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Sustainability, Volume 11, Issue 4 (February-2 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The Edible City approach promises a strategic step towards the development of sustainable, livable, [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Energy and Environmental Efficiency in Different Chinese Regions
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041216
Received: 6 January 2019 / Revised: 3 February 2019 / Accepted: 16 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
China has become the second-largest economy in the world; however, the price of its rapid economic development has been a rise in serious environmental pollution, with air quality being a major public issue in many regions. However, few previous energy and environmental sustainability [...] Read more.
China has become the second-largest economy in the world; however, the price of its rapid economic development has been a rise in serious environmental pollution, with air quality being a major public issue in many regions. However, few previous energy and environmental sustainability studies have included the Air Quality Index (AOI) and in particular CO2 and PM2.5 emissions in their calculations and few have included regional differences, as these are difficult to describe using radial and non-radial methods. In this paper, DEA (Data Envelopment Analysis) is used to assess the energy and economic efficiencies of Chinese provinces and cities, in which the environmental pollution source variable is CO2, and the main methods applied are radial (CCR or BCC) and non-radial SBM (Slacks Based Measures). Different from past studies, this study used both a Meta Undesirable EBM (Epsilon-Based measure) method to overcome the radial and non-radial errors and geographical differences and AQI environmental pollution indicators to accurately assess the economic, energy, and environmental efficiencies. It was found that: (1) Guangzhou and Shanghai had the best four-year efficiencies, (2) the energy efficiency differences in each city were large and there was a significant need for improvements, (3) the GDP efficiencies in each city were high, indicating that all cities had strong economic development, (4) the CO2 efficiencies indicated that around half the cities had had sustained improvements, (5) the AQI efficiencies in each city were low and there was a significant need for improvement, and (6) the technological differences between the cities were large, with the efficiencies in the high-income cities being much higher than in the low-income cities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Profit Distribution Model for Construction Supply Chain with Cap-and-Trade Policy
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041215
Received: 23 January 2019 / Revised: 18 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Cap-and-trade has become one of the most widely used carbon emission limitation methods in the world. Its constraints have a great impact on the carbon emission reduction decisions and production operations of supply chain enterprises, as well as profit distribution. In the construction [...] Read more.
Cap-and-trade has become one of the most widely used carbon emission limitation methods in the world. Its constraints have a great impact on the carbon emission reduction decisions and production operations of supply chain enterprises, as well as profit distribution. In the construction supply chain, there are few studies on the profit distribution and emission reduction decisions considering cap-and-trade policy. This paper investigates the profit distribution model of a two-echelon construction supply chain consisting of a general contractor and a subcontractor with cap-and-trade policy. Using game theory and Shapley value method, the optimal emission reduction decisions and profit distribution under three cooperation modes of pure competition, co-opetition, and pure cooperation are obtained, respectively. The research shows that the profits of the construction supply chain are increasing in pure competition, co-opetition, and pure cooperation scenarios, and the emission reduction amount of the construction supply chain in the case of pure cooperation is greater than that of pure competition and co-opetition. The carbon emission reduction amount under the co-opetition scenario is not always greater than that under the pure competition scenario, which depends on the emission reduction cost coefficient relationship of general contractor and subcontractor. When the cost coefficient of emission reduction of the general contractor is less than that of the subcontractor, the emission reduction amount under pure competition is larger than that under co-opetition. A numerical study is carried out to verify the conclusions and illustrated the profits of the supply chain decreased with the increase of carbon emission reduction cost coefficient, and had nothing to do with the emission reduction efficiency of enterprises. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue How Better Decision-Making Helps to Improve Sustainability - Part II)
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Open AccessArticle School-Aged Pedestrian–Vehicle Crash Vulnerability
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041214
Received: 29 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
The analysis of pedestrian–vehicle crashes makes a significant contribution to sustainable pedestrian safety. Existing research is based mainly on the statistical analysis of traffic crashes involving pedestrians and their causes, without the identification of areas vulnerable to traffic crashes that involve pedestrians. The [...] Read more.
The analysis of pedestrian–vehicle crashes makes a significant contribution to sustainable pedestrian safety. Existing research is based mainly on the statistical analysis of traffic crashes involving pedestrians and their causes, without the identification of areas vulnerable to traffic crashes that involve pedestrians. The main aim of this paper is to identify areas vulnerable to school-aged pedestrian–vehicle crashes at a local level to support the local authorities in implementing new urban traffic safety measures. The vulnerable areas were determined by computing the severity index (SI) based on the number of fatal, serious, and slight casualties throughout the 2011–2016 period in a large urban agglomeration (Bucharest). As well as the vulnerable areas, the triggering factors and the time intervals related to school-aged pedestrian–vehicle crashes were identified. The outcomes of the study showed that the vulnerable areas were concentrated only in districts 2 and 4 of Bucharest, and they were associated with high vehicle speed and pedestrians’ unsafe crossing behavior. The findings revealed that speed and age are triggering factors in generating school-aged pedestrian–vehicle crashes. The identified time peaks with a high number of traffic crashes correspond to the afternoon time intervals, when scholars go home from school. The identification of the areas vulnerable to school-aged pedestrian crashes may help local authorities in identifying and implementing measures to improve traffic safety in large urban agglomerations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle Thermal Comfort and Energy Performance of Atrium in Mediterranean Climate
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1213; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041213
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 15 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper aims to determine the optimal single-story office building model with a corner atrium regarding different atrium orientations and office-building window-opening ratios in the Mediterranean climate via EDSL Tas software. When window-opening ratios were 25% and 50% at the northeast and southeast [...] Read more.
