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Sustainability, Volume 8, Issue 4 (April 2016)

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Open AccessArticle Strategic Aspects of an Eco-Logistic Chain Optimization
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 277; doi:10.3390/su8040277
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 13 February 2016 / Accepted: 29 February 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
The result of ecological aspects being taken into consideration in human activities and aiming at an optimization of the chains of deliveries is an intention to close the loop of deliveries. One of the ways to achieve this aim is an application of
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The result of ecological aspects being taken into consideration in human activities and aiming at an optimization of the chains of deliveries is an intention to close the loop of deliveries. One of the ways to achieve this aim is an application of the concept of ecologistics. While waste constitutes one of the main elements of ecologistics, it poses the most serious threat to the natural environment. The state’s ecologic policy for the years of 2002–2010 was a document to support the activities of communes aimed at environmental protection. Long-term objectives are to be realized within the framework of the Strategy of the Sustainable Development of Poland by the Year 2025. In this article, an attempt was undertaken of a critical interpretation of American and European views in this area. The possibilities of the optimization and polyoptimization of the behaviors of individual and group inhabitants in the context of logistics chains modelling were highlighted. Standardized indexes will permit an effective assessment of the behaviors of a human or a given society referred to the economic (business) values in an area determined by the necessity of the functioning of ecologistic chains (this activity is proper to the objectives of designing and an objective assessment of the functioning of ecologistic chains). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Evaluating Emergency Response Solutions for Sustainable Community Development by Using Fuzzy Multi-Criteria Group Decision Making Approaches: IVDHF-TOPSIS and IVDHF-VIKOR
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 291; doi:10.3390/su8040291
Received: 17 November 2015 / Revised: 3 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1008 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Emergency management is vital in implementing sustainable community development, for which community planning must include emergency response solutions to potential natural and manmade hazards. To help maintain such solution repository, we investigate effective fuzzy multi-criteria group decision making (FMCGDM) approaches for the complex
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Emergency management is vital in implementing sustainable community development, for which community planning must include emergency response solutions to potential natural and manmade hazards. To help maintain such solution repository, we investigate effective fuzzy multi-criteria group decision making (FMCGDM) approaches for the complex problems of evaluating alternative emergency response solutions, where weights for decision makers and criteria are unknown due to problem complexity. We employ interval-valued dual hesitant fuzzy (IVDHF) set to address decision hesitancy more effectively. Based on IVDHF assessments, we develop a deviation maximizing model to compute criteria weights and another compatibility maximizing model to calculate weights for decision makers. Then, two ideal-solution-based FMCGDM approaches are proposed: (i) by introducing a synthesized IVDHF group decision matrix into TOPSIS, we develop an IVDHF-TOPSIS approach for fuzzy group settings; (ii) when emphasizing both maximum group utility and minimum individual regret, we extend VIKOR to develop an IVDHF-VIKOR approach, where the derived decision makers’ weights are utilized to obtain group decision matrix and the determined criteria weights are integrated to reflect the relative importance of distances from the compromised ideal solution. Compared with aggregation-operators-based approach, IVDHF-TOPSIS and IVDHF-VIKOR can alleviate information loss and computational complexity. Numerical examples have validated the effectiveness of the proposed approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Silicon Soil Amendments for Suppressing Powdery Mildew on Pumpkin
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 293; doi:10.3390/su8040293
Received: 16 February 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (507 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A greenhouse experiment was conducted with Cucurbita pepo L. “Howden” pumpkin to compare the effectiveness of various soil amendments for providing Si nutrition, improving soil fertility, and suppressing powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii). A sandy loam soil with an initial soil pH
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A greenhouse experiment was conducted with Cucurbita pepo L. “Howden” pumpkin to compare the effectiveness of various soil amendments for providing Si nutrition, improving soil fertility, and suppressing powdery mildew (Podosphaera xanthii). A sandy loam soil with an initial soil pH of 4.5 was left unamended or amended with various liming materials or silicon sources. Calcite limestone, dolomite limestone, wollastonite, CaMg silicate slag, and wood ash were similarly effective liming materials for neutralizing soil acidity, but Montanagrow™ and glacial rock flour were not shown to be effective liming materials. Powdery mildew disease incidence and severity was visually scored on the foliage. Disease development was inversely related to Si concentration in vine tissue. Wollastonite was the most effective amendment at increasing Si uptake and for suppressing powdery mildew disease and glacial rock flour was not effective. Full article
Open AccessArticle Performance Evaluation and Field Application of Porous Vegetation Concrete Made with By-Product Materials for Ecological Restoration Projects
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 294; doi:10.3390/su8040294
Received: 8 March 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8626 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of porous vegetation concrete block made from blast furnace slag cement containing industrial by-products such as blast furnace slag aggregate and powder. The blocks were tested for void ratio, compressive strength and freeze-thaw
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The purpose of this study was to evaluate the performance of porous vegetation concrete block made from blast furnace slag cement containing industrial by-products such as blast furnace slag aggregate and powder. The blocks were tested for void ratio, compressive strength and freeze-thaw resistance to determine the optimal mixing ratio for the porous vegetation block. An economic analysis of the mixing ratio showed that the economic efficiency increased when blast furnace slag aggregate and cement were used. Porous vegetation concrete blocks for river applications were designed and produced. Hydraulic safety, heavy metal elution and vegetation tests were completed after the blocks were applied in the field. The measured tractive force ranged between 7.0 kg/m2 for fascine revetment (vegetation revetment) and 16.0 kg/m2 for stone pitching (hard revetment), which ensured sufficient hydraulic stability in the field. Plant growth was measured after the porous vegetation concrete block was placed in the field. Seeds began to sprout one week after seeding; after six weeks, the plant length exceeded 300 mm. The average coverage ratio reached as high as 90% after six weeks of vegetation. These results clearly indicated that the porous vegetation concrete block was suitable for environmental restoration projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Network Patterns of Inventor Collaboration and Their Effects on Innovation Outputs
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 295; doi:10.3390/su8040295
Received: 14 January 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2492 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to examine how the collaboration structure among inventors in an R and D organization affects its capability to create impactful innovations. Specifically, this study is focused on examining whether a certain type of network mechanism found in
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The purpose of this study is to examine how the collaboration structure among inventors in an R and D organization affects its capability to create impactful innovations. Specifically, this study is focused on examining whether a certain type of network mechanism found in collaboration among inventors contributes more to enhancing the future impacts of collaboration outputs, which is represented by the forward citations of their patents. To this end, co-invention networks for R and D organizations are constructed from an inventor-patent database, and the three structural patterns are measured by using network analytic constructs, namely, structural holes, strength of ties, and centralization. The results show that the presence of structural holes and strong ties are positively associated with the increasing forward citations, and that decentralized collaboration has also a positive impact. The findings offer support for both structural hole and network closure perspectives on social capital, which have been considered contradictive in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Value of Green Infrastructure on Vacant and Residential Land in Roanoke, Virginia
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 296; doi:10.3390/su8040296
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 23 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2917 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Using the City of Roanoke, Virginia as a study site, this paper quantifies the forest structure, ecosystem services and values of vacant and residential land. Single family residential land had more trees (1,683,000) than vacant land (210,000) due largely to the differences in
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Using the City of Roanoke, Virginia as a study site, this paper quantifies the forest structure, ecosystem services and values of vacant and residential land. Single family residential land had more trees (1,683,000) than vacant land (210,000) due largely to the differences in land area (32.44 km2 of vacant land vs. 57.94 km2 residential). While the percentage of tree coverage was almost identical across land uses (30.6% in vacant to 32.3% in residential), the number of trees per ha is greater on residential land (290.3) than on vacant land (63.4). The average healthy leaf surface area on individual trees growing on vacant land was greater than that of individual trees on residential land. The fact that trees in vacant land were found to provide more ecosystem services per tree than residential trees was attributed to this leaf area difference. Trees on vacant land are growing in more natural conditions and there are more large trees per ha. Assessing the forest structure and ecosystem services of Roanoke’s vacant and residential land provides a picture of the current extent and condition of the vacant and residential land. Understanding these characteristics provides the information needed for improved management and utilization of urban vacant land and estimating green infrastructure value. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Effects of Urban Policies on the Development of Urban Areas
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 297; doi:10.3390/su8040297
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 13 | PDF Full-text (6399 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
For more than a decade, the European Union recognizes soil as a common good and considers it as a finite resource of inestimable value. The European Union defines it as the “upper layer of earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water,
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For more than a decade, the European Union recognizes soil as a common good and considers it as a finite resource of inestimable value. The European Union defines it as the “upper layer of earth’s crust, formed by mineral particles, organic matter, water, air and living organisms”. Despite such definitions, usually, planning choices do not take into account the need to reduce soil consumption to build up resilience. This paper presents the controversial case of Agri Valley (Basilicata, Southern Italy); on the one hand, this region is characterized by the presence of extremely valuable land, because of the exceptional degree of soil fertility; on the other hand, Valdagri is also known to have one of the largest oilfields of Europe. An application built around the SLEUTH model was developed in order to produce a simulation and an estimate of the extent to which urban areas may grow in the near future. Results confirm that urban policies implemented so far by local governments—which aimed almost exclusively to favor industrial development—irreversibly threaten the integrity of the natural values of the valley. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Addressing Policy Challenges for More Sustainable Local–Global Food Chains: Policy Frameworks and Possible Food “Futures”
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 299; doi:10.3390/su8040299
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2016 / Accepted: 15 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (225 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The article considers how policy can address the local–global within a wider commitment to food sustainability and draws on research conducted for the EU-funded GLAMUR project (Global and local food assessment: a multidimensional performance-based approach). Case study data identifies four key policy challenges
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The article considers how policy can address the local–global within a wider commitment to food sustainability and draws on research conducted for the EU-funded GLAMUR project (Global and local food assessment: a multidimensional performance-based approach). Case study data identifies four key policy challenges for policymakers. Addressing these challenges in order to make links between current (and future) more sustainable food policy involves three phases. The first identifies processes of engagement in three spheres (public policy, the market and civil society); the second identifies points of engagement offered by existing policy initiatives at global, EU, national and sub-national policy levels; and the third builds scenarios as possible “food futures”, used to illustrate how the project’s findings could impact on the “bigger policy picture” along the local–global continuum. Connections are made between the policy frameworks, as processes and points of engagement for food policy, and the food “futures”. It is suggested that the findings can help support policymakers as they consider the effects and value of using multi-criteria interventions. Full article
Open AccessArticle Women on Boards and Corporate Social Responsibility
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 300; doi:10.3390/su8040300
Received: 22 December 2015 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
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Abstract
A growing body of research suggests that having more women in the boardroom leads to better corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. However, much of this work views the CSR-enhancing effect of women directors as largely driven by their moral orientations and rarely considers
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A growing body of research suggests that having more women in the boardroom leads to better corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance. However, much of this work views the CSR-enhancing effect of women directors as largely driven by their moral orientations and rarely considers other underlying mechanisms. Moreover, less explored are the firm-specific conditions under which such CSR-promoting roles of female directors might be performed more (or less) effectively. In this paper, we seek to bridge this gap in the literature by (1) proposing an additional account for the positive influence of female independent directors on the firm’s CSR and (2) illuminating the organizational context in which female directorship is likely to translate into good CSR performance. We argue that women independent directors might take CSR issues more seriously than their male counterparts not only because of their stronger moral orientations, but also because they have reputational reasons to do so. Further, we suggest that female directors’ concerns about CSR-relevant matters are more (less) likely to gain support from other members of the organization when their company is doing more (less) business in the product markets where reputation for CSR is more (less) vital for success. Using a sample of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 1500 index firms (2000–2009) and the data on their board composition and CSR ratings, we find strong support for our argument. We find that the number (or proportion) of women independent directors is positively associated with a firm’s CSR ratings and that the strength of this relationship depends on the level of the firm’s consumer market orientation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle An Integrated Diagnostic Framework to Manage Organization Sustainable Growth: An Empirical Case
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 301; doi:10.3390/su8040301
Received: 5 January 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1421 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This research aims to develop a quantitative diagnostic framework by combining the Weisbord six-box model with the growth management model to focus on an organization’s internally driven sustainable management system. The research adopted an instrument developed by Preziosi and an extended Weisbord six-box
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This research aims to develop a quantitative diagnostic framework by combining the Weisbord six-box model with the growth management model to focus on an organization’s internally driven sustainable management system. The research adopted an instrument developed by Preziosi and an extended Weisbord six-box model. The research employed a survey to collect 180 samples in a Chinese petrol company and applied the comparative method: (a) the average score method; and (b) the entropy method to confirm the growth level of the company. The survey also attempted to identify corresponding top growth influence factors using the obstacle degree formula. The results showed that the integrated diagnostic framework worked well to diagnose a regional but large Chinese petroleum company. In other words, the research successfully quantified the growth position and top influence factors and helped put forward specific suggestions to drive the organization of sustainable development. The method confirmed this organization during the fourth phase of five phases. In addition, top influence factors hindering the internal growth were (a) the lack of task engagement with energy and time; (b) the lack of personal work units; and (c) a poor division of labor for reaching sustainable growth rates. The research provides a generic theoretical framework support to incorporate growth management models into an organizational diagnosis to obtain sustainable growth. It further highlights and practices guidelines in examining actual growth management levels in companies and discusses top influence factors to design efficient management systems to pursue organizational growth in a multitude of industrial contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Modeling on Regional Atmosphere-Soil-Land Plant Carbon Cycle Dynamic System
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 303; doi:10.3390/su8040303
Received: 2 January 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
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Abstract
This paper establishes a nonlinear carbon cycle model based on the analysis of the carbon flux relationship among the atmosphere cycle, soil cycle and land cycle. By using nonlinear dynamics method, we examine the regional carbon cycle evolution along with the temporal evolution
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This paper establishes a nonlinear carbon cycle model based on the analysis of the carbon flux relationship among the atmosphere cycle, soil cycle and land cycle. By using nonlinear dynamics method, we examine the regional carbon cycle evolution along with the temporal evolution of the regional carbon flux. A neural network has been employed to identify the parameters of the proposed model, accordingly. In the numerical study, we propose the atmosphere-soil-land cycle model for Nanjing city of China. Then, the carbon cycle evolution of Nanjing has been simulated with the given model and actual data. Full article
Open AccessArticle Handling Diversity of Visions and Priorities in Food Chain Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 305; doi:10.3390/su8040305
Received: 26 December 2015 / Revised: 10 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (3061 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Food chain sustainability assessment is challenging on several grounds. Handling knowledge and information on sustainability performance and coping with the diversity of visions around “what counts as sustainable food” are two key issues addressed by this study. By developing a comparative case study
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Food chain sustainability assessment is challenging on several grounds. Handling knowledge and information on sustainability performance and coping with the diversity of visions around “what counts as sustainable food” are two key issues addressed by this study. By developing a comparative case study on local, regional and global wheat-to-bread chains, and confronting the multidimensionality of sustainability, this work focuses on the differing visions and perspectives of stakeholders. We integrate qualitative and quantitative data, stakeholder consultation and multi-criteria analysis to align the visions and the multiple meanings of sustainability. Because of the complexity and the dynamicity of the food system, the multidimensionality of the sustainability concept and its pliability to stakeholders priorities, sustainability is an object of competition for firms in the agro-food sector and has major implications in the governance of food chains. Results identify key propositions in relation to: (i) the value of combining science-led evidence with socio-cultural values; (ii) multidimensional sustainability assessment as a self diagnosis tool; and (iii) the need to identify shared assessment criteria by communities of reference. Full article
Open AccessArticle Ranking EU Countries According to Their Level of Success in Achieving the Objectives of the Sustainable Development Strategy
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 306; doi:10.3390/su8040306
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 28 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development as a concept, is extremely important both at national and international levels. To achieve the goals of sustainable development, international cooperation among countries is of vital importance because no one nation can accomplish these goals independently. In order to implement the
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Sustainable development as a concept, is extremely important both at national and international levels. To achieve the goals of sustainable development, international cooperation among countries is of vital importance because no one nation can accomplish these goals independently. In order to implement the sustainable development strategy, first discussed in 1992 at the UN Conference of Environment and Development, the indicators of sustainable development first had to be defined. Considering that the first set of indicators was defined by the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD), they were entitled CSD indicators. The smaller set of CSD indicators in the European Union countries (EU-28) is observed in this study. These indicators cover three aspects of sustainable development: economic, social and environmental. The goal of this study is to rank EU countries according to the level that they were able to achieve the objectives of their respective sustainable development strategies individually, according to the 2013 database. The appropriate statistical I-distance method was used for this purpose. In the first step, the significant indicators are distinguished and ranked according to the quantity and importance of the information they provide for specific research. Subsequently, this method then converts the indicators into a single measure that reflects the level at which each country has achieved the goal. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Variations of Rain-Use Efficiency in the West of Songliao Plain, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 308; doi:10.3390/su8040308
Received: 31 January 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (10012 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Spatio-temporal patterns of rain-use efficiency (RUE) can explicitly present the steady-state of ecosystem water use and thus ecosystem functioning. The west of Songliao Plain, located along the east fringe of the agro-pasture transitional zone in northern China, is highly sensitive to global change.
