTSA) Program at Eindhoven University of Technology
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8205-8222; doi:10.3390/su7078205
Received: 4 April 2015 / Revised: 5 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
PDF Full-text (127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Business Oriented Technological System Analysis (BOTSA) program is a new teaching and learning concept developed by Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) with participation from innovative companies in renewable energy. It is designed to stimulate sustainable entrepreneurship among engineering students in this
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The Business Oriented Technological System Analysis (BOTSA) program is a new teaching and learning concept developed by Eindhoven University of Technology (the Netherlands) with participation from innovative companies in renewable energy. It is designed to stimulate sustainable entrepreneurship among engineering students in this field. The program combines the placement of students in companies to study and contribute to the development and incubation of sustainable energy innovations, with a curriculum at the university designed to support these internships from a scientific perspective. The teaching method assists students in developing a broad system view that enables them to analyze the potential of, and bottlenecks to promising innovations from a realistic business perspective. This empowers students to identify those techno-economic aspects that are critical to innovation success, and advise the entrepreneurs about these aspects. Experience indicates that teachers, students, and entrepreneurs find BOTSA a valuable way of coaching, learning and working. Theoretical support for this method is found in system analysis originating in evolutionary innovation theory in combination with concepts of entrepreneurship, business model generation and sustainable/green innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Compilation of an Embodied CO2 Emission Inventory for China Using 135-Sector Input-Output Tables
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8223-8239; doi:10.3390/su7078223
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 17 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (746 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
A high-quality carbon dioxide (CO2) inventory is the cornerstone of climate change mitigation. Most of the previously reported embodied CO2 inventories in China have no more than 42 sectors, and this limitation may introduce apparent inaccuracy into the analysis at
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A high-quality carbon dioxide (CO2) inventory is the cornerstone of climate change mitigation. Most of the previously reported embodied CO2 inventories in China have no more than 42 sectors, and this limitation may introduce apparent inaccuracy into the analysis at the sector level. To improve the quality of input-output (IO)-based CO2 inventories for China, we propose a practical energy allocation approach to link the energy statistics to the 135-sector IO tables for China and compiled a detailed embodied CO2 intensity and inventory for 2007 using a single-region IO model. Interpretation of embodied CO2 intensities by fuel category, direct requirement, and total requirement in the sectors were conducted to identify, from different perspectives, the significant contributors. The total embodied CO2 emissions in 2007 was estimated to be 7.1 Gt and was separated into the industrial sector and final demand sector. Although the total CO2 estimations by the 42-sector and 135-sector analyses are equivalent, the allocations in certain groups of sectors differ significantly. Our compilation methodologies address indirect environmental impacts from industrial sectors, including the public utility and tertiary sectors. This method of interpretation could be utilized for better communication with stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Attitudes of Citizens towards Urban Parks and Green Spaces for Urban Sustainability: The Case of Gyeongsan City, Republic of Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8240-8254; doi:10.3390/su7078240
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 25 June 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban parks and green spaces support a wide array of species and play an important role in long-term sustainability. This study analyzed the needs and attitudes of citizens towards urban parks and green spaces in order to provide information for setting the future
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Urban parks and green spaces support a wide array of species and play an important role in long-term sustainability. This study analyzed the needs and attitudes of citizens towards urban parks and green spaces in order to provide information for setting the future direction of urban sustainability to maximize quality of life. A questionnaire survey was conducted to analyze the general characteristics of respondents and their awareness of parks and spaces. First, the results indicate that the main purpose of visiting parks was relaxation and walking. Second, the type of parks visited most frequently by the respondents was pocket parks around home. Third, the main reason for going to the frequently visited parks was “close to home”. Fourth, the major reason for visiting parks infrequently was “improper park management”. Fifth, the desired types of urban parks were relaxation parks close to natural rivers. Sixth, citizens wanted to participate in the expansion projects of parks and green spaces through non-profit civic organizations or volunteer activities. Further research with a comparative analysis among different cities will be necessary to generalize Korean attitudes to urban parks and green spaces for urban sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Environmental and Social Dimensions of Sustainability in Response to the Economic Crisis of European Cities
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8255-8269; doi:10.3390/su7078255
Received: 9 March 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 26 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (147 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The concept of sustainable development, which has emerged over the last few decades, has moved away from the global to the local level. The sustainability measurements at the global level use the triple bottom line, considering environmental, economic and social dimensions; however, the
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The concept of sustainable development, which has emerged over the last few decades, has moved away from the global to the local level. The sustainability measurements at the global level use the triple bottom line, considering environmental, economic and social dimensions; however, the limited data available at the local level has driven what little research there is to use these optics when considering cities sustainability. In this paper, we use a sustainability city index based on the intellectual capital approach, which considers the three dimensions for European cities. Concretely, we use the environmental and social dimensions of this city index to analyze the effect of different levels of development in terms of sustainability over the main economic variables with available information. The results highlight the importance of the social and environmental dimensions of sustainability in cities economic recovery and show that cities with best positions in sustainability have better performance in economic terms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Environmental Sustainability in Health Care Organizations
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8270-8291; doi:10.3390/su7078270
Received: 29 April 2015 / Revised: 18 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (367 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Healthcare organizations should set a standard in corporate social responsibility and encourage environmental sustainability, since protection of the environment implies the development of preventive measures in healthcare. Environmental concern has traditionally focused on manufacturing plants. However, a Health Care Organization (HCO) is the
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Healthcare organizations should set a standard in corporate social responsibility and encourage environmental sustainability, since protection of the environment implies the development of preventive measures in healthcare. Environmental concern has traditionally focused on manufacturing plants. However, a Health Care Organization (HCO) is the only type of company which generates all existing classes of waste, and 20% is dangerous, being infectious, toxic or radioactive in nature. Despite the extensive literature analysing environmental matters, there is no objective model for assessing the environmental sustainability of HCOs in such a way that the results may be compared over time for an organization, and between different organizations, to give a comparison or benchmarking tool for HCOs. This paper presents a Multi-Criteria Decision Analysis model integrating a Fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process and utility theory, to evaluate environmental sustainability in HCOs. The model uses criteria assessed as a function of the number of annual treatments undertaken. The model has been tested in two HCOs of very different sizes. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Model to Explain How Corporate Social Responsibility Affects Corporate Financial Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8292-8311; doi:10.3390/su7078292
Received: 16 April 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (327 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on financial performance has important implications for enterprises, communities, and countries, and the significance of this issue cannot be ignored. Therefore, this paper proposes an integrated model to explain the influence of CSR on financial performance
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The effect of corporate social responsibility (CSR) on financial performance has important implications for enterprises, communities, and countries, and the significance of this issue cannot be ignored. Therefore, this paper proposes an integrated model to explain the influence of CSR on financial performance with intellectual capital as a mediator and industry type as a moderator. Empirical results indicate that intellectual capital mediates the relationship between CSR and financial performance, and industry type moderates the direct influence of CSR on financial performance. Such results have critical implications for both academia and practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Landscape Ecological Risk in a Mining City: A Case Study in Liaoyuan City, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8312-8334; doi:10.3390/su7078312
Received: 29 January 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1828 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Landscape ecological risk assessment can effectively identify key elements for landscape sustainability, which directly improves human wellbeing. However, previous research has tended to apply risk probability, measured by overlaying landscape metrics to evaluate risk, generally lacking a quantitative assessment of loss and uncertainty
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Landscape ecological risk assessment can effectively identify key elements for landscape sustainability, which directly improves human wellbeing. However, previous research has tended to apply risk probability, measured by overlaying landscape metrics to evaluate risk, generally lacking a quantitative assessment of loss and uncertainty of risk. This study, taking Liaoyuan City as a case area, explores landscape ecological risk assessment associated with mining cities, based on probability of risk and potential ecological loss. The assessment results show landscape ecological risk is lower in highly urbanized areas than those rural areas, suggesting that not only cities but also natural and semi-natural areas contribute to overall landscape-scale ecological risk. Our comparison of potential ecological risk in 58 watersheds in the region shows that ecological loss are moderate or high in the 10 high-risk watersheds. The 35 moderate-risk watersheds contain a large proportion of farmland, and the 13 low-risk watersheds are mainly distributed in flat terrain areas. Our uncertainty analyses result in a close range between simulated and calculated values, suggesting that our model is generally applicable. Our analysis has good potential in the fields of resource development, landscape planning and ecological restoration, and provides a quantitative method for achieving landscape sustainability in a mining city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Ecosystem Services Evaluation and Its Spatial Characteristics in Central Asia’s Arid Regions: A Case Study in Altay Prefecture, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8335-8353; doi:10.3390/su7078335
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 15 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (806 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecosystem services are important foundations to realize the sustainable development of economy and society. The question of how to quantitatively evaluate ecosystem services in a scientific way is a hot topic among international researchers. Studying the spatial characteristics of ecosystem services in arid
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Ecosystem services are important foundations to realize the sustainable development of economy and society. The question of how to quantitatively evaluate ecosystem services in a scientific way is a hot topic among international researchers. Studying the spatial characteristics of ecosystem services in arid regions can provide the theoretical and practical basis for coordinating a sustainable man-land relationship. Altay Prefecture of China, a typical arid region in Central Asia, was taken as the study area. It is on the Silk Road economic belt, which is a key region in the program of developing Western China. Three ecosystem services: water yield, soil conservation, and net primary productivity were quantitatively evaluated. The results show that (1) the spatial distribution pattern has a distinct characteristic of zonality; (2) mountain zone and mountain-oasis ecotone are the hotspots of ecosystem services; and (3) the correlation between water yield and net primary productivity shows a gradual increasing trend as altitude decreases. Objective analysis from the aspect of mechanism is given by discussing the causes of this particular pattern. It is found that altitude and slope have great influence on spatial distributions of ecosystem services, zones with the most amount of services are distributed in 1.5–2 km-altitude and 15–25°-slope. Different human activities in different regions and spatial distance decay of ecosystem services also contribute to the formation of spatial pattern. Thus, overgrazing, logging and mining are prohibited in mountain zones and mountain-oasis ecotones. Scholars are encouraged to focus on desert-ecosystem services in the future. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Training Conservation Practitioners to be Better Decision Makers
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8354-8373; doi:10.3390/su7078354
Received: 1 May 2015 / Revised: 28 May 2015 / Accepted: 18 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (100 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditional conservation curricula and training typically emphasizes only one part of systematic decision making (i.e., the science), at the expense of preparing conservation practitioners with critical skills in values-setting, working with decision makers and stakeholders, and effective problem framing. In this
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Traditional conservation curricula and training typically emphasizes only one part of systematic decision making (i.e., the science), at the expense of preparing conservation practitioners with critical skills in values-setting, working with decision makers and stakeholders, and effective problem framing. In this article we describe how the application of decision science is relevant to conservation problems and suggest how current and future conservation practitioners can be trained to be better decision makers. Though decision-analytic approaches vary considerably, they all involve: (1) properly formulating the decision problem; (2) specifying feasible alternative actions; and (3) selecting criteria for evaluating potential outcomes. Two approaches are available for providing training in decision science, with each serving different needs. Formal education is useful for providing simple, well-defined problems that allow demonstrations of the structure, axioms and general characteristics of a decision-analytic approach. In contrast, practical training can offer complex, realistic decision problems requiring more careful structuring and analysis than those used for formal training purposes. Ultimately, the kinds and degree of training necessary depend on the role conservation practitioners play in a decision-making process. Those attempting to facilitate decision-making processes will need advanced training in both technical aspects of decision science and in facilitation techniques, as well as opportunities to apprentice under decision analysts/consultants. Our primary goal should be an attempt to ingrain a discipline for applying clarity of thought to all decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Lithium-Ion Batteries: Thermal Behaviour Investigation of Unbalanced Modules
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8374-8398; doi:10.3390/su7078374
Received: 3 June 2015 / Revised: 21 June 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 29 June 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4865 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, the thermal behaviour of an unbalanced battery module made of large lithium iron phosphate cylindrical cells of 18 Ah nominal capacity is investigated during its discharge with 18 A, 54 A and 90 A currents. For this study, several cells
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In this paper, the thermal behaviour of an unbalanced battery module made of large lithium iron phosphate cylindrical cells of 18 Ah nominal capacity is investigated during its discharge with 18 A, 54 A and 90 A currents. For this study, several cells were assigned in the module to 5%, 10% and 20% initial depth of discharge (DoD). The thermal management of the cells in the module is achieved based on a forced air cooling. The computations of the temperature distribution inside the cells and the module are performed with a two-dimensional modelling approach. During the discharges, the cells with a non-zero initial DoD show a more pronounced temperature increase up to 5% compared to the reference cells. In the end of the three discharges, the highest temperatures 26.5 °C (18 A), 29.6 °C (54 A) and 32.3 °C (90 A), respectively, are reached for the cells with the highest initial DoD. For these cells, with the increase in the current rate, the highest amount of total heat exceeds 25 W. The reactive and the active heats are found to be the main contributors to the total heat generated by the cells. This study provides the effect of the initial DoD of the cells on the temperature development occurring in an unbalanced battery module during its discharge. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Electrical Engineering)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Framework for Sustainable Outsourcing: Analytic Balanced Scorecard Method (A-BSC)
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8399-8419; doi:10.3390/su7078399
Received: 1 February 2015 / Revised: 22 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1143 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Nowadays, many enterprises choose to outsource its non-core business to other enterprises to reduce cost and increase the efficiency. Many enterprises choose to outsource their supply chain management (SCM) and leave it to a third-party organization in order to improve their services. The
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Nowadays, many enterprises choose to outsource its non-core business to other enterprises to reduce cost and increase the efficiency. Many enterprises choose to outsource their supply chain management (SCM) and leave it to a third-party organization in order to improve their services. The paper proposes an integrated and multicriteria tool useful to monitor and to improve performance in an outsourced supply chain. The Analytic Balanced Scorecard method (A-BSC) is proposed as an effective method useful to analyze strategic performance within an outsourced supply chain. The aim of the paper is to present the integration of two methodologies: Balanced Scorecard, a multiple perspective framework for performance assessment, and Analytic Hierarchy Process, a decision-making tool used to prioritize multiple performance perspectives and to generate a unified metric. The development of the framework is aimed to provide a performance analysis to achieve better sustainability performance of supply chain. A real case study concerning a typical value chain is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How does Outsourcing Affect the Economy and its Sustainability?)
