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Sustainability, Volume 10, Issue 11 (November 2018)

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Open AccessArticle Impacts of Urbanization and Associated Factors on Ecosystem Services in the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Urban Agglomeration, China: Implications for Land Use Policy
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4334; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114334
Received: 27 September 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Conflicts between ecological conservation and socio-economic development persisted over many decades in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei urban agglomeration (BTH). Ecosystem services were affected drastically by rapid urbanization and ecological restoration programs in the BTH since 2000. This study aims to identify the spatial patterns of
[...] Read more.
Conflicts between ecological conservation and socio-economic development persisted over many decades in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei urban agglomeration (BTH). Ecosystem services were affected drastically by rapid urbanization and ecological restoration programs in the BTH since 2000. This study aims to identify the spatial patterns of the four types of ecosystem services (net primary productivity (NPP), crop production, water retention, and soil conservation) in 2000 and 2010, and to make clear the impacts of urbanization and associated factors on the spatial patterns of ecosystem services. Based on the quantification of ecosystem services, we assessed the spatial patterns and changes, and identified the relationships between the type diversity of ecosystem services and land-use change. We also analyzed the effect of the spatial differentiation of influencing factors on ecosystem services, using the geographical detector model. The results showed that the average value of crop production increased substantially between 2000 and 2010, whereas the net primary productivity decreased significantly, and the water retention and soil conservation decreased slightly. The ecosystem services exhibited a spatial similar to that of influencing factors, and the combination of any two factors strengthened the spatial effect more than a single factor. The geomorphic factors (elevation and slope) were found to control the distribution of NPP, water retention, and soil conservation. The population density was responsible for crop production. We also found that the urbanization rate plays a major indirect role in crop production and water retention when interacting with population density and slope, respectively. The normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) indirectly influences the spatial distribution of NPP when interacting with geomorphic factors. These findings highlight the need to promote new strategies of land-use management in the BTH. On the one hand, it is necessary to carefully select where new urban land should be located in order to relieve the pressure on ecosystem services in dense urban areas. On the other hand, the maintenance of ecological restoration programs is needed for improving vegetation coverage in the ecological functional zones in the medium and long term. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land Use Form in China)
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Open AccessArticle A Control Scheme for Variable-Speed Micro-Hydropower Plants
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4333; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114333
Received: 24 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The aim of this work was to design and build a control system to control the performance of the Pelton wheel and synchronous generator system at different upstream water flow and electrical load conditions. The turbine output power is determined by the upstream
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The aim of this work was to design and build a control system to control the performance of the Pelton wheel and synchronous generator system at different upstream water flow and electrical load conditions. The turbine output power is determined by the upstream water flow and spear valve, whilst the generator output power is determined by the turbine output power and the electrical load. A spear valve is used to control the generator output power at different water and load conditions. An autotuning proportion integration (PI) arithmetic-based controller was built using a relay feedback tuning method. An on–off relay was used in the program in order to oscillate the system. The optimal PI gains can be estimated via the Ziegler–Nichols method. A fully open test was used to test the tuned PI gains. The performance of the original gains and the new tuned gains were discussed. A controller was used to maintain the frequency or voltage of the output power by automatic regulation of the turbine valve. The program could search for the maximum generation efficiency by entering the output current value of the generator into the program manually. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle How Much Are Insurance Consumers Willing to Pay for Blockchain and Smart Contracts? A Contingent Valuation Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4332; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114332
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 10 October 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Blockchain is highly secure in design and can hand huge data efficiently. A smart contract, based on a blockchain, can automate the entire process and make the contract self-executing in nature. Since the first introduction of these technologies in the 1990s, they have
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Blockchain is highly secure in design and can hand huge data efficiently. A smart contract, based on a blockchain, can automate the entire process and make the contract self-executing in nature. Since the first introduction of these technologies in the 1990s, they have been at the center interest for academia and industry. Numerous researchers and practitioners have investigated the principles and usage of blockchain and smart contracts. However, little is coincidental regarding estimating the consumer’s additional willingness to pay (WTP) and analyzing the relationship with socio-economic characteristics of the consumer for blockchain and smart contracts in the insurance sector. This study conducted the survey on 1000 heads of the household or homemakers who represent population well in South Korea and estimated additional WTP using one-and-one-half-bounded dichotomous choice contingent valuation (OOHB DC CV) method. About 65% of sample respondents answered they are willing to pay some additional premium for blockchain and smart contracts. The mean WTP has the value of KRW 28,425.43 (USD 25.38) and the median WTP is KRW 16,111.71 (USD 14.39). Those with high incomes, high education and more insurance contracts are more likely to pay extra for insurance policies using blockchain and smart contracts. Considering the total number of households in South Korea, the aggregated additional WTP is about 8 percent of the net income of the insurance industry in fiscal year of 2017. Consequently, strategic development of insurance products using block chains and smart contracts targeting educated consumers with high-income will increase the number of policyholders, which can in turn increase premium revenues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue New Trends in Finance and Investment Related to Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Investigating Key Factors Influencing Farming Decisions Based on Soil Testing and Fertilizer Recommendation Facilities (STFRF)—A Case Study on Rural Bangladesh
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4331; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114331
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 4 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Proper nourishment is fundamental for satisfactory crop growth and production. However, for efficient crop production, it is important to understand the soil environment, to recognize the limitations of that environment, and to ameliorate them where possible without damaging the soil quality. Soil testing
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Proper nourishment is fundamental for satisfactory crop growth and production. However, for efficient crop production, it is important to understand the soil environment, to recognize the limitations of that environment, and to ameliorate them where possible without damaging the soil quality. Soil testing and fertilizer recommendation facilities (STFRF) can help farmers to achieve environmental and economic sustainability by assisting them in recognizing their soil condition, reducing agrochemicals usage, using an appropriate amount of fertilizer, minimizing input costs, and achieving higher yield. These facilities are not new in the context of Bangladesh, yet the adoption rate among farmers is low and its determinants have rarely been empirically tested based on microlevel data. Therefore, this study examined those factors underlying the adoption of soil testing and fertilizer recommendation facilities using field surveyed data of 176 individual farmers. Our evidence shows that young farmers with less farming experience are more likely to adopt these facilities. Additionally, being small-scale farmers, having higher education, having more farming income, and having more knowledge about these facilities and the fees of these facilities were found to have a significant effect on the adoption. On the other hand, gender, land ownership, and secondary income were found to be insignificant with regard to the adoption of soil testing and fertilizer recommendation facilities. Our results also revealed that most adopter farmers not only focused on profitability, but were additionally concerned with environmental well-being. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sequential Pattern Mining Algorithm Based on Text Data: Taking the Fault Text Records as an Example
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4330; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114330
Received: 8 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Sequential pattern mining (SPM) is an effective and important method for analyzing time series. This paper proposed a SPM algorithm to mine fault sequential patterns in text data. Because the structure of text data is poor and there are many different forms of
[...] Read more.