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Spatio-temporal patterns of rain-use efficiency (RUE) can explicitly present the steady-state of ecosystem water use and thus ecosystem functioning. The west of Songliao Plain, located along the east fringe of the agro-pasture transitional zone in northern China, is highly sensitive to global change. In this study, satellite-based RUE was calculated using time series SPOT VEGETATION (SPOT-VGT) Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) images and precipitation data for the study area from 1999 to 2011. Based on regression model by fitting simple linear regression through the pixel-based time series of RUE in the growing season and calculating the slopes, the change trend of RUE was determined. The grey relational analysis (GRA) method was extended to the spatial scale, and used to select sensitive climate and socio-economic factors that affected RUE variations. The result demonstrated that vegetation RUE increased slightly with an undulating trend, implying the ecosystem function tended to improve between 1999 and 2011. In total, 4.23% of the total area had experienced a significant increase in RUE, whereas 1.29% of the total area presented a significant decrease. Areas showing increased RUE trends mostly coincided with areas of land cover conversions from grassland to forest, shrub to forest and cropland to forest, which suggested a positive linkage with ecological protection policy and projects at national and local levels. Based on the obtained spatial Grey Relation Grade (GRG) values, the pattern of the impact factors clearly showed a spatial heterogeneity. Spatially, sunshine duration, temperature and population density were most closely related to RUE in the west of Songliao Plain between 1999 and 2011. Full article
Open AccessArticle Using Scenarios to Assess Policy Mixes for Resource Efficiency and Eco-Innovation in Different Fiscal Policy Frameworks
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 309; doi:10.3390/su8040309
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 26 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2332 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
There is no longer any doubt that the European Union needs to manage a transition towards a sustainable economy and society. The complexity of such an enterprise is creating major challenges that require a future oriented systemic approach, looking at the EU economy
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There is no longer any doubt that the European Union needs to manage a transition towards a sustainable economy and society. The complexity of such an enterprise is creating major challenges that require a future oriented systemic approach, looking at the EU economy and society as a whole, and going beyond current agendas and policies. The purpose of the JRC foresight study “2035: Paths towards a sustainable EU economy” was to explore how this could be possible. Resource efficiency was at the core of the reflection. This created a context where the fiscal framework was perceived by the experts involved as essential in driving (or hindering) the evolution towards a more sustainable future. Societal values (individualistic or collaborative) were selected as the other axis around which to construct four scenarios. A large number of other drivers of change were taken into account to construct scenarios of a sufficient depth and detail to generate a systemic understanding. The scenarios were used in an original way to help experts identify which policy mixes would be best adapted to push each scenario towards a more sustainable future, while respecting its own logic and constraints. For each scenario, 6 policy domains considered the most relevant were selected among more than 50. Research and innovation, new business models and education were considered important for all four scenarios. The other domains were natural resources management, regulation, ethics, employment, transparency, governance, social protection, and systems integration. The study illustrates how powerful a policy framework which is fiscally supportive of environmental sustainability can be in supporting resource efficiency and that this can be achieved in very different ways depending on the prevailing social values. It also shows how a combination of actions in other policy areas can be used to drive sustainability further. In sum, this work illustrates how the creative use of foresight can help design policy mixes that can open the way to very different paths towards a sustainable future. Full article
Open AccessArticle Valuation of Haze Management and Prevention Using the Contingent Valuation Method with the Sure Independence Screening Algorithm
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 310; doi:10.3390/su8040310
Received: 9 January 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 28 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (613 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Haze has caused the deterioration of air quality and has ultimately affected the ecological environment. The contingent valuation method (CVM) is an important assessment method that is widely used in ecological economics. The public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for haze management and prevention
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Haze has caused the deterioration of air quality and has ultimately affected the ecological environment. The contingent valuation method (CVM) is an important assessment method that is widely used in ecological economics. The public’s willingness to pay (WTP) for haze management and prevention can be analyzed using dichotomous choices. Here, the method is applied to study the valuation of haze management and prevention. Taking Jiangsu Province as an example, the non-market value is calculated by constructing the binary logistic model from questionnaire data, combined with a data-processing method: the sure independence screening (SIS) algorithm. The conclusions are as follows: (1) The public’s WTP for haze management and prevention is closely related to the monthly income of families and transport modality; (2) According to the CVM, the non-market value for haze management and prevention in Jiangsu is 7.645 billion yuan; (3) By the average estimate method (AEM), this value is 12.529 billion yuan, about 1.64 times the estimate from the CVM. This is because the AEM ignores the correlation among the influence factors and, therefore, overestimates the valuation of the services; (4) The CVM, combined with the SIS algorithm, does a better job in estimating the valuation of the services. Full article
Open AccessArticle School Facilities and Sustainability-Related Concepts: A Study of Hellenic Secondary School Principals’, Teachers’, Pupils’ and Parents’ Responses
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 311; doi:10.3390/su8040311
Received: 9 February 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
PDF Full-text (464 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Effective building environment sustainability frameworks and practices need to take users’ opinions into account. For this purpose, a survey questionnaire was developed and the “Panhellenic survey of school spaces, materials and environmental-comfort conditions in secondary schools and perceptions, stances and attitudes of pupils,
[...] Read more.
Effective building environment sustainability frameworks and practices need to take users’ opinions into account. For this purpose, a survey questionnaire was developed and the “Panhellenic survey of school spaces, materials and environmental-comfort conditions in secondary schools and perceptions, stances and attitudes of pupils, teachers, principals and parents towards sustainable construction and the selection and use of materials in schools that are friendly to the environment and human health” was conducted nationwide with a random stratified sample of 170 Hellenic public secondary schools. Selected findings are presented and discussed here. These show that existing school facilities are primarily rated as good and that selection and use of materials friendly to the environment and human health are extremely important. User groups believe that they should participate in planning/selecting sustainable solutions for schools. An Index of 10 School Environment Desired Outcomes associated with environmentally friendly and health-friendly materials selection and use was devised. Relevant factors were extracted and interpreted. The research establishes users’ subjective opinions that may be considered and integrated into procedures for improving school buildings, assessing and selecting environmentally friendly materials and implementing strategies for sustainable school design, building and operation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of the Carbon Dioxide Uptake of Slag-Blended Concrete Structures, Considering the Effect of Carbonation
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 312; doi:10.3390/su8040312
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (7857 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
During the production of concrete, cement, water, aggregate, and chemical and mineral admixtures will be used, and a large amount of carbon dioxide will be emitted. Conversely, during the decades of service life of reinforced concrete structures, carbon dioxide in the environment can
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During the production of concrete, cement, water, aggregate, and chemical and mineral admixtures will be used, and a large amount of carbon dioxide will be emitted. Conversely, during the decades of service life of reinforced concrete structures, carbon dioxide in the environment can ingress into concrete and chemically react with carbonatable constitutes of hardened concrete, such as calcium hydroxide and calcium silicate hydrate. This chemical reaction process is known as carbonation. Carbon dioxide will be absorbed into concrete due to carbonation. This article presents a numerical procedure to quantitatively evaluate carbon dioxide emissions and the absorption of ground granulated blast furnace slag (GGBFS) blended concrete structures. Based on building scales and drawings, the total volume and surface area of concrete are calculated. The carbon dioxide emission is calculated using the total volume of concrete and unit carbon dioxide emission of materials. Next, using a slag blended cement hydration model and a carbonation model, the carbonation depth is determined. The absorbed carbon dioxide is evaluated using the carbonation depth of concrete, the surface area of concrete structures, and the amount of carbonatable materials. The calculation results show that for the studied structure with slag blended concrete, for each unit of CO2 produced, 4.61% of carbon dioxide will be absorbed during its 50 years of service life. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Countries’ Roles on the International Photovoltaic Trade Pattern: The Complex Networks Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 313; doi:10.3390/su8040313
Received: 26 November 2015 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1570 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The expansion of the international PV trade encourages governments to focus on their trade roles in this market, which has increasing impact on their future development of sustainable energy. Thus, an exploration of top traders and their influence on global PV trade pattern
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The expansion of the international PV trade encourages governments to focus on their trade roles in this market, which has increasing impact on their future development of sustainable energy. Thus, an exploration of top traders and their influence on global PV trade pattern is essential as governments seek to develop strategies to improve their global PV market’s discourse power. This study introduces the complex network theory to examine top traders whose default would lead to the collapse of trade pattern and their impactful ways. Moreover, the potential structural reason for top traders’ influence on trade is explored via link prediction. We find that a group of European countries account for 80% of global importation and are the most influential traders and bridges; a group of Asian countries are among the top exporters with half of the global share; and European countries’ high influence is due to their large number of trade partners instead of their trade volume. Above all, a high number of trade partners is more important than trade volume for countries seeking to be top traders. Finally, we discuss these results given the recent promising development of international PV trade. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy Applications and Energy Saving in Buildings)
Open AccessArticle Renewable Energy Supply and Demand for the City of El Gouna, Egypt
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 314; doi:10.3390/su8040314
Received: 28 October 2015 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 29 March 2016
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Abstract
The paper discusses a supply and demand scenario using renewable energy sources for the city El Gouna in Egypt as an example for a self-supplying community. All calculations are based on measured meteorological data and real power demand during the year 2013. The
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The paper discusses a supply and demand scenario using renewable energy sources for the city El Gouna in Egypt as an example for a self-supplying community. All calculations are based on measured meteorological data and real power demand during the year 2013. The modeled energy system consists of a concentrating solar tower plant with thermal storage and low-temperature seawater desalination unit as well as an integrated photovoltaic plant and a wind turbine. The low-temperature desalination unit has been newly developed in order to enable the utilization of waste heat from power conversion processes by improved thermal efficiency. In the study, special attention is given to the surplus power handling generated by the photovoltaic and wind power plant. Surplus power is converted into heat and stored in the thermal storage system of the solar power plant in order to increase the capacity factor. A brief estimation of investment costs have been conducted as well in order to outline the economic performance of the modeled energy and water supply system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Assessing Potential Impacts of Sea Level Rise on Public Health and Vulnerable Populations in Southeast Florida and Providing a Framework to Improve Outcomes
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 315; doi:10.3390/su8040315
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
In recent years, ongoing efforts by a multitude of universities, local governments, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been focused on sea-level rise (SLR) adaptation in Florida. However, within these efforts, there has been very little attention given to the potential impacts
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In recent years, ongoing efforts by a multitude of universities, local governments, federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been focused on sea-level rise (SLR) adaptation in Florida. However, within these efforts, there has been very little attention given to the potential impacts of sea-level rise on human health. The intent of this project is to identify populations in Southeast Florida that are most vulnerable to sea-level rise from a topographic perspective, determine how vulnerable these population are from a socio-economic perspective, identify potential health impacts, develop adaptation strategies designed to assist these communities, and produce an outreach effort that can be shared with other coastal communities. The location of socially-vulnerable and health-vulnerable populations are correlated, but at present they are not generally in the geographically-vulnerable areas. Projections indicate that they will become at risk in the future but the lack of data on emerging diseases makes public health assessments difficult. We propose a redefinition of “who is vulnerable?” to include health indicators and hard infrastructure solutions for flood and property protection. These tools can be used to help protect water resources from the impacts of climate change, which would, in turn, protect public health via drinking water supplies, and efforts to address social issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
Open AccessArticle Organizing the Co-Production of Health and Environmental Values in Food Production: The Constitutional Processes in the Relationships between Italian Solidarity Purchasing Groups and Farmers
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 316; doi:10.3390/su8040316
Received: 29 November 2015 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
The paper focuses on the Solidarity Purchasing Group (SPG), defined as a group of households that establishes an organization primarily to provide food to its members. The study aims at illustrating and testing two hypotheses. The first is that within the group, specific
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The paper focuses on the Solidarity Purchasing Group (SPG), defined as a group of households that establishes an organization primarily to provide food to its members. The study aims at illustrating and testing two hypotheses. The first is that within the group, specific organizational processes take place according to which food communication practices determine the resource use objectives. The second hypothesis is the SPG tends to assign larger values to health and environmental protection than other resource use objectives. These hypotheses concern the ranking of the resource use objectives managed by the group. The idea is that an SPG defines the resource uses according to the specific group’s objectives and by means of organizational tools, especially the food communication practices. For testing purposes, we conducted an empirical analysis by submitting an online questionnaire to 900 Italian SPGs. The results firstly indicate that the organizational dimensions of SPGs, including the relationships between SPGs and farmers, influence the group objectives, providing empirical evidence that supports the first hypothesis. Moreover, the test of the second hypothesis indicates that group objectives concerning health and environmental protection are particularly valued by the SPGs. We then conclude that the groups are aimed at co-producing health and environmental protection with public authorities. We then underlined limits of the study and potential future research paths. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Use of GCM, RS, and GIS for the Assessment of Hillslope and Gully Erosion in the Mushi River Sub-Catchment, Northeast China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 317; doi:10.3390/su8040317
Received: 31 January 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
The black soil region of Northeast China has suffered from severe soil erosion by water. Hillslope and gully erosion are the main erosion types. The objective of this research was to integrate the assessment of hillslope and gully erosion and explore spatial coupling
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The black soil region of Northeast China has suffered from severe soil erosion by water. Hillslope and gully erosion are the main erosion types. The objective of this research was to integrate the assessment of hillslope and gully erosion and explore spatial coupling relations between them in the Mushi River sub-catchment using geographical conditions monitoring (GCM) including remote sensing (RS) and geographic information system (GIS) techniques. The revised universal soil loss equation (RUSLE) model and visual satellite image interpretation were used to evaluate hillslope and gully erosion, respectively. The results showed that (1) the study area as a whole had slight erosion due to rill and sheet erosion, but suffered more serious gully erosion, which mainly occurs in cultivated land; (2) GCM contributed to the overall improvement of soil erosion assessment, but the RUSLE model likely overestimates the erosion rate in dry land; (3) the hillslope and gully erosion were stronger on sunny slopes than on shady slopes, and mainly occurred at middle elevations. When the slope was greater than 15 degrees, the slope was not the main factor restricting the erosion, while at steeper slopes, the dominant forest land significantly reduced the soil loss; (4) trends of gully erosion intensity and density were not consistent with the change in soil erosion intensity. To our knowledge, this study was one of the first that attempted to integrate gully erosion and hillslope erosion on a watershed scale. The findings of this study promote a better understanding of the spatial coupling relationships between hillslope and gully erosion and similarly indicate that GCM, RS, and GIS can be used efficiently in the hilly black soil region of Northeast China to assess hillslope and gully erosion. Full article
Open AccessArticle Persuasive Design for Products Leading to Health and Sustainability Using Case-Based Reasoning
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 318; doi:10.3390/su8040318
Received: 13 February 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
This study proposes a novel method for facilitating product design that persuades users to have more bodily movements for both health and energy harvesting by using concepts of case-based reasoning. A domain knowledge model for case-based reasoning is proposed to explain how design
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This study proposes a novel method for facilitating product design that persuades users to have more bodily movements for both health and energy harvesting by using concepts of case-based reasoning. A domain knowledge model for case-based reasoning is proposed to explain how design and technology can help persuade users to perform target behavior. There are five groups of attributes in the model including target behavior, design principles, design techniques, applicable technology, and users’ motives and ability. With the model, knowledge from more than 98 cases are extracted to form a case library. To find better persuasive means for different user groups, significant users’ motives and ability are identified for different target users by using regression models which result from a questionnaire survey of local potential users. A case-based method with a six-step procedure is proposed to find some useful suggestions from retrieved cases by specifying target users and target behaviors. An illustrative example is presented to demonstrate the application potential of the proposed method. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-innovation and Competitiveness)
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Open AccessArticle Sense and Non-Sense of Local–Global Food Chain Comparison, Empirical Evidence from Dutch and Italian Pork Case Studies
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 319; doi:10.3390/su8040319
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 25 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Priority setting between local versus global food chains continues to be subject of debate among food, rural and agricultural scholars with an interest in how to support more sustainable food provision and consumption patterns. Recently the FP7 European GLAMUR project targeted to assess
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Priority setting between local versus global food chains continues to be subject of debate among food, rural and agricultural scholars with an interest in how to support more sustainable food provision and consumption patterns. Recently the FP7 European GLAMUR project targeted to assess and compare the performances of local versus global food chains in a systematic way covering multiple performance dimensions. Especially drawing on empirical research on the performances of three Italian and three Dutch pork chains, it will be argued that meaningful performance comparison needs to acknowledge the complex, multi-facetted and time and place specific interaction patterns between (more) global and (more) local pork chains. Therefore, as regards these pork chains, local–global performance comparison is thought to have hardly significance in isolation from complementary “horizontal” (place-based) and “circular” (waste or by-product valorization oriented) assessments. As will be concluded, this methodological complexity of food chain performance comparison doesn’t allow for simple statements regarding the pros and cons of (more) global versus (more) local pork chains. Hence, it is recommended to avoid such less fruitful local–global dichotomy and to concentrate on more policy relevant questions as: how to facilitate fundamentally different resource-use-efficiency strategies and how to optimize the place-specific interaction between more “local” versus more “global” food systems? Full article
Open AccessArticle Integrating Urban Heat Assessment in Urban Plans
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 320; doi:10.3390/su8040320
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 24 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
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Abstract
The world is increasingly concerned with sustainability issues. Climate change is not the least of these concerns. The complexity of these issues is such that data and information management form an important means of making the right decisions. Nowadays, however, the sheer quantity
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The world is increasingly concerned with sustainability issues. Climate change is not the least of these concerns. The complexity of these issues is such that data and information management form an important means of making the right decisions. Nowadays, however, the sheer quantity of data is overwhelming; large quantities of data demand means of representation that are comprehensible and effective. The above dilemma poses questions as to how one incorporates unknown climatologic parameters, such as urban heat, in future urban planning processes, and how one ensures the proposals are specific enough to actually adapt cities to climate change and flexible enough to ensure the proposed measures are combinable and compatible with other urban planning priorities. Conventional urban planning processes and mapping strategies are not adapted to this new environmental, technological and social context. In order come up with more appropriate urban planning strategies, in its first section this paper analyzes the role of the urban planner, reviews the wide variety of parameters that are starting to be integrated into the urban planners practice, and considers the parameters (mainly land surface temperature, albedo, vegetation, and imperviousness) and tools needed for the assessment of the UHI (satellite imagery and GIS). The second part of the study analyzes the potential of four catalyzing mapping categories to integrate urban heat into spatial planning processes: drift, layering, game-board, and rhizome. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessCommunication Sustainable Optimization for Wastewater Treatment System Using PSF-HS
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 321; doi:10.3390/su8040321
Received: 9 January 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
The sustainability in a river with respect to water quality is critical because it is highly related with environmental pollution, economic expenditure, and public health. This study proposes a sustainability problem of wastewater treatment system for river ecosystem conservation which helps the healthy
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The sustainability in a river with respect to water quality is critical because it is highly related with environmental pollution, economic expenditure, and public health. This study proposes a sustainability problem of wastewater treatment system for river ecosystem conservation which helps the healthy survival of the aquatic biota and human beings. This study optimizes the design of a wastewater treatment system using the parameter-setting-free harmony search algorithm, which does not require the existing tedious value-setting process for algorithm parameters. The real-scale system has three different options of wastewater treatment, such as filtration, nitrification, and diverted irrigation (fertilization), as well as two existing treatment processes (settling and biological oxidation). The objective of this system design is to minimize life cycle costs, including initial construction costs of those treatment options, while satisfying minimal dissolved oxygen requirements in the river, maximal nitrate-nitrogen concentration in groundwater, and a minimal nitrogen requirement for crop farming. Results show that the proposed technique could successfully find solutions without requiring a tedious setting process. Full article
Open AccessArticle Making the Most of World Natural Heritage—Linking Conservation and Sustainable Regional Development?
