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Sustainability, Volume 11, Issue 24 (December-2 2019) – 374 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The study developed a life cycle inventory-based passenger travel model that can account for [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Rail Transit Passenger Flow Forecasting Method Based on the Coupling of Artificial Fish Swarm and Improved Particle Swarm Optimization Algorithms
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247230 - 19 Dec 2019
Viewed by 299
Abstract
Urban rail transit passenger flow forecasting is an important basis for station design, passenger flow organization, and train operation plan optimization. In this work, we combined the artificial fish swarm and improved particle swarm optimization (AFSA-PSO) algorithms. Taking the Window of the World [...] Read more.
Urban rail transit passenger flow forecasting is an important basis for station design, passenger flow organization, and train operation plan optimization. In this work, we combined the artificial fish swarm and improved particle swarm optimization (AFSA-PSO) algorithms. Taking the Window of the World station of the Shenzhen Metro Line 1 as an example, subway passenger flow prediction research was carried out. The AFSA-PSO algorithm successfully preserved the fast convergence and strong traceability of the original algorithm through particle self-adjustment and dynamic weights, and it effectively overcame its shortcomings, such as the tendency to fall into local optimum and lower convergence speed. In addition to accurately predicting normal passenger flow, the algorithm can also effectively identify and predict the large-scale tourist attractions passenger flow as it has strong applicability and robustness. Compared with single PSO or AFSA algorithms, the new algorithm has better prediction effects, such as faster convergence, lower average absolute percentage error, and a higher correlation coefficient with real values. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable and Intelligent Transportation Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Preventing Air Pollution Connected to the Explosion of Different Types of Flours in Dedicated Storage and Transportation Systems
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7256; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247256 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 291
Abstract
Air pollution, caused by explosion and/or fire of flammable substances, is typical for the majority of technological processes, e.g., flour storage and transportation systems in the food industry. If explosion venting systems are not properly designed, an explosion might lead to many causalities, [...] Read more.
Air pollution, caused by explosion and/or fire of flammable substances, is typical for the majority of technological processes, e.g., flour storage and transportation systems in the food industry. If explosion venting systems are not properly designed, an explosion might lead to many causalities, substantial losses, and significant release of combustion products into the ambient atmosphere. This article presents a study on four selected types of flours: rice flour, oat flour, cornmeal, and chickpea flour. The chosen ignition and explosion indices were determined (heat of combustion, pmax, (dp/dt)max) and TGAs were conducted. The results were used to calculate the explosion venting area according to EN 14491. Despite similar origins, samples were characterized by slightly different courses of explosion, leading to significant differences in required venting areas. Chickpea dust was found to be the most distinguishing sample with the highest values of pmax, (dp/dt)max, and KSt recorded (7.7 bar, 313.08 bar/s, and 85 mbar/s, respectively). To avoid structure failure resulting in the emission of pollutants into the atmosphere, a change in the stored flour type should be preceded by a revision of safety measures taken, as the required vent area might differ significantly depending on the KSt, L/D ratio, and desired maximum static pressure. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Technologies in Air Treatment)
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Open AccessArticle
Geomorphological Analysis Applied to the Evolution of the Quaternary Landscape of the Tormes River (Salamanca, Spain)
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7255; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247255 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 268
Abstract
This paper presents a geomorphological analysis of the Tormes River during the Quaternary. The Tormes River formed in the center-west of the Iberian Peninsula in the province of Salamanca. It runs along a Cenozoic basin with basement materials and through Varisco, and consists [...] Read more.
This paper presents a geomorphological analysis of the Tormes River during the Quaternary. The Tormes River formed in the center-west of the Iberian Peninsula in the province of Salamanca. It runs along a Cenozoic basin with basement materials and through Varisco, and consists of mainly granitic and metamorphic materials, leaving a wide stream of river terraces, both erosional and depositional, that confirm its evolution throughout the Quaternary. Geomorphological analyses using Geographic Information Systems tools, Digital terrain model high resolution (MDT05, LIDAR), Orthophotos (scale 1:5000), and geological maps (1:50,000 Series Magna) have allowed different morphologies and depositional terraces to be distinguished, namely, 19 levels of erosional terraces and 3 levels of erosion surfaces. Based on these correlations, the levels of terraces in the Tormes River between T1 (+140 m) and T7 (+75–80 m) are located in the Pleistocene, those between T8 (+58–64 m) and T14 (+18–23 m) in the Middle Pleistocene, those between T15 (+12–13 m) and T17 (+6–7 m) in the Upper Pleistocene, and those between T18 (+3 m) and T19 (+1.5 m) in the Holocene. The erosion surfaces are divided into six levels: S6 (+145 m), S5 (+150 m), S4 (+160 m), S3 (+170 m), S2 (+180 m) and S1 (+190 m) located in the Lower Pleistocene, This work performs a geomorphological mapping procedure applied to the evolutionary analysis of the landscape, so that it determines different geomorphological units allowing the relief and morphology of the terrain in past times, establishing a dynamic analysis of the landscapes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Towards Smarter Management of Overtourism in Historic Centres Through Visitor-Flow Monitoring
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7254; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247254 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 283
Abstract
Historic centres are highly regarded destinations for watching and even participating in diverse and unique forms of cultural expression. Cultural tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is an important and consolidated tourism sector and its strong growth is expected to continue [...] Read more.