Open AccessArticle Communicating Sustainable Shoes to Mainstream Consumers: The Impact of Advertisement Design on Buying Intention
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8420-8436; doi:10.3390/su7078420
Received: 14 March 2015 / Revised: 26 May 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (277 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditionally, marketing of sustainable products addresses green buyers, thus missing out on the mainstream consumers and volume necessary to cover the potentially higher cost of more sustainable materials. However, how to effectively communicate more sustainable products to mainstream consumers and to increase their
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Traditionally, marketing of sustainable products addresses green buyers, thus missing out on the mainstream consumers and volume necessary to cover the potentially higher cost of more sustainable materials. However, how to effectively communicate more sustainable products to mainstream consumers and to increase their buying intention is still underexplored. Combining personal and environmental benefits, called double benefit theory, is promoted as an effective green marketing strategy but so far not supported by quantitative research as being effective to reach mainstream consumers. We studied the effect of advertisement elements (layout color, benefit type, and heritage) on the products’ perceived sustainability, quality and fashion image, and buying intentions of mainstream consumers. Two hundred adults participated in a study that was based on a 2 (red vs. green layout) × 2 (personal vs. environmental benefit) × 2 (local vs. global heritage) between-subjects factorial design of a sustainable shoe advertisement. The impact of these independent variables on product image as well as on buying intention was analyzed by means of three-way ANOVAs. In line with the double benefit theory, combining a personal benefit with a green layout led to the highest buying intention. Moreover, a mediation analysis revealed the effect of emphasizing a personal benefit on buying intention was mediated by fashion image but not by sustainability. Sustainability, however, did have a positive effect on buying intentions independent of benefit type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
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Open AccessArticle Climate Change Impacts in Agricultural Communities in Rural Areas of Coastal Bangladesh: A Tale of Many Stories
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8437-8460; doi:10.3390/su7078437
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (334 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper identifies and analyses climate change impacts, their cascading consequences and the livelihood implications of these impacts on smallholder agricultural communities of coastal Bangladesh. Six physically and socio-economically vulnerable communities of south-western coastal regions were studied. Primary data was collected through focus
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This paper identifies and analyses climate change impacts, their cascading consequences and the livelihood implications of these impacts on smallholder agricultural communities of coastal Bangladesh. Six physically and socio-economically vulnerable communities of south-western coastal regions were studied. Primary data was collected through focus group discussions, a seasonal calendar, and historical transect analysis. Three orders of impacts of climate change on smallholder farmers are identified and described. The first order impacts involve increasing erosion of the capacity of local communities to mitigate vulnerability to climate change impacts. This situation led to the second order impacts, which significantly transformed the agricultural landscape and production patterns. The cumulative effects of the first and second order impacts sparked the third order impacts in the form of worsening community livelihood assets and conditions. The findings of this paper can contribute to the formulation of sustainable adaptation policies and programs to manage the vulnerability of local communities to climate change impacts in the country effectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle Are Biofuels an Effective and Viable Energy Strategy for Industrialized Societies? A Reasoned Overview of Potentials and Limits
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8491-8521; doi:10.3390/su7078491
Received: 7 April 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (527 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper, I analyze the constraints that limit biomass from becoming an alternative, sustainable and efficient energy source, at least in relation to the current metabolism of developed countries. In order to be termed sustainable, the use of an energy source should
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In this paper, I analyze the constraints that limit biomass from becoming an alternative, sustainable and efficient energy source, at least in relation to the current metabolism of developed countries. In order to be termed sustainable, the use of an energy source should be technically feasible, economically affordable and environmentally and socially viable, considering society as a whole. Above all, it should meet society’s “metabolic needs,” a fundamental issue that is overlooked in the mainstream biofuels narrative. The EROI (Energy Return on Investment) of biofuels reaches a few units, while the EROI of fossil fuels is 20–30 or higher and has a power density (W/m2) thousands of times higher than the best biofuels, such as sugarcane in Brazil. When metabolic approaches are used it becomes clear that biomass cannot represent an energy carrier able to meet the metabolism of industrialized societies. For our industrial society to rely on “sustainable biofuels” for an important fraction of its energy, most of the agricultural and non-agricultural land would need to be used for crops, and at the same time a radical cut to our pattern of energy consumption would need to be implemented, whilst also achieving a significant population reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Hydro-Economic Interdependency of Cities: Virtual Water Connections of the Phoenix, Arizona Metropolitan Area
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8522-8547; doi:10.3390/su7078522
Received: 24 March 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
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Abstract
Water footprinting has revealed hydro-economic interdependencies between distant global geographies via trade, especially of agricultural and manufactured goods. However, for metropolitan areas, trade not only entails commodity flows at many scales from intra-municipal to global, but also substantial intra-metropolitan flows of the skilled
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Water footprinting has revealed hydro-economic interdependencies between distant global geographies via trade, especially of agricultural and manufactured goods. However, for metropolitan areas, trade not only entails commodity flows at many scales from intra-municipal to global, but also substantial intra-metropolitan flows of the skilled labor that is essential to a city’s high-value economy. Virtual water flows between municipalities are directly relevant for municipal water supply policy and infrastructure investment because they quantify the hydro-economic dependency between neighboring municipalities. These municipalities share a physical water supply and also place demands on their neighbors’ water supplies by outsourcing labor and commodity production outside the municipal and water supply system boundary to the metropolitan area. Metropolitan area communities span dense urban cores to fringe agricultural towns, spanning a wide range of the US hydro-economy. This study quantifies water footprints and virtual water flows of the complete economy of the Phoenix Metropolitan Area’s municipalities. A novel approach utilized journey to work data to estimate virtual water flows embedded in labor. Commodities dominate virtual water flows at all scales of analysis, however labor is shown to be important for intra-metropolitan virtual water flows. This is the first detailed water footprint analysis of Phoenix, an important city in a water-scarce region. This study establishes a hydro-economic typology for communities to define several niche roles and decision making points of view. This study’s findings can be used to classify communities with respect to their relative roles, and to benchmark future improvements in water sustainability for all types of communities. More importantly, these findings motivate cooperative approaches to intra-metropolitan water supply policy that recognize the hydro-economic interdependence of these municipalities and their shared interest in ensuring a sustainable and resilient hydro-economy for all members of the metropolitan area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessArticle Biomass Resources Distribution in the Terrestrial Ecosystem of China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8548-8564; doi:10.3390/su7078548
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 13 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 1 July 2015
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Abstract
In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and the multiple linear regression model were used to estimate distribution of biomass resources in 2010. The establishment of models, developed using different vegetation biomass sample data, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf area
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In this study, Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data and the multiple linear regression model were used to estimate distribution of biomass resources in 2010. The establishment of models, developed using different vegetation biomass sample data, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), leaf area index (LAI), meteorological data, coordinates, terrain data, and statistical data. Results based on a cross-validation approach show that the model can explain 95.6% of the variance in biomass, with a relative estimation error of 67 g·m−2 for a range of biomass between 0–73,875 g·m−2. Spatial statistic results were consistent with the practical condition in most cases. The above- and below-ground biomass (ABGB) of China was estimated to be 31.1 Pg (1 Pg = 1015 g) in 2010. The forest ecosystem has the largest total biomass, which represents about 70% of the whole terrestrial ecosystem. The desert ecosystem has minimum biomass value. The Belowground Endowment (BRE) varied differently in spatial distribution, with the high values occurring in the southeast and northeast. The low values were primarily distributed in north and northwest regions, where it is mostly desert and few plants. Biomass per capita indicates the availability of natural resources per capita. Tibet had the maximum biomass per capita (807 tone in 2010). Shanghai and Tianjin had the minimum biomass per capita, less than 500 kg. Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Beijing, and Hainan had negative growth of biomass per capita. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Historical Landscape to Gwanghalluwon Garden in Namwon City, Korea
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8565-8586; doi:10.3390/su7078565
Received: 15 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
The present study was intend to track down the transitional process in which the hierarchical dominance in the urban structure of Namwon City shifted from the Namwoneupseong Walled Town to the area of Gwanghalluwon Garden by using cadastral data and various historical sources.
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The present study was intend to track down the transitional process in which the hierarchical dominance in the urban structure of Namwon City shifted from the Namwoneupseong Walled Town to the area of Gwanghalluwon Garden by using cadastral data and various historical sources. It was aimed to find the factors regarding the transition and a sustainable development plan to the historical landscape. The results were as follows: First, the urban structure of former Namwon City has succeeded to a typical grid street structure of walled town. However, land use and urban landscape to an existing grid street structure and a modified grid street structure was formed by development of transportation in the city. In addition, as the fortress was demolished, land development expanded east and west along the railroad and Yochun River. Accordingly, the central areas of Namwon City also expanded and shifted from Namwoneupseong Walled Town to the new towns in the adjacent area. Secondly, lots transformation process of Gwanghalluwon Garden started the changing by transitioning from the pavilion of a past government office to tourist attraction in the novel Chunhyang-jeon, written during the Joseon Dynasty. It was transformed into the current area of Gwanghalluwon Garden through the regional expansion project in the 1960s, and the relocation of neighboring market in the 1970s by the conflagration. And Namwon County purchased these lands. Later, Gwanghalluwon Garden was designated a cultural asset and the current shape of Gwanghalluwon Garden has been preserved since then. Third, The secret of how Gwanghalluwon Garden has been able to survive as a “dominated landscape” is likely to be found in the relationship between the development of the city (external factor), historical landscapes (internal factor), and complex interactions of history, geography, culture, etc. Furthermore, each factor has served as a unique element in developing Gwanghalluwon Garden into a famous site. Now, people perceive the area surrounding Gwanghalluwon Garden as a valuable space. Fourth, to preserve Gwanghalluwon Garden’s important legacy as a historical landscape, it is necessary to shed new light on the awareness of values accumulated over time. Accordingly, the process by which a historical resource evolves in value, urban functions, and culture can be expected to have “unpredictable positive effects” in areas where cultural acts occur and society, environment, economics, etc. serve as motives to preserve the historical resource. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle How Many Butterflies Are There in a City of Circa Half a Million People?