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 323; doi:10.3390/su8040323
Received: 31 January 2016 / Revised: 14 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Today, more than 1000 World Heritage (WH) sites are inscribed on UNESCO’s list, 228 of which are natural and mixed heritage sites. Once focused primarily on conservation, World Natural Heritage (WNH) sites are increasingly seen as promoters of sustainable regional development. Sustainability-oriented regions,
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Today, more than 1000 World Heritage (WH) sites are inscribed on UNESCO’s list, 228 of which are natural and mixed heritage sites. Once focused primarily on conservation, World Natural Heritage (WNH) sites are increasingly seen as promoters of sustainable regional development. Sustainability-oriented regions, it is assumed, are safeguards for conservation and positively influence local conservation goals. Within UNESCO, discussions regarding the integration of sustainable development in official policies have recently gained momentum. In this article, we investigate the extent to which WNH sites trigger sustainability-oriented approaches in surrounding regions, and how such approaches in turn influence the WNH site and its protection. The results of the study are on the one hand based on a global survey with more than 60% of the WNH sites listed in 2011, and on the other hand on a complementary literature research. Furthermore, we analyze the policy framework necessary to support WNH sites in this endeavor. We conclude that a regional approach to WNH management is necessary to ensure that WNH sites support sustainable regional development effectively, but that the core focus of WNH status must remain environmental conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Research on Investment Efficiency and Policy Recommendations for the Culture Industry of China Based on a Three-Stage DEA
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 324; doi:10.3390/su8040324
Received: 19 January 2016 / Revised: 26 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
The China State Council promulgated the “Culture Industry Promotion Plan” on 26 September 2009, raising the status of the culture industry to that of a strategic industry. This paper applies a three-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to investigate the efficiency of investments
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The China State Council promulgated the “Culture Industry Promotion Plan” on 26 September 2009, raising the status of the culture industry to that of a strategic industry. This paper applies a three-stage data envelopment analysis (DEA) model to investigate the efficiency of investments made in the culture industry in 2011 in China. The results show that the overall efficiency of the culture industry in China is still at a relatively low level. The scale of companies in the culture industry is a key factor restricting development. The external environment has a great influence on this efficiency; the efficiency gap between the eastern, central and western areas is obvious and reflects the degree of the environmental impact on the culture industry in these regions. The western region will experience progress if the environment changes. In contrast, the central and eastern regions will see less progress. This paper proposes the following corresponding policy recommendations based on the analysis. (1) China should focus on expanding the scale of culture industry enterprises. (2) We need to accelerate the market-oriented reform of cultural institutional mechanisms. (3) We should pay attention to the efficiency gap between cultural industries in the eastern, central and western areas. We should use government power to support the development of cultural industries in the western region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Risk Factors of Building Apartments for University Talent through the Agent Construction Mode in China: Interrelationship and Prioritization
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 325; doi:10.3390/su8040325
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
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Abstract
Apartments for university talent (AUT), are apartments provided to staff at non-market price, in order to attract outstanding scholars from around the world to work in universities and improve educational quality. This has been a critical issue in achieving social sustainability in China
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Apartments for university talent (AUT), are apartments provided to staff at non-market price, in order to attract outstanding scholars from around the world to work in universities and improve educational quality. This has been a critical issue in achieving social sustainability in China during rapid urbanization and industrialization. The agent construction mode has been adopted to build AUT because universities usually lack relevant management experience. The agent construction mode is a type of turnkey engineer construction based on the principal-agent model, project bidding mode, engineering contracting projects, and project supervision system. Risk factors are important considerations for both universities and agent construction companies. Although some studies have investigated the risk factors, only a few studies have identified the hierarchical structure of relevant risk factors. Therefore, the interrelationship and prioritization of the risk factors remain unknown, and this situation presents a barrier to better risk management. This paper investigates the interrelationship of risk factors with interpretative structural modeling (ISM). In addition, fuzzy MICMAC (matric d’impacts croises-multiplication appliqué a un classemen) analysis was conducted to prioritize the risk factors. The findings provide useful references for better risk management of building AUT through the agent construction mode. Although this study focuses on China, the analytical process can also be generalized to other research topics and other countries. Full article
Open AccessArticle Recent NDVI-Based Variation in Growth of Boreal Intact Forest Landscapes and Its Correlation with Climatic Variables
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 326; doi:10.3390/su8040326
Received: 25 December 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) is of great value in protecting biodiversity and supporting core ecological processes. It is important to analyze the spatial variation in the growth dynamics of IFL. This study analyzed the change of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) during
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Intact Forest Landscape (IFL) is of great value in protecting biodiversity and supporting core ecological processes. It is important to analyze the spatial variation in the growth dynamics of IFL. This study analyzed the change of the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) during the growing season (April–October) for boreal (45° N–70° N) IFLs and the correlation with climatic variables over the period of 2000–2013. Our results show 85.5% of boreal IFLs did not show a significant change in the NDVI after 2000, and only 10.2% and 4.3% exhibited a statistically significant increase (greening) or decrease (browning) in NDVI, respectively. About 60.9% of the greening boreal IFLs showed that an increasing NDVI was significantly correlated to climatic variables, especially an increasing growing season temperature (over 47.0%). For browning boreal IFLs, a decrease in temperature or an increase in dormancy period precipitation could be the prime reason for a significant decrease in the NDVI. However, about 64.6% of the browning boreal IFLs were insensitive to any of the climatic variables, indicating other factors, such as fire, had caused the browning. Although it did not show a significant trend, the NDVI of 51.3% of no-change boreal IFLs significantly correlated to climatic variables, especially growing season temperatures (over 37.6%). Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Leadership Practices Driving Financial Performance: Empirical Evidence from Thai SMEs
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 327; doi:10.3390/su8040327
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Many managers and researchers alike are asking: What does an enterprise need to do to generate a proper balance between economic, social, and ecological objectives while gaining superior corporate financial performance, resilience, and sustainability? Several leadership concepts for enhancing organizational sustainability have emerged
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Many managers and researchers alike are asking: What does an enterprise need to do to generate a proper balance between economic, social, and ecological objectives while gaining superior corporate financial performance, resilience, and sustainability? Several leadership concepts for enhancing organizational sustainability have emerged in recent years, but none provides an integrative approach, with the exception of Sustainable Leadership (SL). However, empirical research examining the effects of various SL practices on financial performance and other business outcomes is lacking. This article addresses this gap by empirically investigating the relationships between 23 SL practices and financial performance. Using a cross-sectional survey, data stem from 439 managers in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Thailand. Of the 23 SL practices in SL, 16 were significantly associated with corporate financial performance. Four SL practices, in particular—amicable labor relations, valuing employees, social responsibility, plus strong and shared vision—were significant drivers, and positive predictors, of enhanced long-term firm performance. Lastly, implications, limitations, and future directions are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
Open AccessArticle Overcoming Barriers to Scaling Up Sustainable Alternative Food Systems: A Comparative Case Study of Two Ontario-Based Wholesale Produce Auctions
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 328; doi:10.3390/su8040328
Received: 5 January 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 March 2016 / Published: 1 April 2016
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Abstract
Conventional food systems are viewed by the literature as unsustainable in that they provide consumers with convenience while disconnecting them from producers thus leading to environmental and social problems. By contrast, sustainable or “alternative” food systems are viewed as correcting such problems. Wholesale
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Conventional food systems are viewed by the literature as unsustainable in that they provide consumers with convenience while disconnecting them from producers thus leading to environmental and social problems. By contrast, sustainable or “alternative” food systems are viewed as correcting such problems. Wholesale produce auctions, which are well established in the Old Order Mennonite community, are physical sites where large quantities of produce are sold through a competitive bidding process to local buyers. These are seen as a way of better connecting producers and consumers and thus realizing a more sustainable food system. However, this potential has not been tested. Therefore, this paper explores two produce auctions in southwestern Ontario, Canada, using an interview based methodology (N = 48) and demonstrates that despite wholesale produce auctions offering many opportunities to promote the benefits of alternative food systems, produce auctions are limited in that they fail to provide a practical and functional way of distributing food to individual consumers. Overall, this research highlights what appears to be a tension in the alternative food systems literature: producers and consumers may be simultaneously looking for the sustainability benefits associated with “alternative food systems” without wanting to sacrifice any of the convenience found in conventional food systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Dynamic Changes of the Ecological Footprint and Its Component Analysis Response to Land Use in Wuhan, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 329; doi:10.3390/su8040329
Received: 9 January 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
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Abstract
Humans’ demands for biological resources and energies have always been increasing, whereas evidence has shown that this demand is outpacing the regenerative and absorptive capacity of the planet. Since China is experiencing unprecedented urbanization and industrialization processes, how much impact this has imposed
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Humans’ demands for biological resources and energies have always been increasing, whereas evidence has shown that this demand is outpacing the regenerative and absorptive capacity of the planet. Since China is experiencing unprecedented urbanization and industrialization processes, how much impact this has imposed on the earth during economic development worldwide is conspicuous. Therefore, this paper tries to examine the environmental impact in detail and track its changes in a typical city of Central China, Wuhan, based on ecological footprint analysis. By calculating the ecological footprint and its components in terms of biologically productive land areas during the period of 1995–2008, it is found that the ecological footprint increased in fluctuations from 1.48 gha per capita to 2.10 gha per capita, with the carbon footprint contributing most within the whole time period. Compared to the tiny declining biocapacity of the region, a gradually aggravated ecological deficit in the city was observed, which increased from 1.12 gha per capita in 1995 to 1.79 gha per capita in 2008. Component analysis on the trends of the ecological footprint and ecological deficit reveals that the impact on the ecosystem induced by humans’ demands for resource production and energy consumption became greater than before, and cutting down the consumption of fossil fuels could reduce the carbon footprint and the overall ecological deficit of the city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Evaluation and Optimization of the Financial Sustainability of Public Rental Housing Projects: A Case Study in Nanjing, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 330; doi:10.3390/su8040330
Received: 28 October 2015 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 5 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (210 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In recent years, Chinese governments have launched ambitious plans in developing public rental housing (PRH), which are almost impossible to accomplish without the involvement of the private sector. Yet, very few quantitative studies have been carried out to evaluate the financial sustainability of
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In recent years, Chinese governments have launched ambitious plans in developing public rental housing (PRH), which are almost impossible to accomplish without the involvement of the private sector. Yet, very few quantitative studies have been carried out to evaluate the financial sustainability of PRH projects in China, especially from the perspective of the private sector. This knowledge gap is bridged through the evaluation of the financial sustainability of a hypothetical privately owned PRH project in Nanjing, China as a case study, utilizing data of a state-owned PRH project and the classic discounted cash flow method. The results indicate that the studied project is financially infeasible, which means that private companies would not be willing to participate in the provision of public rental housing, if they merely focus on profits. Then, the most cost-effective optimization measure of the studied case is quantitatively selected from four possible optimization scenarios, leading to a financial balance. This paper presents the current financial status of Chinese PRH projects, thereby providing policy makers with useful references to effectively accelerate the private sector’s provision of PRH in China. Full article
Open AccessArticle Building-Related Symptoms, Energy, and Thermal Control in the Workplace: Personal and Open Plan Offices
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 331; doi:10.3390/su8040331
Received: 1 January 2016 / Revised: 7 March 2016 / Accepted: 17 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (8886 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study compared building-related symptoms in personal and open plan offices, where high and low levels of control over the thermal environment were provided, respectively. The individualized approach in Norway provided every user with a personal office, where they had control over an
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This study compared building-related symptoms in personal and open plan offices, where high and low levels of control over the thermal environment were provided, respectively. The individualized approach in Norway provided every user with a personal office, where they had control over an openable window, door, blinds, and thermostat. In contrast, the open plan case studies in the United Kingdom provided control over openable windows and blinds only for limited occupants seated around the perimeter of the building, with users seated away from the windows having no means of environmental control. Air conditioning was deployed in the Norwegian case study buildings, while displacement ventilation and natural ventilation were utilized in the British examples. Field studies of thermal comfort were applied with questionnaires, environmental measurements, and interviews. Users’ health was better in the Norwegian model (28%), while the British model was much more energy efficient (up to 10 times). The follow-up interviews confirmed the effect of lack of thermal control on users’ health. A balanced appraisal was made of energy performance and users’ health between the two buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle The Deployment of Product-Related Environmental Legislation into Product Requirements
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 332; doi:10.3390/su8040332
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract
Environmental legislation is increasingly changing its focus from manufacturing-oriented to product-oriented instruments. Compliance with product-related environmental legislation is achieved by the incorporation of environmental requirements into the early phases of the product development process (PDP). Nevertheless, the deployment of product-related environmental legislation into
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Environmental legislation is increasingly changing its focus from manufacturing-oriented to product-oriented instruments. Compliance with product-related environmental legislation is achieved by the incorporation of environmental requirements into the early phases of the product development process (PDP). Nevertheless, the deployment of product-related environmental legislation into product requirements is still a challenge. This study followed an inductive approach to propose a guideline to support the identification, analysis and deployment of product requirements based on product-related environmental legislation. The guideline is composed of nine steps, clustered into three groups according to their main objective: (A) identification of environmental product-related legislation; (B) identification of legislative topics to be considered for the deployment of requirements; and (C) creation and validation of product requirements. The product requirements deployed are to be considered during the PDP. The guideline was evaluated in an expert consultation in a large manufacturing company, suggesting that it can be used to support the systematization and deployment of product-related environmental requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle The Governance of Multi-Use Platforms at Sea for Energy Production and Aquaculture: Challenges for Policy Makers in European Seas
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 333; doi:10.3390/su8040333
Received: 31 December 2015 / Revised: 25 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (767 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
European seas are encountering an upsurge in competing marine activities and infrastructures. Traditional exploitation such as fisheries, tourism, transportation, and oil production are accompanied by new sustainable economic activities such as offshore windfarms, aquaculture, and tidal and wave energy. One proposed solution to
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European seas are encountering an upsurge in competing marine activities and infrastructures. Traditional exploitation such as fisheries, tourism, transportation, and oil production are accompanied by new sustainable economic activities such as offshore windfarms, aquaculture, and tidal and wave energy. One proposed solution to overcome possible competing claims at sea lies in combining these economic activities as part of Multi-Use Platforms at Sea (MUPS). MUPS can be understood as areas at sea, designated for a combination of activities, either completely integrated in a platform or in shared marine space. MUPS can potentially benefit from each other in terms of infrastructure, maintenance, etc. Developing MUPS in the marine environment demands adequate governance. In this article, we investigate four European sites to find out how governance arrangements may facilitate or complicate MUPs. In particular, we apply a framework specifying policy, economic, social, technical, environmental, and legal (PESTEL) factors to explore governance arrangements in four case study sites in different sea basins around Europe (the Mediterranean Sea, the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, and the Baltic Sea). The article concludes with policy recommendations on a governance regime for facilitating the development of MUPS in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle GIS-Based Integration of Subjective and Objective Weighting Methods for Regional Landslides Susceptibility Mapping
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 334; doi:10.3390/su8040334
Received: 22 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2363 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The development of landslide susceptibility maps is of great importance due to rapid urbanization. The purpose of this study is to present a method to integrate the subjective weight with objective weight for regional landslide susceptibility mapping on the geographical information system (GIS)
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The development of landslide susceptibility maps is of great importance due to rapid urbanization. The purpose of this study is to present a method to integrate the subjective weight with objective weight for regional landslide susceptibility mapping on the geographical information system (GIS) platform. The analytical hierarchy process (AHP), which is subjective, was employed to weight predictive factors’ contribution to landslide occurrence. The frequency ratio (FR) method, which is objective, was used to derive subclasses’ frequency ratio with respect to landslides that indicate the relative importance of a subclass within each predictive factor. A case study was carried out at Tsushima Island, Japan, using a historical inventory of 534 landslides and seven predictive factors: elevation, slope, aspect, terrain roughness index (TRI), lithology, land cover and mean annual precipitation (MAP). The landslide susceptibility index (LSI) was calculated using the weighted linear combination of factors’ weights and subclasses’ weights. The study area was classified into five susceptibility zones according to the LSI. In addition, the produced susceptibility map was compared with maps generated using the conventional FR and AHP method and validated using the relative landslide index (RLI). The validation result showed that the proposed method performed better than the conventional application of the FR method and AHP method. The obtained landslide susceptibility maps could serve as a scientific basis for urban planning and landslide hazard management. Full article
Open AccessArticle International and Domestic Sustainable Forest Management Policies: Distributive Effects on Power among State Agencies in Bangladesh
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 335; doi:10.3390/su8040335
Received: 30 December 2015 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (2688 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The last two decades of forest policy discussions have been dominated by calls for sustainable management of forest resources. Consequently, multiple international and domestic policies, supporting sustainable forest management (SFM), have evolved in numerous jurisdictions. Policies in developing countries often rely on foreign