Historic centres are highly regarded destinations for watching and even participating in diverse and unique forms of cultural expression. Cultural tourism, according to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), is an important and consolidated tourism sector and its strong growth is expected to continue over the coming years. Tourism, the much dreamt of redeemer for historic centres, also represents one of the main threats to heritage conservation: visitors can dynamize an economy, yet the rapid growth of tourism often has negative effects on both built heritage and the lives of local inhabitants. Knowledge of occupancy levels and flows of visiting tourists is key to the efficient management of tourism; the new technologies—the Internet of Things (IoT), big data, and geographic information systems (GIS)—when combined in interconnected networks represent a qualitative leap forward, compared to traditional methods of estimating locations and flows. A methodology is described in this paper for the management of tourism flows that is designed to promote sustainable tourism in historic centres through intelligent support mechanisms. As part of the Smart Heritage City (SHCITY) project, a collection system for visitors is developed. Following data collection via monitoring equipment, the analysis of a set of quantitative indicators yields information that can then be used to analyse visitor flows; enabling city managers to make management decisions when the tourism-carrying capacity is exceeded and gives way to overtourism. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Strategic Imperatives of Managing the Sustainable Innovative Development of the Market of Educational Services in the Higher Education System
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7253; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247253 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 249
Abstract
The conditions of the functioning of state higher education institutions at the present stage of development of the Ukrainian economy require new approaches to solve the problem of the relationship between the volume of training of specialists with higher education and their employment [...] Read more.
The conditions of the functioning of state higher education institutions at the present stage of development of the Ukrainian economy require new approaches to solve the problem of the relationship between the volume of training of specialists with higher education and their employment in the sphere of economic activity. The purpose of this article was to provide theoretical substantiation and practical recommendations for the development of a higher education institution development strategy for making managerial innovative decisions on balancing the demand and supply of educational services in a competitive environment. The following methods were used in the study: abstract logical; comparative economic and system structural; statistical; sociological; modeling; the algorithm of practical application of the theory of constraints of systems; and the apparatus of the theory of fuzzy sets. Methodological approaches to the implementation of the optimal allocation of budget places of the university by means of a practical application of system restriction theory and fuzzy set theory were proposed. The result was the allocation of budgetary places, taking into account the demand for specialties in terms of the economic situation of the region, the demand in the labor market, the demand among entrants, and the proposal of the institution of higher education and the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. It will make it possible to reach the optimum balance between demand for specialists in specific specialties and their supply. The practical value of the research results lies in the development and use of methodological provisions for forecasting the demand and supply of educational services of higher education institutions, which are means of prospective reflection, predicting the ways of further development of the higher education system and modeling of various options for its functioning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Decisions and Coordination in a Socially Responsible Supply Chain with Irresponsibility Risk
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7252; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247252 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 258
Abstract
Many companies make some stakeholders pleased but others cannot. To help understand why, it is very important to study the coexistence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social irresponsibility (CSI). This paper considers a manufacturer with irresponsibility risk in a centralized and [...] Read more.
Many companies make some stakeholders pleased but others cannot. To help understand why, it is very important to study the coexistence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and corporate social irresponsibility (CSI). This paper considers a manufacturer with irresponsibility risk in a centralized and decentralized socially responsible supply chain, and uses a Stackelberg game to investigate the optimal policies on price and CSR investment level. This paper also examines the influence of consumer responsibility awareness and CSR investment efficiency on the decision behaviors of the manufacturer and retailer. Moreover, we developed a new mechanism to coordinate the decentralized supply chain system, which consists of the retailer participating in CSR and revenue sharing. Our results indicate that the manufacturer’s and retailer’s optimal decisions may not be significantly influenced by consumer responsibility awareness, but the effect of CSR investment efficiency is significant. Our results also show that if the degree of retailer participation and the proportion of revenue sharing are of moderate size, then not only can the contract mechanism coordinate the decentralized socially responsible supply chain, but it can ensure that a win–win situation can be achieved by the supply chain members. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Targeting Remediation Dredging by Ecological Risk Assessment of Heavy Metals in Lake Sediment: A Case Study of Shitang Lake, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7251; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247251 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 233
Abstract
Understanding the spatial distribution and pollution characteristics of heavy metals in lake sediment is crucial for studying deposition and migration processes, assessing lake conditions, and determining the extent of remediation dredging. The present work is a case study of heavy metal pollution in [...] Read more.
Understanding the spatial distribution and pollution characteristics of heavy metals in lake sediment is crucial for studying deposition and migration processes, assessing lake conditions, and determining the extent of remediation dredging. The present work is a case study of heavy metal pollution in Shitang Lake in Anhui province, China. Heavy metal concentrations were determined in sediment at locations across the lake to a depth of 100 cm, and pollution levels were assessed on the basis of the Geoaccumulation Index (Igeo) and Potential Ecological Risk Index (RI). Hg and Cd were the predominant heavy metals in the sediment, and the Igeo and RI indicated high pollution levels in the northern and southern zones of the lake. These findings can be used to guide the prioritization of dredging operations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
A Process-Oriented Framework of Competencies for Sustainability Entrepreneurship
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247250 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 270
Abstract
Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, and other efforts in sustainability entrepreneurship are responding to prevalent challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Universities, however, often fall short in sufficiently equipping students with competencies in sustainability entrepreneurship. One reason is that [...] Read more.