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8587-8597; doi:10.3390/su7078587
Received: 25 February 2015 / Revised: 27 May 2015 / Accepted: 1 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
Urbanization poses severe threats to biodiversity; thus, there is an urge to understand urban areas and their biological, physical, and social components if we aim to integrate sustainable practices as part of their processes. Among urban wildlife groups, butterflies have been used as
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Urbanization poses severe threats to biodiversity; thus, there is an urge to understand urban areas and their biological, physical, and social components if we aim to integrate sustainable practices as part of their processes. Among urban wildlife groups, butterflies have been used as biological indicators due to their high sensitivity to environmental changes. In this study, we estimated the number of butterflies that live within a neotropical medium-sized city (Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico) using a robust interpolation procedure (ordinary kriging). Our calculations added an average of 1,077,537 (± SE 172) butterfly individuals that dwelt in Xalapa in the surveyed space and time. The interpolation procedures showed to be robust and reliable, and up to some extent conservative. Thus, our results suggest that there are at least 1.8 butterfly individuals per capita in Xalapa. Notably, higher butterfly abundances tended to be recorded near highly vegetated areas and along city borders. Besides providing the basis for further ecological studies, our results will contribute to the crucial need of scientific data that is lacking, but critically important, for adequate urban management and planning, as well as environmental education. Full article
Open AccessArticle Corn Stover Nutrient Removal Estimates for Central Iowa, USA
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8621-8634; doi:10.3390/su7078621
Received: 29 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
One of the most frequent producer-asked questions to those persons striving to secure sustainable corn (Zea mays L.) stover feedstock supplies for Iowa’s new bioenergy conversion or other bio-product facilities is “what quantity of nutrients will be removed if I harvest my
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One of the most frequent producer-asked questions to those persons striving to secure sustainable corn (Zea mays L.) stover feedstock supplies for Iowa’s new bioenergy conversion or other bio-product facilities is “what quantity of nutrients will be removed if I harvest my stover?” Our objective is to summarize six years of field research from central Iowa, U.S.A. where more than 600, 1.5 m2 samples were collected by hand and divided into four plant fractions: vegetative material from the ear shank upward (top), vegetative material from approximately 10 cm above the soil surface to just below the ear (bottom), cobs, and grain. Another 400 stover samples, representing the vegetative material collected directly from a single-pass combine harvesting system or from stover bales were also collected and analyzed. All samples were dried, ground, and analyzed to determine C, N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Al, B, Cu, Fe, Mn, and Zn concentrations. Mean concentration and dry matter estimates for each sample were used to calculate nutrient removal and estimate fertilizer replacement costs which averaged $25.06, $20.04, $16.62, $19.40, and $27.41 Mg−1 for top, bottom, cob, stover, and grain fractions, respectively. We then used the plant fraction estimates to compare various stover harvest scenarios and provide an answer to the producer question posed above. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Use of Biomass Energy)
Open AccessArticle Local Level Stormwater Harvesting and Reuse: A Practical Solution to the Water Security Challenges Faced by Urban Trees
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8635-8648; doi:10.3390/su7078635
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 9 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
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Abstract
Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) treatment devices are often used to restore natural drainage properties in developed catchments. WSUD can make positive contributions to the restoration of natural ecosystem processes, by supporting trees and habitats in urban areas without taking up limited urban
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Water Sensitive Urban Design (WSUD) treatment devices are often used to restore natural drainage properties in developed catchments. WSUD can make positive contributions to the restoration of natural ecosystem processes, by supporting trees and habitats in urban areas without taking up limited urban space. This paper reports on the development and testing of a new WSUD device, the Wicking Tank. It is designed to supply sufficient volumes of water to urban trees through periods of drought via synthetic wicks from an underground storage tank to support adequate tree health. Relying on gravity fed stormwater, and the natural capillarity, adhesion, and cohesion properties of water and the process of hydraulic redistribution, water is transferred from the tank and into the rhizosphere of the tree. Water demand is controlled passively by the water potential differential across the root zone. Proof of concept testing of the Wicking Tank has shown the device to successfully draw water into soil to support the ongoing survival of a potted plant for over 20 weeks. Substantial differences are anticipated between this proof of concept test and an in-situ field trial. A field-based demonstration style version of the Wicking Tank is planned for construction and testing in 2015. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Framing Processes in the Envisioning of Low-Carbon, Resilient Cities: Results from Two Visioning Exercises
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8649-8683; doi:10.3390/su7078649
Received: 10 May 2015 / Revised: 13 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
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Abstract
Visioning exercises were convened in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, to explore how these cities could become low-carbon and maintain resilience over the next 25 years. Drawing on the concept of frames—in particular Schon and Rein’s conceptualisation of a frame as a “diagnostic-prescriptive story”
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Visioning exercises were convened in Melbourne and Sydney, Australia, to explore how these cities could become low-carbon and maintain resilience over the next 25 years. Drawing on the concept of frames—in particular Schon and Rein’s conceptualisation of a frame as a “diagnostic-prescriptive story” that is based on an underlying structure of beliefs, perceptions and appreciation—this paper seeks to: Attend to the ways that workshop participants framed the problems (of emissions reduction and maintaining resilience); surface framing processes and potential related sources of political contention; and discuss the role of visioning exercises in sustainability transitions. Five frames are identified, along with the interpretive orientations underpinning each frame, framing processes and the potential for frame conflict and alignment. The study suggests that the designers and facilitators of visioning exercises need to be attentive to framing processes, potential framing contests, and related social processes during a visioning exercise. Key implications are identified, with a focus on whether an exercise seeks to “open up” a complex issue or to agree upon a singular, i.e., consensual, agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Development of a Framework for the Evaluation of the Environmental Benefits of Controlled Traffic Farming
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8684-8708; doi:10.3390/su7078684
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
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Abstract
Although controlled traffic farming (CTF) is an environmentally friendly soil management system, no quantitative evaluation of environmental benefits is available. This paper aims at establishing a framework for quantitative evaluation of the environmental benefits of CTF, considering a list of environmental benefits, namely,
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Although controlled traffic farming (CTF) is an environmentally friendly soil management system, no quantitative evaluation of environmental benefits is available. This paper aims at establishing a framework for quantitative evaluation of the environmental benefits of CTF, considering a list of environmental benefits, namely, reducing soil compaction, runoff/erosion, energy requirement and greenhouse gas emission (GHG), conserving organic matter, enhancing soil biodiversity and fertiliser use efficiency. Based on a comprehensive literature review and the European Commission Soil Framework Directive, the choice of and the weighting of the impact of each of the environmental benefits were made. The framework was validated using data from three selected farms. For Colworth farm (Unilever, UK), the framework predicted the largest overall environmental benefit of 59.3% of the theoretically maximum achievable benefits (100%), as compared to the other two farms in Scotland (52%) and Australia (47.3%). This overall benefit could be broken down into: reducing soil compaction (24%), tillage energy requirement (10%) and GHG emissions (3%), enhancing soil biodiversity (7%) and erosion control (6%), conserving organic matter (6%), and improving fertiliser use efficiency (3%). Similar evaluation can be performed for any farm worldwide, providing that data on soil properties, topography, machinery, and weather are available. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Aligning Public Participation to Stakeholders’ Sustainability Literacy—A Case Study on Sustainable Urban Development in Phoenix, Arizona
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8709-8728; doi:10.3390/su7078709
Received: 15 April 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
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Abstract
In public planning processes for sustainable urban development, planners and experts often face the challenge of engaging a public that is not familiar with sustainability principles or does not subscribe to sustainability values. Although there are calls to build the public’s sustainability literacy
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In public planning processes for sustainable urban development, planners and experts often face the challenge of engaging a public that is not familiar with sustainability principles or does not subscribe to sustainability values. Although there are calls to build the public’s sustainability literacy through social learning, such efforts require sufficient time and other resources that are not always available. Alternatively, public participation processes may be realigned with the sustainability literacy the participants possess, and their capacity can modestly be built during the engagement. Asking what tools might successfully align public participation with participants’ sustainability literacy, this article describes and evaluates a public participation process in Phoenix, Arizona, in which researchers, in collaboration with city planners, facilitated sustainability conversations as part of an urban development process. The tool employed for Visually Enhanced Sustainability Conversation (VESC) was specifically designed to better align public participation with stakeholders’ sustainability literacy. We tested and evaluated VESC through interviews with participants, city planners, and members of the research team, as well as an analysis of project reports. We found that the use of VESC successfully facilitated discussions on pertinent sustainability issues and embedded sustainability objectives into the project reports. We close with recommendations for strengthening tools like VESC for future public engagements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle The Well(s) of Knowledge: The Decoding of Sustainability Claims in the UK and in Greece
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8729-8747; doi:10.3390/su7078729
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 3 July 2015
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Abstract
Sustainability claims have existed on fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) for over four decades and there is evidence that they are increasing. Research suggests that consumers have a low level of knowledge and understanding of such labels. It has been found that environmental
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Sustainability claims have existed on fast moving consumer goods (FMCGs) for over four decades and there is evidence that they are increasing. Research suggests that consumers have a low level of knowledge and understanding of such labels. It has been found that environmental and labelling knowledge may influence consumption behaviour but the findings so far have been inconsistent. Furthermore, the issue of knowledge and particularly sense making of the variety of claims found on FMCGs today is somewhat under researched. In this paper we investigate the types of knowledge consumers draw upon in order to decode and make sense of different types of labels across two countries. We carried out a qualitative study in the UK and Greece with 12 focus groups and utilised concepts of knowledge to investigate consumer decoding of labelling. We found that overall consumers have limited labelling knowledge and understanding even though their environmental knowledge may vary. This limited labelling knowledge makes consumers feel unsettled and unsure about their shopping decisions. Finally, we identified areas where consumers demonstrated limited knowledge and requested further information and education. This has important implications for companies, marketers, and policy makers if sustainability claims are to promote and support sustainable consumption. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges for Marketers in Sustainable Production and Consumption)
Open AccessArticle Is South Korea’s Green Job Policy Sustainable?
