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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 3 (March 2016)

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Open AccessArticle The Vietnamese State and Administrative Co-Management of Nature Reserves
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030292
Received: 18 September 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (634 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Vietnamese government has introduced co-management in its national system of special-use forests (SUFs) to improve the effectiveness of nature and biodiversity conservation. One of the major challenges is to allow flexibility and local adaptability of co-management coordinated by SUF management boards within
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The Vietnamese government has introduced co-management in its national system of special-use forests (SUFs) to improve the effectiveness of nature and biodiversity conservation. One of the major challenges is to allow flexibility and local adaptability of co-management coordinated by SUF management boards within the overall still-rigid structure of vertical state networks. Using a critical institutional perspective, this paper examines the influence of the vertical and horizontal linkages that underline the form and function of SUF co-management. Data is presented from a nation-wide survey of 113 SUFs, 22 random in-depth interviews, and four in-depth case studies of SUFs. The results show that the success of co-management in centralized states like Vietnam depends on the greater devolution of allocative power from central to district governments to facilitate horizontal networked collaboration with local communities. Yet the results also indicate that the central state maintains an important role in setting the conditions that allow for the success of these networked collaborations. Based on these findings the conclusions reflect on the need to further develop a critical institutional approach for understanding the purpose, interests, and resources of co-management in the context of centralized states. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparative Study on Sustainability in Architectural Education in Asia—With a Focus on Professional Degree Curricula
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 290; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030290
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1036 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry toward a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. Asia is the continent with the highest population growth and the fastest urbanization rate on earth. It is necessary to educate
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Architectural education is a key factor in the re-thinking of the whole industry toward a system of more sustainable buildings and cities. Asia is the continent with the highest population growth and the fastest urbanization rate on earth. It is necessary to educate professionals with a well-balanced and integrated knowledge of local issues and global standards. This paper focuses on education for sustainable architecture in Asian countries. This is an exploratory study, analyzing the curricula of 20 selected influential schools in 11 countries. Sustainability-related courses are identified, classified and summarized in qualitative tables (course matrix) and in quantitative graphs. The analysis helps to identify trends and regional or individual uniqueness. The results show that sustainability education is organized in very diverse ways, according to contents, intensity and sequence. The percentages of sustainable courses range from less than 5% to 25%. Technology-related courses are the most numerous and homogeneous. Sustainability design studios show the greatest variation, from zero to almost 100%. General theory courses help in dealing with sustainability issues through traditional and vernacular philosophies, technologies and strategies that are very adequate to their geographical and cultural settings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Sustainability Performance for Public-Private-Partnership (PPP) Projects
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 289; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030289
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (1928 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving sustainability performance in developing infrastructure projects is an important strategy for pursuing the mission of sustainable development. In recent years, the business model of public-private-partnership (PPP) is promoted as an effective approach in developing infrastructure projects. It is considered that the distribution
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Improving sustainability performance in developing infrastructure projects is an important strategy for pursuing the mission of sustainable development. In recent years, the business model of public-private-partnership (PPP) is promoted as an effective approach in developing infrastructure projects. It is considered that the distribution of the contribution on project investment between private and public sectors is one of the key variables affecting sustainability performance of PPP-type projects. This paper examines the impacts of the contribution distribution between public and private sectors on project sustainability performance. A model named the sustainability performance-based evaluation model (SPbEM) is developed for assisting the assessment of the level of sustainability performance of PPP projects. The study examines the possibility of achieving better sustainability through proper arrangement of the investment distribution between the two primary sectors in developing PPP-type infrastructure projects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Finite Element Simulation of Total Nitrogen Transport in Riparian Buffer in an Agricultural Watershed
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030288
Received: 10 February 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
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Abstract
Riparian buffers can influence water quality in downstream lakes or rivers by buffering non-point source pollution in upstream agricultural fields. With increasing nitrogen (N) pollution in small agricultural watersheds, a major function of riparian buffers is to retain N in the soil. A
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Riparian buffers can influence water quality in downstream lakes or rivers by buffering non-point source pollution in upstream agricultural fields. With increasing nitrogen (N) pollution in small agricultural watersheds, a major function of riparian buffers is to retain N in the soil. A series of field experiments were conducted to monitor pollutant transport in riparian buffers of small watersheds, while numerical model-based analysis is scarce. In this study, we set up a field experiment to monitor the retention rates of total N in different widths of buffer strips and used a finite element model (HYDRUS 2D/3D) to simulate the total N transport in the riparian buffer of an agricultural non-point source polluted area in the Liaohe River basin. The field experiment retention rates for total N were 19.4%, 26.6%, 29.5%, and 42.9% in 1,3,4, and 6m-wide buffer strips, respectively. Throughout the simulation period, the concentration of total N of the 1mwide buffer strip reached a maximum of 1.27 mg/cm3 at 30 min, decreasing before leveling off. The concentration of total N about the 3mwide buffer strip consistently increased, with a maximum of 1.05 mg/cm3 observed at 60 min. Under rainfall infiltration, the buffer strips of different widths showed a retention effect on total N transport, and the optimum effect was simulated in the 6mwide buffer strip. A comparison between measured and simulated data revealed that finite element simulation could simulate N transport in the soil of riparian buffer strips. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Assessment in Building: A Case Study on the Energy and Emissions Impact Related to the Choice of Housing Typologies and Construction Process in Spain
