Next Issue
Previous Issue

E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Table of Contents

Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 11 (November 2016)

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-129
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Review, Other

Open AccessArticle Dynamics of Enterprise Architecture in the Korean Public Sector: Transformational Change vs. Transactional Change
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1074; doi:10.3390/su8111074
Received: 8 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
PDF Full-text (1638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Enterprise architecture (EA) is one of the most important tools for implementing e-government effectively and delivering high-quality information technology services to citizens. To develop a robust EA research model with key success factors, we apply the theory of organizational change proposed by Burke
[...] Read more.
Enterprise architecture (EA) is one of the most important tools for implementing e-government effectively and delivering high-quality information technology services to citizens. To develop a robust EA research model with key success factors, we apply the theory of organizational change proposed by Burke and Litwin, using the concepts of transformational and transactional change. The analysis is conducted by using South Korea’s EA project launched in 2003. This study classifies EA implementation in the South Korean public sector into three stages and explains the characteristics of each stage from the organizational change perspective. We raise the issue of EA application level compounded by the problem of diverse EA definitions and discuss the difficulties of EA implementation based on the framework of organizational change. In addition, 20 EA experts are surveyed to confirm the findings of this study. Finally, we propose a new research model for future empirical study based on the presented findings. We believe that this study, as an in-depth review of EA implementation from an organizational change perspective, will benefit EA experts from a practical point of view, as well as academics from a research perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Groundwater Depth Prediction Using Data-Driven Models with the Assistance of Gamma Test
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1076; doi:10.3390/su8111076
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3067 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Prediction of the groundwater dynamics via models can help better manage the groundwater resources and guarantee their sustainable use. Three types of data-driven models are built for groundwater depth prediction in the plain of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province in North China.
[...] Read more.
Prediction of the groundwater dynamics via models can help better manage the groundwater resources and guarantee their sustainable use. Three types of data-driven models are built for groundwater depth prediction in the plain of Shijiazhuang, the capital of Hebei Province in North China. The data-driven models include the Power Function Model (PFM), Back-Propagation Artificial Neural Network (BPANN) and Support Vector Machines (SVM) with two kernel functions of linear kernel function (LKF) and radial basis function (RBF). Five classes of factors (including 12 indices) are considered as potential model input variables. The Gamma Test (GT) is adopted in this study to help identify the relative importance of the input indices and tackle the tricky issue of the optimal input combinations for the data-driven models. The established models are evaluated in both fitting and testing procedures based on the root mean squared error (RMSE) and Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency (E) for different input combination schemes. The results show that SVM (RBF) performs the best. It is interesting to find that the natural factors (i.e., precipitation and evaporation) are less relevant to the groundwater depth variations. The methods used in this study have much significance for groundwater depth prediction in areas lacking hydrogeological data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Four Sustainability Goals in a Swedish Low-Growth/Degrowth Context
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1080; doi:10.3390/su8111080
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
PDF Full-text (247 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Continual environmental degradation and an unfair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits are two great challenges for humanity. Economic growth is often taken for granted when planning for the future. However, it is often argued that maintaining economic growth conflicts with keeping human
[...] Read more.
Continual environmental degradation and an unfair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits are two great challenges for humanity. Economic growth is often taken for granted when planning for the future. However, it is often argued that maintaining economic growth conflicts with keeping human activities adjusted to ecological boundaries and finite resources, at least for the more-developed countries. With this paper, we present sustainability goals for building and planning in Sweden to be achieved by 2050 in a context of limited or even negative economic growth. These goals should ensure that all groups in society have sufficient resources and a good life within planetary boundaries. We select four goals in a participatory process: two environmental goals related to climate change and land use and two social goals related to welfare and participation. Our results show that achieving the environmental goals will require significant reductions of Sweden’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and land use compared to today’s levels. Regarding the social goals, these are, in many aspects, reasonably well fulfilled in Sweden today, although disparities remain between groups of citizens. The main challenge, however, is to ensure that these goals are fulfilled even within environmental limits and if economic growth should halt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle A Vector Auto Regression Model Applied to Real Estate Development Investment: A Statistic Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1082; doi:10.3390/su8111082
Received: 20 August 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (973 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzes the economic system dynamics of investment in real estate from mainly four participants in China. Local governments limit the supply of commercial and residential land to raise fiscal revenue, and expand debts by land mortgage to develop industrial zones and
[...] Read more.
This study analyzes the economic system dynamics of investment in real estate from mainly four participants in China. Local governments limit the supply of commercial and residential land to raise fiscal revenue, and expand debts by land mortgage to develop industrial zones and parks. Led by local government, banks and real estate development enterprises forge a coalition on real estate investment and facilitate real estate price appreciation. The above theoretical model is empirically evidenced with VAR (Vector Auto Regression) methodology. A panel VAR model shows that land leasing and real estate price appreciation positively affect local government general fiscal revenue. Additional VAR models find that bank credit in addition to private and foreign funds respectively have strong positive dynamic effects on housing prices. Housing prices also have a strong positive impact on speculation from private funds and hot money. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle LCA of the Collection, Transportation, Treatment and Disposal of Source Separated Municipal Waste: A Southern Italy Case Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1084; doi:10.3390/su8111084
Received: 23 July 2016 / Revised: 19 September 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
PDF Full-text (372 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study performed a Life Cycle Assessment of the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of source-separated municipal waste (MW) in Baronissi, a town of 17,000 inhabitants in the Campania region of Italy. Baronissi is a high-performing town in a region with scarcity of
[...] Read more.
This study performed a Life Cycle Assessment of the collection, transport, treatment and disposal of source-separated municipal waste (MW) in Baronissi, a town of 17,000 inhabitants in the Campania region of Italy. Baronissi is a high-performing town in a region with scarcity of MW facilities. The environmental impacts were assessed with three different methods—IPCC 2007, Ecological Footprint and ReCiPe 2008—in order to evaluate how they influence the results as well as how the global warming affects the results, since it is one of the major environmental concerns of people. The obtained results showed how the presence of facilities in the area is fundamental. Their lack means high environmental loads due to the transportation of materials for long distances, particularly for the organic fraction. The presence of a composting plant at 10 km from the municipality would result in a decrease of 65% of the impacts due to the external transport, regardless of the evaluation method. The results obtained with ReCiPe 2008 and Ecological Footprint agreed, while those obtained with IPCC 2007 were very different since global warming is strongly affected by the transport phase. IPCC 2007 does not allow to take into account the advantages obtainable with a good level of separate collection. Considering a single impact evaluation method, there is a high risk of coming to misleading conclusions. Full article
Figures

Open AccessArticle A Study of the Time–Space Evolution Characteristics of Urban–Rural Integration Development in a Mountainous Area Based on ESDA-GIS: The Case of the Qinling-Daba Mountains in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1085; doi:10.3390/su8111085
Received: 26 July 2016 / Revised: 21 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The multi-index comprehensive evaluation method is used in this paper to estimate the urban–rural integration development level of the Qinling-Daba Mountains in China and build an evaluation index system that is composed by five subsystems and 18 basic indexes. The integration of the
[...] Read more.
The multi-index comprehensive evaluation method is used in this paper to estimate the urban–rural integration development level of the Qinling-Daba Mountains in China and build an evaluation index system that is composed by five subsystems and 18 basic indexes. The integration of the indexes is conducted through linear weight sum method and the weight of each index is determined through analytic network process to get the urban–rural integration development coordination indexes of each county in the Qinling-Daba Mountains. Meanwhile, the time–space evolution characteristic of urban–rural integration development in the Qinling-Daba Mountains in the past 10 years is studied through exploratory spatial data analysis and GIS technology. The results indicate that urban–rural integration displays a spatial imbalance, with a situation of polarization, i.e., high–level counties gathering with each other; the spatial aggregation rule of west–high, east–low is coupled with land conditions, industrial activity, and the transportation situation to affect the urban–rural development. Finally, we propose that development priorities should be circular industry, eco-agriculture, and tourism to accelerate urban–rural development and work towards a comprehensive modern transportation system and other infrastructure in the Qinling-Daba Mountains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Remediation in Situ of Hydrocarbons by Combined Treatment in a Contaminated Alluvial Soil due to an Accidental Spill of LNAPL
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1086; doi:10.3390/su8111086
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 15 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6518 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil contamination represents an environmental issue which has become extremely important in the last decades due to the diffusion of industrial activities. Accidents during transport of dangerous materials and fuels may cause severe pollution. The present paper describes the criteria of the actions
[...] Read more.
Soil contamination represents an environmental issue which has become extremely important in the last decades due to the diffusion of industrial activities. Accidents during transport of dangerous materials and fuels may cause severe pollution. The present paper describes the criteria of the actions which were operated to remediate the potential risk and observed negative effects on groundwater and soil originating from an accidental spill of diesel fuel from a tank truck. With the aim to evaluate the quality of the involved environmental matrices in the “emergency” phase, in the following “safety” operation and during the remediation action, a specific survey on hydrocarbons, light and heavy, was carried out in the sand deposits soil. Elaboration of collected data allows us to observe the movement of pollutants in the unsaturated soil. The remediation action was finalized to improve the groundwater and soil quality. The former was treated by a so called “pump and treat” system coupled with air sparging. A train of three different technologies was applied to the unsaturated soil in a sequential process: soil vapour extraction, bioventing and enhanced bioremediation. Results showed that the application of sequential remediation treatments allowed us to obtain a state of quality in unsaturated soil and groundwater as required by Italian law. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Public Acceptability of Introducing a Biogas Mandate in Korea: A Contingent Valuation Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1087; doi:10.3390/su8111087
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 27 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (271 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biogas (BG), a renewable form of energy, can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, unlike conventional gas. Thus, the Korean Government is considering the introduction of a BG mandate, in which the legal blend is 2% BG and 98% conventional gas (BG2), by 2020 to
[...] Read more.
Biogas (BG), a renewable form of energy, can mitigate greenhouse gas emissions, unlike conventional gas. Thus, the Korean Government is considering the introduction of a BG mandate, in which the legal blend is 2% BG and 98% conventional gas (BG2), by 2020 to expand BG use. We should examine the public acceptability of the introduction, which will incur a rise in the gas price. This study attempts to assess the public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for introducing the BG2 program in Korea. The WTP data were obtained from a one-and-one-half-bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation survey of 1000 households. Because a considerable number of the respondents (63.4%) gave a zero WTP response, we applied a spike model to treat the WTP data with zero observations. The yearly mean WTP was computed as 2539 Korean won (KRW) (USD 2.5) per household for the next 10 years, which is also statistically meaningful at the 1% level. Expanding the value to the national population gives us KRW 50.7 billion (USD 49.5 million) per year. The present value of the total public WTP amounts to KRW 372.7 billion (USD 368.4 million) using a social discount rate of 5.5%. We can conclude that gas consumers in Korea are ready to shoulder some of the financial burden of expanding the use of BG. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Welfare with or without Growth? Potential Lessons from the German Healthcare System
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1088; doi:10.3390/su8111088
Received: 8 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
PDF Full-text (404 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article is meant to be a contribution to the debate on growth and welfare. Its argument is based on results of a Grounded Theory study about the German healthcare system, which suggests that the core of the healthcare system can be expressed
[...] Read more.
This article is meant to be a contribution to the debate on growth and welfare. Its argument is based on results of a Grounded Theory study about the German healthcare system, which suggests that the core of the healthcare system can be expressed by two abstract basic ideas that are contradictory and yet dependent on each other. The implications of the results, both for future research on the healthcare system and for the debate on growth and welfare, are discussed. As a final suggestion, “sustainability” is proposed as a concept that could potentially resolve the debate. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Natural Gas Consumption of Emerging Economies in the Industrialization Process
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1089; doi:10.3390/su8111089
Received: 9 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1021 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Natural gas has become more and more important in the world energy market with the change of energy consumption structure and consumption subjects. This paper applies the panel smooth transition regression (PSTR) model to study the nonlinear relationship between natural gas consumption and
[...] Read more.
Natural gas has become more and more important in the world energy market with the change of energy consumption structure and consumption subjects. This paper applies the panel smooth transition regression (PSTR) model to study the nonlinear relationship between natural gas consumption and economic variables of emerging economies, and the empirical results show that: (1) There is a non-linear relationship among natural gas consumption, GDP per capita, industrialization and urbanization rate; (2) The optimal PSTR model is a two-regime model by using the lagged industrialization as a transition variable, and the impact of GDP per capita and of industrialization on natural gas consumption shows incomplete symmetry in low and high regime, respectively; (3) The result of time-varying elasticity analysis indicates that natural gas consumption is inelastic to GDP per capita, but elastic to both industrialization and urbanization. The elasticity of GDP per capita generally decrease with fluctuation, the elasticity of industrialization tends to rise, and the elasticity of urbanization is linear at high level; (4) Regional difference shows that there are 10 emerging economies are in first regime (below industrialization of 43.2%), and the remaining 6 are in second regime. This provides reference for countries in different transformation periods to make economic policies adapting to energy saving, energy structure optimization and other sustainable development strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Development for Emerging Markets)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Financial Perceptions on Oil Spill Disasters: Isolating Corporate Reputational Risk
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1090; doi:10.3390/su8111090
Received: 4 July 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 13 October 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
PDF Full-text (980 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to isolate the corporate reputational risk faced by US oil and gas companies—as listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)—after recent oil spill disasters. For this purpose, we have conducted a standard short-horizon daily event study
[...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to isolate the corporate reputational risk faced by US oil and gas companies—as listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE)—after recent oil spill disasters. For this purpose, we have conducted a standard short-horizon daily event study analysis aimed at the calibration of the financial perceptions caused by these environmental episodes between 2005 and 2011, and the drop effect on the market value of the firms analyzed. We not only find significant negative impact on the stock prices of the companies analyzed but also significant cumulative negative abnormal returns (CAR) around the accidental spillages, especially for the longest event windows. Corporate reputational risk is also identified and even measured by adjusting abnormal returns by a certain loss ratio. A new metric, CAR(Rep), is then proposed to disentangle operational losses and the reputational damage derived from such negative financial perceptions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Experimentally Investigating the Effect of Temperature Differences in the Particle Deposition Process on Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Modules
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1091; doi:10.3390/su8111091
Received: 23 May 2016 / Revised: 9 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1653 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports an experimental investigation of the dust particle deposition process on solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with different surface temperatures by a heating plate to illustrate the effect of the temperature difference (thermophoresis) between the module surface and the surrounding air on
[...] Read more.
This paper reports an experimental investigation of the dust particle deposition process on solar photovoltaic (PV) modules with different surface temperatures by a heating plate to illustrate the effect of the temperature difference (thermophoresis) between the module surface and the surrounding air on the dust accumulation process under different operating temperatures. In general, if the temperature of PV modules is increased, the energy conversion efficiency of the modules is decreased. However, in this study, it is firstly found that higher PV module surface temperature differences result in a higher energy output compared with those modules with lower temperature differences because of a reduced accumulation of dust particles. The measured deposition densities of dust particles were found to range from 0.54 g/m2 to 0.85 g/m2 under the range of experimental conditions and the output power ratios were found to increase from 0.861 to 0.965 with the increase in the temperature difference from 0 to 50 °C. The PV module with a higher temperature difference experiences a lower dust density because of the effect of the thermophoresis force arising from the temperature gradient between the module surface and its surrounding air. In addition, dust particles have a significant impact on the short circuit current, as well as the output power. However, the influence of particles on open circuit voltage can be negligible. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy Applications and Energy Saving in Buildings)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Management Optimization of the Luminous Flux Regulation of a Lighting System in Road Tunnels. A First Approach to the Exertion of Predictive Control Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1092; doi:10.3390/su8111092
Received: 12 July 2016 / Revised: 23 September 2016 / Accepted: 20 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3428 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Lighting very long road tunnels implies a high consumption of electrical energy since it requires a proper illumination during the whole day. In particular, in the daytime, the illuminance levels right at the tunnel entrance threshold and exit zones must be higher than
[...] Read more.
Lighting very long road tunnels implies a high consumption of electrical energy since it requires a proper illumination during the whole day. In particular, in the daytime, the illuminance levels right at the tunnel entrance threshold and exit zones must be higher than those characterizing the inside of the tunnel; in this way, the eye of the driver is able to adapt and be safe while passing from a high natural illumination of the outside to the lighting conditions characterizing the inside of the tunnel. However this causes a high energy demand. Therefore, this case study investigates whether it is possible to minimize the energy demand through the exertion of an automatic new control system regulating the luminous fluxes of artificial sources (guaranteeing the parameters set by the regulation) with respect to the variation of the natural light characterizing the outside. The innovative control systems must be characterized by high reliability levels in order to guarantee conditions which are not dangerous to the driver if an outage occurs and minimize their maintenance costs. To carry out this type of study, the software DIALux was used to simulate a tunnel with a dimming system (with lamps characterized by a high luminous efficiency) regulated by a pre-programmed logic control system (with high Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) values). The savings obtained enabled the amortization of the solution here suggested in a time interval that makes it an advantageous choice economically speaking. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development or Eco-Collapse: Lessons for Tourism and Development from Easter Island
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1093; doi:10.3390/su8111093
Received: 29 June 2016 / Revised: 15 September 2016 / Accepted: 12 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
PDF Full-text (3491 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While tourism brings many benefits to islands, it can also cause negative effects, especially when tourism development is a disorganised process, with significant environmental impacts. This has been the case of Easter Island: the recent, uncontrolled growth in tourist numbers together with social
[...] Read more.