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8748-8767; doi:10.3390/su7078748
Received: 19 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
South Korea’s green job policy was implemented in February 2008 as a part of low-carbon green growth policy, but has been discontinued at the present. The country’s actual energy and environmental consumption has continuously increased, and South Korean society has grown increasingly distant
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South Korea’s green job policy was implemented in February 2008 as a part of low-carbon green growth policy, but has been discontinued at the present. The country’s actual energy and environmental consumption has continuously increased, and South Korean society has grown increasingly distant from sustainable development. The study constructs a theoretical framework centering on sustainable development and analyzes the process and contents of South Korea’s green job policy. We suggest four findings: First, in terms of ideology, the nation’s green job policy was based on green growth. Implemented as a strategy typical of developing countries, South Korea’s green growth was pursued as weak ecological modernization, relatively stressing economic growth and excluding citizens’ participation. Second, in terms of governance, the nation’s green job policy was led by the central government, thus nearly completely destroying existing legal and institutional infrastructures related to sustainable development. Third, South Korea’s green job policy was defined on the basis of a growth orientation and concentrated on the Four Major Rivers Restoration Project and the NPP project, both of which betrayed considerable problems from the perspective of sustainable development. Fourth, green jobs were created in traditional environmental protection and pollution reduction and therefore limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Urban Growth and Rural Transition in China Based on DMSP/OLS Nighttime Light Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8768-8781; doi:10.3390/su7078768
Received: 8 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 6 July 2015
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Abstract
Nighttime light (NTL) images provide uniform, consistent, and valuable data sources. Based on four reference regions, the NTL imagery of China was fully intercalibrated during the period 1992–2012. Using lit areas and the intensity of NTL imagery, this study synthetically analyzed the urbanization
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Nighttime light (NTL) images provide uniform, consistent, and valuable data sources. Based on four reference regions, the NTL imagery of China was fully intercalibrated during the period 1992–2012. Using lit areas and the intensity of NTL imagery, this study synthetically analyzed the urbanization process and rural transition in China. The results showed that, over the whole country, the pixel numbers of urban areas increased by 173% from 1992 to 2012. During the 2000s, urban areas expanded much more quickly than during the 1990s. Urban growth varied greatly across the four regions, which could be pictured using the flying-geese paradigm. In the 1990s, East China experienced the most rapid rate of growth, while a decade later Middle China had the highest growth rate. NTL imagery can also be used to describe changes in rural human activities if the imagery is corrected using completely dark rural pixels. In China, because of the massive rural-urban migration, some marginal regions experienced a decrease in nighttime light intensity (NTLI) and rural areas went through a period of transition. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Photovoltaic Applications in Zero Energy Building Cases of IEA SHC/EBC Task 40/Annex 52
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8782-8800; doi:10.3390/su7078782
Received: 1 March 2015 / Accepted: 1 July 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) considerably reduces the building energy load through high efficiency equipment and passive elements such as building orientation, high insulation, natural daylighting, and ventilation in order to achieve zero energy balance with on-site energy production from renewable energy
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A Net Zero Energy Building (NZEB) considerably reduces the building energy load through high efficiency equipment and passive elements such as building orientation, high insulation, natural daylighting, and ventilation in order to achieve zero energy balance with on-site energy production from renewable energy systems applied to the building. For a Zero Energy Building (ZEB), the heating energy demand can be significantly reduced with high insulation and air tightness, while the cooling energy demand can be curtailed by applying shading device, cross ventilation, etc. As such, the electrical energy demand for a ZEB is relatively higher than its heat energy demand. Therefore, the application of a Renewable Energy System (RES) to produce electricity is necessary for a ZEB. In particular, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) systems that generate electricity can play an important role for achieving zero energy balance in buildings; BIPVs are multi-functional and there are many ways to apply them into buildings. This study comprehensively analyzes photovoltaic (PV) applications in ZEB cases through the International Energy Agency Solar Heating and Cooling Programme (IEA SHC)/Energy in Buildings and Communities Programme (EBC) Task 40/Annex 52 activities, which include PV installation methods, PV cell type, and electricity generation. The most widely applied RES is the PV system, corresponding to 29 out of a total of 30 cases. Among the roof type PV systems, 71% were non-integrated. In addition, 14 of the 27 cases in which PV systems were applied, satisfied over 100% of the electricity energy demand from the PV system and were found to generate surplus electrical power. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Succeed in Low-Energy Housing—Path Creation Analysis of Low-Energy Innovation Projects
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8801-8822; doi:10.3390/su7078801
Received: 22 April 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
The low-energy and the nearly zero-energy buildings trend is calling for radical new innovations from the construction industry. This study uses path creation theory to examine two innovation concepts for low-energy housing in Northern Europe with contrasting outcomes—with one being an apparent market
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The low-energy and the nearly zero-energy buildings trend is calling for radical new innovations from the construction industry. This study uses path creation theory to examine two innovation concepts for low-energy housing in Northern Europe with contrasting outcomes—with one being an apparent market success and the other a disappointment. The results highlight two issues behind the success, one of a systemic nature and the other concerning innovation management. First, the development of energy efficiency regulations and the dominant technological trajectory regarding low-energy houses are interdependent. However, it seems that while supporting the trajectory of the innovation developed in the first case, regulators created virtually insurmountable cognitive and normative obstacles to finding alternative technological pathways. Second, the significance of proof of concepts for new innovations cannot be underestimated. The importance of a pilot project rests not only on showcasing and testing the technology, but also on its ability to increase political support, investments, and public awareness. The study implies that low-energy construction seems to be the next great challenge, one where genuine co-operation between the industry, public authorities and academia is a prerequisite for success. Full article
Open AccessCommunication New Insights into the Geography and Modelling of Wind Erosion in the European Agricultural Land. Application of a Spatially Explicit Indicator of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8823-8836; doi:10.3390/su7078823
Received: 9 June 2015 / Revised: 28 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
The current state of the art in erosion research does not provide answers about the “where” and “when” of wind erosion in European agricultural lands. Questions about the implications for the agricultural productivity remain unanswered. Tackling this research gap,
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The current state of the art in erosion research does not provide answers about the “where” and “when” of wind erosion in European agricultural lands. Questions about the implications for the agricultural productivity remain unanswered. Tackling this research gap, the study provides a more comprehensive understanding of the spatial patterns of land susceptibility to wind erosion in European agricultural lands. The Index of Land Susceptibility to Wind Erosion (ILSWE) was applied in a GIS environment. A harmonized input dataset ranked following a fuzzy logic technique was employed. Within the 36 European countries under investigation, moderate (17.3 million ha) and high levels (8.8 million ha) of land susceptibility to wind erosion were predicted. This corresponds to 8.0% and 4.1% of total agricultural land, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle From Environmental Connectedness to Sustainable Futures: Topophilia and Human Affiliation with Nature
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8837-8854; doi:10.3390/su7078837
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 16 June 2015 / Accepted: 19 June 2015 / Published: 7 July 2015
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Abstract
Human affiliation with nonhuman nature is an important dimension of environmental concern and support for pro-environmental attitudes. A significant theory of human connectedness with nature, the Biophilia Hypothesis, suggests that there exists a genetically based inclination for human affiliation with the biological world.
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Human affiliation with nonhuman nature is an important dimension of environmental concern and support for pro-environmental attitudes. A significant theory of human connectedness with nature, the Biophilia Hypothesis, suggests that there exists a genetically based inclination for human affiliation with the biological world. Both support and challenge to the Biophilia Hypothesis are abundant in the literature of environmental psychology. One response that both challenges and builds upon the Biophilia Hypothesis is the Topophilia Hypothesis. The Topophilia Hypothesis has extended the ideas of biophilia to incorporate a broader conception of nonhuman nature and a co-evolutionary theory of genetic response and cultural learning. While the Topophilia Hypothesis is a new idea, it is built upon long-standing scholarship from humanistic geography and theories in human evolution. The Topophilia Hypothesis expands previous theory and provides a multidisciplinary consideration of how biological selection and cultural learning may have interacted during human evolution to promote adaptive mechanisms for human affiliation with nonhuman nature via specific place attachment. Support for this possible co-evolutionary foundation for place-based human affiliation with nonhuman nature is explored from multiple vantage points. We raise the question of whether this affiliation may have implications for multifunctional landscape management. Ultimately, we propose that nurturing potential topophilic tendencies may be a useful method to promote sustainable efforts at the local level with implications for the global. Full article
Open AccessArticle Conservation Messages in Speech Bubbles–Evaluation of an Environmental Education Comic Distributed in Elementary Schools in Madagascar
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8855-8880; doi:10.3390/su7078855
Received: 27 March 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, we present the results of a survey of an environmental education program applied to a cohort of 542 students in six primary schools at Lake Alaotra, Madagascar. The educational materials used were a comic book and additional materials designed specifically
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In this paper, we present the results of a survey of an environmental education program applied to a cohort of 542 students in six primary schools at Lake Alaotra, Madagascar. The educational materials used were a comic book and additional materials designed specifically for local conditions in rural Madagascar. The comic book conveyed mostly system knowledge and, to a lesser extent, action-related knowledge. The additional materials posed practical tasks to students and were meant to stimulate teamwork and group discussion of students. There was a control and two treatment groups. A questionnaire was applied to test students’ environmental knowledge at three different points in time. The survey showed a significant increase in environmental knowledge of students receiving environmental education compared to controls. This effect significantly increased with additional education materials fostering peer-to-peer learning by students instead of when teacher-centred learning was provided. Students that used those materials also had the highest scores in tests one year after environmental education ended, thus indicating the usefulness of innovative and locally meaningful materials in environmental education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability Reporting in Higher Education: Interconnecting the Reporting Process and Organisational Change Management for Sustainability
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8881-8903; doi:10.3390/su7078881
Received: 14 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although there has been a considerable increase in the publication of sustainability reports in the corporate world in the last decade, sustainability reporting in higher education institutions is still in its early stages. This study’s aim was to explore the relationship between sustainability
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Although there has been a considerable increase in the publication of sustainability reports in the corporate world in the last decade, sustainability reporting in higher education institutions is still in its early stages. This study’s aim was to explore the relationship between sustainability reporting and organizational change management for sustainability in higher education. A survey was sent to higher education institutions worldwide that have published sustainability reports in the last ten years. The survey was answered by 23 institutions out of a total of 64. The findings showed that sustainability reporting has been predominantly driven by internal motivations, and that the sustainability reporting process leads to incremental changes, such as an increase in awareness of sustainability and improvements in communication with internal stakeholders. Some factors impeding change are the absence of an external stakeholder engagement process, the lack of inclusion of material impacts in reports, and the lack of institutionalization of sustainability reporting in the higher education system. The paper proposes that higher education institutions need to consider sustainability reporting as a dynamic tool to plan sustainability changes, and not just as a communication activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle Minor Millets as a Central Element for Sustainably Enhanced Incomes, Empowerment, and Nutrition in Rural India
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8904-8933; doi:10.3390/su7078904
Received: 10 February 2015 / Revised: 20 May 2015 / Accepted: 23 June 2015 / Published: 8 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1941 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Minor millets comprise a group of cereal species that are genetically diverse and adapted to a range of marginal growing conditions where major cereals such as wheat, rice, and maize are relatively unsuccessful. Millets require few inputs and withstand severe biotic and abiotic
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Minor millets comprise a group of cereal species that are genetically diverse and adapted to a range of marginal growing conditions where major cereals such as wheat, rice, and maize are relatively unsuccessful. Millets require few inputs and withstand severe biotic and abiotic stresses. They are also more nutritious than major cereals. Despite these advantages, neglect in several arenas has resulted in a steady decline in the cultivation of minor millets in India over the past few decades. As part of a United Nations global project on underutilized species, we undertook action research intended to stem the decline in cultivation and enhance the conservation and use of minor millets in 753 households spread across 34 villages in four states of India. Our aim was to improve incomes, nutritional status, and empowerment, especially for women. Overall, our holistic approach to mainstreaming species such as finger millet, little millet, foxtail millet, and barnyard millet indicates that these neglected and underutilized species can play a strategic role in improving many dimensions of livelihoods. Full article
Open AccessArticle Fuel Consumption and Vehicle Emission Models for Evaluating Environmental Impacts of the ETC System
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8934-8949; doi:10.3390/su7078934
Received: 8 May 2015 / Revised: 23 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
PDF Full-text (975 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The environmental outcome of the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system is an important aspect in evaluating the impacts of the ETC system, which is influenced by various factors including the vehicle type, travel speed, traffic volume, and average queue length of Manual Toll
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The environmental outcome of the Electronic Toll Collection (ETC) system is an important aspect in evaluating the impacts of the ETC system, which is influenced by various factors including the vehicle type, travel speed, traffic volume, and average queue length of Manual Toll Collection (MTC) lanes. The primary objective of this paper is to develop a field data-based practical model for evaluating the effects of ETC system on the fuel efficiency and vehicle emission. First, laboratory experiments of seven types of vehicles under various scenarios for toll collection were conducted based on the Vehicle Emissions Testing System (VETS). The indicator calculation models were then established to estimate the comprehensive benefit of ETC system by comparing the test results of MTC lane and ETC lane. Finally, taking Beijing as a case study, the paper calibrated the model parameters, and estimated the monetization value of environmental benefit of the ETC system in terms of vehicle emissions reduction and fuel consumption decrease. The results shows that the applications of ETC system are expected to save fuel consumption of 4.1 million liters and reduce pollution emissions by 730.89 tons in 2013 in Beijing. Full article