Employee-owned businesses, benefit corporations, and other efforts in sustainability entrepreneurship are responding to prevalent challenges such as climate change, economic inequalities, and unethical business behavior. Universities, however, often fall short in sufficiently equipping students with competencies in sustainability entrepreneurship. One reason is that none of the existing frameworks links competencies to the actual processes of entrepreneurship, from discovery to consolidation. If graduates are to successfully start and run sustainability-oriented enterprises, the real-world entrepreneurship processes should provide the main orientation for training and learning. The present study proposes such a framework. We first conducted a qualitative literature review on competencies for entrepreneurs, sustainability professionals, social entrepreneurs, and sustainability entrepreneurs. We clustered the identified competencies according to conceptual similarities. On this basis, we describe sustainability entrepreneurship competencies along the entrepreneurial process model. The result is a process-oriented and literature-based framework of sustainability entrepreneurship competencies. It is intended to be used as a general vision for students, faculty, and entrepreneurs, as well as for the design of curricula, courses, and assessments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Competencies in Education for Sustainable Development II)
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Open AccessArticle
An Empirical Study on the Impact of Collaborative R&D Networks on Enterprise Innovation Performance Based on the Mediating Effect of Technology Standard Setting
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7249; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247249 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 224
Abstract
Against the background of economic globalization, high-technology enterprises need to focus on the characteristics of corporate collaboration R&D networks and Standard-Setting. In this paper, theoretical research on corporate collaboration R&D network characteristics, technology standard-setting capability, and technology innovation performance is carried out, and [...] Read more.
Against the background of economic globalization, high-technology enterprises need to focus on the characteristics of corporate collaboration R&D networks and Standard-Setting. In this paper, theoretical research on corporate collaboration R&D network characteristics, technology standard-setting capability, and technology innovation performance is carried out, and a theoretical model and hypotheses are constructed. We apply Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) to conduct an empirical analysis based on national data surveys of 12 industries. The conclusions are as follows: (1) Corporate collaboration R&D networks and technology standard-setting capability have a positive and significant impact on technology innovation performance; (2) Technology’s standard-setting capability has been identified to play a full intermediary role in the relationship between the breadth of connections and innovation efficiency. This paper provides a practical reference for enterprises to assess the value of collaborative R&D networks and improve their technology standard-setting capability for enhanced economic efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Social Innovation to Sustain Rural Communities: Overcoming Institutional Challenges in Serbia
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7248; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247248 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 310
Abstract
Responding to a number of longstanding challenges such as poverty, wide-ranging inequalities, environmental problems, and migration, requires new and creative responses that are often not provided by traditional governments. Social innovations can offer socio-ecological and economic solutions by introducing new practices that reduce [...] Read more.
Responding to a number of longstanding challenges such as poverty, wide-ranging inequalities, environmental problems, and migration, requires new and creative responses that are often not provided by traditional governments. Social innovations can offer socio-ecological and economic solutions by introducing new practices that reduce social inequalities, disproportionate resource use and foster sustainable development. Understanding the role of social innovations is especially complicated in unstable institutional environments, e.g. in developing countries and countries in transition. This paper analyses nine social innovations in rural areas in Serbia, based on in-depth interviews and document analysis. This analysis reveals factors that facilitate or constrain social innovations whilst simultaneously identifying related formal and informal institutional voids, for example, poor law enforcement, a lack of adequate infrastructure, lack of trust, as well as norms and values that bolster patriarchal systems. The results that emerged from this research show that social innovations are operating in spite of these challenges and are facilitating improvements in a number of the aforementioned challenging areas. Some innovators engage in social entrepreneurship activities because of subsistence-oriented goals, while others follow idealistic or life-style oriented goals, thus creating new social values. Moving beyond these observations, this paper also identifies means to overcome institutional voids, such as creation of context-specific organisational structures, improved legal frameworks, and innovative financial mechanisms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Policy Coherence and the Transition to a Bioeconomy: The Case of Ireland
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7247; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247247 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 250
Abstract
Advancing a bioeconomy requires that policymakers understand how the design and coherence of public policy can contribute, or create barriers, to its development. Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy (February 2018) recognized the significance of policy coherence as a critical factor [...] Read more.
Advancing a bioeconomy requires that policymakers understand how the design and coherence of public policy can contribute, or create barriers, to its development. Ireland’s first National Policy Statement on the Bioeconomy (February 2018) recognized the significance of policy coherence as a critical factor in a successful transition to a bioeconomy. Qualitative document analysis was employed to assess the level of coherence across a range of relevant policy documents. As is the case with most other countries the key sub-sectors related to the bioeconomy in Ireland have independent policy documents for their own developmental process, with obvious potential for conflict. The results of the analysis indicated inconsistency across sectors, highlighting the requirement to update certain strategy documents in order to raise the level of cross-sectoral coherence. This process is essential in both avoiding a ‘silo’ mentality and enabling the concept of the bioeconomy and its associated objectives to become mainstreamed. The methodology employed in this research is easily transferable and should prove useful for other countries in transition to a bioeconomy to assess the strengths and weaknesses of relevant documents and identify where change is required. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Bioeconomy)
Open AccessArticle
Environmental and Economic Concerns in Residents’ Attitudes in Punta del Este (Uruguay)
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7246; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247246 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 239
Abstract
The objective of this article is to determine the importance of environmental concern on residents’ perceptions and attitudes in the case of the Maldonado-Punta del Este conurbation. To relativize the importance of this concern, economic concern was introduced into the model. Punta del [...] Read more.