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The last two decades of forest policy discussions have been dominated by calls for sustainable management of forest resources. Consequently, multiple international and domestic policies, supporting sustainable forest management (SFM), have evolved in numerous jurisdictions. Policies in developing countries often rely on foreign donors’ projects, which supplement domestic SFM policy. These policies assign various policy tasks to specific public bureaucracies, who then compete for these very tasks, as well as the related staff and budgets. Therefore, project and policy task assignment greatly influences bureaucratic power. This article analyzes the distributive effects of SFM policy on power (in terms of coercion, incentives and dominant information) among relevant domestic and foreign donor bureaucracies in Bangladesh. Concepts from power theory, bureaucratic politics theory, and concepts of policy and policy process were combined to analyze 121 Bangladeshi SFM policies from 1992–2013, which assign a total of 1012 policy tasks to specific public bureaucracies. Using qualitative content analysis, inferences about power were assigned to specific competing bureaucracies by the totality of SFM policies made. Results identify domestic and foreign bureaucracies whose power distribution benefit most from the SFM policies viz. their competitors. It is concluded that bureaucracies gaining the most power set the limits and directions in designing, implementing and evaluating various elements of any national SFM policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 5th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
Open AccessArticle Measuring the Total-Factor Carbon Emission Performance of Industrial Land Use in China Based on the Global Directional Distance Function and Non-Radial Luenberger Productivity Index
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 336; doi:10.3390/su8040336
Received: 7 January 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 20 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (640 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Industry is a major contributor to carbon emissions in China, and industrial land is an important input to industrial production. Therefore, a detailed analysis of the carbon emission performance of industrial land use is necessary for making reasonable carbon reduction policies that promote
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Industry is a major contributor to carbon emissions in China, and industrial land is an important input to industrial production. Therefore, a detailed analysis of the carbon emission performance of industrial land use is necessary for making reasonable carbon reduction policies that promote the sustainable use of industrial land. This paper aims to analyze the dynamic changes in the total-factor carbon emission performance of industrial land use (TCPIL) in China by applying a global directional distance function (DDF) and non-radial Luenberger productivity index. The empirical results show that the eastern region enjoys better TCPIL than the central and western regions, but the regional gaps in TCPIL are narrowing. The growth in NLCPILs (non-radial Luenberger carbon emission performance of industrial land use) in the eastern and central regions is mainly driven by technological progress, whereas efficiency improvements contribute more to the growth of NLCPIL in the western region. The provinces in the eastern region have the most innovative and environmentally-friendly production technologies. The results of the analysis of the influencing factors show implications for improving the NLCPIL, including more investment in industrial research and development (R&D), the implementation of carbon emission reduction policies, reduction in the use of fossil energy, especially coal, in the process of industrial production, actively learning about foreign advanced technology, properly solving the problem of surplus labor in industry and the expansion of industrial development. Full article
Open AccessArticle How to Move China toward a Green-Energy Economy: From a Sector Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 337; doi:10.3390/su8040337
Received: 19 March 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1398 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
With China’s rapid economic growth, energy-related CO2 emissions have experienced a dramatic increase. Quantification of energy-related CO2 emissions that occur in China is of serious concern for the policy makers to make efficient environmental policies without damaging the economic growth. Examining
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With China’s rapid economic growth, energy-related CO2 emissions have experienced a dramatic increase. Quantification of energy-related CO2 emissions that occur in China is of serious concern for the policy makers to make efficient environmental policies without damaging the economic growth. Examining 33 productive sectors in China, this paper combined the extended “Kaya identity” and “IPAT model” with the Log-Mean Divisia Index Method (LMDI) to analyze the contribution of various factors driving of energy-related CO2 emissions in China during 1995–2009. Empirical results show that the main obstacle that hinders China’s transition to a green energy economy is the economic structure characterized by high carbon emissions. In contrast, the increased proportion of renewable energy sources (RES) and the improvement of energy efficiency play a more important role in reducing carbon emissions. Moreover, the power sector has a pivotal position in CO2 emissions reduction, primarily because of the expansion of electricity consumption. These findings suggest that policies and measures should be considered for various industrial sectors to maximize the energy efficiency potential. In addition, optimizing the industrial structure is more urgent than adjusting the energy structure for China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Air Pollution Monitoring and Sustainable Development)
Open AccessArticle Economic Sustainability of Organic Aloe Vera Farming in Greece under Risk and Uncertainty
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 338; doi:10.3390/su8040338
Received: 17 February 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract
During the last decade, an encouraging environment for the restructuring and modernization of the agricultural sector has formed in Greece. The diversification into higher-value crops can be a promising option for small and average-sized farms, particularly during the current economic crisis. One of
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During the last decade, an encouraging environment for the restructuring and modernization of the agricultural sector has formed in Greece. The diversification into higher-value crops can be a promising option for small and average-sized farms, particularly during the current economic crisis. One of the most promising alternative crops that have been recently established in Greece is the organic Aloe vera crop. The main advantage of this crop is that it can utilize poor farmlands and, therefore, can facilitate rural development in marginal areas. This study explores the economic sustainability of the Aloe vera crop, considering the embedded risk and uncertainty. The results indicate that organic aloe farming is a promising alternative to “traditional” crops in Greece, particularly for family farms in rural areas. In contrast, this activity is not advisable to the most entrepreneurial type of farmers, unless their crop size allows economies of scales. Finally, the Stochastic Efficiency with Respect to a Function (SERF) analysis associates farmers’ risk attitude with their willingness to be involved in organic Aloe vera farming. SERF analysis highlights the crucial role of farmers’ risk aversion and concludes that, above a certain level of risk aversion, farmers have no incentive to adopt this economic activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
Open AccessArticle Wet Grasslands as a Green Infrastructure for Ecological Sustainability: Wader Conservation in Southern Sweden as a Case Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 340; doi:10.3390/su8040340
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 6 April 2016
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Abstract
Biosphere Reserves aim at being role models for biodiversity conservation. This study focuses on the unsuccessful conservation of waders (Charadrii) on wet grasslands in the Kristianstad Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve (KVBR) in southern Sweden. Predation on nests and young has been proposed
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Biosphere Reserves aim at being role models for biodiversity conservation. This study focuses on the unsuccessful conservation of waders (Charadrii) on wet grasslands in the Kristianstad Vattenrike Biosphere Reserve (KVBR) in southern Sweden. Predation on nests and young has been proposed as one reason contributing to the decline of waders. We explored this hypothesis by comparing two landscapes, one with declining (KVBR) and one with stable (Östergötland) wader populations on managed wet grasslands in southern Sweden. Specifically, we tested three predictions linked to predation on wader nests and young, namely that (1) the relative abundance of avian predators and waders; (2) the avian predator abundance; and (3) the predation rate on artificial wader nests, should all be higher in declining versus stable populations. All predictions were clearly supported. Nevertheless, predation may not be the ultimate factor causing wader population declines. We discuss the cumulative effects of landscape change linked to increased food resources for predators, reduced wet grassland patch size and quality. Holistic analyses of multiple wet grassland landscapes as social-ecological systems as case studies, including processes such as predation and other factors affecting waders, is a promising avenue towards collaborative learning for wet grasslands as a functional green infrastructure. However, if governance and management approaches can be improved is questionable without considerable investment in both ecological and social systems. Full article
Open AccessArticle Optimal Partner Combination for Joint Distribution Alliance using Integrated Fuzzy EW-AHP and TOPSIS for Online Shopping
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 341; doi:10.3390/su8040341
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1749 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the globalization of online shopping, deterioration of the ecological environment and the increasing pressure of urban transportation, a novel logistics service mode—joint distribution (JD)—was developed. Selecting the optimal partner combination is important to ensure the joint distribution alliance (JDA) is sustainable and
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With the globalization of online shopping, deterioration of the ecological environment and the increasing pressure of urban transportation, a novel logistics service mode—joint distribution (JD)—was developed. Selecting the optimal partner combination is important to ensure the joint distribution alliance (JDA) is sustainable and stable, taking into consideration conflicting criteria. In this paper, we present an integrated fuzzy entropy weight, fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (fuzzy EW-AHP) and fuzzy technique for order preference by similarity to an ideal solution (TOPSIS) approach to select the optimal partner combination of JDA. A three-phase approach is proposed. In the first phase, we identify partner combination evaluation criteria using an economy-society-environment-flexibility (ESEF) framework from a perspective that considers sustainability. In the second phase, the criteria weights and criteria combination performance of different partner combinations were calculated by using an integrated fuzzy EW-AHP approach considering the objective and subjective factors of experts. In the third phase, the JDA partner combinations are ranked by employing fuzzy TOPSIS approach. The sensitivity analysis is considered for the optimal partner combination. Taking JDA in Chongqing for example, the results indicate the alternative partner combination 3 (PC3) is always ranked first no matter how the criteria weights change. It is effective and robust to apply the integrated fuzzy EW-AHP and TOPSIS approach to the partner selection of JDA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Entrepreneurship in SMEs: A Business Performance Perspective
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 342; doi:10.3390/su8040342
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (576 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Assuming that sustainable entrepreneurship leads to business performance, the present paper intends to investigate the standpoints of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) entrepreneurs on different facets. The emphasis is laid on the entrepreneurs’ approaches towards people, planet and profit and on their prioritization
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Assuming that sustainable entrepreneurship leads to business performance, the present paper intends to investigate the standpoints of SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) entrepreneurs on different facets. The emphasis is laid on the entrepreneurs’ approaches towards people, planet and profit and on their prioritization within business dynamics. The aforementioned dimensions are deemed important factors engendering business performance in terms of turnover, customer attraction and retention and market share. With a view to testing the advanced hypotheses, we employed a quantitative perspective relying on a questionnaire-based survey. As the results posited, the proposed model accounts for almost 50 percent of variance in business performance, whereas sustainable entrepreneurship approaches towards the people and profit dimensions have a significant positive influence on business performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Competitiveness of Agriculture in Mountain Areas: A Willingness to Pay (WTP) Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 343; doi:10.3390/su8040343
Received: 23 March 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (220 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
One of the most evident elements of the agricultural crisis is farm abandonment in many marginal rural areas, such as mountains. Some traits of mountain agriculture such as remoteness, low productivity, extreme weather and small farm size, can limit the adaptation and the
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One of the most evident elements of the agricultural crisis is farm abandonment in many marginal rural areas, such as mountains. Some traits of mountain agriculture such as remoteness, low productivity, extreme weather and small farm size, can limit the adaptation and the competitiveness of this branch. The analysis aims to assess the consumers’ Willingness to Pay (WTP) for permanence of the upland farms and mountain pastures, by a Contingent Valuation analysis. The main results are that a WTP for the redevelopment of the pastures exists and that the personal characteristics of the sample are more influential than the opinions of the individuals on WTP. Moreover, it has been demonstrated that consumers seem to prefer an agricultural orientation of the upland farms rather than a touristic one. In the conclusion section, some policy guidelines are proposed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Competitiveness of Farms)
Open AccessArticle Sustainability of Global and Local Food Value Chains: An Empirical Comparison of Peruvian and Belgian Asparagus
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 344; doi:10.3390/su8040344
Received: 26 February 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 5 | PDF Full-text (562 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The sustainability of food value chains is an increasing concern for consumers, food companies and policy-makers. Global food chains are often perceived to be less sustainable than local food chains. Yet, thorough food chain analyses and comparisons of different food chains across sustainability
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The sustainability of food value chains is an increasing concern for consumers, food companies and policy-makers. Global food chains are often perceived to be less sustainable than local food chains. Yet, thorough food chain analyses and comparisons of different food chains across sustainability dimensions are rare. In this article we analyze the local Belgian and global Peruvian asparagus value chains and explore their sustainability performance. A range of indicators linked to environmental, economic and social impacts is calculated to analyze the contribution of the supply chains to economic development, resource use, labor relations, distribution of added value and governance issues. Our findings suggest that none of the two supply chains performs invariably better and that there are trade-offs among and between sustainability dimensions. Whereas the global chain uses water and other inputs more intensively and generates more employment per unit of land and higher yields, the local chain generates more revenue per unit of land. Full article
Open AccessArticle Issues to Be Solved for Energy Simulation of An Existing Office Building
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 345; doi:10.3390/su8040345
Received: 20 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2470 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With the increasing focus on low energy buildings and the need to develop sustainable built environments, Building Energy Performance Simulation (BEPS) tools have been widely used. However, many issues remain when applying BEPS tools to existing buildings. This paper presents the issues that
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With the increasing focus on low energy buildings and the need to develop sustainable built environments, Building Energy Performance Simulation (BEPS) tools have been widely used. However, many issues remain when applying BEPS tools to existing buildings. This paper presents the issues that need to be solved for the application of BEPS tools to an existing office building. The selected building is an office building with 33 stories above ground, six underground levels, and a total floor area of 91,898 m2. The issues to be discussed in this paper are as follows: (1) grey data not ready for simulation; (2) subjective assumptions and judgments on energy modeling; (3) stochastic characteristics of building performance and occupants behavior; (4) verification of model fidelity-comparison of aggregated energy; (5) verification of model fidelity-calibration by trial and error; and (6) use of simulation model for real-time energy management. This study investigates the aforementioned issues and explains the factors that should be considered to address these issues when developing a dynamic simulation model for existing buildings. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle A Comprehensive Study of Agricultural Drought Resistance and Background Drought Levels in Five Main Grain-Producing Regions of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 346; doi:10.3390/su8040346
Received: 20 January 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2989 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Drought control and resistance affect national food security. With this in mind, we studied five main grain-producing regions of China: Sanjiang Plain, Songnen Plain, Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, the middle Yangtze River and Jianghuai region and Sichuan Basin. Using GIS technology, we evaluated the comprehensive
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Drought control and resistance affect national food security. With this in mind, we studied five main grain-producing regions of China: Sanjiang Plain, Songnen Plain, Huang-Huai-Hai Plain, the middle Yangtze River and Jianghuai region and Sichuan Basin. Using GIS technology, we evaluated the comprehensive agricultural drought situation based on major crops, the basic drought resistance by integrating multiple indicators and the comprehensive drought resistance against background agricultural drought. We chose spring wheat, winter wheat, early rice, late rice, single-season rice and maize as the research objects and calculated a crop composite drought index to determine that the agricultural drought degree was highest in the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain and slightly lower in the Sanjiang and Songnen Plains. The drought degree was relatively low in the middle Yangtze River and Jianghuai region and the Sichuan Basin. A remarkable difference was observed in agricultural drought resistance among the grain-producing areas. The entire Sanjiang Plain had the lowest agricultural drought resistance, and that of the Songnen Plain was slightly higher. In the Sichuan Basin, many areas had lower and intermediate values of drought resistance. In the Huang-Huai-Hai Plain and middle Yangtze River and Jianghuai region, resistance was stronger. The ranking of comprehensive drought resistance from strongest to weakest was Huang-Huai-Hai Plain > middle Yangtze River and Jianghuai region > Sichuan Basin > Songnen Plain > Sanjiang Plain. Finally, the sensitivity analysis was carried out to discuss the sensitive factors significantly affecting the agricultural drought resistance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle The Productivity Paradox in Green Buildings
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 347; doi:10.3390/su8040347
Received: 2 February 2016 / Revised: 20 March 2016 / Accepted: 28 March 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2346 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this paper we challenge the notion that “green” buildings can achieve greater productivity than buildings that are not accredited as “green”. For nearly two decades, research has produced apparent evidence which indicates that the design of a “green” building can enhance the
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In this paper we challenge the notion that “green” buildings can achieve greater productivity than buildings that are not accredited as “green”. For nearly two decades, research has produced apparent evidence which indicates that the design of a “green” building can enhance the productivity of its occupants. This relationship between building design and productivity is claimed to be achieved through compliance with internal environmental quality (IEQ) criteria of Green rating tools. This paper reviews methods of measuring productivity and the appropriateness of the metrics used for measuring IEQ in office environments. This review is supported by the results of a survey of office building users which identifies social factors to be significantly more important than environmental factors in trying to correlate productivity and IEQ. It also presents the findings of observations that were discretely carried out on user-response in green buildings. These findings demonstrate that, despite a building’s compliance with IEQ criteria, occupants still resort to exceptional measures to alter their working environment in a bid to achieve comfort. The work has been carried out on “green” buildings in New Zealand. These buildings are rated based on the NZ “Green Star” system which has adopted the Australian “green star” system with its roots in BREEAM. Despite this, the results of this research are applicable to many other “green” rating systems. The paper concludes that methods of measuring productivity are flawed, that IEQ criteria for building design is unrepresentative of how occupants perceive the environment and that this can lead to an architecture that has few of the inherent characteristics of good environmental design. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Post Occupancy Evaluation)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of CO2 Emission Characteristics of Concrete Used at Construction Sites
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 348; doi:10.3390/su8040348
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 8 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (2042 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As the greenhouse gas reduction goal of 37% below business-as-usual (BAU) by 2030, the construction industry is recognized as an anti-environment industry for mass consumption/mass waste; thus, members of the industry are requested to make efforts to transform it into an environment-friendly industry.
