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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Open AccessArticle Urban Environment and Nature. A Methodological Proposal for Spaces’ Reconnection in an Ecosystem Function
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 407; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040407
Received: 28 March 2016 / Revised: 16 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
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Abstract
Our main objective is to highlight the profound disconnect between natural and anthropic elements within urban areas, with particular reference to the morpho-functional dimensions of the urban and territorial pattern. Heterogeneity in the elements underpinning relations in urban environments, absent governing principles, predisposes
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Our main objective is to highlight the profound disconnect between natural and anthropic elements within urban areas, with particular reference to the morpho-functional dimensions of the urban and territorial pattern. Heterogeneity in the elements underpinning relations in urban environments, absent governing principles, predisposes to conditions of widespread dysfunction and inefficiency in the modalities of anthropic utilization of the various contexts. As a result, the functions inherent to ecological and natural networks tend to be undermined, negatively impacting the environment. To this end, this paper proposes the adoption of ecoducts, on the one hand as a means to support planning and a measure aimed at reactivating the complex functions typical of urban environments and, on the other hand, as a two-way correlation between anthropic and ecological interactions at the territorial scale. Finally, the analysis of an Italian case study will highlight the potential of such instruments in terms of creating an integrated eco-systemic service, capable of significantly contributing to long-term improvement in the quality of life of urban systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Research on the Relationship between Urban Development Intensity and Eco-Environmental Stresses in Bohai Rim Coastal Area, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 406; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040406
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2716 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
To realize sustainable urban development that minimizes environmental impacts, the relationship between urban development intensity and eco-environmental stresses should be clearly revealed. This paper focused on the Bohai Rim coastal area, where cities have experienced significant development in the last decade. An index
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To realize sustainable urban development that minimizes environmental impacts, the relationship between urban development intensity and eco-environmental stresses should be clearly revealed. This paper focused on the Bohai Rim coastal area, where cities have experienced significant development in the last decade. An index system was developed to quantify the comprehensive urban development intensity (CDI) and comprehensive eco-environment stresses (CES). Remote sensing imagery and statistical data were used to provide indices for CDI and CES. Spatiotemporal analysis was carried out on the correlation between the two indices. The coupling between the CDI and CES was then investigated to explore the urban development characteristics of each city in the study area, its development level, and the trend of urban development. Results showed that human activities surrounding urban development were partly dependent on the use of ecological resources to a certain degree, and that the degree of dependence increased with year. To promote a sustainable level of urban development, the government should focus on not only the high development intensity, but also the high quality of the eco-environment. Dalian was a good model of how to achieve a balance between the two. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Urban Resilience in Climate Change Adaptation: A Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 405; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040405
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (781 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study presents a conceptual framework for analyzing urban resilience in the context of climate change. The key conceptual elements of resilience are first identified and then reorganized with a focus on cities and climate change adaptation. This study covers not only ecological
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This study presents a conceptual framework for analyzing urban resilience in the context of climate change. The key conceptual elements of resilience are first identified and then reorganized with a focus on cities and climate change adaptation. This study covers not only ecological and engineering resilience but also resilience as a sociopolitical process from an evolutionary perspective. The study’s conceptual framework centers on resilience as it relates to cities and climate change. Its findings are expected to shed light on future urban planning and policies for adapting to climate change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Construction Cost Saving by Concrete Mixing the Activator Material
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040403
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
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Abstract
Studies which reduce cement usage, develop an alternative by partial replacement of cement with blast-furnace slag, fly ash, or such industrial byproducts, and evaluate the environmental load and economic value of concrete mixed with such are in high demand. In this study, A-BFS
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Studies which reduce cement usage, develop an alternative by partial replacement of cement with blast-furnace slag, fly ash, or such industrial byproducts, and evaluate the environmental load and economic value of concrete mixed with such are in high demand. In this study, A-BFS (Activator Blast Furnace Slag), which is mixed with an activator in order to induce early-age strength manifestation of BFS mixed concrete was used to execute a physical property evaluation of concrete. This study first conducted physical property tests for compression strength of concrete that partially replaced OPC (ordinary Portland cement) with A-BFS and executed a comparison/analysis with 100% OPC. It was thought that if concrete early strength is manifested through this process when applied to RC (Reinforced Concrete) building, at most a three to four day construction cycle would be possible, according to which the economic value of the construction period reduction was evaluated. For this evaluation, general apartment houses (Case 1) were taken as the evaluation subject, and for comparison, Cases 2, 3, and 4 were set up by the mix ratio of A-BFS, and the economic value evaluation range was established. As a result, it was found that Case 2 had no change from Case 1, while Case 3 saved about 106,654,762 KRW (Korea Won) and Case 4 saved about 159,982,143 KRW. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainable Improvement of Manufacturing for Nano-Titanium
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 402; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040402
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
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Abstract