The objective of this article is to determine the importance of environmental concern on residents’ perceptions and attitudes in the case of the Maldonado-Punta del Este conurbation. To relativize the importance of this concern, economic concern was introduced into the model. Punta del Este is located next to the city of Maldonado, capital of the homonymous department, and is the most important sun and beach destination in Uruguay. For this analysis, a sample of 420 residents from the Maldonado-Punta del Este conurbation was used. The questionnaire contained several items using a5-point Likert scale and a section including socio-demographic questions. Analysis of the data was carried out through Partial Least Squares (PLS) SEM regression. The results suggest that residents form their attitudes towards tourism based on tourism’s economic benefits and socio-cultural costs. Residents of Punta del Este show concern for the environment but not for the economy. This concern is mainly related to the perception of environmental costs, but the causal relationship could be the opposite. Full article
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Open AccessReview
A Review of Energy and Environmental Management Practices in Cast Iron Foundries to Increase Sustainability
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7245; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247245 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 236
Abstract
Environmental impact and use of energy and materials are relevant topics in companies. To achieve energy savings and enhance environmental performance, managers can invest in technologies (technical measures) and/or implement management practices (low-cost and non-technical measures). This paper focuses on energy and environmental [...] Read more.
Environmental impact and use of energy and materials are relevant topics in companies. To achieve energy savings and enhance environmental performance, managers can invest in technologies (technical measures) and/or implement management practices (low-cost and non-technical measures). This paper focuses on energy and environmental management practices in foundry, which is a particularly energy-intensive industry producing significant carbon dioxide emissions. We conducted a scoping review of scientific publications and technical documents to identify practices that enable energy efficiency improvement and adverse environmental impact reduction in cast iron foundries using coreless induction furnaces. The review returned 399 practices, which we categorised according to the process step of application and theme. We developed a hierarchy to classify the practices according to their sustainability. The results show that the practices proposed in the literature focus mainly on avoiding or reducing resource consumption, rather than on recovering residual value. The intended contribution is to promote the adoption of management practices as an effective lever to increase energy efficiency and reduce environmental impacts, while also providing a summary of current knowledge to facilitate the identification of areas for further research. The review could also support foundry managers in the selection and prioritisation of the practices to adopt. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Manufacturing Processes for Leading Industrial Sectors)
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Open AccessEditorial
Enhancing Security, Sustainability and Resilience in Energy, Food and Water
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7244; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247244 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 401
Abstract
Our societies build largely on the concept of security and the ultimate justification for our present-day states is to ensure internal and external security of their citizens. While this task has traditionally focused on local and national scales, globalisation and planetary-scale challenges such [...] Read more.
Our societies build largely on the concept of security and the ultimate justification for our present-day states is to ensure internal and external security of their citizens. While this task has traditionally focused on local and national scales, globalisation and planetary-scale challenges such as climate change mean that security connects also to a variety of sectors and has a stronger global dimension. Security is therefore increasingly connected with sustainability, which seeks to ensure that we as humans are able to live and prosper on this planet now and in the future. The concepts of energy security, food security and water security—as being used separately or together—manifest the burgeoning linkages between security and sustainability. This Special Issue brings together ten scientific articles that look at different aspects of security, sustainability and resilience with an emphasis on energy, food and/or water in the context of Finland and Europe. In this Editorial, we introduce the key concepts of the Special Issue, synthesise the articles’ key findings and discuss their relevance for the on-going deliberations on security and sustainability. We conclude that ensuring sustainable security—or secure sustainability—requires systemic, structured processes that link the policies and actors in these two important but still distant fields. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between NDVI and Climate Factors at Different Monthly Time Scales: A Case Study of Grasslands in Inner Mongolia, China (1982–2015)
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7243; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247243 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 254
Abstract
There are currently only two methods (the within-growing season method and the inter-growing season method) used to analyse the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)–climate relationship at the monthly time scale. What are the differences between the two methods, and why do they exist? [...] Read more.
There are currently only two methods (the within-growing season method and the inter-growing season method) used to analyse the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI)–climate relationship at the monthly time scale. What are the differences between the two methods, and why do they exist? Which method is more suitable for the analysis of the relationship between them? In this study, after obtaining NDVI values (GIMMS NDVI3g) near meteorological stations and meteorological data of Inner Mongolian grasslands from 1982 to 2015, we analysed temporal changes in NDVI and climate factors, and explored the difference in Pearson correlation coefficients (R) between them via the above two analysis methods and analysed the change in R between them at multiple time scales. The research results indicated that: (1) NDVI was affected by temperature and precipitation in the area, showing periodic changes, (2) NDVI had a high value of R with climate factors in the within-growing season, while the significant correlation between them was different in different months in the inter-growing season, (3) with the increase in time series, the value of R between NDVI and climate factors showed a trend of increase in the within-growing season, while the value of R between NDVI and precipitation decreased, but then tended toward stability in the inter-growing season, and (4) when exploring the NDVI–climate relationship, we should first analyse the types of climate in the region to avoid the impacts of rain and heat occurring during the same period, and the inter-growing season method is more suitable for the analysis of the relationship between them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Changing Characteristics of Chlorophyll a in the Context of Internal and External Factors: A Case Study of Dianchi Lake in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7242; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247242 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 208
Abstract
During the past 20 years, the ecological environment of Dianchi Lake has been adversely affected by climate change and human activities, which directly affected the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Dianchi Lake watershed. Analyzing the spatiotemporal variation of chlorophyll a (Chla) concentration of [...] Read more.
