E-Mail Alert

Add your e-mail address to receive forthcoming issues of this journal:

Journal Browser

Journal Browser

Special Issue "Development of Sustainable Rural Regions in the Face of Increasing Globalization and Urbanization"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 April 2016)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. David J. O’Brien

Department of Rural Sociology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: 1-573-882-0392
Fax: 1-573-884-4444
Interests: rural sustainability; survey research; social networks; social capital; American Midwest; post-Soviet Russia; East Africa

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rural Areas throughout the world face challenges that are related to substantial shifts of population to urban areas, which in turn are due to increased economic globalization. Different path dependencies of formal and informal institutions, as well as different stages in the demographic transition (i.e., fertility rates and age distributions) create unique challenges both between and within nations. The primary goal of this Special Issue will be to report research findings that identify (1) key challenges to sustainability with respect to economic development, health and mental health, social capital, preservation of the natural environment, and framing research questions that will get the attention of policy-makers; (2) the manner in which macro-, mezzo- and micro-level formal and informal institutional factors create obstacles as well as opportunities in each type of region; and (3) what types of development strategies have been more and less effective in dealing with these challenges in specific rural environments, including European, North American, post-Communist, African, and Asian contexts. The editor encourages submissions from researchers using a variety of quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methodologies in social sciences—rural sociology, agricultural economics, geography, regional science, political science, anthropology, and public administration—and, especially, findings from inter-disciplinary research teams.

Prof. Dr. David J. O’Brien
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short 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 thoroughly refereed through a single-blind 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 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • rural regions
  • sustainability
  • globalization
  • urbanization
  • development

Published Papers (10 papers)

View options order results:
result details:
Displaying articles 1-10
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Open AccessArticle The Effects of Urban Sprawl on the Spatial Evolution of Rural Settlements: A Case Study in Changchun, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(8), 736; doi:10.3390/su8080736
Received: 25 April 2016 / Revised: 20 July 2016 / Accepted: 22 July 2016 / Published: 30 July 2016
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (4066 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Detailed analysis of continuous time-series data from regions undergoing rapid urbanization can accurately reveal spatial variations on short time scales. This study used the city of Changchun in Jilin Province, China, as a case study to analyze total and annual changes in area—especially
[...] Read more.
Detailed analysis of continuous time-series data from regions undergoing rapid urbanization can accurately reveal spatial variations on short time scales. This study used the city of Changchun in Jilin Province, China, as a case study to analyze total and annual changes in area—especially decreases in rural settlement area—as well as regional differences in these changes and driving forces of rural settlement evolution. Quantitative analytical techniques include a dynamic percentage of rural settlements, the distribution index of rural settlements, the regression correlation analysis, and other spatial analysis methods. Data were derived from a variety of sources, including land-use databases and social and economic statistics. The results show that the area of rural settlements decreased between 2009 and 2014, with the urban construction land expansion and decreases in cultivated lands. Rural settlements also became increasingly fragmented after 2009. Most of the rural settlements were located close to the urban construction land, and changes in rural settlement area were more pronounced with decreasing distance to the closest urban construction land, illustrating the effect of urban sprawl on rural settlement changes. The analysis also shows that the decreasing area of rural settlements between 2009 and 2014 is directly caused by urban sprawl. Regional development strategies and urban planning indirectly contribute to changes in the scale and spatial distribution of rural settlements by guiding urban development. The geographical environment and strict cultivated-land-protection policies also indirectly restrict changes in rural settlements by determining the restrictive area of urban expansion. No significant changes were found in the influence of population change on changing areas of rural settlements. In conclusion, the interaction of strategy for social-economic development, natural geography environments, and human demand jointly caused changes in rural settlements. Full article
Figures