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 287; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030287
Received: 7 December 2015 / Revised: 13 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (5445 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
While there exists an international trend to develop zero or near zero emissions building solutions by 2020, and European governments continuously update their building regulations to optimize the building envelope and energy systems to achieve this during the building use stage, at least
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While there exists an international trend to develop zero or near zero emissions building solutions by 2020, and European governments continuously update their building regulations to optimize the building envelope and energy systems to achieve this during the building use stage, at least in Spain the building regulations do not take into account the impact of emissions resulting from urbanization and construction activities prior to building use. This research studies in detail the entire emissions balance (and how it may be related to energy efficiency) in a newly built residential cluster project in Mancha Real (Jaén, Spain), and influences due to the choice of different urban typologies. For comparison, terraced housing and low-density, four-floor, multi-family housing alternatives have been studied. The present work assessed the life cycle of the building with the help of commercial software (CYPE), and the energy efficiency and emissions according to the legal regulations in Spain with the official software LIDER and CALENER VYP. After a careful choice of building and systems alternatives and their comparison, the study concludes that the major emissions impact and energy costs of urbanization and building activity occurs during construction, while later savings due to reductions in building use emissions are very modest in comparison. Therefore, deeper analysis is suggested to improve the efficiency of the construction process for a significantly reduced emission footprint on the urban environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
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Open AccessArticle The Potential Impacts of Climate Change Factors on Freshwater Eutrophication: Implications for Research and Countermeasures of Water Management in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 229; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030229
Received: 24 November 2015 / Revised: 14 February 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2016 / Published: 22 March 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (3777 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water eutrophication has become one of the most serious aquatic environmental problems around the world. More and more research has indicated climate change as a major natural factor that will lead to the acceleration of eutrophication in rivers and lakes. However, understanding the
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Water eutrophication has become one of the most serious aquatic environmental problems around the world. More and more research has indicated climate change as a major natural factor that will lead to the acceleration of eutrophication in rivers and lakes. However, understanding the mechanism of climate change’s effect on water eutrophication is difficult due to the uncertainties caused by its complex, non-linear process. There is considerable uncertainty about the magnitude of future temperature changes, and how these will drive eutrophication in water bodies at regional scales under the effect of human activities. This review collects the existing international and domestic literature from the last 10 years, discussing the most sensitive factors of climate change (i.e., temperature, precipitation, wind, and solar radiation) and analyzing their interaction with water eutrophication. Case studies of serious eutrophication and algal bloom problems in China are discussed to further demonstrate the conclusion. Finally, adaptation countermeasures and related implications are proposed in order to foster the development of sustainability strategies for water management in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Planning Support Systems (PSS)-Based Spatial Plan Alternatives and Environmental Assessment
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030286
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 21 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (8662 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spatial planning is at the core of national land and urban development. Many countries and cities seek sustainable development through various means such as coordinated environmental planning, environmental assessment, and internalization of environmental analysis and planning. A Planning Support System (PSS) is a
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Spatial planning is at the core of national land and urban development. Many countries and cities seek sustainable development through various means such as coordinated environmental planning, environmental assessment, and internalization of environmental analysis and planning. A Planning Support System (PSS) is a GIS (Geographic Information System)-based, spatial decision-making support system that incorporates a variety of theories and pertinent models. This study adopted the “What if?” model to design an alternative spatial plan that includes generation of predictive scenarios and is relatively easy to use. In the cities studied, we identified a total of six scenarios based on the main drivers of development—namely, population and spatial policies. Subsequently, we assessed the alternatives for their environmental impact, preparing sensitivity maps for each major environmental issue in the target area (natural ecosystem, air and microclimate, natural disasters). One projected advantage of the “What if?” model is that its digital visualization of proposed plans may improve public awareness and involvement. Furthermore, the tool is expected to be highly useful in ensuring the objectivity of quantitative analyses. However, it is necessary to develop a PSS that is both standardized and tailored to the particular needs of each area. Finally, the development of an e-governance system will be beneficial in ensuring public access to the decision making process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Boom, Bust and Beyond: Arts and Sustainability in Calumet, Michigan
