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Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 3 (March 2017)

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Cover Story Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 2. Zero Hunger. The photo is adapted from [...] Read more.
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Editorial

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessEditorial Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology: An Introduction
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 474; doi:10.3390/su9030474
Received: 10 March 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 22 March 2017
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Abstract
Our planet is undergoing radical environmental and social changes. Sustainability has now been put into question by, for example, our consumption patterns, loss of biodiversity, depletion of resources, and exploitative power relations. With apparent ecological and social limits to globalization and development, current
[...] Read more.
Our planet is undergoing radical environmental and social changes. Sustainability has now been put into question by, for example, our consumption patterns, loss of biodiversity, depletion of resources, and exploitative power relations. With apparent ecological and social limits to globalization and development, current levels of consumption are known to be unsustainable, inequitable, and inaccessible to the majority of humans. Understanding and achieving sustainability is a crucial matter at a time when our planet is in peril—environmentally, economically, socially, and politically. Since its official inception in the 1970s, environmental sociology has provided a powerful lens to understanding the challenges, possibilities, and modes of sustainability. This editorial, accompanying the Special Issue on “sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology”, first highlights the evolution of environmental sociology as a distinct field of inquiry, focusing on how it addresses the environmental challenges of our time. It then adumbrates the rich theoretical traditions of environmental sociology, and finally examines sustainability through the lens of environmental sociology, referring to various case studies and empirical analyses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability through the Lens of Environmental Sociology)
Open AccessEditorial I Have a Dream: Organic Movements Include Gene Manipulation to Improve Sustainable Farming
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 392; doi:10.3390/su9030392
Received: 1 March 2017 / Revised: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 7 March 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (192 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Several papers in a Special Issue of Sustainability have recently discussed various aspects to evaluate whether organic farming and gene manipulation are compatible. A special emphasis was given to new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs). These new approaches allow the most predictable genetic alterations
[...] Read more.
Several papers in a Special Issue of Sustainability have recently discussed various aspects to evaluate whether organic farming and gene manipulation are compatible. A special emphasis was given to new plant breeding techniques (NPBTs). These new approaches allow the most predictable genetic alterations of crop plants in ways that the genetically modified plant is identical to a plant generated by conventional breeding. The articles of the Special Issue present the arguments pro and contra the inclusion of the plants generated by NPBTs in organic farming. Organic movements have not yet made a final decision whether some of these techniques should be accepted or banned. In my view these novel genetically manipulated (GM) crops could be used in such a way as to respect the requirements for genetically manipulated organisms (GMOs) formulated by the International Federation of Organic Movements (IFOAM). Reviewing the potential benefits of disease-resistant potatoes and bananas, it seems possible that these crops support organic farming. To this end, I propose specific requirements that the organic movements should proactively formulate as their standards to accept specific GM crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Farming and Gene Manipulation)

Research

Jump to: Editorial, Review

Open AccessArticle Comparative “from Cradle to Gate” Life Cycle Assessments of Hot Mix Asphalt (HMA) Materials
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 400; doi:10.3390/su9030400
Received: 3 February 2017 / Revised: 19 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (1134 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The objective of this work is to compare the environmental impact of two different hot mix asphalt (HMA) materials used for road construction in Italy. The analyses used a “from cradle to gate” Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) boundary system and the methodology included
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The objective of this work is to compare the environmental impact of two different hot mix asphalt (HMA) materials used for road construction in Italy. The analyses used a “from cradle to gate” Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) boundary system and the methodology included considerations about raw materials and fuel supply, as well as transport and manufacturing processes. Primary data provided by the producers and secondary data available in the literature were used as part of the analyses. The results suggest that the proposed method offers rigorous criteria for a comprehensive assessment of the environmental impact of HMA materials, which could be used, among others, as an evaluation parameter in public bids. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle An Evaluation of the Low-Carbon Effects of Urban Rail Based on Mode Shifts
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 401; doi:10.3390/su9030401
Received: 4 January 2017 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
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Abstract
Urban rail is widely considered to be a form of low-carbon green transportation, but there is a lack of specific quantitative research to support this. By comparing the mode, distance, and corresponding energy consumption of residents before and after the opening of rail
[...] Read more.
Urban rail is widely considered to be a form of low-carbon green transportation, but there is a lack of specific quantitative research to support this. By comparing the mode, distance, and corresponding energy consumption of residents before and after the opening of rail transit, this paper establishes a carbon reduction method for rail transit. A measurement model takes the passenger carbon emissions before the line is opened as the baseline and compares them with the standard after the opening, determining the carbon emissions reduction. The model requires a combination of a large amount of research data, transit smart card data, and GIS network measurement tools as measured data and parameters. The model is then applied to rail transit lines that have opened in Beijing in recent years. The emissions reductions of four different routes are estimated and the carbon emissions reduction effect of rail transit is evaluated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Development for Emerging Markets)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Sulfide Control by Air-Injection in Sewer Force Mains: Field and Laboratory Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 402; doi:10.3390/su9030402
Received: 1 January 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 8 March 2017
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Abstract
Chemical and biological processes consume dissolved oxygen (DO) in urban wastewater during transportation along sewer systems. Anaerobic conditions (DO < 0.2 mg/L) are easily reached, leading to sulfide (S2−) generation. Release of free sulfide, hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), from the liquid to the
[...] Read more.
Chemical and biological processes consume dissolved oxygen (DO) in urban wastewater during transportation along sewer systems. Anaerobic conditions (DO < 0.2 mg/L) are easily reached, leading to sulfide (S2−) generation. Release of free sulfide, hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S), from the liquid to the gaseous phase, causes odor, corrosion of pipes and supposes a risk for health of people working in sewers. These issues get worse in force mains, due to inability to take oxygen from the gaseous phase of pipe. Air injection is a suggested practice to control H2S emission in force mains. That technique aims to keep aerobic conditions in wastewater in order to avoid sulfide generation and favor a decrease of Biochemical Organic Demand (BOD). However, several force mains with air injection are not achieving their goals due to a limited oxygen transfer. Field measurements of dissolved oxygen in urban wastewater are presented in an existing force main with air injection during the summer of 2014 in the southeast of Spain. A laboratory scale model is constructed to quantify two-phase flow conditions in pipe due to air injection for different incoming flows rates of water and air. Particularly, for the case of plug flow, also known as elongated bubble flow. Velocity field measurement of water phase in laboratory allows estimating turbulent diffusivity of oxygen in the water, Em, and inter-phase mass transfer coefficient KL(T). In the laboratory, flow and air depth, bubble length, water velocity field, pressure inside force main and water and airflow rates are determined experimentally. These variables are used to assess DO in water phase of force main by comparison with those obtained from field measurements. This work allows assessing air injection efficiency in wastewater, and, therefore, to predict DO in wastewater in force mains. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability in Practice: Experiences from Rural Water and Sanitation Services in West Africa
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 403; doi:10.3390/su9030403
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability in water and sanitation, understood as the durability of services with a set of agreed characteristics over time, is a major challenge, particularly in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This fundamental issue must be addressed if the Sustainable Development Goals for universal
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Sustainability in water and sanitation, understood as the durability of services with a set of agreed characteristics over time, is a major challenge, particularly in rural areas of Sub-Saharan Africa. This fundamental issue must be addressed if the Sustainable Development Goals for universal access to water and sanitation are to be achieved. Major international organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) need to work alongside governments to improve sustainability. This paper describes the framework for sustainability programming developed by UNICEF, which is based on a collaborative and iterative learning and adaptive approach, underpinned by regular sustainability spot checks that inform a wider national sustainability agreement. The paper details the results of application of this framework in eight West African countries over the period 2013–2015. Results show the usefulness of the framework in identifying sustainability challenges and acting upon them. However, the continuous adaptation of programs is challenging for governments and international organizations. At the same time, structural aspects that threaten sustainability (e.g., lack of capacity) cannot be addressed in the short term. Further cycles of application of the framework will continue to provide evidence on the successes and limitations of the approach and inform its evolution into a stable country led-framework. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Resolving Governance Issues to Achieve Priority Sustainable Development Goals Related to Solid Waste Management in Developing Countries
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 404; doi:10.3390/su9030404
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and
[...] Read more.
As a key utility service that more than 2 billion people are currently lacking, solid waste management (SWM) is a crosscutting issue that can be directly linked to 12 out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Distinguishing between physical components and governance aspects of SWM, this research focuses on governance issues concerning basic solid waste collection services and controlled disposal, thus addressing the ‘How’ and the ‘Who’ dimensions of a SWM system. As a form of transdisciplinary research, the findings from the literature on governance issues in SWM were iteratively subjected to several rounds of commentary by a large group of stakeholders from six continents, within the authors’ work for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)’s 2015 Global Waste Management Outlook. The study identifies a combination of complementary instruments required for extending collection to all and bringing disposal under control. While municipalities have a legal responsibility for providing services to their citizens, various service providers can contribute to an effective SWM system. Appropriate forms of funding are essential to secure financial sustainability of the services under the local conditions of affordability and willingness to pay. As new services require behavioural change on the part of citizens and municipal waste departments alike, communication and exchange with other stakeholders function as enabling and supporting factors. The significance of capacity development is highlighted. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Sodium Exchange Capacity in Rainfed and Irrigated Soils in the Mediterranean Basin Using GIS
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 405; doi:10.3390/su9030405
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
The soil exchange complex consists of colloidal materials on which ion exchange phenomena occur allowing it to attract, retain, and exchange elements that have opposite electric charges. Since their mineral constituents (clay) and organic components (humus) are mainly of a negative nature retained
[...] Read more.
The soil exchange complex consists of colloidal materials on which ion exchange phenomena occur allowing it to attract, retain, and exchange elements that have opposite electric charges. Since their mineral constituents (clay) and organic components (humus) are mainly of a negative nature retained or exchanged ion are predominantly cations. Historically, failing to monitor parameters like the exchange sodium percentage (ESP) has led to the permanent deterioration of soils which have become completely unproductive, largely reducing the sustainability of the agricultural systems. This study assesses how the sodium exchange capacity in irrigated soils differs from the rainfed ones through a sample survey that was carried out in the 15,031 ha of the Caia Irrigation Perimeter and adjacent areas, located in the municipalities of Elvas and Campo Maior, Portalegre District, Portugal where 14,280 georeferenced samples were collected from the top soil layer (0–20 cm), which were mixed 10 at a time so that each composite sample representing 11.1 ha. Then the samples were analyzed regarding the most relevant parameters for characterizing the soil exchange complex including the concentrations of exchanged bases and Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC). The results were arranged in a georeferenced grid with 1451 entries. Using classical statistical analysis and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software, it was possible to relate the individual soil samples analyzed with the cultural system practiced (irrigated or rainfed) and the present soil group which permitted us to analyze the influence of the cultural system in the soil exchange complex. The distribution chart of the exchange sodium and CEC were created. The obtained results confirm a general decrease of CEC values and an increase of the exchangeable sodium content of irrigated explored soils when compared to the rainfed ones, putting forward noteworthy ideas not only regarding the necessary changes towards the sustainability of these irrigated agricultural landscapes, but also considering the impact of these productive techniques on different agricultural systems. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Influence of Local Governance: Effects on the Sustainability of Bioenergy Innovation
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 406; doi:10.3390/su9030406
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance
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This paper deals with processes and outcomes of sustainable bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna. It draws on an on-going research project concerning inclusive innovation in forest-based bioenergy and biogas in Norway, Sweden, Finland and Italy. The goal is to explore how local governance impacts on inclusive innovation processes and triple bottom sustainability of bioenergy development in Emilia Romagna and, ultimately, to contribute to the debate on the bioeconomy. It thus compares the case of biogas and forest-based bioenergy production. The study adopts an analytical framework called Grounded Innovation (GRIP) and the local governance approach. The study uses qualitative methods and particularly semi-structured interviews and governance analysis. The key results show different outcomes on both inclusive innovation and triple bottom-line dimensions. Biogas has not fostered inclusiveness and triple bottom line sustainability benefits, contrary to forest-based bioenergy. The findings indicate that the minor role of local actors, particularly municipalities, in favour of industrial and national interests may jeopardise the sustainability of biobased industries. Besides, policies limited to financial incentives may lead to a land-acquisition rush, unforeseen local environmental effects and exacerbate conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Policy Instruments on Soil Multifunctionality in the European Union
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 407; doi:10.3390/su9030407
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Agricultural ecosystems provide a range of benefits that are vital to human well-being. These benefits are dependent on several soil functions that are affected in different ways by legislation from the European Union, national, and regional levels. We evaluated current European Union soil-related
[...] Read more.
Agricultural ecosystems provide a range of benefits that are vital to human well-being. These benefits are dependent on several soil functions that are affected in different ways by legislation from the European Union, national, and regional levels. We evaluated current European Union soil-related legislation and examples of regional legislation with regard to direct and indirect impacts on five soil functions: the production of food, fiber, and fuel; water purification and regulation; carbon sequestration and climate regulation; habitat for biodiversity provisioning; and the recycling of nutrients/agro-chemicals. Our results illustrate the diversity of existing policies and the complex interactions present between different spatial and temporal scales. The impact of most policies, positive or negative, on a soil function is usually not established, but depends on how the policy is implemented by local authorities and the farmers. This makes it difficult to estimate the overall state and trends of the different soil functions in agricultural ecosystems. To implement functional management and sustainable use of the different soil functions in agricultural ecosystems, more knowledge is needed on the policy interactions as well as on the impact of management options on the different soil functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability Matters in National Development Visions—Evidence from Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 408; doi:10.3390/su9030408
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability advocates for a universally shared common vision of progress towards a society that is just, safe and sustainable for humanity. Beyond environmental protection, the concept recognizes the urgent need to improve life quality through strategies that build socio-economic growth and address a
[...] Read more.
Sustainability advocates for a universally shared common vision of progress towards a society that is just, safe and sustainable for humanity. Beyond environmental protection, the concept recognizes the urgent need to improve life quality through strategies that build socio-economic growth and address a wide range of cross cutting issues. While consensus abound that a more sustainable society serves everyone, opinions on what sustainability means and how it can be achieved are diverse. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), through the 2030 Vision and the 2020 National Transformation Program (NTP) outlines an agenda for a more balanced growth and socio-economic development. The extent to which the vision systematically aligns with sustainability principles, however, remains unexplored. This research is a maiden attempt to investigate how much sustainability substance is in the 2030 Vision and the NTP of Saudi Arabia. The Sustainable Society Index (SSI) has been employed to examine the 2030 Vision and the NTP to understand the Kingdom’s commitment to building resilient, inclusive and sustainable societies. The vision and NTP texts were matched against five broad measures and 22 sub-measures of the SSI to identity the points of convergence. While both the 2030 Vision and the NTP align with the SSI measures in some respect, the goals and objectives are, at best, a reflection of the needs, aspirations and context of Saudi Arabia. The paper concludes that the success of the 2030 Vision rests on the active involvement and empowerment of relevant stakeholders at all levels as well as the development of comprehensive assessment mechanisms based on which to measure progress towards sustainability. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Top-Down Approach to Estimating Spatially Heterogeneous Impacts of Development Aid on Vegetative Carbon Sequestration
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 409; doi:10.3390/su9030409
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 6 February 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Since 1945, over $4.9 trillion dollars of international aid has been allocated to developing countries. To date, there have been no estimates of the regional impact of this aid on the carbon cycle. We apply a geographically explicit matching method to estimate the
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Since 1945, over $4.9 trillion dollars of international aid has been allocated to developing countries. To date, there have been no estimates of the regional impact of this aid on the carbon cycle. We apply a geographically explicit matching method to estimate the relative impact of large-scale World Bank projects implemented between 2000 and 2010 on sequestered carbon, using a novel and publicly available data set of 61,243 World Bank project locations. Considering only carbon sequestered due to fluctuations in vegetative biomass caused by World Bank projects, we illustrate the relative impact of World Bank projects on carbon sequestration. We use this information to illustrate the geographic variation in the apparent effectiveness of environmental safeguards implemented by the World Bank. We argue that sub-national data can help to identify geographically heterogeneous impact effects, and highlight many remaining methodological challenges. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urban Land Use Efficiency and Coordination in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 410; doi:10.3390/su9030410
Received: 22 January 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Due to the focused pursuit of economic growth in the process of the large-scale urban development of China, the phenomena of low land use efficiency and discordance of land use induce unwanted economic, social, and environmental costs. This paper presents a comprehensive study
[...] Read more.
Due to the focused pursuit of economic growth in the process of the large-scale urban development of China, the phenomena of low land use efficiency and discordance of land use induce unwanted economic, social, and environmental costs. This paper presents a comprehensive study of urban land use efficiency and of the degree of land use coordination of 33 cities in China, using theoretical analysis, data envelopment analysis, principal component analysis, the coordination coefficient method, and four-quadrant analysis. The findings of this study suggest a gradually increasing proportion of land use efficiency from eastern to central and western regions of China, coinciding with China’s pattern of socioeconomic development. No correlation was found between high levels of urban land use efficiency and the degree of land use coordination; however, a significant correlation was found between low land use efficiency and low degrees of land use coordination. Rational land use planning and policy design can effectively improve both urban land use efficiency and coordination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome Outbreak on Online and Offline Markets for Retail Sales
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 411; doi:10.3390/su9030411
Received: 28 December 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
This study investigates whether the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Korea affected online and offline retail sales and determines the presence of a substitution or delay effect between the two. We analyze the monthly retail sales of electronic goods, semi-luxury goods,
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This study investigates whether the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) outbreak in Korea affected online and offline retail sales and determines the presence of a substitution or delay effect between the two. We analyze the monthly retail sales of electronic goods, semi-luxury goods, and groceries using an autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA) model with intervention. The findings are as follows. First, offline sales of electronic goods declined by 7.9%, while online sales increased by 7.03%, indicating that these markets can act as substitutes. Second, the offline sales of semi-luxury goods decreased for two months, while online sales remained the same, indicating that there can be a delay effect in the offline market. Finally, despite the slight increase in online sales and the moderate decrease in offline sales, the MERS outbreak did not have a statistically significant effect on grocery sales. Our research findings imply that stakeholders such as the government and retail provided useful information on how to deal with the unexpected outbreak Full article
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Open AccessArticle Decomposing the Decoupling of Water Consumption and Economic Growth in China’s Textile Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 412; doi:10.3390/su9030412
Received: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 9 March 2017
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Abstract
Unprecedented economic achievement in China’s textile industry (TI) has occurred along with rising water consumption. The goal of industrial sustainable development requires the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption. This paper examines the relationship between water consumption and economic growth, and the
[...] Read more.
