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Volume 12, February-1

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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 4 (February-2 2020) – 391 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Establishing a Sustainable Sports Tourism Evaluation Framework with a Hybrid Multi-Criteria Decision-Making Model to Explore Potential Sports Tourism Attractions in Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1673; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041673 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
In recent years, the awareness of sustainable tourism has risen around the world. Many tourism industries combine sports to attract more customers to facilitate the development of the economy and the promotion of local culture. However, it is an important task to establish [...] Read more.
In recent years, the awareness of sustainable tourism has risen around the world. Many tourism industries combine sports to attract more customers to facilitate the development of the economy and the promotion of local culture. However, it is an important task to establish a comprehensive tourism evaluation framework for sustainable sports tourism. This study proposes a Multi-Criteria Decision-Making (MCDM) model to discuss the above issues, using the Bayesian Best Worst Method (Bayesian BWM) to integrate multiple experts’ judgments to generate the group optimal criteria weights. Next, the modified Visekriterijumska Optimizacija i Kompromisno Resenje (VIKOR) technique is combined with the concept of aspiration level to determine the performance of sports attractions and their priority ranks. In addition, this study adds a perspective of institutional sustainability to emphasize the importance of government support and local marketing. The effectiveness and robustness of the proposed model is demonstrated through potential sports tourism attractions in Taiwan. A sensitivity analysis and models comparison were also performed in this study. The results show that the proposed model is feasible for practical applications and that it effectively provides some management implications to support decision-makers in formulating improvement strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sports Tourism and Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
An Informatization Scheme for Construction and Demolition Waste Supervision and Management in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1672; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041672 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
China is in a development period of urbanization construction, while its environment is threatened by an increasing amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Due to the excessive pursuit of profits and a general lack of environmental awareness of stakeholders, illegal behaviors such [...] Read more.
China is in a development period of urbanization construction, while its environment is threatened by an increasing amount of construction and demolition (C&D) waste. Due to the excessive pursuit of profits and a general lack of environmental awareness of stakeholders, illegal behaviors such as illegal dumping universally exist in the waste disposal process. Meanwhile, supervision departments face many challenges in collaborative management and decision-making, which lead to inefficiencies in C&D waste supervision and management in China. To address the above challenges, we propose an informatization scheme integrating multiple technologies, which will contribute to real-time monitoring of illegal behaviors in the waste disposal process, accurate data collection for evaluating the performance of stakeholders, and the enhancement of the collaboration between supervisory departments. A case study of the Ningbo Construction Waste Transportation Supervision System is introduced to verify the feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed scheme; results show that the total number of illegal cases has decreased from 510 to 89 per year since the system was put into operation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fine-Scale Distribution Patterns of Phragmites australis Populations Across an Environmental Gradient in the Salt Marsh Wetland of Dunhuang, China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1671; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041671 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
The spatial distribution pattern of plants often reflects their ecological adaptation strategy and is formed by their long-term interaction with environmental factors. In this paper, the clonal plant, Phragmites australis, was investigated across environmental gradients, including the wet zone, the transitional zone [...] Read more.
The spatial distribution pattern of plants often reflects their ecological adaptation strategy and is formed by their long-term interaction with environmental factors. In this paper, the clonal plant, Phragmites australis, was investigated across environmental gradients, including the wet zone, the transitional zone and the desert zone of the salt marsh wetland of Dunhuang, China. The characteristics and influencing factors of their fine-scale spatial distribution patterns were studied by point pattern analysis, redundancy analysis and simple linear regression. The results show that: (1) the spatial distribution pattern of Phragmites australis changes from aggregation to non-aggregation (random and regular distribution) from the wet zone to the desert zone. (2) The soil water content, pH and salinity all affect Phragmites australis’ spatial distribution intensity. Simple linear regression reveals that the water content in each soil layer, the pH of the deep soil layer and the salinity of the surface and deep soil layers are the main soil conditions of Phragmites australis’ spatial distribution pattern. (3) Phragmites australis’ population characteristics and clonal characteristics also have significant effects on its spatial distribution intensity. Specifically, the intensity of its spatial distribution pattern is significantly positively correlated with its cover, frequency, density, height, biomass, node number, ramet number and stem diameter (p < 0.01), while it is significantly negatively correlated with its rhizome internode length, spacer length and branch angle (p < 0.01). This research clarified the relationship between the spatial distribution pattern of Phragmites australis with soil environmental factors, plant clonal characteristics and population characteristics. The results provide a theoretical basis for understanding the ecological adaptation mechanism of clonal plants and protecting the sustainability of fragile and sensitive inland river wetland ecosystems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle
Integrated Detection of a Complex Underground Water Supply Pipeline System in an Old Urban Community in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1670; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041670 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
An underground water supply pipeline system is an integral part of urban infrastructure. The safety, stability, reliability, and efficiency of this water system are critical for the daily work and livelihood of the people dependent on it. However, with the development of cities [...] Read more.