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 284; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030284
Received: 4 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 21 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3140 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Cycles of boom and bust plague mining communities around the globe, and decades after the bust the skeletons of shrunken cities remain. This article evaluates strategies for how former mining communities cope and strive for sustainability in the decades well beyond the bust,
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Cycles of boom and bust plague mining communities around the globe, and decades after the bust the skeletons of shrunken cities remain. This article evaluates strategies for how former mining communities cope and strive for sustainability in the decades well beyond the bust, using a case study of Calumet, Michigan. In 1910, Calumet was at the center of the mining industry in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, but in the century since its peak, mining employment steadily declined until the last mine closed in 1968, and the population declined by over 80%. This paper explores challenges, opportunities, and progress toward sustainability associated with arts-related development in this context. Methods are mixed, including observation, interviews, document review, a survey, and secondary data analysis. We follow Flora and Flora’s Community Capitals Framework to analyze progress toward sustainability. Despite key challenges associated with the shrunken city context (degraded tax base, overbuilt and aging infrastructure, diminished human capital, and a rather limited set of volunteers and political actors), we find the shrunken city also offers advantages for arts development, including low rents, less risk of gentrification, access to space, and political incentive. In Calumet, we see evidence of a spiraling up pattern toward social sustainability resulting from arts development; however impacts on environmental and economic sustainability are limited. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Paradise Islands? Island States and Environmental Performance
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 285; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030285
Received: 23 October 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 19 March 2016
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Abstract
Island states have been shown to outperform continental states on a number of large-scale coordination-related outcomes, such as levels of democracy and institutional quality. The argument developed and tested in this article contends that the same kind of logic may apply to islands’
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Island states have been shown to outperform continental states on a number of large-scale coordination-related outcomes, such as levels of democracy and institutional quality. The argument developed and tested in this article contends that the same kind of logic may apply to islands’ environmental performance, too. However, the empirical analysis shows mixed results. Among the 105 environmental outcomes that we analyzed, being an island only has a positive impact on 20 of them. For example, island states tend to outcompete continental states with respect to several indicators related to water quality but not in aspects related to biodiversity, protected areas, or environmental regulations. In addition, the causal factors previously suggested to make islands outperform continental states in terms of coordination have weak explanatory power in predicting islands’ environmental performance. We conclude the paper by discussing how these interesting findings can be further explored. Full article
Open AccessReview Why, How and What do Organizations Achieve with the Implementation of Environmental Management Systems?—Lessons from a Comprehensive Review on the Eco-Management and Audit Scheme
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 283; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030283
Received: 1 December 2015 / Revised: 11 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (2176 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was established in 1993 in the European Union as a voluntary instrument facilitating the implementation of organisational environmental policies and management of environmental aspects. We present a comprehensive literature review on EMAS research, organized according to three
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The Eco-Management and Audit Scheme (EMAS) was established in 1993 in the European Union as a voluntary instrument facilitating the implementation of organisational environmental policies and management of environmental aspects. We present a comprehensive literature review on EMAS research, organized according to three broad questions: Why do organisations choose EMAS? How is the scheme implemented and adapted to organisational characteristics? And what results are achieved? We have built analysis matrices to critically review 80 articles published over the past two decades and to identify the recurrent research themes addressing each question. We found that the decision to adopt EMAS is motivated by a set of internal and external factors, compounded by the potential of an organisation to combine the scheme with other EMS standards and environmental management tools. These themes are the ones most extensively covered by existing literature. To answer the question on how organisations implement and adapt to the scheme, two themes have been identified covering EMS planning and operation issues and sectoral approaches. Results show that the focus has been put on development of methods for assessing the significance of environmental aspects, implementing environmental policies and developing indicators for tracking performance and elaborating environmental statements. The development of sectoral approaches that adapt EMAS to characteristics of different economic activity sectors is also emerging as a critical research development. Finally, the themes addressing results achieved with EMAS implementation have only recently surfaced in the literature. The achievement of sustained environmental performance improvements through EMAS adoption is both contested and supported in the reviewed studies. On the other hand, improvements in the relationships with stakeholders arise as one of the most important intangible outcomes of the scheme. We conclude our review by advancing a systematic set of future research opportunities in this field. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Implications of Dynamic Policies on Food Consumption and Waste Handling in the European Union
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 282; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030282
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1344 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This study will review the environmental implications of dynamic policy objectives and instruments outlined in the European Union 7th Framework Programme (EU-FP7) Project DYNAmic policy MIXes for absolute decoupling of EU resource use from economic growth (DYNAMIX) to address reductions in food consumption,
