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Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 8 (August 2017)

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Open AccessArticle Influence of Mechanically Activated Electric Arc Furnace Slag on Compressive Strength of Mortars Incorporating Curing Moisture and Temperature Effects
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1178; doi:10.3390/su9081178
Received: 25 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
In this study, the influence of mechanically activated electric arc furnace slag (EAFS) was investigated through compressive strength tests on 50 mm mortar cubes. The objective was to convert the wasteful EAFS into a useful binding material to reduce the cement content in
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In this study, the influence of mechanically activated electric arc furnace slag (EAFS) was investigated through compressive strength tests on 50 mm mortar cubes. The objective was to convert the wasteful EAFS into a useful binding material to reduce the cement content in concrete without compromising strength and economy. Four different groups of mortar were cast which include control mortar, reference fly ash mortar, mortar containing EAFS to determine its optimum fineness and replacement with cement, mortar blend containing fly ash and EAFS of optimum fineness. EAFS were identified with respect to its fineness as slag ground (SG), slag-fine (SF) 100% passing 75 µm sieve, and slag-super-fine (SSF) 100% passing 45 µm sieve. Compressive strength was measured according to ASTM C109. Specimens were cured under different temperatures and moisture to incorporate the effects of normal and hot environmental conditions. Compressive strength of mortars increases with fineness of EAFS and its strength activity index matches the ASTM C989 blast furnace slag (BFS) Grade 80 up to 30% cement substitution and Grade 100 when 10% cement substituted with SSF. The influence of curing temperatures was also significant in mortars containing SG or 10% SF where strength decreased with increasing curing temperature. However, a 20–30% and 20% cement substitution with SF produced strength comparable to control and reference fly ash mortars under moderate (40 °C) and high curing temperature (60 °C), respectively. The utilization of EAFS as binder in concrete may reduce needs for cement, as well as save environment and natural resources from depletion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Ecological Environmental Quality in a Coal Mining Area by Modelling Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1265; doi:10.3390/su9081265
Received: 21 April 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 11 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study was to explore the effective method of the comprehensive evaluation of ecological environmental quality in a coal mining area. Firstly, we analyzed the ecological environmental effect of the coal mining area according to Pigovian Tax theory and, according
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The purpose of this study was to explore the effective method of the comprehensive evaluation of ecological environmental quality in a coal mining area. Firstly, we analyzed the ecological environmental effect of the coal mining area according to Pigovian Tax theory and, according to the results of the analysis and the demand for the selection of evaluation indices by the comprehensive evaluation, built the corresponding comprehensive evaluation index system. We then used the correlation function method to determine the relative weights of each index. We determined the basic standards of a comprehensive evaluation of ecological environmental quality in a coal mining area according to the actual situation of ecological environmental quality assessments in coal mining areas in our country and the relevant provisions of the government. On this basis, we built the two-level extension comprehensive evaluation model for the evaluation of ecological environmental quality in mining areas. Finally, we chose a certain coal mining area of Yanzhou Coal Mining Company Limited as the specific case. We used the relevant statistic data, technical and economic indices and the extension evaluation model to do the applied research of the comprehensive evaluation and tested the effectiveness of the comprehensive evaluation model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use in China)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring the Coordinated Development of Ecological and Economic Systems in Hengduan Mountain Area
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1270; doi:10.3390/su9081270
Received: 26 May 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 14 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
With the expansion of the concept of sustainable development, it has become increasingly important to investigate the means for achieving sustainable eco-economic development. On the basis of Landsat imagery of Hengduan Mountain area of China acquired in 1990, 2000, and 2010, we analyzed
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With the expansion of the concept of sustainable development, it has become increasingly important to investigate the means for achieving sustainable eco-economic development. On the basis of Landsat imagery of Hengduan Mountain area of China acquired in 1990, 2000, and 2010, we analyzed the coordination relationships, evolution characteristics, and aggregation modes of the economy and ecology in this region using ecosystem service value (ESV) and ecological economic harmony (eco-economic harmony, EEH) models. The following results were obtained. (1) There was a significant transition in land cover, wherein grassland increased the most and farmland decreased the most, by 1.18 × 104 km2 and 9.41 × 103 km2, respectively. These trends were related to urban expansion and the implementation of ecological measures; (2) From 1990 to 2000, there was a deterioration in the ecological system, whereas after 2000, the ecosystem improved due to implementation of the Chinese government’s “Returning Farmland to Forest (Grassland)” scheme, thereby illustrating the importance of forest to ecosystem stability; (3) Spatially, the EEH index showed a dual-core structure centered on a low conflict zone and potential crisis zone, which signified that there was a trend of coordinated development between the economy and ecology; however, this was not stable; (4) There were four types of EEH evolution zones—low conflict, potential crisis, slight improvement, and significant improvement zones—of which the improvement zones accounted for 55.15% of the area, thereby indicating that over time the economy has played a positive role in shaping the ecological environment; (5) The spatial aggregation modes of EEH evolution were band coordinated mode, group uncoordinated mode and group improvement mode, which meant the relationship of ecology and economy was always in lowest coordinated state in a banded form, in uncoordinated state and a significant increase in a block form, respectively. These modes were intended to provide a reference for the sustainable development in southwest China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Are Spatial Planning Objectives Reflected in the Evolution of Urban Landscape Patterns? A Framework for the Evaluation of Spatial Planning Outcomes
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1279; doi:10.3390/su9081279
Received: 10 May 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
The evaluation of spatial planning results, or outcomes, has been rather neglected by scholars and practitioners. The causes of this neglect are linked to the characteristics of the planning systems in use or difficulties in quantifying results. To advance the state of the
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The evaluation of spatial planning results, or outcomes, has been rather neglected by scholars and practitioners. The causes of this neglect are linked to the characteristics of the planning systems in use or difficulties in quantifying results. To advance the state of the art of outcome evaluation, this paper focuses on assessing the implementation of national spatial planning objectives in urban landscapes through the use of an evaluation framework, which makes use of spatially explicit information. The framework is built around four dimensions, which reflect the main domains of spatial planning: efficient built-up development, conservation of agricultural land, landscape preservation and human perception. Indicators that are capable of capturing landscape changes in both time and space are used to verify the degree of conformance between adopted objectives and actual development patterns. We make use of spatially explicit data, as well as assess whether and where landscape changes occurred, by integrating the framework into a multi-criteria analysis. In the present study, the framework is tested in two study areas located in Switzerland and Romania, while the results are interpreted from the perspective of spatial planning approaches in the two countries. The efficiency and utility of the framework are demonstrated by the ability to provide valuable information that facilitates improvement in the performance of planning processes, such as identifying where the implementation of objectives is less effective, and the domains of affected spatial planning. Our findings indicate that the distance between objectives and outcomes can be attributed to differences in countries’ spatial planning approaches, which should also be placed into the wider economic, institutional and legislative context. Our study provides valuable insights for the integration of time series of spatial data into the evaluation procedure. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Scenario-Based Simulation on Dynamics of Land-Use-Land-Cover Change in Punjab Province, Pakistan
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1285; doi:10.3390/su9081285
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
The dramatic changes in land use are associated with various influencing factors such as socioeconomic, climatic, geophysical and proximity factors. Hence, understanding the driving mechanisms of land use changes is crucial to determine the pattern of future changes in land use. The aim
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The dramatic changes in land use are associated with various influencing factors such as socioeconomic, climatic, geophysical and proximity factors. Hence, understanding the driving mechanisms of land use changes is crucial to determine the pattern of future changes in land use. The aim of this study is to project the future land use and land cover changes from 2010 to 2030 in Punjab province under three scenarios: Business-as-Usual scenario (BAU), Rapid Economic Growth scenario (REG) and Coordinated Environmental Sustainability scenario (CES). This article used the previously developed Dynamics of Land System (DLS) model to simulate the land use changes in response to the driving mechanisms. The results indicate that cultivated land and built-up areas would expand while areas of water and grassland would face contraction under all three scenarios. Nevertheless, future land demand varies in different scenarios. Under the CES scenario; forest area would expand in the future while large reduction in unused land would be observed. Under the REG scenario, augmented expansion of built-up areas and drastic decrease in forest areas would be the main features of land use changes. Our findings in the scenario analysis of land use changes can provide a reference case for sustainable land use planning and management in Punjab province. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Assessment of Land Use and Land Cover)
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Open AccessArticle Conservation Policy-Community Conflicts: A Case Study from Bogda Nature Reserve, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1291; doi:10.3390/su9081291
Received: 18 June 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Bogda Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site (WHS) in Xinjiang, China. Potential conflicts between community development and heritage conservation are important topics to study and may have an impact on the sustainable development of heritage sites. In this study, we conducted a
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Bogda Nature Reserve is a World Heritage Site (WHS) in Xinjiang, China. Potential conflicts between community development and heritage conservation are important topics to study and may have an impact on the sustainable development of heritage sites. In this study, we conducted a survey with the community residents of the Bogda Nature Reserve to examine major potential conflicts arising from local residents’ perceptions regarding conservation policy and its interventions. The results indicated that the local community supports heritage conservation and development, but they expressed negative attitudes towards their present living conditions, especially due to policy-induced loss of benefits. Through the research, three major conflicts were identified: (1) a divergence in residents’ awareness of the WHS designation and the conservation policy (grazing restriction policy); (2) negative changes in living conditions compared to before the WHS designation; (3) the degradation of well-being caused by tourism. In addition, expectations from residents were combined to assess the implications for the present situation and advise on conservation plans to facilitate sustainable management in Bogda. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment, Tourism and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Climatic and Environmental Changes Affecting Communities in Atlantic Canada
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1293; doi:10.3390/su9081293
Received: 2 July 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Small rural coastal communities located in Atlantic Canada are vulnerable to the effects of climate and environmental changes. Major storms have impounded the coastline, causing much physical damage and affecting the socioeconomics of these communities that are composed of an aging population. The
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Small rural coastal communities located in Atlantic Canada are vulnerable to the effects of climate and environmental changes. Major storms have impounded the coastline, causing much physical damage and affecting the socioeconomics of these communities that are composed of an aging population. The current study relays findings based on interviews completed in 2011–2012, following the 2010 winter storms in Atlantic Canada. It portrays the physical and social–ecological impacts affecting 10 coastal communities located in the provinces of Québec, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island. Semi-structured interviews held in these provinces are the basis for the contributions of this research. The findings reveal physical changes related to coastal erosion from high-wave impacts and storm surge causing flooding of the coastal zone. Also considered are strategies preferred and actually implemented by residents, such as building of protection walls, although undesirable. Due to funding constraints, however, many of these large-scale flood protection projects are not possible without governmental support. Instead, it is suggested that development be controlled and some respondents in this study upheld that relocation be used to alleviate the situation. Finally, more work is required to improve emergency planning. Better concerted short- and long-term responses need to be coordinated by local authorities and higher up in the government in order to ensure the sustainability of these coastal communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Physical Geography and Environmental Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Worldwide Research on Energy Efficiency and Sustainability in Public Buildings
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1294; doi:10.3390/su9081294
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
The present study details the significant contribution that different international institutions have made to the field of sustainability and energy efficiency, with a focus on public buildings. This has been achieved by making use of the database Scopus, by applying bibliometric techniques and
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The present study details the significant contribution that different international institutions have made to the field of sustainability and energy efficiency, with a focus on public buildings. This has been achieved by making use of the database Scopus, by applying bibliometric techniques and by analyzing the contents of articles published from 1976 to 2016. All the materials included in the analysis have been reported from Scopus. Several key aspects of the publications have been considered such as document type, language, subject area, journal type and keywords. Sustainable Development, Sustainability, Energy Conservation, Energy Efficiency and Buildings have been verified as the most used keywords. The obtained contributions have been classified geographically and by institution, with the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Australia and Italy being the leading research countries and Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Delft University of Technology and Tsinghua University the top contributing institutions. The most active categories in those fields are engineering, social sciences and environmental issues in that order. It can be assumed that the study of sustainability and energy efficiency across all its dimensions is of great interest for the scientific community. The global environmental issue has led many countries to incorporate a wide range of Energy Efficiency (EE) strategies in order to reduce energy consumption in public buildings, a highly valued aspect by European Union energy labelling. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Mapping and Quantifying Spatial and Temporal Dynamics and Bundles of Travel Flows of Residents Visiting Urban Parks
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1296; doi:10.3390/su9081296
Received: 28 May 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
Understanding the spatial and temporal movement patterns of residents visiting urban parks is essential to link park use with human well-being. There has been increasing interest recently in quantifying travel behaviors, but most studies have focused on flows of commuters within cities or
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Understanding the spatial and temporal movement patterns of residents visiting urban parks is essential to link park use with human well-being. There has been increasing interest recently in quantifying travel behaviors, but most studies have focused on flows of commuters within cities or tourists flows between cities. Actual, specific spatial and temporal connections between urban parks and residents within cities are still poorly understood. Here, we present an approach to take different types of travel flows into account when mapping and quantifying the spatial delivery and temporal dynamics of specific travel flows. This approach is based on empirical investigation of individuals’ movements from their homes to parks and online map navigation technology. The flow maps we generated capture key travel flow patterns, addressing where, which, when, and how much they were associated with the use of recreational service provided by urban parks in Wuhan, China, during the summers of 2015 and 2016. Such maps may aid efforts to restore or improve the efficiency of park access and use. We also examined bundles of these spatial and temporal flows, and show that similar transport conditions were important for bundling spatial flows, while temporal flow bundles were significantly related to spatial features. These findings could help to reveal potential trade-offs and synergies of travel flows associated with space and time constraints and facilitate exploration of policy alternatives for equitable and efficient use of urban park systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Trend Analysis of Construction Industrial Accidents in Korea from 2011 to 2015
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1297; doi:10.3390/su9081297
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 22 July 2017 / Published: 25 July 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to analyze the results of construction accidents occurred from 2011 to 2015 in Korea. The annual reports from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea (MOEL), and the annual reports from the Statistics Korea were used for
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The purpose of this study is to analyze the results of construction accidents occurred from 2011 to 2015 in Korea. The annual reports from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, Korea (MOEL), and the annual reports from the Statistics Korea were used for the analysis in this study. The gender, age, company size and accident types were chosen as a category to analyze the trend of various occupational accidents. In order to analyze the characteristics of construction accidents, incidence rates (IRs) and mortality rates (MRs) were calculated. Further, T-tests and ANOVA analysis were performed to discover the relationships among IRs, MRs, and chosen categories. Male workers’ IRs and MRs were significantly higher than those of female workers. Construction workers over 40 years of age suffered the most from occupational injuries. In terms of company size, as company size increases, both IRs and MRs tended to decrease. Occupational injuries caused by falls were higher than other accident types each year. This paper will be able to provide information on occupational accidents for establishing strategies to reduce the accident rate in construction sectors of Korea. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment and Management)
Open AccessArticle Variation in the Characteristics of Everyday Life and Meaning of Urban Housing Due to the Transition of Social Structure: Focusing on Articles Published in Lifestyle Magazines
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1298; doi:10.3390/su9081298
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 15 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
The patterns and characteristics of everyday life have been changing according to changes in social structure. However, South Korean apartment complexes as a representative urban housing type are still based on the Western tradition of modern working-class housing, and have been commodified in
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The patterns and characteristics of everyday life have been changing according to changes in social structure. However, South Korean apartment complexes as a representative urban housing type are still based on the Western tradition of modern working-class housing, and have been commodified in the context of consumer capitalism. Therefore, this research explores the contemporary lifestyles that should be supported in urban housing by analyzing the articles of lifestyle magazines. Based on this analysis, we derived the changed patterns of contemporary lifestyles in terms of residents’ characteristics, the relationship between individuals and family, the relationship between house and workplace, and the pursuing direction of residential space planning. These results can contribute to discover the contemporary characteristics of everyday life and its lifestyle; define the changed meaning of urban housing; and reduce the gap between living space and their lives for urban and social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Two Soil Fertility Indexes to Evaluate Paddy Fields for Rice Cultivation
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1299; doi:10.3390/su9081299
Received: 29 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Assessing soil fertility is essential to help identify strategies with less environmental impact in order to achieve more sustainable agricultural systems. The main objective of this research was to assess two soil fertility evaluation approaches in paddy fields for rice cultivation, in order
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Assessing soil fertility is essential to help identify strategies with less environmental impact in order to achieve more sustainable agricultural systems. The main objective of this research was to assess two soil fertility evaluation approaches in paddy fields for rice cultivation, in order to develop a user-friendly and credible soil fertility index (SFI). The Square-Root method was used as a parametric approach, while the Joint Fuzzy Membership functions as a fuzzy method with adapted criteria definition tables, were used to compute SFI. Results indicated that both of the methods determined the major soil limiting factors for rice cultivation clearly, and soil fertility maps established using GIS (Geographic Information System) could be helpful for decision makers. The coefficients of determination (R2) for the linear regression between the two SFI values and rice yields were relatively high (0.63 and 0.61, respectively). Additionally, the two SFI were significantly correlated to each other (r = 0.68, p < 0.05). The study results demonstrated that both of the methods provide reliable and valuable information. Compared to the fuzzy method, the procedure of the parametric method is easier but may be expensive and time-consuming. However, the fuzzy method, with carefully chosen indicators, can adequately evaluate soil fertility and provide useful information for decision making. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Longitudinal Study of the Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Firm Performance in SMEs in Zambia
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1300; doi:10.3390/su9081300
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of corporate social responsibility on firm performance using a longitudinal design in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The reported study was conducted in a Sub-Saharan African developing country, Zambia. Data were collected from
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The aim of this study is to investigate the impact of corporate social responsibility on firm performance using a longitudinal design in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The reported study was conducted in a Sub-Saharan African developing country, Zambia. Data were collected from 153 entrepreneurs in two surveys and changes in CSR and firm performance measures were analysed over a 12-month period using SmartPLS structural equation modelling. The findings show that the relationship between CSR and financial performance is significant. Further, the association between CSR and the two measures of firm performance (corporate reputation and employee commitment) was only partially significant over time. We discuss the relevance of these results for entrepreneurs, researchers and policy makers in understanding the outcomes of sustainability practices in SMEs in developing countries, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 6th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Types of Green Innovations: Ways of Implementation in a Non-Green Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1301; doi:10.3390/su9081301
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Attention to environmental sustainability represents an essential issue for the companies that, in order to integrate environment into their strategies, are producing specific innovations that have also positive environmental outcomes. Implementing green innovations represents a great challenge for non-green companies because it often
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Attention to environmental sustainability represents an essential issue for the companies that, in order to integrate environment into their strategies, are producing specific innovations that have also positive environmental outcomes. Implementing green innovations represents a great challenge for non-green companies because it often requires the acquisition of new resources and competences that differ significantly from their existing competences. This paper attempts to propose a theoretical framework that classifies green innovations according their impact on company’s competences and analyses how green innovations can be implemented. Given the complexity of the issue and the variability of situations, we use a multiple case study analysis of several green innovations developed in a non-green industry, namely the automotive sector. Indeed, this is one that produces the highest environmental impact and, in recent years, it has been subjected to increasing regulatory restrictions. Companies operating in a non-green industry that implement disruptive, radical and architectural green innovations can initiate market and technological partnerships to mitigate against such internal weaknesses, such as the lack of technological capabilities and market knowledge. The collaboration helps firms to access new competences and capabilities useful to change or develop new technology capabilities and market knowledge more easily and with lower costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Hybrid MCDM Approach for Strategic Project Portfolio Selection of Agro By-Products
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1302; doi:10.3390/su9081302
Received: 27 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 19 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Due to the increasing size of the population, society faces several challenges for sustainable and adequate agricultural production, quality, distribution, and food safety in the strategic project portfolio selection (SPPS). The initial adaptation of strategic portfolio management of genetically modified (GM) Agro by-products
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Due to the increasing size of the population, society faces several challenges for sustainable and adequate agricultural production, quality, distribution, and food safety in the strategic project portfolio selection (SPPS). The initial adaptation of strategic portfolio management of genetically modified (GM) Agro by-products (Ab-Ps) is a huge challenge in terms of processing the agro food product supply-chain practices in an environmentally nonthreatening way. As a solution to the challenges, the socio-economic characteristics for SPPS of GM food purchasing scenarios are studied. Evaluation and selection of the GM agro portfolio management are the dynamic issues due to physical and immaterial criteria involving a hybrid multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) approach, combining modified grey Decision-Making Trial and Evaluation Laboratory (DEMATEL), Multi-Attributive Border Approximation area Comparison (MABAC) and sensitivity analysis. Evaluation criteria are grouped into social, differential and beneficial clusters, and the modified DEMATEL procedure is used to derive the criteria weights. The MABAC method is applied to rank the strategic project portfolios according to the aggregated preferences of decision makers (DMs). The usefulness of the proposed research framework is validated with a case study. The GM by-products are found to be the best portfolio. Moreover, this framework can unify the policies of agro technological improvement, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and agro export promotion. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Clean Technologies in Agriculture—How to Prioritise Measures?