Unprecedented economic achievement in China’s textile industry (TI) has occurred along with rising water consumption. The goal of industrial sustainable development requires the decoupling of economic growth from resource consumption. This paper examines the relationship between water consumption and economic growth, and the internal influence mechanism of China’s TI and its three sub-sectors: the manufacture of textiles (MT) sector, the Manufacture of Textile Wearing Apparel, Footwear, and Caps (MTWA) sector, and the manufacture of chemical fibers (MCF) sector. A decoupling analysis was performed and the Laspeyres decomposition method was applied to the period from 2001 to 2014. We showed that six of the fourteen years analyzed (2003, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2013) exhibited a strong decoupling effect and three of the fourteen years (2005, 2007, and 2010) exhibited a weak decoupling effect. Overall, China’s TI experienced a good decoupling between economic growth and water consumption from 2002 to 2014. For the three sub-sectors, the MTWA sector experienced a more significant positive decoupling than the MT and MCF sectors. The decomposition results confirm that the industrial scale factor is the most important driving force of China’s TI water consumption increase, while the water efficiency factor is the most important inhibiting force. The industrial structure adjustment does not significantly affect water consumption. The industrial scale and water use efficiency factors are also the main determinants of change in water consumption for the three sub-sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Future Professionals: A Study of Sustainable Behavior
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 413; doi:10.3390/su9030413
Received: 3 July 2016 / Revised: 15 October 2016 / Accepted: 8 November 2016 / Published: 10 March 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability in an organizational environment involves a form of management that allows attaining a balance between the economic, environmental and social dimensions, and can contribute to the sustainable behavior of employees and administrators. Nevertheless, studies that evaluate sustainable behavior of future professionals using
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Sustainability in an organizational environment involves a form of management that allows attaining a balance between the economic, environmental and social dimensions, and can contribute to the sustainable behavior of employees and administrators. Nevertheless, studies that evaluate sustainable behavior of future professionals using a multidimensional approach to create a scale to measure sustainable behavior of students are relatively rare and there is a need for research in this field. Therefore, the objective of this article is to analyze the sustainable behavior of potential professionals, using the multidimensional approach of item response theory (IRT). A set of 13 items evaluated by specialists and tested by graduate students was applied to 492 undergraduate students from a community university in Southern Brazil in the schools of administration, human resources, accounting, law, civil engineering and biology. The results indicate that the students have higher sustainable behavior in the social dimension and lower in the economic dimension, highlighted by participation in voluntary activities. This result can provide important information to companies, given that in their processes for recruiting and selecting new employees, many have included issues related to sustainable practices, not only from an economic perspective, but particularly from environmental and social perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Potential Rockfalls on a Highway at High Slopes in Cold-Arid Areas (Northwest Xinjiang, China)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 414; doi:10.3390/su9030414
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 10 March 2017
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Abstract
In the steep mountainous areas in northwest Xinjiang, where rock mass is broken seriously due to intense freeze thaw weathering, rockfall is one of the most common geological hazards on highway high slopes. Engineering geological investigations on geological hazards along a segment of
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In the steep mountainous areas in northwest Xinjiang, where rock mass is broken seriously due to intense freeze thaw weathering, rockfall is one of the most common geological hazards on highway high slopes. Engineering geological investigations on geological hazards along a segment of the G219 highway was conducted, indicating that rockfalls on the high slopes threaten the safety of vehicles on the highway seriously. In this study, a combination of field investigations, laboratory experiments and numerical simulation methods was performed to identify unstable high slopes, simulate the rockfall trajectories and assess the rockfall hazard in the study area. The results show that there are five high slopes (i.e., W01, W02, …, W05) where rockfall hazard is extremely serious. Considering both the total kinetic energy and the accumulation rate of blocks, rockfall influence area zonation was performed, leading to the conclusions that the sections of highway on W01 to W05 are located at the medium-intensity low-accumulation zone, high-intensity medium-accumulation zone, high-intensity low-accumulation zone, high-intensity low-accumulation zone and medium-intensity high-accumulation zone, respectively. Based on the analysis, a zonation map was accomplished, which could help engineers select effective mitigation measures against rockfalls to avoid casualty and property losses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Moderating Effects of Trust on Environmentally Significant Behavior in Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 415; doi:10.3390/su9030415
Received: 22 November 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 5 March 2017 / Published: 10 March 2017
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Abstract
To treat environmental problems and to seek sustainable development, voluntary and cooperative efforts, which is really against the traditional mentality with the emphasis on the individual competitive optimization, became the key to maintain the sustainability of complex social and ecological systems. To understand
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To treat environmental problems and to seek sustainable development, voluntary and cooperative efforts, which is really against the traditional mentality with the emphasis on the individual competitive optimization, became the key to maintain the sustainability of complex social and ecological systems. To understand the cooperative and voluntary individual’s environmentally significant behavior (ESB), this paper focuses on the role of trust, and assesses the effect of trust on the relationship between existing factors and ESB. A structural equation model (SEM) is constructed to estimate the moderating effects of trust on ESB in Korea. We found that people with a negative view on strict environmental regulations do not exhibit ESB and thus nudge policies could be much more effective than the forceful measure. It is noteworthy that public private partnership, as a kind of optimal trust, should be more promoted in the environmental protection policies. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication An Alternative Method of Spatial Autocorrelation for Chlorophyll Detection in Water Bodies Using Remote Sensing
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 416; doi:10.3390/su9030416
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 1 March 2017 / Published: 10 March 2017
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Abstract
Additional measures of in situ water quality monitoring in natural environments can be obtained through remote sensing because certain elements in water modify its spectral behavior. One of the indicators of water quality is the presence of algae, and the aim of this
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Additional measures of in situ water quality monitoring in natural environments can be obtained through remote sensing because certain elements in water modify its spectral behavior. One of the indicators of water quality is the presence of algae, and the aim of this study was to propose an alternative method for the quantification of chlorophyll in water by correlating spectral data, infrared images, and limnology data. The object of study was an artificial lake located at Unisinos University, São Leopoldo/RS, Brazil. The area has been mapped with a modified NGB (near infrared (N), green (G) and blue (B)) camera coupled to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). From the orthorectified and georeferenced images, a modified normalized difference vegetation index (NDVImod) image has been generated. Additionally, 20 sampling points have been established on the lake. At these points, in situ spectral analysis with a spectroradiometer has been performed, and water samples have been collected for laboratory determination of chlorophyll concentrations. The correlation resulted in two models. The first model, based on the multivariate analysis of spectral data, and the second model, based on polynomial equations from NDVI, had coefficients of determination (R2) of 0.86 and 0.51, respectively. This study confirmed the applicability of remote sensing for water resource management using UAVs, which can be characterized as a quick and easy methodology. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Resources Management)
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Open AccessArticle Current Trends of Durability Design and Government Support in South Korea: Chloride Attack
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 417; doi:10.3390/su9030417
Received: 3 November 2016 / Accepted: 2 March 2017 / Published: 10 March 2017
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Abstract
Concrete is considered to be a construction material with high durability and excellent fire resistance. However, degradation occurs, leading to structural safety problems and expensive maintenance costs. Currently, durability design and its concepts are provided in the concrete specifications and structural design codes
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Concrete is considered to be a construction material with high durability and excellent fire resistance. However, degradation occurs, leading to structural safety problems and expensive maintenance costs. Currently, durability design and its concepts are provided in the concrete specifications and structural design codes in many countries, but they vary in terms of the design methodologies and users’ demands. Reinforced concrete (RC) structures based on a reasonable durability design with a quantitative procedure can prevent unnecessary maintenance expenses and reduce environmental loads. This paper presents the current trends of durability design in South Korea and government support for infrastructure. In this work, the two representative durability design philosophies (deterministic and probabilistic approaches) are briefly summarized, and the current guidelines and related requirements for durability design in several countries are investigated. Durability design is now changing from simple material requirement control to performance-based design with quantitative parameters considering various exposure classifications and evaluation processes. RC structures based on reasonable durability design can make a great contribution to reducing maintenance costs and environmental effects like CO2 emissions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Weather on Oilseed Rape (OSR) Yield in China: Future Implications of Climate Change
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 418; doi:10.3390/su9030418
Received: 29 December 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
Understanding the role of climatic factors on crop yields is essential in predicting the future impact of climate change. In order to understand the influence of climatic factors on OSR, detailed farm-level panel data from 2566 farms across 67 counties of the 6
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Understanding the role of climatic factors on crop yields is essential in predicting the future impact of climate change. In order to understand the influence of climatic factors on OSR, detailed farm-level panel data from 2566 farms across 67 counties of the 6 major OSR production regions in China, from the surveys conducted by the national OSR industry project between 2008 and 2013, were used to examine the contribution of changes in selected climatic variables between 2008 and 2013 to yield variation. Spatial and temporal patterns of the relationships between OSR yield, climatic factors were estimated together with the effects of farmer adaptation and management practices on yield variability. The analysis revealed that yields in the low-latitude production regions were more sensitive to temperature increases and likely to decline. Precipitation iwas the most influential factor on yield at the first two growth stages; temperature and sunshine hours were most important at the third and fourth growth stages, respectively. Labour input was the most influential management factor affecting yields compared with fertilizer and other inputs. The study concludes that projection of future climate change impacts will need inter alia to incorporate more sophisticated and detailed measures of climatic variables than simple means of temperature and precipitation, incorporating timing in relation to plant growth and yield. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Role of Trials and Demonstration Projects in the Development of a Sustainable Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 419; doi:10.3390/su9030419
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
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Abstract
This article provides an overview of the literature on demonstration projects and trials, and accounts for how insights drawn from this literature can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. The article reviews the literature on demonstration projects and trials, covering both
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This article provides an overview of the literature on demonstration projects and trials, and accounts for how insights drawn from this literature can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. The article reviews the literature on demonstration projects and trials, covering both more broad-based studies on demonstration projects mainly carried out in the US and more specific studies on demonstration projects for energy technologies carried out in Europe, the US, and Japan. The aim of the article is to account for how demonstration projects and trials can contribute to the development of a sustainable bioeconomy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Public Open Space Development for Elderly People by Using the DANP-V Model to Establish Continuous Improvement Strategies towards a Sustainable and Healthy Aging Society
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 420; doi:10.3390/su9030420
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 11 March 2017
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Abstract
With the global trend of population aging, how to integrate the health needs of elderly people into public open space (POS) development while taking into account public interest is a major challenge in the 21st century. Although the issues of elderly people’s health
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With the global trend of population aging, how to integrate the health needs of elderly people into public open space (POS) development while taking into account public interest is a major challenge in the 21st century. Although the issues of elderly people’s health and their POS needs are receiving increasing attention, research on continuous improvement strategies for POS for healthy aging societies is still limited. Hence, this study explored continuous improvement strategies thoroughly and systematically by using the DANP-V model. The findings revealed cognitive differences between expert and elderly groups. Moreover, water features, waste management, and co-maintenance spaces were the three criteria with the largest gap value. POS improvement has previously been implemented based on a priority order ranked from the criterion with largest gap value to the criterion with the smallest one. However, an alternative approach based on the cause–effect relationship is proposed in this paper. The study findings have both theoretical and practical implications for POS planners and designers. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Structuring Tensions and Key Relations of Montreal Seasonal Food Markets in the Sustainability Transition of the Agri-Food Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 320; doi:10.3390/su9030320
Received: 12 August 2016 / Revised: 7 February 2017 / Accepted: 11 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
In cities across the world, local food networks aim to make food systems more sustainable and secure for all. As part of that effort, some of these networks also seek to introduce social innovation in the mode of selling food, namely as a
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In cities across the world, local food networks aim to make food systems more sustainable and secure for all. As part of that effort, some of these networks also seek to introduce social innovation in the mode of selling food, namely as a way to initiate a broader transition of the sector. Based on two years of action research conducted together with promoters of Montreal’s seasonal markets, this article offers an account of the co-constructed narrative of a transition of the agri-food sector. On the one hand, transition theory anticipates that the transition to sustainability of the agri-food sector would depend on the protection and empowerment of innovative ‘niches’ that are facing the locked-in structure of the agri-food ‘sociotechnical regime’. Yet, on the other hand, the seasonal markets do not fit well in this portrait: they are shown to evolve at the intersection of the sociotechnical regime and innovative niches. For this reason, they are subject to regime rules and become difficult to protect as an entity. As such, seasonal markets face ‘structuring tensions’ that generate both practical dilemmas and innovative solutions in their modes of organization. These solutions, however, rely on webs of resources and supports that constitute ‘key relations’ for unlocking the agri-food regime rules. It is through managing these tensions and relations that the seasonal markets end up reconfiguring social and material relations and providing solutions for food security and a more sustainable food system. Therefore, we argue that the structuring tension and key relation concepts are useful for understanding the dynamics of social innovation in the transition to sustainability in food systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Temperature and Cardiovascular Mortality Associations in Four Southern Chinese Cities: A Time-Series Study Using a Distributed Lag Non-Linear Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 321; doi:10.3390/su9030321
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Few studies on population-specific health effects of extreme temperature on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) deaths have been conducted in the subtropical and tropical climates of China. We examined the association between extreme temperature and CVD across four cities in China. We performed a two-stage
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Few studies on population-specific health effects of extreme temperature on cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) deaths have been conducted in the subtropical and tropical climates of China. We examined the association between extreme temperature and CVD across four cities in China. We performed a two-stage analysis; we generated city-specific estimates using a distributed lag non-linear model (DLNM) and estimated the overall effects by conducting a meta-analysis. Heat thresholds of 29 °C, 29 °C, 29 °C, and 30 °C and cold thresholds of 6 °C, 10 °C, 14 °C, and 15 °C were observed in Hefei, Changsha, Nanning, and Haikou, respectively. The lag periods for heat-related CVD mortality were observed only for 0–2 days, while those of cold-related CVD mortality were observed for 10–15 days. The meta-analysis showed that a 1 °C increase above the city-specific heat threshold was associated with average overall CVD mortality increases of 4.6% (3.0%–6.2%), 6.4% (3.4%–9.4%), and 0.2% (−4.8%–5.2%) for all ages, ≥65 years, and <65 years over a lag period of 0–2 days, respectively. Similarly, a 1 °C decrease below the city-specific cold threshold was associated with average overall CVD mortality increases of 4.2% (3.0%–5.4%), 4.9% (3.5%–6.3%), and 3.1% (1.7%–4.5%), for all ages, ≥65 years, and <65 years over a lag period of 0–15 days, respectively. This work will help to take appropriate measures to reduce temperature-mortality risk in different populations in the subtropical and tropical climates of China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Framework of Sustainable Service Supply Chain Management: A Literature Review and Research Agenda
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 421; doi:10.3390/su9030421
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2017 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 12 March 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, the interdisciplinary research of supply chains and sustainability has received extensive, yet gradual, attention; when compared to the rapid economic growth of the service industry, however, sustainable supply chain management has not been systematically explored yet. It has not only
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In recent years, the interdisciplinary research of supply chains and sustainability has received extensive, yet gradual, attention; when compared to the rapid economic growth of the service industry, however, sustainable supply chain management has not been systematically explored yet. It has not only great theoretical significance, but also positive practical significance to provide a framework for the operation of a sustainable service supply chain from a sustainable development point of view. Based on the triple bottom line (TBL), we have analyzed related sustainable supply chain management research between 2006 and 2015, reviewed papers involving two or three bottom lines as well, and then introduced some classical frameworks for manufacturing supply chain management and service supply chain management. Afterward, by analyzing the differences between the manufacturing and service industries, we propose a framework of sustainable service supply chain management (SSSCM). Based on the impacts of sustainable development TBL on service supply chain participants, we have finally made a framework for sustainable operation facing triads service supply chain and proposed a future research agenda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Low Carbon Development for Emerging Markets)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Energy Literacy and Misconceptions of Junior High Students in Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 423; doi:10.3390/su9030423
Received: 10 January 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
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Abstract
Decision-making regarding energy determines carbon emissions and the severity of climate change. Energy literacy plays a crucial role because well-informed citizens can support the design and implementation of smart and forward-looking policies. Research has shown that people hold misconceptions about energy, and for
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Decision-making regarding energy determines carbon emissions and the severity of climate change. Energy literacy plays a crucial role because well-informed citizens can support the design and implementation of smart and forward-looking policies. Research has shown that people hold misconceptions about energy, and for young students these may persist into adulthood. Thus, this study is to understand the energy literacy of junior high school students in Taiwan and what their misconceptions are as well as why and how they hold these. Energy literacy scales (ELS) were developed and served as the basis for a survey of 1652 students in five regions of Taiwan, in which most indicators for knowledge were designed corresponding to common misconceptions in the scientific and social context of energy issues. Through analyzing the survey questions and survey results, interview questions were designed and 10 students were interviewed to identify their misconceptions. A “conceptual logic map” model was developed for demonstrating the sources and patterns of misconceptions and their linkages. Potential educational strategies were then proposed, showing the applicability of the model. The combination of concept-oriented energy literacy surveys, interviews, and the conceptual logic map was proven to be an effective design for misconception identification and treatment. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Accuracy of Environmental Monitoring in China: Exploring the Influence of Institutional, Political and Ideological Factors
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 324; doi:10.3390/su9030324
Received: 21 March 2016 / Revised: 25 November 2016 / Accepted: 5 December 2016 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Environmental monitoring data are essential to informing decision-making processes relevant to the management of the environment. Their accuracy is therefore of extreme importance. The credibility of Chinese environmental data has been long questioned by domestic and foreign observers. This paper explores the potential
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Environmental monitoring data are essential to informing decision-making processes relevant to the management of the environment. Their accuracy is therefore of extreme importance. The credibility of Chinese environmental data has been long questioned by domestic and foreign observers. This paper explores the potential impact of institutional, political, and ideological factors on the accuracy of China’s environmental monitoring data. It contends that the bureaucratic incentive system, conflicting agency goals, particular interests, and ideological structures constitute potential sources of bias in processes of environmental monitoring in China. The current leadership has acknowledged the issue, implementing new measures to strengthen administrative coordination and reinforce the oversight of the central government over local authorities. However, the failure to address the deeper political roots of the problem and the ambivalence over the desirability of public participation to enhance transparency might jeopardize Beijing’s strive for environmental data accuracy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Boundary Bridging Arrangements: A Boundary Work Approach to Local Energy Transitions
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 424; doi:10.3390/su9030424
Received: 17 December 2016 / Revised: 30 January 2017 / Accepted: 6 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
Local energy transitions involve various types of actors (e.g., politicians, businesses, public administrators, and citizens) that differ in their objectives, values, problem-related perspectives, and professional jargons: these differences risk deterring the collaboration that is needed to pursue energy transitions as encompassing socio-technological transformations.