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As the greenhouse gas reduction goal of 37% below business-as-usual (BAU) by 2030, the construction industry is recognized as an anti-environment industry for mass consumption/mass waste; thus, members of the industry are requested to make efforts to transform it into an environment-friendly industry. Concrete, a common construction material, is known to emit large amounts of environmentally hazardous waste during the processes related to its production, construction, maintenance, and demolition. The amount of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by the product is specified in a ready-mixed concrete report whenever concrete is sold commercially. Hence, there have been many studies addressing the quantitative evaluation and reduction of the environmental effects of concrete. This study aims to introduce a method for assessing the amount of carbon dioxide emission from the processes of producing concrete. Moreover, we measured the quantities of CO2 emission of about 10 under-construction projects, including office buildings, apartment buildings, and high-rise residential buildings in South Korea. Using the assessment result, we analyzed the CO2 reduction performance of an office building in South Korea and drew conclusions about measures for reducing CO2 emission. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Influencing Factors of the Public Willingness to Participate in Public Bicycle Projects and Intervention Strategies—A Case Study of Jiangsu Province, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 349; doi:10.3390/su8040349
Received: 13 February 2016 / Revised: 28 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 9 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (435 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, factors influencing the willingness to participate in public bicycle projects were analyzed using the binary logistic model. The study builds on a broad and practical conceptual framework that embraces four dimensions of influencing factors, including household demographic, psychological, external, and
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In this study, factors influencing the willingness to participate in public bicycle projects were analyzed using the binary logistic model. The study builds on a broad and practical conceptual framework that embraces four dimensions of influencing factors, including household demographic, psychological, external, and public bicycle variables. The empirical results are based on a questionnaire survey that was sent to 520 urban residents in Xuzhou, Taizhou, and Suzhou in Jiangsu province. The survey indicates that environmental responsibility, improvement of the public transport system, health and safety considerations in relation to public bicycles, and environmental crisis consciousness have appreciable impacts upon the willingness to participation in public bicycle projects. The first three of these have a positive impact, whereas the last (environmental crisis consciousness) has a negative impact. Consequently, some policy suggestions are proposed. Full article
Open AccessArticle Comparative Analysis of On- and Off-Grid Electrification: The Case of Two South Korean Islands
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 350; doi:10.3390/su8040350
Received: 10 November 2015 / Revised: 27 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 11 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (2755 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
South Korea’s main industry is the manufacturing industry, and it requires stable energy. Korea heavily relies on importing oils to produce energy, thus efficient energy management is critical. This is why many renewable and smart energy policies and infrastructure planning are being set
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South Korea’s main industry is the manufacturing industry, and it requires stable energy. Korea heavily relies on importing oils to produce energy, thus efficient energy management is critical. This is why many renewable and smart energy policies and infrastructure planning are being set up currently. Supplying reliable and sustainable renewable energy to remote areas has especially been questioned; therefore, adopting sustainable and clean energy based on renewable resources cannot be delayed any more. This research examines the most economically, technologically and environmentally suitable energy grid of two South Korean Islands. Several hybrid energy system configurations that analyze and identify the optimal grid-connected and grid-independent hybrid power generation systems are simulated in this study. According to the results of the study, the optimal regionally detached power generation system was the wind-PV-battery-converter hybrid system. At the end of this paper, implications and limitations are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Research and Development Strategy in Biological Technologies: A Patent Data Analysis of Japanese Manufacturing Firms
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 351; doi:10.3390/su8040351
Received: 24 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (923 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biological technology allows us to invent new medical approaches, create effective food production methods and reserves and develop new materials for industrial production. There is a diversity of biological technology types, and different technologies have different priorities for invention. This study examines the
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Biological technology allows us to invent new medical approaches, create effective food production methods and reserves and develop new materials for industrial production. There is a diversity of biological technology types, and different technologies have different priorities for invention. This study examines the factors that are important for the invention of biology-related technologies in Japan using patent application data and a decomposition analysis framework. As the results show, patent applications related to biochemistry and biotechnology increased until 1995 because of the expanded scale of R&D activities and the high priority assigned to biological technology. However, the number of patent applications stagnated after 1995, because the importance of biochemistry, especially waste-gas treatment technologies, decreased. Additionally, patent applications for medicines and disease-related technologies increased rapidly from 1971 to 1995. The primary determinant of rapid growth is an increase in research priority, especially among firms in the chemical industry whose technologies are related to supplemental foods and foods with health-promoting benefits. Finally, patent applications involving foodstuff- and agriculture-related technologies increased from 1971 to 1995 due to increased R&D and the increased priority of biological technology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
Open AccessArticle Input vs. Output Taxation—A DSGE Approach to Modelling Resource Decoupling
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 352; doi:10.3390/su8040352
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3141 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Environmental taxes constitute a crucial instrument aimed at reducing resource use through lower production losses, resource-leaner products, and more resource-efficient production processes. In this paper we focus on material use and apply a multi-sector dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model to study two
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Environmental taxes constitute a crucial instrument aimed at reducing resource use through lower production losses, resource-leaner products, and more resource-efficient production processes. In this paper we focus on material use and apply a multi-sector dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) model to study two types of taxation: tax on material inputs used by industry, energy, construction, and transport sectors, and tax on output of these sectors. We allow for endogenous adoption of resource-saving technologies. We calibrate the model for the EU27 area using an IO matrix. We consider taxation introduced from 2021 and simulate its impact until 2050. We compare the taxes along their ability to induce reduction in material use and raise revenue. We also consider the effect of spending this revenue on reduction of labour taxation. We find that input and output taxation create contrasting incentives and have opposite effects on resource efficiency. The material input tax induces investment in efficiency-improving technology which, in the long term, results in GDP and employment by 15%–20% higher than in the case of a comparable output tax. We also find that using revenues to reduce taxes on labour has stronger beneficial effects for the input tax. Full article
Open AccessArticle Revealed Preference and Effectiveness of Public Investment in Ecological River Restoration Projects: An Application of the Count Data Model
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 353; doi:10.3390/su8040353
Received: 1 February 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
PDF Full-text (1079 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Ecological river restoration projects aim to revitalize healthy and self-sustaining river systems that can provide irreplaceable benefits to human society. Cheonggyecheon and Anyangcheon are two sites of recent river restoration projects in Korea. To assess the economic value of two rivers, count data
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Ecological river restoration projects aim to revitalize healthy and self-sustaining river systems that can provide irreplaceable benefits to human society. Cheonggyecheon and Anyangcheon are two sites of recent river restoration projects in Korea. To assess the economic value of two rivers, count data was collected to conduct the individual travel cost method (ITCM) in this study. Five statistical models such as the Poisson, the negative binomial, the zero-truncated Poisson, the negative binomial, and negative binomial model adjusted for both truncation and endogenous stratification were used in the analysis due to the nature of count data. Empirical results showed that regressors were statistically significant and corresponded to conventional consumer theory. Since collected count data indicated over-dispersion and endogenous stratification, the adjusted Negative Binomial was selected as an optimal model to analyze the recreational value of Cheonggyecheon and Anyangcheon. Estimates of the annual economic value of two river restoration projects were approximately US $170.1 million and US $50.5 million, respectively. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Interactive Website Design Indicators for e-Entrepreneurship
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 354; doi:10.3390/su8040354
Received: 23 February 2016 / Revised: 22 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Using an analytic network process (ANP) as an analytical tool, this study aims to construct an ANP evaluation model of interactive website design indicators. Through a review of the literature, interactive website design of e-entrepreneurship is generalized to the following dimensions: (1) Design;
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Using an analytic network process (ANP) as an analytical tool, this study aims to construct an ANP evaluation model of interactive website design indicators. Through a review of the literature, interactive website design of e-entrepreneurship is generalized to the following dimensions: (1) Design; (2) Checking; (3) Service; (4) Interactive; and (5) Promotion, including 19 design indicators. The research is conducted for a case company. According to the findings, the model helps the case company review its current execution of interactive website design indicators and the experts’ opinions of the importance of interactive website design indicators. In addition, by comprehensive comparison, it confirms key design indicators and analyzes the managerial implications to help the case company set up precise strategic planning and resource distribution to enhance corporate operational performance and competitiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Estimating the Contribution of Industry Structure Adjustment to the Carbon Intensity Target: A Case of Guangdong
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 355; doi:10.3390/su8040355
Received: 26 January 2016 / Revised: 17 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Industry structure adjustment is an effective measure to achieve the carbon intensity target of Guangdong Province. Accurately evaluating the contribution of industry structure adjustment to the carbon intensity target is helpful for the government to implement more flexible and effective policies and measures
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Industry structure adjustment is an effective measure to achieve the carbon intensity target of Guangdong Province. Accurately evaluating the contribution of industry structure adjustment to the carbon intensity target is helpful for the government to implement more flexible and effective policies and measures for CO2 emissions reduction. In this paper, we attempt to evaluate the contribution of industry structure adjustment to the carbon intensity target. Firstly, we predict the gross domestic product (GDP) with scenario forecasting, industry structure with the Markov chain model, CO2 emissions with a novel correlation mode based on least squares support vector machine, and then we assess the contribution of industry structure adjustment to the carbon intensity target of Guangdong during the period of 2011–2015 under nine scenarios. The obtained results show, in the ideal scenario, that the economy will grow at a high speed and the industry structure will be significantly adjusted, and thus the carbon intensity in 2015 will decrease by 25.53% compared to that in 2010, which will make a 130.94% contribution to the carbon intensity target. Meanwhile, in the conservative scenario, the economy will grow at a low speed and the industry structure will be slightly adjusted, and thus the carbon intensity in 2015 will decrease by 23.89% compared to that in 2010, which will make a 122.50% contribution to the carbon intensity target. Full article
Open AccessArticle Toward Sustainability: Novelties, Areas of Learning and Innovation in Urban Agriculture
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 356; doi:10.3390/su8040356
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Given the search for new solutions to better prepare cities for the future, in recent years, urban agriculture (UA) has gained in relevance. Within the context of UA, innovative organizational and technical approaches are generated and tested. They can be understood as novelties
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Given the search for new solutions to better prepare cities for the future, in recent years, urban agriculture (UA) has gained in relevance. Within the context of UA, innovative organizational and technical approaches are generated and tested. They can be understood as novelties that begin a potential innovation process. This empirical study is based on 17 qualitative interviews in the U.S. (NYC; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Chicago, IL, USA). The aim was to identify: (i) the most relevant areas of learning and innovation; (ii) the drivers of innovation; (iii) the applied novelties and their specific approach to overcoming the perceived obstacles; (iv) the intrinsic challenges that practitioners face in the innovation process; and (v) the novelties’ potential to contribute to sustainability and societal change. As the results of the study demonstrate, learning and innovation in UA occur predominantly in four areas, namely, “financing and funding”, “production, technology and infrastructure”, “markets and demands” and “social acceptance and cultural learning”. The described novelties include approaches to enhance the positive impacts of practicing agriculture within urban areas, and some of them have the potential to contribute to societal change and open up opportunities for social learning processes. Full article
Open AccessArticle Phytoremediation Opportunities with Alimurgic Species in Metal-Contaminated Environments
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 357; doi:10.3390/su8040357
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2016 / Accepted: 5 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
Alimurgic species are edible wild plants growing spontaneously as invasive weeds in natural grassland and farmed fields. Growing interest in biodiversity conservation projects suggests deeper study of the multifunctional roles they can play in metal uptake for phytoremediation and their food safety when
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Alimurgic species are edible wild plants growing spontaneously as invasive weeds in natural grassland and farmed fields. Growing interest in biodiversity conservation projects suggests deeper study of the multifunctional roles they can play in metal uptake for phytoremediation and their food safety when cultivated in polluted land. In this study, the responses of the tap-rooted perennial species Cichorium intybus L., Sonchus oleracerus L., Taraxacum officinale Web., Tragopogon porrifolius L. and Rumex acetosa L. were studied in artificially-highly Cd-Co-Cu-Pb-Zn-contaminated soil in a pot-scale trial, and those of T. officinale and R. acetosa in critical open environments (i.e., landfill, ditch sediments, and sides of highly-trafficked roads). Germination was not inhibited, and all species showed appreciable growth, despite considerable increases in tissue metal rates. Substantial growth impairments were observed in C. intybus, T. officinale and T. porrifolius; R. acetosa and S. oleracerus were only marginally affected. Zn was generally well translocated and reached a high leaf concentration, especially in T. officinale (~600 mg·kg−1·dry weight, DW), a result which can be exploited for phytoremediation purposes. The elevated Cd translocation also suggested applications to phytoextraction, particularly with C. intybus, in which leaf Cd reached ~16 mg·kg−1·DW. The generally high root retention of Pb and Cu may allow their phytostabilisation in the medium-term in no-tillage systems, together with significant reductions in metal leaching compared with bare soil. In open systems, critical soil Pb and Zn were associated with heavily trafficked roadsides, although this was only seldom reflected in shoot metal accumulation. It is concluded that a community of alimurgic species can serve to establish an efficient, long-lasting vegetation cover applied for phytoremediation and reduction of soil metal movements in degraded environments. However, their food use is not recommended, since leaf Cd and Pb may exceed EU safety thresholds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Thermal Environment over a Small-Scale Landscape in a Densely Built-Up Asian Megacity
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 358; doi:10.3390/su8040358
Received: 19 January 2016 / Revised: 3 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Many studies have found that larger parks might be needed to counteract the Urban Heat Island effects typical in densely populated Asian megacities. However, it is not easy to establish large parks to serve as urban cool islands in Asian megacities, where little
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Many studies have found that larger parks might be needed to counteract the Urban Heat Island effects typical in densely populated Asian megacities. However, it is not easy to establish large parks to serve as urban cool islands in Asian megacities, where little space exists for large urban neighborhood parks. Officials in these cities would rather use small areas by replacing heat-absorbing artificial land cover with natural cover. The main objective of this study was to understand the cooling effect of changes in land cover on surface and air temperatures in urban micro-scale environments for supporting sustainable green-space planning and policy in densely built-up areas. This was achieved using measurements at different heights (ground surface, 0.1 m, and 1.5 m) for five land cover types (LCTs) and modeling with the micro-scale climate model ENVI-met. At all vertical measuring points, the average temperature over the entire measurement period had the same hot-to-cold order: asphalt > soil > grass > water > forest. However, the value dramatically decreased as the measuring points became higher. The intensity of hot and cool spots showed the highest value at surface by 18.2 °C, and declined with the height, showing 4.1 °C at 0.1 m and 3.1 °C at 1.5 m. The modeling results indicated that the well-known diurnal variation in surface insolation also occurred in our small domain, among the various LCTs. Based on these findings, providing small-scale green infrastructure in densely built-up areas could be an effective way to improve urban micro-scale thermal conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle The Role of Management Control Systems and Top Teams in Implementing Environmental Sustainability Policies
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 359; doi:10.3390/su8040359
Received: 8 January 2016 / Revised: 26 February 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 12 April 2016
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Abstract
This paper simultaneously examines how the design of management control systems and top management team composition help organizations to implement environmental sustainability policies successfully. It also analyzes the effect of those policies on both short-term and long-term performance. A questionnaire was sent to
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This paper simultaneously examines how the design of management control systems and top management team composition help organizations to implement environmental sustainability policies successfully. It also analyzes the effect of those policies on both short-term and long-term performance. A questionnaire was sent to every member of top management teams in 231 public hospitals in Spain. It obtained 457 useful responses from TMT members, allowing us to collect data on 81 full top management teams (35.06%). The partial least squares statistical technique was used to test the causal research model. It was found that the implementation of environmental sustainability policies has a negative effect on short-term organizational performance and a positive effect on long-term performance. The results show that management control systems and top management team diversity have a complementary effect on implementing policies focused on environmental sustainability. A broad design of management control systems helps organizations adopt sustainability policies to achieve long-term performance. It was also found that top management team diversity mitigates the negative effect of adopting environmental sustainability policies on short-term organizational performance. Full article
Open AccessArticle Joint Environmental and Economical Analysis of Wastewater Treatment Plants Control Strategies: A Benchmark Scenario Analysis
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 360; doi:10.3390/su8040360
Received: 21 January 2016 / Revised: 29 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
In this paper, a joint environmental and economic analysis of different Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) control strategies is carried out. The assessment is based on the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a method to evaluate the environmental impact and the
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In this paper, a joint environmental and economic analysis of different Wastewater Treatment Plant (WWTP) control strategies is carried out. The assessment is based on the application of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) as a method to evaluate the environmental impact and the Benchmark Simulation Model No. 1 (BSM1). The BSM1 is taken as the benchmark scenario used to implement the control strategies. The Effluent Quality Index (EQI) and the Overall Cost Index (OCI) are two indicators provided by BSM1 and used to evaluate the plant’s performance from the effluent quality and the economic points of view, respectively. This work conducts a combined analysis and assessment of ten different control strategies defined to operate a wastewater treatment plant. This analysis includes the usual economic and performance indexes provided by BSM1 joined with the LCA analysis that determines the environmental impact linked to each one of the considered control strategies. It is shown how to get an overall evaluation of the environmental effects by using a normalized graphical representation that can be easily used to compare control strategies from the environmental impact point of view. The use of only the BSM1 indexes provides an assessment that leads to a clustering of control strategies according to the cost/quality tradeoff they show. Therefore, regarding the cost/quality tradeoff, all strategies in the same group are almost equal and do not provide an indication on how to proceed in order to select the appropriate one. It is therefore shown how the fact of adding a new, complementary, evaluation (LCA based) allows either to reinforce a decision that could be taken solely on the basis of the EQI/OCI tradeoff or to select one control strategy among the others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle An Optimization System for Concrete Life Cycle Cost and Related CO2 Emissions
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 361; doi:10.3390/su8040361
Received: 12 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