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This study will review the environmental implications of dynamic policy objectives and instruments outlined in the European Union 7th Framework Programme (EU-FP7) Project DYNAmic policy MIXes for absolute decoupling of EU resource use from economic growth (DYNAMIX) to address reductions in food consumption, food waste and a change in waste handling systems. The environmental implications of reductions in protein intake, food waste reductions, food waste management and donations are addressed using a life cycle approach to find the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, land use and water consumption. Data are provided from the Statistics Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAOSTAT) food balance sheets for the European Union (EU) with a base year of 2010 and life cycle inventory (LCI) data from a meta-study of available GHG, land use and water consumption data for major food products. The implications are reviewed using a number of scenarios for the years 2030 and 2050 assuming policy instruments are fully effective. Results indicate that reductions in animal-based protein consumption significantly reduce environmental impacts, followed thereafter by reductions in food waste (assuming this also reduces food consumption). Despite the positive implications the policy mixes may have for targets for decoupling, they are not enough to meet GHG emissions targets for the EU outlined in the DYNAMIX project, although land and water use have no significant change compared to 2010 levels. Full article
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Open AccessReview Soil Degradation, Land Scarcity and Food Security: Reviewing a Complex Challenge
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 281; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030281
Received: 5 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 24 | PDF Full-text (4141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity. Soil degradation, therefore, poses a threat to food security, as it reduces yield, forces farmers to use more inputs, and may eventually
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Soil health, along with water supply, is the most valuable resource for humans, as human life depends on the soil’s generosity. Soil degradation, therefore, poses a threat to food security, as it reduces yield, forces farmers to use more inputs, and may eventually lead to soil abandonment. Unfortunately, the importance of preserving soil health appears to be overlooked by policy makers. In this paper, I first briefly introduce the present situation concerning agricultural production, natural resources, soil degradation, land use and the challenge ahead, to show how these issues are strictly interwoven. Then, I define soil degradation and present a review of its typologies and estimates at a global level. I discuss the importance of preserving soil capital, and its relationship to human civilization and food security. Trends concerning the availability of arable agricultural land, different scenarios, and their limitations, are analyzed and discussed. The possible relation between an increase in a country’s GNP, population and future availability of arable land is also analyzed, using the World Bank’s database. I argue that because of the many sources of uncertainty in the data, and the high risks at stake, a precautionary approach should be adopted when drawing scenarios. The paper ends with a discussion on the key role of preserving soil organic matter, and the need to adopt more sustainable agricultural practices. I also argue that both our relation with nature and natural resources and our lifestyle need to be reconsidered. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
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Open AccessArticle An Explanatory Study of MBA Students with Regards to Sustainability and Ethics Commitment
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 280; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030280
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (689 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
(1) Background: The consequences of the recent economic crisis have shown the need for promoting certain key skills in future entrepreneurs to create enterprises that are capable of producing added value, generating employment and remaining solvent or growing in a competitive and highly
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(1) Background: The consequences of the recent economic crisis have shown the need for promoting certain key skills in future entrepreneurs to create enterprises that are capable of producing added value, generating employment and remaining solvent or growing in a competitive and highly volatile environment. Therefore, the issue is not simply a matter of creating more businesses, but rather, a model based on organizations with strong sustainable values in the long term. (2) Methods: The originality and new approach of this article is to establish, through an empirical approach, the link between the entrepreneurial skills and environmental and social commitment in times of crisis. Based on the analysis of a questionnaire answered by MBA students and using structural equation modelling, the relation between entrepreneurial skills, social and environment commitment are tested. (3) Results: The statistical analysis proved the existence of a positive relation between entrepreneurs’ skills and environmental and social commitment pointing out the importance of sustainability commitment as a source of high added value activities. (4) Conclusion: The paper demonstrates that investing in the promotion of entrepreneurial skills in education systems has positive effects on how future entrepreneurs will manage their firms. Therefore, this sustainably depends on the present education policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Urban Development Capacity Measure—A Case Study in Jiangsu Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 270; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030270
Received: 30 January 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 18 March 2016
Cited by 10 | PDF Full-text (796 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Measuring the success of sustainable urban development has been difficult in the past. However, as this has become more important in the past few years, this paper develops an innovative sustainable urban development capacity measurement model based on principal component analysis (PCA) and
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Measuring the success of sustainable urban development has been difficult in the past. However, as this has become more important in the past few years, this paper develops an innovative sustainable urban development capacity measurement model based on principal component analysis (PCA) and Grey TOPSIS methodology, which has a significantly more comprehensive measurement, and reduces processing time and calculation difficulty. First, PCA is used to extract the main components that affect a city’s sustainable development capacity. Then, the actual sustainable development capacity level is measured using Grey TOPSIS, from which the sustainable development capacity measurement value is then calculated. To prove the model’s effectiveness and operability, it is then applied to measure the sustainable development capacity in 13 cities in Jiangsu province, China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle How Does Land Development Promote China’s Urban Economic Growth? The Mediating Effect of Public Infrastructure