Open AccessArticle From Water-Constrained to Water-Driven Sustainable Development—A Case of Water Policy Impact Evaluation
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8950-8964; doi:10.3390/su7078950
Received: 6 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (859 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A water allocation policy that aimed to balance water demand with water availability to ensure sustainability was implemented in an arid region of China over ten years ago. This policy’s success was assessed across three dimensions: society, the environment, and the economy. While
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A water allocation policy that aimed to balance water demand with water availability to ensure sustainability was implemented in an arid region of China over ten years ago. This policy’s success was assessed across three dimensions: society, the environment, and the economy. While the assessment was not intended to be comprehensive, it highlighted the best outcomes of the policy intervention while revealing some hidden issues. It was found that although the policy was successful in placing a ceiling on water use in the middle reaches of the Heihe River, the Water User Association, one of the main actors in water policy implementation, was under-recognized, even though it functioned well. Moreover, the economic structural adjustment at the macro level had not led to any significant reduction in water use, the reasons for which were explored. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Awareness Workshop as an Effective Tool and Approach for Education in Disaster Risk Reduction: A Case Study from Tamil Nadu, India
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8965-8984; doi:10.3390/su7078965
Received: 29 May 2015 / Revised: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 9 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The core of empowering a community to become more resilient is rooted in disaster risk reduction and its education imparted using various educational tools, mainly through awareness and training programs. Conveying the available knowledge resources to the community by transforming it in a
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The core of empowering a community to become more resilient is rooted in disaster risk reduction and its education imparted using various educational tools, mainly through awareness and training programs. Conveying the available knowledge resources to the community by transforming it in a way that matches the local context in order to build a “culture of safety” is the hardest matter to be dealt with. It becomes the responsibility of the disaster management experts, concerned authorities, and researchers to focus more on disaster education by making the resources available to vulnerable communities. Taking this into account, this paper discusses an educational tool prepared for conducting awareness workshops. The paper particularly focuses on the educational tool application in the study area to illustrate its use in “real world” circumstances and to test its efficiency and limitations. It was found that such workshops can bring about a positive change in the level of understanding about disasters and the significance of disaster risk reduction measures. At the same time, it emphasizes that awareness generation is not a short-term affair. The sustainability of educational projects and programs is essential in inculcating disaster risk reduction as a part of people’s life and culture. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Walking Renaissance: A Longitudinal Analysis of Walking Travel in the Greater Los Angeles Area, USA
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8985-9011; doi:10.3390/su7078985
Received: 20 April 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 25 June 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Promoting walking travel is considered important for reducing automobile use and improving public health. Recent U.S. transportation policy has incentivized investments in alternative, more sustainable transportation modes such as walking, bicycling and transit in auto-oriented cities such as Los Angeles. Although many past
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Promoting walking travel is considered important for reducing automobile use and improving public health. Recent U.S. transportation policy has incentivized investments in alternative, more sustainable transportation modes such as walking, bicycling and transit in auto-oriented cities such as Los Angeles. Although many past studies have analyzed changes in walking travel across the U.S., there is little clarity on the drivers of change. We address this gap by conducting a longitudinal analysis of walking travel in the greater Los Angeles area from 2001 to 2009. We use travel diary and household data from regional and national surveys to analyze changes in walking trip shares and rates across our study area. Results show that walking has significantly increased across most of Los Angeles, and that increases in walking trips generally correspond with increases in population, employment, and transit service densities. Estimates from fixed-effects regression analysis generally suggest a positive association between population density and walking, and that higher increases in transit stop density are correlated with increased walking trips to and from transit stops. These findings illustrate how regional planning efforts to pursue a coordinated land use-transit planning strategy can help promote walking in auto-oriented or vehicle adopting cities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Different Urban Microclimate Mitigation Strategies through a PMV Analysis
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9012-9030; doi:10.3390/su7079012
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 25 | PDF Full-text (2125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Outdoor thermal comfort affects the health of the people and the quality of life in urban areas. This is the reason why in the past few years different mitigation strategies for the microclimate have been studied and examined. These strategies depend on those
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Outdoor thermal comfort affects the health of the people and the quality of life in urban areas. This is the reason why in the past few years different mitigation strategies for the microclimate have been studied and examined. These strategies depend on those passive factors characterizing the urban setting that are able to affect the values of local meteorological variables, as the limit surfaces of the urban space (parterre and façades of the buildings). This paper examines the Cloister by Giuliano da Sangallo, which is part of the Faculty of Engineering of Sapienza University of Rome. The case study compares the present configuration of the Cloister with four other configurations characterized by some vegetation and materials with a high albedo by taking into consideration the PMV (Predicted Mean Vote) model. Microclimatic variables are calculated through numerical simulations performed by the ENVI-met software. Such a comparison is performed during a typical summer day. While examining the results it can be noticed how the strategy presenting the best results is the one with some vegetation, whereas the materials with a high albedo improve the microclimate if applied on surfaces characterized by a high sky view factor. Full article
Open AccessArticle Overall Environmental Equipment Effectiveness as a Metric of a Lean and Green Manufacturing System
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9031-9047; doi:10.3390/su7079031
Received: 13 April 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 10 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (681 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper presents a new metric for describing the sustainability improvements achieved, relative to the company’s initial situation, after implementing a lean and green manufacturing system. The final value of this metric is identified as the Overall Environmental Equipment Effectiveness (OEEE), which is
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This paper presents a new metric for describing the sustainability improvements achieved, relative to the company’s initial situation, after implementing a lean and green manufacturing system. The final value of this metric is identified as the Overall Environmental Equipment Effectiveness (OEEE), which is used to analyze the evolution between two identified states of the Overall Equipment Effectiveness (OEE) and the sustainability together, and references, globally and individually, the production steps. The OEE is a known measure of equipment utilization, which includes the availability, quality and performance of each production step, In addition to these factors, the OEEE incorporates the concept of sustainability based on the calculated environmental impact of the complete product life cycle. Action research based on the different manufacturing processes of a tube fabrication company is conducted to assess the potential impact of this new indicator. The case study demonstrates the compatibility between green and lean manufacturing, using a common metric. The OEEE allows sustainability to be integrated into business decisions, and compares the environmental impact of two states, by identifying the improvements undertaken within the company’s processes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Can Resilience Thinking Inform Resilience Investments? Learning from Resilience Principles for Disaster Risk Reduction
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9048-9066; doi:10.3390/su7079048
Received: 17 February 2015 / Revised: 22 June 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the human and financial costs of natural disasters rise and state finances continue to deplete, increasing attention is being placed on the role of the private sector to support disaster and climate resilience. However, not only is there a recognised lack of
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As the human and financial costs of natural disasters rise and state finances continue to deplete, increasing attention is being placed on the role of the private sector to support disaster and climate resilience. However, not only is there a recognised lack of private finance to fill this gap, but international institutional and financing bodies tend to prioritise specific reactive response over preparedness and general resilience building. This paper utilises the central tenets of resilience thinking that have emerged from scholarship on social-ecological system resilience as a lens through which to assess investing in disaster risk reduction (DRR) for resilience. It draws on an established framework of resilience principles and examples of resilience investments to explore how resilience principles can actually inform decisions around DRR and resilience investing. It proposes some key lessons for diversifying sources of finance in order to, in turn, enhance “financial resilience”. In doing so, it suggests a series of questions to align investments with resilience building, and to better balance the achievement of the resilience principles with financial requirements such as financial diversification and replicability. It argues for a critical look to be taken at how resilience principles, which focus on longer-term systems perspectives, could complement the focus in DRR on critical and immediate stresses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Analysis of Heavy Metal Water Pollution in Transitional China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9067-9087; doi:10.3390/su7079067
Received: 9 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (8640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s socioeconomic transitions have dramatically accelerated its economic growth in last three decades, but also companioned with continuous environmental degradation. This study will advance the knowledge of heavy metal water pollution in China from a spatial–temporal perspective. Specifically, this study addressed the following:
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China’s socioeconomic transitions have dramatically accelerated its economic growth in last three decades, but also companioned with continuous environmental degradation. This study will advance the knowledge of heavy metal water pollution in China from a spatial–temporal perspective. Specifically, this study addressed the following: (1) spatial patterns of heavy metal water pollution levels were analyzed using data of prefecture-level cities from 2004 to 2011; and (2) spatial statistical methods were used to examine the underlying socioeconomic and physical factors behind water pollution including socioeconomic transitions (industrialization, urbanization, globalization and economic development), and environmental characteristic (natural resources, hydrology and vegetation coverage). The results show that only Cr pollution levels increased over the years. The individual pollution levels of the other four heavy metals, As, Cd, Hg, and Pb, declined. High heavy metal water pollution levels are closely associated with both anthropogenic activities and physical environments, in particular abundant mineral resources and industrialization prosperity. On the other hand, economic development and urbanization play important roles in controlling water pollution problems. The analytical findings will provide valuable information for policy-makers to initiate and adjust protocols and strategies for protecting water sources and controlling water pollution; thus improving the quality of living environments. Full article
Open AccessArticle CFD Analysis of Convective Heat Transfer Coefficient on External Surfaces of Buildings
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9088-9099; doi:10.3390/su7079088
Received: 21 May 2015 / Revised: 24 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 13 July 2015
Cited by 14 | PDF Full-text (1266 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Convective heat transfer coefficients for external building surfaces are essential in building energy simulation (BES) to calculate convective heat gains and losses from building facades and roofs to the environment. These coefficients are complex functions of: building geometry, building surroundings, local air flow
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Convective heat transfer coefficients for external building surfaces are essential in building energy simulation (BES) to calculate convective heat gains and losses from building facades and roofs to the environment. These coefficients are complex functions of: building geometry, building surroundings, local air flow patterns and temperature differences. A microclimatic analysis in a typical urban configuration, has been carried out using Ansys Fluent Version 14.0, an urban street canyon, with a given H/W ratio, has been considered to simulate a three-dimensional flow field and to calculate the thermal fluid dynamics parameters that characterize the street canyon. In this paper, the convective heat transfer coefficient values on the windward external façade of the canyon and on the windward and leeward inner walls are analyzed and a comparison with values from experimental and numerical correlations is carried out. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Use of an Innovative Jig to Stimulate Awareness of Sustainable Technologies among Freshman Engineering Students
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9100-9117; doi:10.3390/su7079100
Received: 13 April 2015 / Revised: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 14 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1489 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems, still require a great deal of research and development in order to improve efficiency, reduce overall manufacturing costs, and to become more sustainable in the future. Solar power production using PV modules has increased and
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Renewable energy systems, such as photovoltaic (PV) systems, still require a great deal of research and development in order to improve efficiency, reduce overall manufacturing costs, and to become more sustainable in the future. Solar power production using PV modules has increased and is currently one of the fastest growing energy technologies worldwide, leading to speculation that it will be the main source of electrical power in future. This on-going research and implementation of PV modules and systems necessitates the effective training of technicians, technologists and engineers required to install, maintain or interface with these systems. The Department for Electrical, Electronic and Computer Engineering at the Central University of Technology, Free State (CUT) in South Africa has implemented a Higher Certificate in Renewable Energy Technologies (HCRET) in January 2014. The purpose of this article is to outline a practical innovative jig that was used to stimulate awareness and understanding of the fundamental operating principles of one specific sustainable technology, namely PV modules. Electronic measurements from this innovative jig are obtained by using an ARDUINO UNO board which interfaces with LabVIEW. Student perceptions of using this innovative jig are further presented, which indicate that the practical experiments were satisfying, challenging, relevant and applicable to PV module operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interdisciplinarity as an Emergent Property: The Research Project “CINTERA” and the Study of Marine Eutrophication
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9118-9139; doi:10.3390/su7079118
Received: 14 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale
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Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale efforts to create interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research efforts have reported on their experiences in trying to achieve this goal. This article shares the methods, challenges and achievements experienced by a smaller group of researchers who have developed an interdisciplinary approach based on former results of Norwegian and Chilean experiments. The project “A Cross-disciplinary Integrated Eco-system Eutrophication Research and Management Approach” (CINTERA), funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN, project 216607), brings together the fields of political science, economics, marine biology/oceanography and marine bio-geo-chemistry to improve the understanding of marine eutrophication and its possible socio-economic impacts. CINTERA is a multidisciplinary project that evolved into an interdisciplinary project and in so doing, transformed the attitudes of participants. The transformative process was generated particularly by the need to work closely together in making the CINTERA project useful for policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emission of Regional Logistics