This paper aims to determine the optimal single-story office building model with a corner atrium regarding different atrium orientations and office-building window-opening ratios in the Mediterranean climate via EDSL Tas software. When window-opening ratios were 25% and 50% at the northeast and southeast orientations of atriums and office spaces, thermal comfort was achieved according to categories B and C, respectively, within the cold season. Additionally, for the northeast atrium orientation with 25%, 137.2 W and 189.5 W of heat loss and gain in the office zone, and 37.7 W and 204.7 W of heat loss and gain in the atrium zone were recorded. Moreover, for the northeast atrium orientation with 50%, 134.5 W and 134.2 W of heat loss and gain in the office zone, and 40 W and 192 W of heat loss and gain in the atrium zone were recorded. On the other hand, for the southeast atrium orientation with 25%, 108.7 W and 143 W of heat loss and gain in the office zone, and 68.8 W and 130 W of heat loss and gain in the atrium zone were recorded, while, with 50%, 111.7 W and 142.7 W of heat loss and gain in the office zone, and 67.5 W and 121.2 W of heat loss and gain in the atrium zone were recorded. In the warm season, the atrium and office spaces were not thermally comfortable. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Application of Renewable Energy in Sustainable Architecture)
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Open AccessArticle The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041212
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by [...] Read more.
Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by economic incentives, terrestrial plant ingredients are widely viewed as sustainable alternatives. Incremental fishmeal substitution by plant ingredients in shrimp feed was modeled and effects on marine and terrestrial resources such as fish, land, freshwater, nitrogen, and phosphorus were assessed. We find that complete substitution of 20–30% fishmeal totals could lead to increasing demand for freshwater (up to 63%), land (up to 81%), and phosphorus (up to 83%), while other substitution rates lead to proportionally lower impacts. These findings suggest additional pressures on essential agricultural resources with associated socio-economic and environmental effects as a trade-off to pressures on finite marine resources. Even though the production of shrimp feed (or aquafeed in general) utilizes only a small percentage of the global crop production, the findings indicate that the sustainability of substituting fishmeal by plant ingredients should not be taken for granted, especially since aquaculture has been one of the fastest growing food sectors. Therefore, the importance of utilizing by-products and novel ingredients such as microbial biomass, algae, and insect meals in mitigating the use of marine and terrestrial resources is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Inclusions in and Exclusions from the S&P 500 Environmental and Socially Responsible Index: A Fuzzy-Set Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1211; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041211
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 10 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Socially responsible investment (SRI) indices provide an interesting opportunity to analyse the links between corporate financial performance (CFP) and corporate sustainability performance (CSP). However, few studies focus on the antecedents of inclusions in and exclusions from SRI indices. Specifically, the implications of corporate [...] Read more.
Socially responsible investment (SRI) indices provide an interesting opportunity to analyse the links between corporate financial performance (CFP) and corporate sustainability performance (CSP). However, few studies focus on the antecedents of inclusions in and exclusions from SRI indices. Specifically, the implications of corporate sustainability disclosure (CSD) have been largely ignored in this field. Furthermore, previous literature on the CSP-CSD-CFP links shows inconclusive results that have been attributed to both methodological and measurement problems, which suggest the existence of asymmetry, equifinality and complexity amongst these links. This study targets two under-researched areas regarding the determinants of changes in the composition of SRI indices, and the effects of CSD on CSP. This study also attempts to overcome the methodological and measurement limitations of previous studies on the CFP-CSD-CSP links. The study presents a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) to explore how different combinations of CFP and CSD indicators are related to inclusions in an SRI index (assumed as expressions of a good CSP), and exclusions from an SRI index (equivalent to a poor CSP). The empirical results reveal that a combination of different CSD indicators is necessary, but not sufficient, to lead to the inclusion in or exclusion from an SRI index, and that CFP measures have asymmetrical effects on CSP. CSD is a relevant antecedent or precondition of CSP that can motivate changes in corporate behaviours towards an improved CSP. Poor CSP, leading to an exclusion from the index, is associated with poor CSD and a deterioration of CFP. The implications for researchers, business managers, SRI rating agencies and policymakers are derived. Full article
Open AccessArticle User Acceptance of Mobile Apps for Restaurants: An Expanded and Extended UTAUT-2
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041210
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper examines the adoption of mobile applications for restaurant searches and/or reservations (MARSR) by users, as part of their experiential quality. Following an extended and expanded version of UTAUT-2, this research proposes eight determinants of intentions to use: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, [...] Read more.