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1303; doi:10.3390/su9081303
Received: 19 May 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
As agriculture continues to be under pressure due to its negative environmental impacts, resource-efficiency and the use of clean technologies gain importance. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of technological solutions that help “clean” agriculture’s hotspots, either by reducing inputs, by producing renewable energy
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As agriculture continues to be under pressure due to its negative environmental impacts, resource-efficiency and the use of clean technologies gain importance. Meanwhile, there is an abundance of technological solutions that help “clean” agriculture’s hotspots, either by reducing inputs, by producing renewable energy or by protecting ecosystems. Decisions about clean technologies remain difficult due to the variety of options, difficulties in cost-benefit calculations, and potential trade-offs in sustainability. We therefore addressed the issue of decision-making regarding clean technologies in agriculture. A multi-criteria decision analysis (MCDA) was used to rank the most sustainable technologies. Evaluation of 17 selected clean technologies was based on literature information and expert opinion. Wireless sensor irrigation networks, frequency converters for vacuum pumps and stable air conditioning, PV electricity and drip irrigation were the five technologies with the highest sustainability scores, outperforming the 12 other clean technologies. When all sustainability dimensions and criteria were equally weighted, PV electricity was superseded by variable speed drive technology for irrigation in the top five. This paper shows that MCDAs are a useful method for choosing between sustainable clean technology options. By applying different weighting, the MCDA can reflect the priorities of the decision maker and provide customised results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 6th World Sustainability Forum - Selected Papers)
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Open AccessArticle Methodology for the Successful Integration of an Energy Management System to an Operational Environmental System
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1304; doi:10.3390/su9081304
Received: 20 May 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
Despite the fact that the implementation of ISO 50001 has helped organizations to successfully accomplish energy saving policies, there is still a significant disparity in the number of companies certificated under ISO 50001 compared with other standards such as ISO 14001. Considering the
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Despite the fact that the implementation of ISO 50001 has helped organizations to successfully accomplish energy saving policies, there is still a significant disparity in the number of companies certificated under ISO 50001 compared with other standards such as ISO 14001. Considering the compatibilities between both standards, a potential sector is identified for the integration of ISO 50001 in organizations that operate under ISO 14001 systems. The cost and time associated with the development and implementation of the Energy Management System are identified as being amongst the most important obstacles, restricting the number of companies that are inclined to this energy certification. As an attempt to overcome this limitation, in this work, both standards were analyzed in detail and their coincidences identified and organized to propose a novel methodology that allows companies to naturally integrate an Energy Management System based on ISO 50001 into an ISO 14001 already in operation. The results provide evidence of a strong compatibility among the energy and environmental management systems, allowing enterprises to integrate the former with minimum investment and resources. In order to validate the proposed methodology and to demonstrate the agreement between both programs, these procedures were applied in a manufacturing company of the automotive sector, considered as a high energy consumer according to the classification made by the National Commission for the Efficient Use of Energy in Mexico. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Accelerating Sustainability by Hydropower Development in China: The Story of HydroLancang
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1305; doi:10.3390/su9081305
Received: 27 May 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Sustainable development is a shared responsibility. Accelerating sustainability of water–energy–people nexus and building a common awareness of issues pertaining to sustainable development are essential for any sort of success in this direction. Hydropower has been a useful sustainable energy for development, yet highly
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Sustainable development is a shared responsibility. Accelerating sustainability of water–energy–people nexus and building a common awareness of issues pertaining to sustainable development are essential for any sort of success in this direction. Hydropower has been a useful sustainable energy for development, yet highly controversial. This paper reviews the overall situation of hydropower development and China’s energy reforms and policies, accompanied with a case study of hydropower development the Lancang River by the HydroLancang, aiming to illustrate the two opposite sides of hydropower development—economy and environment. The paper concludes with a neutral view of hydropower as the necessary facilitator for development. Water is a shared responsibility. Hydropower might not be the optimum solution to eliminate the tension between human demand of energy and finite natural resource and the rising pressure of climate change worldwide, but it serves well as an “Electricity Bridge” before better alternatives become available. This is a more balanced view of hydropower rather than two extreme viewpoints that present themselves: on the one hand, exaggerated claims of the human power to tame the wild river, and, on the other hand, the idealistic fantasy of preserving nature by abandoning all human activity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydropower and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Exploring Landscape Perceptions of Bukhansan National Park According to the Degree of Visitors’ Experience
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1306; doi:10.3390/su9081306
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
This study explores differing landscape perceptions of Bukhansan National Park according to the degree of visitors’ familiarity, and discusses the utilization of commonality and diversity of landscape perception in sustainable landscape management. Visitor-employed photography (VEP) was used to capture the overall response to
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This study explores differing landscape perceptions of Bukhansan National Park according to the degree of visitors’ familiarity, and discusses the utilization of commonality and diversity of landscape perception in sustainable landscape management. Visitor-employed photography (VEP) was used to capture the overall response to experiencing landscape directly on-site. According to the degree of familiarity of national parks, visitors were recruited into two groups: inexperienced group (the novice group) and experienced group (the veteran group). We collected photographs and photo-logs of liked and disliked landscape from the participants. Additional interviews were conducted to supplement the content of the photo-logs. The objects of landscape were classified into spatial configurations and specific elements. The cognitive process of landscape perception is divided into four stages: perceptual, expressive, interpretative, and symbolic. Emphasizing the narrative aspects of landscape, accepting and interpreting the phenomenon can vary according to an individual's interest and background. We used semantic network analysis to analyze the content of participants’ photo-logs. The content at the interpretative level showed that the two groups had very different perceptions of anthropic elements. The novice group emphasized walkability and accessibility, while the veteran group regarded naturalness and historicity as more important. In conclusion, it is a very useful way to analyze the differences of perceptions of two visitors, both the novice group and the veteran group to grasp the positive or negative perceptions of people’s impacts on the landscape. Understanding the value of relevant visitors through analysis results is one way to resolve potential conflicts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Livestock Animal Displacement on Rural Tourism Destinations: Placing Livestock's “Pest” Role in the Background
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1307; doi:10.3390/su9081307
Received: 1 May 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
Rural tourism is becoming increasingly embedded in the livestock animal management in rural areas. Drawing on a multi-methods approach, this exploratory research shows how to construct the livestock animal displacement actor-networks. As is found, human actors (local governments, tourists, and local residents), non-human
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Rural tourism is becoming increasingly embedded in the livestock animal management in rural areas. Drawing on a multi-methods approach, this exploratory research shows how to construct the livestock animal displacement actor-networks. As is found, human actors (local governments, tourists, and local residents), non-human animal (livestock) and quasi-object (human dwellings) construct an interaction network in a structured way. The critical action route of livestock animal displacement demonstrated in this research is aimed to improve residents' participation willingness and further to change the local livestock feeding model and traditional dwelling by rural environment governance and rural tourism landscape consumption. Through the process of translation, problematization, interest, enrollment, mobilization and opposition, the livestock displacement actor-networks were constructed to build a heterogeneous network of the local government, tourists, local residents, livestock and human dwelling. The ultimate goal is to change the traditional human dwelling to a dis-dwelling; the most important thing is to promote residents’ participation willingness in the livestock displacement actor-networks. This article attempts to perform compelling exploratory research to elucidate the livestock displacement actor-networks in hope to provide a meaningful contribution to the epistemology and methodology of livestock management on rural tourism destination and open a new path for research on rural livestock-human relations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Remote Sensing Techniques for Urban Heating Analysis: A Case Study of Sustainable Construction at District Level
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1308; doi:10.3390/su9081308
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 26 July 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, many new districts in urban centres have been planned and constructed to reshape the structure and functions of specific areas. Urban regeneration strategies, planning and design principles have to take into account both socioeconomic perspectives and environmental sustainability. A district
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In recent years, many new districts in urban centres have been planned and constructed to reshape the structure and functions of specific areas. Urban regeneration strategies, planning and design principles have to take into account both socioeconomic perspectives and environmental sustainability. A district located in the historical city centre of Terni (Italy), Corso del Popolo, was analysed to assess the construction effects in terms of surface urban heat island (SUHI) mitigation. This district is an example of urban texture modification planned in the framework of the regeneration of the ancient part of the town. The changes were realised starting from 2006; the new area was completed on June 2014. The analysis was carried out by processing Landsat 7 ETM+ images before and after the interventions, retrieving land surface temperature (LST) and albedo maps. The map analysis proved the SUHI reduction of the new area after the interventions: as confirmed by the literature, such SUHI mitigation can be ascribed to the presence of green areas, the underground parking, the partial covering of the local roadway and the shadow effect of new multi-storey buildings. Moreover, an analysis of other parameters linked to the impervious surfaces (albedo, heat transfer and air circulation) driving LST variations is provided to better understand SUHI behaviour at the district level. The district regeneration shows that wisely planned and developed projects in the construction sector can improve urban areas not only economically and socially, but can also enhance the environmental impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Construction)
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Open AccessArticle Water Production from Air Conditioning Systems: Some Evaluations about a Sustainable Use of Resources
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1309; doi:10.3390/su9081309
Received: 18 April 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
An increase in water consumption sustainability can be achieved by means of a smart use of condensed water coming from HVAC system chillers. In the current paper, a preliminary study regarding an integrated HVAC system is presented, which combines air conditioning and water
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An increase in water consumption sustainability can be achieved by means of a smart use of condensed water coming from HVAC system chillers. In the current paper, a preliminary study regarding an integrated HVAC system is presented, which combines air conditioning and water extraction from air. Its design was particularly focused on the optimization between the two said effects, also taking energy efficiency into account. The system behaviour is analysed, taking into account real climatic conditions and in particular those of the Arab Emirates coast. The study of the suitable climatic conditions for this application are outlined. Preliminary calculations show that the water extracted from air, by condensation, can support up to almost half of the needs of the case of study represented by a modern hotel. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Home Gardenscapes as Sustainable Landscape Management on St. Eustatius, Dutch Caribbean
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1310; doi:10.3390/su9081310
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
Home gardens are an important topic for landscape research due to their intersectional contributions to plant diversity conservation and local livelihoods. As sites of ecological restoration, gardens transform small-scale landscapes toward higher plant richness and density. We examine “gardenscapes” on St. Eustatius, a
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Home gardens are an important topic for landscape research due to their intersectional contributions to plant diversity conservation and local livelihoods. As sites of ecological restoration, gardens transform small-scale landscapes toward higher plant richness and density. We examine “gardenscapes” on St. Eustatius, a small Caribbean island, focusing on how plants growing around a home contribute to ecological and ethnobotanical measures of plant diversity, and how residents value the importance of gardens to their livelihoods. Through a survey of 14 gardenscapes and 11 home interviews, we report 277 plant species, including 31% native and 69% non-native, high plant densities and structural evenness, 260 plants with uses, and a total of 363 uses, especially as ornamental plants (184) and for other environmental services (16), but also food (101), health remedies (50), material uses (10) and symbolic services (2). Participants indicated that home gardening could be difficult due to drought and pests, but provided resources and incomes to livelihoods, especially through the production of food products. Several respondents reported that gardening was a declining activity on St. Eustatius, but this study shows how gardening activities offer a biocultural approach to conservation that supports plant diversity and livelihoods across the island’s highly-modified natural landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Landscape Management)
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Open AccessArticle Landscape Services Assessment: A Hybrid Multi-Criteria Spatial Decision Support System (MC-SDSS)
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1311; doi:10.3390/su9081311
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
This research aims to test a scalable and transferable Geographic Information System (GIS)-based evaluation methodology for the identification, quantification and assessment of multi-functional landscape features. The evaluation of multi-functional features is one of the key tasks required when it comes to identifying the
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This research aims to test a scalable and transferable Geographic Information System (GIS)-based evaluation methodology for the identification, quantification and assessment of multi-functional landscape features. The evaluation of multi-functional features is one of the key tasks required when it comes to identifying the values that people attribute to landscapes, according to the principles of the European Landscape Convention. Mapping the static distribution of Landscape Services (LS) through data-derived estimates and performing spatial composite indicators are fundamental steps in understanding the current state of the Social–Ecological System (SES) of threatened or resilient landscapes. The methodological process is structured in four phases: intelligence (i), design (ii), choice (iii) and outcome (iv), according to the framework of the Multi-Criteria Spatial Decision Support System (MC-SDSS). This process has been implemented in the case study of the National Park of Cilento, Vallo di Diano and Alburni (Italy). The weighting of the spatial indicators, which simulates the model of LS-functioning for the study area, derives from an entropy-based method. Such a method, by which the weights are estimated without decisional agents, concerns a key-concept of information entropy theory, whereby the amount of information for each criterion determines its relative importance within a defined set of spatial criteria. The output of the model concerns mapping composite indicators of the LS; this involves the macro-categories of Regulating, Provisioning, and Cultural Services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle An Improved Evaluation Scheme for Performing Quality Assessments of Unconsolidated Cultivated Land
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1312; doi:10.3390/su9081312
Received: 5 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
Socioeconomic factors are extrinsic factors that drive spatial variability. They play an important role in land resource systems and sometimes are more important than that of the natural setting. The study aims to build a comprehensive framework for assessing unconsolidated cultivated land (UCL)
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Socioeconomic factors are extrinsic factors that drive spatial variability. They play an important role in land resource systems and sometimes are more important than that of the natural setting. The study aims to build a comprehensive framework for assessing unconsolidated cultivated land (UCL) in the south-central and southwestern portions of Hubei Province, China, which have not experienced project management and land consolidation, to identify the roles of natural and especially socioeconomic factors. Moreover, the study attempts to identify the attributes and indicators that describe the characteristics of the extrinsic factors affecting land spatial variability. Assessment supplement 12 proposed land use indicators on the basis of natural factors using the method of gradation of agricultural land quality (GALQ). The overall level of cultivated land quality (CLQ) in the two study areas is moderate, and this quantity is significantly correlated with topography. Excellent and high-quality UCL are mainly distributed in the south-central plain division of Hubei Province (SCPDHP), whereas lower grades are mainly distributed in the area of the southwestern mountainous division of Hubei Province (SWMDHP). These results suggest that the pattern of small-scale agricultural development depends strongly on the labor force and is the key land use-related factor that limits the improvement of regional CLQ. Such assessments and their findings are essential for the protection of cultivated land and the adjustment of agricultural structure to promote the sustainable use of UCL. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Food Markets in Developing Countries: An Approach to Assess Sustainability of the Food Supply in Russia
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1313; doi:10.3390/su9081313
Received: 3 May 2017 / Revised: 21 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Providing sustainability of the food supply is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s rapidly changing global economic environment. Food security remains a serious problem, especially in developing countries where the challenge of the sustainable food supply is exacerbated by the rapid rise in the
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Providing sustainability of the food supply is becoming increasingly challenging in today’s rapidly changing global economic environment. Food security remains a serious problem, especially in developing countries where the challenge of the sustainable food supply is exacerbated by the rapid rise in the population, limited access to food intake, vulnerability, price volatilities, protection measures imposed by the government, and other distorting influences. Russia is classified as a middle-income country that is nationally self-sufficient in its food supply. However, amid the economic recession and restrictions on foreign trade in food, many households in Russia are becoming increasingly vulnerable to food insecurity. In the case of Russia, this paper aims to assess the sustainability of the food supply, and identify the factors that affect food security. In order to establish the impact of socio-economic variables on food security at the macroeconomic level, a regression model was estimated. The study has identified the factors that influence food security in terms of agricultural production, food self-sufficiency, and foreign trade. The relationships between the regressands and corresponding regressors have been discovered, in view of alternations between positive and negative influences on the dependent variables. Additionally, a significance of the relationships has been measured. The results of the regression analysis suggest that the sustainability of the food supply in Russia is threatened by inflation and a degrading purchasing power of the population from people shifting towards cheaper products of lower quality, while exporters seek higher profits outside the country and thus create food shortages in the domestic market. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Optimal Operation of a Grid-Connected Hybrid Renewable Energy System for Residential Applications