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9140-9159; doi:10.3390/su7079140
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Facing serious energy-related constraints and environmental stress, the development of the green logistics industry is restricted by degrees of logistics energy utilization and carbon emissions. Considering different logistics spatial distributions, this paper uses the degree of regional logistics energy utilization and the spatial
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Facing serious energy-related constraints and environmental stress, the development of the green logistics industry is restricted by degrees of logistics energy utilization and carbon emissions. Considering different logistics spatial distributions, this paper uses the degree of regional logistics energy utilization and the spatial distribution of carbon emissions as two indicators of green logistics to investigate the regional differences and changes in spatiotemporal logistics energy efficiency. We firstly measure the regional logistics in terms of energy consumption and carbon emission, then further measure the logistics by energy intensity and carbon intensity. Based on these four indicators, the relations between spatiotemporal logistics and regional logistics development are analyzed. Through studying the spatial and temporal evolution trends of the above indicators, we found that a certain convergence exists. Finally, based on the analysis, the suggestions for energy saving and emission reduction are proposed according to regional conditions. The results benefit to narrow the efficiency gap between regions and achieve the goal of improving logistics energy efficiency. Full article
Open AccessArticle Education for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Linking Theory with Practice in Ghana’s Basic Schools
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9160-9186; doi:10.3390/su7079160
Received: 4 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current understanding of disaster risk reduction (DRR) concurs that, when provided the right education, children have the potential to reduce their own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others in their community. What, then, comprises the right education for DRR? Research has established the
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Current understanding of disaster risk reduction (DRR) concurs that, when provided the right education, children have the potential to reduce their own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others in their community. What, then, comprises the right education for DRR? Research has established the need for disaster education to address the causes and effects, prevention and response, and management and recovery from disaster events. The educational process must include diverse and practical techniques that reinforce disaster knowledge and builds a culture of safety and resilience amongst students. Drawing on syllabus content analysis and field research in two rural communities in semi-arid Northern Ghana, this study explored the presence and nature of DRR within the syllabi of the basic school system. By comparing the result of the content analysis with results from interviews and questionnaires completed by teachers and students, significant gaps were identified between the disaster pedagogy outlined in the syllabi (theory) and that which occurs in the classroom (practice). It was realized that while the theory outlines active and innovative techniques for teaching, learning, and evaluating DRR lessons, various challenges hinder the practical application of these techniques in the classroom. The study concludes that a lack of teacher training and professional development, and inadequate teaching and learning materials, generally account for these results. A new and consolidated effort is required from all stakeholders to train teachers and to provide the appropriate learning materials to improve on the current DRR education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Environmental Efficiency of the Chinese Transportation Sector Using an Undesirable Output Slacks-Based Measure Data Envelopment Analysis Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9187-9206; doi:10.3390/su7079187
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (2812 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many countries are attempting to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their industries. An undesirable-output-oriented data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with slacks-based measure (SBM) was used to evaluate the changes in the environmental efficiency of
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Many countries are attempting to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their industries. An undesirable-output-oriented data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with slacks-based measure (SBM) was used to evaluate the changes in the environmental efficiency of the transportation sector in 30 Chinese provinces (municipalities and autonomous regions) between 2003 and 2012. The potential for decreasing CO2 emissions and energy saving was also assessed. Transportation was found to be inefficient in most of the provinces and the average environmental efficiency was low (0.45). The overall average efficiency reached a maximum in 2005 and continually decreased until a minimum was reached in 2009; since then, it has increased. In general, transportation is more efficient in eastern than in central or western China. A sensitivity analysis was also carried out on the input and output indicators. Based on these findings, some policies are proposed to improve the environmental efficiency of the transportation sector in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Local Microclimate Boundary Conditions on Building Energy Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9207-9230; doi:10.3390/su7079207
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous
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Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous microclimate monitoring of (i) a rural area; (ii) a suburban area; and (iii) an urban area is carried out, and the comparative analysis of the different boundary conditions is performed. In particular, the effect of the presence of a large lake in the rural area on building energy demand for heating and cooling is evaluated, both in winter and summer. Coupled degree hour method and numerical analysis are performed in order to predict the energy requirement of buildings subject to local microclimate boundary conditions. The main results show higher air temperature and relative humidity values for the rural area. No significant mitigation effect due to the lake presence is found in urban and suburban areas because of the peculiar wind regime of the region. Additionally, the dynamic thermal-energy simulation shows a decrease of 14% and 25% in the heating consumption and an increase of 58% and 194% in cooling requirements of buildings situated in the rural area around the lake compared to the urban and suburban areas, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle Employment Policies for a Green Economy at the European Union Level
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9231-9250; doi:10.3390/su7079231
Received: 6 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable economic development requires ensuring economic growth and development in terms of environmental protection by providing a bridge between sustainable economic growth, improvement in human health, social justice, employment and environmental protection. Our paper aims to study the situation of green jobs at
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Sustainable economic development requires ensuring economic growth and development in terms of environmental protection by providing a bridge between sustainable economic growth, improvement in human health, social justice, employment and environmental protection. Our paper aims to study the situation of green jobs at the European Union level and the relationship between environment and employment, by analysing the link between employment and environmental policies. It highlights the main trends recorded at the European Union level in the field of employment policy to promote green jobs for sustainable economic development. Although there is little effect from environmental policies on employment, the effects are positive, which shows that the relationship between environmental and employment policy should be continued and improved by measures taken at both the macro- and microeconomic levels. Full article
Open AccessArticle Additional Indicators to Promote Social Sustainability within Government Programs: Equity and Efficiency
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9251-9267; doi:10.3390/su7079251
Received: 10 April 2015 / Revised: 14 June 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Social programs are crucial to reduce poverty and inequity in developing countries. The operation of social programs, however, cannot be improved with traditional engineering tools since these tools are designed to maximize profits: in social programs maximizing profits is not the objective, social
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Social programs are crucial to reduce poverty and inequity in developing countries. The operation of social programs, however, cannot be improved with traditional engineering tools since these tools are designed to maximize profits: in social programs maximizing profits is not the objective, social sustainability is. Field research was conducted and it was found that the operation of social programs is considered more socially sustainable if it meets two criteria: Efficiency and Equity; in other words, if the program can help more people who need it the most. This paper proposes a methodology centered in the development of mathematical formulas for the concepts of Efficiency and Equity, so that, by being able to measure them, government programs operation can be enhanced with engineering tools. The methodology is illustrated with a case study, a subsidized milk distribution program in Mexico, called Liconsa. Once the formulas were developed and used in a simulation model for Liconsa, different policies were tested and their results regarding Efficiency and Equity were compared. Results showed the best policies for Liconsa are the balanced ones: where help is increased for beneficiaries, while cost reduction commitments are obtained. In the discussion it is argued how the developed Equity and Efficiency indicators help to understand the tradeoffs between the objectives in opposition: instead of analyzing dozens of indicators, some of them improving and others worsening, the two formulas allow to capture all effects into two objectives and evaluate decisions based on their integral impact. Conclusions show that the mathematical definition of Equity and Efficiency supports better and more informed decision making towards improving the social sustainability of the programs operation. The mathematical definition of Equity and Efficiency and its use in engineering models helps balance the opposing objectives of social programs operation and promotes better and faster changes towards more socially sustainable programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptations in Canadian Arctic Communities
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9268-9292; doi:10.3390/su7079268
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential
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Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential adaptations, prioritize options, implement prioritized options, and monitor and evaluate implementation. While most of these steps are well documented, there has been limited examination of the process of adaptation prioritization in Arctic communities. In this paper, we build upon existing tools and propose a framework for prioritizing adaptation options and guiding decision-making for implementation in Arctic regions. Using four adaptation performance criteria (timescale, equity, sustainability and total costs) to evaluate options through a multi-criteria decision analysis coupled with a network centric approach, our Adaptation Prioritization Framework promotes a participatory approach for adaptation prioritization and planning. We illustrate application of the framework using a hypothetical example from the territory of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Consumption: Analysis of Consumers’ Perceptions about Using Private Brands in Food Retail
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9293-9309; doi:10.3390/su7079293
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
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Abstract
Private brands are representing an important vector for retailers, helping them to build sustainable relationships with their customers. Usually, private brands are perceived as products differentiated by lower prices. The purpose of this research is to identify consumers’ trust level in private brands
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Private brands are representing an important vector for retailers, helping them to build sustainable relationships with their customers. Usually, private brands are perceived as products differentiated by lower prices. The purpose of this research is to identify consumers’ trust level in private brands used in food retail and their perceptions about the quality of retailers’ own products. The research question is: What are consumers’ perceptions about using private brands in food retail? Pursuing this question, a survey based on a questionnaire was carried out. Research findings showed that the main reason why people buy private brands’ products is lower price rather than high quality. The interviews showed that the typical private brand user is male, aged between 45 and 65 years old, with middle-level income, and employees with secondary education. These results are useful for retailers in their efforts to decide strategies for their private brands and for building consumers’ trust. The findings are useful for food producers as well, because they should reconsider their marketing strategies in order to adapt themselves to the continuous growth of retailers’ private brands. Full article
Open AccessArticle Hydrogen Production from Water by Photolysis, Sonolysis and Sonophotolysis with Solid Solutions of Rare Earth, Gallium and Indium Oxides as Heterogeneous Catalysts
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9310-9325; doi:10.3390/su7079310
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best
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In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best photocatalyst is the solid solution Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 doped by sulphur atoms. In experiments of sonolysis, we optimized the rate of hydrogen production by changing the amount of water, adding ethanol and tuning the power of our piezoelectric transducer. Finally, we performed sonolysis and sonophotolysis experiments in the presence of S:Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 finding a promising synergistic effect of UV-visible electromagnetic waves and 38 kHz ultrasound waves in producing H2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Calculating Puerto Rico’s Ecological Footprint (1970–2010) Using Freely Available Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9326-9343; doi:10.3390/su7079326
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (970 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) is appealing as a metric of sustainability because it is straightforward in theory and easy to conceptualize. However, EFA is difficult to implement because it requires extensive data. A simplified approach to EFA that requires fewer data can serve
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Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) is appealing as a metric of sustainability because it is straightforward in theory and easy to conceptualize. However, EFA is difficult to implement because it requires extensive data. A simplified approach to EFA that requires fewer data can serve as a perfunctory analysis allowing researchers to examine a system with relatively little cost and effort. We examined whether a simplified approach using freely available data could be applied to Puerto Rico, a densely populated island with limited land resources. Forty-one years of data were assembled to compute the ecological footprint from 1970 to 2010. According to EFA, individuals in Puerto Rico were moving toward sustainability over time, as the per capita ecological footprint decreased from 3.69 ha per capita (ha/ca) in 1970 to 3.05 ha/ca in 2010. However, due to population growth, the population’s footprint rose from 1.00 × 107 ha in 1970 to 1.14 × 107 ha in 2010, indicating Puerto Rico as a whole was moving away from sustainability. Our findings demonstrate the promise for conducting EFA using a simplified approach with freely available data, and we discuss potential limitations on data quality and availability that should be addressed to further improve the science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle MODELI: An Emotion-Based Software Engineering Methodology for the Development of Digital Learning Objects for the Preservation of the Mixtec Language
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9344-9394; doi:10.3390/su7079344
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, a methodology termed MODELI (methodology for the design of educational digital objects for indigenous languages) is presented for the development of digital learning objects (DLOs) for the Mixtec language, which is an indigenous Mexican language. MODELI is based on the