Figure 1

Open AccessArticle Modeling Urban Expansion in Bangkok Metropolitan Region Using Demographic–Economic Data through Cellular Automata-Markov Chain and Multi-Layer Perceptron-Markov Chain Models
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 686; doi:10.3390/su8070686
Received: 14 April 2016 / Revised: 4 July 2016 / Accepted: 14 July 2016 / Published: 19 July 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (4614 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban expansion is considered as one of the most important problems in several developing countries. Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) is the urbanized and agglomerated area of Bangkok Metropolis (BM) and its vicinity, which confronts the expansion problem from the center of the city.
[...] Read more.
Urban expansion is considered as one of the most important problems in several developing countries. Bangkok Metropolitan Region (BMR) is the urbanized and agglomerated area of Bangkok Metropolis (BM) and its vicinity, which confronts the expansion problem from the center of the city. Landsat images of 1988, 1993, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2011 were used to detect the land use and land cover (LULC) changes. The demographic and economic data together with corresponding maps were used to determine the driving factors for land conversions. This study applied Cellular Automata-Markov Chain (CA-MC) and Multi-Layer Perceptron-Markov Chain (MLP-MC) to model LULC and urban expansions. The performance of the CA-MC and MLP-MC yielded more than 90% overall accuracy to predict the LULC, especially the MLP-MC method. Further, the annual population and economic growth rates were considered to produce the land demand for the LULC in 2014 and 2035 using the statistical extrapolation and system dynamics (SD). It was evident that the simulated map in 2014 resulting from the SD yielded the highest accuracy. Therefore, this study applied the SD method to generate the land demand for simulating LULC in 2035. The outcome showed that urban occupied the land around a half of the BMR. Full article
Open AccessArticle Economic and Social Sustainable Synergies to Promote Innovations in Rural Tourism and Local Development
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 668; doi:10.3390/su8070668
Received: 6 June 2016 / Revised: 4 July 2016 / Accepted: 6 July 2016 / Published: 13 July 2016
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (803 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The role of tourism in rural areas is pivotal for the integration and valorization of territorial resources and it is strengthened by the capacity to promote local community participation in processes of development. The paper addresses the issue by presenting and discussing a
[...] Read more.
The role of tourism in rural areas is pivotal for the integration and valorization of territorial resources and it is strengthened by the capacity to promote local community participation in processes of development. The paper addresses the issue by presenting and discussing a case study of a rural area of southern Italy where a territorial network for the development of local tourism has been set up. The innovative initiative aimed, firstly, to facilitate a closer connection between production and consumption by reducing transaction costs and, secondly, to connect local production with quality conscious consumers looking for traditional products. The network project also aimed to create conditions conducive to increasing the competitiveness of the local production chain and tourism sector. The case study shows how the challenge for many rural territories lies in increasing levels of trust and rebuilding social capital as a precondition of developing the tourism sector and fostering socio-economic development as a whole. Traditional institutions, as well as hybrid institutions, with the support of research organizations, can play a key role. Full article
Open AccessArticle Building Sustainable Smallholder Cooperatives in Emerging Market Economies: Findings from a Five-Year Project in Kenya
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 656; doi:10.3390/su8070656
Received: 16 April 2016 / Revised: 26 June 2016 / Accepted: 7 July 2016 / Published: 11 July 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (229 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A comparative study of two smallholder dairy cooperatives in Kenya examines the question: what factors are conducive to producing sustainable smallholder cooperatives that can gain entry into the vertical value chain in liberalized post-colonial economies? The relative weight of income advantage; selective individual
[...] Read more.
A comparative study of two smallholder dairy cooperatives in Kenya examines the question: what factors are conducive to producing sustainable smallholder cooperatives that can gain entry into the vertical value chain in liberalized post-colonial economies? The relative weight of income advantage; selective individual incentives and, social capital on maintaining member patronage are assessed within variable environmental constraints and opportunities facing different cooperatives. The methodology includes case study observation of the cooperatives during a five-year period, as well as sample surveys of members and non-members that include indicators of dairy income; reasons why farmers elect to join or not join the cooperative; and assessments of the importance of different services provided by the cooperative. The findings show how the relative weight of specific incentives for cooperative membership can vary from one environment to another within the same nation. The most important finding is that maintaining sustainable smallholder cooperatives within an increasingly competitive environment depends on the ability of managers to create business strategies that are compatible with the cooperative’s environmental constraints but, at the same time, incentivize members’ patronage. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Changes in Rural Settlement Land and Rural Population in the Middle Basin of the Heihe River, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 614; doi:10.3390/su8070614