Sequential pattern mining (SPM) is an effective and important method for analyzing time series. This paper proposed a SPM algorithm to mine fault sequential patterns in text data. Because the structure of text data is poor and there are many different forms of text expression for the same concept, the traditional SPM algorithm cannot be directly applied to text data. The proposed algorithm is designed to solve this problem. First, this study measured the similarity of fault text data and classified similar faults into one class. Next, this paper proposed a new text similarity measurement model based on the word embedding distance. Compared with the classic text similarity measurement method, this model can achieve good results in short text classification. Then, on the basis of fault classification, this paper proposed the SPM algorithm with an event window, which is a time soft constraint for obtaining a certain number of sequential patterns according to needs. Finally, this study used the fault text records of a certain aircraft as experimental data for mining fault sequential patterns. Experiment showed that this algorithm can effectively mine sequential patterns in text data. The proposed algorithm can be widely applied to text time series data in many fields such as industry, business, finance and so on. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Application of Time Series Analyses in Business)
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Open AccessArticle Considering Emission Treatment for Energy-Efficiency Improvement and Air Pollution Reduction in China’s Industrial Sector
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4329; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114329
Received: 29 September 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
China has one of the most serious air quality conditions in the world, with the main energy consumption and air pollution emissions coming from its industrial sector. Since 2010, the Chinese government has strengthened the governance requirements for industrial sector emissions. This study
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China has one of the most serious air quality conditions in the world, with the main energy consumption and air pollution emissions coming from its industrial sector. Since 2010, the Chinese government has strengthened the governance requirements for industrial sector emissions. This study uses emission treatment as a new input on the basis of past literature, and employs the dynamic SBM model to evaluate the energy and emission-reduction efficiencies of the country’s industrial sector from 2011 to 2015. The study finds that the improvement in industrial sector efficiency is not only due to the optimization of the energy consumption structure and reduction of energy intensity, but also from investing inemission treatment methods that help cut emissions as an undesirable output. The end result is a positive effect on the improvement and sustainability of energy and emission-reduction efficiencies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Collaboration Mechanisms of Taiwan Nonprofit Organizations in Disaster Relief Efforts: Drawing Lessons from the Wenchuan Earthquake and Typhoon Morakot
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4328; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114328
Received: 3 September 2018 / Revised: 13 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Participation of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) is important in emergency management because NPOs often work in conjunction with governments to offer assistance and resources in the emergency management process. NPO participation in disaster relief efforts is a valuable experience for public officials and practitioners,
[...] Read more.