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 279; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030279
Received: 21 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 17 March 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (674 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although substantial studies emphasized the close relationship among land development, public infrastructure, and urban economic growth, the mediating effect of public infrastructure remains unexplored. Using panel data of 253 prefecture-level Chinese cities from 1999 to 2012, we empirically conduct a mediating effect analysis
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Although substantial studies emphasized the close relationship among land development, public infrastructure, and urban economic growth, the mediating effect of public infrastructure remains unexplored. Using panel data of 253 prefecture-level Chinese cities from 1999 to 2012, we empirically conduct a mediating effect analysis to examine how land development promotes urban economic growth. It is found that land development has a positive impact on public infrastructure, whereas the construction of public infrastructure is positively related with urban economic growth. Therefore, land development exerts a positive influence on urban economic growth through one important mediator: public infrastructure. It is also found that the mediating effect of public infrastructure is partial. The estimation results are robust to various specifications and sensitivity analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessDiscussion Road Safety Education in the Context of the Sustainable Development of Society: The Romanian Case
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 278; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030278
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (374 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increased number of road accidents, leading to deaths and serious injuries is a social problem facing most of the world countries, which can affect the sustainable development of a society. This has economic implications, because it impacts the increase of expenditure on
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The increased number of road accidents, leading to deaths and serious injuries is a social problem facing most of the world countries, which can affect the sustainable development of a society. This has economic implications, because it impacts the increase of expenditure on hospitalization and the recovery costs of those injured. The current article is based on a quantitative research, coordinated by the authors, conducted among traffic participants from Romania. The major objective of the study was to quantify the main aspects of seatbelt wearing behavior. The research was carried out at national level and used a systematic probabilistic sampling. The sample contains 4346 subjects, of which 3120 were from the automobile section, representing the topic of this article, and being representative of the Romanian adult population. The main research results showed that the percentage of women always wearing seatbelts (76.4%) is higher than the percentage of men (69.9%). Additionally, the highest percentage of people always wearing seatbelts is found at the age group over 55 years (85.2%). The percentage decreases with age—the age group 18–25 are the least likely to wear seatbelts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Corporate Sustainability and Shareholder Wealth—Evidence from British Companies and Lessons from the Crisis
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 276; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030276
Received: 27 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (546 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examines the impact of corporate sustainability (CS) on stock market returns for FTSE 350 companies over the period 2006–2012. We find that an investment strategy that bought shares in companies with balanced financial, social, and environmental activities would have earned an
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This study examines the impact of corporate sustainability (CS) on stock market returns for FTSE 350 companies over the period 2006–2012. We find that an investment strategy that bought shares in companies with balanced financial, social, and environmental activities would have earned an annual four-factor alpha for a value-weighted portfolio of 3.54% per year during the sample period and 2.98% above industry benchmarks. In addition, we find that CS is negatively correlated with stock return volatility, and investing in companies with CS not only generates higher returns during peak phases, but also diminishes shareholders’ losses during bear phases. We have also carried out an additional, out-of-the-sample analysis for the years 2013–2015 which confirmed our results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Are People Responsive to a More Sustainable, Decentralized, and User-Driven Management of Urban Metabolism?
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030275
Received: 27 October 2015 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (213 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smart, green, and resilient city paradigms have been mainly promoted through top-down and technocratic approaches. However, based on the notion to return to “the right to the city”, emerging community-driven initiatives are providing self-managed infrastructures contributing to urban sustainability transitions. This paper explores
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Smart, green, and resilient city paradigms have been mainly promoted through top-down and technocratic approaches. However, based on the notion to return to “the right to the city”, emerging community-driven initiatives are providing self-managed infrastructures contributing to urban sustainability transitions. This paper explores the relevance of the behavioral aspects of people-centered approaches in dealing with two different facets of urban metabolism: physical infrastructure (involvement with the management of decentralized infrastructures) and consumption patterns (involvement in proactive reduction of resources used). In the first case we assessed community perceptions about the roles, benefits, and willingness to proactively engage in the management of decentralized green infrastructures in Bogotá City, Colombia. For the second facet, we measured the effectiveness of change agents in re-shaping energy consumption decisions within urban social networks in South Africa and Saudi Arabia. This paper’s results show that pre-determined and standardized strategies do not guarantee positive, nor homogeneous, results in terms of meeting sustainability targets, or promoting community involvement. Hence, a better integration of people-centered and top-down approaches is needed through context-dependent policies, for enhancing both users’ appreciation of and commitment to urban metabolism participative management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Towards True Smart and Green Cities?)