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Local energy transitions involve various types of actors (e.g., politicians, businesses, public administrators, and citizens) that differ in their objectives, values, problem-related perspectives, and professional jargons: these differences risk deterring the collaboration that is needed to pursue energy transitions as encompassing socio-technological transformations. Based on a boundary work-approach, this contribution studies the interplay of actors in these transitions. The approach suggests that boundary bridging arrangements (e.g., boundary objects, boundary settings, and boundary organizations) evolve in local energy transitions, facilitating communication across the boundaries between the various types of actors. In applying the boundary work approach to the energy transitions in two German cities, the article explores the potentials and limitations of this approach. Full article
Open AccessArticle Thermal, Economic and Environmental Analysis of a Low-Cost House in Alice, South Africa
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 425; doi:10.3390/su9030425
Received: 10 January 2017 / Accepted: 8 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
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Abstract
Indoor and outdoor temperature variation results in heat transfer between the inner and outer space of a house, subsequently drifting the indoor temperature out of the thermal comfort zone. This leads to occupants spending a significant amount of their income on space heating
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Indoor and outdoor temperature variation results in heat transfer between the inner and outer space of a house, subsequently drifting the indoor temperature out of the thermal comfort zone. This leads to occupants spending a significant amount of their income on space heating and cooling to achieve thermal comfort. The aim of this study is to analyze the thermal, economic and environmental impact of a low-cost house. A low-cost house located in Golf Course, Alice was used as a case study. The outdoor and indoor weather conditions of the house were monitored for periods covering summer and winter seasons. To maintain indoor thermal comfort, 3412.57 kWh of heating and 3214.75 kWh cooling energy were required in winter and summer seasons, respectively. At a rate of 1 ZAR equal to 13.34 USD and 29.39 c/kWh, the energy consumption results in $1003.02 worth of heating energy in winter and $944.88 of cooling energy in summer. In both seasons, to supply the equivalent amount of thermal energy used in the house from a coal-fired power plant, 9.65 ton of CO2, 81.71 kg of SO2 and 39.50 kg of NO2 gases will be emitted into the atmosphere. Promoting and enforcing energy efficient design in low-cost housing will not only bring about energy savings, but will also provide a year-round indoor thermal comfort. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Initiatives towards Poverty Alleviation)
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Open AccessArticle BIM-Based 4D Simulation to Improve Module Manufacturing Productivity for Sustainable Building Projects
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 426; doi:10.3390/su9030426
Received: 16 November 2016 / Accepted: 7 March 2017 / Published: 13 March 2017
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Abstract
Modular construction methods, where products are manufactured beforehand in a factory and then transported to the site for installation, are becoming increasingly popular for construction projects in many countries as this method facilitates the use of the advanced technologies that support sustainability in
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Modular construction methods, where products are manufactured beforehand in a factory and then transported to the site for installation, are becoming increasingly popular for construction projects in many countries as this method facilitates the use of the advanced technologies that support sustainability in building projects. This approach requires dual factory–site process management to be carefully coordinated and the factory module manufacturing process must therefore be managed in a detailed and quantitative manner. However, currently, the limited algorithms available to support this process are based on mathematical methodologies that do not consider the complex mix of equipment, factories, personnel, and materials involved. This paper presents three new building information modeling-based 4D simulation frameworks to manage the three elements—process, quantity, and quality—that determine the productivity of factory module manufacturing. These frameworks leverage the advantages of 4D simulation and provide more precise information than existing conventional documents. By utilizing a 4D model that facilitates the visualization of a wide range of data variables, manufacturers can plan the module manufacturing process in detail and fully understand the material, equipment, and workflow needed to accomplish the manufacturing tasks. Managers can also access information about material quantities for each process and use this information for earned value management, warehousing/storage, fabrication, and assembly planning. By having a 4D view that connects 2D drawing models, manufacturing errors and rework can be minimized and problems such as construction delays, quality lapses, and cost overruns vastly reduced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Disease Burden of Patients with Allergic Rhinitis from a Hospital Surveillance in Beijing
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 427; doi:10.3390/su9030427
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 9 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
Background: The aims of this study are to estimate the disease burden of allergic rhinitis (AR) patients and examine various underlying issues related to the symptoms and services of adult AR patients. Methods: Beijing hospital was picked as the surveillance area, and self-report
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Background: The aims of this study are to estimate the disease burden of allergic rhinitis (AR) patients and examine various underlying issues related to the symptoms and services of adult AR patients. Methods: Beijing hospital was picked as the surveillance area, and self-report questionnaires from the AR patients and data from medical examinations by specialists of otolaryngology were collected. The burden of patients with AR was evaluated by the combined results from patient-questionnaires and specialist examination reports. Results: AR imposed a substantial burden on patients regarding everyday life limitations and work performance; AR affected patients’ noses, ears, throats, and eyes in various ways. The basic daily average medicine cost was 10 RMB for each patient, and the cost for an outpatient in the hospital was 10 RMB for a basic nasal examination and more than 200 RMB if the patient needed further physical examinations. Conclusions: AR imposed burdens on everyday activities and work performance; the patients needed to wait a long time before being diagnosed, and the costs of diagnosis and treatment imposed economic burden on patients. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Social Perspective on the Renewable Energy Autonomy of Geographically Isolated Communities: Evidence from a Mediterranean Island
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 327; doi:10.3390/su9030327
Received: 23 November 2016 / Revised: 27 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
The use of renewable energy sources can provide a path toward sustainable development and regional energy independence. In particular, renewable-based energy autonomy constitutes a viable option in remote areas. This work presents a survey on the use of renewable energy as part of
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The use of renewable energy sources can provide a path toward sustainable development and regional energy independence. In particular, renewable-based energy autonomy constitutes a viable option in remote areas. This work presents a survey on the use of renewable energy as part of an energy autonomy plan on a Mediterranean island. The study also included personal communications with residents and local community leaders. The results show an overall positive attitude toward renewable energy applications. The majority of the respondents support the implementation of renewable-based, small-scale projects corresponding to local energy autonomy scenarios. They are, furthermore, convinced that a wider use of renewable technologies can reduce the environmental impact of conventional fuels. However, although people are aware of technologies widely used on the island, they are much less so when it comes to less prominent technologies (wave energy, fuel cells, etc.). People tend to be more open to installations of solar, wind and geothermal energy, while generally they dislike nuclear and coal power plants. Lastly, the majority of the respondents believe that local policies on energy issues should change, while they also perceive the lack of political will as one of the most important obstacles to the implementation of renewable technologies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Coupled Allocation for Regional Initial Water Rights in Dalinghe Basin, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 428; doi:10.3390/su9030428
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 28 February 2017 / Accepted: 11 March 2017 / Published: 14 March 2017
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Abstract
Regional initial water rights is a crucial part of initial water rights and clarification of it is an essential method to improve the efficiency of water use. It also promotes sustainable use of valuable water resources. Consequently, under new circumstances of China’s most
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Regional initial water rights is a crucial part of initial water rights and clarification of it is an essential method to improve the efficiency of water use. It also promotes sustainable use of valuable water resources. Consequently, under new circumstances of China’s most stringent water resources management, with water quantity and quality control, we propose a new perspective for a coupled allocation model of regional initial water rights for a typical river basin. Firstly, we design an index system following principles of the “Three Red Lines” considering the real situation of Dalinghe River Basin, China. Then, under the control of total water use, we establish an allocation model of regional initial water quantity rights by the projection pursuit technology. Secondly, under total pollutant discharge control, we established an allocation model of regional initial pollutant discharge rights considering optimized objectives of economy and society. Thirdly, considering both regional initial water quantity rights and the regional pollutant discharge rights above, we provide an incentive function to build a coupled allocation model for regional initial water rights of Dalinghe River Basin. Finally, according to the scenario of the water frequency 50% and planning year 2030, the research finding shows Chaoyang City obtains the largest quantity of regional initial water rights, followed by Jinzhou, Fuxin, Panjin and Huludao, sequentially, which approximately match the pilot plans of China’s Ministry of Water Resources. The empirical research about Dalinghe River Basin further verifies effectiveness of the model in this paper. It also provides scientific decision support for implementing China’s most stringent water resources management for Dalinghe River Basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Resources Management)
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Open AccessArticle Functional Differentiation and Sustainability: A New Stage of Development in the Chinese Container Port System
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 328; doi:10.3390/su9030328
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Adjacent ports played a significant role in the evolution of the port system. In our study, we selected five pairs (i.e., Dalian–Yingkou, Qingdao–Yantai, Shanghai–Ningbo, Xiamen–Quanzhou, and Shenzhen–Guangzhou) of the most important adjacent ports in China to reveal the recent trend of China unique
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Adjacent ports played a significant role in the evolution of the port system. In our study, we selected five pairs (i.e., Dalian–Yingkou, Qingdao–Yantai, Shanghai–Ningbo, Xiamen–Quanzhou, and Shenzhen–Guangzhou) of the most important adjacent ports in China to reveal the recent trend of China unique port system development; how and why will port system development be de-concentrated; and integrate the conceptual modal into in-depth analysis. The major findings are as follows: (1) There is functional differentiation in adjacent ports. To some big ports’ sustainability, they focus on foreign trade while other small ports, in order to achieve sustainable development, they focus on domestic trade; (2) First-mover advantage and dislocation competition is a mechanism of China ports functional differentiation; (3) Shanghai and Ningbo are unique in that both ports are similarly focused on foreign trade because they both have deep-water harbors, excellent geographical location, export-oriented hinterland economy, and close foreign investment relationships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Are Chinese Green Transport Policies Effective? A New Perspective from Direct Pollution Rebound Effect, and Empirical Evidence From the Road Transport Sector
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 429; doi:10.3390/su9030429
Received: 26 December 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 11 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (359 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Air pollution has become a serious challenge in China. Emissions from motor vehicles have been found to be one main sources of air pollution. Although the Chinese government has undertaken numerous green policies to mitigate harmful emissions from road transport sector, it is
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Air pollution has become a serious challenge in China. Emissions from motor vehicles have been found to be one main sources of air pollution. Although the Chinese government has undertaken numerous green policies to mitigate harmful emissions from road transport sector, it is still uncertain for both policy makers and researchers to know whether the policies are effective in the short and long terms. We propose a new concept of “pollution rebound effect” (PRE) to estimate the effectiveness of green traffic policies. We estimate direct air PRE as a measure of the effectiveness of the policies of reducing air pollution from the transport sector based on time-series data from the period 1986–2014. We find that the short-term direct air PRE is −0.4105, and the corresponding long-run PRE is −0.246. The negative results indicate that the direct air PRE does not exist in the road passenger transport sector in China, both in the short term and in the long term during the period 1986–2014. This implies that the Chinese green transport policies are effective in terms of harmful emissions reduction in the transport sector. This research, to the best of our knowledge, is the first attempt to quantify the effectiveness of the green transport policies in the transitional period that China is currently undergoing. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Impact Analysis on Residential Building in Malaysia Using Life Cycle Assessment
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 329; doi:10.3390/su9030329
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
The building industry has a significant impact on the environment due to massive natural resources and energy it uses throughout its life cycle. This study presents a life cycle assessment of a semi-detached residential building in Malaysia as a case study and assesses
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The building industry has a significant impact on the environment due to massive natural resources and energy it uses throughout its life cycle. This study presents a life cycle assessment of a semi-detached residential building in Malaysia as a case study and assesses the environmental impact under cradle-to-grave which consists of pre-use, construction, use, and end-of-life phases by using Centre of Environmental Science of Leiden University (CML) 2001. Four impact categories were evaluated, namely, acidification, eutrophication, global warming potential (GWP), and ozone layer depletion (ODP). The building operation under use phase contributed the highest global warming potential and acidification with 2.41 × 103 kg CO2 eq and 1.10 × 101 kg SO2 eq, respectively. In the pre-use phase, concrete in the substructure has the most significant overall impact with cement as the primary raw material. The results showed that the residential building in Malaysia has a fairly high impact in GWP but lower in acidification and ODP compared to other studies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Lime and Phosphate Amendment Can Significantly Reduce Uptake of Cd and Pb by Field-Grown Rice
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 430; doi:10.3390/su9030430
Received: 6 January 2017 / Revised: 3 March 2017 / Accepted: 11 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
Agricultural soils are suffering from increasing heavy metal pollution, among which, paddy soil polluted by heavy metals is frequently reported and has elicited great public concern. In this study, we carried out field experiments on paddy soil around a Pb-Zn mine to study
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Agricultural soils are suffering from increasing heavy metal pollution, among which, paddy soil polluted by heavy metals is frequently reported and has elicited great public concern. In this study, we carried out field experiments on paddy soil around a Pb-Zn mine to study amelioration effects of four soil amendments on uptake of Cd and Pb by rice, and to make recommendations for paddy soil heavy metal remediation, particularly for combined pollution of Cd and Pb. The results showed that all the four treatments can significantly reduce the Cd and Pb content in the late rice grain compared with the early rice, among which, the combination amendment of lime and phosphate had the best remediation effects where rice grain Cd content was reduced by 85% and 61%, respectively, for the late rice and the early rice, and by 30% in the late rice grain for Pb. The high reduction effects under the Ca + P treatment might be attributed to increase of soil pH from 5.5 to 6.7. We also found that influence of the Ca + P treatment on rice production was insignificant, while the available Cd and Pb content in soil was reduced by 16.5% and 11.7%, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Consumer Choices and Motives for Eco-Labeled Products in China: An Empirical Analysis Based on the Choice Experiment
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 331; doi:10.3390/su9030331
Received: 3 January 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Based on choice experiments conducted via face-to-face interviews with 435 participants in four provincial areas of China (Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Guangdong), Chinese consumers’ preferences and motives for purchasing eco-labeled rice are examined in this study. The heterogeneous effects of each motivating channel
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Based on choice experiments conducted via face-to-face interviews with 435 participants in four provincial areas of China (Shanghai, Zhejiang, Jiangsu, and Guangdong), Chinese consumers’ preferences and motives for purchasing eco-labeled rice are examined in this study. The heterogeneous effects of each motivating channel are also investigated. The results reveal positive correlations between premiums for eco-labeled rice and consumers’ concerns about food safety and the environment, suggesting that health benefits and environmental considerations are the two critical motivations. The willingness to pay for eco-labeled rice does not increase with consumers’ knowledge of the different production standards indicated by each eco-label. Individual characteristics that determine each class are further explored through a seemingly irrelevant regression to identify the target group of consumers for policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Simulation of Land Use Changes in a Coastal Reclaimed Area with Dynamic Shorelines
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 431; doi:10.3390/su9030431
Received: 13 January 2017 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
Reclamation is capable of creating abundant land to alleviate the pressure from land shortages in China. Nevertheless, coastal reclamation can lead to severe environmental degradation and landscape fragmentation. It is quite important to monitor land use and cover change (LUCC) in coastal areas,
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Reclamation is capable of creating abundant land to alleviate the pressure from land shortages in China. Nevertheless, coastal reclamation can lead to severe environmental degradation and landscape fragmentation. It is quite important to monitor land use and cover change (LUCC) in coastal areas, assess coastal wetland change, and predict land use requirements. The siltation of tidal flats will result in the dynamic growth and continuous expansion of coastal areas. Therefore, the process of land change in coastal areas is different from that under the fixed terrestrial boundary condition. Cellular Automata and Multi-Agent System (CA-MAS) models are commonly used to simulate LUCC, and their advantages have been well proven under the fixed boundary condition. In this paper, we propose CA-MAS combined with a shoreline evolution forecast (CA-MAS-SEF) model to simulate the land change in coastal areas. Meanwhile, the newly increased area, because of the dynamic growth of tidal flats, is considered in the simulation process. The simulation results using the improved method are verified, and compared with observed patterns using spatial overlay. In comparison with simulation results that do not consider the expansion of tidal flats, the Kappa coefficient estimated while considering the dynamic growth of tidal flats is improved from 65.9% to 70.5%, which shows that the method presented here can be applied to simulate the LUCC in growing coastal areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Performance versus Values in Sustainability Transformation of Food Systems
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 332; doi:10.3390/su9030332
Received: 7 January 2017 / Accepted: 18 February 2017 / Published: 23 February 2017
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Abstract
Questions have been raised on what role the knowledge provided by sustainability science actually plays in the transition to sustainability and what role it may play in the future. In this paper we investigate different approaches to sustainability transformation of food systems by
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Questions have been raised on what role the knowledge provided by sustainability science actually plays in the transition to sustainability and what role it may play in the future. In this paper we investigate different approaches to sustainability transformation of food systems by analyzing the rationale behind transformative acts-the ground that the direct agents of change act upon- and how the type of rationale is connected to the role of research and how the agents of change are involved. To do this we employ Max Weber’s distinction between instrumental rationality and value-rationality in social action. In particular, we compare two different approaches to the role of research in sustainability transformation: (1) Performance-based approaches that measure performance and set up sustainability indicator targets and benchmarks to motivate the agents in the food system to change; (2) Values-based approaches that aim at communicating and mediating sustainability values to enable coordinated and cooperative action to transform the food system. We identify their respective strengths and weaknesses based on a cross-case analysis of four cases, and propose that the two approaches, like Weber’s two types of rationality, are complementary-because they are based on complementary observer stances—and that an optimal in-between approach therefore cannot be found. However, there are options for reflexive learning by observing one perspective-and its possible blind spots-from the vantage point of the other, so we suggest that new strategies for sustainability transformation can be found based on reflexive rationality as a third and distinct type of rationality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle Promoting Sustainability Transparency in European Local Governments: An Empirical Analysis Based on Administrative Cultures
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 432; doi:10.3390/su9030432
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
Nowadays, the transparency of governments with respect to the sustainability of public services is a very interesting issue for stakeholders and academics. It has led to previous research and international organisations (EU, IMF, OECD, United Nations, IFAC, G-20, World Bank) to recommend promotion
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Nowadays, the transparency of governments with respect to the sustainability of public services is a very interesting issue for stakeholders and academics. It has led to previous research and international organisations (EU, IMF, OECD, United Nations, IFAC, G-20, World Bank) to recommend promotion of the online dissemination of economic, social and environmental information. Based on previous studies about e-government and the influence of administrative cultures on governmental accountability, this paper seeks to identify political actions useful to improve the practices of transparency on economic, social and environmental sustainability in European local governments. We perform a comparative analysis of sustainability information published on the websites of 72 local governments in 10 European countries grouped into main three cultural contexts (Anglo-Saxon, Southern European and Nordic). Using international sustainability reporting guidelines, our results reveal significant differences in local government transparency in each context. The most transparent local governments are the Anglo-Saxon ones, followed by Southern European and Nordic governments. Based on individualized empirical results for each administrative style, our conclusions propose useful policy interventions to enhance sustainability transparency within each cultural tradition, such as development of legal rules on transparency and sustainability, tools to motivate local managers for online diffusion of sustainability information and analysis of information needs of stakeholders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Public Debt, Corruption and Sustainable Economic Growth