An underground water supply pipeline system is an integral part of urban infrastructure. The safety, stability, reliability, and efficiency of this water system are critical for the daily work and livelihood of the people dependent on it. However, with the development of cities in China, the water supply systems in urban communities require constant re-building and improvement, which complicates the system. Considering the defects of obsolete design, lack of information, and irregularity of the constructions over the years, the maintenance of underground pipelines in older communities is onerous and arduous. In this work, the older pipeline system at the Taibai campus of Northwest University, Shaanxi Province, was taken as one typical old urban community and investigated by different measures. Detection was performed from the available concentrated water supply wells to surrounding areas combining electromagnetic induction, geophysical method by ground-penetrating radar (GPR), and acoustic detection methods. Applying the integrated detection method and considering known pipeline network designs, the properties and complex relationships of different pipeline materials (cast iron, polyethylene (PE), and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)) were determined. In addition, a spatial distribution map of the pipes from wells and the main input water supply pipelines was achieved. The results suggest that the integrated detection scheme combining these three methods provides an effective approach to analyze complex water supply pipelines in older communities, in which each single detection method has more uncertainties. The study provides valuable references for similar communities in many developing countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimal Express Bus Routes Design with Limited-Stop Services for Long-Distance Commuters
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1669; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041669 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
This research aimed to propose a route optimization method for long-distance commuter bus service to improve the attraction of public transport as a sustainable travel mode. Taking the express bus services (EBS) in Changping Corridor in Beijing as an example, we put forward [...] Read more.
This research aimed to propose a route optimization method for long-distance commuter bus service to improve the attraction of public transport as a sustainable travel mode. Taking the express bus services (EBS) in Changping Corridor in Beijing as an example, we put forward an EBS route-planning method for long-distance commuter based on a solving algorithm for vehicle routing problem with pickups and deliveries (VRPPD) to determine the length of routes, number of lines, and stop location. Mobile phone location (MPL) data served as a valid instrument for the origin–destination (OD) estimation, which provided a new perspective to identify the locations of homes and jobs. The OD distribution matrices were specified via geocoded MPL data. The optimization objective of the EBS is to minimize the total distance traveled by the lines, subject to maximum segment capacity constraints. The sensitivity analysis was done to several key factors (e.g., the segment capacity, vehicle capacity, and headway) influencing the number of lines, the length of routes. The results suggest that the scenario with the segment capacity of 4000 passengers/h has a minimum of number and length of lines, but we recommend that the transit agency adopt 3000 passengers/h as the route segment capacity because this scenario results in minimum fleet size and minimum total operation length. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intelligent Transportation and Green Logistics with Big Data)
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Open AccessArticle
Digital Financial Inclusion and Farmers’ Vulnerability to Poverty: Evidence from Rural China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1668; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041668 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
Access to finance is often cited as a key factor for sustainable poverty alleviation, but expanding access to the poor remains an important challenge for financial institutions. Much hope has, therefore, been placed in the transformative power of digital financial inclusion. However, evidence [...] Read more.