Participation of nonprofit organizations (NPOs) is important in emergency management because NPOs often work in conjunction with governments to offer assistance and resources in the emergency management process. NPO participation in disaster relief efforts is a valuable experience for public officials and practitioners, but research investigating NPOs’ experiences in disaster relief efforts is limited. This study examines Taiwan’s NPO collaboration mechanisms during disaster relief efforts and specifically examines the lessons drawn from two major catastrophes by focusing on the opinions of NPO managers in the 88 Flooding Service Alliance who joined the disaster relief operation for the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake in China and 2009 Typhoon Morakot in Taiwan. The vital strategies and factors that contributed to successful NPO collaborations in disaster relief operations were determined through a survey on NPOs’ strategies for resource sharing and service integration and semi-structured interviews with 19 NPO managers. The findings indicate that NPO engagement in disaster services was crucial for the relief efforts of the two disaster events, and that long-term disaster service alliances are effective mechanisms for emergency collaboration in relief work. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Microeconomic Methodology to Evaluate Energy Efficiency by Consumption Behaviors and Strategies to Improve Energy Efficiency
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4327; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114327
Received: 9 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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The present paper highlights a quantitative method to maximize energy efficiency based on the minimum energy consumption and maximum quality of life from consumption behaviors. Quality of life is expressed by utility, which is a Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) function of demands
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The present paper highlights a quantitative method to maximize energy efficiency based on the minimum energy consumption and maximum quality of life from consumption behaviors. Quality of life is expressed by utility, which is a Constant Elasticity of Substitution (CES) function of demands for composite goods, car trips and public transport trips. Individual energy consumption is estimated by the demand of goods and we applied this method to Nagasaki to evaluate energy efficiency. Our results showed that 28,154 kcal of energy is needed to support the life of one individual per day in Nagasaki. Furthermore, we found that 76% of energy was used for composite goods and 24% was used for mobility goods. To achieve maximum energy efficiency, our results highlight that energy should be reduced by increasing the consumption of composite goods and public transport trips, while simultaneously decreasing the consumption of car trips. Compared to residents in urban and suburban areas, individuals in Central Business Districts (CBD) were found to have higher energy efficiency. Findings in Nagasaki suggest three policy implications: First, eco-energy consumption patterns should be encouraged to decrease energy use, while maintaining quality of life. Second, mixed land use is attributed to increased energy efficiency. Lastly, the energy efficiency of mobility could be improved though increasing the attraction of public transport. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Sustainable Built Environment)
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Ideology on Attitudes toward GM Food Safety among Chinese Internet Users
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114326
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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This study explores the causal relationship between Internet users’ ideologies and their corresponding attitudes to genetically modified (GM) food safety. Using the 2015 Chinese Internet User Survey data (N = 3780) as a representative sample of Internet users from China, the study
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This study explores the causal relationship between Internet users’ ideologies and their corresponding attitudes to genetically modified (GM) food safety. Using the 2015 Chinese Internet User Survey data (N = 3780) as a representative sample of Internet users from China, the study investigates factors influencing people’s attitudes to GM food safety. Multinomial Logistic Regression Models are applied to examine the effects of demographic features (gender, age, education, family annual income, location, CPC membership, and occupation) and ideological factors (general ideology, political ideology, economic ideology, and cultural ideology) on attitudes to GM food safety. The results demonstrate that the percentage of people whose attitude is that “GM food is risky” (35.1%) surpasses those who think “GM food is safe” (20.4%). The young generation respondents think that GM food is safe, while those with higher levels of income and education are more inclined to view GM food as risky. In addition, public sector employees tend to think that GM food is risky. Respondents characterized with right-wing ideology in general tend to regard GM food as safe, compared to left-wing ideologists. However, their attitude varies in different ideological dimensions of politics, economics, and culture. This paper contributes new insights into understanding ideological influences on science development and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
Open AccessArticle A Re-Examination of the Structural Diversity of Biobased Activities and Regions across the EU
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114325
Received: 13 September 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
This study evaluates the performance of European Union (EU) member state biobased activities. More specifically, statistical clustering techniques, based on biobased sectors’ demand and supply driven multipliers, identify regional EU typologies of biobased sector performance. The aim is to establish sector-region combinations of
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This study evaluates the performance of European Union (EU) member state biobased activities. More specifically, statistical clustering techniques, based on biobased sectors’ demand and supply driven multipliers, identify regional EU typologies of biobased sector performance. The aim is to establish sector-region combinations of biobased driven economic growth. The study employs a consistent macroeconomic accounting dataset, known as a social accounting matrix (SAM). The dataset (dubbed BioSAM), is enriched with detailed accounts for agrifood activities, as well as further contemporary sources and uses of biomass. The results identify cases where biobased activities are potentially important engines of growth, although this result varies considerably by EU region. Confirming previous literature, the influence of biobased sectors is very much dominated by demand driven economic growth, whilst one-in-three biobased activities is defined as ‘key’. Examining the regional EU cluster typologies, the ‘Eastern and Mediterranean’ region exhibits the strongest biobased wealth generation, whilst weak biobased economic performance is observed in the ‘Mediterranean Islands and Luxembourg’ regional cluster. Finally, a comparison with previous studies tentatively confirms that structural change, accelerated by the financial crisis, has elevated the relative economy-wide contribution of biobased sectors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bioeconomy)
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Open AccessArticle Intensification and Upgrading Dynamics in Emerging Dairy Clusters in the East African Highlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4324; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114324
Received: 10 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 14 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Based on farmer and value chain actor interviews, this comparative study of five emerging dairy clusters elaborates on the upgrading of farming systems, value chains, and context shapes transformations from semi-subsistent to market-oriented dairy farming. The main results show unequal cluster upgrading along
[...] Read more.
Based on farmer and value chain actor interviews, this comparative study of five emerging dairy clusters elaborates on the upgrading of farming systems, value chains, and context shapes transformations from semi-subsistent to market-oriented dairy farming. The main results show unequal cluster upgrading along two intensification dimensions: dairy feeding system and cash cropping. Intensive dairy is competing with other high-value cash crop options that resource-endowed farmers specialize in, given conducive support service arrangements and context conditions. A large number of drivers and co-dependencies between technical, value chain, and institutional upgrading build up to system jumps. Transformation may take decades when market and context conditions remain sub-optimal. Clusters can be expected to move further along initial intensification pathways, unless actors consciously redirect course. The main theoretical implications for debate about cluster upgrading are that co-dependencies between farming system, market, and context factors determine upgrading outcomes; the implications for the debate about intensification pathways are that they need to consider differences in farmer resource endowments, path dependency, concurrency, and upgrading investments. Sustainability issues for consideration include enabling a larger proportion of resource-poor farmers to participate in markets; enabling private input and service provision models; attention for food safety; and climate smartness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Insights for Shaping Entrepreneurship Education: Evidence from the European Entrepreneurship Centers
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114323
Received: 6 November 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 17 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The pivotal role of Entrepreneurship centers in the development of Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is receiving more attention. This study aims to open the “black box” of “how, when, why and what” entrepreneurial mindset and competencies in the field of technology entrepreneurship are learned
[...] Read more.