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 433; doi:10.3390/su9030433
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 15 March 2017
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Abstract
There are many studies that look into the relationship between public debt and economic growth. It is hard to find, however, research addressing the role of corruption between these two variables. Noticing this vacancy in current literature, we strive to investigate the effect
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There are many studies that look into the relationship between public debt and economic growth. It is hard to find, however, research addressing the role of corruption between these two variables. Noticing this vacancy in current literature, we strive to investigate the effect of corruption on the relationship between public debt and economic growth. For this purpose, the pooled ordinary least squares (OLS), fixed effects models and the dynamic panel generalized method of moments (GMM) models (Arellano-Bond, 1991) are estimated with data of 77 countries from 1990 to 2014. The empirical results show that the interaction term between public debt and corruption is statistically significant. This confirms the hypothesis that the effect of public debt on economic growth is a function of corruption. The sign of the marginal effect is negative in corrupt countries, but public debt enhances economic growth within countries that are not corrupt, i.e., highly transparent. Full article
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Open AccessArticle High Biodiversity of Green Infrastructure Does Not Contribute to Recreational Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 334; doi:10.3390/su9030334
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Urban lakes, especially those of natural origin, provide ecosystem services, recreation being one of the most important and highly valued by city dwellers. Fulfilling the needs of city residents to relax and have contact with nature has become a priority in urbanized areas
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Urban lakes, especially those of natural origin, provide ecosystem services, recreation being one of the most important and highly valued by city dwellers. Fulfilling the needs of city residents to relax and have contact with nature has become a priority in urbanized areas and has been proven to positively affect people’s health and well-being. The recreational potential of water bodies was identified to be the most important aspect of ecosystem services to the residents of the neighboring areas. An assessment of recreational ecosystem services (RES) provisioning to society based on the real time spent by the citizens and housing values in the urban–rural gradient revealed that the economic benefits of lakes differ in urbanized, suburban and rural landscapes. The growth of cities has led to an increased population density in the surroundings of ecologically valuable areas, resulting in higher pressure from visitors seeking recreational areas. Along with urbanization, the impoverishment of ecosystem functions takes place, limiting their capability to provide ecosystem services. In this work, the provisioning of recreational ecosystem services of 28 floodplain lakes located along the urban–rural gradient of the Warsaw agglomeration was assessed. The relationship between the ecological value of the water bodies, measured using naturalness indices, and the recreational ecosystem services they can provide was assessed. The results showed that the floodplain lakes located along the urban–rural gradient are of great importance to the citizens due to their recreational potential. The provisioning of recreational ecosystem services is poorly connected with the ecological characteristics of the floodplain lakes. Only hemeroby was significantly correlated with provisioning, and there was no relationship with factors such as naturalness of vegetation or water quality, demonstrating that public preference was not generally influenced by high ecological quality. These data should be available to potential buyers and be integrated in spatial planning management plans in order to shape future housing policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle A Model for Assessing Pedestrian Corridors. Application to Vitoria-Gasteiz City (Spain)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 434; doi:10.3390/su9030434
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
From a mobility perspective, walking is considered to be the most sustainable transport mode. One of the consequences of motor-oriented urban configuration on pedestrian mobility is urban fragmentation, which affects sustainability in cities. In this paper, we use a natural-based approach to landscape
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From a mobility perspective, walking is considered to be the most sustainable transport mode. One of the consequences of motor-oriented urban configuration on pedestrian mobility is urban fragmentation, which affects sustainability in cities. In this paper, we use a natural-based approach to landscape fragmentation and connectivity (inherited from landscape ecology) for pedestrian mobility planning. Our aim is to design a useful methodology to identify priority pedestrian corridors, and to assess the effects of implementing barrier-free pedestrian corridors in the city. For this purpose, we developed a method that integrates Geographical Information Systems (GIS) network analysis with kernel density methods, which are commonly used for designating habitat corridors. It was applied to Vitoria-Gasteiz (Spain). Pedestrian mobility was assessed by comparison of travel times between different scenarios. Results show that the implementation of pedestrian corridors reduces travel time by approximately 6%. Thus, an intervention in a small percentage of the city’s street network could considerably reduce pedestrian travel times. The proposed methodology is a useful tool for urban and transport planners to improve pedestrian mobility and manage motorised traffic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Materialisation of Responsive Architecture
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 435; doi:10.3390/su9030435
Received: 27 December 2016 / Revised: 23 February 2017 / Accepted: 11 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity
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Natural organisms which employ inherent material properties to enable a passive dynamic response offer inspiration for adaptive bioclimatic architecture. This approach allows a move away from the technological intensity of conventional “smart” building systems towards a more autonomous and robust materially embedded sensitivity and climatic responsiveness. The actuation mechanisms of natural responsive systems can be replicated to produce artificial moisture-sensitive (hygromorphic) composites with the response driven by hygroexpansion of wood. The work presented here builds on previous research on lab-scale material development, to investigate in detail the applicability of wood-based hygromorphic materials for large-scale external applications. The suitability of different material production techniques and viability of potential applications is established through a detailed programme of experimentation and the first one-year-long durability study of hygromorphic wood composites in full weathering conditions. These results provide the basis for the design of an optimised responsive cladding system. The opportunities and challenges presented by building integration and architectural functionalisation of responsive wood composites are discussed based on a hierarchy of application typologies including functional devices and components, performance-oriented adaptive systems, the value of aesthetic and spatial experience and place-specific contextual integration. The design of the first full-scale building application of hygromorphic wood composites is presented. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Materials)
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Open AccessArticle Financial Development and Economic Growth: The Role of Foreign-Owned Banks in CESEE Countries
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 335; doi:10.3390/su9030335
Received: 28 December 2016 / Revised: 15 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 3 March 2017
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Abstract
This study focuses on the role of financial development in the economic growth of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European (CESEE) countries in the post-communist era (1995–2014), which coincides with the opening up of financial markets to foreign investors and the global financial crisis.
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This study focuses on the role of financial development in the economic growth of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern European (CESEE) countries in the post-communist era (1995–2014), which coincides with the opening up of financial markets to foreign investors and the global financial crisis. We investigate whether economic growth in CESEE countries has benefited from the presence of foreign-owned banks. To this end, we introduce some refined measures of financial development and control for banks’ financial strength. Our results challenge the idea that bank credit fosters economic growth and that foreign-owned banks are indisputably a positive addition to local markets able to foster economic growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial and Temporal Variability of Soil Respiration between Soybean Crop Rows as Measured Continuously over a Growing Season
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 436; doi:10.3390/su9030436
Received: 25 December 2016 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
An improved understanding of temporal and spatial variations in soil respiration is essential for measuring soil CO2 effluxes accurately. In this study, a field experiment was conducted to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of soil respiration between adjacent crop rows in
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An improved understanding of temporal and spatial variations in soil respiration is essential for measuring soil CO2 effluxes accurately. In this study, a field experiment was conducted to investigate the spatial and temporal variability of soil respiration between adjacent crop rows in a soybean (Glycine max L.) field. Soil CO2 concentration, water content, and temperature at a 7.5 cm depth were recorded continuously at 0 cm, 12 cm, 24 cm, and 35 cm from the plant row during the growing season. Root biomass at the corresponding locations was collected from the 0 to 10 cm and 10 to 20 cm soil layers at three growth stages. Seasonal CO2 efflux data showed that the minimum value appeared at the seeding stage, increased gradually, reached the maximum at the flowering and grain-filling stages, and then dropped steadily at the mature stage. Within a growth stage, CO2 effluxes related positively to soil temperature, but negatively to soil water content. In the early and vigorous growing stages of soybean crop, soil respiration showed apparent diurnal variations, and was most significant at the crop row location. Except for the seeding stage, CO2 effluxes at the crop row were larger than that of other locations, and effluxes at 35 cm from the row were representative of the mean CO2 efflux between adjacent rows. We concluded that the spatial heterogeneity of CO2 efflux between crop rows should be taken into consideration when measuring soil respiration in agricultural ecosystems. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Regional Features and National Differences in Population Distribution in China’s Border Regions (2000–2015)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 336; doi:10.3390/su9030336
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 25 February 2017
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Abstract
China is of great geostrategic significance not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the wider world. The population distribution in China’s border regions is of significance for the development of China and neighboring countries. Based on the LandScan Population Distribution Database,
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China is of great geostrategic significance not only in the Asia-Pacific region, but also in the wider world. The population distribution in China’s border regions is of significance for the development of China and neighboring countries. Based on the LandScan Population Distribution Database, this study used GIS spatial analysis and statistics to investigate national trends in the population distribution of China’s border regions. The study areas were the buffer zones within specified Euclidean distances from the land borders of China. The results showed that: (1) Although the population agglomeration index and population size inside China’s border areas have increased, the population density inside China’s border areas is still far below China’s average population density; (2) Over the last 15 years, the population of China’s northwestern border has been sparse, with small increases in the population agglomeration index and population size. China’s northeastern and southwestern border regions have several average population density areas, but the northeastern regions have seen a substantial reduction in population size since 2000. Based on our analysis, we propose that the Chinese government introduce supporting policies for the development of border regions to maintain the population size. At the same time, considering the varied living suitability of the natural environment along the northeastern, northwestern, and southwestern borders, “moderate agglomeration” and “moderate evacuation” population development strategies should be implemented in specified areas. Tilt policy should also be implemented in areas of rapid population decline. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Environmental Law Clinics in Collaboration with Environmental NGOs in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 337; doi:10.3390/su9030337
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this paper is to study the effect of an innovative curriculum design on environmental education in China, specifically with regard to an Environmental Law Clinic (ELC) course, to be run in co-operation with environmental NGOs (ENGOs). Adopting a qualitative case
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The purpose of this paper is to study the effect of an innovative curriculum design on environmental education in China, specifically with regard to an Environmental Law Clinic (ELC) course, to be run in co-operation with environmental NGOs (ENGOs). Adopting a qualitative case study method, our researchers investigated the effect of this innovative curriculum, including the quantity of student environmental knowledge, the level of the sense of student environmental responsibility, and the ability of students to solve environmental disputes. We also investigated each participant’s attitudes toward this innovative design. Our researchers employed various methods to analyze the student questionnaires, and to simulate consultation records and interview records. The results of our study show that an ELC (in co-operation with ENGOs) would be innovative and indispensable in the field of contemporary environmental law education. In fact, our design largely solves the problems faced by China’s ELC education. The innovative curriculum we have designed is beneficial to the sustainable development of society, because it not only improves a student’s practical ability, necessary knowledge, and the skills to deal with cases, but the curriculum also increases a student’s sense of environmental responsibility. However, to promote the wide-range practice and sustainable development of this curriculum in China, sound and multilevel support systems and measures are required. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Diversification Benefits of Including Carbon Assets in Financial Portfolios
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 437; doi:10.3390/su9030437
Received: 21 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Carbon allowances traded in the EU-Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) were initially designed as an economic motivation for efficiently curbing greenhouse as emissions, but now it mimics quite a few characteristics of financial assets, and have now been used as a candidate product in
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Carbon allowances traded in the EU-Emission Trading Scheme (EU-ETS) were initially designed as an economic motivation for efficiently curbing greenhouse as emissions, but now it mimics quite a few characteristics of financial assets, and have now been used as a candidate product in building financial portfolios. In this study, we examine the time-varying correlations between carbon allowance prices with other financial indices, during the third phase of EU-ETS. The results show that, at the beginning of this period, carbon price was still strongly corrected with other financial indices. However, this connection was weakened over time. Given the relative independence of carbon assets from other financial assets, we argue for the diversification benefits of including carbon assets in financial portfolios, and building such portfolios, respectively, with the traditional global minimum variance (GMV) strategy, the mean-variance-OGARCH (MV-OGARCH) strategy, and the dynamic conditional correlation (DCC) strategy. It is shown that the portfolio built with the MV-OGARCH strategy far out-performs the others and that including carbon assets in financial portfolios does help reduce investment risks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Acquisition and Production Policy for End-of-Life Engineering Machinery Recovering in a Joint Manufacturing/Remanufacturing System under Uncertainties in Procurement and Demand
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 338; doi:10.3390/su9030338
Received: 14 December 2016 / Revised: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
The intensive shortage of natural resources and the inchoate phase of automobile remanufacturing in a closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) are driving people to take cyclic manufacturing seriously. Aiming at maximizing resource utilization and produce profits, we apply an optimizing mathematical analysis to the
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The intensive shortage of natural resources and the inchoate phase of automobile remanufacturing in a closed-loop supply chain (CLSC) are driving people to take cyclic manufacturing seriously. Aiming at maximizing resource utilization and produce profits, we apply an optimizing mathematical analysis to the modeling of automobile engine remanufacturing in a joint manufacturing system, in which the quantity and quality of procurement, and the demand of the market, are both uncertain. The manufacturer can either produce new products with raw materials or remanufacture the returned product taken back from customers; the raw materials are bought from two suppliers with certain probabilities of disruption in the supply. The returned products are classified into different quality levels according to the testing results after sorting, by considering the remanufacture-up-to strategy we obtained the optimal remanufacturing ratio, then the manufacturing quantity and corresponding maximized total profit of this joint system are determined. We also investigated a real-life case of auto engine remanufacturing, comparing it with the theory of optimal remanufacturing policy, and the results indicate that a material savings of more than 45% and a cost improvement of more than 40% could be achieved when the optimal remanufacturing policy of our model is implemented. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Towards the Introduction of Sustainable Fishery Products: The Bid of a Major Italian Retailer
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 438; doi:10.3390/su9030438
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 16 March 2017
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Abstract
Intense fishing pressure has been depleting marine resources worldwide. At a time when almost a third of world stocks are overexploited, the demand for fish and seafood is growing both due to the increasing world population and to rising per capita consumption. Over
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Intense fishing pressure has been depleting marine resources worldwide. At a time when almost a third of world stocks are overexploited, the demand for fish and seafood is growing both due to the increasing world population and to rising per capita consumption. Over the past few decades, the demand for fish products has in turn grown considerably in Italy, although concern about sustainable fisheries here is not perceived as keenly as in Northern European countries, where certified fish and seafood products coming from sustainable fisheries are widely available. In this study, 248 fish and seafood products sold by a major Italian retailer were evaluated in terms of geographic origin, gear used, species conservation status, and stock status to gain information in view of the introduction of sustainable fishery products in Italy’s outlets. A literature review illustrated that most species came from some of the most intensely exploited fishing grounds in the world, where they are usually caught by trawls. The results highlighted the importance of supplying seafood products coming from sustainable sources and fisheries through the adoption of eco-labels and certification schemes. Finally, the present study stresses the urgency to promote more responsible fish and seafood consumption in Italy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Equity and the Conservation of Global Ecosystem Services
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 339; doi:10.3390/su9030339
Received: 19 December 2016 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
This article provides a first rough sketch of how to conceptualize countries’ present and historical contributions to the loss of global ecosystem services, i.e., ecosystem services of which the delivery is global and omnidirectional, and discusses the implications of questions concerning the international
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This article provides a first rough sketch of how to conceptualize countries’ present and historical contributions to the loss of global ecosystem services, i.e., ecosystem services of which the delivery is global and omnidirectional, and discusses the implications of questions concerning the international distribution of responsibilities. On the basis of limited empirical data about past and present land conversion, some first calculations suggest that keeping converted land in a converted state, thus preventing ecosystems recovery, may contribute more to current loss of global ecosystem services than new conversion of ecosystems. Moreover, many developing countries in the tropics may contribute more to the loss of global ecosystem services, in both absolute terms and per capita, than many developed countries in temperate zones. This would make finding an equitable arrangement for international allocation of responsibilities for biological conservation far more complex than for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions, raising new and challenging questions for normative theorists. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Development of a GIS-Based Model for Campus Environmental Sustainability Assessment
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 439; doi:10.3390/su9030439
Received: 9 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
Sustainability indicators and assessments are vital in promoting campus sustainability. Despite the plethora of indicator frameworks, campus sustainability assessment in developing countries encounters many challenges including lack of, or restricted access to, data and difficulties in measuring indicators. There is also a limited
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Sustainability indicators and assessments are vital in promoting campus sustainability. Despite the plethora of indicator frameworks, campus sustainability assessment in developing countries encounters many challenges including lack of, or restricted access to, data and difficulties in measuring indicators. There is also a limited application of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) in campus environmental sustainability assessment, although campus operations have spatial dimensions. This article proposes a GIS-based model for environmental sustainability assessment of campus operations and demonstrates its usefulness using King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia. The model applies spatial analysis techniques, including inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation, to statistically assess the various campus operational activities by using land use data to estimate greenhouse gas emissions from energy use, water consumption, solid waste, and transportation. The integration of spatial dimension in the model facilitates the collection and measurement of spatially related indicators, helps identify hotspots of campus operations, and provides better visualization of the existing condition and future scenario of campus environmental sustainability status. This model can assist decision-makers to construct strategies for improving the overall environmental sustainability of university campuses. The paper concludes by highlighting how the model can address some challenges of campus sustainability assessment in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Firms’ Negative Perceptions on Patents, Technology Management Strategies, and Subsequent Performance
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 440; doi:10.3390/su9030440
Received: 17 January 2017 / Revised: 12 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
While patents do have many advantages, their disadvantages include requiring disclosure of technical information and imposing the burden of patenting and litigation costs. In this study, we investigate the relationship between a firm’s negative perception on patents, technology management strategies, and subsequent performance.
