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Special Issue "Creative Solutions to Big Challenges"

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A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (20 January 2014)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Aled Jones (Website)

Global Sustainability Institute, Faculty Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, Cambridge, CB1 1PT, UK
Phone: +44 1223 698931
Interests: resources; finance; climate change; policy; sustainability; investment

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This special issue comprises selected papers from the 1st Global Sustainability Institute Annual Conference, held at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge in May 2013 and other invited contributions. The Global Sustainability Institute (GSI) is a University-wide body which spans a broad portfolio of areas and interests related to sustainability. We recognise that delivering sustainability requires an integrated view of the world and, above all, see our main role as helping develop practical solutions. We work to collate information needed to make decisions and present it to the people capable of implementing action. Our research is focused around personal motivations and systems change set against the challenges of sustainability. Our core research question is how does the system influence the individual, and how does the individual influence the system?

The conference identified and investigated the big sustainability challenges that we are faced with today and provided a range of creative solutions from different disciplines to address these. Contributions from health, technology, culture, science and policy areas highlighted the broad range of challenges and solutions that exist. Speakers were drawn from business, academia, charities and government with the papers selected here representing a small portion of the academic contribution to the debate as well as other invited academics working in creative approaches to these big global challenges.

Dr. Aled Jones FIMA FRSA
Guest Editor

Submission

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. Papers will be published continuously (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are refereed through a peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed Open Access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs).

Papers selected for this special issue were subject to a peer review procedure with the aim of a wide dissemination of research results, developments and applications. Details of the conference can be found at http://www.anglia.ac.uk/ruskin/en/home/microsites/global_sustainability_institute/conference_2013.html?utm_source=gsi/conference2013&utm_medium=url&utm_campaign=redirect

Keywords

  • sustainability
  • solutions
  • creativity
  • challenges
  • risks
  • opportunities

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Displaying articles 1-5
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Research