Access to finance is often cited as a key factor for sustainable poverty alleviation, but expanding access to the poor remains an important challenge for financial institutions. Much hope has, therefore, been placed in the transformative power of digital financial inclusion. However, evidence on the relationship between digital financial inclusion and poverty is limited. This paper is one of the first attempts to study the effects of digital financial inclusion on farmers’ vulnerability to poverty in China, using survey data on 1900 rural households. Vulnerability to poverty, here defined as the likelihood of poverty in the future, is measured by the Asset-Based Vulnerability model. In our survey, the proportion of farmers using digital financial services is 35.63%. Our estimations show that farmers’ use of digital financial services have positive effects on reduction in their vulnerability. We also find that such effects rely mainly on improvement in farmers’ ability to cope with risk, that is, alleviating their vulnerability induced by risk. Further investigation reveals that digital financial services provided by ICT companies have a larger impact on farmers’ vulnerability than that provided by traditional banks. The lessons learned from China’s digital financial inclusion is valuable for other developing countries where financial exclusion looms large. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Linking Land Tenure and Integrated Watershed Management—A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1667; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041667 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
Land tenure is given attention in the general discussions on conservation and management of natural resources, but the necessary holistic approach to understand the linkages is less considered. Thus, we considered a watershed as a unit of reference and Integrated Watershed Management as [...] Read more.
Land tenure is given attention in the general discussions on conservation and management of natural resources, but the necessary holistic approach to understand the linkages is less considered. Thus, we considered a watershed as a unit of reference and Integrated Watershed Management as a holistic land and water resources management approach with various roles and touchpoints with land tenure issues. To examine the role of land tenure on the management of natural resources in watersheds, we reviewed and compiled literature that captures watershed issues, integrating aspects of land tenure, and aiming to identify the key land tenure roles, dynamics, and its influences on integrated watershed management. Land tenure is observed playing various roles in watersheds and, thus, also on integrated watershed management as an approach—as a driver of change, influence for investment decisions, an incentive for adoption of practices, and leading to sustainability. Land tenure dynamics range from land tenure security, land tenure forms, land access and acquisition modalities, and how these aspects of land tenure relate with integrated watershed management. Full article
Open AccessArticle
On How Technology-Powered Storytelling Can Contribute to Cultural Heritage Sustainability across Multiple Venues—Evidence from the CrossCult H2020 Project
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1666; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041666 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
Sustainability in Cultural Heritage (CH) is a complex question that needs to be addressed by a group of experts tackling the different issues. In this light, the present work wishes to provide a multi-level analysis of the sustainability in CH, using as an [...] Read more.
Sustainability in Cultural Heritage (CH) is a complex question that needs to be addressed by a group of experts tackling the different issues. In this light, the present work wishes to provide a multi-level analysis of the sustainability in CH, using as an example a recent European H2020 project (CrossCult) and the lessons learnt from its design, implementation and evaluation. The sustainability of CH has qualitatively changed over the last few years, under the developments in digital technology that seems to affect the very nature of the cultural experience. We discuss sustainability in venues using digital technologies, covering a span of needs of small/unknown and large/popular venues, which try to enhance the visitor experience, attract visitors, form venue networks, etc. Moreover, we explore issues of sustainability of digital content and its re usability through holistic design. Aspects of technology, human networks and data sustainability are also presented, and we conclude with the arguments concerning the sustainability of visitor reflection, the interpretation of social and historical phenomena and the creation of meaning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Technology-Powered Strategies for Sustainability of Cultural Heritage)
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Open AccessArticle
Public Environment Emotion Prediction Model Using LSTM Network
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041665 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
Public environmental sentiment has always played an important role in public social sentiment and has a certain degree of influence. Adopting a reasonable and effective public environmental sentiment prediction method for the government’s public attention in environmental management, promulgation of local policies, and [...] Read more.
Public environmental sentiment has always played an important role in public social sentiment and has a certain degree of influence. Adopting a reasonable and effective public environmental sentiment prediction method for the government’s public attention in environmental management, promulgation of local policies, and hosting characteristics activities has important guiding significance. By using VAR (vector autoregressive), the public environmental sentiment level prediction is regarded as a time series prediction problem. This paper studies the development of a mobile “impression ecology” platform to collect time spans in five cities in Lanzhou for one year. In addition, a parameter optimization algorithm, WOA (Whale Optimization Algorithm), is introduced on the basis of the prediction method. It is expected to predict the public environmental sentiment more accurately while predicting the atmospheric environment. This paper compares the decision performance of LSTM (Long Short-Term Memory) and RNN (Recurrent Neural Network) models on the public environment emotional level through experiments, and uses a variety of error assessment methods to quantitatively analyze the prediction results, verifying the LSTM’s performance in prediction performance and level decision-making effectiveness and robustness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Does China’s Municipal Solid Waste Source Separation Program Work? Evidence from the Spatial-Two-Stage-Least Squares Models
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1664; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041664 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Abstract
This paper evaluates the impact of the second municipal solid waste (MSW) source separation program on municipal solid waste generation (MSWG) in China. Without considering the spatial interactions between cities, the second MSW source separation program has a nonsignificant adverse effect on the [...] Read more.