The pivotal role of Entrepreneurship centers in the development of Entrepreneurship Education (EE) is receiving more attention. This study aims to open the “black box” of “how, when, why and what” entrepreneurial mindset and competencies in the field of technology entrepreneurship are learned over time in the Entrepreneurship Centers. The study adopts an empirical web-based content analysis of ten entrepreneurship centers in European Universities from seven countries, analyzing 105 curricular and extra-curricular entrepreneurship education programs. This method allows researchers to address generalization bias and to effectuate a cross-case comparison, thus revealing more common patterns regarding the phenomenon. Findings reveal some common pillars of EE as developed within the Entrepreneurship centers in terms of five key dimensions: target audience, learning objectives, entrepreneurship contents, learning pedagogies and stakeholders’ engagement. This analysis provides the basis to introduce a process-based framework for entrepreneurial mindset creation in EE that is organized around four main phases: inspiration, engagement, exploitation and sustainment. The process-based model of EE supports entrepreneurship centers in designing learning initiatives that are aimed to inspire students at all levels of education, young entrepreneurs and start-uppers and scientists in their need to be equipped with an entrepreneurial mindset for technology entrepreneurship. The originality of the paper stands on the “process-based” framework that is proposed that serves as an interactive pathway that dynamically combines the phases toward entrepreneurial venture creation, the entrepreneurial competence level, the entrepreneurial learning strategies and collaboration with the University’s stakeholders’ network toward the achievement of the competence goal. Full article
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Open AccessReview Drivers and Barriers to Clean Cooking: A Systematic Literature Review from a Consumer Behavior Perspective
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114322
Received: 6 October 2018 / Revised: 4 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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A lack of access to clean energy and use of traditional cooking systems have severe negative effects on health, especially among women and children, and on the environment. Despite increasing attention toward this topic, few studies have explored the factors influencing consumers’ adoption
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A lack of access to clean energy and use of traditional cooking systems have severe negative effects on health, especially among women and children, and on the environment. Despite increasing attention toward this topic, few studies have explored the factors influencing consumers’ adoption of improved cooking stoves (ICS). This systematic literature review (n = 81) aims to identify the main drivers and barriers to clean cooking from a consumer perspective. In addition, it aims to define how consumers perceive ICS with respect to traditional stoves. Thematic analysis revealed seven factors that may act as drivers or barriers to ICS adoption: economic factors; socio-demographics; fuel availability; attitude toward technology; awareness of the risks of traditional cookstoves and the benefits of ICS; location; and social and cultural influences. Perceptions focused on four topics: convenience and uses, aesthetics, health-related impacts, and environmental impacts. This review contributes to understanding of consumer behavior with regards to ICS. The findings suggest that availability and affordability of technology are not enough to enhance ICS adoption. Rather, policy makers and managers should approach customers with a less technical and a more personalized approach that takes due consideration of a local context and its social and cultural dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring How Land Tenure Affects Farmers’ Landscape Values: Evidence from a Choice Experiment
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4321; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114321
Received: 18 September 2018 / Revised: 5 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Values play an important role in farmers’ land management decisions, becoming increasingly relevant when designing environmental policy. One key element that influences farming decisions is the land tenure under which farmers and their land are embedded, which represents different sets of rights for
[...] Read more.
Values play an important role in farmers’ land management decisions, becoming increasingly relevant when designing environmental policy. One key element that influences farming decisions is the land tenure under which farmers and their land are embedded, which represents different sets of rights for farmers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to elicit farmers’ values regarding the social and ecological attributes of the landscape, and determine how these values vary according to differences in land rights. We performed this exercise in the two most important land tenure systems in rural Mexico. We carried out a choice experiment to understand preferences for different landscape attributes such as vegetation cover, surface water, terrain slope, and type of property. Then, we probed how these preferences change according to the land rights that farmers hold. We found that surface water was consistently the most important landscape attribute. However, there were clear differences that were related to land rights for some values, such as for example, vegetation cover. Institutional mechanisms such as boundary rules and conflicting values are part of the explanation of these differences. These results provide a bridge to understanding farmers’ management decisions, and in the future, improving sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle AES Impact Evaluation With Integrated Farm Data: Combining Statistical Matching and Propensity Score Matching
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4320; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114320
Received: 5 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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A large share of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is allocated to agri-environmental schemes (AESs), whose goal is to foster the provision of a wide range of environmental public goods. Despite this effort, little is known on the actual environmental and economic impact
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A large share of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is allocated to agri-environmental schemes (AESs), whose goal is to foster the provision of a wide range of environmental public goods. Despite this effort, little is known on the actual environmental and economic impact of the AESs, due to the non-experimental conditions of the assessment exercise and several data availability issues. The main objective of the paper is to explore the feasibility of combining the non-parametric statistical matching (SM) method and propensity score matching (PSM) counterfactual approach analysis and to test its usefulness and practicability on a case study represented by selected impacts of the AESs in Emilia-Romagna. The work hints at the potentialities of the combined use of SM and PSM as well as of the systematic collection of additional information to be included in EU-financed project surveys in order to enrich and complete data collected in the official statistics. The results show that the combination of the two methods enables us to enlarge and deepen the scope of counterfactual analysis applied to AESs. In a specific case study, AESs seem to reduce the amount of rent-in land and decrease the crop mix diversity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Why Do Sustainable Ventures Fail to Attract Management Talent?