Received: 18 March 2016 / Revised: 22 June 2016 / Accepted: 28 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (5836 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding the relationship between the spatiotemporal expansion of rural settlement land and the variation of rural population is the foundation of rational and specific planning for sustainable development. Based on the integration of Landsat TM, ETM+, and OLI images and demographic data, using
[...] Read more.
Understanding the relationship between the spatiotemporal expansion of rural settlement land and the variation of rural population is the foundation of rational and specific planning for sustainable development. Based on the integration of Landsat TM, ETM+, and OLI images and demographic data, using mathematical models, landscape indexes, and a decoupling model, the spatiotemporal changes of the rural settlement land area and its decoupling relationship with the rural registered population were analyzed for the middle basin of the Heihe River in China. During the period 1986–2014, the following changes occurred: (1) The study area experienced increases of 124.94%, 55.16%, and 1.56% in rural settlement land area, number of patches, and rural registered population, respectively; (2) Edge-expansion, dispersion, and urban encroachment were the dominant patterns of dynamic changes in the studied rural settlement land. Among these, edge-expansion was the most prevalent development pattern; it contributed more than half of the total increase in the number of patches and the total area growth; (3) The annual growth rate of the rural registered population increased from 0.7% in 1986–2002 to −0.5% in 2002–2014. By that time the rural settlement land area had undergone a gentle increase from 3.4% to 3.6%. Generally, the rural registered population and rural settlement land has experienced a shift from weakly decoupled in 1986–2009 to strongly decoupled in 2009–2014; (4) From 1986 to 2014, rural urbanization and modernization were the main causes that led to the decline in the rural registered population; however, economic growth promoted the expansion of rural settlement land during this same period. We believe that with the rapid development of urbanization, the decoupling relationship between the rural settlement land area and the reduction in the rural registered population cannot be completely reversed in the short term. It is recommended that the government should enhance the role of planning rural settlement land during the process of urbanization. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Quest for Rural Sustainability in Russia
Sustainability 2016, 8(7), 602; doi:10.3390/su8070602
Received: 5 April 2016 / Revised: 31 May 2016 / Accepted: 18 June 2016 / Published: 28 June 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (234 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Rural depopulation and the disappearance of villages in rural Russia occurred as part of the historical process of urbanization and industrialization. Rural depopulation also occurred for structural reasons having to do with village location, and for behavioral reasons whereby villagers react to primitive
[...] Read more.
Rural depopulation and the disappearance of villages in rural Russia occurred as part of the historical process of urbanization and industrialization. Rural depopulation also occurred for structural reasons having to do with village location, and for behavioral reasons whereby villagers react to primitive living conditions and poor economic prospects. Three possible strategies for addressing the problem of sustainable villages are considered. The government is attempting to improve rural living conditions, but rural depopulation is likely to continue. Characteristics of sustainable villages are outlined. Agro-tourism is analyzed for its potential to support sustainable villages. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Differentiation of Urban-Rural Equalized Development at the County Level in Chengdu
Sustainability 2016, 8(5), 422; doi:10.3390/su8050422
Received: 28 January 2016 / Revised: 20 April 2016 / Accepted: 21 April 2016 / Published: 29 April 2016
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (3295 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Urban-rural equalized development (URED) is recognized as strongly contributing to the narrowing of societal, economic, life, and environmental gaps between urban and rural areas and is also an effective way to solve the “three rural issues” of rapid industrialization and urbanization in China.
[...] Read more.
Urban-rural equalized development (URED) is recognized as strongly contributing to the narrowing of societal, economic, life, and environmental gaps between urban and rural areas and is also an effective way to solve the “three rural issues” of rapid industrialization and urbanization in China. This paper explores the spatio-temporal patterns of URED in the state-designated experimental zone of Chengdu at a county level by using quantitative survey data from 2004 to 2013. The major findings are as follows: (1) the regions that are closer to the central city of Chengdu had a more optimistic urban-rural equalized development outlook (i.e., the three-tier geographical distribution phenomenon); (2) this distribution characteristic was gradually broken up in the process of urban and rural integration, and the differences between the three tiers has been narrowing; and (3) the gap between urban and rural areas has been significantly improved and exhibited a higher dynamic degree in the second and third tiers than in the first tier, which suggests a new development mode that exhibits better quality and higher sustainability. Given these results, the development orientation and strategy of each tier are discussed according to the characteristics of urban and rural equalized development. Full article
Open AccessArticle Urbanization and the Change of Fertilizer Use Intensity for Agricultural Production in Henan Province
Sustainability 2016, 8(2), 186; doi:10.3390/su8020186