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While patents do have many advantages, their disadvantages include requiring disclosure of technical information and imposing the burden of patenting and litigation costs. In this study, we investigate the relationship between a firm’s negative perception on patents, technology management strategies, and subsequent performance. For this purpose, we use a categorical canonical correlation analysis of the top 200, large, R&D-intensive firms in Korea. We find that negative perceptions such as burdensome transaction costs, non-patenting culture, and uncertainty of the outcome of patent litigation are associated with firms’ technology management strategies, such as purchase of licenses, and subsequent performance, such as an increase in the number of inventions from the cross-fertilization of different technologies. The results of this study are expected to contribute to a better understanding of firms’ negative attitudes toward the effects of patents, their subsequent technology management strategies, and resulting performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Screening of Tree Species for Improving Outdoor Human Thermal Comfort in a Taiwanese City
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 340; doi:10.3390/su9030340
Received: 24 December 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Tropical cities can use urban greening designs featuring trees that provide shade and cooling in hot outdoor environments. The cooling effect involves numerous tree characteristics that are not easy to control during planting design, such as the canopy size and the optical properties
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Tropical cities can use urban greening designs featuring trees that provide shade and cooling in hot outdoor environments. The cooling effect involves numerous tree characteristics that are not easy to control during planting design, such as the canopy size and the optical properties of leaves. Planting the appropriate tree species dominates the cooling effects and the human thermal environment. Based on environmental and plant data, including the tree species, crown diameter of trees, physiologically equivalent temperature (PET), and sky view factor (SVF) in an outdoor space, a series of hierarchical cluster analysis (HCA) procedures was implemented to identify the tree species that are appropriate for improving thermal comfort. The results indicated strong correlations between SVF, average crown diameter, and PET. SVF decreased as the average crown diameter increased. For the average crown diameter of trees in an area wider than 1.5 m, the cooling effect was especially dominated by the tree species. Therefore, 15 species were screened by HCA procedures, based on a similar cooling effect. These species had various cooling effects, and were divided into four categories. Tree species, such as Spathodea campanulata and Cinnamomum camphora, had the appropriate crown diameter and cooling effect for the most comfortable thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Maintaining Ecosystem Services to Support Urban Needs)
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Open AccessArticle Visions and Expectations for the Norwegian Bioeconomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 341; doi:10.3390/su9030341
Received: 30 November 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
Developing a future bioeconomy has become critical for three main reasons: (1) The need for sustainability of resource use; (2) The growing demand for both food and energy; and (3) The need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. As Zilberman observes, a
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Developing a future bioeconomy has become critical for three main reasons: (1) The need for sustainability of resource use; (2) The growing demand for both food and energy; and (3) The need to decouple economic growth from environmental degradation. As Zilberman observes, a transition to bioeconomy “is a continuing evolutionary process of transition from systems of mining non-renewable resources to farming renewable ones”. Hence, to meet the challenges created by a growing dependence on non-renewable resources, radical changes are needed that involve more than development of or changes within the individual bio-based sectors. In line with emerging attention to the bioeconomy in Europe and elsewhere, great expectations towards the bioeconomy have been launched in high level industry and policy fora, as well as in resource-based economies such as Norway's. Grounded in theories of transition and transition management, this paper discusses the Norwegian biosector's expectations regarding a bioeconomy. Analyses are based on empirical survey data from biosector representatives. Findings suggest that there are clear differences between sectors in motivation for a future bioeconomy. A transition into a complete bioeconomy will demand a system shift and more cross-sectoral integration between these regimes than currently exists. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Innovation and Sustainable Development for the Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Design of a Bidirectional Energy Storage System for a Vanadium Redox Flow Battery in a Microgrid with SOC Estimation
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 441; doi:10.3390/su9030441
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
This paper used a Vanadium Redox flow Battery (VRB) as the storage battery and designed a two-stage topology of a VRB energy storage system in which a phase-shifted full bridge dc-dc converter and three-phase inverter were used, considering the low terminal voltage of
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This paper used a Vanadium Redox flow Battery (VRB) as the storage battery and designed a two-stage topology of a VRB energy storage system in which a phase-shifted full bridge dc-dc converter and three-phase inverter were used, considering the low terminal voltage of the VRB. Following this, a model of the VRB was simplified, according to the operational characteristics of the VRB in this designed topology of a VRB energy storage system (ESS). By using the simplified equivalent model of the VRB, the control parameters of the ESS were designed. For effectively estimating the state of charge (SOC) of the VRB, a traditional method for providing the SOC estimation was simplified, and a simple and effective SOC estimation method was proposed in this paper. Finally, to illustrate the proper design of the VRB ESS and the proposed SOC estimation method, a corresponding simulation was designed by Simulink. The test results have demonstrated that this proposed SOC estimation method is feasible and effective for indicating the SOC of a VRB and the proper design of this VRB ESS is very reasonable for VRB applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle External Knowledge Sourcing and Green Innovation Growth with Environmental and Energy Regulations: Evidence from Manufacturing in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 342; doi:10.3390/su9030342
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 25 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper adopts the slacks-based measure-directional distance function (SBM-DDF, 2009) method for deriving the “Green Innovation Growth” rates of 28 manufacturing industries in China. The results indicate that the overall level of green innovation growth in China’s manufacturing is relatively low, with a
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This paper adopts the slacks-based measure-directional distance function (SBM-DDF, 2009) method for deriving the “Green Innovation Growth” rates of 28 manufacturing industries in China. The results indicate that the overall level of green innovation growth in China’s manufacturing is relatively low, with a declining trend. The tradeoffs among energy, environment and economy are rather sharp, and the “Porter Effect (1995)” (environmental regulation will promote green technology innovation) is not currently realized quickly in manufacturing. These evaluations imply an unsustainable development model in China, with significant differences among industries. By using a dynamic panel threshold model and employing an industry-level panel dataset for 2008–2014, we show that external knowledge sourcing has a significant negative impact on green innovation growth but with different constraints on R&D levels among industries. With the strengthening of R&D levels, gradually surpassing “critical mass”, the negative role of external knowledge sourcing in driving this mechanism becomes smaller and smaller; it has a non-linear relationship with the “threshold effect”. Consequently, we provide insights into the relationship among energy consumption, environmental pollution and technology innovation, and show how the heterogeneity of the R&D threshold affects differences in external knowledge sourcing and green innovation growth. These insights lead to a better understanding of the driving force, realizing path and policy design for green innovation growth. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Food as Commons or Commodity? Exploring the Links between Normative Valuations and Agency in Food Transition
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 442; doi:10.3390/su9030442
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 8 March 2017 / Accepted: 10 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
The food system, the most important driver of planetary transformation, is broken. Therefore, seeking a sustainable and socially-fair transition pathway out of this crisis becomes an issue of utmost priority. The consideration of food as a commodity, a social construct that played a
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The food system, the most important driver of planetary transformation, is broken. Therefore, seeking a sustainable and socially-fair transition pathway out of this crisis becomes an issue of utmost priority. The consideration of food as a commodity, a social construct that played a central role in this crisis, remains the uncontested narrative to lead the different transition pathways, which seems rather contradictory. By exploring the normative values on food, this paper seeks to understand how relevant is the hegemonic narrative of food as commodity and its alternative of food as commons to determine transition trajectories and food policy beliefs. Applying the multi-level perspective framework and developing the ill-studied agency in transition, this research enquired food-related professionals that belong to an online community of practice (N = 95) to check whether the valuation of food is relevant to explain personal stances in transition. Results suggest that the view of food as commodity is positively correlated with a gradually-reforming attitude, whereas food as commons is positively correlated with the counter-hegemonic transformers, regardless of the self-defined position in the transition landscape (regime or niches). At a personal level, there are multiple loci of resistance with counter-hegemonic attitudes in varied institutions of the regime and the innovative niches, many of them holding this discourse of food as commons. Conversely, alter-hegemonic attitudes are not positively correlated with the alternative discourse, and they may inadvertently or purportedly reinforce the neoliberal narrative. Food as commons seems to be a relevant framework that could enrich the multiple transformative constituencies that challenge the industrial food system and therefore facilitate the convergence of movements that reject the commodification of food. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Estimating the Economic Impacts of a Small-Scale Sport Tourism Event: The Case of the Italo-Swiss Mountain Trail CollonTrek
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 343; doi:10.3390/su9030343
Received: 12 January 2017 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
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Abstract
Evidence from several studies shows that small-scale sport events may have more positive repercussions for the host community than major ones in terms of both economic and social impacts. This study estimates the economic impacts on a small community derived from athletes’ expenditure
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Evidence from several studies shows that small-scale sport events may have more positive repercussions for the host community than major ones in terms of both economic and social impacts. This study estimates the economic impacts on a small community derived from athletes’ expenditure at a specific small-scale sport tourism event, the Italo-Swiss mountain endurance trail CollonTrek. Even if this kind of event is considered a minor sport event, generating very limited economic activity, this study supports the hypothesis that the funds invested by the public administration are compensated for by revenue generated during the trail. In fact, according to the three analyzed scenarios (Conservative, Average and Liberal), for each euro invested by the public administration, an economic return between €17.62 and €18.92 has been estimated, and between €5.64 and €6.9 (32%–36.47%) represent the direct economic return for the local community. Furthermore, in addition to the direct economic benefits, in accordance with the feedback from a sample of participants at the event (n = 180), this kind of event has positive implications in terms of future tourism for the host valley, pointing out how this kind of tourist activities has positive repercussions in terms of economic and social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism in Mountain Regions)
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Open AccessArticle The Dynamic Change of Vegetation Cover and Associated Driving Forces in Nanxiong Basin, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 443; doi:10.3390/su9030443
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
Natural climate change and human activities are the main driving forces associated with vegetation coverage change. Nanxiong Basin is a key ecosystem-service area at the national level with a dense population and highly representative of red-bed basins, which are considered as fragile ecological
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Natural climate change and human activities are the main driving forces associated with vegetation coverage change. Nanxiong Basin is a key ecosystem-service area at the national level with a dense population and highly representative of red-bed basins, which are considered as fragile ecological units in humid regions. In this study, the authors aimed to determine the trends in vegetation cover change over past two decades and the associated driving forces in this study area. The Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) of 2000–2015, derived from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) remote sensing dataset along with the application of statistical methods and GIS (geographic information system) techniques were used to quantify vegetation cover change. The results show that human-induced factors can explain most variations at sites with significant cover change. That is to say that human activities are the main drivers of vegetation dynamics in this study area, which shows a significant reduction trend in vegetation cover during the industrialization and urbanization processes of the study period and noticeable recovery trend in 2000–2015 under the plantation and enclosed forest policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Geography and Environmental Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Getting Wasted at WOMADelaide: The Effect of Signage on Waste Disposal
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 344; doi:10.3390/su9030344
Received: 7 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 8 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, there has been a rise in environmental consciousness and community awareness of waste disposal issues. However, discrepancies remain between people’s attitude and their behavior regarding waste disposal and recycling; commonly known as the “attitude behavior gap”. This study was designed
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In recent years, there has been a rise in environmental consciousness and community awareness of waste disposal issues. However, discrepancies remain between people’s attitude and their behavior regarding waste disposal and recycling; commonly known as the “attitude behavior gap”. This study was designed to aid in bridging this gap by exploring how signage, incorporating psychological principles and effective sign design, can encourage people to correctly dispose of their unwanted materials. The utilization of festivals, mass gatherings and events as spaces to test the impact of pro-environmental messaging on behavior is an emerging field of research. This study investigated the role of signage in aiding attendees of the world music festival WOMADelaide to correctly dispose of their unwanted materials. To complement and support the three-bin system utilized by the waste contractors for the event, four signs were developed and tested in the catering area. These signs included a baseline sign, as well as three motivational signs containing graphics and messages, based on different theoretical positions or psychological principles. The results gained from analyzing the concealed camera footage indicated that the bins under the three motivational signs elicited a greater number of deposits. However, the waste was no better sorted than those located under the baseline sign. The findings of this study support previous research into the “attitude behavior gap” and highlight areas for future research into signage in a festival setting. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Pilot-Scale Bio-Augmented Aerobic Composting of Excavated Foot-And-Mouth Disease Carcasses
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 445; doi:10.3390/su9030445
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2017 / Accepted: 13 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
In the present work, we tested the validity of using novel, bio-augmented, aerobic composting with carcass-degrading microorganisms for the ex situ stabilization of carcasses at pilot scale with previously poorly decomposed carcasses excavated from a 3-year old burial site. The significantly decreased chemical
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In the present work, we tested the validity of using novel, bio-augmented, aerobic composting with carcass-degrading microorganisms for the ex situ stabilization of carcasses at pilot scale with previously poorly decomposed carcasses excavated from a 3-year old burial site. The significantly decreased chemical oxygen demand (COD, 160,000 mg/kg to 40,000 mg/kg) and inorganic nitrogen species (total nitrogen, 5000 mg/kg to 2000 mg/kg) indicated effective bio-stabilization of carcasses by bio-augmented composting. The subsequent germination assays and the quantitative characterization of potentially pathogenic bacteria using NGS (next-generation sequencing) showed that the burial–composting sequential system with the carcass-degrading microorganisms and mechanical agitation successfully reduced plant toxicity as well as microbial risk to human health, suggesting that the composting by-product is suitable for farming or/and landfill use(s). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Management of Post-Epidemic Mass Carcasses Burial Sites)
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Open AccessArticle Identifying Critical Factors Influencing the Rents of Public Rental Housing Delivery by PPPs: The Case of Nanjing
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 345; doi:10.3390/su9030345
Received: 1 December 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
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The occupancy rate of Public Rental Housing (PRH) in China is relatively low due to the unreasonable rents. At the same time, the development of PRH using Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) increases the complexity of the rents. Therefore, the critical factors influencing the
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The occupancy rate of Public Rental Housing (PRH) in China is relatively low due to the unreasonable rents. At the same time, the development of PRH using Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) increases the complexity of the rents. Therefore, the critical factors influencing the rents of PRH delivery by PPPs should be identified. Based on the comprehensive literature, this article identified a conceptual model for the factors influencing the rents of PRH delivery by PPPs in China, composed of 14 factors grouped in three factor packages, and discussed the relationships among three factor packages. A survey based on Nanjing was conducted to assess the relative significance of 14 factors. According to the results, six critical factors were identified: construction costs, household income, floor area and structure, transportation, market rents in the same district and public facilities. In addition, the proposed conceptual model had a good fit. The results also supported two hypothetical relationships among three factor packages: (1) the increase of the affordability of the target tenants had a positive effect on the increase of profits of private sectors; and (2) the increase of the affordability of the target tenants had a positive effect on the increase of level of the characteristics of PRH units. For future research, six critical factors and the relationships among three factor packages can be used to determine the reasonable rents for PRH delivery by PPPs in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability, Ethics and Nuclear Energy: Escaping the Dichotomy
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 446; doi:10.3390/su9030446
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 2 March 2017 / Accepted: 3 March 2017 / Published: 17 March 2017
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Abstract
In this paper we suggest considering sustainability as a moral framework based on social justice, which can be used to evaluate technological choices. In order to make sustainability applicable to discussions of nuclear energy production and waste management, we focus on three key
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In this paper we suggest considering sustainability as a moral framework based on social justice, which can be used to evaluate technological choices. In order to make sustainability applicable to discussions of nuclear energy production and waste management, we focus on three key ethical questions, namely: (i) what should be sustained; (ii) why should we sustain it; and (iii) for whom should we sustain it. This leads us to conceptualize the notion of sustainability as a set of values, including safety, security, environmental benevolence, resource durability, and economic viability of the technology. The practical usefulness of sustainability as a moral framework is highlighted by demonstrating how it is applicable for understanding intergenerational dilemmas—between present and future generations, but also among different future generations—related to nuclear fuel cycles and radioactive waste management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Nuclear Power)
Open AccessArticle Accessibility of Water-Related Cultural Ecosystem Services through Public Transport—A Model for Planning Support in the Stockholm Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 346; doi:10.3390/su9030346
Received: 22 December 2016 / Revised: 1 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
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Abstract
Planning for sustainable cities involves supporting compact, energy-efficient urban form as well as maintaining attractive and liveable urban landscapes. Attractive cities depend highly on services provided by ecosystems, especially cultural ecosystem services (ES), which give direct benefits to urban citizens. Therefore, access to
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Planning for sustainable cities involves supporting compact, energy-efficient urban form as well as maintaining attractive and liveable urban landscapes. Attractive cities depend highly on services provided by ecosystems, especially cultural ecosystem services (ES), which give direct benefits to urban citizens. Therefore, access to a diversity of urban functions and publicly available ES by walking and public transport should be considered when planning for sustainable cities. This could be facilitated by user-friendly planning support models. The aim of this study was to develop a GIS-based model for assessing accessibility to ES, more specifically, water-related cultural ecosystem services (WCES), via walking and public transport, with input from stakeholders. The model was applied to the Stockholm region in Sweden. Travel times and census data were used to derive measures and maps of accessibility to prioritised WCES in the region, today and in urbanisation scenarios for 2050. The results showed how access to WCES varied spatially within the region. The number of potential visitors to different WCES sites now and in the future urbanisation scenarios was estimated, and areas in need for future development of the public transport system as well as WCES were identified. The GIS-based accessibility model has potential to be used as planning support in urban planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Sustainability and Planning Support Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Coastal Forests and Groundwater: Using Case Studies to Understand the Effects of Drivers and Stressors for Resource Management
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 447; doi:10.3390/su9030447
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
Forests are receiving more attention for the ecosystem goods and services they provide and the potential change agents that may affect forest health and productivity. Highlighting case examples from coastal forests in South Carolina, USA, we describe groundwater processes with respect to stressors
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Forests are receiving more attention for the ecosystem goods and services they provide and the potential change agents that may affect forest health and productivity. Highlighting case examples from coastal forests in South Carolina, USA, we describe groundwater processes with respect to stressors and potential responses of a wetland-rich forested landscape, the roles that this area has served, and the need for water resource data to inform forest management decisions. Forested lands in the southeastern U.S. coastal plain provide a rich set of goods and services for the region, and in one case, the Francis Marion National Forest acts as a buffer to urbanization from the surrounding Charleston metropolitan area. Information from two decades of studies in the forested watersheds there may inform scientists and managers in other coastal forested systems. The common hydrological theme in this region, which has a higher average annual rainfall (1370 mm) than the annual potential evapotranspiration (PET = 1135 mm), is a shallow (<3 m) water table condition that supports a large range of natural wetlands and also creates management challenges across the region. Modest changes in the position of the water table can lead to either groundwater flooding and concomitant management challenges for forest services, or ecosystem stresses related to dry conditions in wetlands during times of below-normal precipitation or due to groundwater withdrawal. Development pressures have also stressed forest resources through the extraction of materials such as timber and sand mining, and the conversion to housing construction materials. These areas are also targeted for land development, to meet housing demands. In this paper, we discuss the role of groundwater in coastal forests and highlight opportunities for collaborative studies to better inform forest resource management. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Economic Performance of Traditional and Modern Rice Varieties under Different Water Management Systems