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114319
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 15 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Entrepreneurship is widely recognized to play a crucial role in transitioning societies towards sustainability, yet sustainable ventures often have difficulty in attracting talented management employees that are necessary to scale their sustainable opportunities. This study examined 19 qualitative interviews with three interview groups
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Entrepreneurship is widely recognized to play a crucial role in transitioning societies towards sustainability, yet sustainable ventures often have difficulty in attracting talented management employees that are necessary to scale their sustainable opportunities. This study examined 19 qualitative interviews with three interview groups (human resource managers of sustainable ventures, recently hired employees at sustainable ventures, and management professionals looking for employment opportunities) to explain the impediments of attracting management talent and what competitive advantages sustainable ventures may have in the labour market. We discuss how these findings have theoretical and practical implications for scholars and sustainable entrepreneurs by drawing out a number of ways that sustainable ventures may attract management professionals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Impact of Property Tax on Housing-Market Disequilibrium in Different Regions: Evidence from Taiwan for the period 1982–2016
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114318
Received: 6 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Although Taiwan has had a unique property tax system for a long time, oversupply and increasing prices have persisted in the regional market during recent decades. In order to shed light on this problem, this study investigated the impact of property taxation on
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Although Taiwan has had a unique property tax system for a long time, oversupply and increasing prices have persisted in the regional market during recent decades. In order to shed light on this problem, this study investigated the impact of property taxation on housing markets in different regions from a disequilibrium viewpoint based on the stock-flow model. The panel data of 20 counties or cities in Taiwan for the period from 1982 to 2016 was examined. The empirical findings verified that housing price was the most important factor for influencing the long-run housing supply and demand in regions both with and without oversupply. The low interest rate policy was an important factor driving the long-run housing demand, but only in over-supply regions. The current property tax system cannot impact the long-run housing demand, only the short-run demand in both regions. Moreover, the property tax cannot effectively disturb the supply behavior in the long-run in both regions. This study also confirmed that housing-market disequilibrium existed in regions both with and without oversupply, making up the gap. The property tax’s impact on the adjustment speed to long-run equilibrium in over-supply regions was weaker than under-supply regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Improving Water Use Efficiency under Deficit Irrigation in the Jordan Valley
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114317
Received: 16 September 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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The Jordan Valley is the prime irrigated agricultural area in Jordan which suffers shortage of water putting severe limitation on water allocation to farmers. To alleviate the problem, deficit irrigation was proposed for some vegetables such as bell pepper. Two field experiments in
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The Jordan Valley is the prime irrigated agricultural area in Jordan which suffers shortage of water putting severe limitation on water allocation to farmers. To alleviate the problem, deficit irrigation was proposed for some vegetables such as bell pepper. Two field experiments in two growing seasons were conducted using bell pepper (Capsicum Annuum L.) to assess the effect of deficit irrigation on yield, water use efficiency (WUE), and water productivity (WP). The treatments were three irrigation levels: 100% (T1), 80% (T2), and 60% (T3) of the calculated crop evapotranspiration (ETc) using class A pan method. A cost–benefit analysis was carried out to determine the best economically suitable season for crop growth. The yields in both seasons were higher under T1, but there was no difference in WUE and WP between T1 and T2. The yield, WUE, and WP for T3 were significantly lower than for T1 and T2. Therefore, it is recommended to irrigate at 80% of ET. The best results were obtained for the total gross margin and the net present value in the winter season. Using deficit irrigation reduces water usage without significant yield loss, meanwhile maintaining relatively high WUE and supporting the sustainability of agriculture in the Jordan Valley. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Poverty Traps in the Municipalities of Ecuador: Empirical Evidence
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114316
Received: 16 October 2018 / Revised: 8 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The objective of this research is to identify from a spatial and temporal perspective the territories that are located in a “poverty trap” scenario. This is a scenario that does not allow overcoming the conditions and determinants that gave rise to this precarious
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The objective of this research is to identify from a spatial and temporal perspective the territories that are located in a “poverty trap” scenario. This is a scenario that does not allow overcoming the conditions and determinants that gave rise to this precarious situation, creating a vicious circle where the conditions of poverty endure through time. The methodology applied is an exploratory analysis of spatial dependence through Moran’s scatterplot and local indicators of spatial association (LISA) maps to visualize the spatial clusters of poverty. The database used is that of the population and housing censuses of 1990, 2001, and 2010 at the cantonal level. The results determine that 73 cantons were in a poverty trap over the period 1990–2001, while from 2001–2010, there were 75 cantons in this situation, which were located mainly in the provinces of Esmeraldas, Manabí, and Loja. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Growth and Distribution of Maize Roots in Response to Nitrogen Accumulation in Soil Profiles after Long-Term Fertilization Management on a Calcareous Soil
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114315
Received: 26 October 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 17 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The replacement of inorganic fertilizer nitrogen by manure is highlighted to have great potential to maintain crop yield while delivering multiple functions, including the improvement of soil quality. However, information on the dynamics of root distributions in response to chemical fertilizers and manure