An optimization system that supports the production of concrete while minimizing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or costs is presented that incorporates an evolution algorithm for the materials’ mix design stage, a trigonometric function for the transportation stage, and a stochastic model
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An optimization system that supports the production of concrete while minimizing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions or costs is presented that incorporates an evolution algorithm for the materials’ mix design stage, a trigonometric function for the transportation stage, and a stochastic model for the manufacturing stage. A case study demonstrates that applying the optimization system reduced CO2 emissions by 34% compared to the standard concrete production processes typically used. When minimizing the cost of concrete production was prioritized, the cost dropped by 1% compared to the cost of conventional concrete production. These findings confirm that this optimization system helps with the design of the concrete mix and the choice of a material supplier, thus reducing both CO2 emissions and costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Solar Energy Block-Based Residential Construction for Rural Areas in the West of China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 362; doi:10.3390/su8040362
Received: 9 January 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2016 / Accepted: 31 March 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Based on the Great Western Development Strategy and the requirement for sustainable development in the west of China, rural affordable housing, energy conservation, and environmental protection are becoming development standards in the construction field. This paper mainly explores an innovative, sustainable, residential construction
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Based on the Great Western Development Strategy and the requirement for sustainable development in the west of China, rural affordable housing, energy conservation, and environmental protection are becoming development standards in the construction field. This paper mainly explores an innovative, sustainable, residential construction method for rural areas in western China, particularly the integration of solar energy technology with modern prefabricated building techniques, formally named solar energy block-based construction. The conscious approach of using volumetric blocks provides superior adaptability and expansibility in integration with a steel structure, thereby reducing the construction time and cost. Allowing a wide variety of configurations and styles in the building layout, this approach can be customized to the end-user’s precise location and climate, making rural residential buildings much more flexible and modern. To take advantage of adequate solar energy resource in western China, the blocks are associated with active and passive solar energy technologies, thereby reducing pollution, mitigating global warming, and enhancing sustainability. Therefore, we concluded that solar energy block-based construction could bring significant benefits to the environment, economy, and society. It could also promote sustainable development in the rural regions of western China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of New Roads on Environmental Resource Use in the Central Himalaya
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 363; doi:10.3390/su8040363
Received: 13 January 2016 / Revised: 31 March 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Construction of roads into remote rural areas can improve livelihoods by reducing transportation costs, but may also have negative environmental impacts, such as increased deforestation. However, evidence of the effect of rural roads on household environmental income and reliance, as well as local
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Construction of roads into remote rural areas can improve livelihoods by reducing transportation costs, but may also have negative environmental impacts, such as increased deforestation. However, evidence of the effect of rural roads on household environmental income and reliance, as well as local level forest stand conservation is limited. This study, conducted in Mustang District in Nepal, contributes to answering the following questions: (i) what are the impacts of the establishment of rural roads on household environmental income and reliance; (ii) what are the determinants of environmental income and reliance, and how are they affected by road establishment; and (iii) what are the short-term impacts of the construction of a rural road on local forest conservation? Following the Poverty Environment Network (PEN) methodology, income data from 176 randomly-sampled households were collected in 2006 from two similar Himalayan villages, Lete and Lulang, and again in 2012 after a new road was constructed in 2008 in Lete. Forest strata data were collected in Lete through permanent sample plots (n = 59) measured in 2005 and 2010 and used to estimate stock change (before and after road construction), annual increment and annual wood extraction. Results show that the new road had significant positive effects on absolute household environmental income, but negative effects on reliance as other income options became available. Wood product extraction levels remained below increment levels, indicating that the road did not (yet) have negative implications for local forest conservation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Conceptualizing the Limiting Issues Inhibiting Sustainability Embeddedness
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 364; doi:10.3390/su8040364
Received: 15 September 2015 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
There can be little doubt that sustainability has become one of the most important issues in business in recent years. In spite of sustainability’s importance, there is agreement amongst leaders and practitioners that sustainability is not as embedded as desired. This study reports
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There can be little doubt that sustainability has become one of the most important issues in business in recent years. In spite of sustainability’s importance, there is agreement amongst leaders and practitioners that sustainability is not as embedded as desired. This study reports a framework on inhibitors that limit sustainability embeddedness in organizations. The framework can assist management to address the non-achievement antecedents of embeddedness specifically and holistically. This study obtained empirical data from employees on all management levels in a stock exchange-listed company. Through in-depth analysis in a case organization, valuable insights about embeddedness were inductively identified, interpreted and presented using descriptive labels, namely: “Professing What Is Right”; “Green Distraction”; the belief of “Not My Job”; “Firefighter”; the “Past Performance Anchor”; “Strategy Discourse” and “Harmony”—a mediator to sustainability embeddedness. All these were also found to be altered by the transformation of culture and the communication of the strategy message by sustainable leadership—the moderator. The findings were also corroborated by related and supporting literature as part of our contribution and pursuit for better understanding of this phenomenon. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Leadership and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Supply Chain Coordination and Consumer Awareness for Pollution Reduction
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 365; doi:10.3390/su8040365
Received: 15 March 2016 / Revised: 10 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
To understand the dynamics of the manufacturer’s effort to reduce pollution in a supply chain consisting of manufacturer, retailer, and consumers, we analyze four cases according to consumer awareness of the pollution’s harmful effect, i.e., environmentally aware versus ignorant, and supply chain
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To understand the dynamics of the manufacturer’s effort to reduce pollution in a supply chain consisting of manufacturer, retailer, and consumers, we analyze four cases according to consumer awareness of the pollution’s harmful effect, i.e., environmentally aware versus ignorant, and supply chain coordination, i.e., competitive versus cooperative. Applying differential games, we derive managerial implications: the most significant is that the supply chain coordination strategy becomes irrelevant to reducing the pollution, if the consumers are not environmentally aware or sensitive enough. It highlights the critical role played by the consumer awareness in curbing the pollution in the supply chain. In addition, we find the transfer price and the potential market size are important factors to determine each case’s relative effectiveness. Under a regular condition, where the transfer price from the retailer to the manufacturer is sufficiently high, the consumer-aware and competitive case can generate a better outcome in reducing the pollution than those with ignorant consumers. However, the opposite might occur if the transfer price is excessively low, giving the manufacturer little motivation to make an effort to reduce the pollution. For the cooperative supply chain, it is the potential market size that determines whether the consumer-aware case is better than the consumer-ignorant. In fact, it turns out that there is a stronger result, i.e., the feasibility condition enforces that the market is always big enough to make the consumer-aware cooperative case better than the consumer-ignorant cases. We further discuss managerial as well as policy implications of these analysis outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
Open AccessArticle Designing Policy Mixes for Resource Efficiency: The Role of Public Acceptability
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 366; doi:10.3390/su8040366
Received: 7 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Where the public acceptability of a policy can influence its chance of success, it is important to anticipate and mitigate potential concerns. This paper applies search frequency analysis and a form of claims-making analysis to identify public acceptability concerns among fourteen policies proposed
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Where the public acceptability of a policy can influence its chance of success, it is important to anticipate and mitigate potential concerns. This paper applies search frequency analysis and a form of claims-making analysis to identify public acceptability concerns among fourteen policies proposed by the EU-funded DYNAMIX project to achieve EU resource efficiency. Key points of contention in the corresponding public discourses focus primarily on trust, fairness, effectiveness and cost. We use our findings to provide specific recommendations for the design and implementation of the proposed policy mix which are intended to improve the public acceptability of contentious aspects, and highlight some broader insights for policymakers. Full article
Open AccessArticle Factors Contributing to Residential Vacancy and Some Approaches to Management in Gyeonggi Province, Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 367; doi:10.3390/su8040367
Received: 13 February 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
With the decrease in the demand for large-scale apartments as a result of an aging society and a decrease in population, there has been an increase in vacant houses due to a supply that exceeds the projected demands. As a method of urban
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With the decrease in the demand for large-scale apartments as a result of an aging society and a decrease in population, there has been an increase in vacant houses due to a supply that exceeds the projected demands. As a method of urban regeneration in rural areas and activation of citizen communities, the utilization of vacant houses has become one of the ways to promote a new lifestyle, active movement for citizen participation, and business model for long-term revitalization. This study aims to uncover and examine the major causes and factors behind the upswing in vacant houses. We investigated the current state of vacant houses, the recent policies concerning them, and the types of vacant houses in Korea’s Gyeonggi province. We then categorized and analyzed the causes of houses being vacant, their types, and the methods of utilizing them under different local conditions in order to understand the efficient processes and strategies for their utilization. The results showed that an excess of building construction (especially recent construction permits), the number of recipients of the national basic livelihood scheme, and the number of elderly people showed the strongest correlation with vacant houses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
Open AccessArticle Using GIS towards the Characterization and Soil Mapping of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 368; doi:10.3390/su8040368
Received: 31 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 30 March 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
The Caia Irrigation Perimeter is an irrigation infrastructure implemented in 1968. As is often the case, the original soil map of this region (dated from 1961) does not have the detail needed to characterize a relatively small-sized zone, where intensive agricultural practices take
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The Caia Irrigation Perimeter is an irrigation infrastructure implemented in 1968. As is often the case, the original soil map of this region (dated from 1961) does not have the detail needed to characterize a relatively small-sized zone, where intensive agricultural practices take place. Using FAO methodology and with the main goal of establishing a larger-scale soil map, adequate for the demands of a modern and intensive agriculture, we gathered the geological characterization of the study area and information about the topography, climate, and vegetation of the region. Using ArcGIS software, we overlapped this information and established a pre-map of soil resources. Based on this pre-map, we defined a set of detailed itineraries in the field, evenly distributed, in which soil samples were collected. In those distinct soil units, we opened several soil profiles, from which we selected 26 to analyze in the present study, since they characterized the existing diversity in terms of soil type and soil properties. Based on the work of verification, correction, and reinterpretation of the preliminary soil map, we reached a final soil map for the Caia Irrigation Perimeter, which is characterized by enormous heterogeneity, typical of Mediterranean soils, containing 23 distinct cartographic units, the most representative being the Distric Fluvisols with inclusions of Luvisols Distric occupying 29.9% of the total study area, and Calcisols Luvic with inclusions of Luvisols endoleptic with 11.9% of the total area. Considering the obtained information on soil properties; ArcGIS was used to develop a map in which it was possible to ascertain the impact of the continuous practice of irrigation in this area. This allows us to put forward relevant conclusions on the need to access and monitor specific Mediterranean soils in order to mitigate the environmental impact of irrigation practices. Full article
Open AccessArticle Legal Opportunities for Public Participation in Forest Management in the Republic of Korea
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 369; doi:10.3390/su8040369
Received: 25 January 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 14 April 2016
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Abstract
Participation by multiple actors has been emphasized in managing state forests to meet various demands on forests within a global society. Public participation was also suggested as an approach to sustainable forest management. This paper aims to investigate the legal opportunities of public
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Participation by multiple actors has been emphasized in managing state forests to meet various demands on forests within a global society. Public participation was also suggested as an approach to sustainable forest management. This paper aims to investigate the legal opportunities of public participation in managing state forests in the case of the Republic of Korea (ROK). Relevant legal and policy documents were selected for content analysis and were analyzed with the levels of participation. Litigation regarding state forest conflicts was analyzed. The ROK legal system includes multiple levels of participation in managing state forests: information sharing, consultation, collaborative decision-making, and implementation. The research results indicate that various stakeholders need legal opportunities to participate in the formation and implementation of policies for the management of state forests. Regulatory enforcement is required for guaranteeing environmental rights—access to information, participation in decision-making, and standing in court. Based on research results, this paper provides us with legal insights on promoting public participation in managing state forests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Temporal Variations of Citizens’ Demands on Flood Damage Mitigation, Streamflow Quantity and Quality in the Korean Urban Watershed
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 370; doi:10.3390/su8040370
Received: 16 February 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2016 / Accepted: 16 March 2016 / Published: 13 April 2016
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Abstract
Sustainable watershed management (SWM) can be achieved through recognition and reflection upon the values of citizens. Collaborative governance consisting of citizens is crucial for successful SWM. Collaborative governance definitely requires an active participatory decision-making process that reflects citizens’ preferences. Citizen preference also tends
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Sustainable watershed management (SWM) can be achieved through recognition and reflection upon the values of citizens. Collaborative governance consisting of citizens is crucial for successful SWM. Collaborative governance definitely requires an active participatory decision-making process that reflects citizens’ preferences. Citizen preference also tends to substantially change with life pattern and life quality. These shifts can be caused by slight variations in both social priorities and personal preferences for SWM. Therefore, collaborative water governance must be frequently renewed in response to citizens’ values through the participatory framework. The An’yang Stream in South Korea is generally regarded as a representative urban stream restoration case that has been successfully led by collaborative governance. By conducting individual surveys with citizens on-site, this study addresses how citizens’ preferences of the stream’s management have changed between 2005 and 2015. In addition, this study used three quantitative hydrologic vulnerability indices: potential flood damage (PFD), potential streamflow depletion (PSD), and potential water quality deterioration (PWQD). They can spatially quantify citizen preference using the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP), which can systematically derive citizens’ subjective relative-weighted preferences. In the end, this study identified critical differences in priorities in regard to vulnerable areas between in 2005 and in 2015. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Environments and Planning for Urban Renewal)
Open AccessArticle A Worldwide Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Drained Organic Soils
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 371; doi:10.3390/su8040371
Received: 23 December 2015 / Revised: 7 April 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
Despite the importance of organic soils, including peatlands, in the global carbon cycle, detailed information on regional and global emissions is scarce. This is due to the difficulty to map, measure, and assess the complex dynamics of land, soil, and water interactions needed
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Despite the importance of organic soils, including peatlands, in the global carbon cycle, detailed information on regional and global emissions is scarce. This is due to the difficulty to map, measure, and assess the complex dynamics of land, soil, and water interactions needed to assess the human-driven degradation of organic soils. We produced a new methodology for the comprehensive assessment of drained organic soils in agriculture and the estimation of the associated greenhouse gas emissions. Results indicated that over 25 million hectares of organic soils were drained worldwide for agriculture use, of which about 60% were in boreal and temperate cool areas, 34% in tropical areas, and 5% in warm temperate areas. Total emissions from the drainage were globally significant, totaling nearly one billion tonnes CO2eq annually. Of this, the CO2 component, about 780 million tonnes, represented more than one-fourth of total net CO2 emissions from agriculture, forestry, and land use. The bulk of these emissions came from a few tropical countries in Southeast Asia, and was linked to land clearing and drainage for crop cultivation. Geospatial data relative to this work were disseminated via the FAO geospatial server GeoNetwork, while the national aggregated statistics were disseminated via the FAOSTAT database. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessArticle The Combination of Expert Judgment and GIS-MAIRCA Analysis for the Selection of Sites for Ammunition Depots
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 372; doi:10.3390/su8040372
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
Cited by 8 | PDF Full-text (3189 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper suggests spatial multi-criteria model in order to assist decision makers in the selection of sites which are suitable for ammunition depots (AD). They represent military facilities which have more criteria that need to be matched than civil structures. The proposed model
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This paper suggests spatial multi-criteria model in order to assist decision makers in the selection of sites which are suitable for ammunition depots (AD). They represent military facilities which have more criteria that need to be matched than civil structures. The proposed model is based on combined use of Geographic information systems (GIS) and multi-criteria techniques. The model application is presented in the case study of Carpathian region, the Eastern part of Serbia. The model deals with nine restrictions and six evaluation criteria. Decision Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory—Analytic Network Process (DEMATEL-ANP) multi-criteria techniques are used to determine weight coefficients of evaluation criteria. Along with the above mentioned methods, this paper introduces a new technique for the multi-criteria decision making—MAIRCA (MultiAttributive Ideal-Real Comparative Analysis) method. The MAIRCA method is used for the ranking and selection of suitable locations. The results have shown that 45 km2 of the Carpathian region is very suitable for ammunition depot construction. The MAIRCA method chose location L1 as the most appropriate. Sensitivity analysis shows that the model is capable of identifying a suitable ammunition depot location. This approach can be helpful in determining suitable ammunition depot locations in other regions with similar geographic conditions and can also be successfully used for the suitability assessment of existing ammunition depots. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle A Systemic and Systematic Approach to the Development of a Policy Mix for Material Resource Efficiency
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 373; doi:10.3390/su8040373
Received: 7 February 2016 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 7 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (2660 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Increasing material use efficiency is important to mitigate future supply risks and minimize environmental impacts associated with the production of the materials. The policy mix presented in this paper aims to contribute to reducing the use of virgin metals in the EU by
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Increasing material use efficiency is important to mitigate future supply risks and minimize environmental impacts associated with the production of the materials. The policy mix presented in this paper aims to contribute to reducing the use of virgin metals in the EU by 80% by 2050 without significant shifting of burdens to other material resources, environmental impacts, or parts of the world. We used a heuristic framework and a systems perspective for designing the policy mix that combines primary instruments designed to increase material efficiency, recycling and substitution of materials (a materials tax, the extended producer responsibility, technical regulations, and environmental taxes) and supportive instruments aimed to reduce barriers to implementing the primary instruments and to contribute towards the policy objectives (e.g., research and development support, and advanced recycling centers). Furthermore, instruments were designed so as to increase political feasibility: e.g., taxes were gradually increased as part of a green fiscal reform, and border-tax adjustments were introduced to reduce impacts on competitiveness. However, even in such a policy mix design ongoing ex-ante assessments indicate that the policy mix will be politically difficult to implement—and also fall short of achieving the 80% reduction target. Nonetheless, we suggest combining primary and supportive instruments into coherent and dynamic policy mixes as a promising step towards system reconfigurations for sustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Water Resources in Horqin Sandy Land Using Multisource Data from 2003 to 2010