This paper evaluates the impact of the second municipal solid waste (MSW) source separation program on municipal solid waste generation (MSWG) in China. Without considering the spatial interactions between cities, the second MSW source separation program has a nonsignificant adverse effect on the per capita municipal solid waste generation (PMSWG). Relaxing the stable-unit-treatment-value assumption (SUTVA), which holds in most of the previous estimation literature on treatment effects, involving the spatial spillover effect among cities, as well as correcting the endogenous local policy has a significantly negative but not robust impact on the PMSWG. The estimation results of the generalized nesting spatial regression models (GNS) imply that the spatial interaction characteristics among Chinese prefecture-level cities may, if neglected, lead to underestimation of the reduction effects of the second MSW source separation policy on the absolute amount of PMSWG. More importantly, our study indicates that although not all the spatial econometric models support the significant reduction effect of source separation on the absolute amount of PMSWG, the source separation program significantly reduces the relative amount of PMSWG, and this result is robust in all spatial models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Coffee House Consumers’ Value Perception and Its Consequences: Multi-Dimensional Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041663 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Viewed by 35
Abstract
This research paper explored the causal relationship between consumers’ brand value perception, brand credibility, brand prestige, and other consequential outcome variables. The conceptual relationships were described into a potential theoretical research model. The potential theoretical model was empirically assessed using structural equation-based modeling [...] Read more.
This research paper explored the causal relationship between consumers’ brand value perception, brand credibility, brand prestige, and other consequential outcome variables. The conceptual relationships were described into a potential theoretical research model. The potential theoretical model was empirically assessed using structural equation-based modeling analysis using the survey data obtained from 309 coffee drinkers in United States. The data analysis outcomes revealed that utilitarian-related value perception creates consumers’ brand credibility. Moreover, coffeehouse consumers’ hedonic value perception and social value perception increase brand prestige perception. This study revealed that consumers’ credibility perception and perceived prestige level has direct/indirect influence on perceived brand trust, commitment, and loyalty. Based upon the research findings, suggestions for the industry and future studies are provided. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Intention and Tourism/Hospitality Development)
Open AccessArticle
Can Transport Operator Schemes Deliver Regional Sustainability Benefits? The Case of the UK Northern Powerhouse Region
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1662; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041662 (registering DOI) - 23 Feb 2020
Viewed by 45
Abstract
UK devolved responsibility for planning future transport demands is shared amongst regional and local transport administrations. In Northern England, Transport for the North (TfN) provides a unified transport strategy, encompassing planning for future demand, highlighting the importance of freight transport movements throughout the [...] Read more.
UK devolved responsibility for planning future transport demands is shared amongst regional and local transport administrations. In Northern England, Transport for the North (TfN) provides a unified transport strategy, encompassing planning for future demand, highlighting the importance of freight transport movements throughout the Northern Powerhouse region. Given the importance of transport in fostering economic growth, this paper demonstrates the applicability of compliance and recognition schemes targeted at the UK’s commercial fleet transport operators for achieving the wider sustainability goals of the Northern Powerhouse. The research investigates the benefits of operator recognition and compliance schemes, and their alignment with strategic agendas, including the implementation of clean air zones. Results explore the extent to which Total Quality Management (TQM) and continuous improvement support regional sustainability agendas through transport operator schemes. This research is based upon surveys and interviews with transport operators from across the UK, including the Northern Powerhouse region. Thematic analysis examined responses relating to the perceived barriers and opportunities around scheme membership and the extent TQM and continuous improvement support regional agendas. Analysis reveals ideal transport operator profiles for deriving the greatest benefit from scheme membership, whilst introducing a set of business readiness conventions for benchmarking transport operator compliance activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Interplay between Working Capital Management and a Firm’s Financial Performance across the Corporate Life Cycle
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1661; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041661 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 158
Abstract
The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of working capital management (WCM) and working capital strategy (WCS) on firm’s financial performance across different stages of the corporate life cycle (CLC). We use Pakistani non-financial listed firms nested in 12 diverse [...] Read more.