While tourism brings many benefits to islands, it can also cause negative effects, especially when tourism development is a disorganised process, with significant environmental impacts. This has been the case of Easter Island: the recent, uncontrolled growth in tourist numbers together with social and political tensions, are signs of a socioeconomic process pursuing development that has neglected the institutional, environmental, social, and economic imperatives of sustainability for tourism management. The study initially presents the environmental impacts of tourism growth, including waste disposal and management issues, problems with sewage system, threats to water quality, and biodiversity loss. Next, using data from in situ fieldwork, interviews and surveys, it focuses on residents’ perceptions regarding environmental consequences of the vast tourism growth, as well as on the serious governance issues that Easter Island is currently facing and that complicate even further its sustainable development. Overall, our results indicate that—while acknowledging the negative impacts that uncontrolled tourism development has brought to the island and the need for it to become more sustainable—residents are in favour of tourism since it is the island’s main source of income and employment. The paper draws lessons for islands involved in the “development-through-tourism” model regarding the difficulties these islands will face in attaining their goals if they are not able to build and implement cooperative agreements among stakeholders to properly manage the common-pool resources involved. This is a warning sign for islands that enthusiastically promote tourism without implementing sound sustainability criteria to guide the management of their tourism sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Analysis and Planning of Ecological Networks Based on Kernel Density Estimations for the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Region in Northern China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1094; doi:10.3390/su8111094
Received: 2 May 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 25 October 2016
PDF Full-text (7989 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the continued social and economic development of northern China, landscape fragmentation has placed increasing pressure on the ecological system of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region. To maintain the integrity of ecological processes under the influence of human activities, we must maintain effective connections
[...] Read more.
With the continued social and economic development of northern China, landscape fragmentation has placed increasing pressure on the ecological system of the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei (BTH) region. To maintain the integrity of ecological processes under the influence of human activities, we must maintain effective connections between habitats and limit the impact of ecological isolation. In this paper, landscape elements were identified based on a kernel density estimation, including forests, grasslands, orchards and wetlands. The spatial configuration of ecological networks was analysed by the integrated density index, and a natural breaks classification was performed for the landscape type data and the results of the landscape spatial distribution analysis. The results showed that forest and grassland are the primary constituents of the core areas and act as buffer zones for the region’s ecological network. Rivers, as linear patches, and orchards, as stepping stones, form the main body of the ecological corridors, and isolated elements are distributed mainly in the plain area. Orchards have transition effects. Wetlands act as connections between different landscapes in the region. Based on these results, we make suggestions for the protection and planning of ecological networks. This study can also provide guidance for the coordinated development of the BTH region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Human Factors in Green Office Building Design: The Impact of Workplace Green Features on Health Perceptions in High-Rise High-Density Asian Cities
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1095; doi:10.3390/su8111095
Received: 15 September 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2352 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is a growing concern about human factors in green building, which is imperative in high-rise high-density urban environments. This paper describes our attempts to explore the influence of workplace green features (such as green certification, ventilation mode, and building morphology) on health
[...] Read more.
There is a growing concern about human factors in green building, which is imperative in high-rise high-density urban environments. This paper describes our attempts to explore the influence of workplace green features (such as green certification, ventilation mode, and building morphology) on health perceptions (personal sensation, sensorial assumptions, healing performance) based on a survey in Hong Kong and Singapore. The results validated the relationship between green features and health perceptions in the workplace environment. Remarkably, participants from the air-conditioned offices revealed significant higher concerns about health issues than those participants from the mixed-ventilated offices. The mixed-ventilation design performs as a bridge to connect the indoor environment and outdoor space, which enables people to have contact with nature. Additionally, the preferred building morphology of the workplace is the pattern of a building complex instead of a single building. The complex form integrates the configuration of courtyards, podium gardens, green terrace, public plaza, and other types of open spaces with the building clusters, which contributes to better health perceptions. This research contributes to the rationalization and optimization of passive climate-adaptive design strategies for green buildings in high-density tropical or subtropical cities. Full article
Figures

Figure 1a

Open AccessArticle Trans-Disciplinary Education for Sustainable Marine and Coastal Management: A Case Study in Taiwan
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1096; doi:10.3390/su8111096
Received: 13 July 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 19 October 2016 / Published: 26 October 2016
PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study aims to investigate the effect of a trans-disciplinary design of curricula, deemed a powerful tool for teaching and research on complex environmental problems, with a goal to help solve the real problems that climate change has brought to the coastal
[...] Read more.
The present study aims to investigate the effect of a trans-disciplinary design of curricula, deemed a powerful tool for teaching and research on complex environmental problems, with a goal to help solve the real problems that climate change has brought to the coastal environment in Taiwan. Three major real-life problems in southern Taiwan—declining mullet fisheries, flooding, and coral bleaching—were integrated into four courses. Adopting a qualitative case study method, the researchers investigated the student perceptions of the trans-disciplinary learning experiences, their attitudes toward marine and coastal environmental protection, and their capability of solving the problems related to marine and coastal environments. The researchers employed various methods to analyze the student reflection reports, student self-evaluation forms, and the tape-recorded class meetings. The findings suggest the following: the trans-disciplinary curriculum stands to be an innovative yet indispensable design for coastal management education; such a curriculum benefits students by equipping them with essential knowledge and skills to succeed in future marine conservation; action learning for marine and coastal sustainability serves as the final goal of trans-disciplinary learning project; a trans-disciplinary case study on the design of curricula provides effective knowledge integration of marine and coastal sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Environmental Performance of Electricity Generation Based on Resources: A Life Cycle Assessment Case Study in Turkey
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1097; doi:10.3390/su8111097
Received: 13 July 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 20 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1122 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The aim of this paper was to determine how to change the environmental performance of electricity generation depending on the resources and their shares, in order to support decision-makers. Additionally, this paper presents an application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to determine
[...] Read more.
The aim of this paper was to determine how to change the environmental performance of electricity generation depending on the resources and their shares, in order to support decision-makers. Additionally, this paper presents an application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to determine the environmental burdens of electricity generation in Turkey. Electricity generation data in Turkey for the years 2012 and 2023 were used as a case study. The functional unit for electricity generation was 1 kWh. The LCA calculations were carried out using CML-IA (v3.00) data and the results were interpreted with respect to Monte Carlo simulation analysis (with the Monte Carlo function built in SimaPro 8.0.1 software). The results demonstrated that the fossil fuel consumption not only contributes to global warming, but it also has effects on the elemental basis of abiotic depletion due to raw material consumption for plant infrastructure. Additionally, it was observed that the increasing proportion of wind power in the electricity mix would also increase certain life cycle impacts (such as the elemental basis of abiotic depletion, human ecotoxicity, and terrestrial ecotoxicity) in Turkey’s geography compared to increasing the share of other renewable energy sources, such as hydropower, geothermal, as well as solar. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Interests of Different Stakeholders in Beijing Wastewater Reuse Systems for Sustainable Urban Water Management
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1098; doi:10.3390/su8111098
Received: 13 September 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (805 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Whether water systems can be operated successfully and sustainably is influenced by the attitudes and willingness of stakeholders involved in the management of such systems. This study quantitatively evaluates the interests of different stakeholders in wastewater reuse systems in Beijing. Such interests comprise
[...] Read more.
Whether water systems can be operated successfully and sustainably is influenced by the attitudes and willingness of stakeholders involved in the management of such systems. This study quantitatively evaluates the interests of different stakeholders in wastewater reuse systems in Beijing. Such interests comprise economic, environmental, and social effects induced by the wastewater reuse systems. The study considers four main stakeholders in Beijing, namely the Municipal Administration Committee (MAC), Municipal Environmental Protection Bureau (MEPB), plant managers, and users. Cost benefit analysis is conducted to determine the aforementioned interests separately from the perspectives of the various stakeholders. The results reveal that not all stakeholders’ interests in the wastewater reuse systems in Beijing are satisfied. From the perspectives of both the MAC and MEPB, the evaluation results indicate that both decentralized and centralized wastewater reuse systems are economically feasible. However, from the viewpoints of plant managers and users, the results reveal that only the centralized wastewater reuse systems are economically feasible, whereas the decentralized systems are not. The failure to satisfy the interests of plant managers and users may be a major reason for the interrupted operation of the decentralized systems in Beijing. The study demonstrates that successful and sustainable development of a new water project necessitates satisfying the interests of all stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Urban Gardeners’ Motivations in a Metropolitan City: The Case of Milan
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1099; doi:10.3390/su8111099
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 14 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 27 October 2016
PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban gardening (UG) as a component of urban agriculture (UA) has reached popularity during the last decades. This growing interest depends on several factors including the different functions that have been attributed to UG over the years, operating from the economic to the
[...] Read more.
Urban gardening (UG) as a component of urban agriculture (UA) has reached popularity during the last decades. This growing interest depends on several factors including the different functions that have been attributed to UG over the years, operating from the economic to the social, health and cultural levels. While multifunctionality of UG is well documented, only a few studies investigated individual gardeners’ motivations, which can be subjective and heavily affected by the local context in which it takes place. The paper aims to detect some peculiar features of Milan city gardeners, in order to highlight the motivations of their activity through an innovative and replicable approach based on multiple correspondence analysis (MCA) and hierarchical clustering analysis (HCA). The analysis has been applied to the Milan case study, in the North of Italy; the results suggest a great importance of the social component of UG, and trace some different gardeners’ profiles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Region Foodscapes)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Predicting Short-Term Subway Ridership and Prioritizing Its Influential Factors Using Gradient Boosting Decision Trees
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1100; doi:10.3390/su8111100
Received: 5 September 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1114 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between short-term subway ridership and its influential factors is crucial to improving the accuracy of short-term subway ridership prediction. Although there has been a growing body of studies on short-term ridership prediction approaches, limited effort is made to investigate the
[...] Read more.
Understanding the relationship between short-term subway ridership and its influential factors is crucial to improving the accuracy of short-term subway ridership prediction. Although there has been a growing body of studies on short-term ridership prediction approaches, limited effort is made to investigate the short-term subway ridership prediction considering bus transfer activities and temporal features. To fill this gap, a relatively recent data mining approach called gradient boosting decision trees (GBDT) is applied to short-term subway ridership prediction and used to capture the associations with the independent variables. Taking three subway stations in Beijing as the cases, the short-term subway ridership and alighting passengers from its adjacent bus stops are obtained based on transit smart card data. To optimize the model performance with different combinations of regularization parameters, a series of GBDT models are built with various learning rates and tree complexities by fitting a maximum of trees. The optimal model performance confirms that the gradient boosting approach can incorporate different types of predictors, fit complex nonlinear relationships, and automatically handle the multicollinearity effect with high accuracy. In contrast to other machine learning methods—or “black-box” procedures—the GBDT model can identify and rank the relative influences of bus transfer activities and temporal features on short-term subway ridership. These findings suggest that the GBDT model has considerable advantages in improving short-term subway ridership prediction in a multimodal public transportation system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Social-Ecological Resilience Assessment and Governance Guide for Urbanization Processes in East China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1101; doi:10.3390/su8111101
Received: 14 July 2016 / Revised: 30 September 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
PDF Full-text (5535 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article presents a social-ecological resilience assessment and attempts to explicitly examine the impacts of urbanization on resilience, with a view to explore how to strengthen social-ecological governance of the resilience of urban ecosystems. We use a combined Grey-Fuzzy evaluation model to discuss
[...] Read more.
This article presents a social-ecological resilience assessment and attempts to explicitly examine the impacts of urbanization on resilience, with a view to explore how to strengthen social-ecological governance of the resilience of urban ecosystems. We use a combined Grey-Fuzzy evaluation model to discuss a case study of the Su-Xi-Chang city cluster, a metropolitan area in East China, in which total social-ecological resilience scores generally exhibited an upward trend, from 0.548 in 2001 to 0.760 in 2013. In the same period, resilience increased in relation to deterioration of environmental quality, pollution discharge, and landscape and ecological governance change, but decreased in relation to social-economic development. Besides, different contributions of indicators to their related resilience values reveal the heterogeneity of the resilience in terms of various disturbances. In addition, several scenarios are posited in an attempt to detect the relationship between social-ecological resilience and urbanization with the goal of improving urban governance. The results suggested that rapid urbanization under rigid and vertically organized forms of governance would cause the social-ecological system to lose resilience, or even to bring it near collapse. When the growth rate of urban land expansion reaches 16%, disturbances caused by urbanization would push the social-ecological system over a particular threshold, where the way it functions changes. However, it is found that adaptive and collaborative governance, incorporating increases in both public participation and the efficiency of environment administration, would strengthen social-ecological governance of resilience to provide the urban system with a wide operating space, and even with accelerated urbanization ratios. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Sustaining Upgrading in Agricultural Value Chains? State-Led Value Chain Interventions and Emerging Bifurcation of the South Indian Smallholder Tea Sector
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1102; doi:10.3390/su8111102
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 28 October 2016
PDF Full-text (249 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Global Value Chain (GVC) approach has emerged as a novel methodological device for analysing economic globalization and international trade. The suitability of the chain metaphor and strategies for moving up the ladder of GVCs (“upgrade”) is widely echoed in international development agencies
[...] Read more.
The Global Value Chain (GVC) approach has emerged as a novel methodological device for analysing economic globalization and international trade. The suitability of the chain metaphor and strategies for moving up the ladder of GVCs (“upgrade”) is widely echoed in international development agencies and public agencies in the Global South. Most of the existing GVC studies focus on new forms of firm-to-firm relationships and the role of lead firms and chain governance in defining upgrading opportunities. This paper examines the role of the state and local institutional initiatives in promoting upgrading in agricultural GVCs originating in rural areas of the Global South. The paper draws on research conducted in the South Indian smallholder tea sector. The paper argues that successful forms of state-led chain interventions not only contribute to upgrading of the smallholder-brought leaf factory strand of the GVC originating in the South Indian tea sector, but might also result in increasing bifurcation of smallholders integrated into high-margin markets through prominent bought leaf factories and a mass of “others” outside this tightly coordinated strand of the tea value chain. Full article
Open AccessArticle Profitability of Management Systems on German Fenlands
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1103; doi:10.3390/su8111103
Received: 2 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
PDF Full-text (780 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Fens are organic sites that require drainage for agricultural use. Lowering the groundwater level leads to trade-offs between economic benefits and environmental impacts (i.e., CO2 and nutrient emissions). To identify management options that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, a propaedeutic systematic
[...] Read more.
Fens are organic sites that require drainage for agricultural use. Lowering the groundwater level leads to trade-offs between economic benefits and environmental impacts (i.e., CO2 and nutrient emissions). To identify management options that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, a propaedeutic systematic analysis of the costs, income and profit of different land use and management systems on fenlands is necessary. This study provides an overview of the profitability, labor demand and comparative advantages of feasible management systems on German fenlands. Twenty management practices in four land use systems are analyzed. The results indicate that most management systems are profitable only with subsidies and payments for ecosystem services. In addition to sales revenue, these payments are indispensable to promote peat-saving agricultural practices on fenlands. Regarding the labor aspect, intensive management systems caused an increase in working hours per hectare, which may positively affect employment in rural areas. The calculations obtained in this study can be used as a basis for estimations of greenhouse gas (GHG) mitigation costs when management systems are associated with GHG emission values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication Maize Processing Waste Water Upcycling in Mexico: Recovery of Arabinoxylans for Probiotic Encapsulation
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1104; doi:10.3390/su8111104
Received: 9 August 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 18 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Maize is a major source of food in Mexico. In order to improve its nutritional value, maize kernel is exposed to an alkali treatment that generates large volumes of waste water containing gelling arabinoxylan. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate
[...] Read more.
Maize is a major source of food in Mexico. In order to improve its nutritional value, maize kernel is exposed to an alkali treatment that generates large volumes of waste water containing gelling arabinoxylan. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the capability of maize waste water arabinoxylans (MWAX) to encapsulate probiotics. The rheological, structural, and microstructural characteristics of this bio-based material were also investigated. MWAX gels at 10% (w/v) were able to encapsulate Bifidobacterium as probiotic model. The MWAX gel containing 1 × 107 CFU/mL of probiotics presented a storage (G′) and loss (G″) moduli of 50 and 11 Pa, respectively. The average mesh size of the MWAX gel was around 11 times smaller than the Bifidobacterium cell magnitude. MWAX gels with or without probiotics were studied using scanning electron microscopy. The interior of the Bifidobacterium loaded gels was composed of a pore-like network of MWAX through which probiotics were distributed. The probiotic encapsulating MWAX gels appeared to be less porous than the empty gels. MWAX capability to encapsulate Bifidobacterium may be important in designing probiotic encapsulating biodegradable gels and could represent an opportunity in sustainable food waste management and utilization through upcycling to value-added products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Food Waste Management and Utilization)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle BIM-Integrated Construction Operation Simulation for Just-In-Time Production Management
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1106; doi:10.3390/su8111106
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (11094 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traditional construction planning, which depends on historical data and heuristic modification, prevents the integration of managerial details such as productivity dynamics. Specifically, the distance between planning and execution brings cost overruns and duration extensions. To minimize variations, this research presents a Building Information
[...] Read more.