During the past 20 years, the ecological environment of Dianchi Lake has been adversely affected by climate change and human activities, which directly affected the ecosystem and biodiversity of the Dianchi Lake watershed. Analyzing the spatiotemporal variation of chlorophyll a (Chla) concentration of Dianchi Lake and exploring the internal and external factors effect on Chla concentration is the basis for controlling and improving the water ecological environment of Dianchi Lake, and it is also the key to prevent and control the water pollution of Dianchi Lake. In this study, the water quality of Dianchi Lake was examined using 12 water quality indicators from 10 water quality monitoring sites for the duration between 2000 to 2017. The changing characteristics of Chla in the context of internal and external factors were analyzed. The spatiotemporal evolution process of Chla concentration in the past 20 years was also evaluated. The results indicated that Chla concentration was significantly and positively correlated with the chemical oxygen demand (CODCr), the Dianchi Lake watershed gross domestic product (GDP), and the impervious surface area (ISA) of the watershed, in addition to the total phosphorus (TP), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD5), ammonia hydrogen (NH3-N), water temperature (WT), and civil vehicle ownership. Moreover, a significant and negative correlation was noticed between Dianchi Lake watershed GDP and NH3-N, BOD5, TP, total nitrogen (TN), and comprehensive nutrition state index (TLI). The Dianchi Lake population was negatively correlated with TP, TLI, and BOD5. The concentration of Chla in Dianchi Lake was affected by both internal factors, and external factors such as anthropogenic activities, the latter of which was the main cause of the continuous deterioration of the lake water quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Identifying Urban Structure Based on Transit-Oriented Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7241; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247241 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 224
Abstract
The fast development of urbanization has led to imbalances in cities, causing congestion, pollution, and urban sprawl. In response to the growing concern over the distribution of demand and supply, a more coordinated urban structure is addressed in comprehensive planning processes. In this [...] Read more.
The fast development of urbanization has led to imbalances in cities, causing congestion, pollution, and urban sprawl. In response to the growing concern over the distribution of demand and supply, a more coordinated urban structure is addressed in comprehensive planning processes. In this study, we attempt to identify urban structure using a Network–Activity–Human model under the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) concept, since TOD is usually regarded as an urban spatial planning tool. In order to explore the strengths and weaknesses of the urban structure, we define the TOD index and unbalance degree and then classify the urban areas accordingly. We take the city of Beijing as a case study and identify nine urban types. The results show a hierarchical urban structure: the city center covers most of the hotspots which display higher imbalances, the surroundings of the city center are less developed, and the city edges show higher potentials in both exploitation and transportation development. Moreover, we discuss the extent to which the spatial scale influences the unbalance degree and apply a sensitivity analysis based on the goals of different stakeholders. This methodology could be utilized at any study scale and in any situation, and the results could offer suggestions for more accurate urban planning, strengthening the relationship between TOD and spatial organization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Food Sustainability Labels on the Perceived Product Value and Price Expectations of Urban Consumers
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7240; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247240 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 194
Abstract
Sustainable labelling is an important tool in raising awareness and informing potential buyers regarding environmental, economic and social issues. This study provides insights into consumers’ value of food sustainability labels through the exploration of the impact of logos on their purchasing decisions (willingness [...] Read more.
Sustainable labelling is an important tool in raising awareness and informing potential buyers regarding environmental, economic and social issues. This study provides insights into consumers’ value of food sustainability labels through the exploration of the impact of logos on their purchasing decisions (willingness to buy (WTB)) and readiness to pay (willingness to pay (WTP)) a higher price for sustainability-labelled products. Data was collected via an online survey among a sample of 423 adult city dwellers in Poland. The structured questionnaire beside sections concerning consumer buying behaviour and perception of the food labels consisted of a behavioural choice experiment (CE), where two categories of plant products: fresh (apples or bananas) and non-perishable (rice or beans) varied by type of labelling (logos: Euro-leaf, PGI, Fair Trade or without logo) and by price. Cluster analysis revealed two consumer groups (named “Sceptical” and “Mindful”) that had varied opinions and perceptions of sustainable labelled food and buying behaviour. The research results indicate that when the logo is poorly-known even consumers with positive attitudes towards sustainability do not use it as a cue when shopping for food. Moreover, urban consumers were very price sensitive and showed a restrained desire to pay a higher price for sustainability labelled products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systems Approaches to Complex and Sustainable Food Systems)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Supply Chain Management—A Conceptual Framework and Future Research Perspectives
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7239; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247239 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 232
Abstract
Sustainable operations and sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) have become a highly relevant topic for scientific research and management, as well as policy-making practice. Despite surging growth in extant research, the need for theoretical and conceptual substantiation persists, and large opportunities for further [...] Read more.