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The replacement of inorganic fertilizer nitrogen by manure is highlighted to have great potential to maintain crop yield while delivering multiple functions, including the improvement of soil quality. However, information on the dynamics of root distributions in response to chemical fertilizers and manure along the soil profile is still lacking. The aim of this study was to investigate the temporal-spatial root distributions of summer maize (Zea mays L.) from 2013 to 2015 under four treatments (unfertilized control (CK), inorganic fertilizer (NPK), manure + 70% NPK (NPKM), and NPKM + straw (NPKMS)). Root efficiency for shoot N accumulation was increased by 89% in the NPKM treatment compared with the NPK treatment at V12 (the emergence of the twelfth leaf) of 2014. Root growth at 40–60 cm was consistently stimulated after manure and/or straw additions, especially at V12 and R3 (the milk stage) across three years. Root length density (RLD) in the diameter <0.2 mm at 0–20 cm was significantly positively correlated with soil water content and negatively with soil mineral N contents in 2015. The RLD in the diameter >0.4 mm at 20–60 cm, and RLD <0.2 mm, was positively correlated with shoot N uptake in 2015. The root length density was insensitive in response to fertilization treatments, but the variations in RLD along the soil profile in response to fertilization implies that there is a great potential to manipulate N supply levels and rooting depths to increase nutrient use efficiency. The importance of incorporating a manure application together with straw to increase soil fertility in the North China Plain (NCP) needs further studies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Crop Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle Irrational Beliefs and Social Adaptation of Online Sports Gamblers According to Addiction Level: A Comparative Study
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114314
Received: 1 October 2018 / Revised: 6 November 2018 / Accepted: 19 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to analyze the differences in psychological characteristics (i.e., irrational beliefs) and social adaptation according to a participant’s level of addiction to online sports gambling (i.e., non-problem, low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk gamblers). A survey was completed by participants
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The purpose of this study is to analyze the differences in psychological characteristics (i.e., irrational beliefs) and social adaptation according to a participant’s level of addiction to online sports gambling (i.e., non-problem, low-risk, moderate-risk, and high-risk gamblers). A survey was completed by participants of online sports gambling, aged 19 years or older; 291 completed questionnaires were obtained and analyzed using multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA). As results of this study, according to the level of addiction to online sports gambling, there were significant differences on people’s mental state and social adaptation. Specifically, the more people are attached to a group that is exposed to high gambling addiction risk, the more they tend to become irrational while gambling, adopt an overconfident viewpoint, and overestimate their techniques. Moreover, as addiction to online sports gambling worsens, adaptation problems begin to appear in their work and family lives. This study demonstrated that people who are addicted to online sports gambling tend to find difficulties in thinking reasonably and logically and struggle to lead normal lives. By raising awareness on online sports gambling addiction, this study could suggest a way out of the difficulty. Full article
Open AccessArticle Does Participation Foster Transformation Processes towards Sustainable Energy Systems? A Case Study of the German Energy Transformation
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114313
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 16 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Sustainable energy transformation depends on learning processes, which allow us to cope with constantly changing environmental and social systems. Participation processes are viewed as a means of fostering social learning. In this paper, social learning is applied as an analytical concept to investigate
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Sustainable energy transformation depends on learning processes, which allow us to cope with constantly changing environmental and social systems. Participation processes are viewed as a means of fostering social learning. In this paper, social learning is applied as an analytical concept to investigate the cognitive effects of participation such as knowledge acquisition, changes of perspective, and knowledge dissemination. Previous studies have indicated that certain characteristics of the participation process foster social learning. However, empirical evidence is still inconclusive, which is why this paper investigates which factors foster social learning. An empirical analysis was conducted on the basis of a quantitative online survey (N = 516), which questioned people who are in some way involved in the German energy transformation (Energiewende). The results show that social learning can be enhanced through participation. In particular, moderated processes—which foster a productive exchange, encourage the building of trust among participants, and allow easy access to relevant information—are likely to provide the appropriate conditions for social learning. Personal characteristics such as an individual’s degree of knowledge might have a greater influence on why people change their perspectives than the intensity of participation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Energy Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle A Comparison of Machine-Learning Methods to Select Socioeconomic Indicators in Cultural Landscapes
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114312
Received: 31 October 2018 / Revised: 12 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
Cultural landscapes are regarded to be complex socioecological systems that originated as a result of the interaction between humanity and nature across time. Cultural landscapes present complex-system properties, including nonlinear dynamics among their components. There is a close relationship between socioeconomy and landscape
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Cultural landscapes are regarded to be complex socioecological systems that originated as a result of the interaction between humanity and nature across time. Cultural landscapes present complex-system properties, including nonlinear dynamics among their components. There is a close relationship between socioeconomy and landscape in cultural landscapes, so that changes in the socioeconomic dynamic have an effect on the structure and functionality of the landscape. Several numerical analyses have been carried out to study this relationship, with linear regression models being widely used. However, cultural landscapes comprise a considerable amount of elements and processes, whose interactions might not be properly captured by a linear model. In recent years, machine-learning techniques have increasingly been applied to the field of ecology to solve regression tasks. These techniques provide sound methods and algorithms for dealing with complex systems under uncertainty. The term ‘machine learning’ includes a wide variety of methods to learn models from data. In this paper, we study the relationship between socioeconomy and cultural landscape (in Andalusia, Spain) at two different spatial scales aiming at comparing different regression models from a predictive-accuracy point of view, including model trees and neural or Bayesian networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Social-Ecological Systems. Facing Global Transformations)
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Open AccessReview Quality and Environmental Management Linkage: A Review of the Literature
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4311; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114311
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
This article presents a conceptual and empirical review of the literature related to the link between the different perspectives, models, and tools associated with Quality Management and Environmental Management. Several academic works identified in the literature that aimed to establish conceptual similarities between