Traditional construction planning, which depends on historical data and heuristic modification, prevents the integration of managerial details such as productivity dynamics. Specifically, the distance between planning and execution brings cost overruns and duration extensions. To minimize variations, this research presents a Building Information Modeling (BIM)-integrated simulation framework for predicting productivity dynamics at the construction planning phase. To develop this framework, we examined critical factors affecting productivity at the operational level, and then forecast the productivity dynamics. The resulting plan includes specific commands for retrieving the required information from BIM and executing operation simulations. It consists of the following steps: (1) preparing a BIM model to produce input data; (2) composing a construction simulation at the operational level; and (3) obtaining productivity dynamics from the BIM-integrated simulation. To validate our framework, we applied it to a structural steel model; this was due to the significance of steel erections. By integrating BIM with construction operation simulations, we were able to create reliable construction plans that adapted to project changes. Our results show that the developed framework facilitates the reliable prediction of productivity dynamics, and can contribute to improved schedule reliability, optimized resource allocation, cost savings associated with buffers, and reduced material waste. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Characterization of Some Real Mixed Plastics from WEEE: A Focus on Chlorine and Bromine Determination by Different Analytical Methods
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1107; doi:10.3390/su8111107
Received: 30 June 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 23 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
PDF Full-text (927 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bromine and chlorine are almost ubiquitous in waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and the knowledge of their content in the plastic fraction is an essential step for proper end of life management. The aim of this study is to compare the
[...] Read more.
Bromine and chlorine are almost ubiquitous in waste of electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) and the knowledge of their content in the plastic fraction is an essential step for proper end of life management. The aim of this study is to compare the following analytical methods: energy dispersive X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (ED-XRF), ion chromatography (IC), ion-selective electrodes (ISEs), and elemental analysis for the quantitative determination of chlorine and bromine in four real samples taken from different WEEE treatment plants, identifying the best analytical technique for waste management workers. Home-made plastic standard materials with known concentrations of chlorine or bromine have been used for calibration of ED-XRF and to test the techniques before the sample analysis. Results showed that IC and ISEs, based upon dissolution of the products of the sample combustion, have not always achieved a quantitative absorption of the analytes in the basic solutions and that bromine could be underestimated since several oxidation states occur after combustion. Elemental analysis designed for chlorine determination is subjected to strong interference from bromine and required frequent regeneration and recalibration of the measurement cell. The most reliable method seemed to be the non-destructive ED-XRF. Calibration with home-made standards, having a similar plastic matrix of the samples, enabled us to carry out quantitative determinations, which have been revealed to be satisfactorily accurate and precise. In all the analyzed samples a total concentration of chlorine and/or bromine between 0.6 and 4 w/w% was detected, compromising the feasibility of a mechanical recycling and suggesting the exploration of an alternative route for managing these plastic wastes. Full article
Figures

Figure 1a

Open AccessArticle Techno-Economic Related Metrics for a Wave Energy Converters Feasibility Assessment
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1109; doi:10.3390/su8111109
Received: 12 September 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 22 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2723 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When designing “multi-MW arrays” of Wave Energy Converters (WECs), having a low number of converters with high individual power ratings can be beneficial as the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs may be reduced. However, having converters of small dimensions or small power ratings
[...] Read more.
When designing “multi-MW arrays” of Wave Energy Converters (WECs), having a low number of converters with high individual power ratings can be beneficial as the Operation and Maintenance (O&M) costs may be reduced. However, having converters of small dimensions or small power ratings could also be beneficial, as suggested by previous works, due to a reduction in material costs as compared to power production, and the use of small, inexpensive vessels. In this work, a case study investigating the optimum size of WEC for a 20 MW array is performed. Analysis is carried out based on the CorPower Ocean technology. In this case study, firstly a Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) model is created. This model incorporates the latest Capital Expenditure (CAPEX) estimates for CorPower Ocean’s 250 kW prototype. Using this techno-economic model, several sizes/ratings of WEC are tested for use in a 20 MW array. Operational Expenditure (OPEX) is calculated using two different calculation approaches in order to check its influence on final indicators. OPEX is firstly calculated as a percentage of CAPEX, as shown in previous works, and secondly using a failure-repair model, taking into account individual failures of WECs in the array. Size/rating analysis is carried out for several European locations in order to establish any dependence between site location and optimal WEC size/rating. Several metrics for techno-economic assessment of marine energy converters, other than LCOE, are compared in this work. A comparison of several devices with each these metrics is performed within this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Are Emissions Trading Policies Sustainable? A Study of the Petrochemical Industry in Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1110; doi:10.3390/su8111110
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 18 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 29 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (358 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In 2015, Korea inaugurated an emissions trading scheme (ETS). In this regard, many studies have considered the sustainable performance and efficiency of industries that emit carbon; however, few have examined ETS at company level. This paper focuses on companies’ data related to Korean
[...] Read more.
In 2015, Korea inaugurated an emissions trading scheme (ETS). In this regard, many studies have considered the sustainable performance and efficiency of industries that emit carbon; however, few have examined ETS at company level. This paper focuses on companies’ data related to Korean ETS in the petrochemical industry. Based on the non-radial, nonparametric directional distance function (DDF), the paper evaluates the governance factors related to ETS policies and sustainable performance in terms of carbon technical efficiency (CTE), the shadow price of carbon emissions, and Morishima elasticity between the input and undesirable output of carbon emissions. Using a dual model, the paper shows that Korean ETS has huge potential for participating companies to improve CTE. If all companies consider the production possibility frontier, they could potentially improve efficiency by 52.8%. Further, Morishima elasticity shows strong substitutability between capital and energy, implying that green technology investment should bring a higher degree of energy-saving performance. Unfortunately, however, the market price of carbon emissions is far too low compared with its shadow price, suggesting that the Korean government’s price-oriented market intervention has resulted in the ETS producing poor sustainable performance. As the title suggests, ETS of Korea is not sustainable at the current stage, but with more efforts on the transition period, all the developing countries should support the governance factors of the ETS in terms of the more effective green investment with easier access to the green technology. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Questionnaire Case Study to Investigate Public Awareness of Smog Pollution in China’s Rural Areas
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1111; doi:10.3390/su8111111
Received: 29 August 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1102 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smog pollution is one of China’s most pressing public health issues today and has therefore received significant attention worldwide. Not only cities but also villages in China are suffering from smog pollution, especially since 2013. However, there is limited information available about public
[...] Read more.
Smog pollution is one of China’s most pressing public health issues today and has therefore received significant attention worldwide. Not only cities but also villages in China are suffering from smog pollution, especially since 2013. However, there is limited information available about public awareness on smog pollution in China, especially for where it concerns the residents living in villages. Based on a questionnaire survey, this study aims to help fill this gap. The results of the study show that the income of the majority of respondents comes from working in the city, accounting for 31.6% of the total income. The percentages for respondents related to access to smog information from various channels are as follows: TV (28.5%), radio (24.2%), neighbors (13.5%), Internet (9.8%), newspapers (8.3%) and others (7.8%). As for attitudes regarding the severity degree and main cause of smog pollution, most respondents (33.7%) thought smog pollution in villages was somewhat severe, while 26.3% agreed that the main contributor to smog pollution was industrial emissions, followed by coal burning at power plants (20.9%) and vehicle emissions (17.7%). The results also indicate that most of the respondents were satisfied with the government’s performance in terms of smog control. However, 67.9% of respondents indicated they would remain silent and not intervene when confronted by an activity that causes smog pollution. This study can help to improve an understanding of public awareness regarding smog pollution in China’s rural areas and thereby activate positive public participation in smog pollution prevention and management in the search for sustainable development. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Personal Water Footprint in Taiwan: A Case Study of Yunlin County
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1112; doi:10.3390/su8111112
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 26 October 2016 / Published: 31 October 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (475 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Extreme weather events have affected the environment and water resources in Taiwan for the last two decades. Heavy rainfall, typhoons, and rising sea levels have caused severe flooding along the Southwest Coast in Taiwan. Yunlin County, an important agricultural region, will be significantly
[...] Read more.
Extreme weather events have affected the environment and water resources in Taiwan for the last two decades. Heavy rainfall, typhoons, and rising sea levels have caused severe flooding along the Southwest Coast in Taiwan. Yunlin County, an important agricultural region, will be significantly affected by climate changes, especially in coastal areas with severe land subsidence. Therefore, using the concept of the water footprint and questionnaire surveys, this study examines personal water footprints in townships in Yunlin County to explore the effectiveness and sustainability of water management. The purpose of the water footprint concept is to quantify environmental burdens imposed by individuals’ demand for water. An individual water footprint involves direct and indirect water usage that is associated with personal habits. Analytical results show that the most individual water consumption is highest along coastal areas, such as Kouhu and Taixi, and mountainous areas, such as Gukeng, Douliu, and Linnei. Furthermore, one-way ANOVA of individuals’ daily water footprint reveals that individual water footprints vary significantly among Douliu, Gukeng, and Mailiao. The mean daily water footprint per capita in Douliu and Gukeng significantly exceeds that in Mailiao. This study considers the location quotients of industries in these three townships, which indicate that the location quotients of the accommodation and food and beverage industries in Douliu and Gukeng significantly exceed those of Mailiao. The individual virtual water use that is associated with the aforementioned industries is large. Clearly, individual water use habits in townships are related to the industry type. Douliu and Gukeng are major centers of the tertiary industry, which has a higher location quotient than in Mailiao. Mailiao is a major center of manufacturing as a secondary industry. Therefore, flourishing regions with tertiary industries have high virtual water consumption. These findings suggest that personal water use habits can explain why personal water footprints are larger in Yunlin County than in other counties in Taiwan. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Farmers’ Perception of the Decade-Long Grazing Ban Policy in Northern China: A Case Study of Yanchi County
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1113; doi:10.3390/su8111113
Received: 16 May 2016 / Revised: 19 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 30 October 2016
PDF Full-text (918 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study analyzes farmers’ perception of grazing restriction policies, grassland environment and ecological management following the implementation of environmental protection policies in northern China. Understanding farmers’ attitudes and their causes will hopefully aid in the creation and execution of future policies. One hundred
[...] Read more.
This study analyzes farmers’ perception of grazing restriction policies, grassland environment and ecological management following the implementation of environmental protection policies in northern China. Understanding farmers’ attitudes and their causes will hopefully aid in the creation and execution of future policies. One hundred and thirty-five households were surveyed at three occasions over the course of a decade to explore the causes and processes of farmers’ perception. Farmers’ ecological awareness tends to be short term. In areas with a degraded environment, farmers were eager to implement policies to improve the environment and recognized the positive impact of the grazing ban policy (GBP). However, as conditions improved, farmers’ recognition and acceptance of the GBP became negative. Although farmers recognized the benefits of the GBP, they showed little awareness of the long-term process of environmental governance. As can be seen from the farmers’ ecological awareness and their attitudes toward the GBP, they are more inclined to value short-term economic interest than ecological protection. We suggest that good environmental protection policy must take into account the ecological and economic interests of farmers. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Preference Construction Processes for Renewable Energies: Assessing the Influence of Sustainability Information and Decision Support Methods
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1114; doi:10.3390/su8111114
Received: 25 July 2016 / Revised: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2759 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Sustainability information and decision support can be two important driving forces for making sustainable transitions in society. However, not enough knowledge is available on the effectiveness of these two factors. Here, we conducted an experimental study to support the hypotheses that acquisition of
[...] Read more.
Sustainability information and decision support can be two important driving forces for making sustainable transitions in society. However, not enough knowledge is available on the effectiveness of these two factors. Here, we conducted an experimental study to support the hypotheses that acquisition of sustainability information and use of decision support methods consistently construct preferences for renewable power generation technologies that use solar power, wind power, small-scale hydroelectric power, geothermal power, wood biomass, or biogas as energy sources. The sustainability information was prepared using a renewable energy-focused input-output model of Japan and contained life cycle greenhouse gas emissions, electricity generation costs, and job creation. We measured rank-ordered preferences in the following four steps in experimental workshops conducted for municipal officials: provision of (1) energy-source names; (2) sustainability information; (3) additional explanation of public value; and (4) knowledge and techniques about multi-attribute value functions. The degree of changes in preference orders was evaluated using Spearman’s rank correlation coefficient. The consistency of rank-ordered preferences among participants was determined by using the maximum eigenvalue for the coefficient matrix. The results show: (1) the individual preferences evolved drastically in response to the sustainability information and the decision support method; and (2) the rank-ordered preferences were more consistent during the preference construction processes. These results indicate that provision of sustainability information, coupled with decision support methods, is effective for decision making regarding renewable energies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Financial Development, Financial Structure, and Macroeconomic Volatility: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1116; doi:10.3390/su8111116
Received: 28 July 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
PDF Full-text (243 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using annual data from 1997–2014 of 30 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, subdividing trended and cyclical volatility of macroeconomics and inflation, considering different indicators of financial development and financial structure, this paper investigated the impact of financial development and financial structure on macroeconomic
[...] Read more.
Using annual data from 1997–2014 of 30 provinces, municipalities, and autonomous regions, subdividing trended and cyclical volatility of macroeconomics and inflation, considering different indicators of financial development and financial structure, this paper investigated the impact of financial development and financial structure on macroeconomic volatility. The empirical results found that (1) the trended and cyclical volatility of the previous macroeconomic period had a significantly positive impact on that of the current period, and the impact of trended volatility was greater than that of cyclical volatility; (2) financial development had a significantly negative impact on macroeconomic cyclical volatility through inflation cyclical volatility, but inflation trended volatility would amplify macroeconomic volatility; financial markets have no significant effect on macroeconomic volatility; financial structure measured with the ratio of stock market turnover and the efficiency of the financial development had a significant positive impact on macroeconomic cyclical volatility; and (3) inflation trended volatility had a significantly negative impact on macroeconomic cyclical volatility and trended volatility, while inflation cyclical volatility had a significantly positive impact on macroeconomic cyclical volatility. Full article
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Habitat Suitability of Dam Reservoirs: A Quantitative Model and Case Study of the Hantan River Dam, South Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1117; doi:10.3390/su8111117
Received: 21 August 2016 / Revised: 23 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2525 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The main objective of this study was to investigate ecologically healthy regions near a dam reservoir. This study developed a model for assessing habitat suitability as a proxy for the ecological value of reservoirs. Three main factors comprising nine assessment variables were selected
[...] Read more.
The main objective of this study was to investigate ecologically healthy regions near a dam reservoir. This study developed a model for assessing habitat suitability as a proxy for the ecological value of reservoirs. Three main factors comprising nine assessment variables were selected and classified as having a habitat suitability (HS) between 0 and 1: (1) geomorphic factors of altitude, slope steepness, and slope aspect; (2) vegetation factors of forest physiognomy, vegetation type, and tree age; and (3) ecological factors of land cover, ecological quality index, and environmental conservation value assessment. The spatial distribution of the nine HS indices was determined using geographic information systems and combined into one HS index value to determine ecologically healthy regions. The assessment model was applied to areas surrounding the Hantan River Dam, South Korea. To verify the model, wildlife location data from the national ecosystem survey of the Ministry of Environment were used. Areas with an HS index between 0.73 and 1 were found to contain 72% of observed wildlife locations. Ecologically healthy areas were identified by adding the indices of each variable. The methods shown here will be useful for establishing ecological restoration plans for dam reservoirs in South Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Wildlife Management)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Does Technology Transfer Help Small and Medium Companies? Empirical Evidence from Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1119; doi:10.3390/su8111119
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (236 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
We challenge the view that technology transfer from big companies to small and medium (SM) size companies helps SM companies to prosper. With a large dataset of SM companies in Korea, we utilize the stochastic production frontier (SPF) model to examine the productivity
[...] Read more.
We challenge the view that technology transfer from big companies to small and medium (SM) size companies helps SM companies to prosper. With a large dataset of SM companies in Korea, we utilize the stochastic production frontier (SPF) model to examine the productivity of inputs and the generalized linear model (GLM) to compare business performance between two groups of SM companies: SM companies that receive technology transfer and those that do not receive technology transfer from big companies. The empirical results demonstrate that the transfer of technology from big companies to SM companies help SM companies to enjoy productivity of capital. Nonetheless, SM companies receiving technology transfer were found to underperform in terms of labor productivity and profit margin compared to their counterparts. We further investigate the reasons why SM companies receiving technology transfer from big companies underperform relative to their counterparts, and our findings shows that the former do not export much of their product and face more difficulties such as lower price for their products imposed by big companies than the latter. By identifying the negative rather than the conventionally assumed positive effect of technology transfer, this paper contributes to the literature on the relationship between technology transfer and SM companies’ prosperity in the case of Korea. Our findings have important implications for how SM companies should strategize and rethink about the clauses embedded in the transfer of technology that they receive from big companies because technology transfer plays as a barrier to their prosperity. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Public Transport in Society—A Case Study of General Policy Documents in Sweden
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1120; doi:10.3390/su8111120
Received: 9 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
PDF Full-text (232 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The aim of this paper is to study how local governments in Sweden view the role of public transport in society, and to investigate how public transport is used in a strategic capacity. By studying general policy documents, the ambition is to gain
[...] Read more.