This paper examines the adoption of mobile applications for restaurant searches and/or reservations (MARSR) by users, as part of their experiential quality. Following an extended and expanded version of UTAUT-2, this research proposes eight determinants of intentions to use: performance expectancy, effort expectancy, facilitating conditions, hedonic motivation, price-saving orientation, habit, social influence, and perceived credibility. The data were collected from Spanish users of MARSR applications (n = 1200), and analyzed using structural equation modeling (SEM). The findings confirm the need to extend and expand UTAUT-2 by incorporating perceived credibility and the social norm approach. The results gathered from SEM indicate that the drivers of intentions to use MARSR are, in order of impact: habit, perceived credibility, hedonic motivation, price-saving orientation, effort expectancy, performance expectancy, social influence, and facilitating conditions. Habit, facilitating conditions, and intentions to use are significantly related to use. Additionally, the moderating effects of gender, age, and experience were tested by means of a multi-group analysis. The users’ experience was seen to exert a moderating effect in some of the relationships hypothesized in the model, while gender and age did not play a significant role. The findings have both research and practical implications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Service Quality in Leisure and Tourism)
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Open AccessArticle Characteristics Analysis of Freight Mode Choice Model According to the Introduction of a New Freight Transport System
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041209
Received: 22 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of freight mode choices made by shippers and carriers with the introduction of a new freight transport system. We set an area in which actual freight transport takes place as the analysis scope [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to identify the characteristics of freight mode choices made by shippers and carriers with the introduction of a new freight transport system. We set an area in which actual freight transport takes place as the analysis scope and performed a survey of the shippers and carriers that transport containers to identify their stated preference (SP) regarding the new freight mode. The SP survey was carried out through an experimental design and this study considered the three factors of transport time, transport cost, and service level. This study compared and analyzed the models by distance using an individual behavior model. The results of estimating the model showed that the explanatory power of the model classified by distance and the individual parameters have statistical significance. The hit ratio was also high, which confirms that the model was estimated properly. In addition, the range of elasticity and the value of travel time analyzed using the model were evaluated to be appropriate compared to previous studies. The findings of the elasticity analysis show that strategies for reducing the transport cost are effective to increase the demand for the new transport mode. The value of travel time of freight transport was found to be higher than the current value generally applied in Korea. Considering that the value of travel time currently used is based on road freight transport, further research is required to apply a new value of travel time that reflects the characteristics of the new transport mode in the future. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue International Freight Transport & Logistics)
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Open AccessArticle Key Factors in the Success of Eco-Communities in Taiwan’s Countryside: The Role of Government, Partner, and Community Group
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041208
Received: 8 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
The ideals of the successful implementation of an eco-community involve several key elements. This study used a literature review to clarify the key factors for the successful implementation of an eco-community and established the influence of these key elements through expert questionnaires. The [...] Read more.
The ideals of the successful implementation of an eco-community involve several key elements. This study used a literature review to clarify the key factors for the successful implementation of an eco-community and established the influence of these key elements through expert questionnaires. The results of the study showed that the most crucial part of building a successful eco-community is the community group, followed by the partners who assist the community, and finally the assistance and support of the government. The leader of a community plays the most critical role, followed by the community group, and community self-consciousness. In addition, if the community can establish partnerships with experts, scholars, nongovernmental organizations, and nonprofit organizations, and construct a stable autonomous financial system, the eco-community is guaranteed to continue operating. Full article
Open AccessArticle Research on an Improved Economic Value Estimation Model for Crop Irrigation Water in Arid Areas: From the Perspective of Water-Crop Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041207
Received: 9 January 2019 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper aimed to construct an improved economic value estimation model (EVIW model) to assess the economic value of water, which plays an important role in the sustainable development of crop planting and irrigation design, especially in arid areas lacking water resources. Firstly, [...] Read more.
This paper aimed to construct an improved economic value estimation model (EVIW model) to assess the economic value of water, which plays an important role in the sustainable development of crop planting and irrigation design, especially in arid areas lacking water resources. Firstly, the current EVIW model was based upon improvements and adjustments to the cost-benefit analysis models of previous researchers. Then, to elaborate the whole process of estimation, an empirical study based on the data of Yanqi Basin was conducted. Subsequently, in order to verify the accuracy of the EVIW model, the economic value of irrigation water in this study area was estimated for a second time using the benefit sharing coefficient method. It was concluded that the estimated results of the current EVIW model are in good agreement with those of the traditional benefit sharing coefficient model. The estimation results of the economic value of irrigation water were found to be highly acceptable in terms of accuracy and scientific rigor. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Solar Energy Development in Pakistan: Barriers and Policy Recommendations
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041206
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Energy generation is heavily dependent on fossil fuels in Pakistan. Due to the huge population and current progress in industrialization, these sources are not fulfilling the existing energy needs of the country. Meanwhile, they have adverse environmental impacts and are economically unsuitable to [...] Read more.
Energy generation is heavily dependent on fossil fuels in Pakistan. Due to the huge population and current progress in industrialization, these sources are not fulfilling the existing energy needs of the country. Meanwhile, they have adverse environmental impacts and are economically unsuitable to electrify remote areas. Consequently, there is a need to look for alternate energy sources. The aim of this paper is to find out the best renewable energy option for Pakistan. For this purpose, we have collected data for solar radiation and wind speed for a period of one year in four major cities of Pakistan. Results indicate that solar energy is the best renewable energy option for Pakistan in terms of price, life span, operation and maintenance cost. Key barriers have been identified over the whole solar energy spectrum through semi-structured interviews with industry professionals. And finally, important policy recommendations have been proposed for institutions and government to overcome these barriers and utilize maximum solar energy in the country. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Framework for Ecological Compensation Assessment: A Case Study in the Upper Hun River Basin, Northeast China
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041205
Received: 26 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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With the rapid socio-economic development, human disturbances are believed to have resulted in the degradation of the watershed ecosystem. The ecological damage to and environmental pollution of river basins have caused great losses. It is widely agreed upon that the protection and restoration [...] Read more.