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1314; doi:10.3390/su9081314
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 18 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
The results of a study on incorporating solar-thermal collectors into a hybrid renewable energy system are reported. A photovoltaic–wind turbine–fuel cell–solar-thermal collector system is designed and an economic model is introduced for supplying the residential thermal and electrical loads via the grid-connected hybrid
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The results of a study on incorporating solar-thermal collectors into a hybrid renewable energy system are reported. A photovoltaic–wind turbine–fuel cell–solar-thermal collector system is designed and an economic model is introduced for supplying the residential thermal and electrical loads via the grid-connected hybrid system. Since determining the optimal operation of a hybrid system such as a combined heat and power system constitutes a complex optimization problem requiring a sophisticated optimization method, a modified heuristic approach-based particle swarm optimization is proposed for solving the optimization problem. The results are compared with those obtained by an efficient metaheuristic optimization method, namely a genetic algorithm, in terms of accuracy and run time. The results show that, using the grid-connected hybrid combined heat and power system, among the cases considered, decreases the total cost of the system. The results also demonstrate that the reductions in daily cost relative to the base case by the modified particle swarm optimization algorithm for Cases 1–4 are 5.01%, 25.59%, 19.42%, and 22.19%, respectively. Finally, Case 2 is the most cost-effective and reliable. Moreover, the modified particle swarm optimization algorithm leads to better results than the genetic algorithm. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Location Selection for Wind Farms Using GIS Multi-Criteria Hybrid Model: An Approach Based on Fuzzy and Rough Numbers
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1315; doi:10.3390/su9081315
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 27 July 2017
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Abstract
This paper presents spatial mathematical model in order to identify sites for the wind farms installment which can have significant support for the planners in the area of strategy and management of wind power use. The suggested model is based on combined use
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This paper presents spatial mathematical model in order to identify sites for the wind farms installment which can have significant support for the planners in the area of strategy and management of wind power use. The suggested model is based on combined use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) with multi-criteria techniques of Best-Worst method (BWM) and MultiAttributive Ideal-Real Comparative Analysis (MAIRCA). Rough numbers and fuzzy logic are used to exploit uncertainty during data analysis in spatial mathematical model. The model is applied on the case study. Rough BWM model is used to determine weight coefficients of the criteria and rough MAIRCA method is used to rank separated sustainable locations. The implementation of MAIRCA method has shown that the location L3 is the most suitable for the wind farm in the area covered in the case study. Therefore, the suggested spatial mathematical model can be successfully used to identify the potential suitable sites for the wind farms in other areas with similar geographic conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Total Factor Efficiency of Water Resource and Energy in China: A Study Based on DEA-SBM Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1316; doi:10.3390/su9081316
Received: 3 April 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
One of the serious issues that China faces during its fast economic development is the low input–output efficiency of water and energy resources and growing water pollution. With the current economic development model of China, economic growth still requires large input of water
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One of the serious issues that China faces during its fast economic development is the low input–output efficiency of water and energy resources and growing water pollution. With the current economic development model of China, economic growth still requires large input of water resource and energy resource. This paper has focused on the total factor efficiency of water resource and energy resource by each province in China. We treat the undesirable outputs as outputs in the DEA-SBM Model instead of as inputs in previous studies, and design a new MATLAB programming to achieve optimization solutions of multi-variable constrained nonlinear functions to evaluate the Total Factor Efficiency of Water resource (TFEW) and the Total Factor Efficiency of Energy (TFEE) in China accurately. By using the method, this paper has analyzed the TFEW and TFEE in China from 2003 to 2014 by economic zones and typical provinces and provided corresponding policy recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Coercive Tactics and Web Advertising Performance
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1317; doi:10.3390/su9081317
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 16 July 2017 / Accepted: 20 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
By questioning contemporary coercive or intrusive web advertising activities, this study sheds light on the recent conditions of web advertising by focusing on a comprehensive process that leads to web ad performance. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed by the principal investigators
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By questioning contemporary coercive or intrusive web advertising activities, this study sheds light on the recent conditions of web advertising by focusing on a comprehensive process that leads to web ad performance. A total of 400 questionnaires were distributed by the principal investigators of this study. 170 were returned from 200 distributed questionnaires given in South Korea and 100 were returned from 200 distributed questionnaires in China. The responses total 248 out of 400 distributed questionnaires. The relationships among the measured factors are analyzed by the structural equation modeling method. Results show that the use of web ad tactics often leads to negative consequences, creating a user present avoidance behavior condition towards both the ad and ad-hosting website. In terms of the performance of the ad-hosting website, website retention was strongly influenced by content blocking. In addition, the results of the comparative test suggest that the influence of avoidance on advertising performance is stronger among users of newspaper websites than e-commerce websites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Wind Electricity Forecasts on Bidding Strategies
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1318; doi:10.3390/su9081318
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 18 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The change in the generation mix from conventional electricity sources to renewables has important implications for bidding behaviour and may have an impact on prices. The main goal of this work is to discover the role played by expected wind production, together with
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The change in the generation mix from conventional electricity sources to renewables has important implications for bidding behaviour and may have an impact on prices. The main goal of this work is to discover the role played by expected wind production, together with other relevant factors, in explaining the day-ahead market price through a data panel model. The Spanish market, given the huge increase in wind generation observed in the last decade, has been chosen for this study as a paradigmatic example. The results obtained suggest that wind power forecasts are a new key determinant for supply market participants when bidding in the day-ahead market. We also provide a conservative quantification of the effect of such trading strategies on marginal prices at an hourly level for a specific year in the sample. The consequence has been an increase in marginal price to levels higher than what could be expected in a context with notable wind penetration. Therefore, the findings of this work are of interest to practitioners and regulators and support the existence of a wind risk premium embedded in electricity prices to compensate for the uncertainty of wind production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wind Energy, Load and Price Forecasting towards Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Compliance of the Integrated Reports Issued by European Financial Companies with the International Integrated Reporting Framework
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1319; doi:10.3390/su9081319
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
Integrated reporting (IR) is an emerging practice increasingly capturing the attention of companies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the integrated reports issued by companies from the financial sector in Europe are following the guidance of the International Integrated Reporting
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Integrated reporting (IR) is an emerging practice increasingly capturing the attention of companies. The purpose of this paper is to analyze how the integrated reports issued by companies from the financial sector in Europe are following the guidance of the International Integrated Reporting Framework (IIRF). To achieve this objective, we analyzed the way in which the integrated reports of eight companies are following the guidance provided by the IIRF. As a result, we noticed that the annual report of Generali scored the highest compliance level with the guidance of the IIRF, but each one of the companies stood out with respect to at least one of the guiding principles or fundamental concepts mentioned in the IIRF. Although the companies included in the sample are in different stages of IR adoption, our results contribute to understanding the practice of IR. The conclusions support the use of a tool to measure the compliance of an integrated report to the existing requirements in the context of an industry linked to many other domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Yield Perceptions, Determinants and Adoption Impact of on Farm Varietal Mixtures for Common Bean and Banana in Uganda
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1321; doi:10.3390/su9081321
Received: 10 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
Crop variety mixtures (different varieties of a crop grown together in a single plot) have been successfully deployed in pathogen and pest management for several crops including wheat, common bean and rice. Despite the available evidence, promotion of this approach has remained limited
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Crop variety mixtures (different varieties of a crop grown together in a single plot) have been successfully deployed in pathogen and pest management for several crops including wheat, common bean and rice. Despite the available evidence, promotion of this approach has remained limited in many countries, including Uganda. The factors that influence farmers’ adoption of varietal mixtures for common bean and banana were assessed, as well as the perceptions of farmers on the effects of mixtures on yields, through household surveys and statistical modelling. A three-year yield increase in both common bean and banana varietal mixtures in farmer fields, of 5.2% and 28.6%, respectively, is realized using robust OLS estimates. The study reveals that accessing knowledge on the importance of crop varietal mixtures and the skills relating to the approach are crucial for their adoption. Location of the farm significantly determined the perceived yield change, which calls for more research into mixtures’ suitability under particular contexts in respect to compatibility of genotypes, management practices and appropriate acreage for maximum impact. The positive effects of mixtures on yields make it an effective bioeconomy strategy. Policies that minimize the adoption barriers could improve the adoption of crop varietal mixtures on a wider scale. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Chinese Tourists’ Perceptions of Climate Change and Mitigation Behavior: An Application of Norm Activation Theory
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1322; doi:10.3390/su9081322
Received: 16 June 2017 / Revised: 10 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 28 July 2017
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Abstract
It is well recognized that tourism development is a prominent contributor to climate change, but is also a “victim” of climate change. Therefore, to mitigate climate change is of great importance for the sustainability of tourism. Yet extant studies regarding tourism and climate
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It is well recognized that tourism development is a prominent contributor to climate change, but is also a “victim” of climate change. Therefore, to mitigate climate change is of great importance for the sustainability of tourism. Yet extant studies regarding tourism and climate change tend to be dominated by a supply-side stance, albeit the core role of the tourist in the tourism industry. While researchers are increasingly adopting a tourist perspective, few seek to understand the linkage between climate change and tourists’ specific mitigation behaviors in a tourism context; this is especially so in China. This study investigates the impact of Chinese tourists’ perceptions of climate change on their mitigation behaviors based on norm activation theory. Drawing on 557 self-administrated questionnaires collected in China, it finds that tourists’ perceptions of climate change and perceived contribution of tourism to climate change both positively affect energy saving and carbon reduction behavior in tourism. Yet, compared with perceived contribution of tourism to climate change, tourists’ perceptions of climate change are found to be a much stronger predictor for energy saving and carbon reduction behavior. Therefore, it suggests that tourists’ perceptions of climate change in a general context is more strongly related to climate change mitigation behavior in tourism, calling for attention to go beyond the tourism context to alleviate the negative impacts of tourism on climate change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Vehicles-Based Alternatives in Last Mile Distribution of Urban Freight Transport: A Systematic Literature Review
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1324; doi:10.3390/su9081324
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
The advent of new technologies in last mile deliveries is about to cause a disruption in the traditional business model applied in urban cargo transportation, thus presenting innumerous research opportunities in this field of knowledge. In this context, identifying new operation models and
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The advent of new technologies in last mile deliveries is about to cause a disruption in the traditional business model applied in urban cargo transportation, thus presenting innumerous research opportunities in this field of knowledge. In this context, identifying new operation models and vehicles that could be applied for last mile deliveries in urban areas becomes crucial. Therefore, this paper aims to identify, through a systematic literature review, the main types of vehicles addressed in the literature that could be used in the last mile of urban freight distribution in order to increase the sustainability of this type of operation. The results indicate a trend for the implementation of smaller and lighter vehicles for last mile deliveries in urban areas: 47% of the studies suggest, among other alternatives, the use of bicycles and tricycles; while 53% of the articles support the use of light commercial vehicles. Another trend observed in this type of distribution, indicated in 64% of the studies, is the shift from conventional (fossil fuels) to alternative sources of energy (electricity). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Community Energy Companies in the UK: A Potential Model for Sustainable Development in “Local” Energy?
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1325; doi:10.3390/su9081325
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
The rise of renewable energy sources (RES) comes with a shift in attention from government and market energy governance to local community initiatives and self-regulation. Although this shift is generally welcome at domestic and EU level, the regulatory dimension, at both levels, is
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The rise of renewable energy sources (RES) comes with a shift in attention from government and market energy governance to local community initiatives and self-regulation. Although this shift is generally welcome at domestic and EU level, the regulatory dimension, at both levels, is nevertheless not adapted to this multi-actor market since prosumers are not empowered and energy justice is far from achieved. The rise, in the UK, of Community Interest Companies (consumers and local actors’ collectives) in the energy sector provides an interesting perspective as it allows a whole system’s view. Research was conducted with six energy community organizations in the South West of England in order to evaluate their role and identity and assess whether this exemplar of “the rise of a social sphere in regulation” could be used as a model for a more sustainable social approach to the governance of economic relations. Findings illustrate that such organizations undoubtedly play an important role in the renewable energy sector and they also help to alleviate some aspects of “energy injustice”. Yet, the failure to recognize, in terms of energy policy, at domestic and EU level, the importance of such actors undermines their role. The need to embed and support such organizations in policy is necessary if one is to succeed to put justice at the core of the changing energy landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Energy Security and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Benefit-Sharing Arrangements between Oil Companies and Indigenous People in Russian Northern Regions
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1326; doi:10.3390/su9081326
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
This research provides an insight into various modes of benefit-sharing agreements between oil and gas companies and indigenous people in Russia’s northern regions, e.g., paternalism, corporate social responsibility, and partnership. The paper examines factors that influence benefit-sharing arrangements, such as regional specifics, dependency
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This research provides an insight into various modes of benefit-sharing agreements between oil and gas companies and indigenous people in Russia’s northern regions, e.g., paternalism, corporate social responsibility, and partnership. The paper examines factors that influence benefit-sharing arrangements, such as regional specifics, dependency on international investors, corporate policies, and the level of local community organization. It analyses which instruments of benefit-sharing are most favourable, and why, for indigenous communities. The authors conducted research in three regions of Russia (Nenets Autonomous Okrug; Khanty-Mansi Autonomous Okrug, and Sakhalin) by using qualitative methodology that involved semi-structured interviews, participant observation, and document analysis. Theoretically, the paper builds on the concept of benefit-sharing arrangements combined with the social equity framework. We assessed each case study in terms of procedural and distributive equity in benefit-sharing. The paper demonstrates that the procedural equity is the highest in the partnership mode of benefit-sharing on the island of Sakhalin where companies implement globally-accepted standards recognized by investment banks. The cases in Nenets Autonomous Okrug and Khanti Mansi Autonomous Okrug represent a reset of Soviet practices on a market basis, but whereas the distributional equity may be sufficient, the procedural equity is low as decisions are made by the company in concord with regional authorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
Open AccessArticle How Is Environmental Proactivity Accomplished? Drivers and Barriers in Firms’ Pro-Environmental Change Process
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1327; doi:10.3390/su9081327
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
The contaminating effects of economic activity and the scarcity of natural resources has led firms to a situation in which corporate strategy has been compromised by environmental issues. The objective of this paper is to analyse some of the factors determining the pro-environmental
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The contaminating effects of economic activity and the scarcity of natural resources has led firms to a situation in which corporate strategy has been compromised by environmental issues. The objective of this paper is to analyse some of the factors determining the pro-environmental change process by considering the drivers encouraging firms to progress in environmental protection and the barriers that curb this progress. Using a structural equation model implemented on a sample of 303 firms, our results confirm a direct and positive effect of stakeholder pressure and of the expectations of obtaining competitive advantages from the pro-environmental change process. The results also confirmed the indirect effect of stakeholder pressure on pro-environmental change through managers’ expectations of obtaining competitive advantages, which play a mediating role in the firm’s response. Although managers interpret the barriers we have studied as obstacles to adopting environmental protection measures, they do not prevent any firm from reaching advanced levels of pro-environmental change. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Influence of Green External Integration on Firm Performance: Does Firm Size Matter?