The aim of this paper is to study how local governments in Sweden view the role of public transport in society, and to investigate how public transport is used in a strategic capacity. By studying general policy documents, the ambition is to gain a wider understanding of the role of public transport based on the societal context it is situated in. Documents from 15 regions and 27 municipalities have been analysed by a qualitative content analysis. Results show that public transport is regarded as an important factor towards achieving other goals and other public values, particularly those related to economic and environmental issues; and that the social dimension is not as prioritised. Rail-bound public transport is often advocated, as are collaboration between organizations and integrated land-use and transport planning. However, the studied documents showed large overall differences in how counties and municipalities address public transport issues. It should be a priority in Sweden’s main steering documents to treat public transport consistently and give it the same priority as other societal functions—not least because Sweden’s treatment of public transport is a reasonable reflection of its overall society and can influence prioritisations and considerations in counties and municipalities across the country. Full article
Open AccessArticle Influence of Different Mowing Systems on Community Characteristics and the Compensatory Growth of Important Species of the Stipa grandis Steppe in Inner Mongolia
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1121; doi:10.3390/su8111121
Received: 13 May 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 7 September 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2597 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Stipa grandis steppe is a type of steppe in the Central Asian sub-region, and it is an important resource for livestock production in China. Mowing is one of the main management methods for this steppe. Verifying the response of the Stipa grandis
[...] Read more.
The Stipa grandis steppe is a type of steppe in the Central Asian sub-region, and it is an important resource for livestock production in China. Mowing is one of the main management methods for this steppe. Verifying the response of the Stipa grandis steppe communities to different mowing frequencies is essential for the rational utilization of pastures and the protection and recovery of natural steppe. In this study, we investigated the community characteristics and compensatory growth of important species of the Stipa grandis steppe community under four mowing frequencies (TAY: twice a year; OAY: once a year; OTY: once every other year; NM: no mowing/enclosure), and found that different frequencies of mowing significantly influenced the community characteristics and the compensatory growth of dominant plant species. In the enclosure, species density was significantly lower, and height and biomass were significantly greater than in the mowing treatments. At the beginning of the growing season, mowing had a significant impact on the individual miniaturization of Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides. Mowing also had a significant impact on the diversity of the community. The Shannon diversity index, the Pielou evenness index, and the richness index were higher under OTY than other mowing frequencies. Under different mowing frequencies, growth rates were significantly different after the aboveground portions were cut, while the levels of biomass were not significantly different. Stipa grandis, Leymus chinensis, and Anemarrhena asphodeloides had less compensatory height growth under OAY compared to the other treatments; however, there were no significant differences in the relative growth rates of the three species under different treatments. Stipa grandis exhibited equivalent compensatory height growth; both Leymus chinensis and Anemarrhena asphodeloides exhibited over-compensatory growth. Based on the results of community characteristics and the compensatory growth of the dominant species, mowing every other year is currently the most practical mowing system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication Thinking about Smart Cities: The Travels of a Policy Idea that Promises a Great Deal, but So Far Has Delivered Modest Results
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1122; doi:10.3390/su8111122
Received: 21 August 2016 / Revised: 2 October 2016 / Accepted: 21 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (200 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This communication explores the unique challenge of contemporary urban problems and the technologies that vendors have to solve them. An acknowledged gap exists between widely referenced technologies that city managers utilize to optimize scheduled operations and those that reflect the capability of spontaneity
[...] Read more.
This communication explores the unique challenge of contemporary urban problems and the technologies that vendors have to solve them. An acknowledged gap exists between widely referenced technologies that city managers utilize to optimize scheduled operations and those that reflect the capability of spontaneity in search of nuance–laden solutions to problems related to the reflexivity of entire systems. With regulation, the first issue type succumbs to rehearsed preparation whereas the second hinges on extemporaneous practice. One is susceptible to ready-made technology applications while the other requires systemic deconstruction and solution-seeking redesign. Research suggests that smart city vendors are expertly configured to address the former, but less adept at and even ill-configured to react to and address the latter. Departures from status quo responses to systemic problems depend on formalizing metrics that enable city monitoring and data collection to assess “smart investments”, regardless of the size of the intervention, and to anticipate the need for designs that preserve the individuality of urban settings as they undergo the transformation to become “smart”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Contextual and Dynamic Understanding of Sustainable Urbanisation)
Open AccessArticle Variation in Cropping Intensity in Northern China from 1982 to 2012 Based on GIMMS-NDVI Data
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1123; doi:10.3390/su8111123
Received: 18 July 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (16446 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Cropping intensity is an important indicator of the intensity of cropland use and plays a very important role in food security. In this study, we reconstructed a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time-series from 1982 to 2012 using the Savitzky-Golay (S-G) technique and
[...] Read more.
Cropping intensity is an important indicator of the intensity of cropland use and plays a very important role in food security. In this study, we reconstructed a normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) time-series from 1982 to 2012 using the Savitzky-Golay (S-G) technique and used it to derive a multiple cropping index (MCI) combined with land use data. Spatial–temporal patterns of variation in the MCI of northern China were as follows: (1) The MCI in northern China increased gradually from north-west to south-east; from 1982 to 2012, the mean cropping index across grid-cells over the study area increased by 4.36% per 10 years (p < 0.001) with fluctuations throughout the study period; (2) The mean MCI across grid-cells over the whole of northern China increased from 107% to 115% with all provinces showing an increasing trend throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Aside from Tianjin, Hebei, Beijing, and Shandong, all provinces also displayed an increasing trend between the 1990s and 2000s. Arable slope played an important role in the variation of the MCI; regions with slope ≤3° and the regions with slope >3° were characterized by inverse temporal MCI trends; (3) Drivers of change in the MCI were diverse and varied across different spatial and temporal scales; the MCI was affected by the changing agricultural population, deployment of food policies, and methods introduced for maximizing farmer benefits. For the protection of national food security, measures are needed to improve the MCI. However, more attention should also be given to the negative impacts that these measures may have on agricultural sustainability, such as soil pollution by chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Using Machine Learning in Environmental Tax Reform Assessment for Sustainable Development: A Case Study of Hubei Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1124; doi:10.3390/su8111124
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 29 October 2016 / Published: 1 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2387 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the past 30 year of economic growth, China has also accumulated a huge environmental pollution debt. China’s government attempts to use a variety of means, including tax instruments to control environmental pollution. After nine years of repeated debates, the State Council Legislative
[...] Read more.
During the past 30 year of economic growth, China has also accumulated a huge environmental pollution debt. China’s government attempts to use a variety of means, including tax instruments to control environmental pollution. After nine years of repeated debates, the State Council Legislative Affairs Office released the Environmental Protection Tax Law (Draft) in June 2015. As China’s first environmental tax law, whether this conservative “Environmental Fee to Tax (EFT)” reform could improve the environment has generated controversy. In this paper, we seek insights to this controversial issue using the machine learning approach, a powerful tool for environmental policy assessment. We take Hubei Province, the first pilot area as a case of EFT, and analyze the institutional incentive, behavior transformation and emission intensity reduction performance. Twelve pilot cities located in Hubei Province were selected to estimate the effect of the reform by using synthetic control and a rapid developing machine learning method for policy evaluation. We find that the EFT reform can promote emission intensity reduction. Especially, relative to comparable synthetic cities in the absence of the reform, the average annual emission intensity of Sulfur Dioxide (SO2) in the pilot cities dropped by 0.13 ton/million Yuan with a reduction rate of 10%–32%. Our findings also show that the impact of environmental tax reform varies across cities due to the administrative level and economic development. The results of our study are also supported by enterprise interviews. The EFT improves the overall environmental costs, and encourages enterprises to reduce emissions pollution. These results provide valuable experience and policy implications for the implementation of China’s Environmental Protection Tax Law. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Ecosystems and Society in the Context of Big and New Data)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Potentials and Limitations of Regional Organic Food Supply: A Qualitative Analysis of Two Food Chain Types in the Berlin Metropolitan Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1125; doi:10.3390/su8111125
Received: 9 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 2 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (733 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Regional food systems and organic agriculture are both considered more sustainable than the conventional, globalized food system they provide an alternative to. The emergence and expansion of alternative forms of food supply are influenced by various factors on different scales. Using the food
[...] Read more.
Regional food systems and organic agriculture are both considered more sustainable than the conventional, globalized food system they provide an alternative to. The emergence and expansion of alternative forms of food supply are influenced by various factors on different scales. Using the food systems approach we aim to study potentials and limitations of regional organic food supply in the Berlin metropolitan region (BMR). Based on the literature, we developed an analytical framework and identified determinants of regional organic food provision along the three major levels of the supply chain: agricultural production, food chain organization, and consumption. Then, we examined a qualitative case study with two different types of alternative food networks (A) organic community supported agriculture (CSA) and (B) organic retail trade. Factors that hinder or promote the provision of regional organic food were identified through qualitative interviews and assessed by regional stakeholders in a workshop. Our findings show that demand for regional organic food is higher than regional supply, which could offer good possibilities for organic farmers. However, actors in these two food chains need to overcome some obstacles, including limited access to land, increasing renting prices, insufficient processing capacities, and unsupportive political environment for organic farming. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue City Region Foodscapes)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Urban Scale Application of Solar PV to Improve Sustainability in the Building and the Energy Sectors of KSA
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1127; doi:10.3390/su8111127
Received: 31 July 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 24 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2916 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the largest country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in terms of population, geographic area, economy, and construction and utility infrastructure. The rapid growth of the building sector in general and residential buildings in particular
[...] Read more.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is the largest country in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region in terms of population, geographic area, economy, and construction and utility infrastructure. The rapid growth of the building sector in general and residential buildings in particular is creating huge energy and environmental challenges for the country. To address these problems and reduce its reliance on an oil-based energy infrastructure, the country aims to install 9.5 GW of renewable energy by 2030. Traditionally the emphasis has been on large-scale renewable projects. Globally, the recent success of solar energy has been significantly contributed by the application of photovoltaics (PV) in buildings. This is an area that has been overlooked in KSA. This study investigates the prospects of application of PV in buildings to improve the sustainability standards in the building and energy sectors of the country by considering the King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) as a case study. PVsyst and RetScreen software programs have been used to model the application of PV on building rooftops in KFUPM. The study also discusses the concerned policy. It is found that the rooftop application of PV can annually produce 37,746 MWh of electricity, meeting over 16% of the KFUPM’s total energy requirements. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Experimental and Analytical Studies on the Utilization of Biowastes Available in an Educational Institution in India
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1128; doi:10.3390/su8111128
Received: 13 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 30 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
PDF Full-text (4538 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The biowastes generated in an educational institution are not stable throughout the period of a year. Therefore, analytical and experimental studies were conducted to predict the quality and the quantity of biogas produced from wastes such as cow dung, rice waste, mixed rice
[...] Read more.
The biowastes generated in an educational institution are not stable throughout the period of a year. Therefore, analytical and experimental studies were conducted to predict the quality and the quantity of biogas produced from wastes such as cow dung, rice waste, mixed rice waste, and vegetable waste that were available in an educational institution. The study shows that the methane composition in the biogas throughout a year-long period, that includes both academic and non-academic schedules is between 52.28% and 58%, and it is suitable for any relevant application. It also could substitute 30% to 35% of Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) used in the campus. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle International Comparison of Total Factor Ecology Efficiency: Focused on G20 from 1999–2013
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1129; doi:10.3390/su8111129
Received: 8 August 2016 / Revised: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (358 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Little attention has been paid to international ecological efficiency, especially taking ecological footprint (EF), labor, and capital into account as multi-inputs to produce GDP in the total-factor framework. This study evaluates the total-factor ecological efficiency (TFEcE) of G20 during the period of 1999–2013
[...] Read more.
Little attention has been paid to international ecological efficiency, especially taking ecological footprint (EF), labor, and capital into account as multi-inputs to produce GDP in the total-factor framework. This study evaluates the total-factor ecological efficiency (TFEcE) of G20 during the period of 1999–2013 by employing slack-based measure (SBM) with EF as the index of comprehensive ecological inputs. Findings show that the average level of TFEcE of G20 from 1999 to 2013 is at a low level of about 0.54, which means there is a large space for the improvement of TFEcE. Furthermore, TFEcE of G20 is very imbalanced and there is a big gap between developed countries and developing countries in the G20. For the developing countries and developed countries in the G20, the analysis of factors that affect national TFEcE shows different statistical significance in the truncated regression model. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Superiority of Filtered Tailings Storage Facility to Conventional Tailings Impoundment in Southern Rainy Regions of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1130; doi:10.3390/su8111130
Received: 24 June 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (6045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In order to evaluate the superiority of a filtered tailings storage facility (FTSF) to conventional tailings impoundment in the southern rainy regions of China (SRRC), the tailings slurry leakage and pollution accident occurring at the wet tailings dam (WTD) of Yinshan were analyzed,
[...] Read more.
In order to evaluate the superiority of a filtered tailings storage facility (FTSF) to conventional tailings impoundment in the southern rainy regions of China (SRRC), the tailings slurry leakage and pollution accident occurring at the wet tailings dam (WTD) of Yinshan were analyzed, the properties of the tailings were tested in a laboratory, and the possibility of tailings liquefaction was evaluated. Comparisons of the slope stabilities of the filtered tailings dam (FTD) and WTD in normal operation, flood, continuous rainfall, and earthquake situations were simulated using the Slide software. The results show that the FTD has less chance of seepage, lower failure probability, and limited potential destructiveness than the WTD with average slope safety factors of 2.120 for normal operation, 1.919 for flooding, 1.204 for continuous rainfall, and 1.724 for a magnitude-6.0 earthquake. The disaster chain model of the WTD of Yinshan belongs to the bursting and slippage chain. As the most safe and effective active prevention measure, the FTSF has the advantages of saving water, protecting the environment, improving its stability in flood and rainfall situations, and reducing the dam failure probability and potential losses, which is greatly applicable to the SRRC. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication Bioactivity of Phycocolloids against the Mediterranean Protozoan Leishmania infantum: An Inceptive Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1131; doi:10.3390/su8111131
Received: 8 September 2016 / Revised: 23 October 2016 / Accepted: 27 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sulfated polysaccharides from marine macroalgae have been shown to possess a variety of biological activities against fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. In this study, the in vitro activity of algal polysaccharides against Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) was investigated. The polysaccharides were extracted from
[...] Read more.
Sulfated polysaccharides from marine macroalgae have been shown to possess a variety of biological activities against fungi, bacteria, viruses, and protozoa. In this study, the in vitro activity of algal polysaccharides against Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) was investigated. The polysaccharides were extracted from different macroalgae of the Mediterranean Sea: Chaetomorpha linum, Agardhiella subulata, Gracilaria viridis, Gracilaria bursa-pastoris, Hypnea cornuta, Sargassum muticum, and Undaria pinnatifida. Preliminary results showed a good anti-leishmanial activity of the investigated species, encouraging the focus on their use as natural resources in order to match integrated management strategies for the employment of local macroalgae. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Significant Factors Influencing Rural Residents’ Well-Being with Regard to Electricity Consumption: An Empirical Analysis in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1132; doi:10.3390/su8111132
Received: 21 September 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 3 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (261 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The electric universal service policy, which has been implemented for many years in China, aims to meet the basic electricity demands of rural residents. Electricity consumption can facilitate the daily life of rural residents, such as lighting and cooking, which are necessary to
[...] Read more.
The electric universal service policy, which has been implemented for many years in China, aims to meet the basic electricity demands of rural residents. Electricity consumption can facilitate the daily life of rural residents, such as lighting and cooking, which are necessary to their well-being. In practice, the well-being of rural residents due to electricity consumption is influenced by many factors. Therefore, to improve the well-being of rural residents, it is quite necessary to identify and optimize the significant factors that make the electric universal service policy play its prescribed role as well as possible. In this paper, the significant factors influencing rural residents’ well-being obtained from electricity consumption were identified and discussed by employing the Ordered Probit model. The results indicate that: (1) there are six significant factors, of which ‘educational level’, ‘health condition’, ‘each person income of a family per month’, and ‘service time of household appliances’ play positive roles in rural residents’ well-being, while ‘average power interruption times’ and ‘monthly electric charges’ have negative impacts; (2) for significant factors with positive roles, ‘educational level’ and ‘health condition’ show larger marginal effects on rural residents’ well-being; and (3) for significant factors with negative impacts, ‘average power interruption times’ has the greatest marginal effect. Finally, policy implications are proposed for improving rural residents’ well-being, which can also contribute to the effective implementation of the electric universal service policy in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Simulation of Sediment Yield in a Semi-Arid River Basin under Changing Land Use: An Integrated Approach of Hydrologic Modelling and Principal Component Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1133; doi:10.3390/su8111133
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 28 October 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3663 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Intensified human activities over the past decades have culminated in the prevalence of dire environmental consequences of sediment yield resulting mainly from land use changes. Understanding the role that land use changes play in the dynamics of sediment yield would greatly enhance decision-making
[...] Read more.