Open AccessArticle Encouraging Sustainable Transport Choices in American Households: Results from an Empirically Grounded Agent-Based Model
Sustainability 2014, 6(1), 50-69; doi:10.3390/su6010050
Received: 3 September 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 20 December 2013
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1050 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The transport sector needs to go through an extended process of decarbonisation to counter the threat of climate change. Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency forecasts an enormous growth in the number of cars and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Two issues can [...] Read more.
The transport sector needs to go through an extended process of decarbonisation to counter the threat of climate change. Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency forecasts an enormous growth in the number of cars and greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Two issues can thus be identified: (1) the need for a new methodology that could evaluate the policy performances ex-ante and (2) the need for more effective policies. To help address these issues, we developed an Agent-Based Model called Mobility USA aimed at: (1) testing whether this could be an effective approach in analysing ex-ante policy implementation in the transport sector; and (2) evaluating the effects of alternative policy scenarios on commuting behaviours in the USA. Particularly, we tested the effects of two sets of policies, namely market-based and preference-change ones. The model results suggest that this type of agent-based approach will provide a useful tool for testing policy interventions and their effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Perspectives on Sustainability: Exploring the Views of Tenants in Supported Social Housing
Sustainability 2013, 5(12), 5249-5271; doi:10.3390/su5125249
Received: 13 May 2013 / Revised: 21 November 2013 / Accepted: 21 November 2013 / Published: 9 December 2013
PDF Full-text (646 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Government policy aimed at curbing carbon emissions often focusses on encouraging individual action, however the effectiveness of this approach has been limited. Investigations of why this might be have included segmentation, to identify different groups who undertake more or less action, and [...] Read more.
Government policy aimed at curbing carbon emissions often focusses on encouraging individual action, however the effectiveness of this approach has been limited. Investigations of why this might be have included segmentation, to identify different groups who undertake more or less action, and analysis of various “barriers” to action. Those on lower incomes who are not home owners have previously been found to be less engaged in seeking out energy efficiency information. Working with low-income tenants living in supported social housing we conducted three group interviews, accompanied by a 7-item scale measuring general attitude towards the environment. The interviews were aimed at opening up discussion about environmental and energy issues, including exploring more deeply what, for these participants, underlies barriers to conservation behaviours. We found participants to be very willing to engage in conversation and knowledgeable about a range of relevant issues. Barriers explored include: lack of confidence in existing levels of knowledge, habit, self-interest and lack of agency, and in all cases several different perspectives were voiced by participants. Implications for policy, interventions and public engagement are given, including ways to increase dialogue and reflection on sustainability issues for all sectors of society. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Delivering Social Sustainability Outcomes in New Communities: The Role of the Elected Councillor
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4920-4948; doi:10.3390/su5114920
Received: 12 September 2013 / Revised: 29 October 2013 / Accepted: 30 October 2013 / Published: 15 November 2013
PDF Full-text (782 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A 2011 Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report calculated that an additional 750,000 homes would be needed by 2025 to meet projected demand in the UK. If this is to be achieved, a significant number of new communities will be developed [...] Read more.
A 2011 Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) report calculated that an additional 750,000 homes would be needed by 2025 to meet projected demand in the UK. If this is to be achieved, a significant number of new communities will be developed over the next decade. Local councillors have considerable potential in influencing the social sustainability of such new developments, particularly in the context of the current “Localism” agenda in the UK. However, this role of the local councilor is not well understood. The aim of this project was to explore the role of the local councillor in improving such outcomes. We selected two rural greenfield and two urban regeneration sites as case studies. Planning officers and local councillors were interviewed across the sites in order to identify factors that can lead to improved social sustainability. Emerging themes indicate the importance of the councillor’s role in community engagement and consultation, the changing nature of relationships, the importance of appropriate and timely infrastructure, and models of governance and accountability. These findings are discussed in terms of their implications for policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Public Understanding of Climate Change as a Social Dilemma
Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3484-3501; doi:10.3390/su5083484
Received: 6 May 2013 / Revised: 3 August 2013 / Accepted: 7 August 2013 / Published: 13 August 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (670 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Climate change is often referred to as one of the most complicated challenges facing humanity, characterised in various literatures as a social dilemma operating at multiple scales (individual, national, international). The present study considers the ways in which members of the public [...] Read more.
Climate change is often referred to as one of the most complicated challenges facing humanity, characterised in various literatures as a social dilemma operating at multiple scales (individual, national, international). The present study considers the ways in which members of the public interpret climate change in these terms, drawing on data from multiple datasets, both qualitative and quantitative, from 1997 to 2011. As well as drawing out the nuances in participants’ perspectives on the social and societal dilemmas inherent to climate change, the present study also highlights the rejoinders and resolutions proposed by people to these dilemmas. It is suggested that recognition of the ways people find to navigate these difficult issues offers some cause for optimism regarding the public’s conceptualisation of, and response to, climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)
Open AccessArticle Grants versus Financing for Domestic Retrofits: A Case Study from Efficiency Maine
Sustainability 2013, 5(6), 2827-2839; doi:10.3390/su5062827
Received: 9 May 2013 / Revised: 26 May 2013 / Accepted: 7 June 2013 / Published: 21 June 2013
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Any attempts to limit the impacts of climate change must maximize the potential for energy efficiency in existing dwellings. Retrofitting the existing stock of aging and inefficient dwellings is a challenge on many fronts. A number of programs have been put in [...] Read more.
Any attempts to limit the impacts of climate change must maximize the potential for energy efficiency in existing dwellings. Retrofitting the existing stock of aging and inefficient dwellings is a challenge on many fronts. A number of programs have been put in place to encourage domestic retrofits by reducing barriers such as the upfront costs and access to capital. While many such programs are delivering positive results, there is much uncertainty regarding what constitutes success, as well as the long term cost effectiveness of various approaches. Geographic, demographic, and programmatic differences frequently cloud the ability to make comparisons across programs. This work examines a case study from Efficiency Maine in the United States, in which a grant program transitioned to a financing program. The grant program was highly popular and delivered significant energy savings, but used considerable public funds. The financing program reaches fewer homeowners, but delivers larger retrofit projects per homeowner, and leverages private investment with smaller public expenditures. Which of the two programs can be considered more successful? This work explores the methods of assessing this question and offers the author’s perspectives. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Creative Solutions to Big Challenges)

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