The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of working capital management (WCM) and working capital strategy (WCS) on firm’s financial performance across different stages of the corporate life cycle (CLC). We use Pakistani non-financial listed firms nested in 12 diverse industries over a period of 2005–2014 as the research sample and employ the hierarchical linear mixed (HLM) estimator, which can process multilevel data where observations are not completely independent. The empirical findings reveal that, overall, WCM is negatively associated with firm performance. However, this association is not static across different stages of a firm’s life cycle. For example, a negative association is more pronounced at the introduction stage followed by growth and decline stages, whereas WCM does not significantly impact the performance of mature firms. Likewise, WCS also causes varying effects on the financial performance across the CLC. A conservative strategy at the introduction, growth, and decline stages negatively affects firm performance, suggesting that these firms should adopt an aggressive strategy. Nevertheless, management of sample firms did not account for the respective life cycle stage while formulating a WCM strategy, which can seriously compromise their financial sustainability. These findings suggest that firms require customized WCM policies and WCS to attain sustainable financial performance at each stage of firm life cycle. Thus, managers should not overlook the significant role of CLC stages in their financial planning to ensure the sustainable functioning of the enterprise. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
An Efficient Deep Learning Based Model to Predict Interest Rate Using Twitter Sentiment
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1660; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041660 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 151
Abstract
In macroeconomics, decision making is highly sensitive and significantly influences the financial and business world, where the interest rate is a crucial factor. In addition, the interest rate is used by the governments to manage the monetary policy. There is a need to [...] Read more.
In macroeconomics, decision making is highly sensitive and significantly influences the financial and business world, where the interest rate is a crucial factor. In addition, the interest rate is used by the governments to manage the monetary policy. There is a need to design an efficient algorithm for interest rate prediction. The analysis of the social media sentiment impact on financial decision making is also an open research area. In this study, we deploy a deep learning model for the accurate forecasting of the interest rate for the UK, Turkey, China, Hong Kong, and Mexico. For this purpose, daily data of the interest rate and exchange rate covering the period from Jan 2010 to Oct 2019 is used for all the mentioned countries. We also incorporate the input of the twitter sentiments of six mega-events, namely the US election 2012, Mexican election 2012, Gaza under attack 2014, Hong Kong protest 2014, Refugee Welcome 2015, and Brexit 2016. Our results provide evidence that the error of the deep learning model significantly decreases when event sentiment is incorporated. A notable improvement has been observed in the case of the Hong Kong interest rate, i.e., a 266% decline in the error after incorporating event sentiments as an input in the deep learning model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Investment and Finance)
Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Water as a Tourist Resource in Extremadura: Assessment of its Attraction Capacity and Approximation to the Tourist Profile
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1659; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041659 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 133
Abstract
In inland areas water is an important resource for attracting tourists as is the case in Extremadura. For this reason this research aims to determine its attraction capacity for travelers from other parts of Spain. In 2017, 13,848 surveys were carried out in [...] Read more.
In inland areas water is an important resource for attracting tourists as is the case in Extremadura. For this reason this research aims to determine its attraction capacity for travelers from other parts of Spain. In 2017, 13,848 surveys were carried out in the tourist offices of the region, from which 3403 were selected from those practicing tourism related to water. This has allowed us to find out the type of tourist who visits the area and his/her origin. By means of a geographical information system, a network analysis was applied to determine the attraction capacity of certain infrastructures. This result confirms that the most frequently visited areas coincide with the presence of natural swimming pools, although reservoirs do not act as centers of attraction for tourists although they do for visitors. At the same time, it was found that tourists practicing activities related to water resources come from neighboring areas but their attraction capacity extends to distant areas which coincide with areas that were the destination for regional emigration. Moreover, we advocate the need for establishing tourist policies involving greater tourist exploitation of reservoirs and the deseasonalization of tourism in the northern area, where most areas prepared for bathing are to be found. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Meta-Understanding of Environmental Perception in Tourism: Implications for China’s Tourist Attractions
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1658; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041658 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 162
Abstract
: Tourism is a global force in economic growth. To provide policy suggestions for advancing the tourism industry, we adopt a primary indicator, environmental perception, to examine tourism development. We conduct a nationwide meta-analysis to collect the environmental perceptions of residents and tourists [...] Read more.
