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Special Issue "Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2013)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Dr. Suzanne Vallance

Faculty of Environment, Society and Design, Lincoln University, P.O. Box 84, Christchurch, New Zealand
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +64 3 325 3857
Interests: urban studies; socionatures; resilience; sustainability; communities; housing; food

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Though sustainable development is said to rest on ‘three pillars’, one of these - social sustainability - has received significantly less attention than its bio-physical environmental and economic counterparts. In an attempt to highlight some of the concepts associated with, and attributed to, social sustainability Vallance, Perkins and Dixon (2011) presented a ‘clarification of concepts’ based on a framework of (a) ‘development sustainability’ (addressing basic needs); (b) ‘bridge sustainability’ (concerning changes in behaviour so as to achieve bio-physical environmental goals) and; (c) ‘maintenance sustainability’ (referring to the preservation of socio-cultural norms in the face of change). While this provides a useful starting point, much remains to be done, particularly around the reconciliation of the tensions between these different aspects. This special issue seeks contributions from scholars and practitioners whose theoretical or practical work either addresses these tensions between different aspects of social sustainability, or sheds light on the complex relationships between the social sustainability and bio-physical environmental/economic dimensions more generally.

Dr. Suzanne Vallance
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).

Keywords

  • social sustainability
  • development
  • behaviour change
  • socio-cultural norms
  • contradictions
  • practice
  • theory