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In this paper, a methodology termed MODELI (methodology for the design of educational digital objects for indigenous languages) is presented for the development of digital learning objects (DLOs) for the Mixtec language, which is an indigenous Mexican language. MODELI is based on the spiral model of software development and integrates three important aspects for the analysis and design of DLOs: pedagogical, affective-emotional and technological-functional. The premise of MODELI is that the emotional aspect with the inclusion of cultural factors has an important effect on the learning motivation of indigenous users when interacting with the DLO. Principles of the visual, auditory (or aural), read/write, kinesthetic (VARK) model and Kansei engineering were considered for the inclusion of the pedagogical, emotional and technological-functional aspects within the spiral model for the development of MODELI. The methodology was validated with the development of a DLO for a previously unknown variant of the Mixtec language. Usability tests of the DLO built with MODELI evidenced an improvement on the learning motivation and the value of cultural identity of indigenous children. These results are important for the preservation of indigenous languages in Mexico, because most of them are partially documented, and there is social rejection of indigenous culture caused by discrimination of ethnic communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Financial Development, Environmental Quality and Economic Growth
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9395-9416; doi:10.3390/su7079395
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
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Abstract
In this study, the relationships between financial development, environmental quality and economic growth are studied based on data from 102 countries over the period 1980–2010 using the generalized method of moments (GMM) estimation. The econometric results show the following three basic conclusions: First,
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In this study, the relationships between financial development, environmental quality and economic growth are studied based on data from 102 countries over the period 1980–2010 using the generalized method of moments (GMM) estimation. The econometric results show the following three basic conclusions: First, both financial development and environmental quality have a significant impact on economic growth and should be included in the production function of the economic growth model as important variables. Second, there is a significant and robust “inverted U-shaped” relationship between financial development and economic growth; with the improvement of the level of financial development, economic growth would first increase and then decrease, which is consistent with the results of previous studies. Third, there is also a significant and robust “inverted U-shaped” relationship between economic growth and carbon emissions, indicating that there exists a “critical point” at which achieving economic growth comes at the expense of environmental quality, and after passing the critical point, the deterioration of environmental quality will lead to a significant slowdown in economic growth. In addition, the econometric analysis in this paper also shows that there was a mutually promoting and strengthening relationship between financial development and environmental quality. Specifically, the degree of financial development can further strengthen the promoting effect of environmental quality on economic growth; meanwhile, an improvement in environmental quality can also strengthen the promoting effect of financial development on economic growth. Financial development and environmental quality could influence economic growth through strengthening the marginal product effects of capital and labor, which further indicates the that both financial and environmental factors play an important role in modern economic development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Critical Connections: The Role of the Built Environment Sector in Delivering Green Cities and a Green Economy
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9417-9443; doi:10.3390/su7079417
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 9 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1033 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The green agenda for cities and the economy in general is a major focus of global institutions and is increasingly a major national and urban priority. Core issues and best practice for built environment businesses were collated from published studies and used in
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The green agenda for cities and the economy in general is a major focus of global institutions and is increasingly a major national and urban priority. Core issues and best practice for built environment businesses were collated from published studies and used in a survey of Australian firms to see how committed they were to the green economy. The results show high awareness of the challenges and opportunities with 85% of firms having sustainability as an established agenda with senior management and over 20% of built environment firms deriving more than 50% of their sales from green products and services. This is much higher in design firms and is globally high. Whilst recognizing the scope for more engagement by industry in transitioning to a low carbon green economy, there is doubt within the built environment sector about how to create a business case for innovative green ventures and a lack of certainty or encouragement from government about how to proceed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
Open AccessArticle Built Environmental Designs in Promoting Pedestrian Safety
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9444-9460; doi:10.3390/su7079444
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined two-level (road environments and census tracts) built environments related to the probability of severe injury for pedestrians. In total, 1407 pedestrian–vehicle crashes (years 2008–2012) were identified from 140 census tracts in the city of Austin. Two multilevel models were applied
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This study examined two-level (road environments and census tracts) built environments related to the probability of severe injury for pedestrians. In total, 1407 pedestrian–vehicle crashes (years 2008–2012) were identified from 140 census tracts in the city of Austin. Two multilevel models were applied to examine pedestrian injury severity by using level-1 factors (individual characteristics, road environments, and area characteristics around the crash location) and level-2 factors (characteristics of census tracts). The results demonstrated the importance of using the multi-level model to avoid the biased results from employing the single-level model. This study showed that the likelihood of being severely injured or killed decreased when vehicles turned left, when crashes occurred at intersections, when there were traffic control devices at the crash location, and when crashes occurred during inclement weather conditions. Areas with higher sidewalk densities and higher percentage of commercial uses were negative correlates, while population density was a positive predictor. Pedestrian injury severity has been and will continue to be an important topic for the fields of public health. Future safety programs should focus on providing connected sidewalks and on populated areas. Full article
Open AccessArticle Identifying Ecological Red Lines: A Case Study of the Coast in Liaoning Province
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9461-9477; doi:10.3390/su7079461
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 11 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
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Abstract
The global decline in estuarine and coastal ecosystems is affecting critical ecosystem services. The spatial agglomeration of population, industries and resources has led to the emergence of regionally-specific ecological problems. Therefore, identifying “ecological red lines”, based on specific natural and environmental features, could
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The global decline in estuarine and coastal ecosystems is affecting critical ecosystem services. The spatial agglomeration of population, industries and resources has led to the emergence of regionally-specific ecological problems. Therefore, identifying “ecological red lines”, based on specific natural and environmental features, could help to differentiate the economic development and ecological protection directions or potentials of different regions in future. The aim of this case study is to define the ecological red line in the coastal zone of Liaoning Province, China, by evaluating the ecological importance and environmental stress in its marine and terrestrial ecosystems. For this purpose, the ecological importance of this area was first classified into four conservation indices (species, wetland, water and coast and islands) and assigned values of 5, 3 and 1 for indications of high, moderate and minor importance. In the meantime, environmental stress was also classified into four indices (water environment, salinization, soil erosion and erosion of coasts and islands) and assigned values of 5, 3 and 1 for indications of high, moderate and low stress, respectively. Then, based on an overlay analysis and evaluation of the above results, we defined two grades of ecological red line zones. Grade I ecological red line zones contain the areas with critical and diverse ecosystem services, areas of high importance for species conservation and nature reserves, as well as ecologically-vulnerable and sensitive areas. It is important in these areas to maintain the biological diversity and to improve the quality of the ecological environment, which should be strictly protected and explicitly controlled. Grade II ecological red line zones display areas with minimum requirements for maintaining the basic needs of a livable environment and human health, moderate to minor levels of ecological importance and high to moderate levels of environmental stress. To better control and protect such ecological red lines, setting up an ecological inventory through remote sensing satellites and ground-level monitoring and appraising the effectiveness of dynamical protection are highly recommended. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatial Modeling of Urban Vegetation and Land Surface Temperature: A Case Study of Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9478-9504; doi:10.3390/su7079478
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The coupling relationship between urban vegetation and land surface temperature (LST) has been heatedly debated in a variety of environmental studies. This paper studies the urban vegetation information and LST by utilizing a series of remote sensing imagery covering the period from 1990
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The coupling relationship between urban vegetation and land surface temperature (LST) has been heatedly debated in a variety of environmental studies. This paper studies the urban vegetation information and LST by utilizing a series of remote sensing imagery covering the period from 1990 to 2007. Their coupling relationship is analyzed, in order to provide the basis for ecological planning and environment protection. The results show that the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), urban vegetation abundance (UVA) and urban forest abundance (UFA) are negatively correlated with LST, which means that both urban vegetation and urban forest are capable in decreasing LST. The apparent influence of urban vegetation and urban forest on LST varies with the spatial resolution of the imagery, and peaks at the resolutions ranging from 90 m to 120 m. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Large-Scale Acquisition on Food Insecurity in Sierra Leone
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9505-9539; doi:10.3390/su7079505
Received: 2 May 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The recent phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land for a variety of investment purposes has raised deep concerns over the food security, livelihood and socio-economic development of communities in many regions of the developing world. This study set out to investigate the food
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The recent phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land for a variety of investment purposes has raised deep concerns over the food security, livelihood and socio-economic development of communities in many regions of the developing world. This study set out to investigate the food security outcomes of land acquisitions in northern Sierra Leone. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study measures the severity of food insecurity and hunger, compares the situation of food security before and after the onset of operations of a land investing company, analyzes the food security implications of producing own food versus depending on wage labour for household food needs, and evaluates initiatives put in place by the land investing company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint. Results show an increase in the severity of food insecurity and hunger. Household income from agricultural production has fallen. Employment by the land investing company is limited in terms of the number of people it employs relative to the population of communities in which it operates. Also, wages from employment by the company cannot meet the staple food needs of its employees. The programme that has been put in place by the company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint is failing because of a host of reasons that relate to organization and power relations. In conclusion, rural people are better off producing their own food than depending on the corporate structure of land investment companies. Governments should provide an enabling framework to accommodate this food security need, both in land investment operations that are ongoing and in those that are yet to operate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Coal Switching and Improvements in Electricity Production Efficiency and Consumption on CO2 Mitigation Goals in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9540-9559; doi:10.3390/su7079540
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the average CO2 emission for a person in China is only about 1/4 that of a person in the US, the government of China still made a commitment to ensure that CO2 emissions will reach their peak in 2030 because
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Although the average CO2 emission for a person in China is only about 1/4 that of a person in the US, the government of China still made a commitment to ensure that CO2 emissions will reach their peak in 2030 because of the ever-increasing pressure of global warming. In this work, we examined the effects of coal switching, efficiency improvements in thermal power generation and the electricity consumption of economic activities on realizing this goal. An improved STIRPAT model was developed to create the scenarios. In order to make the estimated elasticities more consistent with different variables selected to construct the formulation, a double-layer STIRPAT model was constructed, and by integrating the two equations obtained by regressing the series in each layer, we finally got the equation to describe the long-run relationship among CO2 emissions (Ic), the share of coal in overall energy consumption (FMC), coal intensity of thermal power generation (CIp) and electricity intensity of GDP (EIelec). The long term elasticities represented by the equation show that the growth of CO2 emissions in China is quite sensitive to FMC, CIp and EIelec. After that, five scenarios were developed in order to examine the effects of China’s possible different CO2 emission reduction policies, focusing on improving FMC, CIp and EIelec respectively. Through a rigorous analysis, we found that in order to realize the committed CO2 emissions mitigating goal, China should obviously accelerate the pace in switching from coal to low carbon fuels, coupled with a consistent improvement in electricity efficiency of economic activities and a slightly slower improvement in the coal efficiency of thermal power generation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Determinants of Sustainability and Organisational Effectiveness in Non-Profit Organisations
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9560-9573; doi:10.3390/su7079560
Received: 22 May 2015 / Revised: 4 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
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Abstract
This case study investigates the criteria for organizational effectiveness in non-profit organizations (NPOs) with the aim to determine how the elements of sustainability fit within the criteria. To achieve this, the study utilized the research questions: “what criteria do NPOs use to evaluate
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This case study investigates the criteria for organizational effectiveness in non-profit organizations (NPOs) with the aim to determine how the elements of sustainability fit within the criteria. To achieve this, the study utilized the research questions: “what criteria do NPOs use to evaluate their effectiveness?” and “how is sustainability embedded in NPO effectiveness?” The research design was interpretivist, adopting focus group interviews to obtain data. Specifically, two focus group interviews were held with the top management of an NPO which revealed that both financial and non-financial criteria were equally essential for NPO effectiveness. This finding is consistent with the literature, although it contradicts the initial assumption of the study that NPO effectiveness was based more on non-financial criteria than financial criteria. The study also found that the effectiveness of an NPO should be viewed in two ways: firstly, “the full achievement of its mandate” and, secondly, “the ability to run business projects to cover cost.” It also emerged that both the ability to cover costs and the achievement of a mandate should be done in a sustainable manner (a sustainable manner is seen as one that is harmonious with the natural and the socio-political environment). The results of this paper present a practical case for the management of NPOs by reiterating that the full achievement of the NPO mandate and the successful running of social projects to generate funds for sustainability are key elements of effectiveness. Given the essential role that NPOs play in developing countries, this study has provided the foundation for more widespread enquiry into the sustainability and effectiveness of NPOs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Factors that Influence the Willingness to Pay for Irrigation Water in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9574-9586; doi:10.3390/su7079574
Received: 5 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (953 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water availability has become a problem in many countries of the world. Water scarcity can be economic or physical. Agricultural water use accounts for about three quarters of total global consumption; in many developing countries, irrigation represents over 90% of the water used.