: Tourism is a global force in economic growth. To provide policy suggestions for advancing the tourism industry, we adopt a primary indicator, environmental perception, to examine tourism development. We conduct a nationwide meta-analysis to collect the environmental perceptions of residents and tourists in China, i.e., the satisfaction of an attraction’s environment. We analyze the collected information about the environmental perceptions, score the information, either negative (0) or positive (1), and sort these scores according to four socioeconomic classes (administrative units, attraction rating, ticket price, and attraction type). Our results show that residents’ and tourists’ degrees of satisfaction with environmental perception vary significantly among different classes and that unsatisfactory environmental perception indicates potential problems in the environment, products, and services provided by tourist attractions. Accordingly, we propose suggestions to address unsatisfactory environmental perceptions in each class, aiming to improve the degrees of satisfaction with environmental perception and to promote sustainability in tourism development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue National Parks: Theories and Practices)
Open AccessArticle
Transformational Adaptation in Least Developed Countries: Does Expanded Stakeholder Participation Make a Difference?
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1657; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041657 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 159
Abstract
Did the novel planning arrangements in the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) enable stakeholders to substantively influence adaptation planning? If so, does the observed influence have potential for more transformational adaptation? We inform these questions by reviewing and coding the first 50 [...] Read more.
Did the novel planning arrangements in the National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs) enable stakeholders to substantively influence adaptation planning? If so, does the observed influence have potential for more transformational adaptation? We inform these questions by reviewing and coding the first 50 NAPAs, prepared by the world’s poorest nations with support from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). We then apply categorical statistics and qualitative comparative analysis to test for stakeholder influence on the planning process and outcomes. We find little evidence that the composition of stakeholder participation influenced climate vulnerability analysis or adaptation planning in the NAPAs. Although the NAPAs were designed to be participatory and country-driven, they were constrained by limited budgets, prescribed guidelines from the UNFCCC, and the challenges of cultivating effective stakeholder participation. Key aspects of NAPAs even worked against generating transformational adaptation. Chief amongst these, risk exposure and sensitivity were emphasized over adaptive capacity in assessing vulnerability, and cost- effectiveness and synergies with existing development and environmental policies were priorities for selecting adaptation actions. These barriers to effective stakeholder engagement and transformational adaptation are timely reminders for those countries currently in the process of preparing their National Adaptation Plans to the UNFCCC. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Inter-Relationships between Urban Decline and Urban Sprawl in City-Regions of South Korea
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1656; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041656 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 169
Abstract
This paper identifies inter-relationships between the urban decline in core areas and urban sprawl in hinterlands using 50 city-regions of South Korea. We measured decline- and sprawl-related indicators and estimated a simultaneous equations model using Three-Stage Least Squares. The results show that population [...] Read more.
This paper identifies inter-relationships between the urban decline in core areas and urban sprawl in hinterlands using 50 city-regions of South Korea. We measured decline- and sprawl-related indicators and estimated a simultaneous equations model using Three-Stage Least Squares. The results show that population decline and employment decline have a different relationship with urban sprawl. While population decline has a negative impact on the urban sprawl in the density aspect, employment decline worsens the urban sprawl in the morphological aspect. Another result suggests that the difference is related to declining patterns of population and employment. Cities that are experiencing population decline in the core area are likely to lose population in their hinterlands as well. On the other hand, the employment decline in the core area shows a positive correlation with employment growth in hinterlands. The results imply that suburbanization of jobs and the inefficient land use exacerbate the urban sprawl in the morphological aspect. Thus, local governments should pay attention to migration patterns of employment and make multi-jurisdictional efforts. Furthermore, growth management and urban regeneration policies should go hand in hand to tackle this issue. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
Open AccessArticle
Pricing Decisions for a Sustainable Supply Chain in the Presence of Potential Strategic Customers
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1655; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041655 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 162
Abstract
In service to sustainable development, consumers have begun to prefer green products for their special environmental characteristics, and many enterprises are introducing new products to improve their competitiveness, but this tactic may not work if customers are strategic, as they might choose to [...] Read more.