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Tales of the Suburbs?—The Social Sustainability Agenda in Sweden through Literary Accounts
Sustainability 2014, 6(2), 913-934; doi:10.3390/su6020913
Received: 1 July 2013 / Revised: 23 December 2013 / Accepted: 11 February 2014 / Published: 21 February 2014
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (754 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development has become increasingly influential. In light of environmental concerns, the social dimension of sustainability is now encompassing a growing number of concerns. Together with more traditional hard concepts, including basic needs, equity, and employment, soft themes, such as greater wellbeing, are
[...] Read more.
Sustainable development has become increasingly influential. In light of environmental concerns, the social dimension of sustainability is now encompassing a growing number of concerns. Together with more traditional hard concepts, including basic needs, equity, and employment, soft themes, such as greater wellbeing, are becoming significant. The present paper compares qualitatively these theoretical themes with the concrete, lived experiences of inhabitants within deprived suburbs. To do so, a framework for understanding social sustainability is proposed, and then applied to analyze three literary accounts of residents within Swedish suburbs. The three accounts are analyzed through the lens of critical discourse analysis. The results indicate that employment and functional infrastructures did not prevent the stigmatization of these residential areas. Important social and cultural segregations are occurring, supported by the physical organization of urban space. Using biographical accounts incorporates subjective and emotional perspectives usually left aside in the context of urban development. These allow a better understanding of the complex realities of these suburbs and could therefore help urban developers to better grasp the complex and predominantly culturally oriented set of challenges confronting the establishment of socially sustainable communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects)
Open AccessArticle Social Sustainability and Its Indicators through a Disability Studies and an Ability Studies Lens
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4889-4907; doi:10.3390/su5114889
Received: 1 September 2013 / Revised: 29 October 2013 / Accepted: 11 November 2013 / Published: 14 November 2013
Cited by 7 | PDF Full-text (736 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present journal recently stated in the call for a special issue on social sustainability, “[t]hough sustainable development is said to rest on ‘three pillars’, one of these—social sustainability—has received significantly less attention than its bio-physical environmental and economic counterparts”. The current issue
[...] Read more.
The present journal recently stated in the call for a special issue on social sustainability, “[t]hough sustainable development is said to rest on ‘three pillars’, one of these—social sustainability—has received significantly less attention than its bio-physical environmental and economic counterparts”. The current issue promises to engage the concepts of “development sustainability”, “bridge sustainability” and “maintenance sustainability” and the tensions between these different aspects of social sustainability. The aim of the present study is to identify the visibility of disabled people in the academic social sustainability literature, to ascertain the impact and promises of social sustainability indicators put forward in the same literature and to engage especially with the concepts of “development sustainability”, “bridge sustainability” and “maintenance sustainability” through disability studies and ability studies lenses. We report that disabled people are barely covered in the academic social sustainability literature; of the 5165 academic articles investigated only 26 had content related to disabled people and social sustainability. We also conclude that social sustainability indicators evident in the 1909 academic articles with the phrase “social sustainability” in the abstract mostly focused on products and did not reflect yet the goals outlined in the “development sustainability” aspect of social sustainability proposed by Vallance such as basic needs, building social capital, justice and so on. We posit that if the focus within the social sustainability discourse shifts more toward the social that an active presence of disabled people in this discourse is essential to disabled people. We showcase the utility of an ability studies lens to further the development and application of the “development sustainability”, “bridge sustainability” and “maintenance sustainability” concepts. We outline how different ability expectations intrinsic to certain schools of thought of how to deal with human-nature relationships (for example anthropocentric versus bio/ecocentric) impact this relationship and “bridge sustainability”. As to “maintenance development”, we posit that no engagement has happened yet with the ability expectation conflicts between able-bodied and disabled people, or for that matter with the ability expectation differences between different able-bodied groups within social sustainability discourses; an analysis essential for the maintenance of development. In general, we argue that there is a need to generate ability expectation conflict maps and ability expectations conflict resolution mechanisms for all sustainable development discourses individually and for ability conflicts between sustainable development discourses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects)
Open AccessArticle Increasing Energy-Saving Actions in Low Income Households to Achieve Sustainability
Sustainability 2013, 5(11), 4561-4577; doi:10.3390/su5114561
Received: 20 August 2013 / Revised: 8 October 2013 / Accepted: 22 October 2013 / Published: 25 October 2013
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1077 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Residential energy consumption contributes up to one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Low-income households could benefit from energy efficiency behaviour change programs with anticipated “bridge sustainability” outcomes of environmental and financial benefits and increased well-being, but participation rates from this demographic
[...] Read more.
Residential energy consumption contributes up to one-fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions in Australia. Low-income households could benefit from energy efficiency behaviour change programs with anticipated “bridge sustainability” outcomes of environmental and financial benefits and increased well-being, but participation rates from this demographic are often low. The EnergySavers energy behaviour change program was designed for Australian low-income households. A variety of information materials were delivered in structured discussions over a five month period in 2012, with 139 low-income participants in two Australian cities in different climate zones. This article identifies which energy-saving actions low income households are already undertaking and, after completing the program, which actions were most commonly adopted. Participants reported that their participation in the program increased their energy-saving actions, increased their control over energy consumption, and that they disseminated their new knowledge through their social networks. Findings identified the importance of group discussion within demographic groups for information uptake and adoption of new energy behaviours. The housing situation, home population and language background were found to have a significant influence on the uptake of new behaviours. The results also suggest that the program would benefit from amendments to the actions and assessment prior to national roll-out to ensure that effective and long term bridge sustainability can be achieved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects)
Open AccessArticle Social Life Cycle Assessment as a Management Tool: Methodology for Application in Tourism
Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3275-3287; doi:10.3390/su5083275
Received: 25 March 2013 / Revised: 15 July 2013 / Accepted: 16 July 2013 / Published: 2 August 2013
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (201 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
As is widely known, sustainability is an important factor in competition, increasing the added value of a company in terms of image and credibility. However, it is important that sustainability assessments are effectively addressed in a global perspective. Therefore, life cycle tools are
[...] Read more.
As is widely known, sustainability is an important factor in competition, increasing the added value of a company in terms of image and credibility. However, it is important that sustainability assessments are effectively addressed in a global perspective. Therefore, life cycle tools are adopted to evaluate environmental and social impacts. Among these, and of particular significance, appears the Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA), which, although in its early stage of development, seems to have extremely promising methodological features. For this reason, it seemed interesting to propose a first application to the tourism sector, which could be better than other methods, studied in terms of social sustainability data. The particular characteristics of service delivery lend themselves more to the development of data related to social sustainability than other sectors. In this paper the results of a case study carried out using social accounting and business management tools are shown. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social Sustainability: Theory, Practice, Problems and Prospects)

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