Intensified human activities over the past decades have culminated in the prevalence of dire environmental consequences of sediment yield resulting mainly from land use changes. Understanding the role that land use changes play in the dynamics of sediment yield would greatly enhance decision-making processes related to land use and water resources management. In this study, we investigated the impacts of land use and cover changes on sediment yield dynamics through an integrated approach of hydrologic modelling and principal component analysis (PCA). A three-phase land use scenario (2000, 2007 and 2013) employing the “fix-changing” method was used to simulate the sediment yield of the Olifants Basin. Contributions in the changes in individual land uses to sediment yield were assessed using the component and pattern matrixes of PCA. Our results indicate that sediment yield dynamics in the study area is significantly attributed to the changes in agriculture, urban and forested lands. Changes in agriculture and urban lands were directly proportional to sediment yield dynamics of the Olifants Basin. On the contrary, forested areas had a negative relationship with sediment yield indicating less sediment yield from these areas. The output of this research work provides a simplistic approach of evaluating the impacts of land use changes on sediment yield. The tools and methods used are relevant for policy directions on land and water resources planning and management. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Simplified Method of Optimal Sizing of a Renewable Energy Hybrid System for Schools
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1134; doi:10.3390/su8111134
Received: 10 June 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5175 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Schools are a suitable public building for renewable energy systems. Renewable energy hybrid systems (REHSs) have recently been introduced in schools following a new national regulation that mandates renewable energy utilization. An REHS combines the common renewable-energy sources such as geothermal heat pumps,
[...] Read more.
Schools are a suitable public building for renewable energy systems. Renewable energy hybrid systems (REHSs) have recently been introduced in schools following a new national regulation that mandates renewable energy utilization. An REHS combines the common renewable-energy sources such as geothermal heat pumps, solar collectors for water heating, and photovoltaic systems with conventional energy systems (i.e., boilers and air-source heat pumps). Optimal design of an REHS by adequate sizing is not a trivial task because it usually requires intensive work including detailed simulation and demand/supply analysis. This type of simulation-based approach for optimization is difficult to implement in practice. To address this, this paper proposes simplified sizing equations for renewable-energy systems of REHSs. A conventional optimization process is used to calculate the optimal combinations of an REHS for cases of different numbers of classrooms and budgets. On the basis of the results, simplified sizing equations that use only the number of classrooms as the input are proposed by regression analysis. A verification test was carried out using an initial conventional optimization process. The results show that the simplified sizing equations predict similar sizing results to the initial process, consequently showing similar capital costs within a 2% error. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Development of Social Intensity Database Using Asian International Input–Output Table for Social Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1135; doi:10.3390/su8111135
Received: 5 July 2016 / Revised: 15 September 2016 / Accepted: 21 September 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
PDF Full-text (6624 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The social impacts of products and service life cycles are increasingly of interest among policy makers and stakeholders. Workers’ issues are considered to be a source of key inventory data to assess social impacts, and are crucial in moving towards social sustainability. There
[...] Read more.
The social impacts of products and service life cycles are increasingly of interest among policy makers and stakeholders. Workers’ issues are considered to be a source of key inventory data to assess social impacts, and are crucial in moving towards social sustainability. There is a need to develop a social inventory database for evaluating social impacts of products and services. This study aimed at the development of a social intensity dataset using an input–output analysis framework. The 2005 Asian International input–output table is used in this work. Six social issues are considered: total employment, paid workers, vulnerable employment, wages, fatal, and non-fatal occupational injuries. To verify the acceptability of this study, an estimation of total social footprint deduced from final consumption rates was carried out. The social intensities associated with 10 countries and 76 economic sectors were constructed. The results show that the social intensities from cradle to gate the agricultural sector has the highest in terms of total employment and vulnerable employment. Meanwhile, the mining sector in China has a higher non-fatal and fatal occupational injuries than the agriculture sector, secondary sector, and tertiary sector. The public administration sector and the education and research sector had a higher wages intensity than any other sectors due to these sectors being labor intensive and having higher wages. The social intensity in terms of total employment, paid workers, vulnerable employment, non-fatal injuries, and fatal accident cases in the developing countries was higher than the developed countries whereas wages intensity in developing countries was lower than that of developed countries. The social footprints resulting from the final consumption of each country show that the social footprints had transferred from the developing countries to the developed countries. Exports from China to the USA, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore have a significant social impact in these countries. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle RSSI-Based Distance Estimation Framework Using a Kalman Filter for Sustainable Indoor Computing Environments
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1136; doi:10.3390/su8111136
Received: 18 October 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (4390 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Given that location information is the key to providing a variety of services in sustainable indoor computing environments, it is required to obtain accurate locations. Locations can be estimated by three distances from three fixed points. Therefore, if the distance between two points
[...] Read more.
Given that location information is the key to providing a variety of services in sustainable indoor computing environments, it is required to obtain accurate locations. Locations can be estimated by three distances from three fixed points. Therefore, if the distance between two points can be measured or estimated accurately, the location in indoor environments can be estimated. To increase the accuracy of the measured distance, noise filtering, signal revision, and distance estimation processes are generally performed. This paper proposes a novel framework for estimating the distance between a beacon and an access point (AP) in a sustainable indoor computing environment. Diverse types of received strength signal indications (RSSIs) are used for WiFi, Bluetooth, and radio signals, and the proposed distance estimation framework is unique in that it is independent of the specific wireless signal involved, being based on the Bluetooth signal of the beacon. Generally, RSSI measurement, noise filtering, and revision are required for distance estimation using RSSIs. The employed RSSIs are first measured from an AP, with multiple APs sometimes used to increase the accuracy of the distance estimation. Owing to the inevitable presence of noise in the measured RSSIs, the application of noise filtering is essential, and further revision is used to address the inaccuracy and instability that characterizes RSSIs measured in an indoor environment. The revised RSSIs are then used to estimate the distance. The proposed distance estimation framework uses one AP to measure the RSSIs, a Kalman filter to eliminate noise, and a log-distance path loss model to revise the measured RSSIs. In the experimental implementation of the framework, both a RSSI filter and a Kalman filter were respectively used for noise elimination to comparatively evaluate the performance of the latter for the specific application. The Kalman filter was found to reduce the accumulated errors by 8% relative to the RSSI filter. This confirmed the accuracy of the proposed distance estimation framework. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced IT based Future Sustainable Computing)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Variation of China’s State-Owned Construction Land Supply from 2003 to 2014
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1137; doi:10.3390/su8111137
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 4 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2726 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
State-owned construction land is the dominant legal land source for construction in China and its supply influences urban expansion, house prices, and economic development, among other factors. Surprisingly, limited attention has been directly devoted to the spatiotemporal variation in land supply or the
[...] Read more.
State-owned construction land is the dominant legal land source for construction in China and its supply influences urban expansion, house prices, and economic development, among other factors. Surprisingly, limited attention has been directly devoted to the spatiotemporal variation in land supply or the driving factors. This paper applied a centroid model and hotspot analysis, and created a newly increased construction land dependence-degree index (NCD) to present the spatiotemporal variations of China’s construction land supply magnitude and pattern from 2003 to 2014, using land supply data from 339 cities. A two-way fixed effect model was introduced to reveal the influence of the socio-economic driving factors. The results showed that China’s state-owned construction land supply area (CLSA) and newly increased construction land supply area (NCSA) both increased during the period from 2003 to 2014, the geographic centroid of CLSA and NCSA moved northwest. NCD showed an overall increasing trend, and hotspots with high NCD migrated from the east region to the west region and shifted from an “east hot and west cold” pattern in 2003 to an “east cold and west hot” pattern in 2014. The gross domestic product (GDP) has a U-shape effect on CLSA and NCD. The population, average annual wage of workers, and investment in fixed assets (fiv) have positive effects on CLSA, and fiv also has a positive effect on NCD. The increasing ratio of tertiary industry added value to secondary industry added value reduces CLSA and NCD, and the effects of state policies vary from year to year. Different land supply policies should be implemented for cities in different development stages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing the Transformation of Urban Infrastructures)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Applying Data Envelopment Analysis and Grey Model for the Productivity Evaluation of Vietnamese Agroforestry Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1139; doi:10.3390/su8111139
Received: 12 June 2016 / Revised: 10 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 5 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1592 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Agriculture and forestry play important roles in Vietnam, particularly as they contribute to the creation of food, conservation of forest resources, and improvement of soil fertility. Therefore, understanding the performances of relevant enterprises in this field contributes to the sustainable development of this
[...] Read more.
Agriculture and forestry play important roles in Vietnam, particularly as they contribute to the creation of food, conservation of forest resources, and improvement of soil fertility. Therefore, understanding the performances of relevant enterprises in this field contributes to the sustainable development of this country’s agroforestry industry. This research proposes a hybrid model, which includes a grey model (GM) and a Malmquist productivity index (MPI), to assess the performances of Vietnamese agroforestry enterprises over several time periods. After collecting the data of selected input and output variables for 10 Vietnam agroforestry enterprises in the period of 2011–2014, GM is used to forecast the future values of these input and output variables for the 10 agroforestry enterprises in 2015 and 2016. Following the results of GM, the MPI is used to measure the performance of these enterprises. The MPI scores showed some enterprises will become more efficient, while others will become less efficient. The proposed model gives past–present–future insights in order for decision-makers to sustain agroforestry development in Vietnam. This hybrid approach can be applied to performance analysis of other industries as well. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Integrating Big Data into a Sustainable Mobility Policy 2.0 Planning Support System
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1142; doi:10.3390/su8111142
Received: 9 September 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3938 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
It is estimated that each of us, on a daily basis, produces a bit more than 1 GB of digital content through our mobile phone and social networks activities, bank card payments, location-based positioning information, online activities, etc. However, the implementation of these
[...] Read more.
It is estimated that each of us, on a daily basis, produces a bit more than 1 GB of digital content through our mobile phone and social networks activities, bank card payments, location-based positioning information, online activities, etc. However, the implementation of these large data amounts in city assets planning systems still remains a rather abstract idea for several reasons, including the fact that practical examples are still very strongly services-oriented, and are a largely unexplored and interdisciplinary field; hence, missing the cross-cutting dimension. In this paper, we describe the Policy 2.0 concept and integrate user generated content into Policy 2.0 platform for sustainable mobility planning. By means of a real-life example, we demonstrate the applicability of such a big data integration approach to smart cities planning process. Observed benefits range from improved timeliness of the data and reduced duration of the planning cycle to more informed and agile decision making, on both the citizens and the city planners end. The integration of big data into the planning process, at this stage, does not have uniform impact across all levels of decision making and planning process, therefore it should be performed gradually and with full awareness of existing limitations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Design and Implementation of a Microgrid Energy Management System
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1143; doi:10.3390/su8111143
Received: 15 August 2016 / Revised: 6 October 2016 / Accepted: 20 October 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2485 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A microgrid is characterized by the integration of distributed energy resources and controllable loads in a power distribution network. Such integration introduces new, unique challenges to microgrid management that have never been exposed to traditional power systems. To accommodate these challenges, it is
[...] Read more.
A microgrid is characterized by the integration of distributed energy resources and controllable loads in a power distribution network. Such integration introduces new, unique challenges to microgrid management that have never been exposed to traditional power systems. To accommodate these challenges, it is necessary to redesign a conventional Energy Management System (EMS) so that it can cope with intrinsic characteristics of microgrids. While many projects have shown excellent research outcomes, they have either tackled portions of the characteristics or validated their EMSs only via simulations. This paper proposes a Microgrid Platform (MP), an advanced EMS for efficient microgrid operations. We design the MP by taking into consideration (i) all the functional requirements of a microgrid EMS (i.e., optimization, forecast, human–machine interface, and data analysis) and (ii) engineering challenges (i.e., interoperability, extensibility, and flexibility). Moreover, a prototype system is developed and deployed in two smart grid testbeds: UCLA Smart Grid Energy Research Center and Korea Institute of Energy Research. We then conduct experiments to verify the feasibility of the MP design in real-world settings. Our testbeds and experiments demonstrate that the MP is able to communicate with various energy devices and to perform an energy management task efficiently. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Grid)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Using a VGI and GIS-Based Multicriteria Approach for Assessing the Potential of Rural Tourism in Extremadura (Spain)
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1144; doi:10.3390/su8111144
Received: 18 September 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 7 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (13738 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Extremadura (Spain), being one of the less-developed EU regions, is also eligible for European funds, including those related with the development of tourism activities in rural areas. To assess the spatial distribution of rural tourism potential (RTP), a methodological approach was followed by
[...] Read more.
Extremadura (Spain), being one of the less-developed EU regions, is also eligible for European funds, including those related with the development of tourism activities in rural areas. To assess the spatial distribution of rural tourism potential (RTP), a methodological approach was followed by combining the synergetic use of geographic information systems (GIS) and the analytical hierarchical process (AHP). For the evaluation model, six factors were examined and hierarchized by a panel of eighteen experts: tourism accommodation offer, activities in natural areas, gastronomic offer, cultural activities, bath offer in natural environments, and activities in active tourism. These factors were then decomposed into thirty-two evaluation criteria and the relative importance of their weights was estimated using pairwise judgments. Using publicly available data and volunteered geographic information (VGI) platforms, the related spatial and non-spatial data were collected, collated, and standardized, employing appropriate tools developed with open-source GIS software. The results, represented by a series of intensity maps, indicate the RTP scores, highlight the strengths and weaknesses in each county, and could serve as a planning tool for public and/or private investments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainability of Culture and Heritage)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Using Food Flow Data to Assess Sustainability: Land Use Displacement and Regional Decoupling in Quintana Roo, Mexico
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1145; doi:10.3390/su8111145
Received: 17 September 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food flow data provide unique insights into the debates surrounding the sustainability of land based production and consumption at multiple scales. Trade flows disguise the spatial correspondence of production and consumption and make their connection to land difficult. Two key components of this
[...] Read more.
Food flow data provide unique insights into the debates surrounding the sustainability of land based production and consumption at multiple scales. Trade flows disguise the spatial correspondence of production and consumption and make their connection to land difficult. Two key components of this spatial disjuncture are land use displacement and economic regional decoupling. By displacing the environmental impact associated with food production from one region to another, environmental trajectories can falsely appear to be sustainable at a particular site or scale. When regional coupling is strong, peripheral areas where land based production occurs are strongly linked and proximate to consumption centers, and the environmental impact of production activities is visible. When food flows occur over longer distances, regional coupling weakens, and environmental impact is frequently overlooked. In this study, we present an analysis of a locally collected food flow dataset containing agricultural and livestock products transported to and from counties in Quintana Roo (QRoo). QRoo is an extensively forested border state in southeast Mexico, which was fully colonized by the state and non-native settlers only in the last century and now is home to some of the major tourist destinations. To approximate land displacement and regional decoupling, we decompose flows to and from QRoo by (1) direction; (2) product types and; (3) scale. Results indicate that QRoo is predominantly a consumer state: incoming flows outnumber outgoing flows by a factor of six, while exports are few, specialized, and with varied geographic reach (Yucatan, south and central Mexico, USA). Imports come predominantly from central Mexico. Local production in QRoo accounts for a small portion of its total consumption. In combining both subsets of agricultural and livestock products, we found that in most years, land consumption requirements were above 100% of the available land not under conservation in QRoo, suggesting unsustainable rates of land consumption in a ´business as usual´ scenario. We found evidence of economic regional decoupling at the state level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land and Food Policy)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Human Impact on Vegetation Dynamics around Lhasa, Southern Tibetan Plateau, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1146; doi:10.3390/su8111146
Received: 13 September 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5170 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Human impact plays an increasing role on vegetation change even on the Tibetan Plateau, an area that is commonly regarded as an ideal place to study climate change. We evaluate the nature and extent of human impact on vegetation dynamics by the comparison
[...] Read more.
Human impact plays an increasing role on vegetation change even on the Tibetan Plateau, an area that is commonly regarded as an ideal place to study climate change. We evaluate the nature and extent of human impact on vegetation dynamics by the comparison of two areas: the relative highly populated Lhasa area and a nearby less populated Lhari County. Our results indicate that human impact has mainly decreased vegetation greenness within 20 km of the urban area and major constructions during 1999–2013. However, the impact of human activities in a relatively large area is still minor and does not reverse the major trends of vegetation dynamics caused by the warming temperature in recent decades. It seems that the impact of anthropogenic factors on the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) trend is more apparent in the Lhasa area than in Lhari County. The major anthropogenic driving factor for vegetation browning in the Lhasa area is livestock number, while the factors, including the number of rural laborers and artificial forest areas, are positively correlated with the annual NDVI increase. The similar relationship between the annual NDVI and driving factors appeared in Lhari County, except for artificial forest areas. The warming temperature and the change in precipitation played dominant roles on vegetation greening in Lhari County than that in the Lhasa area. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Carbon Footprint of Inbound Tourism to Iceland: A Consumption-Based Life-Cycle Assessment including Direct and Indirect Emissions
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1147; doi:10.3390/su8111147
Received: 25 June 2016 / Revised: 31 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (990 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by tourism have been studied from several perspectives, but few studies exist that include all direct and indirect emissions, particularly those from aviation. In this study, an input/output-based hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) method is developed to assess
[...] Read more.
The greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions caused by tourism have been studied from several perspectives, but few studies exist that include all direct and indirect emissions, particularly those from aviation. In this study, an input/output-based hybrid life-cycle assessment (LCA) method is developed to assess the consumption-based carbon footprint of the average tourist including direct and indirect emissions. The total inbound tourism-related GHG emissions are also calculated within a certain region. As a demonstration of the method, the full carbon footprint of an average tourist is assessed as well as the total GHG emissions induced by tourism to Iceland over the period of 2010–2015, with the presented approach applicable in other contexts as well. Iceland provides an interesting case due to three features: (1) the tourism sector in Iceland is the fastest-growing industry in the country with an annual growth rate of over 20% over the past five years; (2) almost all tourists arrive by air; and (3) the country has an almost emissions-free energy industry and an import-dominated economy, which emphasise the role of the indirect emissions. According to the assessment, the carbon footprint for the average tourist is 1.35 tons of CO2-eq, but ranges from 1.1 to 3.2 tons of CO2-eq depending on the distance travelled by air. Furthermore, this footprint is increasing due to the rise in average flight distances travelled to reach the country. The total GHG emissions caused by tourism in Iceland have tripled from approximately 600,000 tons of CO2-eq in 2010 to 1,800,000 tons in 2015. Aviation accounts for 50%–82% of this impact (depending on the flight distance) underlining the importance of air travel, especially as tourism-related aviation is forecasted to grow significantly in the near future. From a method perspective, the carbon footprinting application presented in the study would seem to provide an efficient way to study both the direct and indirect emissions and to provide new insights and information to enable the development of appropriate GHG mitigation policies in the tourism sector. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Rural Economy and Bioethanol Production
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1148; doi:10.3390/su8111148
Received: 30 August 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 8 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2484 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biofuels are considered part of the potential sources of mitigation for the serious threat of global warming, by reducing human reliance on oil imported from unsafe sources at ever increasing costs. For the classic fuel supplier countries, biofuels are a source for the
[...] Read more.
Biofuels are considered part of the potential sources of mitigation for the serious threat of global warming, by reducing human reliance on oil imported from unsafe sources at ever increasing costs. For the classic fuel supplier countries, biofuels are a source for the future, as local materials are used in their production. They generate jobs for the local population and do not require the importation of costly equipment and relevant expertise. A pioneer in the use of biofuels, Brazil has eliminated all oil imports and become energy independent. Recognising the positive effects of biofuel use, the EU and other countries are rapidly developing potential sources of their own biofuels. One of these sources could be agricultural cultures that are able to be developed under optimum conditions by endorsing and using modern and sustainable means and techniques in the rural economy. The sustainable use of the resources and the maintenance of the ecosystems in a good working order claims both the protection of the environment itself and the success of the farmers via the provision of fertility and productivity of the agricultural ecosystems, which will give them the leverage of competitiveness on the market and food safety in the long term. The paper herein intends to point out at a sustainable manner of having the economy’s engine function—i.e., agriculture—by means of advocating for the efficient use of the resources within the farms and their associations, along with the support for the transition to a low-carbon economy, thanks to the progress in the bioethanol production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Economics and the Regional Sustainable Economic Growth)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Continuation of Health Behaviors: Psychosocial Factors Sustaining Drinking Water Chlorination in a Longitudinal Study from Chad
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1149; doi:10.3390/su8111149
Received: 11 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Behavior that has changed following promotion campaigns is usually not maintained at its initial level. Psychosocial factors for initiating behavior are often not the same as for the continuation of health behaviors such as water treatment and are much less understood. Better knowledge
[...] Read more.
Behavior that has changed following promotion campaigns is usually not maintained at its initial level. Psychosocial factors for initiating behavior are often not the same as for the continuation of health behaviors such as water treatment and are much less understood. Better knowledge of factors for behavioral continuation would help to improve programs, both in the design of strategies for sustainable behavior change and by defining stronger criteria for the evaluation of sustainability. This study compared the mindsets of caregivers who continuously performed household drinking water treatment over time with individuals that stopped doing so in a population sample from Chad. Several factors from health psychology based on the Risks, Attitudes, Norms, Abilities, and Self-Regulation (RANAS) model were used to compare the two groups and examine their differing development. Normative factors such as others’ behavior, personal obligation, social support and discourse, perceived self-efficacy convictions, action control, and intention best discriminated between the two groups and developed significantly more positively over time for continuers of water treatment. These factors should be considered when designing future interventions intended to lead to sustainable behavior change. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Energetic Valorization of Wet Olive Mill Wastes through a Suitable Integrated Treatment: H2O2 with Lime and Anaerobic Digestion
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1150; doi:10.3390/su8111150
Received: 17 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 5 November 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
PDF Full-text (1240 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the Mediterranean region, the disposal of residues of olive oil industries represents an important environmental issue. In recent years, many techniques were proposed to improve the characteristics of these wastes with the aim to use them for methane generation in anaerobic digestion
[...] Read more.
In the Mediterranean region, the disposal of residues of olive oil industries represents an important environmental issue. In recent years, many techniques were proposed to improve the characteristics of these wastes with the aim to use them for methane generation in anaerobic digestion processes. Nevertheless, these techniques, in many cases, result costly as well as difficult to perform. In the present work, a simple and useful process that exploits H2O2 in conjunction with lime is developed to enhance the anaerobic biodegradability of wet olive mill wastes (WMOW). Several tests were performed to investigate the influence of lime amount and H2O2 addition modality. The treatment efficiency was positively affected by the increase of lime dosage and by the sequential addition of hydrogen peroxide. The developed process allows reaching phenols abatements up to 80% and volatile fatty acids productions up to 90% by using H2O2 and Ca(OH)2 amounts of 0.05 gH2O2/gCOD and 35 g/L, respectively. The results of many batch anaerobic digestion tests, carried out by means of laboratory equipment, proved that the biogas production from fresh wet olive mill wastes is hardly achievable. On the contrary, organic matter abatements, around to 78%, and great methane yields, up to 0.34–0.35 LCH4/gCODremoved, were obtained on pretreated wastes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Energy Conversion)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Development and Evaluation of Applicable Optimal Terminal Box Control Algorithms for Energy Management Control Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1151; doi:10.3390/su8111151
Received: 16 August 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 25 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
PDF Full-text (4207 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Common energy management control systems (EMCS) in building HVAC systems could be made much more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort. Most researchers have focused on implementing optimal control algorithms in Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems with EMC functions. Previous studies have paid little
[...] Read more.
Common energy management control systems (EMCS) in building HVAC systems could be made much more energy efficient without sacrificing comfort. Most researchers have focused on implementing optimal control algorithms in Variable Air Volume (VAV) systems with EMC functions. Previous studies have paid little attention to using terminal box EMC functions integrated with main AHU (Air Handling Unit) systems. Terminal boxes with EMCS may cause occupant discomfort and waste excessive energy if they do not have the proper operation control functions. The objective of this study is to evaluate the impact of energy consumption and estimate building energy savings on the optimal minimum air flow of single duct VAV terminal boxes and develop applicable optimal terminal box control algorithms for EMCS. This paper presents a dynamic model of a VAV terminal box with hydronic reheat, develops optimal terminal box control algorithms and applies the developed EMCS algorithms to an actual building. The results of this study show that optimal terminal box control algorithms can stably maintain the set room air temperature and reduce energy consumption for varying heating loads compared to conventional control algorithms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle How to Assess Market Readiness for an Innovative Solution: The Case of Heat Recovery Technologies for SMEs
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1152; doi:10.3390/su8111152
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 12 September 2016 / Accepted: 10 October 2016 / Published: 9 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The uptake of solutions that increase energy efficiency is significantly lower for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is due to several barriers, among which legislation, motivation, finance and other resources play a large role. In this paper, we describe a framework of
[...] Read more.
The uptake of solutions that increase energy efficiency is significantly lower for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). This is due to several barriers, among which legislation, motivation, finance and other resources play a large role. In this paper, we describe a framework of market readiness and use it to assess the asymmetry between existing solutions and opportunities in the market. The aim is to identify which steps can be taken in order to introduce more energy optimizations into SMEs, and who should be taking those steps. More specifically, we explore how four Danish SMEs, in different parts of the value chain in the food processing industry, view energy efficiency improvements, focusing on the potential reuse of waste heat, along with what they consider important for taking on such projects. The findings show that while the companies operate very differently, they share common motivations and barriers when it comes to energy efficiency. Based on these findings, this paper argues that the biggest advancements are not to be made within the SMEs, but partly through the legislation that affects the financial benefits of energy improvement solutions, and through the marketing approach that solution suppliers take towards their potential customers when addressing the inherently individual needs of SMEs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-innovation and Competitiveness)
Open AccessArticle A Meta-Model of Inter-Organisational Cooperation for the Transition to a Circular Economy
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1153; doi:10.3390/su8111153
Received: 15 June 2016 / Revised: 22 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (401 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transition to a circular economy bodes well for a future of environmentally sustainable growth and economic development. The implications and advantages of a shift to a circular economy have been extensively demonstrated by the literature on the subject. What has not been
[...] Read more.
The transition to a circular economy bodes well for a future of environmentally sustainable growth and economic development. The implications and advantages of a shift to a circular economy have been extensively demonstrated by the literature on the subject. What has not been sufficiently investigated is how this paradigm can be enabled through the inter-organisational cooperation among different business enterprises. In order to illustrate this point, in this paper we aim to contribute to the circular economy debate by describing and discussing such a meta-model of inter-organisational cooperation. The present study is therefore based on the analysis of three cases from an equal number of industries, from which we identified factors of potential impact for the stimulation of cooperation in a circular economy perspective. Last, but not least, we discuss the relations between the case studies and try to formulate all possible implications for both managers and research. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Spatial-Temporal Changes of Soil Organic Carbon Content in Wafangdian, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1154; doi:10.3390/su8111154
Received: 21 September 2016 / Revised: 5 November 2016 / Accepted: 6 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2682 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in soil fertility and the global carbon cycle. A better understanding of spatial-temporal changes of SOC content is essential for soil resource management, emission studies, and carbon accounting. In this study, we used a boosted
[...] Read more.
Soil organic carbon (SOC) plays an important role in soil fertility and the global carbon cycle. A better understanding of spatial-temporal changes of SOC content is essential for soil resource management, emission studies, and carbon accounting. In this study, we used a boosted regression trees (BRT) model to map distributions of SOC content in the topsoil (0–20 cm) and evaluated its temporal dynamics from 1990–2010 in Wafangdian City, northeast of China. A set of 110 (1990) and 127 (2010) soil samples were collected and nine environment variables (including topography and vegetation) were used. A 10-fold cross-validation was used to evaluate model performance as well as predictive uncertainty. Accuracy assessments showed that R2 of 0.53 and RMSE (Root-mean-square error) of 9.7 g∙kg−1 for 1990, and 0.55, and 5.2 g∙kg−1 for 2010. Elevation and NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) were the two important variables affecting SOC distribution. Results showed that mean SOC content decreased from 19 ± 14 to 18 ± 8 g∙kg−1 over a 20 year period. The maps of SOC represented a decreasing trend from south to north across the study area in both periods. Rapid urbanization and land-use changes were accountable for declining SOC levels. We believe predicted maps of SOC can help local land managers and government agencies to evaluate soil quality and assess carbon sequestration potential and carbon credits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Metropolitan Residents’ Preferences and Willingness to Pay for a Life Zone Forest for Mitigating Heat Island Effects during Summer Season in Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1155; doi:10.3390/su8111155
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
PDF Full-text (2687 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Coupled with green house effects, the urban heat island is occurring more frequently, and thus is becoming a serious social problem. In order to elicit policy implications, the current study assesses the economic values on the heat island-mitigating functions of urban forest through
[...] Read more.
Coupled with green house effects, the urban heat island is occurring more frequently, and thus is becoming a serious social problem. In order to elicit policy implications, the current study assesses the economic values on the heat island-mitigating functions of urban forest through choice experiments. The analytical results suggest that metropolitan city residents’ utility can be increased by raising the size of life zone forests which is comprised of street trees, parks in residential regions, and small forests in school zones. The derived marginal willingness to pay for the life zone forests suggest that the respondents are willing to pay $56.68–76.59 for every increase of the urban forest by 1 m2. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Assessing the Recreation Value of Urban Woodland Using the Ecosystem Service Approach in Two Forests in the Munich Metropolitan Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1156; doi:10.3390/su8111156
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 2 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
PDF Full-text (1556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recreation is considered an important ecosystem services (ES) in urban woodlands and puts pressure on other ES. Visitor management strategies can be tools to safeguard biodiversity and ES. On-site data are necessary to evaluate the demand for outdoor recreation opportunities in urban woodlands,
[...] Read more.
Recreation is considered an important ecosystem services (ES) in urban woodlands and puts pressure on other ES. Visitor management strategies can be tools to safeguard biodiversity and ES. On-site data are necessary to evaluate the demand for outdoor recreation opportunities in urban woodlands, but also for providing more reliable values for monetization as a basis for multifunctional forest management, and for raising awareness for the importance of urban proximate forests. Such information can also be used for the assessment and monetization of socio-cultural ES, and hence, contribute to developing market-based mechanisms or to promoting these ES. In our paper, we demonstrate methods to describe recreational demand by collecting data from interviews and using camera traps in two forests in the north of Munich for visitor counting. Visitor numbers in the forests were much greater than rough estimations; visitors also had quite long travelling distances to the forests. Jogging or Nordic walking were proven to be important recreational activities. In some of the monitored locations, almost half of the recreationists carried out these sports. Depending on the method chosen, the calculative monetary value of recreation reached up to 15,440 Euro per hectare per year. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Consumers’ Sense of Farmers’ Markets: Tasting Sustainability or Just Purchasing Food?
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1157; doi:10.3390/su8111157
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 2 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (774 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable food consumption has attracted widespread attention over the last decades by scholars, policy makers and consumers. In line with this, farmers’ markets (FMs) have the potential to encourage sustainable agricultural production and consumption. By reducing the number of actors and distances along
[...] Read more.
Sustainable food consumption has attracted widespread attention over the last decades by scholars, policy makers and consumers. In line with this, farmers’ markets (FMs) have the potential to encourage sustainable agricultural production and consumption. By reducing the number of actors and distances along the food chain, these alternative food systems foster the reconnection between farmers and consumers and contribute to different social, economic and environmentally sustainable goals. This paper provides insights into how consumers’ sustainability concerns are related to their motivation for shopping at FMs. By means of a choice experiment, we analyze the determinants of consumers’ preferences for buying apples at FMs. We are particularly interested in understanding how attitudes towards the three sustainability dimensions are related to consumer preferences in this context. We find that consumer attitudes towards direct contact with producers, contributing to farmers’ income, and environmental benefits, can be directly related to product characteristics that are specific to FMs. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Systematic Approach to Identify Promising New Items for Small to Medium Enterprises: A Case Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1158; doi:10.3390/su8111158
Received: 27 August 2016 / Revised: 25 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (3134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the growing importance of identifying new business items for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), most previous studies focus on conglomerates. The paucity of empirical studies has also led to limited real-life applications. Hence, this study proposes a systematic approach to find new
[...] Read more.
Despite the growing importance of identifying new business items for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), most previous studies focus on conglomerates. The paucity of empirical studies has also led to limited real-life applications. Hence, this study proposes a systematic approach to find new business items (NBIs) that help the prospective SMEs develop, evaluate, and select viable business items to survive the competitive environment. The proposed approach comprises two stages: (1) the classification of diversification of SMEs; and (2) the searching and screening of business items. In the first stage, SMEs are allocated to five groups, based on their internal technological competency and external market conditions. In the second stage, based on the types of SMEs identified in the first stage, a set of alternative business items is derived by combining the results of portfolio analysis and benchmarking analysis. After deriving new business items, a market and technology-driven matrix analysis is utilized to screen suitable business items, and the Bruce Merrifield-Ohe (BMO) method is used to categorize and identify prospective items based on market attractiveness and internal capability. To illustrate the applicability of the proposed approach, a case study is presented. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Achieving Successful River Restoration in Dense Urban Areas: Lessons from Taiwan
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1159; doi:10.3390/su8111159
Received: 23 July 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (15542 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A paradigm shift in river management practice is underway, from a hard engineering-dominated emphasis that endeavours to control water, to a multi-functionality-framed approach that strives to restore a river’s ecology, scenery and ecosystem services. In Taiwan, the Laojie River in Taoyuan City, where
[...] Read more.