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This article presents a conceptual and empirical review of the literature related to the link between the different perspectives, models, and tools associated with Quality Management and Environmental Management. Several academic works identified in the literature that aimed to establish conceptual similarities between QM and EM are reviewed and discussed. In general, terms, the scholarly literature suggests that the main quality practices and programs associated with the Quality Management paradigm—such as ISO 9001 and Total Quality Management—facilitate the adoption of environmental practices associated with corporate Environmental Management. However, there is evidence of certain limitations driven by different biases, whether or not they are recognized in the reviewed publications. The concentration on some avenues of research focused on very detailed aspects of the linkage between QM and EM is discussed. Conversely, lines that have been overlooked and are in need for more research were also identified. The implications for scholars, such as suggestions for further research, are included as a contribution of the article. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Quality Management and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Soil Quality Change after Reclaiming Subsidence Land with Yellow River Sediments
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114310
Received: 20 September 2018 / Revised: 9 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
With continuous population growth and decreasing cultivated land area, China’s food security is greatly threatened. Additionally, coal mining in China is primarily underground mining, which causes land subsidence and destroys existing cultivated land. This effect aggravates the contradiction between a growing population and
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With continuous population growth and decreasing cultivated land area, China’s food security is greatly threatened. Additionally, coal mining in China is primarily underground mining, which causes land subsidence and destroys existing cultivated land. This effect aggravates the contradiction between a growing population and a shrinking area of cultivated land. The purpose of this study was to introduce a method of filling reclamation with Yellow River sediments to restore farmland and realize the sustainable utilization of cultivated land. The properties of the soil and crop yields in reclaimed farmland were assessed. This study examined farmland reclaimed with Yellow River sediments at an experimental site located in Jining City, Shandong Province, China. Filling reclamation procedures with Yellow River sediments were applied. The reclaimed farmland (RF) and unaltered farmland (CK) were continuously monitored for three years, and the soil was sampled six times. A total of 180 soil samples were collected from RF and CK. The soil properties were measured at three depths: 0–20 cm, 20–50 cm, and 50–80 cm. Crop yields were monitored regularly. The results indicate that filling reclamation with Yellow River sediments is an effective method for restoring farmland. The RF and CK soils were weakly alkaline, non-saline soils. The RF soil was suitable for the growth of local crops. With an increasing number of farming years, both the quality of cultivated land and crop yields have increased. Therefore, filling reclamation with Yellow River sediments is an effective way to realize the sustainable utilization of cultivated land. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Carbon Addition on Dissimilatory Fe(III) Reduction in Freshwater Marsh and Meadow Wetlands
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114309
Received: 13 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 15 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
The progress of dissimilatory iron(III) reduction is widespread in natural environments, particularly in anoxic habitats; in fact, wetland ecosystems are considered as “hotspots” of dissimilatory Fe(III) reduction. In this study, we conducted soil slurry and microbial inoculation anaerobic incubation with glucose, pyruvate, and
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The progress of dissimilatory iron(III) reduction is widespread in natural environments, particularly in anoxic habitats; in fact, wetland ecosystems are considered as “hotspots” of dissimilatory Fe(III) reduction. In this study, we conducted soil slurry and microbial inoculation anaerobic incubation with glucose, pyruvate, and soluble quinone anthraquinone-2,6-disulphonate (AQDS) additions in freshwater marsh and meadow wetlands in the Sanjiang Plain, to evaluate the role of carbon addition in the rates and dynamics of iron reduction. Dissimilatory Fe(III) reduction in marsh wetlands responded more quickly and showed twice the potential for Fe(III) reduction as that in meadow wetland. Fe(III) reduction rate in marsh and meadow wetlands was 76% and 30%, respectively. Glucose had a higher capacity to enhance Fe(III) reduction than pyruvate, which provides valuable information for the further isolation of Fe reduction bacteria in pure culture. AQDS could dramatically increase potential Fe(III) reduction as an electron shuttle in both wetlands. pH exhibited a negative relationship with Fe(III) reduction. In view of the significance of freshwater wetlands in the global carbon and iron cycle, further profound research is now essential and should explore the enzymatic mechanisms underlying iron reduction in freshwater wetlands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geochemistry for a Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Evaluation of Physical and Economic Water-Saving Efficiency for Virtual Water Flows Related to Inter-Regional Crop Trade in China
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114308
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 17 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 21 November 2018
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Abstract
If products were traded from regions with relatively high water productivity to regions with relatively low water productivity, water saving could be achieved. In this study, two indices—physical water-saving efficiency (volume of water savings per cubic meter of virtual water flows) and economic
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If products were traded from regions with relatively high water productivity to regions with relatively low water productivity, water saving could be achieved. In this study, two indices—physical water-saving efficiency (volume of water savings per cubic meter of virtual water flows) and economic water-saving efficiency (value of water savings per cubic meter of virtual water flows considering water right trading)—were proposed to analyze the efficiency of inter-regional virtual water flows related to crop trade in China. Results indicated that the volume of inter-regional virtual water flows was 1.61 × 109 m3, more than 90% of which was occupied by oil-bearing crops, cereals, and beans. In terms of physical efficiency, only cereals and vegetables presented negative values. All kinds of crop trades were economically efficient, while most crops’ economic water-saving efficiency was less than 10 × 103 Yuan/m3. The application of advanced water-saving technologies, the cultivation of new crop varieties, the adjustment of regional cropping patterns, or consumption and trade patterns, could contribute to more water savings and higher physical water-saving efficiency, while the possible social, economic, and environmental tradeoffs should be considered simultaneously. Water right trading and virtual water compensation could contribute to sustainable water consumption, and full-cost pricing should be adapted in the future. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Event Study Analysis of Political Events, Disasters, and Accidents for Chinese Tourists to Taiwan
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114307
Received: 23 October 2018 / Revised: 11 November 2018 / Accepted: 18 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
The number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has been closely related to the political relationship across the Taiwan Strait. The occurrence of political events and disasters or accidents have had, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the Taiwan tourism market.