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1328; doi:10.3390/su9081328
Received: 15 July 2017 / Revised: 15 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Although the importance of green external integration has been widely recognized, our understanding of how firm size influences its link with firm performance is still limited. This study develops a conceptual framework in which firm size is proposed to moderate the relationships between
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Although the importance of green external integration has been widely recognized, our understanding of how firm size influences its link with firm performance is still limited. This study develops a conceptual framework in which firm size is proposed to moderate the relationships between green external integration, the time-to-market of environmentally friendly products and firm performance. We examine this model using data collected from 176 Chinese manufacturing companies. The results reveal that firm size moderates the relationship between green customer integration and business performance, the relationship between green supplier integration and operational performance, and the relationship between the time-to-market of environmentally friendly products and business performance. In addition, green customer and supplier integration improve both operational and business performance entirely by decreasing the time-to-market of environmentally friendly products for large firms, while green customer integration enhances operational performance entirely by shortening the time-to-market of environmentally friendly products for small and medium firms. These findings have important implications for research and practice in the fields of green supply chain integration and green innovation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Design: A Case of Environmental and Cost Life Cycle Assessment of a Kitchen Designed for Seniors and Disabled People
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1329; doi:10.3390/su9081329
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
Sustainable production and consumption patterns require a change in approach at the early conceptual stages, i.e., when planning and designing products and services. This article presents an example of sustainable kitchen design aimed at the needs of seniors and people with physical disabilities,
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Sustainable production and consumption patterns require a change in approach at the early conceptual stages, i.e., when planning and designing products and services. This article presents an example of sustainable kitchen design aimed at the needs of seniors and people with physical disabilities, which takes into account social, economic, and environmental aspects. The interdisciplinary project team used a variety of traditional design methods such as the identification of requirements using QFD (Quality Function Deployment) and FMEA (Failure Mode Effects Analysis), the development and verification of the technical concepts of the designed objects and their use, the development of construction and technological documentation, assembly drawings of the product architecture and its parts, function cost analysis, virtual and real prototyping, and tools based on the concept of a life cycle such as environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) and life cycle costing (LCC). The analysis of the design solutions from the point of view of several criteria and several life cycle stages shows the complexity of the decision-making process and the difficulties in selecting a clearly favourable solution. Environmentally preferred materials may be difficult for users to accept due to their costs. On the other hand, materials that have a high environmental impact at the production stage may show great potential for final disposal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Eco-design and Green Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle A New Dynamic Pricing Model for the Effective Sustainability of Perishable Product Life Cycle
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1330; doi:10.3390/su9081330
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 21 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 29 July 2017
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Abstract
Perishable products run their life cycle in a short period of time due to the shortness of their shelf lives. Product efficiency falls when especially non-recyclable products are thrown away without being used. Furthermore, this kind of products that unnecessarily occupy shelves of
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Perishable products run their life cycle in a short period of time due to the shortness of their shelf lives. Product efficiency falls when especially non-recyclable products are thrown away without being used. Furthermore, this kind of products that unnecessarily occupy shelves of supermarkets cause supermarkets to follow an insufficient stock management policy. Unconscious and unplanned use of our limited natural resources will deteriorate the product portfolio for future generations. Such unconscious production and consumption patterns will disrupt natural balance and damage sustainability of products. In addition to creating very high costs for producers, sellers and consumers alike, these unsold or stale products lead to environmental problems due to such pricing policies. In other words, although the products have to be thrown away without being sold is attributed by many managers to be attributable to the unplanned over-orders, the actual reason is something else. The real contributor of the problem is changing purchase attitudes of customers because of wrong pricing policies of wholesaler. In addition, limited resources are also consumed fast and in unnecessary amounts. The imbalance in respect to the sustainability of these products leads to increase in the production costs, procurement costs and failure to achieve balance among products to be kept in storage houses as some of the products occupy stocks unnecessarily. In the present study, a new pricing policy is developed for product stock whose shelf lives are about to expire and generally become waste to increase salability of these products in reference to fresher stocks of these products. The present study, which is designed to reduce the above-mentioned losses, will seek to minimize the cost of waste, maximize the profit earned by supermarkets from the product, maximize product utilization rates and ensure sustainability of products and stocks as well. Fulfillment of these objectives will increase productivity and enhance the significance of product efficiency and nature-friendly attitudes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Food Supply Chain and Food Industry)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainability and Ecological Civilization in the Age of Anthropocene: An Epistemological Analysis of the Psychosocial and “Culturalist” Interpretations of Global Environmental Risks
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1331; doi:10.3390/su9081331
Received: 20 April 2017 / Revised: 26 June 2017 / Accepted: 26 June 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social–cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of
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The aim of this article is to assess the validity of the culturalist explanation of unsustainability by critically examining the social–cultural interpretation of the risks on which it is epistemologically based. First, we will explore the different ways in which the notion of Anthropocene is changing our perception of risks. Second, we will analyze the limits of the social–cultural explanation of risks relative to the global (non-linear) interdependence between human activities and environmental processes that defines the Anthropocene. Third, we will introduce the Chinese concept of Ecological Civilization and analyze its cultural foundations and culturalist assumptions. Finally, we will develop the practical consequences of this critic of the social-cultural interpretation of risks and of culturalist explanations of unsustainability. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluating the Comprehensive Performance of Demand Response for Commercial Customers by Applying Combination Weighting Techniques and Fuzzy VIKOR Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1332; doi:10.3390/su9081332
Received: 29 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
In order to guarantee the sustainability of power industries, demand response is widely developed in China with the improvement of power markets. Massive potential flexible resources in the commercial sector are valuable to carry out continuous demand response programs. This paper presented a
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In order to guarantee the sustainability of power industries, demand response is widely developed in China with the improvement of power markets. Massive potential flexible resources in the commercial sector are valuable to carry out continuous demand response programs. This paper presented a hybrid framework to evaluate the performance of such programs. Considering that assessment processes involve multiple decisions for massive criteria under fuzzy conditions, we proposed a fuzzy multi-criteria decision making model to evaluate the performance of commercial demand response based on the concepts of a fuzzy Vlsekriterijumska Optimizacijia I Kompromisno Resenje method and a L2-metric distance. The weighting determination process in the model was modified by integrating subjective opinions and objective information according to a fuzzy Analytic Hierarchy Process and Criteria Importance Through Intercriteria Correlation methods. Then a comprehensive evaluation index system for demand response performance was established by using a fuzzy Delphi method based on experts’ opinions, including the five aspects of economy, society, technology, environment and management. Finally, the practicality of the proposed hybrid framework was verified through an empirical analysis of five such programs in Chinese commercial buildings. Their comprehensive performances were ranked effectively. Sub-criteria affiliated with society and environment should be more attention than the other evaluation criteria based on experts’ judgments and objective information. Moreover, a set of sensitivity analyses were performed to confirm the robustness and effectiveness of the proposed framework and the evaluation results. The study findings can offer references for the improvement of demand response and relevant policy formulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Public Education and Regional Economic Growth in China: A Shadow-Price Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1333; doi:10.3390/su9081333
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 22 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 30 July 2017
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Abstract
Education development is a critical component for a modern economy as the illiteracy rate can hinder economic growth. The illiteracy rate in China has decreased rapidly since 1980s, but there still exists an imbalance in distribution of educational resources among different regions. In
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Education development is a critical component for a modern economy as the illiteracy rate can hinder economic growth. The illiteracy rate in China has decreased rapidly since 1980s, but there still exists an imbalance in distribution of educational resources among different regions. In order to explore the impacts of education quality on regional economic growth, we employ a quadratic directional distance function to derive the shadow prices of illiteracy for 31 provinces in China. In this case, shadow price is interpreted as the opportunity cost of reducing the illiteracy rate. The results show that the highest shadow price of illiteracy is observed in the middle region. Looking at individual provinces, Zhejiang shows the lowest shadow price of illiteracy, whereas Shanxi features the highest one. The shadow price of illiteracy showed a downward trend in the eastern region, while increasing trends were observed for the middle and the western regions during 2005–2011. Moreover, the gap between the eastern region on the one side and the middle and the western regions on the other side has been increasing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Identifying the Conditions for Rural Sustainability through Place-Based Culture: Applying the CIPM and CDPM Models into Meibei Ancient Village
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1334; doi:10.3390/su9081334
Received: 9 July 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 30 July 2017
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Abstract
Transitional rural China faces more serious challenges in its sustainable development. How to regain the vital momentum of those historically and culturally preeminent villages, among over 680,000 administrative villages in total, has become the pressing agenda for all the stakeholders, due to the
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Transitional rural China faces more serious challenges in its sustainable development. How to regain the vital momentum of those historically and culturally preeminent villages, among over 680,000 administrative villages in total, has become the pressing agenda for all the stakeholders, due to the fact that these villages have huge potential to be the leverage for successful rural transition and new urbanization in China. This paper therefore tries to diagnose and identify the current situation of those villages from a cultural perspective by taking the Meibei ancient village as the case. By applying the proposed Cultural Inverted Pyramid Model (CIPM) and Cultural Dual Pyramid Model (CDPM) with seven layers, i.e., root/vision, value, symbol, hero, ritual, lifestyle, and governance & management, Meibei’s development mechanism has been systematically explored from a cultural perspective through the comparison between its past prosperity and present challenges. It is found that the great merit of Meibei’s past prosperity lied in the organic integration of cultural elements in all the layers through the five development dimensions, i.e., economic, social, institutional, environmental and cultural dimensions. The empirical study proves that CIPM is a useful tool for diagnosing and identifying the current situation of the village, while CDPM is an effective instrument for planning and designing a culture-embedded and improved place for the future. Unless Meibei can recreate a new cultural ecosystem with resilience fitting to its existed heritage with cultural excellence and tourism promotion, the village cannot catch up with its past prosperity. Finally, this paper calls for more in-depth culture-oriented research to improve the CIPM and CDPM paradigm to allow for the realization of rural sustainability, particularly from the perspectives of policy options and academic concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Detection of Corn and Weed Species by the Combination of Spectral, Shape and Textural Features
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1335; doi:10.3390/su9081335
Received: 12 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Accurate detection of weeds in farmland can help reduce pesticide use and protect the agricultural environment. To develop intelligent equipment for weed detection, this study used an imaging spectrometer system, which supports micro-scale plant feature analysis by acquiring high-resolution hyper spectral images of
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Accurate detection of weeds in farmland can help reduce pesticide use and protect the agricultural environment. To develop intelligent equipment for weed detection, this study used an imaging spectrometer system, which supports micro-scale plant feature analysis by acquiring high-resolution hyper spectral images of corn and a number of weed species in the laboratory. For the analysis, the object-oriented classification system with segmentation and decision tree algorithms was utilized on the hyper spectral images to extract shape and texture features of eight species of plant leaves, and then, the spectral identification characteristics of different species were determined through sensitive waveband selection and using vegetation indices calculated from the sensitive band data of the images. On the basis of the comparison and analysis of the combined characteristics of spectra, shape, and texture, it was determined that the spectral characteristics of the ratio vegetation index of R677/R710 and the normalized difference vegetation index, shape features of shape index, area, and length, as well as the texture feature of the entropy index could be used to build a discrimination model for corn and weed species. Results of the model evaluation showed that the Global Accuracy and the Kappa coefficient of the model were both over 95%. In addition, spectral and shape features can be regarded as the preferred characteristics to develop a device of weed identification from the view of accessibility to crop/weeds discriminant features, according to different roles of various features in classifying plants. Therefore, the results of this study provide valuable information for the portable device development of intelligent weed detection. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Common Spaces of Multi-Commercial Complexes from Urban Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1336; doi:10.3390/su9081336
Received: 9 June 2017 / Revised: 8 July 2017 / Accepted: 17 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
In contemporary society, multi-commercial complexes have been developed in various ways according to the circumstances and historical situation of different cities with a vision to implement sustainability. Design direction centered on public and common spaces proposed in recent commercial complexes has shown a
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In contemporary society, multi-commercial complexes have been developed in various ways according to the circumstances and historical situation of different cities with a vision to implement sustainability. Design direction centered on public and common spaces proposed in recent commercial complexes has shown a tendency to perform beyond its original role, not only supporting private space, but also taking a public role. In this study, urban sustainability implemented in the perspective of architectural design was defined in three categories: environmental, social, and economic sustainability. For each category, the planned aspects of multi-commercial complexes of passive circulation system, amenity and mobility, complexity, and flexibility were analyzed. Multi-commercial complexes from the viewpoint of urban sustainability were analyzed. The results showed that they were displayed through various expansion methods of common space rather than specific programs or designated spaces. Additionally, the development aspect of expansion could be characterized by common space, boundary, ground, and context. The results of this study revealed that a planned strategy for urban sustainability did not increase the program or space quantitatively. Therefore, the possibility of extending common space in terms of quality should be seriously considered. Moreover, it is imperative to monitor its actual use after completion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Architecture and Design)
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Open AccessArticle Crop Parameters for Modeling Sugarcane under Rainfed Conditions in Mexico
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1337; doi:10.3390/su9081337
Received: 21 May 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
Crop models with well-tested parameters may help improve sugarcane productivity for food and biofuel generation, especially in rainfed areas where studies are scarce. This study aimed to calibrate crop parameters for the sugarcane cultivar CP 72-2086, an early-maturing cultivar widely grown in Mexico
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Crop models with well-tested parameters may help improve sugarcane productivity for food and biofuel generation, especially in rainfed areas where studies are scarce. This study aimed to calibrate crop parameters for the sugarcane cultivar CP 72-2086, an early-maturing cultivar widely grown in Mexico and other countries, and evaluate their adequacy in simulating sugarcane in a diverse range of rainfed conditions. For the calibration and evaluation of parameters, the ALMANAC model was used with climate, soil, management, and yield for two growing seasons from 30 farms in three regions (Northeastern Mexico, Gulf of Mexico, and Pacific Mexico). Statistical analyses were made using regression analysis and mean squared deviation and its three components, i.e., the squared bias, the lack of correlation weighted by the standard deviations, and the squared difference between standard deviations. Model simulations with a light extinction coefficient (k) of 0.69, maximum leaf area index of 7.5, leaf area index decline rate of 0.3, optimal and minimum temperature for plant growth of 32 °C and 11 °C, respectively, potential heat units of 6000 to 7400 degree days (base 11 °C), harvest index of 0.9; maximum crop height of 4.0 m, and root depth of 2.0 m showed highest accuracy and captured best the magnitude of yield fluctuations with a root mean squared deviation of 7.8 Mg ha−1. The parameters were found to be reasonable to use in simulating sugarcane in diverse regions under rainfed conditions. Using a dynamic value of k (varying during the growing season) deserves further study as it may help improve crop model precision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Association between Three-Dimensional Built Environment and Urban Air Temperature: Seasonal and Temporal Differences
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1338; doi:10.3390/su9081338
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
Climate change and the urban heat island phenomenon are increasingly important issues in urban thermal environments. However, there is a lack of research on the relationship between three-dimensional built environments and air temperature. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide policy
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Climate change and the urban heat island phenomenon are increasingly important issues in urban thermal environments. However, there is a lack of research on the relationship between three-dimensional built environments and air temperature. Therefore, the purpose of this study is to provide policy suggestions that could be used to improve urban thermal environments by analyzing the effect of the three-dimensional built environment of an urban space on the urban air temperature according to changes in time (i.e., season, time of day). Using data from 236 automatic weather stations (AWSs) in Seoul, Korea, this study focused on three-dimensional built environmental variables and land use variables that affect air temperature in terms of season and time. The analysis results indicate that the sky view factor and porosity were lower in urban areas, with higher sky view factor and porosity values associated with lower air temperature. This study also indicates that surface roughness is higher in urban areas, with higher surface roughness associated with higher air temperature. These results suggest that urban design practices should consider the three-dimensional built environment when planning urban development and urban regeneration projects in order to improve the urban thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle The Value of Environmental and Health Claims on New Legume Products: A Non-Hypothetical Online Auction
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1340; doi:10.3390/su9081340
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 31 July 2017
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Abstract
Legumes are valued in agricultural systems, as they can contribute to a more sustainable land use. However, their economic value is low. Despite health and environmental benefits, marketers struggle to communicate the worth of legumes to consumers. We evaluate the worth of health
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Legumes are valued in agricultural systems, as they can contribute to a more sustainable land use. However, their economic value is low. Despite health and environmental benefits, marketers struggle to communicate the worth of legumes to consumers. We evaluate the worth of health and, in particular, environmental claims that would spread consumers’ awareness of ecological advantages. Utilizing a large consumer sample, we execute binding online auctions. Comparing claim-treated and untreated subjects (between design), we model the price premium that potential customers are willing to pay (WTP) for having pasta in a legume instead of a wheat version. We find that claims may increase the WTP, however, a mix of environmental and health claims is superior to individual claims. Effect sizes suggest that the mix of claims increases the WTP by roughly 35% (20 cents). The link of WTP and food attitudes, such as concern for health in eating habits or social reservations towards legumes, varies depending on whether the green-pea or chickpea pasta was evaluated. A critical perception of legumes’ association with flatulence reduces the WTP. Developing the online auction may enable researchers to increase the external validity of consumer samples. We discuss implications for researchers and marketers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle National Water Footprint: Toward a Comprehensive Approach for the Evaluation of the Sustainability of Water Use in Italy
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1341; doi:10.3390/su9081341
Received: 7 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The aim of this study is to monitor the water use over the national territory and evaluate water flows by economic sectors across regional boundaries. The sustainability level is evaluated in terms of water scarcity (the ratio between water consumption and water availability).