With the rapid socio-economic development, human disturbances are believed to have resulted in the degradation of the watershed ecosystem. The ecological damage to and environmental pollution of river basins have caused great losses. It is widely agreed upon that the protection and restoration of river ecosystems should be on the agenda. Ecological compensation, an important tool to prevent the deterioration of water environments and achieve sustainable watershed development, has attracted increasing interest as a research subject. In this study, the upper reach of Hun River basin was selected as a typical study area. The primary purpose was to determine the allocation costs of ecological compensation in different regions for the river basin. The amount of willingness-to-pay (WTP) for the eco-compensation was estimated at 3.2 million dollars by the Contingent Valuation Method (CVM). Based on linear programming techniques, a Data Envelopment Analysis (DEA) created a primary value of the allocation costs. Considering the different weights of each region, a modified coefficient was introduced to correct the primary result on the basis of a questionnaire survey of river ecological protection and construction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Water Management: Economics and Governance)
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Open AccessArticle Identifying the Determinants of Urbanization in Prefecture-Level Cities in China: A Quantitative Analysis Based on Spatial Production Theory
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1204; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041204
Received: 3 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
China’s urbanization has attracted considerable academic attention. However, more work is required to understand and examine the driving mechanisms of urbanization, especially within the context of the transition from socialism. We used a regression model and a geographical detector technique to determine the [...] Read more.
China’s urbanization has attracted considerable academic attention. However, more work is required to understand and examine the driving mechanisms of urbanization, especially within the context of the transition from socialism. We used a regression model and a geographical detector technique to determine the direction and strength of factors influencing urbanization in prefecture-level cities in China. We found that China’s urbanization development model has two characteristics: administrative hierarchy and spatial agglomeration. Based on our conceptual framework, we identified the positive effect exerted by the real estate investment and per capita fiscal expenditure on urbanization, as well as the negative impact exerted by the urban–rural income ratio. The results revealed that China’s urbanization is a hybrid process: the forces from power and capital contribute to high levels of urbanization. When comparing the strength of the factors influencing urbanization between coastal and inland cities, we found that real estate investment and per capita fiscal expenditure in coastal cities have a greater impact on urbanization than in inland cities. In contrast, the impact of the urban–rural income ratio on urbanization is larger in inland cities than in coastal cities. A close examination on the factors influencing China’s rapid urbanization is the key to further advancing our understanding of the dynamic mechanisms of China’s urbanization. Our findings can help Chinese policy makers formulate more detailed urbanization strategies with consideration of regional characteristics. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Healthcare and SDGs Governance in Light of the Sustainability Helix Model: Evidence from the African Continent
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041203
Received: 31 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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This work is based on a view of healthcare as a fundamental Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to share globally to be effective at local level. On this basis, the paper analyzes the health programs in less-favored areas with the aim of understanding why [...] Read more.
This work is based on a view of healthcare as a fundamental Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) to share globally to be effective at local level. On this basis, the paper analyzes the health programs in less-favored areas with the aim of understanding why the United Nations SDGs are so difficult to reach in some countries. A brief review of the main literature and research on the health governance systems in three countries of the African continent have been conducted to this aim. The results are interpreted through the sustainability helix model (SHM). Key roles and conditions of effectiveness of the health sustainable development governance approach in the investigated countries are discussed. The main findings reveal that the analyzed governance systems lack implementation plans. By discussing the observed problem in the light of the sustainability helix model, fundamental elements of a health sustainable development helix model have been identified in less favored countries where key actors and roles are identified. The study highlights, in particular, the relevance of ‘interface’ roles played by non-governmental actors (NGA) and international actors (IA) in the health governance system of less-favored countries. These actors and roles allow connections between the global and the local levels of action favoring interaction among actors institutionally devoted to governing development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability for Healthcare)
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Open AccessArticle Impact of CARB’s Tailpipe Emission Standard Policy on CO2 Reduction among the U.S. States
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1202; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041202
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 8 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the nationwide emission standard policy, but each state in the U.S. has an option to follow the higher emission standard policy set by CARB (California Air Resources Board) in 2004. There are 14 “CARB states” that follow California’s [...] Read more.
U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set the nationwide emission standard policy, but each state in the U.S. has an option to follow the higher emission standard policy set by CARB (California Air Resources Board) in 2004. There are 14 “CARB states” that follow California’s more restrictive standards. The purpose of this paper is to examine the impact of CARB’s tailpipe emission standard policy. Using the panel dataset for 49 U.S. states over a 28-year study period (1987–2015), this paper found the long-term policy effect in reducing CO2 emission from CARB’s tailpipe standard, and its long-run effect is 5.4 times higher than the short-run effect. The equivalent policy effect of the CARB emission standard in CO2 reduction can be achieved by raising gasoline price by 145.43%. Also, if 26.0% of petroleum consumed for transportation is substituted by alternative clean fuels (natural gas or electricity), it will have a comparable policy effect in CO2 reduction. Findings in this study support to continue the collaborative efforts among the EPA, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and California in order to achieve the CO2 reduction goal set by CARB and adopted by the EPA in 2012. The packaged policy approach rooted in persistent public and political support is necessary for successful policy implementation. Full article
Open AccessArticle Spatiotemporal Features and Socioeconomic Drivers of PM2.5 Concentrations in China
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041201
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 1 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been an important environmental issue because it can seriously harm human health and can adversely affect the economy. It poses a problem worldwide and especially in China. Based on data of PM2.5 concentration and night [...] Read more.