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 374; doi:10.3390/su8040374
Received: 26 January 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 15 April 2016
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Abstract
Over the past four decades, land use/land cover (LU/LC) change, coupled with persistent drought, has resulted in the decline of groundwater levels in Horqin Sandy Land. Accordingly, this study quantifies changes in LU/LC and groundwater storage (GWS). Furthermore, it investigates the effects of
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Over the past four decades, land use/land cover (LU/LC) change, coupled with persistent drought, has resulted in the decline of groundwater levels in Horqin Sandy Land. Accordingly, this study quantifies changes in LU/LC and groundwater storage (GWS). Furthermore, it investigates the effects of LU/LC changes on GWS. GWS changes are estimated using Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) data and ground-based measurements obtained from July 2003 to December 2010. Soil moisture and snow water equivalent data derived from the Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) are used to isolate GWS changes from GRACE-derived terrestrial water storage changes. The result shows that the groundwater depletion rate in Horqin Sandy Land is 13.5 ± 1.9 mm·year−1 in 2003–2010, which is consistent with the results of monitoring well stations. LU/LC changes are detected using bitemporal imageries (2003 and 2010) from Landsat Thematic Mapper through the post-classification comparison method. The result shows that LU/LC significantly changed during the aforementioned period. Bare soil and built-up land have increased by 76.6% and 82.2%, respectively, while cropland, vegetation, and water bodies have decreased by 14.1%, 74.5%, and 82.6%, respectively. The analysis of GWS and LU/LC changes shows that LU/LC changes and persistent drought are the main factors that affect groundwater resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Impact of Urbanization on Energy Intensity in Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 375; doi:10.3390/su8040375
Received: 25 February 2016 / Revised: 9 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1168 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
This paper investigates the long-term and causal relationship between energy intensity, real GDP per capita, urbanization and industrialization in Saudi Arabia over the period 1971–2012 using the breakpoint unit root tests developed by Perron (1989) and the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model bounds
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This paper investigates the long-term and causal relationship between energy intensity, real GDP per capita, urbanization and industrialization in Saudi Arabia over the period 1971–2012 using the breakpoint unit root tests developed by Perron (1989) and the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL) model bounds testing to cointegration proposed by Pesaran et al. (2001) and employing a modified version of the Granger causality test proposed by Toda and Yamamoto (1995). Additionally, to test the robustness of the results, the fully modified ordinary least squares (OLS) regression, the dynamic OLS regression, and the Hansen test are used. Our results show that the variables are cointegrated when energy intensity is the dependent variable. It is also found that urbanization positively affects energy intensity in both the short term and the long term. Causality tests indicate that urbanization causes economic output that causes energy intensity in the long term. Our results do not support the urban compaction hypothesis where urban cities benefit from basic public services and economies of scale for public infrastructure. Therefore, measures that slow down the rapid urbanization process should be taken to reduce energy intensity in Saudi Arabia. In addition, reducing energy inefficiency in energy consumption should be a strategy to attain sustainable development in the near future in Saudi Arabia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Sensitivity Analysis on the Impact Factors of the GSHP System Considering Energy Generation and Environmental Impact Using LCA
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 376; doi:10.3390/su8040376
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3545 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The world is facing a crisis due to energy depletion and environmental pollution. The ground source heat pump (GSHP) system, the most efficient new/renewable energy (NRE) system that can reduce the load of heating/cooling equipment in a building, can be used to address
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The world is facing a crisis due to energy depletion and environmental pollution. The ground source heat pump (GSHP) system, the most efficient new/renewable energy (NRE) system that can reduce the load of heating/cooling equipment in a building, can be used to address this crisis. Designers and contractors have implemented such systems depending on their experience, although there are many factors that affect the performance of the GSHP system. Therefore, this study aimed to conduct a sensitivity analysis on the impact factors in terms of energy generation and environmental impact. This study was conducted as follows: (i) collecting the impact factors that affect the GSHP system’s performance; (ii) establishing the GSHP system’s scenarios with the impact factors; (iii) determining the methodology and calculation tool to be used for conducting sensitivity analysis; and (iv) conducting sensitivity analysis on the impact factors of the GSHP system in terms of energy generation and environmental impact using life cycle assessment. The results of this study can be used: (i) to establish the optimal design strategy for different application fields and different seasons; and (ii) to conduct a feasibility study on energy generation and environmental impact at the level of the life cycle. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Study on Location-Based Priority of Soil and Groundwater Pollution Remediation
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 377; doi:10.3390/su8040377
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 18 April 2016
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Abstract
Under the circumstances of limited government funds, the future pollution remediation policies and practical implementation may need contemplation from the perspective of maximized efficacy, in order to pursue the most effective resource allocation. In fact, different pollution sources and types affect the value
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Under the circumstances of limited government funds, the future pollution remediation policies and practical implementation may need contemplation from the perspective of maximized efficacy, in order to pursue the most effective resource allocation. In fact, different pollution sources and types affect the value of surrounding properties differently in significance and scope. Therefore, benefits from the remediation may vary depending on the polluted locations. Currently, however, decision-making on the location-based priority of pollution remediation still seems to be in need of a clear index system to evaluate the post-remediation benefits. Therefore, this article discusses the use of the fuzzy Delphi method to determine factors of the location-based priority of soil and groundwater pollution remediation and an analytic network process to determine the weights of each factor. The empirical results show that the top 3 priority indicators are resident population, land value and natural resources. Hopefully, this finding can be used in future decision-making on the priority of pollution remediation to maximize the effect of limited funds. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle European Pesticide Tax Schemes in Comparison: An Analysis of Experiences and Developments
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 378; doi:10.3390/su8040378
Received: 16 February 2016 / Revised: 3 April 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (892 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Policy measures are needed to reduce the risks associated with pesticides’ application in agriculture, resulting in more sustainable agricultural systems. Pesticide taxes can be an important tool in the toolkit of policy-makers and are of increasing importance in European agriculture. However, little is
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Policy measures are needed to reduce the risks associated with pesticides’ application in agriculture, resulting in more sustainable agricultural systems. Pesticide taxes can be an important tool in the toolkit of policy-makers and are of increasing importance in European agriculture. However, little is known about the effects of such tax solutions and their impacts on the environment, farmers, and human health. We aim to fill this gap and synthesize experiences made in the European countries that have introduced pesticide taxes, i.e., France, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden. The major findings of our analysis are: (1) overall, the effectiveness of pesticide taxes is limited, but if a tax on a specific pesticide is high enough, the application and the associated risks will be reduced significantly; (2) in all countries, hoarding activities have been observed before a tax introduction or increase. Therefore, short-term effects of taxes are substantially smaller than long-term effects; (3) differentiated taxes are superior to undifferentiated taxes because fewer accompanying measures are required to reach policy goals; (4) tax scheme designs are not always in line with the National Action Plan targets. Low tax levels do not necessarily lead to a reduction of pesticide input and differentiated taxes do not necessarily lead to fewer violations of water residue limits. Full article
Open AccessArticle Capturing the Stakeholders’ View in Sustainability Reporting: A Novel Approach
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 379; doi:10.3390/su8040379
Received: 18 November 2015 / Revised: 23 March 2016 / Accepted: 11 April 2016 / Published: 16 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (416 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainability reporting is the process by which companies describe how they deal with their own economic, environmental, and social impacts, thus making stakeholders able to recognize the value of sustainable practices. As stressed in the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, which act as a
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Sustainability reporting is the process by which companies describe how they deal with their own economic, environmental, and social impacts, thus making stakeholders able to recognize the value of sustainable practices. As stressed in the Global Reporting Initiative guidelines, which act as a de facto standard for sustainability reporting, sustainable reports should take into account the stakeholders’ view. In particular, engaging stakeholders is essential to carry out the materiality analysis, by which organizations can identify their own more relevant sustainability aspects. Yet, on the one hand, the existing guidelines do not provide specific indications on how to get stakeholders actually engaged; on the other hand, research on quantitative techniques to support stakeholder engagement in materiality analysis is scarce. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is the development of a quantitative structured approach based on multi-attribute group decision-making techniques to effectively and reliably support stakeholder engagement during materiality analysis in sustainability reporting. As it more strictly guides the reporting process, the proposed approach at the same time simplifies materiality analysis and makes it more reliable. Though any company can adopt the approach, small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are expected to particularly benefit from it, due to the quite limited implementation effort that is required. With this respect, the approach has been validated on a sample of Italian SMEs belonging to different sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurship and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Do Urban Rail Transit Facilities Affect Housing Prices? Evidence from China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 380; doi:10.3390/su8040380
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 18 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (580 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban rail transit facilities play a critical role in citizen’s social activities (e.g., residence, work and education). Using panel data on housing prices and urban rail transit facilities for 35 Chinese cities for 2002 to 2013, this study constructs a panel data model
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Urban rail transit facilities play a critical role in citizen’s social activities (e.g., residence, work and education). Using panel data on housing prices and urban rail transit facilities for 35 Chinese cities for 2002 to 2013, this study constructs a panel data model to evaluate the effect of rail transit facilities on housing prices quantitatively. A correlation test reveals significant correlations between housing prices and rail transit facilities. Empirical results demonstrate that rail transit facilities can markedly elevate real estate prices. Quantitatively, a 1% increase in rail transit mileage improves housing prices by 0.0233%. The results highlight the importance of other factors (e.g., per capita GDP, land price, investment in real estate and population density) in determining housing prices. We also assess the effects of expectations of new rail transit lines on housing prices, and the results show that expectation effects are insignificant. These findings encourage Chinese policy makers to take rail transit facilities into account in achieving sustainable development of real estate markets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle Urban Freight Transport Planning towards Green Goals: Synthetic Environmental Evidence from Tested Results
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 381; doi:10.3390/su8040381
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 3 April 2016 / Accepted: 6 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
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Abstract
This paper reviews the ex-post assessment of city logistics measures implemented in some European cities and, in a “what if” framework, proposes an analysis of tested environmental effects which may be useful in defining city logistics scenarios to be evaluated ex ante by
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This paper reviews the ex-post assessment of city logistics measures implemented in some European cities and, in a “what if” framework, proposes an analysis of tested environmental effects which may be useful in defining city logistics scenarios to be evaluated ex ante by simulation models. The analysis is performed in relation to the goals of environmental sustainability to pursue and the main characteristics of the cities in question (i.e., population and density). The paper aims to provide a tool that could be used in an ex-ante assessment methodology to identify a priori which measures (or set of measures) could best work in a specific city with respect to the environmental sustainability goals to pursue. Future scenarios can, thus, be readily defined and subsequently assessed by simulation tools in order to verify whether they meet the planned objectives. Although all measures can produce considerable environmental effects, the study shows that the choice of their implementation should be driven by the type of pollutant to detect. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Logistics)
Open AccessArticle Searching for Social Sustainability: The Case of the Shrinking City of Heerlen, The Netherlands
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 382; doi:10.3390/su8040382
Received: 28 December 2015 / Revised: 19 March 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (819 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Shrinkage is a relevant phenomenon for many cities and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Although urban shrinkage is well recognized in academic discourse, little research has been undertaken on its social aspects. This paper explores the concept of social
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Shrinkage is a relevant phenomenon for many cities and this trend is predicted to continue in the future. Although urban shrinkage is well recognized in academic discourse, little research has been undertaken on its social aspects. This paper explores the concept of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage and elaborates on how it contributes to social sustainability in shrinking cities. After defining the concepts, we identify resources, empowerment, and participation as key indicators of social capital in the context of urban shrinkage. The paper analyzes these indicators in the shrinking, old industrial city of Heerlen, the Netherlands, based on 24 in-depth interviews with citizens, policy-makers, and entrepreneurs, as well as secondary data. The findings reveal the prominence of three interrelated issues: the importance of local culture, subjective experiences of shrinkage, and a lack of trust between citizens and politicians. We conclude that social capital can facilitate social sustainability in the context of urban shrinkage. However, trust and empowerment are not guaranteed in a shrinking context. In shrinking cities more investments should be made to foster cooperation between civil society and politics and the development of mutual trust. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustaining the Shrinking City: Concepts, Dynamics and Management)
Open AccessArticle Issues and Challenges in Spatial and Temporal Water Allocation in the Nile Delta
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 383; doi:10.3390/su8040383
Received: 9 March 2016 / Revised: 8 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
PDF Full-text (208 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
“Egypt is a gift of the Nile,” wrote Herodotus, and indeed, without the Nile there would be no Egypt as the world knows it. Egypt is mainly dependent on the flow in the Nile River (with an agreed share of 55.5 BCM) and
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“Egypt is a gift of the Nile,” wrote Herodotus, and indeed, without the Nile there would be no Egypt as the world knows it. Egypt is mainly dependent on the flow in the Nile River (with an agreed share of 55.5 BCM) and it receives about 1.3 BCM rainfall annually (mainly along the north coast). The overall water use efficiency is already high, due to e.g., water scarcity and reuse of drainage water. Egypt’s water resources are managed by the Ministry of Water Resources and Irrigation (MWRI), with agriculture as by far the largest user of irrigation water, with a share of about 85%. The purpose of the paper is to discuss the major issues and challenges in the spatial and temporal allocation of water, in relation to a free cropping pattern and the characteristics of the irrigation system. We conclude that the current world-wide call for “crop-demand-based precision irrigation supply” will not be easily attainable in Egypt. Instead, “water security” in the form of “guaranteed or agreed” water supply may be a preferred water allocation aim for various reasons, including lack of large storage possibilities, impossibility of fine-tuning supplies in the system, and the needed capacity to deal with (future) droughts. Although the paper concentrates on technical issues, it is increasingly realized that the challenges are not only of a technical nature and that there is a need for integration of policies as well as a need to establish effective science–business–policy interfaces at the national level. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Irrigation and Drainage)
Open AccessArticle Investigation on the Effect of Recycled Asphalt Shingle (RAS) in Portland Cement Mortar
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 384; doi:10.3390/su8040384
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 6 April 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4067 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tear-off roofing shingle, referred to as Reclaimed asphalt shingle (RAS), is the byproduct of construction demolition and it is a major solid waste stream in the U.S. Reuse of this byproduct in road construction sector can contribute to the success of materials sustainability
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Tear-off roofing shingle, referred to as Reclaimed asphalt shingle (RAS), is the byproduct of construction demolition and it is a major solid waste stream in the U.S. Reuse of this byproduct in road construction sector can contribute to the success of materials sustainability as well as landfill conservation. Ground RAS has similar particle distribution as sand and its major component includes aggregate granules, fibers, and asphalt. To promote the beneficial utilization of RAS, this study evaluates the effect of RAS in cement mortar when used as replacement of sand. In addition, the study investigates how cellulose fibers from RAS behave under high alkaline environment during cement hydration process, which may significantly affect mortar’s strength performance. The laboratory study includes measurements of physical, mechanical, and durability behaviors of cement mortar containing RAS replacing sand up to 30%. It was found that the optimum mixture proportions are 5% and 10% for compressive strength and toughness, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
Open AccessArticle Price, Virtues, Principles: How to Discern What Inspires Best Practices in Water Management? A Case Study about Small Farmers in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 385; doi:10.3390/su8040385
Received: 12 January 2016 / Revised: 4 April 2016 / Accepted: 12 April 2016 / Published: 19 April 2016
PDF Full-text (1283 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Improving water practices among small farmers in a water scarce area like the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a complex task. Despite government attempts to enforce regulations and question the possibility of adjusting prices, the misuse of this scarce resource continues. Most farmers
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Improving water practices among small farmers in a water scarce area like the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico is a complex task. Despite government attempts to enforce regulations and question the possibility of adjusting prices, the misuse of this scarce resource continues. Most farmers are, at best, motivated to aim for a minimum level of compliance, with very few striving to engage in best practices. This article seeks to make a proposal about the best drivers for inspiring best practices in an effort to improve the use of water management in the area. It proposes that a virtue ethics approach that explicitly focuses on the cultivation of an attitude of respect for water founded on three key principles (participation, hydrosolidarity and proactive engagement) is the best solution for Yucatan. This hypothesis is the result of developing a singular methodology based on Partial Least Squares (PLS), according to structural equation modeling (SEM), that could be replicated anywhere to ascertain which measures are best suited in a particular context. Using a small sample size, this research ascertains what is required to achieve best practices with regards to the management of water in that particular area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agroecology and Water Management)
Open AccessArticle Plant Growth and Water Purification of Porous Vegetation Concrete Formed of Blast Furnace Slag, Natural Jute Fiber and Styrene Butadiene Latex
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 386; doi:10.3390/su8040386
Received: 29 February 2016 / Revised: 5 April 2016 / Accepted: 15 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (8250 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to investigate porous vegetation concrete formed using the industrial by-products blast furnace slag powder and blast furnace slag aggregates. We investigated the void ratio, compressive strength, freeze–thaw resistance, plant growth and water purification properties using concretes containing
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The purpose of this study is to investigate porous vegetation concrete formed using the industrial by-products blast furnace slag powder and blast furnace slag aggregates. We investigated the void ratio, compressive strength, freeze–thaw resistance, plant growth and water purification properties using concretes containing these by-products, natural jute fiber and latex. The target performance was a compressive strength of ≥12 MPa, a void ratio of ≥25% and a residual compressive strength of ≥80% following 100 freeze–thaw cycles. Using these target performance metrics and test results for plant growth and water purification, an optimal mixing ratio was identified. The study characterized the physical and mechanical properties of the optimal mix, and found that the compressive strength decreased compared with the default mix, but that the void ratio and the freeze–thaw resistance increased. When latex was used, the compressive strength, void ratio and freeze–thaw resistance all improved, satisfying the target performance metrics. Vegetation growth tests showed that plant growth was more active when the blast furnace slag aggregate was used. Furthermore, the use of latex was also found to promote vegetation growth, which is attributed to the latex forming a film coating that suppresses leaching of toxic components from the cement. Water purification tests showed no so significant differences between different mixing ratios; however, a comparison of mixes with and without vegetation indicated improved water purification in terms of the total phosphorus content when vegetation had been allowed to grow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle Multivariate EMD-Based Modeling and Forecasting of Crude Oil Price