Scientists have found that nanomaterials possess many outstanding features in their tiny grain structure compared to other common materials. Titanium at the nano-grain scale shows many novel characteristics which demonstrate suitability for use in surgical implants. In general, equal channel angular pressing (ECAP)
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Scientists have found that nanomaterials possess many outstanding features in their tiny grain structure compared to other common materials. Titanium at the nano-grain scale shows many novel characteristics which demonstrate suitability for use in surgical implants. In general, equal channel angular pressing (ECAP) is the most popular and simple process to produce nano-titanium. However, ECAP is time-consuming, power-wasting, and insufficiently produces the ultrafine grain structure. Therefore, the objective of this research is to propose a new method to improve the ECAP’s performances to reach the ultrafine grain structure, and also to save production costs, based on the innovation theory of Teoriya Resheniya Izobreatatelskih Zadatch (TRIZ). Research results show that the process time is reduced by 80%, and 94% of the energy is saved. Moreover, the grain size of the diameter for nano-titanium can be reduced from 160 nanometers (nm) to 80 nm. The results are a 50% reduction of diameter and a 75% improvement of volume. At the same time, the method creates a refined grain size and good mechanical properties in the nano-titanium. The proposed method can be applied to produce any nanomaterial as well as biomaterials. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competitive and Sustainable Manufacturing in the Age of Globalization)
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Open AccessRetraction Retraction: Vallati A. et al. A New Method to Energy Saving in a Micro Grid. Sustainability 2015, 7, 13904–13919
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 401; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040401
Received: 21 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
We have become aware that [1] reports identical results to a previous publication by the same research group [2].[...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Urbanization and Sustainability: Comparison of the Processes in “BIC” Countries
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 400; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040400
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
The urbanized world has brought social, economic, and environmental sustainability into challenged surroundings in rapidly rising countries, thereby requiring the exploration of their intertwined relationships. This study regarded Brazil, India, and China as “BIC” countries to be the representative study areas for our
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The urbanized world has brought social, economic, and environmental sustainability into challenged surroundings in rapidly rising countries, thereby requiring the exploration of their intertwined relationships. This study regarded Brazil, India, and China as “BIC” countries to be the representative study areas for our investigation of sustainability in the context of rapid urbanization. In general, our work was synthesized into a comparison framework in four aspects: rural–urban relation, industrial development, city development, and urban landscape pattern. We determined that rural–urban dichotomy exists in all study areas, with India and China having a high degree. China was identified as a manufacturing-based country in the past half-century, whereas Brazil and India have the service sector as their primary industry. The distribution of large cities follows a regional pattern, with Brazil being northeast-focused, China being southeast-focused, and India being comparatively balanced. The Amazon forest in the north brings great challenges to Brazil with respect to the conservation of its biodiversity and eco-environment. India and China have encountered tremendous urban expansion or sprawl in the past several decades. The sustainability issues in social, economic, and environmental aspects for Brazil, India, and China were summarized in the context of rapid urbanization to provide references for other countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Inventory Analysis for a Small-Scale Trawl Fishery in Sendai Bay, Japan
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 399; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040399
Received: 21 October 2015 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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Abstract
A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers
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A reduced environmental burden, while maintaining high quality and low cost, has become an important factor for achieving sustainability in the fisheries sector. The authors performed life cycle inventory (LCI) analysis targeting the fish production for a small-scale trawl fishery including small trawlers operating in Sendai Bay, Japan. The average annual cumulative CO2 emissions for the small trawlers were 4.7 ton-CO2/ton-product and 8.3 ton-CO2/million Japanese yen (JPN). Total fuel consumption contributed to 97% of the global warming potential. The range of variation in the basic unit of CO2 for each small trawler was also elucidated. Energy conservation through lower fuel consumption is shown to be an effective measure for reducing CO2 in a small trawler fishery. Moreover, the authors examined the system boundary, the determination of the functional unit, and the allocation method of applying LCI analysis to fisheries. Finally, the economy and environment of small trawler fisheries are discussed as important factors for sustainable fisheries, and the life cycle approach is applied to a new fishery type in Japan. Full article
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Open AccessArticle An Approach to Assess the Effectiveness of Smart Growth in Achieving Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040397
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (436 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Smart Growth has become an evident concept in public policy debates and provides answers to the enduring problems of sprawling development and its many adverse consequences. While the concept has widely been touted to promote an urban development pattern characterized by compact and
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Smart Growth has become an evident concept in public policy debates and provides answers to the enduring problems of sprawling development and its many adverse consequences. While the concept has widely been touted to promote an urban development pattern characterized by compact and mixed-use development, walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, preserved green spaces, and the availability of mass transit, not much has been written about its contribution to sustainable development. This paper is an attempt to explore the concepts of smart growth and sustainable development and the extent to which the former contributes to the achievement of the latter. The various debates surrounding the smart growth movement have also been explored. The 2003 general plan guideline by the US State of California is used as the basis for determining the sustainable development role of smart growth policies in Portland (Oregon), Arlington (Virginia), Boulder (Colorado) and Lancaster County (Pennsylvania). The paper concludes that it would be inappropriate to equate smart growth to sustainable development as the latter is a much broader concept and cuts across myriad disciplines. Notwithstanding, the implementation of smart growth policies in the cases studied have been observed to promote compact, infill and transit-oriented development and to conserve and protect open spaces and natural areas. All these are pro-sustainable development. While this paper has observed that smart growth serves as one of the approaches for achieving sustainable development goals, it calls for a more quantitative study to be able to measure the magnitude of the contribution associated with the smart growth policies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Smallholder Agriculture in Semi-Arid Areas under Land Set-aside Programs: A Case Study from China’s Loess Plateau