Fine particulate matter (PM2.5) has been an important environmental issue because it can seriously harm human health and can adversely affect the economy. It poses a problem worldwide and especially in China. Based on data of PM2.5 concentration and night light data, both collected from satellite remote sensing during 1998–2013 in China, we identify the socio-economic determinants of PM2.5 pollution by taking into account the spatial flow and diffusion of regional pollutants. Our results show PM2.5 pollution displays the remarkable feature of spatial agglomeration. High concentrations of PM2.5 are mainly found in Eastern China (including Shandong, Jiangsu, and Anhui provinces) and the Jing-Jin-Ji Area region in the north of China (including Beijing, Tianjin, and Hebei provinces) as well as in the Henan provinces in central China. There is a significant positive spatial spillover effect of PM2.5 pollution, so that an increase in PM2.5 concentration in one region contributes to an increase in neighboring regions. Whether using per capita GDP or nighttime lighting indicators, there is a significant N-shaped curve that relates PM2.5 concentration and economic growth. Population density, industrial structure, and energy consumption have distinct impacts on PM2.5 pollution, while urbanization is negative correlated with PM2.5 emissions. As a result, policies to strengthen regional joint prevention and control, implement cleaner manufacturing techniques, and reduce dependence on fossil fuels should be considered by policy makers for mitigating PM2.5 pollution. Full article
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Open AccessReview Contested Power: American Long-Distance Passenger Rail and the Ambiguities of Energy Intensity Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041200
Received: 21 January 2019 / Revised: 12 February 2019 / Accepted: 14 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper is a critical review of research on long-distance passenger rail energy consumption that examines the factors that affect the energy intensity of rail, the comparative energy intensity of alternative modes (auto, air and bus), and the sources of discrepancies between different [...] Read more.
This paper is a critical review of research on long-distance passenger rail energy consumption that examines the factors that affect the energy intensity of rail, the comparative energy intensity of alternative modes (auto, air and bus), and the sources of discrepancies between different published energy intensity figures. The ambiguities underlying those discrepancies point to a fundamental question about what phenomenon is being quantified in energy intensity analysis, and whether any transport mode can be said to universally have an energy intensity advantage over other modes at all times, places and scales. This ontological question may be as significant as the epistemic conflicts dominating discourses over competing studies and analytical approaches. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Efficiency versus Fairness in the Management of Public Housing Assets in Palermo (Italy)
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041199
Received: 28 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
Public housing policy has been proposing plans of public housing (PH) stock alienation or, as an alternative, property enhancement plans, since administrative and financial commitments have become too heavy for municipalities. This paper deals with one of the current public housing management policy [...] Read more.
Public housing policy has been proposing plans of public housing (PH) stock alienation or, as an alternative, property enhancement plans, since administrative and financial commitments have become too heavy for municipalities. This paper deals with one of the current public housing management policy initiatives, undertaken by the Municipality of Palermo (Italy), which aimed at transferring a significant part of the public housing asset to the current tenants, according to some terms and conditions, and applying a politically fixed price. This policy is described in general, focusing on the amount of the assets involved, reporting the terms and conditions for transferring them at an affordable price, and analysing their concentration/distribution in the urban areas. The main aim of the paper is to provide a valuation pattern for defining the trade-off between the efficiency and fairness of such a tool, recognising the conditions for the consistency between the transfer price established by municipality, the merit of the public housing asset, and the market value. A detailed study on two representative neighbourhoods was carried out in order to measure the value of solidarity of this policy and to propose some corrective rules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Real Estate Economics, Management and Investments)
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Development Goals Indicators: A Methodological Proposal for a Multidimensional Fuzzy Index in the Mediterranean Area
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041198
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper describes a methodology for the construction of a multidimensional index for sustainability assessment in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda. The methodology is designed to properly capture the multidimensional nature of sustainable development and [...] Read more.
This paper describes a methodology for the construction of a multidimensional index for sustainability assessment in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the UN 2030 Agenda. The methodology is designed to properly capture the multidimensional nature of sustainable development and the SDG framework, introducing an innovative Fuzzy Multidimensional Index to measure the performance of Mediterranean countries. The focus is on agro-food sustainability, in-line with the aims of the Partnership for Research and Innovation in the Mediterranean Area (PRIMA). Drawing on fuzzy set theory, a step-by-step procedure was developed: the underlying dimensions of a set of selected indicators for the SDGs are identified by exploratory factor analysis; an innovative weighting method is applied to aggregate the indicators and calculate the country scores for each dimension and the Fuzzy Multidimensional Index. The PRIMA program will be a first step towards the implementation of innovative solutions, by funding international cooperation projects between countries on both sides of the Mediterranean for a decade: the Fuzzy Multidimensional Index will be the primary source of data for evaluating such projects and policies implemented from them; the Index will therefore be able to close a gap in the availability of appropriate data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Building Environment on Residential Satisfaction: A Case Study of Ningbo
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041197
Received: 18 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
Population distribution has a huge influence on the development of port economic circle (PEC) in Ningbo. Residential satisfaction is one of key elements that determine housing location choice and, thus, the success of population distribution policy. To provide suggestions for the development of [...] Read more.