Open AccessArticle Using the Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment Routine (SMART) for the Systematic Analysis of Trade-Offs and Synergies between Sustainability Dimensions and Themes at Farm Level
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030274
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (5444 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
When trying to optimize the sustainability performance of farms and farming systems, a consideration of trade-offs and synergies between different themes and dimensions is required. The aim of this paper is to perform a systematic analysis of trade-offs and synergies across all dimensions
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When trying to optimize the sustainability performance of farms and farming systems, a consideration of trade-offs and synergies between different themes and dimensions is required. The aim of this paper is to perform a systematic analysis of trade-offs and synergies across all dimensions and themes. To achieve this aim we used the Sustainability Monitoring and Assessment Routine (SMART)-Farm Tool which operationalizes the Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture Systems (SAFA) Guidelines by defining science-based indicator sets and assessment procedures. It identifies the degree of goal achievement with respect to the 58 themes defined in the SAFA Guidelines using an impact matrix that defines 327 indicators and 1769 relations between sustainability themes and indicators. We illustrate how the SMART-Farm Tool can be successfully applied to assess the sustainability performance of farms of different types and in different geographic regions. Our analysis revealed important synergies between themes within a sustainability dimension and across dimensions. We found major trade-offs within the environmental dimension and between the environmental and economic dimension. The trade-offs within the environmental dimension were even larger than the trade-offs with other dimensions. The study also underlines the importance of the governance dimension with regard to achieving a good level of performance in the other dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Changes in Patterns of Seasonality Shown by Migratory Fish under Global Warming: Evidence from Catch Data of Taiwan’s Coastal Fisheries
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 273; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030273
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
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Abstract
In this study, we analyzed the fish species composition data of coastal capture fisheries in Taiwan between 1963 and 2010. The purpose of the analysis was to understand the long-term changes in marine ecosystems. A ratio-to-moving average method was used in conjunction with
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In this study, we analyzed the fish species composition data of coastal capture fisheries in Taiwan between 1963 and 2010. The purpose of the analysis was to understand the long-term changes in marine ecosystems. A ratio-to-moving average method was used in conjunction with adjusted seasonal indices to determine the seasonality of individual catch items and to examine the trends shown by the species with the same seasonality. Over the 48-year timespan of the data, 31 species, i.e., 64% of the total number of species, were identified as seasonal migrants. The catch ratio for species showing a single peak in the spring increased steadily over time; however, those species with a single peak in the winter decreased. The catch ratio for those species with dual peaks in both summer and fall varied greatly before 1978. Increasing trends began in the 1980s and accelerated until 1998. As a result of this increase, the previous concentration of the fishing season in the winter months became highly diffuse. Additionally, the winter and/or spring species continued to decrease year after year as the summer and/or autumn species gradually came to dominate the catch. This change in fishing seasonality is likely not an anthropogenic effect. However, the change coincides with trends in sea surface temperature fluctuations. Such variation may not only cause structural change in marine ecosystems but can also significantly impact the economy and the livelihoods of those associated with the fishing trade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of National Cultural Traits on BOP Consumer Behavior
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 272; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030272
Received: 25 November 2015 / Revised: 15 February 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 16 March 2016
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Abstract
Scholars who aim to solve problems with poverty and a lack of resources often focus on bottom of pyramid (BOP) consumer groups. They propose that the traditional TOP (top of pyramid) business strategies are not suitable for BOP populations, and that it is
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Scholars who aim to solve problems with poverty and a lack of resources often focus on bottom of pyramid (BOP) consumer groups. They propose that the traditional TOP (top of pyramid) business strategies are not suitable for BOP populations, and that it is crucial to determine and satisfy BOP consumption demands. The purpose of this study is to find out which factors influence BOP consumption, and to explore BOP integrated products. The concepts of “national cultural traits” and sustainable product design are also used. The findings will help enterprises learn how to make profits in BOP markets (addressing economic goals), while helping the poor get out of poverty (addressing social goals). Two different areas concerning BOP consumers are used to illustrate the results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Threshold Effect of Financial Development on China’s Carbon Intensity
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 271; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030271
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 10 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
Using panel data on 30 provinces in China from 2005 to 2012, this paper conducts an empirical test on the threshold effect of the relationship between financial development and carbon emission intensity from the perspectives of financial scale and financial efficiency. The results
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Using panel data on 30 provinces in China from 2005 to 2012, this paper conducts an empirical test on the threshold effect of the relationship between financial development and carbon emission intensity from the perspectives of financial scale and financial efficiency. The results show that at a low level of per capita GDP, the expansion of the financial scale and the enhancement of financial efficiency will increase carbon intensity. When the per capita GDP is greater than the threshold value (RMB 37,410), the expansion of the financial scale will also increase carbon intensity, but the potency of this effect will be weaker. At the same time, the improvement of financial efficiency will help reduce carbon intensity. Most provinces with per capita GDP greater than the threshold value (RMB 37,410) are located in the eastern coastal areas of China, whereas most provinces with per capita GDP less than the threshold value are located in the central and western areas of China. Both raising the level of openness and improving the industrial structure will have significantly positive effects on carbon intensity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Investment in Renovation to Increase the Quality of Buildings: A Specific Discounted Cash Flow (DCF) Approach of Appraisal