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The aim of this study is to monitor the water use over the national territory and evaluate water flows by economic sectors across regional boundaries. The sustainability level is evaluated in terms of water scarcity (the ratio between water consumption and water availability). Publicly-available geo-referenced maps containing the annual average volume of available and consumed water for different economic activities, pollution loads, and land cover are elaborated with geographic information system (GIS) software. Different administrative and geographic boundaries (regional, river basin, and hydrogeological complex) are used to produce a statistical overview of the sustainability level in water use over the Italian territory. Water footprint indicators are set up for the blue and grey components, while the sustainability of the green component is preliminarily evaluated from land use. The effective impact on the water resource is assessed in terms of water scarcity for all the three components. Water availability data refer to annual average computed between 1990 and 2010. Water consumption and land cover refer to reference year 2006. Results are shown as annual averages and they are used to establish a baseline of the national water use that is expected to be particularly relevant for next-coming analyses, including virtual water flows associated to import/export activities and trending reports for future periods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Variation in Full-Flowering Dates of Tree Peonies in the Middle and Lower Reaches of China’s Yellow River: A Simulation through the Panel Data Model
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1343; doi:10.3390/su9081343
Received: 15 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The spring flowering of tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) not only attract tens of million tourists every year, but it can also serve as a bio-indicator of climate change. Examining climate-associated spatiotemporal changes in peony flowering can contribute to the development of
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The spring flowering of tree peony (Paeonia suffruticosa) not only attract tens of million tourists every year, but it can also serve as a bio-indicator of climate change. Examining climate-associated spatiotemporal changes in peony flowering can contribute to the development of smarter flower-viewing tourism by providing more efficient decision-making information. We developed a panel data model for the tree peony to quantify the relationship between full-flowering date (FFD) and air temperature in the middle and lower reaches of China’s Yellow River. Then, on the basis of the model and temperature data, FFD series at 24 sites during 1955–2011 were reconstructed and the spatiotemporal variation in FFD over the region was analysed. Our results showed that the panel data model could well simulate the phenophase at the regional scale with due consideration paid to efficiency and difficulty, and the advance of peony FFD responded to the increase in February–April temperature at a rate of 3.02 days/1 °C. In addition, the simulation revealed that regional FFDs followed the latitudinal gradient and had advanced by 6–9 days over the past 57 years, at the rate of 0.8 to 1.8 days/decade. Among sub-areas, the eastern forelands of Taihang Mountains and Luliang Mountains showed more FFD advances than the other areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Decent Work in the Chinese Apparel Industry: Comparative Analysis of Blue-Collar and White-Collar Garment Workers
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1344; doi:10.3390/su9081344
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Addressing labor issues in the apparel industry is significantly important due to customers’ increasing awareness of poor working conditions and growing labor crises in apparel production locations worldwide. Decent work is a key element to achieving fair and harmonious employment, but is not
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Addressing labor issues in the apparel industry is significantly important due to customers’ increasing awareness of poor working conditions and growing labor crises in apparel production locations worldwide. Decent work is a key element to achieving fair and harmonious employment, but is not always evident in global apparel production networks. This study examines the working conditions in China’s garment manufacturing industry, which employs more than 10 million workers. A survey was administered to 313 blue-collar workers and 228 white-collar workers on issues related to decent work, including workers’ concerns, satisfaction levels and attitudes towards decent work. Regression analysis showed that workers’ attitudes are significantly related to age, education level, service length and monthly wage. Gap analysis revealed poor understanding of decent work and low satisfaction with primary indicators of decent work. However, results suggest that workers increasingly value soft factors and the overall work experience, not only financial benefits. Cluster analysis identified four clusters of workers. This study contributes to understanding garment worker perceptions of decent work and provides implications for the operationalization of decent work in China’s garment manufacturing industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in the Textile and Apparel Supply Chains)
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Open AccessArticle Realising Operational Energy Performance in Non-Domestic Buildings: Lessons Learnt from Initiatives Applied in Cambridge
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1345; doi:10.3390/su9081345
Received: 8 May 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
The gap between the intended and actual energy performance of buildings is increasingly well documented in the non-domestic building sector. Recognition of this issue has led to the availability of a large range of initiatives that seek to ensure energy efficient building operation.
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The gap between the intended and actual energy performance of buildings is increasingly well documented in the non-domestic building sector. Recognition of this issue has led to the availability of a large range of initiatives that seek to ensure energy efficient building operation. This article reviews the practical implementation of three such initiatives in a case study building at the University of Cambridge. The notionally high-performance office/laboratory building implemented two voluntary design frameworks during building planning and construction: the voluntary rating scheme BREEAM and a bespoke Soft Landings framework called the Cambridge Work Plan. The building additionally meets the energy reporting criteria for the EU Energy Performance of Buildings Directive (EPBD), a legislative requirement for many publicly owned buildings in the UK. The relative impact of these three approaches for optimising building energy performance is reviewed through a mixed methods approach of building occupant and operator interviews, document analysis and energy performance review. The building’s core functions were revealed to consume 140% more energy than the building logbook estimate for the same needs. This difference, referred to widely as the energy performance gap, is larger than the majority of reported UK university buildings in the energy reporting database CarbonBuzz. The three implemented initiatives are demonstrated to be inadequate for reducing the energy performance gap in the case study, thus a number of alternative energy efficiency approaches are additionally reviewed. Common to the three approaches used in the case study is a lack of verification of actual building performance despite ambitious sustainability targets, due to a heavy focus on the design-stage and few follow-up mechanisms. The paper demonstrates the potential of energy efficiency initiatives that are focussed on operational performance as a core criterion (such as the Living Building Challenge) together with those that ensure the creation of realistic energy estimates at the design stage (such as the Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers (CIBSE) Technical Memorandum 54). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Assessments of Buildings)
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Open AccessArticle Cultural Heritage and Urban Tourism: Historic City Centres under Pressure
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1346; doi:10.3390/su9081346
Received: 29 April 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Historic city centres of European cities are one of the most important elements of the European cultural heritage. They are places that attract many visitors due to their relevance in terms of heritage, but the recent growth of tourist flows constitutes a threat
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Historic city centres of European cities are one of the most important elements of the European cultural heritage. They are places that attract many visitors due to their relevance in terms of heritage, but the recent growth of tourist flows constitutes a threat to the conservation of their values. In some European cities, such as Venice or Barcelona, the debate has taken to the streets, and there is significant social mobilization taking place, with very belligerent positions against tourism (anti-tourism, tourismphobia). The mass media also generates discourse on the topic and places the debate on urban tourism sustainability at the forefront of the public debate. In this context, this article reviews the state of the art on tourism impact and identifies, describes and evaluates the different dimensions of tourist pressure based on a case study: the historic centre of the city of Donostia-San Sebastián (Basque Country, Spain). The main goal of the research is to help determine how tourist pressure affects the safeguarding of “historic urban landscapes” and the desirable or desired models of city and tourist destination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cultural Tourism and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Measuring Efficiency and Effectiveness of Highway Management in Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1347; doi:10.3390/su9081347
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 20 July 2017 / Accepted: 21 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
This study analyses efficiency and effectiveness of highway management at the state level in the United States. While the current literature on highway management has contributed to understanding infrastructure budget and finance, the relationship between efficiency and effectiveness measurements has not been sufficiently
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This study analyses efficiency and effectiveness of highway management at the state level in the United States. While the current literature on highway management has contributed to understanding infrastructure budget and finance, the relationship between efficiency and effectiveness measurements has not been sufficiently discussed in the context of sustainability. To fill this gap, this study was systemically designed to test the relationship by controlling the states’ political factors, fiscal capacity, median voter, and economic conditions. Data envelopment and principal component analysis with panel data covering 11-year time waves were used to measure both efficiency and effectiveness. The results of the fixed effects model and the spatial autoregressive panel model show a statistically strong relationship between efficiency and effectiveness which are respectively measured by two analysis approaches. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Convenience Benefits of the District Heating System over Individual Heating Systems in Korean Households
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1348; doi:10.3390/su9081348
Received: 15 May 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Koreans usually prefer the district heating system (DHS) to the individual heating system (IHS) because DHS can give them convenience and safety within their living environment. The Korean government thus plans to expand the DHS and requires information about the value that consumers
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Koreans usually prefer the district heating system (DHS) to the individual heating system (IHS) because DHS can give them convenience and safety within their living environment. The Korean government thus plans to expand the DHS and requires information about the value that consumers place on the DHS over the IHS, which has not been dealt with in academic literature. This paper attempts to investigate Korean households’ willingness to pay (WTP) for DHS over IHS, for residential heat (RH). To this end, the authors apply the dichotomous choice contingent valuation to assessing additional WTP for DHS using a survey of 1000 randomly selected households living in buildings with IHS. A mixture model is applied to deal with the zero WTP responses. The WTP distribution is specified as a mixture of two distributions, one with a point mass at zero and the other with full support on the positive half of the real line. The results show that the mean additional WTP for DHS-based RH over IHS-based RH is estimated to be KRW 5775 (USD 5.4) per Gcal. This value can be interpreted as the consumer’s convenience benefits of DHS over IHS, and amounts to approximately 6.0% of the average price: KRW 96,510 (USD 90.4) per Gcal in 2013, for IHS-based RH. This information is useful for evaluating changes to the method used for supplying RH from IHS to DHS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Resource–Efficient Homes and Communities)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Different Land-Use Systems on Soil Aggregates: A Case Study of the Loess Plateau (Northern China)
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1349; doi:10.3390/su9081349
Received: 6 May 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 26 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Soil aggregate stability is an important indicator for controlling soil losses and can improve soil quality, particularly in an area such as the Loess Plateau. The objective of this study was to estimate the differences in soil aggregates across six different land-use systems
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Soil aggregate stability is an important indicator for controlling soil losses and can improve soil quality, particularly in an area such as the Loess Plateau. The objective of this study was to estimate the differences in soil aggregates across six different land-use systems (grassland, apple orchard, abandoned apple orchard, cropland maize, cropland wheat, and shrub-grassland). For this purpose, dry and wet sieving techniques were employed to assess aggregate content and aggregate stability. Higher percentages of water stable aggregates were observed in the abandoned apple orchard and shrub-grassland at 63% and 61%, respectively. The maximum dry aggregate stability (%) was recorded at 78% and 77% in both wheat cropland and common apple orchard, and the abandoned apple orchard was only 74%. Both mean weight diameters and geometric mean diameters of aggregate were recorded as higher in grassland, shrub-grassland, and the abandoned apple orchard, than the other land uses. The formation of soil aggregates and their stability were positively correlated with soil organic carbon content and root biomass of different plant communities. Higher amounts of soil organic carbon content were noted in the abandoned apple orchard, common apple orchard, and natural grassland at the 0–20 cm soil layer. The results of the correlation coefficient showed a positive significant correlation between the mean weight diameter, geometric diameter, root biomass, and soil organic carbon content. Conclusively, the type of land use affected the soil aggregation and distribution of size fractions; the small fractions of the aggregates formed large fractions by combining with fresh organic matter, and increased soil organic carbon concentrations were closely linked with the formation of macro-aggregates. Thus, converting slope farmland to forestland and grassland could improve water-stable aggregate and reduce soil disturbances in areas (like the Loess Plateau) with the highest erosion risk. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Science in Conservation Agricultural Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Influence of Favorite Place in House—Outdoor or Indoor—On Energy Consumption and Happiness in Rural Thailand
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1350; doi:10.3390/su9081350
Received: 8 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 30 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, with the change in house styles in rural Thailand, the favorite place in the house and lifestyle of inhabitants has also altered. This causes an increase in energy use. Therefore, this research was conducted in order to clarify the influence
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In recent years, with the change in house styles in rural Thailand, the favorite place in the house and lifestyle of inhabitants has also altered. This causes an increase in energy use. Therefore, this research was conducted in order to clarify the influence on energy use of the house style, communication with the neighborhood, and happiness through the favorite place in the house and daily activities. The study identified that people who like to stay in the outside space, such as the open space beneath the house and the garden, showed higher happiness. Spending more time outside helped to communicate with the neighborhood and family, and also to use less the air conditioner and electric fan. Such a lifestyle contributes to the development of a low carbon society. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Country-Specific Water Consumption Inventory Considering International Trade in Asian Countries Using a Multi-Regional Input-Output Table
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1351; doi:10.3390/su9081351
Received: 22 May 2017 / Revised: 14 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Interest in the impacts of water use in the life cycle of products and services are increasing among various stakeholders. The water footprint is a tool to identify critical and effective points for reducing the impact of water use through the entire life
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Interest in the impacts of water use in the life cycle of products and services are increasing among various stakeholders. The water footprint is a tool to identify critical and effective points for reducing the impact of water use through the entire life cycle of products, services, and organizations. The purpose of this study was to develop a water consumption inventory database that focused on identifying of Asian water consumption using an input-output (IO) framework. An Asia International Input-Output table (AIIO) was applied in this study. The amount of water consumption required for agricultural products was estimated by modeling; for other sectors it was estimated from statistical reports. The intensities of direct water consumption in each sector were calculated by dividing the amount of water consumption by the domestic production. Based on the IO analysis using Leontief’s inverse matrix, the intensities of water consumption from cradle to gate were estimated for all goods and services. There was high intensity of water consumption in the primary industry sectors, together with a high dependency on rainwater as an input water source. The water consumption intensities generally showed a larger reduction in secondary sectors, in comparison with the tertiary sectors, due to the use of recycled water. There were differences between this study and previous studies due to the use of site-specific production data and the temporal resolution of crop production. By considering site-specific conditions, it is expected that the dataset developed here can be used for estimating the water footprint of products, services, and organizations in nine countries (Japan, South Korea, China, Taiwan, Thailand, the Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and USA). Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Consistent Fuzzy Preference Relations Based ANP Model for R&D Project Selection
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1352; doi:10.3390/su9081352
Received: 11 June 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
In today’s rapidly changing economy, technology companies have to make decisions on research and development (R&D) projects investment on a routine bases with such decisions having a direct impact on that company’s profitability, sustainability and future growth. Companies seeking profitable opportunities for investment
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In today’s rapidly changing economy, technology companies have to make decisions on research and development (R&D) projects investment on a routine bases with such decisions having a direct impact on that company’s profitability, sustainability and future growth. Companies seeking profitable opportunities for investment and project selection must consider many factors such as resource limitations and differences in assessment, with consideration of both qualitative and quantitative criteria. Often, differences in perception by the various stakeholders hinder the attainment of a consensus of opinion and coordination efforts. Thus, in this study, a hybrid model is developed for the consideration of the complex criteria taking into account the different opinions of the various stakeholders who often come from different departments within the company and have different opinions about which direction to take. The decision-making trial and evaluation laboratory (DEMATEL) approach is used to convert the cause and effect relations representing the criteria into a visual network structure. A consistent fuzzy preference relations based analytic network process (CFPR-ANP) method is developed to calculate the preference-weights of the criteria based on the derived network structure. The CFPR-ANP is an improvement over the original analytic network process (ANP) method in that it reduces the problem of inconsistency as well as the number of pairwise comparisons. The combined complex proportional assessment (COPRAS-G) method is applied with fuzzy grey relations to resolve conflicts arising from differences in information and opinions provided by the different stakeholders about the selection of the most suitable R&D projects. This novel combination approach is then used to assist an international brand-name company to prioritize projects and make project decisions that will maximize returns and ensure sustainability for the company. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainable Development Goals: An Experience on Higher Education
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1353; doi:10.3390/su9081353
Received: 4 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Sustainable development is acquiring high attendance in higher education. In fact, one of the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations in September 2015 aims to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable
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Sustainable development is acquiring high attendance in higher education. In fact, one of the targets for the Sustainable Development Goals announced by the United Nations in September 2015 aims to ensure that all learners acquire the knowledge and skills needed to promote sustainable development, including, among others, thorough education on sustainable development. The current study focuses on the evaluation of individual works based on the sustainable development suggested to students in a subject of the Master’s of Thermal Engineering at the University of Vigo. In addition, a sustainable holistic rubric is presented, which was used to analyze the ability of the students to incorporate sustainability principles in their work. The rubric was based on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated targets of the United Nations, more specifically on the Goals 7, 8, 12, and 13. A total of 10 works were evaluated. As a general conclusion, it was found that the students generally do not consider or consider to a lower extent the economic criteria opposite to the environmental, technical, and social dimensions. The environmental sub-criterion were applied to a greater extent in the development of the works. However, the technical and social dimensions were included to a greater or lesser extent depending on the type of work developed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Deforestation on Agro-Environmental Variables in Cropland, North Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1354; doi:10.3390/su9081354
Received: 17 May 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
Deforestation in North Korea is becoming the epitome of the environmental change occurring in the Korean Peninsula. This study estimates the agro-environmental variables of North Korea’s croplands and analyzes the impact of deforestation using the GEPIC (GIS-based EPIC (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate)) model