Sustainable operations and sustainable supply chain management (SSCM) have become a highly relevant topic for scientific research and management, as well as policy-making practice. Despite surging growth in extant research, the need for theoretical and conceptual substantiation persists, and large opportunities for further research remain unexploited. This paper responds to the need for a conceptual foundation and, therefore, aims at providing a structured agenda for future research areas in SSCM. Based on an abductive reasoning approach, SSCM constructs and concepts are gathered from existing literature and recombined into a comprehensive conceptual SSCM framework. Areas and directions for future SSCM research, as suggested in earlier studies, are summarized, positioned in the framework, and outlined to stimulate further SSCM research activities. To overcome the lack of holistic research in the field, sophisticated techniques and integrated systems to support decision-making are required to tackle related issues’ complexity. Therefore, this paper’s contribution lies in the synthesis of state-of-the-art literature to provide a more comprehensive view of SSCM. Researchers may find promising recommendations and a suitable foundation for future studies, while practitioners may find helpful orientation and guidance for decision- and policy-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Operations and Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting At-Risk Students Using Clickstream Data in the Virtual Learning Environment
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7238; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247238 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 226
Abstract
In higher education, predicting the academic performance of students is associated with formulating optimal educational policies that vehemently impact economic and financial development. In online educational platforms, the captured clickstream information of students can be exploited in ascertaining their performance. In the current [...] Read more.
In higher education, predicting the academic performance of students is associated with formulating optimal educational policies that vehemently impact economic and financial development. In online educational platforms, the captured clickstream information of students can be exploited in ascertaining their performance. In the current study, the time-series sequential classification problem of students’ performance prediction is explored by deploying a deep long short-term memory (LSTM) model using the freely accessible Open University Learning Analytics dataset. In the pass/fail classification job, the deployed LSTM model outperformed the state-of-the-art approaches with 93.46% precision and 75.79% recall. Encouragingly, our model superseded the baseline logistic regression and artificial neural networks by 18.48% and 12.31%, respectively, with 95.23% learning accuracy. We demonstrated that the clickstream data generated due to the students’ interaction with the online learning platforms can be evaluated at a week-wise granularity to improve the early prediction of at-risk students. Interestingly, our model can predict pass/fail class with around 90% accuracy within the first 10 weeks of student interaction in a virtual learning environment (VLE). A contribution of our research is an informed approach to advanced higher education decision-making towards sustainable education. It is a bold effort for student-centric policies, promoting the trust and the loyalty of students in courses and programs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology Enhanced Learning Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Multidimensional Assessment for “Culture-Led” and “Community-Driven” Urban Regeneration as Driver for Trigger Economic Vitality in Urban Historic Centers
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7237; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247237 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 202
Abstract
In the current scientific debate, cities represent the contexts in which resources, capital, skills, and talents are concentrated and, at the same time, they are places where many challenges are concentrated regarding environmental (pollution, waste, climate change), economic (unemployment, social exclusion, well-being), political [...] Read more.
In the current scientific debate, cities represent the contexts in which resources, capital, skills, and talents are concentrated and, at the same time, they are places where many challenges are concentrated regarding environmental (pollution, waste, climate change), economic (unemployment, social exclusion, well-being), political (instability in governance processes, lack of strategic planning), and cultural (training, creativity and innovation) dimensions. The city and historic centers in particular, are able to experiment the paradigm shift from a linear economy to a circular economy, in which synergic, fair, and inclusive processes capable of activating new forms of urban productivity and social and economic innovation are promoted. In particular, the European Commission identifies cultural heritage as the main driver of development and supports strategies in which it is considered as one of the founding elements of possible transformations, which can be activated through mixed top-down/bottom-up approaches, in the short and long term. In this perspective, cultural heritage can play a decisive role in terms of the urban strategy capable of generating new economic, cultural, and social values, which trigger innovative dynamics of local development. To address current urban challenges, this paper attempts to use a multi-criteria analysis to decision support, starting with a Multi-Stakeholder Decision Analysis (M-SDA), in order to assist decision makers in choosing suitable scenarios to trigger circular development processes, taking into account the role of cultural heritage in a systemic landscape perspective. The result is a hybrid methodological approach for designing complex urban regeneration processes able to assess which new uses/functions and potential actions, identified by the involved community, can trigger a circular development model which could be more suitable to implement a model of “culture-led” and “community-driven” development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Landscapes: Appraisal, Accounting and Assessment)
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Open AccessArticle
Mutual Capacity Building through North-South Collaboration Using Challenge-Driven Education
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7236; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247236 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 200
Abstract
The urgent need for actions in the light of the global challenges motivates international policy to define roadmaps for education on all levels to step forward and contribute with new knowledge and competencies. Challenge-Driven Education (CDE) is described as an education for Sustainable [...] Read more.