Population distribution has a huge influence on the development of port economic circle (PEC) in Ningbo. Residential satisfaction is one of key elements that determine housing location choice and, thus, the success of population distribution policy. To provide suggestions for the development of PEC, this study conducted a survey to investigate residential satisfaction and related factors in 11 port communities, which are located in the harbour area of Beilun, Zhenhai and Meishan in Ningbo. A total of 403 valid samples were collected through face-to-face interviews. The Likert scale was used to express satisfaction levels, with the highest level of 5 and the lowest level of 1. The survey data indicate that the mean value of residential satisfaction is 3.41, 3.40 and 3.49 in Beilun, Zhenhai and Meishan, respectively. Middle level residential satisfaction is noted in the port communities of Ningbo. A linear regression was performed to analyse the relationship between residential satisfaction and influence factors in terms of the demographic and socioeconomic features of the respondents and attributes of the house and neighbourhood. The results of the regression analysis show that household income, design of housing, type of community, population density and distance to the district commercial centre are the most influential factors of residential satisfaction. The findings suggest making regulations to enforce the design standards of new buildings. Moreover, measures to improve the accessibility and quality of public facilities and services in the communities should be encouraged to increase the attractiveness of neighbourhoods in the port area. Promoting land use with mixed commercial and residential functions is also suggested for the development of PEC. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle How and Why Does Intra-Metropolitan Workplace Location Affect Car Commuting?
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1196; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041196
Received: 10 January 2019 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
This paper illuminates important causal processes that can explain differences between central, semi-central and suburban workplaces in commuting distances and modes. Its empirical base is qualitative interview material on the considerations and conditions underlying commuting behavior among employees of workplaces differently located within [...] Read more.
This paper illuminates important causal processes that can explain differences between central, semi-central and suburban workplaces in commuting distances and modes. Its empirical base is qualitative interview material on the considerations and conditions underlying commuting behavior among employees of workplaces differently located within Oslo metropolitan area. The interviewees do not necessarily choose local jobs but rather travel a bit farther if this is necessary to find a more relevant job, especially if they have specialized job qualifications. Likewise, employers do not restrict their recruitment to local applicants. Workplaces close to the city center have a large number of potential employees within a short distance from the workplace and are, therefore, more likely to recruit workers locally. The interviewees’ rationales for travel mode choices, such as time-saving, flexibility, convenience and stress avoidance, encourage commuting by transit to central workplaces and by car to peripheral workplaces. For example, transit is often faster and more convenient than car when commuting to central workplaces, while the opposite is often the case for commutes to peripheral workplaces. Rationales of avoidance of stress and frustration and of predictability and control work in similar ways. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Land Use and Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle Examining the Factors Behind the Success and Sustainability of China’s Creative Research Group: An Extension of the Teamwork Quality Model
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1195; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041195
Received: 14 January 2019 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
The Creative Research Group (CRG) is the special high-level scientific and innovation team funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China to promote basic research at the frontiers of science. In general, there are problems of “structure anomie” and “cooperation inefficiency” in [...] Read more.
The Creative Research Group (CRG) is the special high-level scientific and innovation team funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China to promote basic research at the frontiers of science. In general, there are problems of “structure anomie” and “cooperation inefficiency” in the operations and teamwork dynamics within the nationwide CRG project. By extending and developing the two-stage teamwork quality model, this study aims to depict and analyze the impact factors behind the success and sustainability of the Creative Research Group (SSCRG), and reveal the relationships among them. Herein, rationality of team structure (ROTS) is used to describe the rationality of team formation and structure collocation, teamwork quality (TWQ) is used to describe the process of team members’ integration and cooperation, and SSCRG includes team performance, personal success and team comprehensive impacts. The results show that ROTS and TWQ have different influences on SSCRG, while TWQ is the key mediation factor between ROTS and SSCRG. In summary, the model built describes the complex phenomena and relationships in the teamwork of the CRG, and helps us to understand and solve the problems of structure and cooperation. Although the limitations lie in the specific samples and research methods, the extension and migration of classical models and theories would help to further deepen such research and contribute to the governance and development of such innovation teams. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Understanding of Public–Private Partnership Stakeholders as a Condition of Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1194; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041194
Received: 17 January 2019 / Revised: 17 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
The strategic goal of city management is to ensure its sustainable development which requires a balance of rare resources. From the operational perspective, namely projects implementing sustainable development, the balance refers to human resources. They can be classified into the public or private [...] Read more.
The strategic goal of city management is to ensure its sustainable development which requires a balance of rare resources. From the operational perspective, namely projects implementing sustainable development, the balance refers to human resources. They can be classified into the public or private sector and their cooperation is known as Public–Private Partnership (PPP). Building on the concept of sustainable development and stakeholder theory, the research develops a conceptual framework of stakeholder analysis in PPP projects. More generally, the research aims to contribute to a theoretical understanding of the determinants of sustainable city development and PPP success factors. The research claims that the PPP procurement is consistent with sustainable urban development and the PPP model, accompanied by the stakeholder theory, requires evaluation which balances diverse stakeholders’ interests along the triple bottom of sustainable development. The conceptual framework combines stakeholder attributes of preferred benefits and power and urgency. It includes a time and scope perspective. The research has a descriptive but also a normative character as the framework could be helpful to understand and engage stakeholders in sustainable urban development. The developed framework can be considered for the future construction of a model that can be implemented and tested. This theoretical research is based on a literature survey, applying methods of critical analysis and construction. The innovative approach of the research is based on integrated application of already known concepts of sustainable development, stakeholder theory, and Public–Private Partnership, which are all necessary to create a new approach to management of city development consistent with the known facts. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Does Green Product Knowledge Effectively Promote Green Purchase Intention?