In service to sustainable development, consumers have begun to prefer green products for their special environmental characteristics, and many enterprises are introducing new products to improve their competitiveness, but this tactic may not work if customers are strategic, as they might choose to defer purchasing decisions while prices are high and wait for lower prices in the future. Considering the differences in purchase behavior, we divided customers into two groups—strategic customers and myopic customers. Furthermore, we distinguished three types of strategic customers according to their different preferences to analyze the optimal pricing and greenness strategies in sustainable supply chain in strategic customer scenarios. Our results led to the following conclusions. (1) Strategic customers’ individual preferences can affect optimum equilibrium and that a higher purchase price threshold can stimulate the manufacturer to improve greenness and set a higher price, while a higher greenness purchase threshold and purchase value threshold will force manufacturer to set a lower price. (2) We observed that strategic customers can increase demand and vender profit. As the number of strategic customers increases, selling price and greenness will experience downward trends in a price threshold scenario but upward trends in greenness threshold and value threshold scenarios. (3) A firm can take measures to mitigate the effects of strategic customers by adjusting price and greenness dynamically according to price and greenness sensitivity, which can play a leading role in actively influencing strategic customer behavior. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Optimum Performance of Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) Windows Under a Semi-Arid Climate in Algerian Office Buildings
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1654; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041654 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 160
Abstract
Recently, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) windows have become an alternative energy solution to achieve a zero-energy building (ZEB) and provide visual comfort. In Algeria, some problems arise due to the high energy consumption levels of the building sector. Large amounts of this energy [...] Read more.
Recently, Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) windows have become an alternative energy solution to achieve a zero-energy building (ZEB) and provide visual comfort. In Algeria, some problems arise due to the high energy consumption levels of the building sector. Large amounts of this energy are lost through the external envelope façade, because of the poorness of the window’s design. Therefore, this research aimed to investigate the optimum BIPV window performance for overall energy consumption (OEC) in terms of energy output, heating and cooling load, and artificial lighting to ensure visual comfort and energy savings in typical office buildings under a semi-arid climate. Field measurements of the tested office were carried out during a critical period. The data have been validated and used to develop a model for an OEC simulation. Extensive simulations using graphical optimization methods are applied to the base-model, as well as nine commercially-available BIPV modules with different Window Wall Ratios (WWRs), cardinal orientations, and tilt angles. The results of the investigation from the site measurements show a significant amount of energy output compared to the energy demand. This study revealed that the optimum BIPV window design includes double-glazing PV modules (A) with medium WWR and 20% VLT in the southern façade and 30% VLT toward the east–west axis. The maximum energy savings that can be achieved are 60% toward the south orientation by double-glazing PV module (D). On the other hand, the PV modules significantly minimize the glare index compared to the base-model. The data extracted from the simulation established that the energy output percentages in a 3D model can be used by architects and designers in early stages. In the end, the adoption of optimum BIPV windows shows a significant enough improvement in their overall energy savings and visual comfort to consider them essential under a semi-arid climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Energy and Energy Saving: Worldwide Research Trends)
Open AccessArticle
A Deep Neural Network-Assisted Approach to Enhance Short-Term Optimal Operational Scheduling of a Microgrid
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1653; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041653 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 143
Abstract
The inherent variability of large-scale renewable energy generation leads to significant difficulties in microgrid energy management. Likewise, the effects of human behaviors in response to the changes in electricity tariffs as well as seasons result in changes in electricity consumption. Thus, proper scheduling [...] Read more.