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 347; doi:10.3390/su9030347
Received: 6 December 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 26 February 2017
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Abstract
Italian rice production is progressively threatened by water scarcity. Some strategies have been developed to reduce water use. Nevertheless, reducing water irrigation amounts may lower paddy rice production. This publication compares the productivity and the economic performances of traditional and modern rice varieties
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Italian rice production is progressively threatened by water scarcity. Some strategies have been developed to reduce water use. Nevertheless, reducing water irrigation amounts may lower paddy rice production. This publication compares the productivity and the economic performances of traditional and modern rice varieties in northern Italy using two different water management systems. The objective of this analysis is to enhance Italian rice cultivation at the economic, environmental and agronomic levels. Some positive variations of water productivity and economic water productivity were observed for the two varieties when using a lower amount of irrigation water. However, actual production costs and most water supply fees are the same for all the irrigation methods. Furthermore, the study of agronomic traits shows that during the recent years, there were no significant differences or increases of yield among varieties. Consequently, to be adopted by farmers, the irrigation costs coupled with improved rice accessions need to be optimized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Resources Management)
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Open AccessArticle Transition Initiatives as Light Intentional Communities: Uncovering Liminality and Friction
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 448; doi:10.3390/su9030448
Received: 27 December 2016 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
The Transition Network is a global grassroots network that supports community-led resilience in the face of global change. This paper reports on an ethnographic study of one of its longest-running projects, Transition Town Lewes (TTL) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the
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The Transition Network is a global grassroots network that supports community-led resilience in the face of global change. This paper reports on an ethnographic study of one of its longest-running projects, Transition Town Lewes (TTL) in the United Kingdom. The aim of the study is to analyse TTL as a community. More specifically, we ask two questions: (1) what type of community is TTL? and (2) what are the challenges TTL faces as a community? With this, we contribute to the existing literature on local sustainability initiatives and in particular on Transition initiatives, by providing an in-depth understanding of the challenges and social dynamics at play in a day-to-day setting. We conducted three months of intensive ethnographic fieldwork using participant observation, interviews, and a focus group. Our analysis shows that TTL is a community that, on the one hand, is motivated by explicit intentions and goals, but that, on the other hand, leaves openness and flexibility regarding the level and specifics of participants’ engagement. We introduce the novel concept of ‘light intentional community’ to describe this type of community. We first investigate intentionality in TTL, finding that differences exist between individual participant motivations and stated TTL objectives. We go on to describe the ‘light’ aspect of TTL—the differences in levels of engagement between community participants. Our analysis shows that TTL and its participants face two main challenges. First, TTL participants experience ‘multi-dimensional liminality’: they operate in a liminal space between mainstream society and TTL practices, and additionally experience a continuous sense of transitioning toward a moving goal. Second, TTL as a community faces internal and external frictions. These challenges are interrelated and stem from the structure and dynamics of TTL as a light intentional community. We conclude by reflecting on our analysis of the nature and challenges of ‘light intentional communities’, identifying what opportunities this concept brings for overcoming the challenges of grassroots globalization initiatives amidst mainstream society. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Analysis of Chinese Grain Production for Sustainable Land Management in Plain, Hill, and Mountain Counties
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 348; doi:10.3390/su9030348
Received: 24 December 2016 / Revised: 22 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
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Abstract
In the context of China’s food security, spatially explicit information on grain production is an important asset to achieve the sustainable management of cultivated land. Previous studies have shown that spatial mismatches exist between grain production and water and cultivated land resources. In
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In the context of China’s food security, spatially explicit information on grain production is an important asset to achieve the sustainable management of cultivated land. Previous studies have shown that spatial mismatches exist between grain production and water and cultivated land resources. In this paper, county-level data are used to investigate the degree of spatial (mis)match between grain output and the geographical distribution patterns of plain, hill, and mountain counties. We estimate the difference in grain output between these different types of counties with a Spatial Autoregression Model. The results indicate that plain counties have the highest grain output, followed by hill counties and mountain counties subsequently. The reasons for the higher production in plain counties lie in the presence of more cultivated land, as well as a higher degree of irrigation and agricultural mechanization. The current pattern of Chinese total grain production follows the law of substituting labor with mechanization. Improving efficiency in the use of water resources and chemical fertilizer is both urgent and crucial. In this paper, we propose that the future roles for total grain production in relation to landforms should be: increased production and competitiveness in plain counties, a stabilization of capacity in hill counties, and a decrease in grain production in mountain counties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use in China)
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Open AccessArticle Technological Approaches to Sustainable Agriculture at a Crossroads: An Agroecological Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 349; doi:10.3390/su9030349
Received: 24 November 2016 / Revised: 22 February 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (807 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most efforts to improve agricultural production remain focused on practices driven by an intensification agenda and not by an agroecological one. Agroecology transcends the reformist notion of organic agriculture and sustainable intensification proponents who contend that changes can be achieved within the dominant
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Most efforts to improve agricultural production remain focused on practices driven by an intensification agenda and not by an agroecological one. Agroecology transcends the reformist notion of organic agriculture and sustainable intensification proponents who contend that changes can be achieved within the dominant agroindustrial system with minor adjustments or “greening” of the current neoliberal agricultural model. In the technological realm, merely modifying practices to reduce input use is a step in the right direction but does not necessarily lead to the redesign of a more self sufficient and autonomous farming system. A true agroecological technological conversion calls into question monoculture and the dependency on external inputs. Traditional farming systems provide models that promote biodiversity, thrive without agrochemicals, and sustain year-round yields. Conversion of conventional agriculture also requires major social and political changes which are beyond the scope of this paper. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Competitive Success in Responsible Regional Ecosystems: An Empirical Approach in Spain Focused on the Firms’ Relationship with Stakeholders
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 449; doi:10.3390/su9030449
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 14 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
Nowadays, any business manager is concerned about sustainability issues and is wondering how to implement social and environmental practices creating economic and social value at the same time. The implementation of social responsibility programs is justified by the benefits that result from a
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Nowadays, any business manager is concerned about sustainability issues and is wondering how to implement social and environmental practices creating economic and social value at the same time. The implementation of social responsibility programs is justified by the benefits that result from a good relationship of the firm with key stakeholders. The present research investigates the links among firms’ relationship with stakeholders, firms’ champion behavior, stakeholders’ satisfaction and firms’ competitive success in regional contexts where social responsibility is promoted. Using the resource-based theory and the concept of shared value, a conceptual model is proposed in which a strong firm relationship with stakeholders will cause the stakeholder’ satisfaction and will help the firm to become a champion in the market, contributing to improved competitiveness. This empirical analysis was based on survey data through partial least squares structural equation modeling (PLS-SEM) from 130 Spanish firms in the Region of Extremadura. Participants were firm managers in regional clusters involved in the social responsibility journey promoted by the local government. The results suggest that a good relationship of the frim with stakeholders directly and positively influences firm competitive success, and also, it is enhanced by improvements in stakeholders’ satisfaction and firm champion behavior. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Saving Soil for Sustainable Land Use
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 350; doi:10.3390/su9030350
Received: 4 November 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper experiments with some costs-benefit analyses, seeking a balance between soil-take and buildability due to land policy and management. The activities have been carried out inside the MITO lab (Lab for Multimedia Information for Territorial Objects) of the Polytechnic University of Bari.
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This paper experiments with some costs-benefit analyses, seeking a balance between soil-take and buildability due to land policy and management. The activities have been carried out inside the MITO lab (Lab for Multimedia Information for Territorial Objects) of the Polytechnic University of Bari. Reports have been produced about the Southern Italian Apulia Region, which is rich in farmland and coastline, often invaded by construction, with a severe loss of nature, a degradation of the soil, landscape, and ecosystem services. A methodological approach to the assessment of sustainability of urban expansion related, on one hand, to “plus values” deriving from the transformation of urban fringes and, on the other hand to the analysis of the transition of land-use, with the aim of “saving soil” against urban sprawl. The loss of natural and agricultural surfaces due to the expanding artificial lands is an unsustainable character of urban development, especially in the manner in which it was carried out in past decades. We try to assess how plus value can be considered “unearned”, and to understand if the “land value recapture” can compensate for the negative environmental effects of urban expansion. We measured the transition from farmlands and natural habitat to urbanization with the support of the use of some Geographic Information Systems (GIS) tools, in favor of a new artificial land cover in the region of Apulia, Southern Italy. Data have been collected at the regional scale and at the local level, producing information about land use change and increases of property values due to improvements, referring to the 258 municipalities of the region. Looking at the results of our measurements, we started an interpretation of the driving forces that favor the plus values due to the transition of land-use. Compensation, easements, recapture of plus value, and improvement are, nowadays in Italy, discussed as major land-policy tools for managing environmental and landscape preservation. The interplay between urban economics and environmentally sound regulations reveals some controversial issues in urban governance and nature preservation: perhaps some abstract regulations, conjoined with non-case-oriented urban policies, consider these keywords as the old chemists considered the Philosopher’s Stone. The analyses show criticality emerging themes in emblematic cases, studied in some municipal contexts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Enhanced On-Site Waste Management of Plasterboard in Construction Works: A Case Study in Spain
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 450; doi:10.3390/su9030450
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 27 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
On-site management of construction waste commonly determines its destination. In the case of plasterboard (PB), on-site segregation becomes crucial for closed-loop recycling. However, PB is commonly mixed with other wastes in Spain. In this context, the involvement of stakeholders that can contribute to
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On-site management of construction waste commonly determines its destination. In the case of plasterboard (PB), on-site segregation becomes crucial for closed-loop recycling. However, PB is commonly mixed with other wastes in Spain. In this context, the involvement of stakeholders that can contribute to reversing this current situation is needed. This paper analyzes on-site waste management of PB in Spain through a pilot study of a construction site, with the main objective of identifying best practices to increase waste prevention, waste minimization, and the recyclability of the waste. On-site visits and structured interviews were conducted. The results show five management stages: PB distribution (I); PB installation (II); Construction waste storage at the installation area (III); PB waste segregation at the installation area (IV) and PB waste transfer to the PB container and storage (V). The proposed practices refer to each stage and include the merging of Stages III and IV. This measure would avoid the mixing of waste fractions in Stage III, maximizing the recyclability of PB. In addition, two requisites for achieving enhanced management are analyzed: ‘Training and commitment’ and ‘fulfilling the requirements established by the current regulation’. The results show that foremen adopted a more pessimistic attitude than installers towards a joint commitment for waste management. Moreover, not all supervisors valued the importance of a site waste management plan, regulated by the Royal Decree 105/2008 in Spain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding Driving Forces and Implications Associated with the Land Use and Land Cover Changes in Portugal
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 351; doi:10.3390/su9030351
Received: 28 December 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
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Abstract
Understanding the processes of land use and land cover changes (LUCC) and the associated driving forces is important for achieving sustainable development. This paper presents the LUCC in Portugal at the regional level (NUTS II) from 1995 to 2010 and discusses the main
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Understanding the processes of land use and land cover changes (LUCC) and the associated driving forces is important for achieving sustainable development. This paper presents the LUCC in Portugal at the regional level (NUTS II) from 1995 to 2010 and discusses the main driving forces and implications associated with these LUCC. The main objectives of this work are: (a) to quantify the land use and land cover (LUC) types (level I of LUC cartography) by NUT II in Portugal for the years 1995, 2007 and 2010; (b) to assess the spatio-temporal LUCC; and (c) to identify and discuss the main driving forces of LUCC and corresponding implications based on correlations and Principal Components Analysis. The results revealed large regional and temporal LUCC and further highlighted the different and sometimes opposite time trends between neighboring regions. By associating driving forces to LUCC, different influences at the regional level were observed, namely LUCC into agriculture land derived from the construction of dams (Alentejo region), or the conversion of coniferous forest into eucalypt forest (Centre region) associated with increased gross value added (GVA) and employment in industry and forestry. Temporal differentiation was also observed, particularly in the settlements that expanded between 1995 and 2007 due to the construction of large infrastructures (e.g., highways, industrial complexes, or buildings), which is reflected on employment in industry and construction and respective GVA. However, certain LUCC have implications, particularly in energy consumption, for which different behavior between regions can be highlighted in this analysis, but also on land-use sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Low-Carbon Economy Efficiency of Chinese Industrial Sectors Based on a RAM Model with Undesirable Outputs
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 451; doi:10.3390/su9030451
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
Industrial energy and environment efficiency evaluation become especially crucial as industrial sectors play a key role in CO2 emission reduction and energy consumption. This study adopts the additive range-adjusted measure data envelope analysis (RAM-DEA) model to estimate the low-carbon economy efficiency of
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Industrial energy and environment efficiency evaluation become especially crucial as industrial sectors play a key role in CO2 emission reduction and energy consumption. This study adopts the additive range-adjusted measure data envelope analysis (RAM-DEA) model to estimate the low-carbon economy efficiency of Chinese industrial sectors in 2001–2013. In addition, the CO2 emission intensity mitigation target for each industrial sector is assigned. Results show that, first, most sectors are not completely efficient, but they have experienced and have improved greatly during the period. These sectors can be divided into four categories, namely, mining, light, heavy, and electricity, gas, and water supply industries. The efficiency is diverse among the four industrial categories. The average efficiency of the light industry is the highest among the industries, followed by those of the mining and the electricity, gas, and water supply industries, and that of the heavy industry is the lowest. Second, the electricity, gas, and water supply industry shows the biggest potential for CO2 emission reduction, thus containing most of the sectors with large CO2 emission intensity mitigation targets (more than 45%), followed by the mining and the light industries. Therefore, the Chinese government should formulate diverse and flexible policy implementations according to the actual situation of the different sectors. Specifically, the sectors with low efficiency should be provided with additional policy support (such as technology and finance aids) to improve their industrial efficiency, whereas the electricity, gas, and water supply industry should maximize CO2 emission reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Factors Contributing to Changes in Energy Consumption in Tangshan City between 2007 and 2012
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 452; doi:10.3390/su9030452
Received: 11 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 18 March 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this paper is to identify the correlations between energy consumption and the factors that control usage in the city of Tangshan. To do this, we first analyze the current status of Tangshan’s economic development and energy consumption, and then applied
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The aim of this paper is to identify the correlations between energy consumption and the factors that control usage in the city of Tangshan. To do this, we first analyze the current status of Tangshan’s economic development and energy consumption, and then applied the logarithmic mean Divisia index to identify the factors affecting the changes in energy consumption of all sectors. The findings are summarized as follows: (1) secondary industry accounts for an extremely high percentage of industry in Tangshan city, much higher than the national average; from 2007 to 2012, the proportion of secondary industry increased in Tangshan city; (2) Tangshan’s energy consumption in 2013 was nearly twice that in 2005. Coal and coke coal consumption was responsible for 96.2% of total energy consumption in 2005 and 95.1% in 2013; (3) Tangshan’s energy intensity decreased from 3.00 tce/thousand Yuan in 2005 to 1.85 tce/thousand Yuan in 2013. However, the energy intensity of Tangshan was far more than the average for China, and the decline in Tangshan’s energy intensity was much slower than the average for China; (4) The technical effect plays a dominant role in decreasing energy consumption in most sectors, and the scale effect is the most important contributor to increasing energy consumption in all sectors. Input structural and final use structural effects play different roles in energy consumption in different sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A New Perspective on Formation of Haze-Fog: The Fuzzy Cognitive Map and Its Approaches to Data Mining
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 352; doi:10.3390/su9030352
Received: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 27 February 2017
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Abstract
Haze-fog has seriously hindered the sustainable development of the ecological environment and caused great harm to the physical and mental health of residents in China. Therefore, it is important to probe the formation of haze-fog for its early warning and prevention. The formation
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Haze-fog has seriously hindered the sustainable development of the ecological environment and caused great harm to the physical and mental health of residents in China. Therefore, it is important to probe the formation of haze-fog for its early warning and prevention. The formation of haze-fog is, in fact, a fuzzy nonlinear process. The formation of haze-fog is such a complex process that it is difficult to simulate its dynamic evolution using traditional methods, mainly because of the lack of their consideration of the nonlinear relationships. It is, therefore, essential to explore new perspectives on the formation of haze-fog. In this work, previous research on haze-fog formation is summarized first. Second, a new perspective is proposed on the application of fuzzy cognitive map to the formation of haze-fog. Third, a data mining method based on the genetic algorithm is used to discover the causality values of a fuzzy cognitive map (FCM) for hazefog formation. Finally, simulation results are obtained through an experiment using the fuzzy cognitive map and its data mining method for the formation of haze-fog. The validity of this approach is determined by definition of a simple rule and the Kappa values. Thus, this research not only provides a new idea using FCM modeling the formation of haze-fog, but also uses an effective method of FCM for solving the nonlinear dynamics of the haze-fog formation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Big Data and Predictive Analytics for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Pavement Management System in Urban Areas Considering the Vehicle Operating Costs
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 453; doi:10.3390/su9030453
Received: 17 February 2017 / Revised: 15 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Urban roads constitute most of the existing roads and they are directly managed by small administrations. Normally, these small administrations do not have sufficient funds or sufficient qualified personnel to carry out this task. This paper deals with an easy-implementation Pavement Management System
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Urban roads constitute most of the existing roads and they are directly managed by small administrations. Normally, these small administrations do not have sufficient funds or sufficient qualified personnel to carry out this task. This paper deals with an easy-implementation Pavement Management System (PMS) to develop strategies to maintain, preserve and rehabilitate urban roads. The proposed method includes the creation of the road network inventory, the visual surveys of the pavement and the evaluation of its condition by the Pavement Condition Index (PCI). The method intends to give a valid tool to road managers to compare alternative maintenance strategies and perform the priority analysis on the network. With this aim, the procedure assesses the Vehicle Operating Costs (VOC) by a written regression between PCI and International Roughness Index (IRI). The proposed method has several advantages because it can be easily adapted to various situations and it does not require a large amount of time and money for its implementation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Comparative Physicochemical and Microbiological Qualities of Source and Stored Household Waters in Some Selected Communities in Southwestern Nigeria
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 454; doi:10.3390/su9030454
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
PDF Full-text (585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
In this study, we evaluated the physicochemical and microbial qualities of source and stored household waters in some communities in Southwestern Nigeria using standard methods. Compared parameters include: physicochemical constituents; Temperature (T), pH, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness (TH), Biological Oxygen Demand