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 395; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040395
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (253 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This article analyzes agricultural sustainability in the context of land degradation, rural poverty and social inequality, taking China’s Loess Hills as an example. The analysis attempts to understand the multi-dimensionality of sustainability at the farm level and its relationship with physical-socio-economic-infrastructural-technological framework conditions
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This article analyzes agricultural sustainability in the context of land degradation, rural poverty and social inequality, taking China’s Loess Hills as an example. The analysis attempts to understand the multi-dimensionality of sustainability at the farm level and its relationship with physical-socio-economic-infrastructural-technological framework conditions in the context of the land set-aside program viz. the Grain for Green Project (GGP). We developed composite indices of sustainability and its environmental, economic and social dimensions using a principal component analysis (PCA)-based weighting scheme. Regression analyses were conducted to examine the relationship between the estimated sustainability indicators and the variables representing framework conditions of knowledge, demographics, resource endowment and production techniques. The stated analysis was conducted on a dataset collected by means of household surveys in 2014 in valleys and flood plain areas in Yanhe Township. Findings reveal hidden correlations among the indicators of environmental, economic, and social pillars of sustainability. The ratio of land under the conservation program to actual farmland emerged as a key determinant of overall agricultural sustainability and its social dimension, which reaches the maximum when the ratio is around 0.56 and 0.64, respectively. The results also show that there is need to balance off-farm and on-farm income diversification as well as highlight the role of women in ensuring the sustainability of farming households. The core achievement of the article is the definition of the thresholds for the land set-aside program and the identification of major determinants of agricultural sustainability in the rural Chinese context in particular and in rural farming communities in general. Full article
Open AccessArticle Measuring Eco-Efficiency of Agriculture in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 398; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040398
Received: 1 March 2016 / Revised: 14 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Eco-efficiency is a tool for sustainability analysis that indicates how to carry out economic activities effectively. This paper assesses agricultural eco-efficiency using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and the Theil index approach. Using basic data of 31 provinces in China during 2003–2013, we analyzed
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Eco-efficiency is a tool for sustainability analysis that indicates how to carry out economic activities effectively. This paper assesses agricultural eco-efficiency using data envelopment analysis (DEA) and the Theil index approach. Using basic data of 31 provinces in China during 2003–2013, we analyzed the agricultural eco-efficiency development level and spatial pattern in China. The results show that the agricultural eco-efficiency of only four provinces has been relatively efficient in the entire study period, namely, Zhejiang, Hainan, Chongqing, and Tibet. The results also show that agricultural eco-efficiency was higher mainly in south of the Qinling Mountains-Huaihe River Line and north of the Yangtze River area, that agricultural eco-efficiency is mainly affected by pure technical efficiency, and that highly efficient areas are mainly concentrated in the densely populated areas, i.e., the economic developed areas (except Tibet). The Theil index results show that the agricultural eco-efficiency difference weakened between provinces in China, as did western and northeast regions, but eastern and central regions show a slight upward trend. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle What’s the Score? Walkable Environments and Subsidized Households
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 396; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040396
Received: 5 March 2016 / Revised: 18 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Neighborhood walkability can influence individual health, social interactions, and environmental quality, but the relationships between subsidized households and their walkable environment have not been sufficiently examined in previous empirical studies. Focusing on two types of subsidized housing developments (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)
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Neighborhood walkability can influence individual health, social interactions, and environmental quality, but the relationships between subsidized households and their walkable environment have not been sufficiently examined in previous empirical studies. Focusing on two types of subsidized housing developments (Low-Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) and Public Housing (PH)) in Austin, Texas, this study evaluates the neighborhood walkability of place-based subsidized households, utilizing objectively measured Walk Score and walking-related built environment data. We also used U.S. Census block group data to account for the socio-demographic covariates. Based on various data, we employed bivariate and multivariate analyses to specify the relationships between subsidized households and their neighborhood walkable environment. The results of our bivariate analyses show that LIHTC households tend to be located in car-dependent neighborhoods and have more undesirable walking-related built environment conditions compared with non-LIHTC neighborhoods. Our regression results also represent that LIHTC households are more likely to be exposed to neighborhoods with low Walk Score, less sidewalk coverage, and more highways and major roads, while there are no significant associations for PH households. These findings imply that more attention and effort toward reducing the inequitable distributions of walkable neighborhood features supporting rather than hindering healthy lifestyles must be provided to subsidized households. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Nets for Strengthening Lava Stone Masonries in Historical Buildings
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040394
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
The strengthening of masonries is a crucial step in building restoration works because of its relevance, mostly with regard to the improvement of building seismic behavior. Current building technologies are based on the use of steel nets which are incorporated into cement plasters.