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Deforestation in North Korea is becoming the epitome of the environmental change occurring in the Korean Peninsula. This study estimates the agro-environmental variables of North Korea’s croplands and analyzes the impact of deforestation using the GEPIC (GIS-based EPIC (Environmental Policy Integrated Climate)) model and time-series land cover maps. To identify the changes in agricultural quality under deforestation, wind erosion, water erosion, organic carbon loss, and runoff were selected as the agro-environmental variables having an impact on cropland stability and productivity. Land cover maps spanning the past three decades showed that 75% of the forests were converted to croplands and that 69% of all converted croplands were originally forests, confirming the significant correlation between deforestation and cropland expansion in North Korea. Despite limitations in the verification data, we conducted qualitative and quantitative validation of the estimated variables and confirmed that our results were reasonable. Over the past 30 years, agro-environmental variables showed no clear time-series changes resulting from climate change, but changes due to spatial differences were seen. Negative changes in organic carbon loss, water erosion, and runoff were observed, regardless of the crop type. On newly-converted agricultural lands, runoff is 1.5 times higher and water-driven erosion and soil organic loss are more than twice as high compared to older croplands. The results showed that the agro-environment affected by deforestation had an impact on cropland stability and productivity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Assessment of Land Use and Land Cover)
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Open AccessArticle Towards the Conceptual Changes in Architectural Education: Adjusting to Climate Change
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1355; doi:10.3390/su9081355
Received: 13 June 2017 / Revised: 12 July 2017 / Accepted: 25 July 2017 / Published: 1 August 2017
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Abstract
This article gives an insight into the problem of climate change awareness in the process of architectural education. The course Urban Structure at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, is used as a case study that reveals a sensitive relationship between the
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This article gives an insight into the problem of climate change awareness in the process of architectural education. The course Urban Structure at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, is used as a case study that reveals a sensitive relationship between the university curriculum, teaching methodologies, students’ experiences/obtained knowledge and the local background. The course included Problem Based Learning method in order to increase applicability of up-to-date knowledge on climate change. The results were tested before and after taking the course, via survey based on the semi-open type of questionnaire, distributed among 246 course attendees. The testing was conducted twice, during the school years 2013–2014 and 2014–2015. The comparison between the knowledge acquire via theory (the test results provided at the beginning of the course) and the knowledge obtained by Problem Based Learning (the results obtained after the course ended) confirmed the increased level of student’s awareness of environmental problems, as well as the extended scope of their ability to respond to occurring problems caused by climate change. Furthermore, the results obtained by a questionnaire are used for setting of new educational guidelines. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle Differentiated Optimization of Sustainable Land Use in Metropolitan Areas: A Demarcation of Functional Units for Land Consolidation
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1356; doi:10.3390/su9081356
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 22 July 2017 / Accepted: 24 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
In China, the combination of land supply finitude and land use inefficiency has become a barrier to sustainable development in urban society and the economy. Land consolidation has been widely implemented as a tool to improve the quality and quantity of land use,
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In China, the combination of land supply finitude and land use inefficiency has become a barrier to sustainable development in urban society and the economy. Land consolidation has been widely implemented as a tool to improve the quality and quantity of land use, but is mainly limited to rural areas and focuses on farmland production, while not taking into consideration of aspects such as life, production, and ecology. Furthermore, contemporary research usually focuses on one land consolidation project, ignoring practical project arrangement at a regional macroscopic level and lacking specific differentiation in designing land consolidation projects. This study aims to create a method to determine functional units for land consolidation (FULC) in metropolitan areas to facilitate the sustainable use of land resources and improve the efficiency of land use. Moreover, a framework to assess the overall demarcation of FULC is developed. The proposed model considers the production, life, and ecology functions in the demarcation decisions regarding FULC. A typical metropolitan area, that is, Haidian District, Beijing, is used as a case study to demonstrate this framework. The analysis shows that the model can provide technical support and practical references for planners and executors to arrange different land consolidation projects at the macroscopic level. By taking all production, life, and ecological properties of the land parcels into consideration, the proposed model enables local governments to meet their sustainable development targets by managing specialized projects for FULC as a spatial governance platform. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Land Use in China)
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Open AccessArticle Agroecology to Promote Just Sustainability Transitions: Analysis of a Civil Society Network in the Rwenzori Region, Western Uganda
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1357; doi:10.3390/su9081357
Received: 6 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 29 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
Agroecology is gaining ground within the debate on how to address systemic social and environmental problems in agriculture. However, it remains marginalized in agricultural research and development plans around the world. This paper analyzes agroecology as a socio-technical niche in Uganda, where its
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Agroecology is gaining ground within the debate on how to address systemic social and environmental problems in agriculture. However, it remains marginalized in agricultural research and development plans around the world. This paper analyzes agroecology as a socio-technical niche in Uganda, where its emergence in part can be seen as an unintended consequence of neoliberalist development. The case studied is a civil society network that links farmer groups and non-governmental organizations across different levels. Through the analytical lens of regime dimensions, we find that agroecology is practiced as a smallholder-centric approach that champions collective action, locally appropriate technologies, participatory methods in research and extension, and calls for more active state guidance of agricultural change along specific principles. However, two major concerns are raised; the niche converges with the dominant discourse around commercialization, and policy advocacy is hampered by the apolitical history of NGOs and an increasingly tense political climate. These two areas are critical for agroecology to contribute to just sustainability transitions, and civil society organizations with strong links to smallholder farmers need to be included in the growing scholarly debate both to inform it and to receive guidance from it. Transition frameworks can help facilitate the development of viable institutional designs and explicitly transformative strategies, but we also point towards the need for engagement with theories on civil society collective action and political mobilization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle The Role of Solar Photovoltaics and Energy Storage Solutions in a 100% Renewable Energy System for Finland in 2050
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1358; doi:10.3390/su9081358
Received: 12 July 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 30 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
There are several barriers to achieving an energy system based entirely on renewable energy (RE) in Finland, not the least of which is doubt that high capacities of solar photovoltaics (PV) can be feasible due to long, cold and dark Finnish winters. Technologically,
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There are several barriers to achieving an energy system based entirely on renewable energy (RE) in Finland, not the least of which is doubt that high capacities of solar photovoltaics (PV) can be feasible due to long, cold and dark Finnish winters. Technologically, several energy storage options can facilitate high penetrations of solar PV and other variable forms of RE. These options include electric and thermal storage systems in addition to a robust role of Power-to-Gas technology. In an EnergyPLAN simulation of the Finnish energy system for 2050, approximately 45% of electricity produced from solar PV was used directly over the course of the year, which shows the relevance of storage. In terms of public policy, several mechanisms are available to promote various forms of RE. However, many of these are contested in Finland by actors with vested interests in maintaining the status quo rather than by those without confidence in RE conversion or storage technologies. These vested interests must be overcome before a zero fossil carbon future can begin. The results of this study provides insights into how higher capacities of solar PV can be effectively promoted and managed at high latitudes, both north and south. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Photovoltaic Electricity)
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Open AccessArticle A Study on China’s Urban Electricity Productivity Convergence with Spatial Smooth Transition Effect
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1359; doi:10.3390/su9081359
Received: 19 June 2017 / Revised: 19 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper analyzes the absolute convergence of urban electricity productivity in China during 1990–2011, applying Spatial Error Smooth Transition Auto-regression Model, and examines the spatial effect in convergence process. Then it analyzes the stage characteristics of electricity productivity convergence during the process of
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This paper analyzes the absolute convergence of urban electricity productivity in China during 1990–2011, applying Spatial Error Smooth Transition Auto-regression Model, and examines the spatial effect in convergence process. Then it analyzes the stage characteristics of electricity productivity convergence during the process of electricity market reformation and the conditional convergence which is affected by the urban economy. According to the results of our research, there exists significant absolute convergence of urban electricity productivity in China, and the spatial effect, especially spatial smooth transition effect, significantly enhance the convergence of urban electricity productivity. Since the electricity market reformation in 2002, significant stage characteristics exist in convergence of urban electricity productivity. The convergence rate of electricity productivity before 2002 is obviously lower than the one during the whole sample period, also the one after 2002 and the spatial nonlinear effect strengthens during the later period with marketization in electricity market and stricter regulation on energy conservation. The urban economy also affects the convergence of urban electricity productivity, while it does not promote the convergence rate because the high proportion of electricity-intensive industry in cities of western and northeastern region. At the conclusion of our paper, we put forward policy suggestions with the objective of narrowing the gap of urban electricity productivity and realizing sustainable urban development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle Economic Analysis of USN-Based Data Acquisition Systems in Tall Building Construction
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1360; doi:10.3390/su9081360
Received: 11 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
The successful construction of tall buildings requires effective construction management based on various quantitative data. The recent development of ubiquitous sensor networks (USNs) enables massive amounts of data to be collected in real-time. However, the application of USN-based data acquisition systems to repetitive
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The successful construction of tall buildings requires effective construction management based on various quantitative data. The recent development of ubiquitous sensor networks (USNs) enables massive amounts of data to be collected in real-time. However, the application of USN-based data acquisition systems to repetitive tasks on typical floors of tall buildings can be inefficient, because this may involve the repetitive reinstallation of sensors and the repositioning of data loggers and routers to enable continuous data transfer. To minimize this cumbersome work, a modified data acquisition method using reusable sensor nodes and mobile devices can be a useful solution. This study analyzes the economic aspects of the USN-based systems for concrete temperature monitoring by using the activity-based costing technique. The case study shows that the modified system can reduce the process cost by about 19%. It can also reduce the resource input time of management by about 55%, freeing up time for other management activities. Moreover, the cost benefits should scale up as projects increasingly require more measurement and monitoring. This study should facilitate the application of USN-based information management systems, particularly for tall building construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Responses of Agroecosystems to Climate Change: Specifics of Resilience in the Mid-Latitude Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1361; doi:10.3390/su9081361
Received: 30 April 2017 / Revised: 17 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
This study examines the productivity and resilience of agroecosystems in the Korean Peninsula. Having learned valuable lessons from a Chapman University project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture which concentrated on the semi-arid region of southwestern United States, our joint Korea—Chapman
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This study examines the productivity and resilience of agroecosystems in the Korean Peninsula. Having learned valuable lessons from a Chapman University project funded by the United States Department of Agriculture which concentrated on the semi-arid region of southwestern United States, our joint Korea—Chapman University team has applied similar methodologies to the Korean Peninsula, which is itself an interesting study case in the mid-latitude region. In particular, the Korean Peninsula has unique agricultural environments due to differences in political and socioeconomic systems between South Korea and North Korea. Specifically, North Korea has been suffering from food shortages due to natural disasters, land degradation and political failure. The neighboring developed country, South Korea, has a better agricultural system but a low food self-sufficiency rate. Therefore, assessing crop yield potential (Yp) in the two distinct regions will reveal vulnerability and risks of agroecosystems in the mid-latitude region under climate change and variability and for different conditions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Experimental Investigations and Numerical Simulation of Thermal Performance of a Horizontal Slinky-Coil Ground Heat Exchanger
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1362; doi:10.3390/su9081362
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
A model test system of horizontal slinky coil ground heat exchanger (HSCGHE) was established according to the similarity theory. A 2-D mathematical model of HSCGHE was built and experimentally validated. Experimental and numerical investigations of effects of different parameters on the thermal behavior
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A model test system of horizontal slinky coil ground heat exchanger (HSCGHE) was established according to the similarity theory. A 2-D mathematical model of HSCGHE was built and experimentally validated. Experimental and numerical investigations of effects of different parameters on the thermal behavior of HSCGHE were undertaken. The results show that the heat release rate of the slinky coil and soil temperature around it increase as the inlet fluid temperature of coil increases. The soil temperature operated in intermittent mode can get a recovery, and thus the heat release rate of the coil can be improved effectively. For a given condition, reducing the coil central interval distance can increase the heat release rate of the HSCGHE, but also results in the decrease of the heat release rate per unit length of the coil. Therefore, the coil central interval distance cannot be decreased without limit. At the same time, the thermal performance of HSCGHE is related to the ground surface wind velocity. The heat release rate in the sandstone is the largest, followed by sand, the lowest for clay. Additionally, with the increase of buried depth of coil, the heat release rate increases, but the increase degree gradually becomes small. Thus, the buried depth cannot be too deep and should be determined by thermal performance, excavation cost and safety requirements. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Technology Analysis of Global Smart Light Emitting Diode (LED) Development Using Patent Data
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1363; doi:10.3390/su9081363
Received: 10 July 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 2 August 2017
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Abstract
Technological developments related to smart light emitting diode (LED) systems have progressed rapidly in recent years. In this paper, patent documents related to smart LED technology are collected and analyzed to understand the technology development of smart LED systems. Most previous studies of
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Technological developments related to smart light emitting diode (LED) systems have progressed rapidly in recent years. In this paper, patent documents related to smart LED technology are collected and analyzed to understand the technology development of smart LED systems. Most previous studies of the technology were dependent on the knowledge and experience of domain experts, using techniques such as Delphi surveys or technology road-mapping. These approaches may be subjective and lack robustness, because the results can vary according to the selected expert groups. We therefore propose a new technology analysis methodology based on statistical modeling to obtain objective and relatively stable results. The proposed method consists of visualization based on Bayesian networks and a linear count model to analyze patent documents related to smart LED technology. Combining these results, a global hierarchical technology structure is created that can enhance the sustainability in smart LED system technology. In order to show how this methodology could be applied to real-world problems, we carry out a case study on the technology analysis of smart LED systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Multilateral Governance for Climate Change Adaptation in S. Korea: The Mechanisms of Formulating Adaptation Policies
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1364; doi:10.3390/su9081364
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 9 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
This paper explores the current trajectory of multilateral governance for climate change adaptation in S. Korea, which is characterised by vertical and horizontal adaptation governance. This article highlights that the characteristics of adaptation governance can be realised more effectively through grassroot activities at
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This paper explores the current trajectory of multilateral governance for climate change adaptation in S. Korea, which is characterised by vertical and horizontal adaptation governance. This article highlights that the characteristics of adaptation governance can be realised more effectively through grassroot activities at both metropolitan and local government levels. In particular, a thorough examination on the implemented adaptation measures (‘national climate change adaptation scheme’, ‘national climate change adaptation centre’, and the climate change ‘Ansim Village’ project) as well as the limitations at the national and local level were carried out. Ultimately, as a result, this paper suggests of the effective multilateral governance for climate change adaptation; enhancing the multilateral partnership between the national government and local governments, facilitating horizontal governance within the adaptation departments of local governments, managing adaptation horizontal governance by sectors according to the characteristics of climate change risk, and establishing sustainable adaptation governance for ‘Ansim’ Village. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Governance for Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Crude Oil Contaminated Sites: Evaluation by Using Risk Assessment Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1365; doi:10.3390/su9081365
Received: 9 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Soils contaminated with toxic and persistent pollutants pose different and serious hazards to the environment and human health. Multidisciplinary procedures that are considering models for the prediction of risk for long-term exposure are needed. The present paper illustrates the operating mode and utility
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Soils contaminated with toxic and persistent pollutants pose different and serious hazards to the environment and human health. Multidisciplinary procedures that are considering models for the prediction of risk for long-term exposure are needed. The present paper illustrates the operating mode and utility of an environmental software able toe0) integrates the dose-response modeling as a major part of hazard characterization in order to assess the quantitative risk from carcinogens. In this way, risk assessment is used as a method for the investigation of contaminated sites. The method is demonstrated on a Romanian field site, contaminated with petroleum products. For the assessment of human health risks from oil-contaminated sites, the contaminants of concern are considered as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (MAHs), and heavy metals, chemicals known as human carcinogens. Quantitative risk calculations revealed an individual risk of 1.07 × 10−5 for children and 6.89 × 10−6 for adults. The paper represents a utility example of an environmental software solution that could be considered by decision-making factors in approving certain projects. The software tool is helpful for protecting the environment and human health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk Assessment and Management)
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Open AccessArticle Projecting the CO2 and Climatic Change Effects on the Net Primary Productivity of the Urban Ecosystems in Phoenix, AZ in the 21st Century under Multiple RCP (Representative Concentration Pathway) Scenarios
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1366; doi:10.3390/su9081366
Received: 5 May 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 29 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Urban vegetation provides ecological services that promote both the ecosystem integrity and human well-being of urban areas, and thus is critical to urban sustainability. As a key indicator of ecological health, net primary productivity (NPP) provides valuable information about the performance of urban
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Urban vegetation provides ecological services that promote both the ecosystem integrity and human well-being of urban areas, and thus is critical to urban sustainability. As a key indicator of ecological health, net primary productivity (NPP) provides valuable information about the performance of urban ecosystem in response to the changes in urban climate and atmosphere in the 21st century. In this study, a process-based urban ecosystem model, HPM-UEM (Hierarchical Patch Mosaic-Urban Ecosystem Model), was used to investigate spatiotemporal dynamics of urban ecosystem NPP in the Phoenix city, AZ under three representative concentration pathway (RCP2.6, RCP4.5 and RCP8.5) during the 21st century. The results indicated that, by the end of the 21st century, the urban ecosystem’s NPP would increase by 14% (in RCP2.6), 51% (in RCP4.5) and 99% (in RCP8.5) relative to that in the late 2000s, respectively. Factorial analysis indicated that CO2 fertilization effect would be the major driver of NPP change, accounting for 56–61% of the NPP increase under the scenarios. Under the RCP2.6 scenario, the strongest NPP increase would be found in the agricultural lands located in the west and southeast of the city. Under the RCP4.5 and RCP8.5 scenarios, the strongest NPP increase would be found in the mesic residential areas that mainly located to the eastern, southern, and southwestern of the Phoenix Mountains Preserve. Although higher ecosystem NPP in the future implies improved ecosystem services that may help to alleviate the heat stress (by providing more shading) and air pollution in the city, this will be at the cost of higher irrigation water usage, probably leading to water shortage in the natural ecosystems in this arid region. Furthermore, this study indicated the rich (such as in mesic residential area) would enjoy more benefits from the improved urban ecosystem services than the poor (such as in xeric residential area). Full article