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In this study, we evaluated the physicochemical and microbial qualities of source and stored household waters in some communities in Southwestern Nigeria using standard methods. Compared parameters include: physicochemical constituents; Temperature (T), pH, Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), Total Hardness (TH), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Magnesium ion (Mg2+) and Calcium ion (Ca2+) and microbiological parameters included Total Coliform Counts (TC), Faecal Coliform Counts (FC), Fungal Counts (Fung C), Heterotrophic Plate Counts (HPC).Comparing Stored and Source samples, the mean values of some physicochemical parameters of most of the stored water samples significantly (p < 0.05) exceeded that of Sources and ranged in the following order: T (15.3 ± 0.3 °C–28.3 ± 0.5 °C), pH (6.4 ± 0.1–7.6 ± 0.1), TDS (192.1 ± 11.1 ppm–473.7 ± 27.9 ppm), TH (10.6 ± 1.7 mg/L–248.6 ± 18.6 mg/L), BOD (0.5 ± 0.0 mg/L–3.2 ± 0.3 mg/L), Mg2+ (6.5 ± 2.4 mg/L–29.1 ± 3.2 mg/L) and Ca2+ (6.5 ± 2.4 mg/L–51.6 ± 4.4 mg/L). The mean microbial counts obtained from microbial comparison of different points (Stored and Source) of collection showed that most of the stored water had counts significantly exceeding (p < 0.05) those of the source water samples (cfu/100 mL) which ranged as follows: TC (3.1 ± 1.5–156.8 ± 42.9), FC (0.0 ± 0.0–64.3 ± 14.2) and HPC (47.8 ± 12.1–266.1 ± 12.2) across all sampled communities. Also, the predominant isolates recovered from the samples were identified as Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumonia, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Enterobacter aerogenes, Aspergillus spp., Mucor spp., Rhizopus spp. and Candida spp. The presence of these pathogenic and potentially pathogenic organisms in the waters and the high counts of the indicator organisms suggest the waters to be a threat to public health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development Initiatives towards Poverty Alleviation)
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Open AccessArticle Climate, Agroecology and Socio-Economic Determinants of Food Availability from Agriculture in Bangladesh, (1948–2008)
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 354; doi:10.3390/su9030354
Received: 10 November 2016 / Revised: 19 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract
The paper examines the impacts of prices, resources, technology, education, public investments, climatic variables and agroecology on Food Availability (FA) from domestic agriculture in Bangladesh using a panel data of 17 regions covering a 61-year period (1948–2008) by utilising a dynamic agricultural supply
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The paper examines the impacts of prices, resources, technology, education, public investments, climatic variables and agroecology on Food Availability (FA) from domestic agriculture in Bangladesh using a panel data of 17 regions covering a 61-year period (1948–2008) by utilising a dynamic agricultural supply response framework and Generalised Methods of Moments (GMM) estimator. Results revealed that FA has increased at the rate of 1.32% p.a. with significant regional variations. Significant regional differences exist with respect to climatic variables, resources, Green Revolution (GR) technology and education. Among the output prices, rise in the prices of rice, vegetables and pulses significantly increase FA whereas an increase in spice price significantly reduces FA. Among the input prices, a rise in labour wage significantly increases FA. FA increases significantly with an increase in GR technology expansion, as expected. Among the resources, increases in average farm size and labour stock per farm significantly increase FA, as expected. Among the climatic factors, a rise in annual minimum temperature significantly increases FA. FA is also significantly influenced by agroecological characteristics. FA is significantly higher in Karatoa floodplain and Atrai Basin but significantly lower in Ganges Tidal floodplain. Major disasters/events (i.e., the Liberation War of 1971 and 1988 flood) also significantly reduced FA, as expected. The key conclusion is that, over the past six decades, Food Availability in Bangladesh was significantly shaped by changes in climate, agrocology, output prices, resources and GR technology diffusion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Development)
Open AccessArticle Corporate Social Responsibility Motive Attribution by Service Employees in the Parcel Logistics Industry as a Moderator between CSR Perception and Organizational Effectiveness
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 355; doi:10.3390/su9030355
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 19 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract
With sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) emerging as urgent issues in the logistics service industry, the effects of CSR on employee work behavior is receiving increasing attention. This study explores this issue by considering intrinsic and extrinsic CSR motive attributions as moderating
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With sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) emerging as urgent issues in the logistics service industry, the effects of CSR on employee work behavior is receiving increasing attention. This study explores this issue by considering intrinsic and extrinsic CSR motive attributions as moderating variables between CSR perception and organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. The results of a cross-sectional survey and hierarchical regression analyses of 241 survey responses from parcel delivery logistics employees indicate that their perception of CSR strongly enhances their organizational commitment and organizational citizenship behavior. This study also presents evidence that the positive effect of CSR on organizational commitment is weakened when employees attribute CSR practices to intrinsic motives. This study provides guidance for managers in the logistics sector and for academics who wish to address sustainability and CSR issues and to enhance employees’ organizational commitment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle Virtual Sensors for Biodiesel Production in a Batch Reactor
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 455; doi:10.3390/su9030455
Received: 16 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Fossil fuel combustion produces around 98% of coal emissions. Therefore, liquid and gaseous biofuels have become more attractive due to their environmental benefits. The biodiesel production process requires measurements that help to control and supervise the variables involved in the process. The measurements
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Fossil fuel combustion produces around 98% of coal emissions. Therefore, liquid and gaseous biofuels have become more attractive due to their environmental benefits. The biodiesel production process requires measurements that help to control and supervise the variables involved in the process. The measurements provide valuable information about the operation conditions and give estimations about the critical variables of the process. The information from measurements is essential for monitoring the state of a process and verifying if it has an optimal performance. The objective of this study was the conception of a virtual sensor based on the Extended Kalman Filter (EKF) and the model of a batch biodiesel reactor for estimating concentrations of triglycerides (TG), diglycerides (DG), monoglycerides (MG), methyl ester (E), alcohol (A), and glycerol (GL) in real-time through measurement of the temperature and pH. Estimation of the TG, DG, MG, E, A, and Gl through this method eliminates the need for additional sensors and allows the use of different types of control. For the performance analysis of the virtual sensor, the data obtained from the EKF are compared with experimental data reported in the literature, with the mean square error of the estimate then being calculated. In addition, the results of this approach can be implemented in a real system, since it only uses measurements available in a reactor such as temperature and pH. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle An Economic Assessment of Local Farm Multi-Purpose Surface Water Retention Systems under Future Climate Uncertainty
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 456; doi:10.3390/su9030456
Received: 21 November 2016 / Revised: 9 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Regions dependent on agricultural production are concerned about the uncertainty associated with climate change. Extreme drought and flooding events are predicted to occur with greater frequency, requiring mitigation strategies to reduce their negative impacts. Multi-purpose local farm water retention systems can reduce water
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Regions dependent on agricultural production are concerned about the uncertainty associated with climate change. Extreme drought and flooding events are predicted to occur with greater frequency, requiring mitigation strategies to reduce their negative impacts. Multi-purpose local farm water retention systems can reduce water stress during drought periods by supporting irrigation. The retention systems’ capture of excess spring runoff and extreme rainfall events also reduces flood potential downstream. Retention systems may also be used for biomass production and nutrient retention. A sub-watershed scale retention system was analysed using a dynamic simulation model to predict the economic advantages in the future. Irrigated crops using water from the downstream reservoir at Pelly’s Lake, Manitoba, Canada, experienced a net decrease in gross margin in the future due to the associated irrigation and reservoir infrastructure costs. However, the multi-purpose benefits of the retention system at Pelly’s Lake of avoided flood damages, nutrient retention, carbon sequestration, and biomass production provide an economic benefit of $25,507.00/hectare of retention system/year. Multi-purpose retention systems under future climate uncertainty provide economic and environmental gains when used to avoid flood damages, for nutrient retention and carbon sequestration, and biomass production. The revenue gained from these functions can support farmers willing to invest in irrigation while providing economic and environmental benefits to the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agricultural and Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Performance Evaluation of Borehole Heat Exchanger in Multilayered Subsurface
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 356; doi:10.3390/su9030356
Received: 22 January 2017 / Revised: 19 February 2017 / Accepted: 25 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
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Abstract
In layered subsurface, the soil around a vertical borehole heat exchanger (BHE) contains different geological layers. Non-uniformity and groundwater flow can affect the performance of BHE drastically. In this paper, through the field investigation of boreholes in Zhu Shan, Nanjing, China, a numerical
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In layered subsurface, the soil around a vertical borehole heat exchanger (BHE) contains different geological layers. Non-uniformity and groundwater flow can affect the performance of BHE drastically. In this paper, through the field investigation of boreholes in Zhu Shan, Nanjing, China, a numerical model considering five strata is developed. Using thermal resistance and capacity models for inside borehole and a combination of a locally refined grid for discretizing and solving the soil mass governing equations, the numerical model is calculated and validated by field test data. The maximum temperature difference never exceeds 0.3 °C. The numerical model is also compared with the homogenous finite line source (FLS) model. Based on the numerical multilayered model, the axial temperature profile at different distances under different heating times are presented and explored. After 60 days heating at the distance of 0.2 m to heat injection borehole, the maximum temperature rise is 9.2 °C in unsaturated soil layer, but the temperature rise in aquifer layer and in fractured layer are only 7.6 °C and 6.7 °C, respectively. Furthermore, two modified numerical layered models, in which the groundwater flow in aquifer or fracture layer is negligible, are established to analyze how the different layered characteristics impact on performance of BHE. The results showed that ignoring the groundwater flow in aquifer layer made the outlet temperature 0.7 °C higher than that of the original numerical layered model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Management of Animal Carcass Disposal Sites Using a Biochar Permeable Reactive Barrier and Fast Growth Tree (Populus euramericana): A Field Study in Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 457; doi:10.3390/su9030457
Received: 31 December 2016 / Revised: 1 March 2017 / Accepted: 16 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Among many disposal options of animal carcasses due to animal diseases including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza (AI), on-farm burial has been the most frequently used one in Korea. Animal carcasses generate contaminants such as ammonium-N and chloride. This study aimed at
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Among many disposal options of animal carcasses due to animal diseases including foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) and avian influenza (AI), on-farm burial has been the most frequently used one in Korea. Animal carcasses generate contaminants such as ammonium-N and chloride. This study aimed at testing biochar (BC) as a permeable reactive barrier (PRB) material in combination with fast growing tree species (Populus euramericana) to mitigate groundwater pollution from animal burial sites. For this, a PRB filled with BC was installed and 400 poplar tree (P. euramericana) seedlings were planted. Tested BC was obtained from rice husk and its efficiency to mitigate contaminant migration from a burial site of pig carcasses was tested using ammonium-N, chloride, electrical conductivity (EC), and pH as monitoring parameters. Monitoring wells downstream from the burial site were used. Leachates from a monitoring well, three wells inside the burial site close to PRB and three wells outside the burial site close to PRB were sampled and analyzed for ammonium-N, Cl, EC, and pH for four years from PRB installation. The pH, EC, and ammonium-N of leachate fluctuated during the test period depending on precipitation. pH, EC, and ammonium-N of the leachate samples collected from outside of the burial site close to PRB decreased compared to those from inside of the burial site close to PRB. The concentrations of ammonium-N in the leachate from the monitoring well kept under the threshold value of 10 mg·L−1 for two years from PRB construction. In addition, the growth of poplar plants appeared to be increased via uptaking available N and P released from the burial sites. Achieved results suggest that BC PRBs can be used to in situ mitigate contaminant release from buried animal carcasses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Management of Post-Epidemic Mass Carcasses Burial Sites)
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Open AccessArticle Performance Evaluation and Field Application of Red Clay Green Roof Vegetation Blocks for Ecological Restoration Projects
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 357; doi:10.3390/su9030357
Received: 2 January 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract
In this study, for restoration of ecological systems in buildings, porous vegetation red clay green roof blocks were designed for performance evaluation. Blast furnace slag (BFS; fine aggregates (agg.)), coarse aggregates, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fiber (hydrophilic fiber), and red clay (ecofriendly additive material)
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In this study, for restoration of ecological systems in buildings, porous vegetation red clay green roof blocks were designed for performance evaluation. Blast furnace slag (BFS; fine aggregates (agg.)), coarse aggregates, polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) fiber (hydrophilic fiber), and red clay (ecofriendly additive material) were applied to the construction of the porous vegetation red clay green roof blocks. A decrease in cement use is one way of reducing carbon emissions. To increase the water retentivity and the efficiency of roof vegetation blocks, blast furnace slag aggregates with excellent water absorptivity and polyvinyl alcohol fiber with a water absorption rate above 20% were added. In particular, the addition of polyvinyl alcohol fiber prevents performance reduction of the green roof vegetation blocks during freezing and melting in winter. Compressive strength, void ratio, and unit-mass tests were conducted to evaluate the performance of the roof vegetation blocks. After their application to roof vegetation, the effect of water purification was evaluated. According to the experimental results, the mix that satisfies the target performance of green roof vegetation blocks (compression strength above 8 MPa, void ratio above 20%, unit mass 2.0 kg/cm3 or below) is: cement = 128.95 kg/m3, BFS = 96.75 kg/m3, red clay = 96.75 kg/m3, water = 81.50 kg/m3, BFS agg. = 1450 kg/m3, PVA fiber = 1.26 kg/m3. The green roof vegetation blocks were designed using the mix that satisfied the target performance. To find the amount of attainable water due to rainfall, a rainfall meter was installed after application of the roof vegetation to measure daily rainfall and calculate the amount of attainable water. The results show that, for 1 mm of rainfall, it is possible to attain about 0.53 L of water per 1 m2. In addition, the water quality of effluents after application of roof vegetation was analyzed, and the results satisfied Class 4 of the River-life Environmental Standard for Availability of Agricultural Water. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Predictable Surprise: The Spatial and Social Morphology of Aging Suburbs in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 458; doi:10.3390/su9030458
Received: 28 January 2017 / Revised: 5 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 19 March 2017
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Abstract
Elderburbs, defined as old suburban neighborhoods in terms of their ‘built environments’ and ‘demographic structures’, have emerged prominently in academic discussion due to the social vulnerability and outdated built environments of senior dominant neighborhoods that barely meet the needs of their aging populations.
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Elderburbs, defined as old suburban neighborhoods in terms of their ‘built environments’ and ‘demographic structures’, have emerged prominently in academic discussion due to the social vulnerability and outdated built environments of senior dominant neighborhoods that barely meet the needs of their aging populations. Even though previous literature has revealed concerns about suburban decline and the growing number of seniors, these two points of interest have largely been examined in isolation from one another. Thus, this paper attempts to unveil the spatial and social morphology of Elderburbs in 20 U.S. metropolitan areas from 1990 to 2010. Elderburbs were identified by two major criteria; built year (first-generation suburbs built between 1950 and 1970) and demographic aging (based on elderly, elderly-child, and elderly dependency ratios). The findings of this study indicate that Elderburbs have increased and expanded out to suburban areas, especially in the Northeast and Midwest. On the contrary, Elderburbs in the South have decreased and moved closer to core cities. Differing from our assumptions, both Elderburbs and Elderurbans were found to be less socially vulnerable than ordinary suburban and urban neighborhoods.
Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Energy Generation from Horse Husbandry Residues by Anaerobic Digestion, Combustion, and an Integrated Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 358; doi:10.3390/su9030358
Received: 21 October 2016 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract
Horse-related activities often occur close to urban areas, where acreage for horse manure disposal is scarce, and subsequently alternative recovery options are necessary. Anaerobic digestion, direct combustion, and the integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass (IFBB) process are potential techniques
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Horse-related activities often occur close to urban areas, where acreage for horse manure disposal is scarce, and subsequently alternative recovery options are necessary. Anaerobic digestion, direct combustion, and the integrated generation of solid fuel and biogas from biomass (IFBB) process are potential techniques focusing on energy provision. In this study, samples of horse faeces were analysed for chemical composition as pure feedstock and in mixture with straw or wood shavings, as well as for energy yield by biogas production or from combustion of solid fuel. It was observed that chemical properties of faeces, in a mixture with wood shavings, were promising for direct combustion, but achieved low methane yields. The methane yield of pure faeces and the straw mixture was 222.33 ± 13.60 and 233.01 ± 31.32 lN·kg-1 volatile solids (VS)added, respectively. The IFBB process divided the biomass into a press cake with reduced mineral concentration and a press fluid. Methane yields of press fluids were low (108.2 lN·kg-1 VSadded, on average). The chemical composition of the press cake allowed for combustion and led to a higher gross energy potential than anaerobic digestion (two-fold higher for pure manure and the mixture with straw, and five-fold higher for the mixture with shavings). Consequently, the gross energy potential of IFBB is higher compared to anaerobic digestion, however it should be noted that local conditions might favour the implementation of anaerobic digestion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biomass Energy Conversion)
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Open AccessArticle Decomposition and Attribution Analysis of Industrial Carbon Intensity Changes in Xinjiang, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 459; doi:10.3390/su9030459
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Xinjiang’s industrial sector accounted for more than 80% of the total energy-related carbon emissions. A further understanding of each industrial sub-sector’s carbon intensity is very necessary to make differentiated policies and measures. This paper applied index decomposition analysis and attribution analysis to examine
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Xinjiang’s industrial sector accounted for more than 80% of the total energy-related carbon emissions. A further understanding of each industrial sub-sector’s carbon intensity is very necessary to make differentiated policies and measures. This paper applied index decomposition analysis and attribution analysis to examine the influencing factors and each sub-sector’s contributions to the changes in influencing factors. The results demonstrated the following: (1) energy intensity effect contributed most to the decreases in industrial carbon intensity, and mining and quarrying, foods and tobacco, and other manufactures were the most representative industrial sub-sectors; (2) energy structure effect showed a positive effect on industrial carbon intensity, but its effect was not significant, and fuel processing, smelting and pressing of metals, metal products, and textile were mainly responsible for the increases in energy structure effect; (3) industrial structure effect showed significant fluctuations, but its accumulative effect promoted the increases in industrial carbon intensity, and fuel processing, mining and quarrying, and textiles were the main sub-sectors, which exerted negative effects on the decreases in industrial structure effect; (4) fuel processing, smelting and pressing of metals, and mining and quarrying significantly influenced these three decomposed factors from 2000 to 2014; (5) since 2009, energy-intensive sub-sectors increased rapidly, and the energy structure was not optimized, while attention was not paid to controlling the energy efficiency, thus all decomposed factors promoted the increases in industrial carbon intensity; and (6) mining and quarrying, textiles, fuel processing, and transport equipment were primarily responsible for the increases in energy structure effect. Fuel processing, chemicals, and smelting and pressing of metals were primarily responsible for the increases in energy intensity effect. Fuel processing, chemicals, smelting and pressing of metals, and other manufactures were primarily responsible for the increases in industrial structure effect. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Patterns and Driving Forces of Greenhouse Land Change in Shouguang City, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 359; doi:10.3390/su9030359
Received: 26 August 2016 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
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Abstract
As an important facet of modern agricultural development, greenhouses satisfy ever-increasing demands for agricultural production and, therefore, constitute a growing proportion of global agriculture. However, just a handful of countries regularly collect statistics on the land cover of greenhouse infrastructure. Even when collected,
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As an important facet of modern agricultural development, greenhouses satisfy ever-increasing demands for agricultural production and, therefore, constitute a growing proportion of global agriculture. However, just a handful of countries regularly collect statistics on the land cover of greenhouse infrastructure. Even when collected, these data cannot provide the detailed spatial information required for environmental risk assessment. It is, therefore, important to map spatial changes in greenhouse land cover using remote sensing (RS) approaches to determine the underlying factors driving these changes. In this paper, we apply a support vector machine (SVM) algorithm to identify greenhouse land cover in Shouguang City, China. Enhanced thematic mapper (ETM) images were selected as the data source for land use classification in this study as they can be freely acquired and offer the necessary spatial resolution. We then used a binary logistic regression model to quantitatively discern the mechanisms underlying changes in greenhouse land cover. The results of this study show that greenhouse land cover in Shouguang increased by 50.51% between 2000 and 2015, and that 90.39% of this expansion took place between 2010 and 2015. Elevation, slope, precipitation, and the distance to the nearest rural settlements and coastline are all significant factors driving expansion in greenhouse land cover, while distance to the nearest urban areas, rivers, roads, railways, and coastline have contributed to contractions in this land use type. Our research provided a practical approach to allow the detection of changes in greenhouse land cover in the countries with using free or low-cost satellite images. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Global Warming and Sea Level Rise on Service Life of Chloride-Exposed Concrete Structures
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 460; doi:10.3390/su9030460
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 10 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Global warming will increase the rate of chloride ingress and the rate of steel corrosion of concrete structures. Furthermore, in coastal (atmospheric marine) zones, sea level rise will reduce the distance of concrete structures from the coast and increase the surface chloride content.