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The strengthening of masonries is a crucial step in building restoration works because of its relevance, mostly with regard to the improvement of building seismic behavior. Current building technologies are based on the use of steel nets which are incorporated into cement plasters. The use of steel has a number of contraindications that can be solved by using composite materials such as glass fiber nets, which have high mechanical characteristics and lightness, elasticity, corrosion resistance, and compatibility with lime plaster. Building interventions, that take into account the application of glass fiber nets, are very sustainable from several points of view, e.g., material production, in situ works, economic cost and durability. In Italy, several experiments have been carried out in situ with the aim of testing the mechanical characteristics of masonries which have been treated with fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) nets. This paper deals with a series of in situ tests carried out during the restoration works of an important historical building located in Catania (Sicily, Italy). The results achieved are largely positive. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Diversification Models of Sales Activity for Steady Development of an Enterprise
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 393; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040393
Received: 10 December 2015 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady
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The paper substantiates the importance of the optimal directionality choice of sales activity as one of the main lines of enterprise activity, the functioning of which should be complete, synchronous and complementary. Diversification is one of the powerful instruments to ensure the steady development of the sales activity of an enterprise. Three models of sales activity diversification of an enterprise are developed. The first model is based on unveiling the potential of sales channels and allows us to show the peculiarities of their use. The second model of the optimal quantitative distribution of production between sales channels is based on profit maximization. This approach not only takes into account the evaluation of the prescribed parameters of sales channels, but also provides the high profitability of each assortment item and of the whole enterprise. The third model of the optimal distribution of production between sales channels accounts for the experience of collaboration between the enterprise and sales channels during the past period and ensures the minimal risk and appropriate profitability for each sales channel. The proposed models are tested and compared to actual data of the enterprise; the advantages and peculiarities of each model are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Models)
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Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Strategy for Developing Cultivated Pastures in China that Offer the Advantages of Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/su8040392
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
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Abstract
Based on a site experiment on a typical steppe of Inner Mongolia, the short term effects on aboveground biomass, soil water content, soil organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen of four cultivated pastures (CPs) with different compositions of herbaceous species were examined and
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Based on a site experiment on a typical steppe of Inner Mongolia, the short term effects on aboveground biomass, soil water content, soil organic carbon, and soil total nitrogen of four cultivated pastures (CPs) with different compositions of herbaceous species were examined and compared to those of adjacent, natural grassland (NG) enclosed simultaneously. All CPs produced significantly higher aboveground biomass than did the NG after two years of establishment, and the mixed culture of Agropyron cristatum (A. cristatum) and Medicago sativa (M. sativa) produced the highest (312.39% higher than the NG). Without irrigation, soil water content in the 10–20 cm soil layer was also found to be significantly higher in the CPs than in the NG, especially for the mixed cultures of A. cristatum and M. sativa, A. cristatum, M. sativa and Lolium perenne (L. perenne), by 184.25% and 125.97%, respectively. The improvements in soil organic carbon and soil total nitrogen in CPs were less obvious and mixed, with different species compositions showing significant increases at different depths. The experimental results suggested that, with carefully selected species compositions and proper farming measures, CPs could have a positive effect on some of the pathways that generate ecosystem services, at least in the short term. We also analyzed the underlying institutional and socioeconomic causes of China’s underdevelopment of CPs, and proposed a two-step development strategy. The first is to promote rain-fed CPs on small-hold farms, which require relatively low inputs in fertilizers and labor. The second is to promote large-scale operations, which will require significantly more inputs in land, irrigation, fertilizers, and machinery. Full article
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