A paradigm shift in river management practice is underway, from a hard engineering-dominated emphasis that endeavours to control water, to a multi-functionality-framed approach that strives to restore a river’s ecology, scenery and ecosystem services. In Taiwan, the Laojie River in Taoyuan City, where a channelized and piped urban river was recently transformed into an accessible, linear green infrastructure feature, is widely regarded as the first extensive and successful river restoration project in Taiwan’s densely-urbanized, flood-prone areas, yet its actual performance is rarely examined in any depth. Through in-depth interviews, fieldwork and a review of government documents, this paper presents findings on the practical factors involved in the practice of river restoration and their implications for urban river management. First, local people support river restoration with de-culverting, but potential flooding is a concern that results from different flood-risk perceptions and ineffective flood-risk communication between the government and public. Second, a mix of hard and soft edges to the watercourse improves the riverside landscapes in a densely-urban, flood-prone area. Third, due to a lack of basin-wide supporting sanitary sewer systems, a combination of on-site gravel contact oxidation treatment systems and riverside sewage-intercepting facilities still fails to improve the river water quality. Fourth, people’s positive attitudes towards river restoration are largely associated with landscape aesthetics and recreational value, rather than water quality and biodiversity. It is revealed that using the Cheonggyecheon Stream in South Korea as a frame for river restoration seems effective in providing local people with an example of successful river restoration, based mainly on flood prevention and recreational and aesthetic improvement. Moreover, the effective flood-risk communication is mainly reliant on an intelligible presentation of related information to the general public. Practical, continuous and extensive public participation, with various types of involvement and resources along with a solid system of social objectives by which to assess the outcome, is central to the social aspect of river restoration. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle How Attractive Is Upland Olive Groves Landscape? Application of the Analytic Hierarchy Process and GIS in Southern Spain
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1160; doi:10.3390/su8111160
Received: 10 August 2016 / Revised: 26 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (5485 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The upland olive groves of Andalusia (Southern Spain) are an example of fragile landscape from an ecological point of view. The wildfire and soil erosion risks that can result in the desertification of the area are the main components of fragility. This paper
[...] Read more.
The upland olive groves of Andalusia (Southern Spain) are an example of fragile landscape from an ecological point of view. The wildfire and soil erosion risks that can result in the desertification of the area are the main components of fragility. This paper focuses on the visual quality assessment of this agricultural system as a mean to their economic and environmental sustainability. The case study is represented by the upland olive groves of the municipality of Montoro where rural tourism is an important economic activity. We carried out a personal interview survey on 480 citizens to determine their visual preferences regarding three representative types of olive plantation landscape to be transferred to landscape level through a Geographical Information Systems (GIS). The Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) multicriteria decision-making technique was the method used to derive preferences from the survey. The results suggest that olive farming systems with grass vegetation cover between the trees are the preferred landscape type (0.42), followed very closely by the non-productive olive groves (0.41). The conventional olive farming system was the least preferred landscape (0.17). The visual quality map presents five categories, revealing that most of the olive groves in the study area belong to the very low visual quality category (93% of the total area). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land and Food Policy)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Factors Affecting Green Supply Chain Operational Performance of the Thai Auto Parts Industry
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1161; doi:10.3390/su8111161
Received: 20 September 2016 / Revised: 16 October 2016 / Accepted: 3 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, operational performance in the green supply chain management (SCM) of the Thai auto parts industry was investigated. A green supply chain performance measurement (GSPM) model was developed from the combination of various concepts including an SCM logistics scorecard, a supply
[...] Read more.
In this work, operational performance in the green supply chain management (SCM) of the Thai auto parts industry was investigated. A green supply chain performance measurement (GSPM) model was developed from the combination of various concepts including an SCM logistics scorecard, a supply chain operations reference model, a balance scorecard, and green supply chain management. The GSPM has been designed for use as a self-evaluation tool focusing on five decisive areas, or factors, and 28 sub-factors. A factor analysis was conducted using the survey results of the GSPM in order to identify significant factors that represent the green supply chain operation performance. Grouped as three major factors, namely green procurement, green transportation, and green manufacturing; reverse logistics and eco-design; and reuse and recycle of manufacturing, their significance and impact on the auto parts industry in Thailand were highlighted. Specifically, the factor of green procurement, green transportation, and green manufacturing, as major factor 1, in relation with the factor of reverse logistics and eco-design, as major factor 2, were found to have a strong positive relationship with the asset turnover ratio. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessCommunication Grazing Exclusion to Recover Degraded Alpine Pastures Needs Scientific Assessments across the Northern Tibetan Plateau
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1162; doi:10.3390/su8111162
Received: 11 October 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (2253 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The northern Tibetan Plateau is the most traditional and important semi-nomadic region in Tibet. The alpine vegetation is sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and human activities, and is also important as an ecological security in protecting the headwaters of major rivers in
[...] Read more.
The northern Tibetan Plateau is the most traditional and important semi-nomadic region in Tibet. The alpine vegetation is sensitive and vulnerable to climate change and human activities, and is also important as an ecological security in protecting the headwaters of major rivers in Asia. Therefore, the Tibetan alpine grasslands have fundamental significance to both Mainland China and South Asia. The pasture degradation, however, likely threatens the livelihood of residents and the habitats of wildlife on this plateau. Since 2004, the government has launched a series of ecological restoration projects and economic compensatory payment polices. Many fences were additionally built on degraded pastures to prevent new degradation, to promote functionality recovery, and to balance the stocking rate with forage productivity. The grazed vs. fenced paired pastures across different zonal grassland communities along evident environmental gradients provide us with a natural comparative experiment platform to test the relative contributions of natural and anthropogenic factors. This study critically reviews the background, significance of and debates on short-term grazing exclusion with fences in this region. We also aim to figure out scientific and standardized workflows for assessing the effectiveness of grazing exclusion and compensatory payments in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Methodology for Monitoring Sustainable Development of Isolated Microgrids in Rural Communities
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1163; doi:10.3390/su8111163
Received: 1 July 2016 / Revised: 30 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
PDF Full-text (5688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Microgrids are a rapidly evolving and increasingly common form of local power generation used to serve the needs of both rural and urban communities. In this paper, we present a methodology to evaluate the evolution of the sustainability of stand-alone microgrids projects. The
[...] Read more.
Microgrids are a rapidly evolving and increasingly common form of local power generation used to serve the needs of both rural and urban communities. In this paper, we present a methodology to evaluate the evolution of the sustainability of stand-alone microgrids projects. The proposed methodology considers a composite sustainability index (CSI) that includes both positive and negative impacts of the operation of the microgrid in a given community. The CSI is constructed along environmental, social, economic and technical dimensions of the microgrid. The sub-indexes of each dimension are aggregated into the CSI via a set of adaptive weighting factors, which indicate the relative importance of the corresponding dimension in the sustainability goals. The proposed methodology aims to be a support instrument for policy makers especially when defining sound corrective measures to guarantee the sustainability of small, isolated microgrid projects. To validate the performance of the proposed methodology, a microgrid installed in the northern part of Chile (Huatacondo) has been used as a benchmarking project. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Energetic Sustainability Using Renewable Energies in the Mediterranean Sea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1164; doi:10.3390/su8111164
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 6 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 10 November 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (2611 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The paper is focused on the analysis of the electrical energy sector in the Maltese islands, focusing on the employment of Renewable Energies in order to increase its energy independence. The main renewable source here proposed is wave energy: thanks to its strategic
[...] Read more.
The paper is focused on the analysis of the electrical energy sector in the Maltese islands, focusing on the employment of Renewable Energies in order to increase its energy independence. The main renewable source here proposed is wave energy: thanks to its strategic position, Malta will be able to generate electrical energy through the use of an innovative type of Wave Energy Converter (WEC) based on the prototype of linear generator designed and developed by the University of Palermo. This new technology will be able to cut down the electrical energy production from traditional power plants and, consequently, the greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Wave energy source and off-shore photovoltaic (PV) technology are proposed here. Particularly, the installation of 18 wave farms, for a total installed capacity of 130 MW, will generate about 5.7% of Malta’s energy requests in 2025, while the installation of 60 MW of off-shore PV will generate about 4.4%. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle A Pro-Environmental Reasoned Action Model for Measuring Citizens’ Intentions regarding Ecolabel Product Usage
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1165; doi:10.3390/su8111165
Received: 8 August 2016 / Revised: 29 September 2016 / Accepted: 4 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (928 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecolabel products are one approach towards environmental sustainability. Ecolabel programs have been socialized by governments all over the world to reduce environmental harm caused by the daily life cycles of the products that citizens use. The present study was aimed at measuring citizens’
[...] Read more.
Ecolabel products are one approach towards environmental sustainability. Ecolabel programs have been socialized by governments all over the world to reduce environmental harm caused by the daily life cycles of the products that citizens use. The present study was aimed at measuring citizens’ behavior intention (BI) regarding ecolabel product usage. An extended theory of reasoned action (TRA), namely that of pro-environmental reasoned action (PERA), is used as the predictor model. A total of 213 questionnaire data, collected from citizens of Indonesia, was analyzed using structural equation modeling. The analysis results show that the PERA model is able to describe 68% of citizens’ BI regarding ecolabel product usage. The analysis results also reveal that attitude is a key determinant factor. Several practical suggestions based on the results can be used as input for policy makers and company management to consider in their efforts to increase citizens’ BI to use ecolabel products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Productivity Growth-Accounting for Undesirable Outputs and Its Influencing Factors: The Case of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1166; doi:10.3390/su8111166
Received: 24 May 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 1 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
PDF Full-text (235 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Presently, China’s social development is facing the dilemma of supporting economic growth and reducing emissions. Therefore, it is crucial to analyse productivity growth and examine its relationship with influencing factors in China. This study evaluated the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of 30
[...] Read more.
Presently, China’s social development is facing the dilemma of supporting economic growth and reducing emissions. Therefore, it is crucial to analyse productivity growth and examine its relationship with influencing factors in China. This study evaluated the total factor productivity (TFP) growth of 30 provinces in China by adopting the Malmquist-Luenberger (ML) productivity index and incorporating undesirable outputs from 2011–2014. Then, a Tobit regression model was employed to explore the factors that influence China’s TFP growth. The results show that the average annual growth of the Malmquist-Luenberger productivity index was lower than that of the traditional Malmquist (M) productivity index growth during the research period. The findings reveal several key conclusions: First, the true TFP growth in China will be overestimated if undesirable outputs are ignored. Second, technical changes are the main contributor to TFP growth. Third, there are huge regional disparities of productivity growth in China. Fourth, coal intensity, environmental regulations, and industrial structure have significantly negative effects on productivity growth, while real per capita gross domestic product (GDP) and foreign direct investment (FDI) have strongly positive effects on productivity growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Monitoring and Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Lightweight Design Solutions in the Automotive Field: Environmental Modelling Based on Fuel Reduction Value Applied to Diesel Turbocharged Vehicles
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1167; doi:10.3390/su8111167
Received: 25 August 2016 / Revised: 28 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1282 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A tailored model for the assessment of environmental benefits achievable by “light-weighting” in the automotive field is presented. The model is based on the Fuel Reduction Value (FRV) coefficient, which expresses the Fuel Consumption (FC) saving involved by a 100 kg mass reduction.
[...] Read more.
A tailored model for the assessment of environmental benefits achievable by “light-weighting” in the automotive field is presented. The model is based on the Fuel Reduction Value (FRV) coefficient, which expresses the Fuel Consumption (FC) saving involved by a 100 kg mass reduction. The work is composed of two main sections: simulation and environmental modelling. Simulation modelling performs an in-depth calculation of weight-induced FC whose outcome is the FRV evaluated for a wide range of Diesel Turbocharged (DT) vehicle case studies. Environmental modelling converts fuel saving to impact reduction basing on the FRVs obtained by simulations. Results show that for the considered case studies, FRV is within the range 0.115–0.143 and 0.142–0.388 L/100 km × 100 kg, respectively, for mass reduction only and powertrain adaptation (secondary effects). The implementation of FRVs within the environmental modelling represents the added value of the research and makes the model a valuable tool for application to real case studies of automotive lightweight LCA. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Optimization of Cellulase and Xylanase Production by Micrococcus Species under Submerged Fermentation
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1168; doi:10.3390/su8111168
Received: 24 August 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1400 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper reports on the optimization of culture conditions for cellulase and xylanase production by bacterial isolate from lignocellulosic biomass. The bacterial isolate was screened for cellulase and xylanase production on carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) and birch wood xylan as substrates, respectively. One
[...] Read more.
This paper reports on the optimization of culture conditions for cellulase and xylanase production by bacterial isolate from lignocellulosic biomass. The bacterial isolate was screened for cellulase and xylanase production on carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC) and birch wood xylan as substrates, respectively. One bacterial isolate showing the highest halo zone diameter (isolate PLY1) was selected for detailed studies. The analysis of the 16S ribosomal ribonucleic acid (rRNA) gene nucleotide sequence of PLY1 revealed it to have 98% similarity to Micrococcus luteus strain Fse9 and the sequence was deposited in the GenBank as Micrococcus luteus strain SAMRC-UFH3 with accession number KU171371. Cellulase production was achieved in the presence of CMC (1% w/v) under an incubation temperature of 25 °C (198 U/mL), pH 5 (173 U/mL), agitation speed 50 rpm (173 U/mL) and incubation period of 96 h (102 U/mL). Xylanase was produced maximally when birch wood xylan (1% w/v) was used as the substrate at 25 °C (1007 U/mL), pH 10 (2487 U/mL), 200 rpm (1814 U/mL), and under an incubation period of 84 h (1296 U/mL). Our findings showed that Micrococcus sp. SAMRC-UFH3 appears to be a potentially important candidate for lignocellulosic waste degradation and other relevant industrial applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Solid Waste Management)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Marketing Green Fertilizers: Insights into Consumer Preferences
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1169; doi:10.3390/su8111169
Received: 21 July 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 11 November 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (237 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In an effort to support the long-term viability of the bioenergy industry through an end market for digestate, we investigated purchasing preferences for fertilizer product features in the home gardening market. We conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE), presenting 504 respondents with a
[...] Read more.
In an effort to support the long-term viability of the bioenergy industry through an end market for digestate, we investigated purchasing preferences for fertilizer product features in the home gardening market. We conducted a discrete choice experiment (DCE), presenting 504 respondents with a total of 6048 product attribute choices in a simulated context that replicated the tradeoff decisions made in the real marketplace. We analyzed the choice data using a hierarchical Bayes estimate to generate part-worth utilities for fertilizer product attributes. We then conducted a latent class analysis to identify market segments that could be expected to respond to differentiated product design strategies. We were able to quantify both purchasing preferences for fertilizer product attributes as well as the importance of each attribute to the perceived utility of a product. We were further able to identify five distinct market segments that make clear the potential for differentiated strategies in the home gardening market. We found both negative and positive price sensitivities, with sociodemographically distinct subgroups that favored low-, mid-, and high-priced products. We also found purchasing preferences for brand status, product labeling and nutrient values. Our results provide insights that should help product managers in the biogas industry develop marketing strategies to integrate digestate into a sustainable energy production system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Designing Sustainable Public Transportation: Integrated Optimization of Bus Speed and Holding Time in a Connected Vehicle Environment
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1170; doi:10.3390/su8111170
Received: 1 August 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 7 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Developing public transportation and giving priority to buses is a feasible solution for improving the level of public transportation service, which facilitates congestion alleviation and prevention, and contributes to urban development and city sustainability. This paper presents a novel bus operation control strategy
[...] Read more.
Developing public transportation and giving priority to buses is a feasible solution for improving the level of public transportation service, which facilitates congestion alleviation and prevention, and contributes to urban development and city sustainability. This paper presents a novel bus operation control strategy including both holding control and speed control to improve the level of service of transit systems within a connected vehicle environment. Most previous work focuses on optimization of signal timing to decrease the bus signal delay by assuming that holding control is not applied; the speed of buses is given as a constant input and the acceleration and deceleration processes of buses can be neglected. This paper explores the benefits of a bus operation control strategy to minimize the total cost, which includes bus signal delay, bus holding delay, bus travel delay, acceleration cost due to frequent stops and intense driving. A set of formulations are developed to explicitly capture the interaction between bus holding control and speed control. Experimental analysisand simulation tests have shown that the proposed integrated operational model outperforms the traditional control, speed control only, or holding control only strategies in terms of reducing the total cost of buses. The sensitivity analysis has further demonstrated the potential effectiveness of the proposed approach to be applied in a real-time bus operation control system under different levels of traffic demand, bus stop locations, and speed limits. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle On the Acceptance and Sustainability of Renewable Energy Projects—A Systems Thinking Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1171; doi:10.3390/su8111171
Received: 26 September 2016 / Revised: 8 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2184 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rapid population growth and increasing concern related to improving the living standards in impoverished communities without damaging the natural environment have drawn attention to the adoption of renewable energy systems (RES) around the world. Despite this global trend, the implementation of these projects
[...] Read more.
