Sustainability2016, 8(6), 509; doi:10.3390/su8060509 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Increasingly pertinent linkages of cities via knowledge intensive business services (KIBS) in the 21st century have opened a new window for academia to reconsider the approach to achieving urban sustainability. In this study, city network was investigated with an aim of identifying its attributes in the framework of sustainable urban development. Data about China’s KIBS, which are compiled in an inter-regional input–output table, were calculated following the procedure of social network analysis. It was found that: (1) the degree of nodes (i.e., out-degree, in-degree and betweenness) in China varies distinctively from city to city; (2) the hierarchy of the city network is very tiny; and (3) that the network structure is subject to both “a small world” and core–periphery effects. Furthermore, city nodes in China fall into four categories, namely high centrality and power, high centrality and low power, low centrality and high power, and low centrality and power. The implication is that governmental efforts should be made to secure a reasonable decentralization of key city nodes to ensure that urban sustainability is built on a city-to-city basis.
Sustainability2016, 8(6), 513; doi:10.3390/su8060513 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Studying the driving factors and contributions of carbon emissions peak volume and time is essential for reducing the cumulative carbon emissions in developing countries with rapid economic development and increasing carbon emissions. Taking Jilin Province as a case study, four scenarios were set in this paper respectively: Business as Usual Scenario (BAU), Energy-Saving Scenario (ESS), Energy-Saving and Low-Carbon Scenario (ELS), and Low-Carbon Scenario (LCS). Furthermore, the carbon emissions were predicted according to the energy consumption based on the application of LEAP system. The research result showed that the peak time of carbon emissions would appear in 2045, 2040, 2035 and 2025 under the four different scenarios, respectively. The peak volumes would be 489.8 Mt, 395.2 Mt, 305.3 Mt and 233.6 Mt, respectively. The cumulative emissions by 2050 are respectively 15.632 Bt, 13.321 Bt, 10.971 Bt and 8.379 Bt. According to the forecasting, we analyzed the driving factors of and contributions to carbon emissions peak volume and time. On the premise of moderate economic growth, the “structural emission reduction”, namely the adjustment of industrial structure and energy structure, and “technology emission reduction”, namely the reduction of energy intensity and carbon emission coefficient could make the peak volume reduced by 20%–52% and cumulative carbon emissions (2050) reduced by 15%–46% on the basis of BAU. Meanwhile, controlling the industrial structure, energy structure and energy intensity could make carbon emissions reach the peak 5–20 years ahead of the time on the basis of BAU. Controlling GDP, industrial structure, energy structure, energy intensity and coefficient of carbon emissions is the feasible method to adjust the carbon emissions peak volume and time in order to reduce the cumulative emissions.
Sustainability2016, 8(6), 510; doi:10.3390/su8060510 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Changing societies’ minds about sustainability requires knowledge about the situation, awareness of what needs to be done and actions to change today’s unsustainable behaviors. Universities are challenged to develop students’ ability to appreciate the complexities of sustainability and translate sustainability knowledge of education into systemic, anticipatory and critical thinking and actions. To meet this challenge, universities provide specific study programs and courses and integrate sustainability in education and activities. There is limited research on the results of such efforts from a student perspective. The study focused on an identical cohort of 108 undergraduate students who answered a survey about their self-perceived knowledge, awareness and actions before and after their studies in a Swedish university. All 108 students had sustainability integrated into their study programs; forty-eight also attended specific sustainability courses. The test model explains variations in students’ self-perceived sustainability actions at the end of their studies. There were differences already in students’ initial self-perceived knowledge between the groups. The students’ female gender, self-perceived initial actions, studying sustainability courses as well as the increase in self-perceived sustainability knowledge contribute significantly to the later sustainability actions. The results show student development, which can encourage those working with education for sustainable development in universities.
Sustainability2016, 8(6), 514; doi:10.3390/su8060514 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Currently, strategies to mitigate urban heat island (UHI) effects and reduce building energy consumption are implemented worldwide. In Japan, as an effective means of mitigating UHI effects and saving energy of buildings, highly reflective (HR) roofs have increasingly been used. In this study, in order to evaluate the effect of HR roofs on building energy conservation, we investigated the solar reflectivity of a subject school roof in Osaka, Japan, in which HR roofing sheets were installed on the roof from 2010. Additionally, monthly and annual thermal loads, including the cooling load and heating load of the top floor of the school, were calculated using the thermal load calculation software New HASP/ACLD-β. Comparing the calculated thermal loads of the school after HR roofing sheet installation to before, the annual thermal load decreased about 25 MJ/m2/year, and the cooling load decreased about 112 MJ/m2/year. However, the heating load increased about 87 MJ/m2/year in winter. To minimize the annual thermal load, thermal insulation of the roof was also considered to be used together with HR roofing sheets. Thermal load calculations showed that the combination of HR roofing sheets and thermal insulation can be effective in further reducing the annual thermal load.
Sustainability2016, 8(6), 515; doi:10.3390/su8060515 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The wide-ranging literature on food systems provides multiple perspectives and world views. Various stakeholders define food and food systems in non-equivalent ways. The perception of the performance of food systems is determined by these specific perspectives, and a wide variety of policies responding to different aims are proposed and implemented accordingly. This paper sets out to demonstrate that the pre-analytical adoption of different narratives about the food system leads to non-equivalent assessments of the performance of food supply chains. In order to do so, we (i) identify a set of relevant narratives on food supply chains in Spanish and Catalan contexts; (ii) identify the pertinent attributes needed to describe and represent food supply chains within the different perspectives or narratives; and (iii) carry out an integrated assessment of three organic tomato supply chains from the different perspectives. In doing so, the paper proposes an analysis of narratives to enable the analyst to characterize the performance of food supply chains from different perspectives and to identify the expected trade-offs of integrated assessment, associating them with the legitimate-but-contrasting views found among the social actors involved.
Sustainability2016, 8(6), 511; doi:10.3390/su8060511 (registering DOI) - published 27 May 2016 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In today’s era of information technology, human computer interaction and interface design are critical factors for a successful retail business. In a virtual world, the purpose of store layout is to create an environment that fascinates customers, entices them to spend more time in the store and encourages them to purchase from the store. The accomplishment of a successful retail business relies on a quick response and the adoption of new technologies that simplify the customer’s shopping experience. Virtual stores play a vital role in enhancing the success of a retail business. Nowadays, digital signage is widely used to publicize different store contents. The aim of this paper is to select a distinct layout that can be used in digital signage. To enhance Customer Relationship Management (CRM), digital signage can be installed in various contexts, such as metro stations, shopping centers, airplane terminals, and so on. The proposed system scans the Quick Response (QR) code of a product, and the product then arrives at the user end. The tree, pipeline and guiding pathway layouts are employed in the context of digital signage. A questionnaire is used to determine customers’ opinions on the most efficient layout. The statistical results show that layout significantly affects customer’s behavior. Moreover, human computer interaction can help understand more about the customer’s interaction with digital signage.