The urgent need for actions in the light of the global challenges motivates international policy to define roadmaps for education on all levels to step forward and contribute with new knowledge and competencies. Challenge-Driven Education (CDE) is described as an education for Sustainable Development (ESD) approach, which aims to prepare students to work with global challenges and to bring value to society by direct impact. This paper describes, evaluates and discusses a three-year participatory implementation project of Challenge-driven education (CDE) within the engineering education at the University of Dar es Salam, UDSM, which has been carried out in collaboration with the Royal Institute of Technology, KTH in Stockholm. Conclusions are drawn on crucial aspects for engineering education change through the lens of Activity Theory (AT), where CDE is brought forward as a motivating ESD initiative for engineering faculty and students. Furthermore participatory co-creation is notably useful as it aims to embrace social values among the participants. Also, traditional organizational structures will need to be continuously negotiated in the light of the integration of more open-ended approaches in education. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Resources, Collaborators, and Neighbors: The Three-Pronged Challenge in the Implementation of Bioeconomy Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7235; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247235 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 289
Abstract
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves [...] Read more.
Over the last decade, the bioeconomy has become increasingly important and visible in international policy agendas, with several strategies being recently developed. The implementation of bio-based technologies mostly takes place on a regional scale. Therefore, from a regional perspective, a key question revolves around what main challenges are associated with technological developments that could catalyze the implementation of sustainable bioeconomy regions. In this study, a cross-cutting analysis was carried out to determine these challenges. First, interviews were conducted with industry practitioners and scientists working in the bioeconomy field. These interviews were supplemented with a literature review to determine the status quo of bioeconomy strategies and their implementation, particularly on a regional level. A multidisciplinary workshop was then organized to identify the most relevant challenges in the short- and mid-term associated with establishing bioeconomy regions. The results show that there is a three-pronged challenge in innovative technological development from a regional perspective: (1) Resources: The establishment of sustainable regional feedstock strategies and supplies for supporting the bio-industrial sector; (2) collaborators: The establishment of a regional “critical mass” by fostering supply chain clusters and networks; and (3) neighbors: Understanding the local dynamics of societal trends and preferences and social acceptance of bio-technologies and their representative bio-based products. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Management for Sustainable Regional Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Selectively Assertive: Interventions of India’s Supreme Court to Enforce Environmental Laws
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7234; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247234 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 224
Abstract
We examine why India’s Supreme Court has selectively intervened to enforce environmental laws. While the Indian Judiciary has substantial political insulation, judges recognize the need for tactical balancing to preserve the legitimacy of their institution. We examine four cases: judicial interventions to check [...] Read more.
We examine why India’s Supreme Court has selectively intervened to enforce environmental laws. While the Indian Judiciary has substantial political insulation, judges recognize the need for tactical balancing to preserve the legitimacy of their institution. We examine four cases: judicial interventions to check water pollution from tanneries and to phase out diesel engines, and judicial non-intervention to prevent degradation of wetlands and to check crop burning in states adjacent to Delhi. We suggest that judges intervened to correct enforcement failure when they do not anticipate pushback from organized constituencies. Where judicial action imposes costs on a large number of actors and motivates protests from organized groups, the justices have tended to overlook enforcement failures. In sum, in spite of political insulation, judges remain attentive to the popular mood and interest-group politics. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Emissions and External Environmental Costs from the Perspective of Differing Travel Purposes
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7233; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247233 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 260
Abstract
Comparisons of emissions and external environmental costs between transport modes usually focus on a distance-based approach. Emissions, and consequently the external costs of transport modes, are measured either per kilometer or passenger kilometer. For travel purposes such as holiday or leisure, however, this [...] Read more.
Comparisons of emissions and external environmental costs between transport modes usually focus on a distance-based approach. Emissions, and consequently the external costs of transport modes, are measured either per kilometer or passenger kilometer. For travel purposes such as holiday or leisure, however, this approach is not appropriate, as destinations are determined endogenously and thus distances vary across transport modes. In this study, we present a novel methodology to correctly and accurately measure leisure emissions and external costs. The new metric is called “full-price emissions”. Full-price emissions calculate the ratio of a transport mode’s emissions or external costs and its full price. The results show that the relative climate damage imposed by aircraft, calculated according to full-price emissions, is approximately four times larger than distance-based approaches reveal. We further observe that, in contrast to distance-based emission comparisons, environmental costs of petrol cars are lower than that of diesel cars. Additionally, full-price emissions display unintended substitution effects of environmental policies that can contribute to climate damage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in Transport Pricing)
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Open AccessArticle
Quantitative Estimation and Spatiotemporal Characteristic Analysis of Price Deviation in China's Housing Market
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7232; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247232 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 215
Abstract
Differences in housing prices and rental prices across cities or regions and the relationship between prices and socioeconomic fundamentals are frequent research foci in urban and real estate economics, but the existing studies on China's housing market rarely consider both housing price and [...] Read more.
Differences in housing prices and rental prices across cities or regions and the relationship between prices and socioeconomic fundamentals are frequent research foci in urban and real estate economics, but the existing studies on China's housing market rarely consider both housing price and rent. This study provides a framework for a quantitative analysis of a country's housing market from the perspective of supply and demand, and takes China's housing market as a case study. The current study first explores the key factors that affect housing prices and rental prices using data from 202 cities and collected from 2011 to 2014. Then, theoretical values of housing prices and rental prices in each city are estimated, and the spatiotemporal characteristics of deviation of housing prices and rental prices are analysed. The empirical findings of the current study mainly reveal the following three points. First, the determinants of housing prices and rental prices have similarities. Second, the effect of above factors shows obvious spatial heterogeneity. The coefficients of the variables are different between coastal and inland regions, indicating different demand and supply elasticities across regions. Third, the price deviation presents significant spatial agglomeration. Cities with higher price deviations are clustered in the Yangtze River Delta and Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei, while the price deviations are relatively mild in the Pearl River Delta region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Public Services: Is Outsourcing the Answer?