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1193; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041193
Received: 21 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 24 February 2019
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Abstract
Knowledge can influence the whole decision-making process of consumers. While green product knowledge is often conceptualized as a direct antecedent of green purchase intention, empirical findings in support of this relationship are inconsistent. Based on 236 samples, this study investigates how green product [...] Read more.
Knowledge can influence the whole decision-making process of consumers. While green product knowledge is often conceptualized as a direct antecedent of green purchase intention, empirical findings in support of this relationship are inconsistent. Based on 236 samples, this study investigates how green product knowledge promotes consumers’ green purchase intention. Results show that green trust and perceived consumer effectiveness partly mediate the relationship between green product knowledge and green purchase intention. The relationship between green trust and green purchase intention is positively moderated by perceived price. Compared with low perceived price, green trust has a greater effect on green purchase intention in the case of high perceived price. However, the relationship between perceived consumer effectiveness and green purchase intention is not moderated by perceived price. This study provides a new insight into green product knowledge and how to promote green purchase intention, and the findings help government and enterprises to formulate strategies to promote consumers’ green purchase intention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Impact of Personality Traits and Entrepreneurship Education on Entrepreneurial Intentions of Business and Engineering Students
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041192
Received: 6 December 2018 / Revised: 14 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
Entrepreneurs bring an enormous contribution to a country’s economic growth. Developing individual’s interest into new venture creation represents an important asset, especially for less developed countries where entrepreneurial activities are fundamental in enhancing economic growth. The recent economic crisis turned the attention of [...] Read more.
Entrepreneurs bring an enormous contribution to a country’s economic growth. Developing individual’s interest into new venture creation represents an important asset, especially for less developed countries where entrepreneurial activities are fundamental in enhancing economic growth. The recent economic crisis turned the attention of European policymakers towards entrepreneurship as a driving force for the creation of new job opportunities, regional/national competitiveness and growth. The aim of this article is to verify what relations are between locus of control, need for achievement and entrepreneurial intention of youth, following a cognitive approach and how much entrepreneurial education consolidates entrepreneurial skills and informs the young that entrepreneurship is a career option. To analyse entrepreneurial intentions, locus of control, need for achievement and entrepreneurial education in the context of Romania, this research used a quantitative design based on the answers to the questionnaire conducted during March 2017 to October 2017 on a sample of 270 students from two important Romanian universities. From the methodological point of view, several hypotheses have been developed and tested using multivariate logistic regression estimates, frequency analysis, internal consistency reliability of the constructs and moderating effects. The results illustrate that locus of control, need for achievement and entrepreneurial education proved to be important determinants for venture creation among young students, both independently and under the action of control variables. Also, respondents’ gender had a significant influence on one’s intention of opening a business in the future, with males being more inclined to become entrepreneurs than females. Full article
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Open AccessArticle How Does A Firm’s Previous Social Network Position Affect Innovation? Evidence from Chinese Listed Companies
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041191
Received: 19 January 2019 / Revised: 7 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
The impact of social network position on innovation has been widely confirmed in past studies. However, research on the time-lag structure of the impact is still insufficient. Within the time window 2010 to 2017, this study constructs a two-mode social network between Chinese [...] Read more.
The impact of social network position on innovation has been widely confirmed in past studies. However, research on the time-lag structure of the impact is still insufficient. Within the time window 2010 to 2017, this study constructs a two-mode social network between Chinese listed companies and other participants. To analyze the lag structure of the effect of social network position on innovation, this study uses a panel negative binomial regression model transformed by the Almon polynomial. The results show that a firm does need an advantageous past social network position for innovation. Previous local and global centrality in a social network has a different influence on innovation. For the local centrality indices, degree centrality has a positive impact in the short-term, but has a negative impact in the long-term; the impact of betweenness centrality is not significant in the short-term and is negative in the long run. For the global centrality indices, closeness centrality has a positive influence that decreases with the increase of the time-lag. At the same time, using the method of necessary condition analysis (NCA), this study calculates the bottleneck for a given innovation level. Finally, based on these research conclusions, the theoretical implications and management practice implications are summarized. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Innovation in Organizations for Improving Decisions)
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Open AccessArticle Harnessing Insights from Social-Ecological Systems Research for Monitoring Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1190; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041190
Received: 28 November 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 19 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in [...] Read more.
The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 marks significant progress towards sustainable development by making explicit the intention to integrate previously separate social, economic and environmental agendas. Despite this intention, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which were adopted to implement the agenda, are fragmented in their formulation and largely sectoral. We contend that while the design of the SDG monitoring is based on a systems approach, it still misses most of the dynamics and complexity relevant to sustainability outcomes. We propose that insights from the study of social-ecological systems offer a more integrated approach to the implementation of Agenda 2030, particularly the monitoring of progress towards sustainable development outcomes. Using five key features highlighted by the study of social-ecological systems (SESs) relevant to sustainable development: (1) social-ecological feedbacks, (2) resilience, (3) heterogeneity, (4) nonlinearity, and (5) cross-scale dynamics. We analyze the current set of SDG indicators based on these features to explore current progress in making them operational. Our analysis finds that 59% of the indicators account for heterogeneity, 33% for cross-scale dynamics, 23% for nonlinearities, and 18% and 17%, respectively, for social-ecological feedbacks and resilience. Our findings suggest limited use of complex SES science in the current design of SDG monitoring, but combining our findings with recent studies of methods to operationalize SES features suggests future directions for sustainable development monitoring for the current as well as post 2030 set of indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Collaborative Management of Sustained Unsustainability: On the Performance of Participatory Forms of Environmental Governance
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1189; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041189
Received: 19 December 2018 / Revised: 11 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
In modern democratic consumer societies, decentralized, participative, and consensus-oriented forms of multi-stakeholder governance are supplementing, and often replacing, conventional forms of state-centered environmental government. The engagement in all phases of the policy process of diverse social actors has become a hallmark of environmental [...] Read more.