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Global warming will increase the rate of chloride ingress and the rate of steel corrosion of concrete structures. Furthermore, in coastal (atmospheric marine) zones, sea level rise will reduce the distance of concrete structures from the coast and increase the surface chloride content. This study proposes a probabilistic model for analyzing the effects of global warming and sea level rise on the service life of coastal concrete structures. First, in the corrosion initiation stage, an improved chloride diffusion model is proposed to determine chloride concentration. The Monte Carlo method is employed to calculate the service life in the corrosion initiation stage; Second, in the corrosion propagation stage, a numerical model is proposed to calculate the rate of corrosion, probability of corrosion cracking, and service life. Third, overall service life is determined as the sum of service life in the corrosion initiation and corrosion propagation stages. After considering the impacts of global warming and sea level rise, the analysis results show that for concrete structures having a service life of 50 years, the service life decreases by about 5%. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Cross-Border Cooperation (CBC) in Southern Europe—An Iberian Case Study. The Eurocity Elvas-Badajoz
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 360; doi:10.3390/su9030360
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
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Abstract
The experiences of cross-border cooperation (CBC), undertaken not only in Europe but throughout the world, have enabled areas to gain greater importance in recent decades at an international level, showing potential for integrative functions and joint development as exemplified by several CBC projects.
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The experiences of cross-border cooperation (CBC), undertaken not only in Europe but throughout the world, have enabled areas to gain greater importance in recent decades at an international level, showing potential for integrative functions and joint development as exemplified by several CBC projects. The present paper assesses the impact of CBC projects by analyzing a protocol established in 2013 between the cities of Elvas and Badajoz, which induced the creation of the Eurocity Elvas-Badajoz. The paper kicks off with a critical review on territorial factors for success in CBC areas, considering the analysis of several case studies throughout Europe. The lessons learned, taken from the analyzed case studies, and the identified territorial success factors were used as assessment points for the investigation of the target study area, the Eurocity ElvasBadajoz. The investigation explores public participation perceptions towards the identification of what changes with respect to standards of life with the CBC project, providing the current state of affairs and identifying where to place efforts in order to reach sustainable development for the region. While being a transition area, it presents several opportunities for growth. These opportunities have not yet been object of analysis and debate with respect to lasting, sustainable successful growth. The present research enables the identification of several territorial factors for success in the study area, such as the connectivity/movement between cities and strong political commitment. From the identified critical factors, it was possible to highlight the importance of public transportation as a priority for achieving success in this CBC project. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Carbon Emission Evaluation for an Integrated Logistics System—A Case Study of the Port of Shenzhen
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 462; doi:10.3390/su9030462
Received: 6 December 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
The port is an important node in logistics, and its energy consumption constitutes a considerable proportion of the transportation industry. In port logistics, not only does the energy consumption generate carbon emissions, but other business activities do as well. This paper firstly characterizes
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The port is an important node in logistics, and its energy consumption constitutes a considerable proportion of the transportation industry. In port logistics, not only does the energy consumption generate carbon emissions, but other business activities do as well. This paper firstly characterizes the sources of carbon emissions and the basic elements in the port system, and proposes the concept of a port-integrated logistics system. Secondly, a case study of The Port of Shenzhen is conducted and a method is provided to measure the carbon emissions in the port-integrated logistics system. This paper then suggests two approaches to reducing carbon emissions, and their economic and environmental benefits are compared. Finally, some policies are put forward to reduce carbon emissions, such as improving the efficiency of loading and unloading, and replacing the heavy fuel oil by low sulfur fuel oil and shore power. The proposed method of carbon emission reduction for port-integrated logistics systems can be generalized for the analysis of various types of ports. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Conceptual Framework for Classification Management of Contaminated Sites in Guangzhou, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 362; doi:10.3390/su9030362
Received: 18 January 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 1 March 2017
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Abstract
Contaminated sites have become a worldwide issue because of significant environmental and health risks to users of the land. With the aim of synthesizing useful services delivered by land reuse for environmental, social and economic benefits, effective management measures have been taken nationally
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Contaminated sites have become a worldwide issue because of significant environmental and health risks to users of the land. With the aim of synthesizing useful services delivered by land reuse for environmental, social and economic benefits, effective management measures have been taken nationally and regionally to rehabilitate contaminated sites. The unacceptable risks, large number of contaminated sites and urgent demand for land supply make it necessary to centralize limited resources within contaminated sites. In reference to the classification rationale in developed countries trying to deal with contaminated sites in an integrated, saving and timely manner, we design a conceptual framework that considers the unique context in China. We classify contaminated sites in five steps, namely: listing, investigating, filing, classifying and managing. Based on the classification results, effective suggestions are proposed for graded and classified management and further decision-making at the highest level of design. The results show that potential contaminated sites can be divided into high, medium and low priority based on four factors (social concern, redevelopment demand, health risk and ecological risk). Site-specific management strategies focusing on environmental monitoring, detailed site survey and immediate remediation, respectively, are suggested that focus on corresponding contaminated sites in different priorities. The feasibility and reliability of the proposed framework are further discussed in the final section. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Rediscovering Rural Territories by Means of Religious Route Planning
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 363; doi:10.3390/su9030363
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 22 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
Since ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important expression of faith because slow-paced traveling, physical effort, and a closer relationship with nature favor introspection. Protecting pilgrimage routes means transforming them into a medium to rediscover and guide landscape development while avoiding possible speculative
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Since ancient times, pilgrimages have been an important expression of faith because slow-paced traveling, physical effort, and a closer relationship with nature favor introspection. Protecting pilgrimage routes means transforming them into a medium to rediscover and guide landscape development while avoiding possible speculative drifts. Such an approach is particularly important in rural areas often relegated to a marginal role in planning strategies, but frequently traversed by these itineraries. This paper deals with pilgrimage routes in Sardinia (Italy) and their chance to become an integral part of composite territorial infrastructures for triggering regeneration processes in rural areas. First, we introduce the topic with reference to planning literature and various case studies. Then, we select four pilgrimage itineraries that extend through different parts of the island, and compare them using a set of indicators regarding landscape, accessibility, visibility, equipment, planning, and management. A composite index has been developed to classify paths with respect to their potential to become part of a system of greenways, providing facilities and benefits to surrounding areas. The analysis highlights the strengths and weaknesses of local realities. It underlines factors, such as intrinsic characteristics of territories, local management, and decision-making circumstances, which affect trail potentialities to activate greenway projects to trace a new development perspective for rural areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Political Response to Foot-and-Mouth Disease: A Review of Korean News
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 463; doi:10.3390/su9030463
Received: 9 November 2016 / Revised: 11 March 2017 / Accepted: 15 March 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
The 2010/2011 foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Korea produced about 4500 burial sites for 3.5 million animal carcasses, which can be summarized as quick, mass burials, at or near the outbreak farms. An FMD outbreak has occurred nearly every year since the big
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The 2010/2011 foot-and-mouth disease (FMD) outbreak in Korea produced about 4500 burial sites for 3.5 million animal carcasses, which can be summarized as quick, mass burials, at or near the outbreak farms. An FMD outbreak has occurred nearly every year since the big outbreak, although the sizes of these outbreaks have been small. This article presents the rationale behind government policies for FMD outbreaks and disposal sites, the secrecy of the government administration and the neglect of scientific data. We compared government news announcements with news from the non-governmental sector by analyzing all the news for FMD and disposal sites from 29 October 2010, the first day of the big outbreak to August 2016. We found that the Korean response to the FMD outbreak originated from political purposes. We present four rationales for our arguments including: (1) a military collision between North and South of Korea; (2) the reformation of four big rivers; (3) the incident at the Fukushima Atomic Energy Plant of Japan; and (4) the national elections. We believe that the next response should be based on scientific data and proof, and also from the environmental perspective, not the political or industry perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Management of Post-Epidemic Mass Carcasses Burial Sites)
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Open AccessArticle Formulating Assessment Indices and Strategies for the Transition to Local Industrial Development in Taoyuan City, Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 364; doi:10.3390/su9030364
Received: 26 October 2016 / Revised: 25 February 2017 / Accepted: 27 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
Local industries are crucial for enhancing urban competitiveness and are closely related to national economic performance. To sustainably develop local industries, a set of assessment indices should be formulated in addition to factors such as geographical environments, cultural history, development processes, and industrial
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Local industries are crucial for enhancing urban competitiveness and are closely related to national economic performance. To sustainably develop local industries, a set of assessment indices should be formulated in addition to factors such as geographical environments, cultural history, development processes, and industrial structures for governments to promote development policies while satisfying the goal of sustainable industrial development. This study first adopted the fuzzy Delphi method to construct the indices for assessing local industrial development, referred to the action plans for the six key industries formulated by the Executive Yuan of Taiwan, and subsequently integrated the analytic hierarchy process and analytic network process to determine the order of priority for policies facilitating local industrial development for future reference. The results indicated that infrastructure, innovative research and development, and government policies are crucial bases for local industrial development. Furthermore, this study adopted Taoyuan to verify these indices and compiled expert suggestions to indicate that the government should prioritize the development of the biotechnology, green energy, and medical care industries. When developing local industries in the future, a set of assessment standards and policy analyses should be established for the government to enhance local industrial development and thus increase international competitive advantages by fully ascertaining the factors for industrial success and the characteristics of local advantages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Trade, Tarsands and Treaties: The Political Economy Context of Community Energy in Canada
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 464; doi:10.3390/su9030464
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 28 February 2017 / Published: 20 March 2017
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Abstract
Governments today are increasingly looking to non-state and bottom up community actors to help achieve climate change mitigation targets. Canada is a resource rich state with one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas footprints in the world. It is also a state
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Governments today are increasingly looking to non-state and bottom up community actors to help achieve climate change mitigation targets. Canada is a resource rich state with one of the highest per capita greenhouse gas footprints in the world. It is also a state where issues of political will, geographic scale and incumbent industries contribute to a challenging context for broad community participation. Despite this, a long history of co-operative and municipal activity exists in the energy sector, exhibited in diverse ways across its provinces and territories. Provincial variation in energy sources and actors illustrates a far more nuanced picture than exists at the national level, providing a case rich with both promising and cautionary tales for the community energy sector. This article examines the emergence of community energy in the context of broader energy sector moves towards increasingly powerful trade agreements, privatization, and conflicts over Indigenous rights in Canada. It argues that significant potential exists to strengthen the role of local actors in Canadian energy governance, but that macro-level political and economic developments have also created significant challenges for widespread community energy transitions. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Geographic Information System (GIS)-Based Analysis of Social Capital Data: Landscape Factors That Correlate with Trust
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 365; doi:10.3390/su9030365
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 24 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
The field of community sociology has yielded rich insights on how neighborhoods and individuals foster social capital and reap the benefits of interpersonal relationships and institutions alike. Traditionally, institutions and cultural factors have been lauded as catalysts of community social life and cohesion.
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The field of community sociology has yielded rich insights on how neighborhoods and individuals foster social capital and reap the benefits of interpersonal relationships and institutions alike. Traditionally, institutions and cultural factors have been lauded as catalysts of community social life and cohesion. Yet, the built environment and configuration of the landscape, including infrastructure, amenities and population density, may also contribute to community social capital. In this article, we embedded zip code-level responses from Harvard University’s Saguaro Seminar’s 2006 Social Capital Community Benchmark Survey with a geographic information system. Specifically, we correlated responses on residents’ general trust, trust of one’s neighbors, and trust of members of other racial groups with local urban environmental factors and infrastructural indicators such as housing and street conditions, land use, city form, amenity access (e.g., libraries and schools), home vacancy rates, and home value. We conducted these tests at the national level and for Rochester, NY, due to its many survey responses. We found that housing vacancies drive down levels of social trust, as captured by homeownership rates and tenure, yielding higher levels of social trust, and that certain urban facilities correlate with high trust among neighbors. Results can inform urban planners on the amenities that support sustainable community ties. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Ecosystems and Society in the Context of Big and New Data)
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Open AccessArticle Ethical Climate and Job Attitude in Fashion Retail Employees’ Turnover Intention, and Perceived Organizational Sustainability Performance: A Cross-Sectional Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 465; doi:10.3390/su9030465
Received: 7 November 2016 / Revised: 3 March 2017 / Accepted: 14 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
The relationship between the fashion retail industry’s working environment and the high rate of employee turnover has been highlighted as one of the key concerns for negative organizational performance in both the short and long term. This relationship creates a need to investigate
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The relationship between the fashion retail industry’s working environment and the high rate of employee turnover has been highlighted as one of the key concerns for negative organizational performance in both the short and long term. This relationship creates a need to investigate the ethical climate within fashion retail businesses, employees’ attitudes toward their jobs, and employees’ turnover intention, as these factors can influence organizations’ performance including their likelihood of achieving the triple bottom lines of sustainability. Based on social exchange and human and social capital theories, this study investigated how employees’ ethical climate and turnover intention are affected by both individual- and organizational-level factors, and their impact on the triple bottom lines of organizational sustainability performance. This study empirically tested a structural model based on the survey responses from 278 U.S. fashion retail employees. The findings show that an ethical climate can enhance employees’ job attitude as well as all three dimensions of organizational sustainability performance—financial, social, and environmental. Creating an ethical climate in an organization can decrease employees’ turnover intention, but also employees’ attitudes towards their jobs lowers their turnover intention. The study’s findings reveal that not only can employees’ attitudes toward their jobs impact organizational sustainability performance, but creating an ethical working environment is another important way to improve organizational sustainability performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in the Textile and Apparel Supply Chains)
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Open AccessArticle Identification of Non-economic Influencing Factors Affecting Farmer’s Participation in the Paddy Landto-Dry Land Program in Chicheng County, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 366; doi:10.3390/su9030366
Received: 27 December 2016 / Accepted: 23 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
There is global enthusiasm for payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs to solve environmental problems, including in China. However, PES programs in China go against the principle of ‘voluntary transaction’, which weakens the influences of economic factors on farmers’ participation decisions and makes
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There is global enthusiasm for payments for ecosystem services (PES) programs to solve environmental problems, including in China. However, PES programs in China go against the principle of ‘voluntary transaction’, which weakens the influences of economic factors on farmers’ participation decisions and makes it hard to reveal their influence on farmers’ participation willingness. Using household survey data and a logistic regression model, this study attempts to understand the influencing factors of farmers’ decision-making on involvement in PES projects for hypothetical voluntary participation and focuses on whether the farmer would reject the program if the payment stopped. A surprising but promising result is found in the case of the Paddy Landto-Dry Land (PLDL) program in Chicheng County, China, wherein, apart from the negative impact of education and the positive effect of off-farm income, two non-economic factors play a significant role in farmers’ participation. The one is basic cognition, which negatively affects farmers’ participation, and the other is inner altruistic motivation, which positively contributes to the participation. In addition, the high proportion of reconversion to paddy land after the payment period threatens the long-term sustainability of the PLDL program. Faced with the low education and environmental cognition statuses in remote agricultural areas, increasing educational quality and promoting the popular awareness of PES programs in rural areas should be highlighted in sustaining the efficiency and effectiveness of PES programs in the long run. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Major Grassland Conservation Programs Implemented in Inner Mongolia since 2000 on Vegetation Restoration and Natural and Anthropogenic Disturbances to Their Success
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 466; doi:10.3390/su9030466
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 4 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
Several grassland conservation programs aiming to relieve grazing pressure have been implemented in Inner Mongolia since 2000 to reverse grassland degradation and protect local and regional environments. Previous studies on the effects of these programs usually used small-scale data generated from field experiments
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Several grassland conservation programs aiming to relieve grazing pressure have been implemented in Inner Mongolia since 2000 to reverse grassland degradation and protect local and regional environments. Previous studies on the effects of these programs usually used small-scale data generated from field experiments and household surveys, inhibiting the discovery of large-scale effects due to spatial heterogeneity. For a typical study region in Xilingol League, we used fixed-effects models and a panel dataset at the county level from 1998 to 2013 to examine the effects of two programs, namely, the Beijing–Tianjin Wind/Sand Source Control Program and the Ecological Subsidy and Award System and other drivers on vegetation rehabilitation. The modeling results suggested that the programs had a positive but delayed impact on grassland vegetation rehabilitation. Enrollment in the two programs in a specific year was predicted to increase the vegetation index value by amounts equivalent to 186 mm and 98 mm more annual precipitation after two years, respectively (p < 0.01). Fixed effects (including site factors and land use history) had a greater effect, hence the design and implementation of government conservation policies should be context-based. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Transmission Algorithm with QoS Considerations for a Sustainable MPEG Streaming Service
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 367; doi:10.3390/su9030367
Received: 23 December 2016 / Accepted: 25 February 2017 / Published: 2 March 2017
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Abstract
With the proliferation of heterogeneous networks, there is a need to provide multimedia stream services in a sustainable manner. It is especially critical to maintain the Quality of Service (QoS) standards. Existing multimedia streaming services have been studied to guarantee QoS on the
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With the proliferation of heterogeneous networks, there is a need to provide multimedia stream services in a sustainable manner. It is especially critical to maintain the Quality of Service (QoS) standards. Existing multimedia streaming services have been studied to guarantee QoS on the receiving side. QoS has not been ensured due to the fact that the loss of streaming data to be transmitted has not been considered in network conditions. With an algorithm that considers the QoS and can reduce the overhead of the network, it will be possible to reduce the transmission error and wastage of communication network resources. In this paper, we propose a scheme that improves the reliability of multimedia transmissions by using an adaptive algorithm that switches between UDP (User Datagram Protocol) and TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) based on the size of the data. In addition, we present a method that retransmits essential portions of the multimedia data, thus improving transmission efficiency. We simulate an MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group) stream service and evaluate the performance of the proposed adaptive MPEG stream service. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced IT based Future Sustainable Computing)
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Open AccessArticle Making Sense of Sustainability: A Practice Theories Approach to Buying Food
Sustainability 2017, 9(3), 467; doi:10.3390/su9030467
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 16 March 2017 / Accepted: 17 March 2017 / Published: 21 March 2017
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Abstract
In light of global climate change the relevance of sustainable food consumption is growing, yet access to it has not correspondingly developed. This paper addresses the issue of accessing sustainable food from a practice theories perspective. The case of students in Paris is
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In light of global climate change the relevance of sustainable food consumption is growing, yet access to it has not correspondingly developed. This paper addresses the issue of accessing sustainable food f