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Open AccessArticle Elaborating the Role of Backbone Leadership Organizations in Sustainable Tourism Development: The Monongahela River Valley Coalition
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1367; doi:10.3390/su9081367
Received: 1 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Leadership has emerged as a central factor in sustainable regional development. Complex regional development initiatives need dynamic leaders to convene diverse stakeholders, sustain participation, leverage external resources, and achieve collective impact. This study researched the deeper meanings and application of backbone leadership using
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Leadership has emerged as a central factor in sustainable regional development. Complex regional development initiatives need dynamic leaders to convene diverse stakeholders, sustain participation, leverage external resources, and achieve collective impact. This study researched the deeper meanings and application of backbone leadership using case study research examining a collaborative, regional initiative known as the Mon River Valley Coalition (MRVC). The MRVC is a regional and community-based economic revitalization program that promotes economic and environmental sustainability by capitalizing on the outdoor recreation and nature-based tourism potential of the Monongahela River. Through an inductive logic process, this research study analyzed the role and capabilities exhibited by backbone leaders associated with the MRVC. The data revealed that backbone leadership has been important to the cumulative success of the Monongahela River Valley Coalition. Study results highlight the backbone leadership roles and capabilities demonstrated by the leadership team both internally and external to the coalition. Sustainable development leaders work in uncharted waters—beyond the safe harbors of government, corporations, and nonprofit organizations. Research is needed that elaborates the integrative work that these sustainability leaders do. Studies such as this one can illuminate the pathway for those to follow. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environment, Tourism and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Applying the Concept of Perceived Restoration to the Case of Cheonggyecheon Stream Park in Seoul, Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1368; doi:10.3390/su9081368
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Studies on perceived restoration have focused on the differences between natural and artificial environments, whereas studies on what makes people select a particular restorative environment are limited. Using the location of Cheonggyecheon Stream Park in the urban center of Seoul, South Korea, this
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Studies on perceived restoration have focused on the differences between natural and artificial environments, whereas studies on what makes people select a particular restorative environment are limited. Using the location of Cheonggyecheon Stream Park in the urban center of Seoul, South Korea, this study tests whether people self-select locations based on individual and environmental characteristics. Empirical testing was conducted on 268 responses on a visitor survey that was developed based on the Perceived Restorativeness Scale. The major findings were that visitors’ characteristics such as gender, age, number of companions, visit frequency, and travel mode affect their selection of a particular setting, and that the chosen setting subsequently influences three dimensions of the Scale: being away, fascination, and coherence. These findings suggest that both individual and environmental characteristics should be considered in the creation of an effective perceived restorative environment in an urban center. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Challenges)
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Open AccessArticle Green, Green, It’s Green: A Triad Model of Technology, Culture, and Innovation for Corporate Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1369; doi:10.3390/su9081369
Received: 17 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
In the global trend of sustainable development and tightening legal environment, enterprises need to integrate their various resources to promote green innovation and organizational performances. This study conceptualizes green information system (IS) infrastructure as the hardware resource and green culture as the software
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In the global trend of sustainable development and tightening legal environment, enterprises need to integrate their various resources to promote green innovation and organizational performances. This study conceptualizes green information system (IS) infrastructure as the hardware resource and green culture as the software resource. Based on the resource-alignment perspective, it examines their direct effects on green innovation effectiveness as well as indirect effects through the mediation of IS-culture fit, innovation-IS fit and innovation-culture fit. Survey observations were collected from over 300 organizations in China, the largest emerging economy under tremendous ecological and developmental pressures. The results suggest that green IS infrastructure and green culture has positive direct impacts on green innovation effectiveness. Meanwhile, innovation-IS fit, innovation-culture fit and IS-culture fit serve as positive, negative and non-significant mediators, respectively. In addition, a multi-group analysis reveals that organization size moderates the mediating rather than direct relationships, and small/medium and large enterprises face their own pros and cons in green innovation. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Spatial-Territorial Reorganization Model of Rural Settlements Based on Graph Theory and Genetic Optimization
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1370; doi:10.3390/su9081370
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 25 July 2017 / Accepted: 28 July 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Rural China has experienced rapid urbanization and industrialization, accompanied with rural–urban migration since 1978. This tremendous transition has caused a series of negative consequences, necessitating a spatial-territorial reorganization of rural settlements. Previous studies on the restructuring of rural settlements are insufficient for inter-settlement
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Rural China has experienced rapid urbanization and industrialization, accompanied with rural–urban migration since 1978. This tremendous transition has caused a series of negative consequences, necessitating a spatial-territorial reorganization of rural settlements. Previous studies on the restructuring of rural settlements are insufficient for inter-settlement connection consideration and practical and dynamic decision-making techniques. To overcome these concerns, a dynamic spatial-territorial reorganization model (SRM) of rural settlement is proposed herein based on graph theory and genetic algorithm (GA). The model involves two parts. In Part 1, consolidated settlements are identified according to the socio-economic network performance under four types of attack. In Part 2, GA model is repeatedly executed to scientifically resettle consolidated settlements into nearby townships or central settlements with objectives of suitability, compactness, and local connectivity under the control of the constraints. This paper presents an application of SRM to Chengui Town, Hubei Province. Empirical results suggest that: (1) removing settlements in order of node degree is the least efficient way to destroy the entire functional system; and (2) the proposed model can yield satisfactory solutions in terms of spatial reorganization of settlements. The SRM may also serve as a valuable reference for planners in devising plans and making decisions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Management Strategies and Innovations for Sustainable Construction)
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Open AccessArticle Integrated Landscape Approach: Closing the Gap between Theory and Application
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1371; doi:10.3390/su9081371
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 3 August 2017
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Abstract
Recently, the integrated landscape approach has gained increasing interest of the scientific community, as well as of organizations active in the field of sustainable development. However, the enthusiastic welcome is challenged by little consensus on theory, terminology and definitions. Moreover, the operationalization of
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Recently, the integrated landscape approach has gained increasing interest of the scientific community, as well as of organizations active in the field of sustainable development. However, the enthusiastic welcome is challenged by little consensus on theory, terminology and definitions. Moreover, the operationalization of the approach into practice is a major challenge. In this paper, we present a framework to operationalize the integrated landscape approach in practice by putting a long-term collaboration between scientists and various stakeholder at center stage. Based on encompassing understanding of landscape-level processes and interactions, four pillars addressing different steps of a joint-learning circle are described and illustrated with examples. We consider the integrated landscape approach to be a prime way of targeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but novel forms of collaboration between scientists and other stakeholders based on long-term commitments will be needed for operationalization in practice. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Landscape Management)
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainability of Businesses in Kigali, Rwanda: An Analysis of the Barriers Faced by Women Entrepreneurs
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1372; doi:10.3390/su9081372
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Given their sheer number and “motherly instincts” one would expect that the effective participation of women in entrepreneurial activities will offer a far reaching impact on the economy, yet their contribution is barely apparent in a number of developing countries. Assuming that women
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Given their sheer number and “motherly instincts” one would expect that the effective participation of women in entrepreneurial activities will offer a far reaching impact on the economy, yet their contribution is barely apparent in a number of developing countries. Assuming that women are unique, this paper sought to determine the specific barriers faced by women entrepreneurs in doing business in Kigali. Anchored on the quantitative approach, the requisite data was obtained from 398 women entrepreneurs operating formal and informal business in the city of Kigali using structured self-administered questionnaires. Aiming for descriptive statistics, the data collected was analysed using the latest version of Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) software. The results suggest that women entrepreneurs face a number of challenges in running their businesses in Kigali. These challenges are not limited to among others, the lack of collateral to obtain loans, high taxes, a lack of information technology skills and access, high interest rates, high transport costs, a lack of entrepreneurial skills, but are also compounded by cultural and psychological factors. Therefore, our view is that, it will take time and the combined efforts of women entrepreneurs themselves, society, their families, government, researchers and other stakeholders to overcome these challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Entrepreneurial Sustainability: New Innovative Knowledge)
Open AccessArticle Using Government Resettlement Projects as a Sustainable Adaptation Strategy for Climate Change
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1373; doi:10.3390/su9081373
Received: 10 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Given that increasing migration has been addressed as a major consequence of climate change, a growing number of scholars suggest that the planned relocation of people or Government Resettlement Projects (GRPs) should be included in climate change adaptation. This paper reviews the status
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Given that increasing migration has been addressed as a major consequence of climate change, a growing number of scholars suggest that the planned relocation of people or Government Resettlement Projects (GRPs) should be included in climate change adaptation. This paper reviews the status of climate change and environmentally induced migration in China, and then presents an empirical case study in Shangnan County in northwest China, where a specific GRP called the ‘Massive Southern Shaanxi Migration Program’ (MSSMP) has been initiated in response to climate change-related impacts. The results showed that the MSSMP helped local residents to adapt better climate change by reducing exposures to risk, enabling mobility, providing financial incentives, raising living standards, and improving emotional status. Furthermore, the MSSMP added additional benefits for migrants compared with traditional GRPs by respecting voluntary participation, preparing for future risks, and reducing social isolation via a short relocation distance. However, GRPs could also be seen as a maladaptation to climate change because they disproportionately increase the burden on the most vulnerable community members, such as those who are financially disadvantaged, new migrants, and people who are left behind. The paper further suggests that the GRPs should be designed by involving multiple adaptation strategies as supplements for GRPs, and broadening the political schemes to consider the special needs of vulnerable groups. This study contributes to an understanding of the roles of GRPs in sustainable climate change adaptation, thereby facilitating the design, organization, and implication of future similar programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Zoning and Analysis of Control Units for Water Pollution Control in the Yangtze River Basin, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1374; doi:10.3390/su9081374
Received: 21 June 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
In order to meet the needs of the control-unit-based water pollution prevention problem in China, we proposed a comprehensive control unit zoning method with the combined basic administrative region and objective watershed management. The method can effectively connect the natural characteristics of watershed
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In order to meet the needs of the control-unit-based water pollution prevention problem in China, we proposed a comprehensive control unit zoning method with the combined basic administrative region and objective watershed management. The method can effectively connect the natural characteristics of watershed water sources, three-level zoning of water resources, and comprehensively consider the pollution distribution, socio-economics and many other factors. The zoning process includes four steps: (1) Generate the multi-level hydrological unit; (2) Identify the multi-element water catchment units; (3) Obtain the control unit with the administrative boundary as the boundary; (4) Check and adjust the results to meet the actual needs. Based on this method, the Yangtze River Basin was divided into 568 control units with a total area of 1.91 million km2. These control units were used as the basic unit to analyze the water quality status and the results show that the upper reaches have good water quality, while the lower reaches have poor water quality and more serious water pollution. Our study helps the Ministry of Environmental Protection of China develop the list of control units that are needed to improve water quality during the “13th Five-Year Plan”, with a goal to provide technical support for control-unit-based water pollution prevention and control in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable River Basin Management)
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Open AccessArticle How Do Internet Enterprises Obtain Sustainable Development of Organizational Ecology? A Case Study of LeEco Using Institutional Logic Theory
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1375; doi:10.3390/su9081375
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
This study explores how Internet enterprises integrate different industries to sustainably develop organizational ecology, using institutional logic theory and an exploratory case study of LeEco, a famous Chinese Internet enterprise. The findings are as follows: (1) There are two main barriers to sustainable
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This study explores how Internet enterprises integrate different industries to sustainably develop organizational ecology, using institutional logic theory and an exploratory case study of LeEco, a famous Chinese Internet enterprise. The findings are as follows: (1) There are two main barriers to sustainable development of internal organizational ecology: resource barriers and information barriers. To overcome these obstacles, managers should carry out a series of institutional practices so that the organizational ecology obtains both product and institutional legitimacy; (2) A new institutional practice, the rigid/flexible method, is proposed, which includes implementation, communication, incentive, and cultural mechanisms. This method can help reconcile institutional logic conflicts caused by multiple logic coexistences in the organizational ecology; (3) A sustainable development model of organizational ecologies for Internet enterprises is presented, based on institutional logic, for closed-loop analysis of the ecological growth path. Based on a case study of China’s Internet environment, this paper opens up the “black box” of the internal growth of Internet enterprises at the micro level, complementing the macro studies in the literature. This study enriches organizational ecology theory and institutional logic theory. In addition, the case study of LeEco provides sufficient information on sustainable development to serve as a model for other Internet enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Environmental and Socio-Economic Analysis of Naphtha Reforming Hydrogen Energy Using Input-Output Tables: A Case Study from Japan
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1376; doi:10.3390/su9081376
Received: 31 May 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Comprehensive risk assessment across multiple fields is required to assess the potential utility of hydrogen energy technology. In this research, we analyzed environmental and socio-economic effects during the entire life cycle of a hydrogen energy system using input-output tables. The target system included
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Comprehensive risk assessment across multiple fields is required to assess the potential utility of hydrogen energy technology. In this research, we analyzed environmental and socio-economic effects during the entire life cycle of a hydrogen energy system using input-output tables. The target system included hydrogen production by naphtha reforming, transportation to hydrogen stations, and FCV (Fuel Cell Vehicle) refilling. The results indicated that 31%, 44%, and 9% of the production, employment, and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission effects, respectively, during the manufacturing and construction stages were temporary. During the continuous operation and maintenance stages, these values were found to be 69%, 56%, and 91%, respectively. The effect of naphtha reforming was dominant in GHG emissions and the effect of electrical power input on the entire system was significant. Production and employment had notable effects in both the direct and indirect sectors, including manufacturing (pumps, compressors, and chemical machinery) and services (equipment maintenance and trade). This study used data to introduce a life cycle perspective to environmental and socio-economic analysis of hydrogen energy systems and the results will contribute to their comprehensive risk assessment in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Hydrogen Economy: Technology and Social Issue)
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Open AccessArticle Scenarios of Phosphorus Flow from Agriculture and Domestic Wastewater in Myanmar (2010–2100)
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1377; doi:10.3390/su9081377
Received: 6 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Transfer of nutrients from agriculture and wastewater to the hydrosphere attracts attention of policymakers and scientists due to an increasingly important influence on the water environment. Crop and livestock production and fisheries predominantly support the Myanmar economy. However, phosphorus (P), which is used
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Transfer of nutrients from agriculture and wastewater to the hydrosphere attracts attention of policymakers and scientists due to an increasingly important influence on the water environment. Crop and livestock production and fisheries predominantly support the Myanmar economy. However, phosphorus (P), which is used in cultivation and is also present in domestic sewage, is a major source of biogenic pollutants and eutrophication in Myanmar. It is therefore necessary to elucidate P flows from agricultural and domestic wastewaters to formulate a series of cost-effective policies and best-management practices (BMPs). This paper describes P flows to the hydrosphere, as driven by agricultural and domestic wastewater use in Myanmar during 2010–2100. The results reveal that total P flow from farmland and livestock occurred at 55 thousand Mg/year (thousand million grams per annum) in 2010 but is expected to be 128–141 thousand Mg/year in 2100. Urban population growth is the main factor contributing to the gradual increase in P flow from domestic wastewater; however, most of the P flow is derived from agriculture, suggesting that marked reductions in fertilizer use are necessary. This research provides basic information for the appraisal of P utilization and facilitates the identification of important objectives for sustainable P management in Myanmar. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Demand Forecasting in the Early Stage of the Technology’s Life Cycle Using a Bayesian Update
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1378; doi:10.3390/su9081378
Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 7 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
The forecasting demand for new technology for which few historical data observations are available is difficult but essential to sustainable development. The current study suggests an alternative forecasting methodology based on a hazard rate model using stated and revealed preferences of consumers. In
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The forecasting demand for new technology for which few historical data observations are available is difficult but essential to sustainable development. The current study suggests an alternative forecasting methodology based on a hazard rate model using stated and revealed preferences of consumers. In estimating the hazard rate, information is initially derived through conjoint analysis based on a consumer survey and then updated using Bayes’ theorem with available market data. To compare the proposed models’ performance with benchmark models, the Bass model, the logistic growth model, and a Bayesian approach based on analogy are adopted. The results show that the proposed model outperforms the benchmark models in terms of pre-launch and post-launch forecasting performances. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Urban Heat Island and Park Cool Island Intensities in the Coastal City of Aracaju, North-Eastern Brazil
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1379; doi:10.3390/su9081379
Received: 9 July 2017 / Revised: 31 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
In this study, an evaluation of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Park Cool Island (PCI) intensities in Aracaju, North-Eastern Brazil, was performed. The basis of our evaluation is a 2-year dataset from the urban climatological network installed with the principles and concepts
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In this study, an evaluation of the Urban Heat Island (UHI) and Park Cool Island (PCI) intensities in Aracaju, North-Eastern Brazil, was performed. The basis of our evaluation is a 2-year dataset from the urban climatological network installed with the principles and concepts defined for urban areas related to climatic scales, sitting and exposure, urban morphology, and metadata. The current findings update UHI intensities in Aracaju refuting the trend registered in previous studies. On average, the UHI was more intense in the cool season (1.3 °C) than in hot season (0.5 °C), which was caused by wind speed decrease. In relation to the PCI, mitigation of high air temperatures of 1.5–2 °C on average was registered in the city. However, the urban park is not always cooler than the surrounding built environment. Consistent long-term monitoring in the cities is very important to provide more accurate climatic information about the UHI and PCI to be applied in urban planning properly, e.g., to provide pleasant thermal comfort in urban spaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Heat Island)