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 268; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030268
Received: 24 January 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
The objective of this article is to develop and apply a specific discounting cash flow (DCF) approach to evaluate investment in renovation to improve building quality, thus increasing energy efficiency. In this article, we develop and apply a specific net present
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The objective of this article is to develop and apply a specific discounting cash flow (DCF) approach to evaluate investment in renovation to improve building quality, thus increasing energy efficiency. In this article, we develop and apply a specific net present value (NPV) and an internal rate of return (IRR) approach to quantify the value created for the owners of the building by the investment in renovation via energy-saving investments that produce positive externalities. The model has an applied interest because, in recent years, a lot of investments in real estate were made by owners in order to increase the green quality of the buildings, and several funds of public aid were provided by the government to stimulate these energy-saving investments. The model proposed here is applied to a case study of a 16-apartment building located in northern Italy considers the model attempts to quantify the initial investment value, the energy savings, the tax deduction of the initial investment and the terminal value of the investment as the increase in building value. The analysis shows that the model is consistent in evaluating investments to improve building quality, and investments within the context of the specific case study considered in the research have IRRs ranging from a minimum of 4.907% to a maximum of 12.980%. It could even be useful to consider a sample of cases to verify whether our results are representative of this specific case study. The model could represent a useful tool for consumers in evaluating their own investments in building renovation, from a stand-alone perspective and even by comparing them with other types of investment. The research could be developed in the future to quantify the social welfare generated by public spending via tax deductions to reduce the costs of investment in energy savings for buildings and could even be applied to new real estate projects in comparing different construction technologies and even comparing the return of renovation investment with other investments not even in the real estate sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Human-Nature for Climate Action: Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Sustainability
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030254
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 17 February 2016 / Accepted: 1 March 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
The global climate change agenda proceeds at an incremental pace while the Earth is approaching critical tipping points in its development trajectory. Climate action at this pinnacle juncture needs to be greatly accelerated and rooted in the fundamentals of the problem—human beings’ disconnection
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The global climate change agenda proceeds at an incremental pace while the Earth is approaching critical tipping points in its development trajectory. Climate action at this pinnacle juncture needs to be greatly accelerated and rooted in the fundamentals of the problem—human beings’ disconnection from nature. This paper underscores the valuable role nature and nature-based solutions can play in addressing climate change at the city scale and its implications for broader sustainability. Urban ecosystems (nature in cities) are seen as an integral part of a proposed local climate action rubric wherein policy measures and integrated planning guide lowcarbon/impact development to create more resilient and sustainable urban environments. The use of green infrastructure is highlighted as a cost-effective means to contribute to mitigation and adaptation needs as well as to promote human wellbeing. The paper takes an exploratory view of the influence of ecosystem services, particularly cultural services, and its economics in relation to the individual and society to understand how biophilia can be nurtured to promote environmental stewardship and climate action. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Incumbent Actors as Niche Agents: The German Car Industry and the Taming of the “Stuttgart E-Mobility Region”
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030252
Received: 26 October 2015 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 26 February 2016 / Published: 15 March 2016
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Abstract
The system of mobility currently faces severe challenges. Particularly in cities, strategic interventions are made to support a transition towards sustainable mobility. Incumbent actors from the car industry are often invited to play a key role in such initiatives. The Stuttgart region is
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The system of mobility currently faces severe challenges. Particularly in cities, strategic interventions are made to support a transition towards sustainable mobility. Incumbent actors from the car industry are often invited to play a key role in such initiatives. The Stuttgart region is supported with public money to become a model region of sustainable mobility because it is base to key actors of the German car industry. This paper examines the locus of agency in such a “transition arena”. How do key actors frame the challenge of sustainable mobility? What role is attributed to public policy at various governance levels and to the “local” industry, respectively? In the case of the Stuttgart region, we find a high ability of key industry actors to reframe transition initiatives for sustainable mobility and align public policy with their interests—particularly in local, i.e., place-bound contexts. This underlines the need for transition studies to pay more attention to the agency of incumbent actors and their capacity to absorb sustainable alternatives without changing dominant industry structures. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Priorities for Advancing the Concept of New Ruralism
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 269; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030269
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 14 March 2016
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Abstract
Civic expansion and land use migrations to urban peripheries can accelerate the conversion of agricultural land uses. Widespread trepidation concerning urban sprawl has led to innovative frameworks for conserving or enhancing farmland. New Ruralism is one such framework, linking farmland preservation with developmental
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Civic expansion and land use migrations to urban peripheries can accelerate the conversion of agricultural land uses. Widespread trepidation concerning urban sprawl has led to innovative frameworks for conserving or enhancing farmland. New Ruralism is one such framework, linking farmland preservation with developmental plans to reduce farmland conversion and low density development. Although the concept is still evolving, recent support for New Ruralism has grown. One of the most important factors in creating a New Ruralism-based development is coherent policy for permanent agricultural preserves. These preserves require the simultaneous, careful planning of land preservation balanced with the location of future development. This paper discusses the current condition of farmland loss and reviews issues and challenges associated with farmland preservation with existing New Ruralism developments. The goal is to synthesize this information into recommendations for increasing farmland preservation opportunities in New Ruralism-based developments. A more comprehensive definition for New Ruralism is presented, accompanied by several priorities for maximizing the economic, environmental, and cultural viability of New Ruralism-based farmland preserves. Full article