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The number of Chinese tourists visiting Taiwan has been closely related to the political relationship across the Taiwan Strait. The occurrence of political events and disasters or accidents have had, and will continue to have, a huge impact on the Taiwan tourism market. To date, there has been relatively little empirical research conducted on this issue. Tourists are characterized as being involved in one of three types of tourism: group tourism (group-type), individual tourism (individual-type), and medical cosmetology (medical-type). We use the fundamental equation in tourism finance to examine the correlation that exists between the rate of change in the number of tourists and the rate of return on tourism. Second, we use the event study method to observe whether the numbers of tourists have changed abnormally before and after the occurrence of major events on both sides of the Strait. Three different types of conditional variance models, namely, the Generalized Autoregressive Conditional Heteroscedasticity, GARCH (1,1), Glosten, Jagannathan and Runkle, GJR (1,1) and Exponential GARCH, EGARCH (1,1), are used to estimate the abnormal rate of change in the number of tourists. The empirical results concerning the major events affecting the changes in the numbers of tourists from China to Taiwan are economically significant, and confirm the types of tourists that are most likely to be affected by such major events. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Contractor Cooperation Mechanism and Evolution of the Green Supply Chain in Mega Projects
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114306
Received: 18 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 16 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
The large scale of construction in mega projects leads to significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts; thus, the projects should also exhibit greater social responsibility. Adopting green supply chain management in the construction process is an important way to realize the goal of sustainable
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The large scale of construction in mega projects leads to significant environmental and socioeconomic impacts; thus, the projects should also exhibit greater social responsibility. Adopting green supply chain management in the construction process is an important way to realize the goal of sustainable development of mega projects. Because the green supply chain behavior during construction is mainly demonstrated by contractors, it is especially important to study the evolutionary trend of their behavior. Thus, to explore the cooperative relationship among contractors, this paper considers a lengthy construction period, multi-agent participation dynamics, and opportunistic behavior—all are key features of mega projects—and establishes an evolutionary game model. Specifically, a replicator dynamic equation is used to describe the long-term effects of the contractor’s decisions. Equilibrium determinants are then analyzed and simulated. The results show that the initial probabilities of the two types of contractors (main contractor and subcontractor) demonstrating opportunistic behaviors have a significant effect on the direction of evolution of the mega project. The main contractor, who dominates the subsidy allocation by the government and project owner, should pay attention to maintaining a balance in the income distribution between him or her and the subcontractor. Additionally, there is an optimal distribution coefficient for the subsidy that minimizes the overall probability of opportunistic behavior. This paper provides a point of reference for the decisions of the main contractor and the subcontractor in the green supply chain of mega projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Development and Management of Mega Projects)
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Open AccessArticle Circular Economy and the Role of Universities in Urban Regeneration: The Case of Ortigia, Syracuse
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114305
Received: 26 September 2018 / Revised: 2 November 2018 / Accepted: 13 November 2018 / Published: 20 November 2018
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Abstract
Regeneration processes activate stable regimes of interaction and interdependence among the architectural, economic, cultural and social sub-systems in settlements. The thesis of this paper is that in order to progress towards sustainable and inclusive cities, urban governance should widen the decision-making arena, promoting
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Regeneration processes activate stable regimes of interaction and interdependence among the architectural, economic, cultural and social sub-systems in settlements. The thesis of this paper is that in order to progress towards sustainable and inclusive cities, urban governance should widen the decision-making arena, promoting virtuous circular dynamics based on knowledge transfer, strategic decision making and stakeholders’ engagement. The historic urban landscape is a privileged la b for this purpose. The paper adapts the Triple-Helix model of knowledge-industry-government relationships to interpret the unexpected regimes of interaction between Local Authority and Cultural Heritage Assets triggered in the late 90es by the establishment of a knowledge provider such as a Faculty of Architecture in the highly degraded heritage context of the city of Syracuse, Italy. Following this approach, the authors explain the urban regeneration happened over the last 20 years in the port city of Syracuse, based on knowledge sharing and resources’ protection that promoted processes of social engagement and institutional empowerment for both new residents and entrepreneurs. Full article
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