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 387; doi:10.3390/su8040387
Received: 23 February 2016 / Accepted: 8 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (226 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Recent empirical studies reveal evidence of the co-existence of heterogeneous data characteristics distinguishable by time scale in the movement crude oil prices. In this paper we propose a new multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)-based model to take advantage of these heterogeneous characteristics of
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Recent empirical studies reveal evidence of the co-existence of heterogeneous data characteristics distinguishable by time scale in the movement crude oil prices. In this paper we propose a new multivariate Empirical Mode Decomposition (EMD)-based model to take advantage of these heterogeneous characteristics of the price movement and model them in the crude oil markets. Empirical studies in benchmark crude oil markets confirm that more diverse heterogeneous data characteristics can be revealed and modeled in the projected time delayed domain. The proposed model demonstrates the superior performance compared to the benchmark models. Full article
Open AccessArticle Sustainable Renovation Strategy in the Swedish Million Homes Programme: A Case Study
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 388; doi:10.3390/su8040388
Received: 3 February 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 14 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (202 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sweden has a large multifamily housing stock that was built between 1960 and 1975. An important current issue is how this stock can be renovated in a sustainable way. The article analyses a strategy used by a suburban municipal housing company that had
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Sweden has a large multifamily housing stock that was built between 1960 and 1975. An important current issue is how this stock can be renovated in a sustainable way. The article analyses a strategy used by a suburban municipal housing company that had clear social ambitions and offered the tenants three options of renovation: Mini, Midi and Maxi. Most tenants chose the Mini alternative which meant that they could afford to stay and that there was no increase in costs for the social authorities. An investment analysis showed that the Mini alternative had a positive net present value, but that the Midi and Maxi alternatives were more profitable. Even though there was no clear environmental focus in the renovation, energy use was reduced by 8%. As a conclusion, the study shows that a sustainable renovation is possible but that there are a number of conflicts between the different dimensions of sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle Analysis of Environmental Impact for Concrete Using LCA by Varying the Recycling Components, the Compressive Strength and the Admixture Material Mixing
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 389; doi:10.3390/su8040389
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 13 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3645 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Concrete is a type of construction material in which cement, aggregate, and admixture materials are mixed. When cement is produced, large amounts of substances that impact the environment are emitted during limestone extraction and clinker manufacturing. Additionally, the extraction of natural aggregate causes
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Concrete is a type of construction material in which cement, aggregate, and admixture materials are mixed. When cement is produced, large amounts of substances that impact the environment are emitted during limestone extraction and clinker manufacturing. Additionally, the extraction of natural aggregate causes soil erosion and ecosystem destruction. Furthermore, in the process of transporting raw materials such as cement and aggregate to a concrete production company, and producing concrete in a batch plant, substances with an environmental impact are emitted into the air and water system due to energy use. Considering the fact that the process of producing concrete causes various environmental impacts, an assessment of various environmental impact categories is needed. This study used a life cycle assessment (LCA) to evaluate the environmental impacts of concrete in terms of its global warming potential, acidification potential, eutrophication potential, ozone depletion potential, photochemical ozone creation potential, and abiotic depletion potential (GWP, AP, EP, ODP, POCP, ADP). The tendency was that the higher the strength of concrete, the higher the GWP, POCP, and ADP indices became, whereas the AP and EP indices became slightly lower. As the admixture mixing ratio of concrete increased, the GWP, AP, ODP, ADP, and POCP decreased, but EP index showed a tendency to increase slightly. Moreover, as the recycled aggregate mixing ratio of concrete increased, the AP, EP, ODP, and ADP decreased, while GWP and POCP increased. The GWP and POCP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa) of high strength concrete were found to be about 13% lower than that for its normal strength concrete counterpart. Furthermore, in the case of AP, EP, ODP, and ADP per unit compressed strength (1 MPa), high-strength concrete was found to be about 10%~25% lower than its normal strength counterpart. Among all the environmental impact categories, ordinary cement was found to have the greatest impact on GWP, POCP, and ADP, while aggregate had the most impact on AP, EP, and ODP. Full article
Open AccessArticle Risk Assessment in the Istanbul Strait Using Black Sea MOU Port State Control Inspections
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 390; doi:10.3390/su8040390
Received: 8 February 2016 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
PDF Full-text (1566 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Istanbul Strait has intense maritime traffic while, at the same time, it poses significant navigational challenges. Due to these properties, there is always a high risk arising from maritime shipping in this region. Especially, substandard ships threaten life, as well as the
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The Istanbul Strait has intense maritime traffic while, at the same time, it poses significant navigational challenges. Due to these properties, there is always a high risk arising from maritime shipping in this region. Especially, substandard ships threaten life, as well as the marine environment. In this aspect, Black Sea Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) Port State Control Inspections are important for maritime safety in the Istanbul Strait, because they directly reflect the performance of ships passing through the Istanbul Strait. Stringent and effective inspections assist in the enhancement of navigation safety and help to develop sustainable environment management. In this context, this study aims to assess maritime safety for the Strait region concerning passing flag states. Firstly, to assess the performance of flag states in general, the Black Sea MOU Black-Grey-White lists were generated for the period 2004–2014 and the change in the performance of these flags was examined. Secondly, the risk level of each flag state passing from the Strait region was determined using the method of weighted points based on the Black-Grey-White List, deficiency index level, casualty index level, and passing index level. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Remote Monitoring of Earth’s Atmosphere Based on Operative Processing GNSS Data in the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS Network of Active Reference Stations
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 391; doi:10.3390/su8040391
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 2 April 2016 / Accepted: 13 April 2016 / Published: 20 April 2016
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Abstract
The system of remote monitoring of atmosphere is designed to obtain information about the state of atmosphere. The principle of the remote monitoring of atmosphere is based on registering and processing GLONASS/GPS radio signals. Modern networks of active reference stations allow us to
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The system of remote monitoring of atmosphere is designed to obtain information about the state of atmosphere. The principle of the remote monitoring of atmosphere is based on registering and processing GLONASS/GPS radio signals. Modern networks of active reference stations allow us to solve both practical problems of geodesy, navigation, and purely scientific problems that are important in all geosciences. The paper investigates a spatiotemporal instability in the atmosphere, based on 845 temporal measurements of tropospheric delay over the territory covered by 20 active reference stations of the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS network. The method elaborated by the authors for the determination of tropospheric delay in the UA-EUPOS/ZAKPOS network in real time takes relief of the region into account. The results are very good, since mapping tropospheric delay can be made with an average RMSE of 1.5 mm. The method developed in this research can be used to improve the quality of weather forecasts and the prevention of natural disasters. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Two-Step Strategy for Developing Cultivated Pastures in China that Offer the Advantages of Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 392; doi:10.3390/su8040392
Received: 29 January 2016 / Revised: 24 March 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 21 April 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1556 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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
Open AccessArticle Diversification Models of Sales Activity for Steady Development of an Enterprise
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 393; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Fiber-Reinforced Polymer Nets for Strengthening Lava Stone Masonries in Historical Buildings
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 394; doi: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)
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; doi:10.3390/su8040395
Received: 30 November 2015 / Revised: 11 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
Cited by 1 | 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 What’s the Score? Walkable Environments and Subsidized Households
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 396; doi: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
Open AccessArticle An Approach to Assess the Effectiveness of Smart Growth in Achieving Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 397; doi:10.3390/su8040397
Received: 11 February 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 22 April 2016
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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
Open AccessArticle Measuring Eco-Efficiency of Agriculture in China
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 398; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Life Cycle Inventory Analysis for a Small-Scale Trawl Fishery in Sendai Bay, Japan
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 399; doi: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
Open AccessArticle Urbanization and Sustainability: Comparison of the Processes in “BIC” Countries
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 400; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle The Sustainable Improvement of Manufacturing for Nano-Titanium
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 402; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Construction Cost Saving by Concrete Mixing the Activator Material
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 403; doi: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)
Open AccessArticle Urban Resilience in Climate Change Adaptation: A Conceptual Framework
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 405; doi:10.3390/su8040405
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 15 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 6 | 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
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; doi:10.3390/su8040406
Received: 4 March 2016 / Revised: 17 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
Cited by 1 | 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)
Open AccessArticle Urban Environment and Nature. A Methodological Proposal for Spaces’ Reconnection in an Ecosystem Function
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 407; doi:10.3390/su8040407
Received: 28 March 2016 / Revised: 16 April 2016 / Accepted: 19 April 2016 / Published: 23 April 2016
PDF Full-text (4456 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
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)

Review

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Open AccessReview European Framework for the Diffusion of Biogas Uses: Emerging Technologies, Acceptance, Incentive Strategies, and Institutional-Regulatory Support
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 298; doi:10.3390/su8040298
Received: 7 February 2016 / Revised: 21 March 2016 / Accepted: 22 March 2016 / Published: 24 March 2016
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (1059 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Biogas will constitute a significant fraction of future power supply, since it is expected to contribute a large share of the EU renewable energy targets. Biogas, once produced, can be combusted in traditional boilers to provide heat, or to generate electricity. It can
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Biogas will constitute a significant fraction of future power supply, since it is expected to contribute a large share of the EU renewable energy targets. Biogas, once produced, can be combusted in traditional boilers to provide heat, or to generate electricity. It can be used for the production of chemical compounds, or fed into a pipeline. This review paper will briefly analyze the current most promising emerging biogas technologies in the perspective of their potential uses, environmental benefits, and public acceptance; draw a picture of current conditions on the adoption of a biogas road map in the several EU Member States; analyze incentive and support policy implementation status and gaps; discuss non-technological barriers; and summarize proposed solutions to widen this energy’s use. Full article
Open AccessReview Opportunities for Underutilised Crops in Southern Africa’s Post–2015 Development Agenda
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 302; doi:10.3390/su8040302
Received: 15 February 2016 / Revised: 15 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 25 March 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (223 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Underutilised crops represent an important component of Southern Africa’s agro–biodiversity that has potential to contribute to the region’s post–2015 development discourse. We reviewed the potential of underutilised crops with respect to how they can contribute to topical challenges, such as food and nutrition
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Underutilised crops represent an important component of Southern Africa’s agro–biodiversity that has potential to contribute to the region’s post–2015 development discourse. We reviewed the potential of underutilised crops with respect to how they can contribute to topical challenges, such as food and nutrition security, human health and well–being, climate change adaptation, the environment, and employment creation in poor rural communities. The fact that underutilised crops are the product of generations of landrace agriculture supports the idea that they are resilient and adapted to the needs of farmers in marginal agricultural environments. In addition, underutilised crops are also seen as offering economic advantages due to their uniqueness, suitability to environments in which they are grown and low input requirements. In certain cases, underutilised crops are associated with specific gender roles with women being seen as particularly significant in their production. Evidence also suggests that the inclusion of underutilised crops in cropping systems contributes to dietary diversity and improved nutrition. In the context of the post–2015 agenda, the potential of underutilised crops to generate income, address food security and their status as a “subset of biodiversity” links with a number of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) addressing social, economic and environmental issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessReview Are Australian and United States Farmers Using Soil Information for Soil Health Management?
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 304; doi:10.3390/su8040304
Received: 5 February 2016 / Revised: 18 March 2016 / Accepted: 21 March 2016 / Published: 30 March 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (3638 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Soil health is an essential requirement of a sustainable, functioning agroecosystem. Tracking soil health to determine sustainability at the local level largely falls to farmers, even though they often lack access to critical information. We examine farmers’ participation in gathering soil information at
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Soil health is an essential requirement of a sustainable, functioning agroecosystem. Tracking soil health to determine sustainability at the local level largely falls to farmers, even though they often lack access to critical information. We examine farmers’ participation in gathering soil information at the farm and paddock scale over the last two decades in Australia and the United States, by reviewing national-level reporting of farmer use of soil testing and farm planning as well as qualitative research on farmer perspectives. The level of participation in soil testing and farm planning has remained stable in the last two decades, with only 25% and 30% of landholders, respectively, participating nationally, in either country. The review revealed national-level reporting has a number of limitations in understanding farmers’ use of soil information and, in particular, fails to indicate the frequency and intensity of soil testing as well as farmer motivation to test soil or what they did with the soil information. The main use of soil testing is often stated as “determining fertilizer requirements”, yet data show soil testing is used less commonly than is customary practice. In Australia and in the United States, customary practice is three and half times more likely for decisions on fertilizer application levels. The rhetoric is heavy on the use of soil testing as a decision tool, and that it guides best practices. However, given that only a quarter of farmers are soil testing, and doing so infrequently and in low densities, the level of information on soil health is poor. While farmers report consistent monitoring of soil conditions, few have consistent records of such. In contrast to the information on the poor state of soil health, there is strong farmer interest in procuring soil health benefits through changes in farm practices such as conservation tillage or cover crops, even if they are unable to demonstrate these soil health benefits through soil testing. Many farmers report the use of observation in lieu of laboratory testing. Finally, we point to the need for soil information to include observational indicators to best allow a blend of traditional extension strategies with digital technology to create communities of interest in soil management. This would transcend the boundaries between those with expertise and those with experience in soil health management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Critical Issues on Soil Management and Conservation)
Open AccessReview Sustainability Benefits and Challenges of Inter-Organizational Collaboration in Bio-Based Business: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 307; doi:10.3390/su8040307
Received: 27 November 2015 / Revised: 4 March 2016 / Accepted: 23 March 2016 / Published: 28 March 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (388 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Bio-based businesses are often considered to be sustainable. However, they are also linked to sustainability challenges such as deforestation and soil erosion. Encouraged to exploit innovative solutions and enhance sustainability, organizations engaged in bio-based activities extensively explore collaboration possibilities with external partners. The
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Bio-based businesses are often considered to be sustainable. However, they are also linked to sustainability challenges such as deforestation and soil erosion. Encouraged to exploit innovative solutions and enhance sustainability, organizations engaged in bio-based activities extensively explore collaboration possibilities with external partners. The objective of this paper is to integrate the available knowledge on sustainability of inter-organisational collaborations in bio-based businesses, while considering the three aspects of sustainability: environmental, economic, and social. We collected data from three academic sources—Web of Science, Scopus, and EconLit—and conducted a systematic literature review. The results show the importance of geographical proximity and complementarity in creating sustainability benefits such as reduced emissions, reduced waste, economic synergies, and socio-economic activities. Based on the findings, we have developed a framework that illustrates sustainability benefits and challenges. Interestingly, the studies emphasize sustainability benefits more in emerging than in industrialised economies, especially relating to the social aspects of sustainability. In conclusion, although the scholars have not discussed mitigation of several sustainability challenges in bio-based businesses, such as land use conflicts, they have found evidence of vital sustainability benefits, such as energy availability, lower emissions, improved socio-economic life, and poverty reduction, which are essential in emerging economies. Full article
Open AccessReview Which Type of Social Capital Matters for Building Trust in Government? Looking for a New Type of Social Capital in the Governance Era
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 322; doi:10.3390/su8040322
Received: 22 November 2015 / Revised: 26 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 31 March 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (740 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
When the level of trust in government is low, government cannot effectively provide services, since the policy goals and the process of implementations are not fully understood by the people. This study hypothesizes that the level of trust in government may increase if
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When the level of trust in government is low, government cannot effectively provide services, since the policy goals and the process of implementations are not fully understood by the people. This study hypothesizes that the level of trust in government may increase if the level of social capital increases. It also hypothesizes that the impact of social capital on the level of trust in government may differ depending on the type of social capital. The study examined the relationship between the level of trust in government and types of social capital, including bonding social capital and bridging social capital. The result of multiple regression analysis showed that bonding social capital shows a negative relationship with the level of trust in government, while a bridging social capital has a positive relationship with the level of trust in government. In addition, the study examined the variances of the perceptions of each group based on the degree of social cohesion on the level of trust in government by employing ANOVA. It showed that there are no significant differences in bonding social groups, while bridging social capital groups showed variances in their perception of the level of trust in government. Full article

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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Jo, J.-H.; Roh, T.W.; Kim, S.; Youn, Y.-C.; Park, M.S.; Han, K.J.; Jang, E.K. Eco-Innovation for Sustainability: Evidence from 49 Countries in Asia and Europe. Sustainability 2015, 7, 16820–16835.
Sustainability 2016, 8(4), 339; doi:10.3390/su8040339
Received: 1 April 2016 / Accepted: 1 April 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
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Abstract
The author wishes to make the following correction to this paper [1].[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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; doi: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

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