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Water availability has become a problem in many countries of the world. Water scarcity can be economic or physical. Agricultural water use accounts for about three quarters of total global consumption; in many developing countries, irrigation represents over 90% of the water used. The purpose of this paper is to explore the willingness to pay for irrigation water among the farmers from the boundaries governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). During the field study, 236 farmers from KRG were interviewed. The collected data were analyzed for each of the precipitation zones of the area (secured (A) and non-secured rainfed (B)). The contingent valuation method was used to determine the willingness to pay for irrigation water. The following possible independent variables influencing farmers’ decisions were considered: the bid amounts; evaluation scale of the water deficit; source of water for irrigation; cultivated area; education and age of respondents; main agricultural activity. In Zone A, the median willingness to pay of the farmers that used ground water for irrigation is 20.28 USD/10 m3, and for the farmers that use other sources of water, the willingness to pay is 11.49 USD/10 m3. The median willingness to pay in Zone B is 18.56/10 m3. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dependence of Parking Pricing on Land Use and Time of Day
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9587-9607; doi:10.3390/su7079587
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A key strategy of sustainable transportation, parking pricing can directly contribute to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This paper describes an optimal structure of parking rates in terms of parking locations and time of day. A two-level parking model based on
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A key strategy of sustainable transportation, parking pricing can directly contribute to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This paper describes an optimal structure of parking rates in terms of parking locations and time of day. A two-level parking model based on game theory is established using parking survey data collected in Beijing in 2014. The model was estimated based on Stackelberg game and the Nash equilibrium. Using the two-level parking model, the optimal structure of parking rates for inside/outside business zones and during peak/off-peak hours was calculated. In addition, the relationship between the government (which represents the public benefit) and car users, as well as the relationships among car users in the parking system were investigated. The results indicate that equilibrium among all of the agents in the parking system can be obtained using the proposed parking rate structure. The findings provide a better understanding of parking behavior, and the two-level parking model presented in the paper can be used to determine the optimal parking rate to balance the temporal and spatial distribution of parking demand in urban areas. This research helps reduce car use and the parking-related cruising time and thus contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions and air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Compensation Demanded for Environmental Impacts Generated by Different Economic Activities
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9608-9627; doi:10.3390/su7079608
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 27 June 2015 / Accepted: 5 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
PDF Full-text (846 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This work advances the understanding of compensation demanded for environmental impacts on atmosphere, lakes and rivers, soil, and ocean generated by mining, urban, fishing and agriculture activities. Our aims are to determine whether compensation demanded depends on the standard variables used in the
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This work advances the understanding of compensation demanded for environmental impacts on atmosphere, lakes and rivers, soil, and ocean generated by mining, urban, fishing and agriculture activities. Our aims are to determine whether compensation demanded depends on the standard variables used in the field of risk perception (as perceived risk, public acceptability and trust in regulating authorities), and to explore whether these relationships depend on the environment affected and on the economic activity generating the impacts. General Linear Models were used to analyze survey responses from 427 citizens of Santiago, Chile. Results showed that compensation demanded depends on perceived risk, acceptability, and on the economic activity, but not on the environment affected. Acceptability depends on trust in authorities, on perceived risk and on the economic activity. Perceived risk depends on trust, the economic activity and the environment affected. Overall, environmental impacts from the mining industry are perceived as riskier, less acceptable, and have a higher compensation demanded than those generated by the other sectors. These results suggest that to achieve sustainable development, regulations should consider not only environmental impacts but also the economic activity originating them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Effect of Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs on the Relationship of Livelihood Capital and Livelihood Strategy among Rural Communities in Northwestern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9628-9648; doi:10.3390/su7079628
Received: 8 December 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The security and quality of livelihoods for peasant households is the core issue for rural areas in China. A stable livelihood contributes to the harmonious development of related polices, poverty eradication and sustainable use of resources. In Qinghe County, located in the extremely
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The security and quality of livelihoods for peasant households is the core issue for rural areas in China. A stable livelihood contributes to the harmonious development of related polices, poverty eradication and sustainable use of resources. In Qinghe County, located in the extremely arid zone of Northwest China, 238 validated surveys were conducted. The analysis focuses on the importance of livelihood capitals for the selection of on- or off-farm livelihood strategies among beneficiaries of different kinds of ecological compensation packages. The goal is to see if different groups of beneficiaries are better able to pursue off-farm livelihoods activity, which reduces pressure on the resource base, and whether specific capitals are especially effective in helping households pursue off-farm livelihoods, which benefits their well-being. The findings show that proportionally more herdsmen (who participated in a pastureland rehabilitation program) were able to pursue off-farm livelihoods than farmers (who participated in the cultivated land reforestation program), and especially agro-pastoralists (who participated in both programs). Further, models of livelihood strategy show that human and financial capitals facilitate off-farm livelihoods, while productive capital tends to lead to on-farm livelihoods. These findings indicate that there is no single determinant of livelihood strategy, and future policies must consciously differentiate among beneficiaries to reach the desired result. Full article
Open AccessArticle A First Approach to Natural Thermoventilation of Residential Buildings through Ventilation Chimneys Supplied by Solar Ponds
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9649-9663; doi:10.3390/su7079649
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 15 | PDF Full-text (1637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful
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The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful to this purpose, follow the principles of solar chimneys and are able to move air masses while exploiting the Archimedes thrust. The natural ventilation must be supplied by a flow moving upward, generated by a heat source performing at temperatures slightly higher than the one present in the environment. To have a minimum energetic effect, the heat can be extracted from solar ponds; solar ponds are able to collect and store solar energy in the geographical regions characterized by sufficient values of solar radiation. Thus it is possible, in summer, to provoke a nocturnal natural ventilation useful for the air change in indoor spaces (in those climatic areas where, during the night, there is a temperature gradient). Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Optimization of Road Tunnel Lighting Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9664-9680; doi:10.3390/su7079664
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (1668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting
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A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting outside the tunnel, the lighting levels in the stretches right after the entrance and before the exit must be high, in order to guide the driver’s eye towards the middle of the tunnel where the luminance must guarantee safe driving, avoid any over-dimensioning of the lighting systems, and produce energy savings. Such effects can be reached not only through the technological advances in the field of artificial lighting sources with high luminous efficiency, but also through new materials for road paving characterized by a higher reflection coefficient than other ordinary asphalts. This case study examines different technical scenarios, analyzing and comparing possible energy and economic savings. Traditional solutions are thus compared with scenarios suggesting the solutions previously mentioned. Special asphalts are interesting from an economic point of view, whereas the high costs of LED sources nowadays represent an obstacle for their implementation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Energy Performance and Thermal Comfort of a High Efficiency House: RhOME for denCity, Winner of Solar Decathlon Europe 2014
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9681-9695; doi:10.3390/su7079681
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 12 | PDF Full-text (3612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80%
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The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80% by 2030. Consequently, it is important to find a new concept of buildings that can reduce the total energy consumption. The Solar Decathlon is an international university competition, born in 2002, created by the U.S. State Energy Department (DOE). Students are challenged to design and operate a full-scale, innovative and sustainable house able to exploit solar radiation as its sole energy source. The objective of the competition is to promote research and education in sustainable architecture and solar energy fields. This paper presents an overview on the contribution of LIFT (Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Technical Physics of Roma Tre University) to the winning project of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 competition: The RhOME for denCity. This project consists of a building properly designed to produce a solar-powered house that is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Full article
Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Different Stakeholders on Reclaimed Water Reuse: The Case of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9696-9710; doi:10.3390/su7079696
Received: 25 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public involvement is critical to the successful implementation of reclaimed water reuse programs. Based on the participatory research method, we studied the attitudes of the stakeholders who are involved in reclaimed water reuse in Beijing, China. Results showed that the general public’s knowledge
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Public involvement is critical to the successful implementation of reclaimed water reuse programs. Based on the participatory research method, we studied the attitudes of the stakeholders who are involved in reclaimed water reuse in Beijing, China. Results showed that the general public’s knowledge on water resources was poor, while their awareness on reclaimed water reuse was high. The general public showed a strong acceptance of non-contact and non-potable reclaimed water reuse, but their acceptance of the three major water reuse types of river water supplement, park water supplement, and agriculture irrigation was not high. The beneficial use of reclaimed water was admired by water resource managers, industrial sectors, and researchers, and these stakeholders strongly supported the advancement of reclaimed water reuse. However, some of the stakeholders showed concerns about the potential risks from reclaimed wastewater reuse. Among them, risks from waste water treatment facilities were the biggest concern. Stakeholders’ perception of reclaimed water was influenced by their social-economic attributes. This study will enrich the current survey findings on public perception of reclaimed water reuse, particularly in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Place-Based Education in the Architectural Design Studio: Agrarian Landscape as a Resource for Sustainable Urban Lifestyle
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9711-9733; doi:10.3390/su7079711
Received: 26 April 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article highlights how “place-based education” can be used to raise awareness about sustainability and potentially influence design process decisions that have environmental and cultural implications. “Place-based education” is a term used to describe an educational worldview based on development of curriculum centered
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This article highlights how “place-based education” can be used to raise awareness about sustainability and potentially influence design process decisions that have environmental and cultural implications. “Place-based education” is a term used to describe an educational worldview based on development of curriculum centered on the local, social, economic, and ecological resources of a community. The study shows results of Masters Students’ research on situating a housing complex in the context of the agrarian landscape of Vojvodina, Serbia, considering it as a resource for a new sustainable urban lifestyle. During the first year of Masters Studies at the Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade University, an architectural design studio with 15 students had the task of exploring the potential of expanding the city of Belgrade across the agrarian landscape, as to affirm the role of place in contemporary everyday life. Students were expected to explore the possibilities and limitations of the relationship between man and agrarian landscape via architecture, re-thinking how various architectural design approaches could balance and harmonize the impact of the built environment on the agrarian landscape. The paper shows that “place-based education” possesses elements necessary for the inclusion of a wider spatial-cultural context in the process of architectural design and prioritization of environmental literacy and responsibility, as one of the main components of sustainable development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Features of China’s Urban Fires: An Investigation with Reference to Gross Domestic Product and Humidity
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9734-9752; doi:10.3390/su7079734
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Frequent fire accidents pose a serious threat to human life and property. The spatio-temporal features of China’s urban fires, and their drivers should be investigated. Based on the Spatio-temporal Dynamic panel data Model (SDM), and using fire data gathered from 337 Chinese cities
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Frequent fire accidents pose a serious threat to human life and property. The spatio-temporal features of China’s urban fires, and their drivers should be investigated. Based on the Spatio-temporal Dynamic panel data Model (SDM), and using fire data gathered from 337 Chinese cities in 2000 to 2009, the influence of spatio-temporal factors on the frequency of urban fires was analyzed. The results show that (1) the overall fire incidence of China increased annually before 2002 and reduced significantly after 2003, and then high fire incidence increased in western China; (2) Spatio-temporal factors play a significant role in the frequency of Chinese urban fires; specifically, the fire assimilation effect, fire inertia effect and fire caution effect. The ratio of fire incidence of China has reduced significantly, and the focus of fire incidence moved towards the western region of China. GDP and humidity have a significant effect on urban fire situation change in China, and these effects may be referred to as “fire assimilation effects”, “fire inertia effects” and “fire caution effects”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)

Review

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Open AccessReview Models and Approaches for Integrating Protected Areas with Their Surroundings: A Review of the Literature
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8151-8177; doi:10.3390/su7078151
Received: 31 March 2015 / Revised: 12 June 2015 / Accepted: 15 June 2015 / Published: 24 June 2015
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Abstract
Several studies have identified threats that originate in areas surrounding protected areas (PAs). While there have been various efforts to integrate PAs with their surroundings, considerable challenges remain. Here we summarize these efforts to date, discuss their effectiveness, and provide recommendations for future
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Several studies have identified threats that originate in areas surrounding protected areas (PAs). While there have been various efforts to integrate PAs with their surroundings, considerable challenges remain. Here we summarize these efforts to date, discuss their effectiveness, and provide recommendations for future research. Based on a broad literature review of theoretical and applied approaches, we have outlined 68 models for balancing conservation and sustainable development in PAs. We comprehensively analyzed 23 of these models for integrating PAs with their surroundings. They were divided into two categories: area-oriented and process-oriented approaches. This review reveals the absolute necessity of combining these two approaches for future conservation and sustainable development of PAs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Cultural and Natural Heritage)
Open AccessReview Water Footprint of Cities: A Review and Suggestions for Future Research
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8461-8490; doi:10.3390/su7078461
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 24 June 2015 / Published: 30 June 2015
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (211 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cities are hotspots of commodity consumption, with implications for both local and systemic water resources. Water flows “virtually” into and out of cities through the extensive cross-boundary exchange of goods and services. Both virtual and real water flows are affected by water supply
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Cities are hotspots of commodity consumption, with implications for both local and systemic water resources. Water flows “virtually” into and out of cities through the extensive cross-boundary exchange of goods and services. Both virtual and real water flows are affected by water supply investments and urban planning decisions, which influence residential, commercial, and industrial development. This form of water “teleconnection” is being increasingly recognized as an important aspect of water decision-making. The role of trade and virtual water flows as an alternative to expanding a city’s “real” water supply is rarely acknowledged, with an emphasis placed instead on monotonic expansion of engineering potable water supplies. We perform a literature review of water footprint studies to evaluate the potential and importance of taking virtual flows into account in urban planning and policy. We compare and contrast current methods to assess virtual water flows. We also identify and discuss priorities for future research in urban water footprint analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Water Footprints and Sustainable Water Allocation)
Open AccessReview Social Impacts of GM Crops in Agriculture: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 8598-8620; doi:10.3390/su7078598
Received: 11 May 2015 / Revised: 25 June 2015 / Accepted: 29 June 2015 / Published: 2 July 2015
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (104 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
It has recently been argued that the fragmented knowledge on the social impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to the polarised debate on the matter. This paper addresses this issue by systematically reviewing 99 peer-reviewed journal articles published since 2004 on
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It has recently been argued that the fragmented knowledge on the social impacts of genetically modified (GM) crops is contributing to the polarised debate on the matter. This paper addresses this issue by systematically reviewing 99 peer-reviewed journal articles published since 2004 on the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture; summarising current knowledge, and identifying research gaps. Economic impact studies currently dominate the literature and mainly report that GM crops provide economic benefits for farmers. Other social impacts are less well studied, but present a more complex picture. Studies on access to and benefits of GM crops show that these vary significantly depending on the political and regulatory setting. Substantial evidence indicates that intellectual property rights (IPR) and the private industry’s dominance limit the access and utility of available GM crops to many farmers. Wellbeing is frequently discussed in the literature, but rarely investigated empirically. Existing evidence is contradictory and inconclusive. Impact studies from the Global North are virtually non-existent. Moreover, two-thirds of publications are based on previously published empirical evidence, indicating a need for new empirical investigations into the social impacts of GM crops in agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)

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