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Open AccessArticle Alfalfa Water Use and Yield under Different Sprinkler Irrigation Regimes in North Arid Regions of China
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1380; doi:10.3390/su9081380
Received: 27 April 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is one of the major crops grown in Northern China in recent years, however, the current serious water shortage conditions present a challenge to the growth of this crop, especially if efficient use of water is considered in
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Alfalfa (Medicago sativa) is one of the major crops grown in Northern China in recent years, however, the current serious water shortage conditions present a challenge to the growth of this crop, especially if efficient use of water is considered in forage production for sustainability. This study aimed to evaluate alfalfa productivity and water use efficiency (WUE) under different sprinkler irrigation levels. This experiment was conducted at Shiyanghe Experimental Station for Water-Saving in Agriculture and Ecology of China Agricultural University in Wuwei, Gansu, China, over a period of two years. There were three irrigation treatments: A1: 100% measured evapotranspiration (ETc) of alfalfa; A2: irrigation amount was 66% of A1; A3: irrigation amount was 33% of A1; and a control of A4: no irrigation during the growing season. A randomized block design with three replications were applied. The results showed that the ETc and forage yield of alfalfa decreased, while WUE and crude protein (CP) increased with the decreasing irrigation amounts. The seasonal average ETc and yield ranged from 412 mm to 809 mm and from 11,577 to 18,636 kg/ha, respectively, under different irrigation levels. The highest yields were obtained from the first growth period in all treatments in both years, due to the winter irrigation and the longest growth period. Alfalfa grown under lesser irrigation treatment conditions had higher variability in ETc and yield, mainly due to the variability in the amount of rainfall during the growth period. The seasonal average WUE of treatments ranged from 22.78 to 26.84 kg/(mm·ha), and the highest WUE was obtained at the first growth period, regardless of treatments. Seasonal average CP content ranged from 18.99% to 22.99%. A significant linear relationship was found between yield and ETc or irrigation amount, and the fitting results varied between growth periods and years. The present results also implied that winter irrigation provided the space for saving water and should be applied at the end of each growing season to fill the soil profile, and to maintain a greater yield in the next growing season. During the growing season, more irrigation should be concentrated in the early growth period, especially in the second growth period. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Resources Management)
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Open AccessArticle Deduction of Optimum Surface Design Factors for Enhancement of Outdoor Thermal Environment in a Micro-Scale Unit
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1381; doi:10.3390/su9081381
Received: 29 June 2017 / Revised: 23 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 4 August 2017
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Abstract
To solve some of the problems associated with changing urban climates, such as the heat island effect, the exterior building skin and ground surfaces should be analyzed because they are directly exposed to the outdoor climate and have the greatest impact on energy
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To solve some of the problems associated with changing urban climates, such as the heat island effect, the exterior building skin and ground surfaces should be analyzed because they are directly exposed to the outdoor climate and have the greatest impact on energy consumption. Research is needed to identify design factors to improve the effect of a building’s skin in the outdoor summer season’s thermal environment. In this study, the current conditions of outdoor thermal environments were identified by conducting field measurements at an apartment housing complex. A simulation analysis was conducted based on cases that included different design factors for a building’s skin and ground surfaces. When the significance probability of the design factors for the surface plans for apartment buildings and surface cover was analyzed based on the Taguchi experimental design method, the window plan and surface cover plan influenced the outdoor thermal environment. Notably, the surface cover plan had the most significant impact on the outdoor thermal environment. The result of the analysis of the correlation between the design factors for an apartment complex’s surface plans and outdoor thermal environment indices showed that the window plan correlated with the entire surface temperature of building and heat island potential (HIP). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Heat Island)
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Open AccessArticle Simulation Study on the Effect of Reduced Inputs of Artificial Neural Networks on the Predictive Performance of the Solar Energy System
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1382; doi:10.3390/su9081382
Received: 7 July 2017 / Revised: 28 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
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Abstract
In recent years, there has been a strong growth in solar power generation industries. The need for highly efficient and optimised solar thermal energy systems, stand-alone or grid connected photovoltaic systems, has substantially increased. This requires the development of efficient and reliable performance
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In recent years, there has been a strong growth in solar power generation industries. The need for highly efficient and optimised solar thermal energy systems, stand-alone or grid connected photovoltaic systems, has substantially increased. This requires the development of efficient and reliable performance prediction capabilities of solar heat and power production over the day. This contribution investigates the effect of the number of input variables on both the accuracy and the reliability of the artificial neural network (ANN) method for predicting the performance parameters of a solar energy system. This paper describes the ANN models and the optimisation process in detail for predicting performance. Comparison with experimental data from a solar energy system tested in Ottawa, Canada during two years under different weather conditions demonstrates the good prediction accuracy attainable with each of the models using reduced input variables. However, it is likely true that the degree of model accuracy would gradually decrease with reduced inputs. Overall, the results of this study demonstrate that the ANN technique is an effective approach for predicting the performance of highly non-linear energy systems. The suitability of the modelling approach using ANNs as a practical engineering tool in renewable energy system performance analysis and prediction is clearly demonstrated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Investigation of the Impacts of Urban Land Use Patterns on Energy Consumption in China: A Case Study of 20 Provincial Capital Cities
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1383; doi:10.3390/su9081383
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
PDF Full-text (8054 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Urban land use patterns are increasingly recognized as significant contributors to energy consumption. However, few studies have quantified the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumption. In this study, we analyzed the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumption
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Urban land use patterns are increasingly recognized as significant contributors to energy consumption. However, few studies have quantified the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumption. In this study, we analyzed the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumption for 20 provincial capital cities in China from 2000 to 2010. Landsat data and spatial metrics were first used to quantify the urban land use patterns, and then city-level energy consumption was estimated based on nighttime light (NTL) data and statistical provincial energy consumption data. Finally, a panel data analysis was applied to investigate the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumption. Our results showed that NTL data were effective for estimating energy consumption at the city level and indicated that accelerated energy consumption was caused by increases in the irregularity of urban land forms and the expansion of urban land. Moreover, significant regional differences in the impacts of urban land use patterns on energy consumptions were identified. Our results provide insights into the relationship between urban growth and energy consumption and may support effective planning towards sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle China’s Industrial Total-Factor Energy Productivity Growth at Sub-Industry Level: A Two-Step Stochastic Metafrontier Malmquist Index Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1384; doi:10.3390/su9081384
Received: 20 June 2017 / Revised: 27 July 2017 / Accepted: 27 July 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
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Abstract
Under the concept of metafrontier, technology gap ratio is alternatively interpreted as potential energy efficiency. Combined with Malmquist index framework and Shephard energy distance function, we then develop a metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity index to analyze the total-factor energy productivity growth with four
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Under the concept of metafrontier, technology gap ratio is alternatively interpreted as potential energy efficiency. Combined with Malmquist index framework and Shephard energy distance function, we then develop a metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity index to analyze the total-factor energy productivity growth with four specific components: groupfrontier efficiency change index, groupfrontier technological change index, efficiency catch-up index and technological catch-up index. Methodologically, a newly developed two-step stochastic metafrontier analysis is applied to address the potentially biased estimation problems in the previous mixed approach. This analytical framework is used to evaluate the energy productivity growth of China’s 35 sub-industries in industrial sector from 2001 to 2015. The main empirical results show that: (1) In terms of cumulative metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity growth, China’s overall industry has witnessed a 25% growth and a U-shaped growing trend bottoming out in 2006; meanwhile, 19 sub-industries have suffered an energy productivity loss and the remaining 16 sub-industries have experienced an energy productivity gain. (2) From the technology heterogeneity perspective, light industry outperforms heavy industry in metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity growth, while the intra-group and inter-group energy productivity develops roughly in balance for overall industry. (3) The change of metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity is mainly driven by technological change components rather than efficiency change components. On average, groupfrontier technological change makes the biggest contribution to energy productivity growth, followed by technological catch-up, then efficiency catch-up, and groupfrontier efficiency change is last. (4) The metafrontier Malmquist energy productivity growth has shown a significant convergence in heavy industry and light industry, as well as overall industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Directive 2014/95/EU: Are Italian Companies Already Compliant?
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1385; doi:10.3390/su9081385
Received: 10 July 2017 / Revised: 24 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 5 August 2017
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Abstract
According to Directive 2014/95/EU on disclosure of non-financial information from 2017 onwards, large companies (exceeding 500 employees) headquartered in Member States will be required to provide a series of social, environmental, and governance statements. The Directive was transposed into Italian law by Legislative
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According to Directive 2014/95/EU on disclosure of non-financial information from 2017 onwards, large companies (exceeding 500 employees) headquartered in Member States will be required to provide a series of social, environmental, and governance statements. The Directive was transposed into Italian law by Legislative Decree 254 of 30 December 2016.The aim of this paper is to evaluate the information gap for Italian companies and,consequently,the adjustments required by the new Directive on non-financial information. In order to analyze the level of non-financial and diversity disclosure, we created an assessment model called “Non-financial information score”, which records the required information as a percentage. We apply it to a sample of 223 large companies.The results (with an average NFIscore of about 49%) show that, in spite of what has previously emerged in the European debate about the application of the Directive on the part of large companies, an information gap remains, although the implementation of the directive should help to fill it in the coming years.In this sense, the potential contribution of the EU directive to non-financial disclosure in Italy appears to be greater than we had expected. Thus, in accordance with the literature, this paper appears to confirm the role of regulation in improving the quality of disclosure of non-financial information. Full article
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Open AccessArticle SAO-Based Semantic Mining of Patents for Semi-Automatic Construction of a Customer Job Map
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1386; doi:10.3390/su9081386
Received: 28 June 2017 / Revised: 16 July 2017 / Accepted: 2 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
The Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) method based on the ‘Jobs-to-be-done’ concept is very useful in the identification of unmet customer needs and has been adopted widely in the industry. The Job Map, a tool of the ODI method, is used to understand customers by
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The Outcome-Driven Innovation (ODI) method based on the ‘Jobs-to-be-done’ concept is very useful in the identification of unmet customer needs and has been adopted widely in the industry. The Job Map, a tool of the ODI method, is used to understand customers by defining their behavioral process. Complications must be overcome before the Job Map can be applied to the specific problem in question, such as a time-consuming process, dealing with a large amount of data, and experts’ biased work. To solve these problems, this study develops a patent mining-based method based on the subject-action-object (SAO) structure to support the creation of a Job Map by semi-automatizing data collection and analysis. This effort at better utilizing computers in customer analysis for product design will contribute to expanding computerized methods for solving design and engineering problems in practice. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Development of an Evaluation System for Sustaining Reservoir Functions—A Case Study of Shiwen Reservoir in Taiwan
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1387; doi:10.3390/su9081387
Received: 5 July 2017 / Revised: 3 August 2017 / Accepted: 4 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Reservoirs serve as important facilities, providing a stable source of public water in Taiwan. As construction of new reservoirs becomes more difficult, it is essential to ensure sustainable functionality of reservoirs in the future. To this end, this study proposes a system for
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Reservoirs serve as important facilities, providing a stable source of public water in Taiwan. As construction of new reservoirs becomes more difficult, it is essential to ensure sustainable functionality of reservoirs in the future. To this end, this study proposes a system for reservoir sustainability evaluation. The evaluation system consists of social justice, environmental protection, and economic development containing 12 indicators which are grouped into six categories: flood control, sediment management, water resources allocation, river ecology, water quality, and benefit and fairness. Moreover, evaluation system operational procedures to supplement planning and decision-making processes are proposed, and applied in a case study of the Shiwen reservoir planning in Taiwan. The planned reservoir in this case study is rated as “Good”, nearly “Excellent”, in sustainability as evaluated with the Sustainability Confidence Index (SCI). Additionally, Analytic Network Process (ANP) results indicate that the flood control capacity and sediment management are the first and second most important indicators for the reservoir. If desilting operations had been conducted, the SCI values would have increased from 3.3 to 3.7, warranting an “Excellent” rating for the reservoir. The case study demonstrates that decision-makers can apply the proposed system when managing reservoir evaluations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Engineering and Science)
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Open AccessArticle Vulnerability of Fishing Communities from Sea-Level Change: A Study of Laemsing District in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1388; doi:10.3390/su9081388
Received: 1 July 2017 / Revised: 26 July 2017 / Accepted: 3 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Continuous increases in global mean sea level is affecting coastal communities worldwide. In Thailand, the rising sea level exacerbates the vulnerability of coastal communities to changes in geographic conditions seriously affecting communities with low adaptive capacity and mostly dependent on natural resources. This
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Continuous increases in global mean sea level is affecting coastal communities worldwide. In Thailand, the rising sea level exacerbates the vulnerability of coastal communities to changes in geographic conditions seriously affecting communities with low adaptive capacity and mostly dependent on natural resources. This paper identifies the potential vulnerability of coastal fishing communities which are prone to severe sea-level rises, like in the case of Laemsing District in Chanthaburi Province, Thailand. Climate simulation, Geographic Information System (GIS) and remote sensing techniques were applied to quantify potential sea-level change (exposure), inundated areas and affected households (sensitivity). Adaptive capacity was analyzed in terms of social, human, institutional, economic, and natural conditions. Based on A1F1 (the worst case of future greenhouse gas emissions) and the Goddard Institute for Space Studies model EH (GISS-EH) best estimate for 2050, relative sea-level increase from 2000 would be 0.50 m, resulting in a loss of about 87.77 km2 of land and inundation of 2060 households. Opinions on alleviating vulnerability suggested that each condition of vulnerability is associated with two stages of development, urgent and medium. Laemsing District can face the serious effects of seawater inundation in the future. The results of this paper could be appropriately used as a reference for mainstreaming climate change adaptation into development policies and raising the awareness of stakeholders on how to cope with sea-level change and its impacts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Volcanic Ash on Road and Airfield Surface Skid Resistance
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1389; doi:10.3390/su9081389
Received: 14 July 2017 / Revised: 29 July 2017 / Accepted: 31 July 2017 / Published: 6 August 2017
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Abstract
Volcanic ash deposited on paved surfaces during volcanic eruptions often compromises skid resistance, which is a major component of safety. We adopt the British pendulum test method in laboratory conditions to investigate the skid resistance of road asphalt and airfield concrete surfaces covered
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Volcanic ash deposited on paved surfaces during volcanic eruptions often compromises skid resistance, which is a major component of safety. We adopt the British pendulum test method in laboratory conditions to investigate the skid resistance of road asphalt and airfield concrete surfaces covered by volcanic ash sourced from various locations in New Zealand. Controlled variations in ash characteristics include type, depth, wetness, particle size and soluble components. We use Stone Mastic Asphalt (SMA) for most road surface experiments but also test porous asphalt, line-painted road surfaces, and a roller screed concrete mix used for airfields. Due to their importance for skid resistance, SMA surface macrotexture and microtexture are analysed with semi-quantitative image analysis, microscopy and a standardised sand patch volumetric test, which enables determination of the relative effectiveness of different cleaning techniques. We find that SMA surfaces covered by thin deposits (~1 mm) of ash result in skid resistance values slightly lower than those observed on wet uncontaminated surfaces. At these depths, a higher relative soluble content for low-crystalline ash and a coarser particle size results in lower skid resistance. Skid resistance results for relatively thicker deposits (3–5 mm) of non-vesiculated basaltic ash are similar to those for thin deposits. There are similarities between road asphalt and airfield concrete, although there is little difference in skid resistance between bare airfield surfaces and airfield surfaces covered by 1 mm of ash. Based on our findings, we provide recommendations for maintaining road safety and effective cleaning techniques in volcanic ash environments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Dust Events in the Environment)
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Wheat-Maize Intercropping on Population Dynamics of Wheat Aphids and Their Natural Enemies
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1390; doi:10.3390/su9081390
Received: 22 June 2017 / Revised: 13 July 2017 / Accepted: 1 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
To study the effects of wheat-maize intercropping on the population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies, wheat-maize intercropping patterns were divided into four levels: 8:2, 6:2, and 4:2 intercropping, and monoculture wheat. The results showed that as the wheat coverage rate
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To study the effects of wheat-maize intercropping on the population dynamics of wheat aphids and their natural enemies, wheat-maize intercropping patterns were divided into four levels: 8:2, 6:2, and 4:2 intercropping, and monoculture wheat. The results showed that as the wheat coverage rate decreased, the quantities of immigrating winged aphids and their natural enemies significantly differed; the population densities of the natural enemies of wheat aphids continuously rose and reached the highest levels in the 4:2 intercropping. During the stable periods, the maximum population density of wheat aphids was the highest in monoculture wheat. With a reduction in the wheat coverage ratio, the maximum population density of wheat aphids showed a decreasing trend. The control imposed by predatory natural enemies in intercropped wheat was higher than that in monoculture wheat; it was strongest in the 8:2 intercropping and the lowest in wheat monoculture. With an increase in the proportion of wheat, the parasitism rate of parasitic wasps increased gradually and reached the highest level in 4:2 intercropping. The effect of host density on hyperparasitism was significant in the intercropped wheat. The intercropping pattern had a great effect on the wheat aphids’ natural enemies. In different agricultural landscapes, the diversity of wheat aphids’ natural enemies differed significantly between intercropped wheat and monoculture wheat; in the heterogeneous landscape, the natural enemy diversity was highest in intercropped wheat, and it was far higher than that in the other wheat cultivation patterns. The natural enemy diversity was also slightly different between monoculture wheat in the heterogeneous landscape and intercropped wheat in the homogeneous agricultural landscape. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Estimation and Validation of Energy Consumption in UK Existing Hotel Building Using Dynamic Simulation Software
Sustainability 2017, 9(8), 1391; doi:10.3390/su9081391
Received: 26 June 2017 / Revised: 4 August 2017 / Accepted: 5 August 2017 / Published: 7 August 2017
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Abstract
Adverse effects of anthropogenic climate change has resulted in mitigation strategies geared towards curbing CO2 emissions. Consequently, this has increased demand for more energy