Rapid population growth and increasing concern related to improving the living standards in impoverished communities without damaging the natural environment have drawn attention to the adoption of renewable energy systems (RES) around the world. Despite this global trend, the implementation of these projects has not succeeded completely in rural poor communities due to several factors, including social barriers faced at the time of their execution. These social barriers lead to poor acceptance of the projects and their consequent abandonment. Acceptance is a social construct that is influenced by several factors that need to be understood to achieve successful and sustainable results in the future. In this paper, we develop a conceptual model, based on principles of sustainability and systems thinking, to understand the interrelationships among the main factors that have been reported in the literature as key to determining the sustainability and community acceptance of RES projects. To do so, we review the existing literature on sustainability and social acceptance of RES and then construct a causal-loop diagram of their driving factors. While doing so, we also view the problem through the lens of the sustainable livelihoods framework, aiming to maintain the perspective of rural communities and observing the impacts of RES on their contextual reality. The resulting model helps to understand the multiple interactions that RES projects have with rural communities as well as identify potential intervention points for future projects. We end the paper with a discussion of the implications of the model and how can it be used to inform future rural energy decision making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Computational Fluid Dynamic Modelling of Thermal Periodic Stabilized Regime in Passive Buildings
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1172; doi:10.3390/su8111172
Received: 30 September 2016 / Revised: 27 October 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 12 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (25426 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The periodic stabilized regime is the condition where the temperature of each point of a certain environment varies following a periodic law. This phenomenon occurs in many practical applications, such as passive or ancient buildings not equipped with Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning
[...] Read more.
The periodic stabilized regime is the condition where the temperature of each point of a certain environment varies following a periodic law. This phenomenon occurs in many practical applications, such as passive or ancient buildings not equipped with Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning HVAC systems and located in latitudes where the temperature greatly varies with Earth’s daily cycles. Despite that, the study of transient phenomena is often simplified, i.e., considering negligible the thermal response of the indoor microclimate. An exact solution to enclosures whose microclimate is free to evolve under a periodic stabilized regime does not exist nowadays, also from an analytical point of view. The aim of this study is to parametrically analyze the thermal variations inside a room when a transient periodic temperature is applied on one side. The phenomenon has been numerically studied through Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and analytically validated using a function that reproduces the daily variation of the outdoor temperature. The results of this research would lay the groundwork to develop analytical correlations to solve and predict the thermal behavior of environments subject to a periodic stabilized regime. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Does Firms’ Innovation Promote Export Growth Sustainably?—Evidence from Chinese Manufacturing Firms
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1173; doi:10.3390/su8111173
Received: 22 September 2016 / Revised: 1 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
PDF Full-text (4490 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent theoretical analysis and empirical studies have emphasized that firms’ innovation could significantly improve export growth. However, the positive effect of innovation on exports is likely to change due to unstable domestic offsetting for innovation and increasing worldwide competition for trade. This study
[...] Read more.
Recent theoretical analysis and empirical studies have emphasized that firms’ innovation could significantly improve export growth. However, the positive effect of innovation on exports is likely to change due to unstable domestic offsetting for innovation and increasing worldwide competition for trade. This study aims to explore the dynamic link between them. We first develop a theoretical model between innovation and export growth based on the theory of heterogeneity. Export growth is measured through the dimensions of extensive margin and intensive margin so as to better investigate the effect of innovation on export performance. The propositions of mechanism analysis reveal that the effect of innovation on exports is non-linear rather than sustainable. An empirical study is followed to test the propositions by using data from a representative panel of Chinese manufacturing firms. Consistent with the theoretical predictions, the results show an inverted U-shaped relationship between innovation and extensive margin and a U-shaped relationship between innovation and intensive margin. The non-linear relations are verified by a threshold effect test. Further study shows less innovation and more firms on the left side of the relation curves. The distribution suggests irregular innovation ability among the exporters. Moreover, the role of innovation is more important for export growth and the corresponding threshold is higher in terms of high technological sectors. The contribution of this study is to introduce a comprehensive framework to investigate the dynamic effect of innovation on export growth, serving as a modest spur to induce the following studies to explore the sustainability of innovation effect. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Land Degradation Monitoring in the Ordos Plateau of China Using an Expert Knowledge and BP-ANN-Based Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1174; doi:10.3390/su8111174
Received: 26 September 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 13 November 2016
PDF Full-text (4544 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Land degradation monitoring is of vital importance to provide scientific information for promoting sustainable land utilization. This paper presents an expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach to detect and monitor land degradation in an effort to overcome the deficiencies of image classification and vegetation
[...] Read more.
Land degradation monitoring is of vital importance to provide scientific information for promoting sustainable land utilization. This paper presents an expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach to detect and monitor land degradation in an effort to overcome the deficiencies of image classification and vegetation index-based approaches. The proposed approach consists of three generic steps: (1) extraction of knowledge on the relationship between land degradation degree and predisposing factors, which are NDVI and albedo, from domain experts; (2) establishment of a land degradation detecting model based on the BP-ANN algorithm; and (3) land degradation dynamic analysis. A comprehensive analysis was conducted on the development of land degradation in the Ordos Plateau of China in 1990, 2000 and 2010. The results indicate that the proposed approach is reliable for monitoring land degradation, with an overall accuracy of 91.2%. From 1990–2010, a reverse trend of land degradation is observed in Ordos Plateau. Regions with relatively high land degradation dynamic were mostly located in the northeast of Ordos Plateau. Additionally, most of the regions have transferred from a hot spot of land degradation to a less changed area. It is suggested that land utilization optimization plays a key role for effective land degradation control. However, it should be highlighted that the goals of such strategies should aim at the main negative factors causing land degradation, and the land use type and its quantity must meet the demand of population and be reconciled with natural conditions. Results from this case study suggest that the expert knowledge and BP-ANN-based approach is effective in mapping land degradation. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Dynamic Coupling Analysis of Urbanization and Water Resource Utilization Systems in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1176; doi:10.3390/su8111176
Received: 23 August 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 15 November 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1455 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
While urbanization brings economic and social benefits, it also causes water pollution and other environmental ecological problems. This paper provides a theoretical framework to quantitatively analyze the dynamic relationship between water resource utilization and the process of urbanization. Using data from Jiangsu province,
[...] Read more.
While urbanization brings economic and social benefits, it also causes water pollution and other environmental ecological problems. This paper provides a theoretical framework to quantitatively analyze the dynamic relationship between water resource utilization and the process of urbanization. Using data from Jiangsu province, we first construct indices to evaluate urbanization and water resource utilization. We then adopt an entropy model to examine the correlation between urbanization and water resource utilization. In addition, we introduce a dynamic coupling model to analyze and predict the coupling degree between urbanization and water resource utilization. Our analyses show that pairing with rising urbanization during 2002–2014, the overall index of water resource utilization in Jiangsu province has experienced a “decline -rise-decline” trend. Specifically, after the index of water resource utilization reached its lowest point in 2004, it gradually began to rise. Water resource utilization reached its highest value in 2010. The coupling degree between urbanization and water resource utilization was relatively low in 2002 and 2003 varying between −90° and 0°. It has been rising since then. Out-of-sample forecasts indicate that the coupling degree will reach its highest value of 74.799° in 2016, then will start to gradually decline. Jiangsu province was chosen as our studied area because it is one of the selected pilot provinces for China’s economic reform and social development. The analysis of the relationship between provincial water resource utilization and urbanization is essential to the understanding of the dynamic relationship between these two systems. It also serves as an important input for developing national policies for sustainable urbanization and water resource management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Grassland and Wheat Loss Affected by Corn and Soybean Expansion in the Midwest Corn Belt Region, 2006–2013
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1177; doi:10.3390/su8111177
Received: 31 August 2016 / Revised: 7 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
PDF Full-text (11210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increases in agricultural commodity price triggered by ethanol production and other socioeconomic conditions have dramatically affected land uses and agronomic practices in the U.S. This study used crop-specific land cover data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to analyze agricultural expansion and
[...] Read more.
Increases in agricultural commodity price triggered by ethanol production and other socioeconomic conditions have dramatically affected land uses and agronomic practices in the U.S. This study used crop-specific land cover data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to analyze agricultural expansion and crop rotation pattern from 2006 to 2013 in the Midwest Corn Belt (MWCB): nine states including Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Ohio, and South Dakota. We identified a total of 3.9 million acres’ grassland loss between 2007 and 2012. The net loss of grassland occurred mainly along the western MWCB, an area with competing demand for limited water supply. Net conversion of grassland to corn or soybean is likely the result of a resumption of cropping on lands previously enrolled under the USDA Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), as well as expansion beyond CRP lands. Wheat, small grains, and other crops were also impacted by corn and soybean expansion. The amount of corn planted on corn increased by 23% between 2006 and 2013, whereas the amount of continuous soybean cropping fluctuated over time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land and Food Policy)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle How Do Mega Projects Alter the City to Be More Sustainable? Spatial Changes Following the Seoul Cheonggyecheon Restoration Project in South Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1178; doi:10.3390/su8111178
Received: 27 September 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 9 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
PDF Full-text (11077 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban megaprojects change the city in various ways over a long period of time. These changes may be very clear and calculable, but it is the changes that follow which are unpredictable and extensive. Especially in fast-changing cities like Seoul, Korea, projects like
[...] Read more.
Urban megaprojects change the city in various ways over a long period of time. These changes may be very clear and calculable, but it is the changes that follow which are unpredictable and extensive. Especially in fast-changing cities like Seoul, Korea, projects like the Cheonggyecheon Restoration have massive effects on the surrounding environment. The purpose of this study is to analyze the spatial changes in the downtown area after the Cheonggycheon Restoration Project (2005). The economic; social, and physical effect and the outcome of the restoration project have been studied before the restoration, but the actual changes that occurred afterwards were understudied. Since subsequent spatial changes in the surrounding area occur over a long period, continuous observation on the physical effects should be made. Thus, unlike most studies that focus on the immediate before and after effect of the Cheonggycheon Restoration Project, this study focuses on the ten years of physical changes that followed the restoration. The study covers roughly fourteen large blocks, which were divided into seven categories based on current land use and the historical background of the city form. Physical changes of newly-built buildings, the number of renovations or building extensions, and socio-spatial changes, such as the rise and fall of urban industries, changes in building use, and overall changes in the characteristic of the blocks, were analyzed in accordance with their historical development of the city form. Commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Cheonggyecheon Restoration project, this study provides a better understanding of the overall effect of the project. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Carbon Emission Mitigation Potentials of Different Policy Scenarios and Their Effects on International Aviation in the Korean Context
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1179; doi:10.3390/su8111179
Received: 11 July 2016 / Revised: 9 November 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (4216 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this study is to seek better policy options for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in Korea’s international aviation industry by analyzing economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness with a system dynamics (SD) model. Accordingly, we measured airlines sales and CO2
[...] Read more.
The objective of this study is to seek better policy options for greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction in Korea’s international aviation industry by analyzing economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness with a system dynamics (SD) model. Accordingly, we measured airlines sales and CO2 emission reductions to evaluate economic efficiency and environmental effectiveness, respectively, for various policies. The results show that the average carbon emission reduction rates of four policies compared to the business-as-usual (BAU) scenario between 2015 and 2030 are 4.00% (Voluntary Agreement), 7.25% (Emission Trading System or ETS-30,000), 8.33% (Carbon Tax or CT-37,500), and 8.48% (Emission Charge System or EC-30,000). The average rate of decrease in airline sales compared to BAU for the ETS policy is 0.1% at 2030. Our results show that the ETS approach is the most efficient of all the analyzed CO2 reduction policies in economic terms, while the EC approach is the best policy to reduce GHG emissions. This study provides a foundation for devising effective response measures pertaining to GHG reduction and supports decision making on carbon tax and carbon credit pricing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Monitoring and Sustainable Development)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Characterizing and Assessing the Agricultural Land Use Intensity of the Beijing Mountainous Region
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1180; doi:10.3390/su8111180
Received: 26 May 2016 / Revised: 17 October 2016 / Accepted: 31 October 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
PDF Full-text (3542 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recently, land use and land cover change have received increased attention, and an approach is required that can assess agricultural land use intensity on a general basis. This study demonstrated the usefulness of a tool for characterizing and assessing agricultural land use intensity
[...] Read more.
Recently, land use and land cover change have received increased attention, and an approach is required that can assess agricultural land use intensity on a general basis. This study demonstrated the usefulness of a tool for characterizing and assessing agricultural land use intensity in Beijing mountainous region. An emergy analysis and principal component analysis (PCA) were adopted to obtain agricultural input and output intensity data. Correlation and regression analyses were used to study the relationship among land capability, agricultural input, output intensity, and agricultural system sustainability. Ultimately, the agricultural land use intensity types in the Beijing mountainous region were identified through a cluster analysis. The results produced five indices of agricultural input intensity and five indices of output intensity. Non-renewable energy was the overwhelming input, and grain, meat, eggs, and vegetables were the major outputs of the agricultural system. The results also showed that there was better natural land quality, higher input intensity, greater output intensity, and lower agricultural system sustainability. Eight types of agricultural intensity were classified and assessed, and they may be used to evaluate and monitor sustainable land use and provide baseline measurements of land use intensity for land use analyses and change detection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in the Mountains Region)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Different Biomass Feedstock Electricity Generation Systems
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1181; doi:10.3390/su8111181
Received: 19 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
PDF Full-text (659 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper evaluates life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of different biomass feedstock categories (agriculture residues, dedicated energy crops, forestry, industry, parks and gardens, wastes) independently on biomass-only (biomass as a standalone fuel) and cofiring (biomass used in combination with
[...] Read more.
This paper evaluates life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the use of different biomass feedstock categories (agriculture residues, dedicated energy crops, forestry, industry, parks and gardens, wastes) independently on biomass-only (biomass as a standalone fuel) and cofiring (biomass used in combination with coal) electricity generation systems. The statistical evaluation of the life cycle GHG emissions (expressed in grams of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt hour, gCO2e/kWh) for biomass electricity generation systems was based on the review of 19 life cycle assessment studies (representing 66 biomass cases). The mean life cycle GHG emissions resulting from the use of agriculture residues (N = 4), dedicated energy crops (N = 19), forestry (N = 6), industry (N = 4), and wastes (N = 2) in biomass-only electricity generation systems are 291.25 gCO2e/kWh, 208.41 gCO2e/kWh, 43 gCO2e/kWh, 45.93 gCO2e/kWh, and 1731.36 gCO2e/kWh, respectively. The mean life cycle GHG emissions for cofiring electricity generation systems using agriculture residues (N = 10), dedicated energy crops (N = 9), forestry (N = 9), industry (N = 2), and parks and gardens (N = 1) are 1039.92 gCO2e/kWh, 1001.38 gCO2e/kWh, 961.45 gCO2e/kWh, 926.1 gCO2e/kWh, and 1065.92 gCO2e/kWh, respectively. Forestry and industry (avoiding the impacts of biomass production and emissions from waste management) contribute the least amount of GHGs, irrespective of the biomass electricity generation system. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle The Delimitation of Urban Growth Boundaries Using the CLUE-S Land-Use Change Model: Study on Xinzhuang Town, Changshu City, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1182; doi:10.3390/su8111182
Received: 16 July 2016 / Revised: 20 October 2016 / Accepted: 12 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (13045 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Over the past decades, urban growth boundaries (UGBs) have been regarded as effective tools applied by planners and local governments to curb urban sprawl and guide urban smart growth. The UGBs help limit urban development to suitable areas and protect surrounding agricultural and
[...] Read more.
Over the past decades, urban growth boundaries (UGBs) have been regarded as effective tools applied by planners and local governments to curb urban sprawl and guide urban smart growth. The UGBs help limit urban development to suitable areas and protect surrounding agricultural and ecological landscapes. At present, China’s Town and Country Planning Act officially requires the delimitation of UGBs in a city master planning outline and in central urban area planning. However, China’s practices in UGBs are usually determined by urban planners and local authorities, and lack a sound analytical basis. Consequently, Chinese UGBs are often proven to be inefficient for controlling urban expansion. In this paper, take the fast-growing Xinzhuang town of Changshu city, eastern China as an example, a new method towards establishing UGBs is proposed based on land-use change model (the Conversion of Land Use and its Effects at Small regional extent, CLUE-S). The results of our study show that the land-use change and urban growth simulation accuracy of CLUE-S model is high. The expansion of construction land and the decrease of paddy field would be the main changing trends of local land use, and a good deal of cultivated land and ecological land would be transformed into construction land in 2009–2027. There is remarkable discordance in the spatial distribution between the simulated UGBs based on the CLUE-S model and the planned UGBs based on the conventional method, where the simulated results may more closely reflect the reality of urban growth laws. Therefore, we believe that our method could be a useful planning tool for the delimitation of UGBs in Chinese cities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Ecosystems and Society in the Context of Big and New Data)
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Assessment of Reclamation Treatments of Abandoned Farmland in an Arid Region of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1183; doi:10.3390/su8111183
Received: 24 July 2016 / Revised: 10 November 2016 / Accepted: 10 November 2016 / Published: 16 November 2016
PDF Full-text (4820 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text