Open AccessEditorial Introduction to the Special Issue on the Sustainable Asia Conference 2015
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 266; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030266
Received: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 12 March 2016
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Abstract
Of late, Asian countries have been experiencing serious environmental disasters, such as the particulate matter (PM) smog in China, a yellow sand storm in Korea, and the Fukuyama nuclear power station shutdown in Japan. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Sustainable Asia Conference
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Of late, Asian countries have been experiencing serious environmental disasters, such as the particulate matter (PM) smog in China, a yellow sand storm in Korea, and the Fukuyama nuclear power station shutdown in Japan. Since its inauguration in 2009, the Sustainable Asia Conference (SAC) has evolved into one of the leading international conferences for coping with these environmental challenges and presenting novel and fundamental advances in sustainable development for Asia. This editorial for SAC 2015 will highlight the contents and new methodologies put forth by selected papers, presenting diverse implications in sustainable policies and business strategies. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of an Internal Combustion Engine Using Porous Foams for Thermal Energy Recovery
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030267
Received: 18 December 2015 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 9 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
Homogeneous and complete combustion in internal combustion engines is advantageous. The use of a porous foam in the exhaust gas in an engine cylinder for heat recovery is examined here with the aim of reducing engine emissions. The internal combustion engine with a
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Homogeneous and complete combustion in internal combustion engines is advantageous. The use of a porous foam in the exhaust gas in an engine cylinder for heat recovery is examined here with the aim of reducing engine emissions. The internal combustion engine with a porous core regenerator is modeled using SOPHT software, which solved the differential equations for the thermal circuit in the engine. The engine thermal efficiency is observed to increase from 43% to 53% when the porous core regenerator is applied. Further, raising the compression ratio causes the peak pressure and thermal efficiency to increase, e.g., increasing the compression ratio from 13 to 15 causes the thermal efficiency and output work to increase from 53% to 55% and from 4.86 to 4.93 kJ, respectively. The regenerator can also be used as a catalytic converter for fine particles and some other emissions. The regenerator oxidizes unburned hydrocarbons. Meanwhile, heat recovered from the exhaust gases can reduce fuel consumption, further reducing pollutant emissions from the internal combustion engine. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Next Generations of Road Pricing: Social Welfare Enhancing
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 265; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030265
Received: 11 December 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper offers a broad overview of road pricing from a social welfare perspective. I first examine two common objectives of road pricing: congestion management and profit making. My goal is to provide a guideline explaining how to promote a social-welfare-enhancing road pricing
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This paper offers a broad overview of road pricing from a social welfare perspective. I first examine two common objectives of road pricing: congestion management and profit making. My goal is to provide a guideline explaining how to promote a social-welfare-enhancing road pricing scheme. To this end, we should: (i) consider and improve public transportation systems by providing more environment-friendly transport options; (ii) include tolling profits in our welfare analysis (as opposed to what economists suggest) since residents are the real owners of roads not users, and since some users are from outside the region and so might not be excluded from analysis; and (iii) search for a holistic approach that takes into account system-wide impacts, disutility to users who change their travel behavior (i.e., switch to public transportation, shift their travel, or do not travel at all), and the impacts on land use, employment, and residents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Change Detection of Phragmites Australis Distribution in the Detroit Wildlife Refuge Based on an Iterative Intersection Analysis Algorithm
Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 264; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8030264
Received: 7 September 2015 / Revised: 6 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
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Abstract
Satellite data have been widely used in the detection of vegetation area changes, however, the lack of historical training samples seriously limits detection accuracy. In this research, an iterative intersection analysis algorithm (IIAA) is proposed to solve this problem, and employed to improve
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Satellite data have been widely used in the detection of vegetation area changes, however, the lack of historical training samples seriously limits detection accuracy. In this research, an iterative intersection analysis algorithm (IIAA) is proposed to solve this problem, and employed to improve the change detection accuracy of Phragmites area in the Detroit River International Wildlife Refuge between 2001 and 2010. Training samples for 2001, 2005, and 2010 were constructed based on NAIP, DOQQ high-resolution imagery and ground-truth data; for 2002–2004 and 2006–2009, because of the shortage of training samples, the IIAA was employed to supply additional training samples. This method included three steps: first, the NDVI image for each year (2002–2004, 2006–2009) was calculated with Landsat TM images; secondly, rough patches of the land-cover were acquired by density slicing using suitable thresholds; thirdly, a GIS overlay analysis method was used to acquire the Phragmites information in common throughout the ten years and to obtain training patches. In the combination with training samples of other land cover types, supervised classifications were employed to detect the changes of Phragmites area. In the experiment, we analyzed the variation of Phragmites area from 2001 to 2010, and the result showed that its distribution areas increased from 5156 acres to 6817 acres during this period, which illustrated that the invasion of Phragmites remains a serious problem for the protection of biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geo-Informatics in Resource Management & Sustainable Ecosystem)
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