Received: 19 November 2015 / Revised: 27 January 2016 / Accepted: 15 February 2016 / Published: 20 February 2016
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (219 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
China’s urbanization has resulted in significant changes in agricultural land use. However, understanding of the linkages between urbanization and fertilizer use intensity is limited. Using county-level panel data for Henan Province, 1995–2008 and panel econometric models, we investigate the impact of urbanization and
[...] Read more.
China’s urbanization has resulted in significant changes in agricultural land use. However, understanding of the linkages between urbanization and fertilizer use intensity is limited. Using county-level panel data for Henan Province, 1995–2008 and panel econometric models, we investigate the impact of urbanization and other socioeconomic factors on fertilizer use intensity, with a focus on the two key processes related to urbanization—shrinking agricultural land area and increasing urban wages. Our results show that declining agricultural land per capita is associated with greater fertilizer use intensity. Urban wages is positively correlated with fertilizer use intensity. We also find that GDP per capita and per capita expenditure of government for agriculture both positively contribute to the increase of fertilizer use intensity, which is consistent with expectations. Our results imply that other than land conversion, urbanization contains some positive influences on land use sustainability. However, on the other hand, urbanization contributes to agriculture-based environmental pollution by increasing the level of fertilizer use in agricultural production. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evaluation and Clustering Maps of Groundwater Wells in the Red Beds of Chengdu, Sichuan, China
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 87; doi:10.3390/su8010087
Received: 12 November 2015 / Revised: 26 December 2015 / Accepted: 12 January 2016 / Published: 18 January 2016
PDF Full-text (9409 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Since the start of the 21st century, groundwater wells have been placed in red beds to solve the problem of scarce water resources in Southwest China and have rapidly expanded to other areas. By providing examples of cartography in Chengdu and Sichuan, China,
[...] Read more.
Since the start of the 21st century, groundwater wells have been placed in red beds to solve the problem of scarce water resources in Southwest China and have rapidly expanded to other areas. By providing examples of cartography in Chengdu and Sichuan, China, and using the locations of groundwater in fractures and pores when monitoring and managing red sandstone and mudstone wells, a series of maps of groundwater wells at different scales in the red beds of Chengdu was obtained. Most of the wells located in red beds are located in Jintang, Dayi, and Qingbaijiang and exhibit different cluster features. The kernel density estimation and spatial cluster analysis classification methods were used based on the Density Based Spatial Clustering of Applications with Noise algorithm (DBSCAN) in three concentrated areas. This method describes the trends of the clustering results and the relationships between the locations of residents and red bed wells. The cartography results show that the groundwater wells in red beds are mainly distributed in hilly areas and partially correspond with the locations of villages and settlements, particularly their geological and topographic factors, which satisfy the maximum requirements of water use and recycling in Southwest China. The irrigation wells located in red beds are not only reliable and efficient but also replace inefficient water resources in the recharge-runoff-discharge groundwater process, which promotes the sustainable development of groundwater resources. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Variation of Driving Forces for Settlement Expansion in Different Types of Counties
Sustainability 2016, 8(1), 39; doi:10.3390/su8010039
Received: 29 October 2015 / Revised: 10 December 2015 / Accepted: 29 December 2015 / Published: 31 December 2015
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (2304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Understanding the process of settlement expansion and the spatiotemporal variation of driving forces is the foundation of rational and specific planning for sustainable development. However, little attention has been paid to the spatiotemporal differences of driving forces among different counties, especially when they
[...] Read more.
Understanding the process of settlement expansion and the spatiotemporal variation of driving forces is the foundation of rational and specific planning for sustainable development. However, little attention has been paid to the spatiotemporal differences of driving forces among different counties, especially when they are representatives of different development types. This study used Guanyun, Kunshan and Changshu as case studies, and binary logistic regression was employed. The results showed that the expansion rates of Kunshan and Changshu were 5.55 and 3.93 times higher than that of Guanyun. The combinations and relative importance of drivers varied with counties and periods. The change in the number of driving forces can be divided into three stages: increasing stage, decreasing stage, and stable stage. In the relatively developed counties, Kunshan and Changshu, the importance of population is decreased, while it remain an important factor in the less developed county, Guanyun. In addition, the effect of GDP stays the same in Kunshan while it becomes the most important factor in Changshu. The distance to the main road and the distance to town are increasingly important in Kunshan and Guanyun, and distance to town has been the only common factor in the last period, indicating the discrepancy is increased. The relative importance of distance to a lake in Kunshan and Changshu increased, reflecting the role of increasing tourism in accelerating settlement expansion. Full article
Back to Top