In modern democratic consumer societies, decentralized, participative, and consensus-oriented forms of multi-stakeholder governance are supplementing, and often replacing, conventional forms of state-centered environmental government. The engagement in all phases of the policy process of diverse social actors has become a hallmark of environmental good governance. This does not mean to say, however, that these modes of policy-making have proved particularly successful in resolving the widely debated multiple sustainability crisis. In fact, they have been found wanting in terms of their ability to respond to democratic needs and their capacity to resolve environmental problems. So why have these participatory forms of environmental governance become so prominent? What exactly is their appeal? What do they deliver? Exploring these questions from the perspective of eco-political and sociological theory, this article suggests that these forms of environmental governance represent a performative kind of eco-politics that helps liberal consumer societies to manage their inability and unwillingness to achieve the socio-ecological transformation that scientists and environmental activists say is urgently required. This reading of the prevailing policy approaches as the collaborative management of sustained unsustainability adds an important dimension to the understanding of environmental governance and contemporary eco-politics more generally. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Multi-Criteria Decision Maker for Grid-Connected Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems Selection Using Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1188; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041188
Received: 11 January 2019 / Revised: 16 February 2019 / Accepted: 18 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
Combating climate change issues resulting from excessive use of fossil fuels comes with huge initial costs, thereby posing difficult challenges for the least developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to invest in renewable energy alternatives, especially with rapid industrialization. However, designing renewable energy [...] Read more.
Combating climate change issues resulting from excessive use of fossil fuels comes with huge initial costs, thereby posing difficult challenges for the least developed countries in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) to invest in renewable energy alternatives, especially with rapid industrialization. However, designing renewable energy systems usually hinges on different economic and environmental criteria. This paper used the Multi-Objective Particle Swarm Optimization (MOPSO) technique to optimally size ten grid-connected hybrid blocks selected amongst Photo-Voltaic (PV) panels, onshore wind turbines, biomass combustion plant using sugarcane bagasse, Battery Energy Storage System (BESS), and Diesel Generation (DG) system as backup power, to reduce the supply deficit in Sierra Leone. Resource assessment using well-known methods was done for PV, wind, and biomass for proposed plant sites in Kabala District in Northern and Kenema District in Southern Sierra Leone. Long term analysis was done for the ten hybrid blocks projected over 20 years whilst ensuring the following objectives: minimizing the Deficiency of Power Supply Probability (DPSP), Diesel Energy Fraction (DEF), Life Cycle Costs (LCC), and carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) emissions. Capacity factors of 27.41 % and 31.6 % obtained for PV and wind, respectively, indicate that Kabala district is the most feasible location for PV and wind farm installations. The optimum results obtained are compared across selected blocks for DPSP values of 0–50% to determine the most economical and environmentally friendly alternative that policy makers in Sierra Leone and the region could apply to similar cases. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Power System and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Structure Dynamics and Risk Assessment of Water-Energy-Food Nexus: A Water Footprint Approach
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041187
Received: 2 January 2019 / Revised: 19 February 2019 / Accepted: 20 February 2019 / Published: 23 February 2019
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Abstract
The “Water-Energy-Food Nexus” is one of the present research hotspots in the field of sustainable development. Water resources are the key factors that limit local human survival and socioeconomic development in arid areas, and the water footprint is an important indicator for measuring [...] Read more.
The “Water-Energy-Food Nexus” is one of the present research hotspots in the field of sustainable development. Water resources are the key factors that limit local human survival and socioeconomic development in arid areas, and the water footprint is an important indicator for measuring sustainable development. In this study, the structural dynamics and complex relationships of the water-energy-food system in arid areas were analyzed from the perspective of the water footprint, and the risk characteristics were evaluated. The results show that: (1) Agriculture products and livestock products account for the largest water footprints (>90%), which is much higher than the water footprints of energy consumption (<5%). From the water footprint type, the blue water footprint (>50%) > the grey water footprint (20%–30%) > the green water footprint (<20%). (2) Since 2000, especially after 2005, while energy consumption drove rapid economic growth, it also led to the rapid expansion of the water footprint in the Manas River Basin. By 2015, the water deficit was relatively serious, with the surface water resource deficit reaching 16.21 × 108 m3. (3) The water-energy risk coupling degree of the water-energy-food system in this basin is comparatively significant, which means that it is facing the dual pressures of internal water shortage and external energy dependence, and it is vulnerable to global warming and fluctuations in the international and domestic energy markets. Thus, it is necessary to adjust the industrial structure through macroeconomic regulation and control, developing new energy sources, reducing the coupling degree of system risks, and achieving sustainable development. Full article
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