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7231; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247231 - 17 Dec 2019
Viewed by 214
Abstract
The outsourcing of public services has acquired a prominent position in the political agenda of many countries in recent decades. This paper contributes an analysis of the outsourcing of a public service under a theoretical framework based on a multitask principal-agent model. For [...] Read more.
The outsourcing of public services has acquired a prominent position in the political agenda of many countries in recent decades. This paper contributes an analysis of the outsourcing of a public service under a theoretical framework based on a multitask principal-agent model. For the management of the service, a contract is assumed that includes certain incentives to the contractor linked to the outcomes in two types of activities: the first related to cost saving, and the second related to the improvement of the quality of the service. The main results of the paper show, in the first place, the conditions under which the outsourcing of a public service is economically unfeasible. Additionally, the paper shows that, under perfect information conditions, the optimal incentives include the contractor retaining all the cost savings. On the contrary, under conditions of asymmetric information on the quality of the service, the contract should stipulate a certain distribution of the cost savings between the public authority and the contractor. More in general, the formalization of the model presented in this work can contribute to a better understanding of the role of the contracts, and therefore to their improvement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
A Critical Design Structure Method for Project Schedule Development under Rework Risks
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7229; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247229 - 16 Dec 2019
Viewed by 302
Abstract
In order to overcome the difficulty in quantifying rework by traditional project schedule management tools, this study proposes an innovative method, namely improved Critical Chain Design Structure Matrix (ICCDSM). From the perspective of information flow, the authors firstly make assumptions on activity parameters [...] Read more.
In order to overcome the difficulty in quantifying rework by traditional project schedule management tools, this study proposes an innovative method, namely improved Critical Chain Design Structure Matrix (ICCDSM). From the perspective of information flow, the authors firstly make assumptions on activity parameters and interactions between activities. After that, a genetic algorithm is employed to reorder the activity sequence, and a banding algorithm with consideration of resource constraints is used to identify concurrent activities. Then potential criticality is proposed to measure the importance of each activity, and the rework impact area is implicated to indicate potential rework windows. Next, two methods for calculating project buffer are employed. A simulation methodology is used to verify the proposed method. The simulation results illustrate that the ICCDSM method is capable of quantifying and visualizing rework and its impact, decreases iterations, and improves the completion probability. In this vein, this study provides a novel framework for rework management, which offers some insights for researchers and managers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Risks in Construction Management)
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Open AccessArticle
Absorption Behavior of Graphene Nanoplates toward Oils and Organic Solvents in Contaminated Water
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7228; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247228 - 16 Dec 2019
Viewed by 326
Abstract
In this work, graphene nanoplates (GNPs) were successfully prepared via direct chemical exfoliation from natural graphite. The properties of prepared GNPs were investigated using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The resultant GNPs had a low bulk density of 0.015 g mL−1 [...] Read more.
In this work, graphene nanoplates (GNPs) were successfully prepared via direct chemical exfoliation from natural graphite. The properties of prepared GNPs were investigated using scanning electron microscopy and X-ray diffraction. The resultant GNPs had a low bulk density of 0.015 g mL−1, C content of 99.6%, a lateral diameter of 5–15 µm, and thickness of <15 nm, respectively. The absorption capacity of the GNPs for a range of oils and organic solvents including pump oil, polydimethylsiloxane oil (PDMS), dioctyl phthalates (DOP) oil, olive oil, bean oil, mazut oil, xylene, ethanol, and ethylene glycol (EG) was evaluated. The effects of the sorption conditions such as the absorption time (sorption kinetics), temperature, and aging manner (static, stirring, and ultrasonic) on the absorption capability of the GNPs were also investigated. It could be seen that the GNPs revealed extremely high absorption capacities for oil and organic solvents, reaching 21–42 times their own weight only after 2 min of absorption at room temperature, which were found to be much higher than those shown by various commercially available absorbents. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Remediation)
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Open AccessArticle
Implementing Sustainable Supply Chain Management: Reactive, Cooperative, and Dynamic Models
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 7227; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11247227 - 16 Dec 2019
Viewed by 300
Abstract
The purpose of this research is to propose a Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) implementation framework grounded in a literature review while categorizing practices adopted by firms’ and industries. Given the evolution of the SSCM field and emerging trends, we examine why and [...] Read more.
The purpose of this research is to propose a Sustainable Supply Chain Management (SSCM) implementation framework grounded in a literature review while categorizing practices adopted by firms’ and industries. Given the evolution of the SSCM field and emerging trends, we examine why and how companies implement SSCM practices within a country context. The research methods employed in this study include theory building from a review of the literature and synthesis of insights regarding the design of SSCM implementation frameworks using multiple cases in Taiwan. The review of the literature, content analysis, and findings provide new insights into designing an implementation model, and generalizable models for reactive, cooperative, and dynamic SSCM implementation. Practical implications include but are not limited to the generalization of implementation frameworks in supply chain management, and opportunities to improve global practices. Our development of the conceptual framework complements existing theory by offering new knowledge on SSCM implementation practices. This study can help guide research, practitioners, and policymakers in future sustainability and supply chain management initiatives. Full article
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