The inherent variability of large-scale renewable energy generation leads to significant difficulties in microgrid energy management. Likewise, the effects of human behaviors in response to the changes in electricity tariffs as well as seasons result in changes in electricity consumption. Thus, proper scheduling and planning of power system operations require accurate load demand and renewable energy generation estimation studies, especially for short-term periods (hour-ahead, day-ahead). The time-sequence variation in aggregated electrical load and bulk photovoltaic power output are considered in this study to promote the supply-demand balance in the short-term optimal operational scheduling framework of a reconfigurable microgrid by integrating the forecasting results. A bi-directional long short-term memory units based deep recurrent neural network model, DRNN Bi-LSTM, is designed to provide accurate aggregated electrical load demand and the bulk photovoltaic power generation forecasting results. The real-world data set is utilized to test the proposed forecasting model, and based on the results, the DRNN Bi-LSTM model performs better in comparison with other methods in the surveyed literature. Meanwhile, the optimal operational scheduling framework is studied by simultaneously making a day-ahead optimal reconfiguration plan and optimal dispatching of controllable distributed generation units which are considered as optimal operation solutions. A combined approach of basic and selective particle swarm optimization methods, PSO&SPSO, is utilized for that combinatorial, non-linear, non-deterministic polynomial-time-hard (NP-hard), complex optimization study by aiming minimization of the aggregated real power losses of the microgrid subject to diverse equality and inequality constraints. A reconfigurable microgrid test system that includes photovoltaic power and diesel distributed generators is used for the optimal operational scheduling framework. As a whole, this study contributes to the optimal operational scheduling of reconfigurable microgrid with electrical energy demand and renewable energy forecasting by way of the developed DRNN Bi-LSTM model. The results indicate that optimal operational scheduling of reconfigurable microgrid with deep learning assisted approach could not only reduce real power losses but also improve system in an economic way. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Microgrids: The Path to Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
A Combined Method of r-NPS and t-NPS Evaluations for Identification of Negative Triggers of Detractors’ Experience
by Lin Feng and Wei Wei
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1652; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041652 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 161
Abstract
User experience has garnered increasing interest from researchers in the field of sustainable human–computer interaction (HCI) design. One of the key pillars to building sustainable user experience for digital applications is to be able to identify powerful triggers of detracting behavior and especially [...] Read more.
User experience has garnered increasing interest from researchers in the field of sustainable human–computer interaction (HCI) design. One of the key pillars to building sustainable user experience for digital applications is to be able to identify powerful triggers of detracting behavior and especially those of radical detraction. In the past, traditional methods of user experience analysis have often led to the assumption that pragmatic aspects constitute the priority issues for user experience improvement given the prevalence of these aspects in user feedback surveys. However, our econometric analysis based on net promoter score (NPS) survey results defeats this assumption and reveals that the most powerful degraders of the detractors’ experience are in fact the emotive aspects of experience such as transparency of transactions and customer service interaction. Based on our analysis, we arrive at several insights regarding the building of a sustainable HCI strategy. First, hedonic aspects of user experience are the most significant determinants of the degree of user detraction among the detractors. Second, membership cannot be taken for granted as a token of customer loyalty. Building on the theoretical framework of Hassenzahl, Haines-Gadd, and others, we generate new evidence for the importance of servicing hedonic aspects of user experience for digital applications businesses to form a sustainable customer relation and product strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Imbalance Between Tourist Supply and Demand: The Identification of Spatial Clusters in Extremadura, Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1651; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041651 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 127
Abstract
The techniques provided by spatial analysis have become a great ally of tourist planning as they allow the carrying out of exhaustive territorial analyses. The greater availability of georeferenced databases together with the more and more extensive use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) [...] Read more.
The techniques provided by spatial analysis have become a great ally of tourist planning as they allow the carrying out of exhaustive territorial analyses. The greater availability of georeferenced databases together with the more and more extensive use of GIS (Geographic Information Systems) is materialising in the proliferation of studies analysing the distribution patterns of tourist territories. The present study uses these techniques to study the degree of equilibrium in the distribution of places and its level of occupation in a region where the use of expansionary policies of growth of the tourism sector has been able to cause a strong imbalance in said activity, i.e., the case of the region of Extremadura. To verify this, both global contrasts, global Moran’s I and G (d) of Getis and Ord, are used, as well as local contrasts, to map LISA (Local Indicators of Spatial Association). The results obtained confirm the existence of strong imbalances in the effectiveness of the places created while allowing the identification of different clusters of high and low values. These findings represent an important output for the strategic planning of the territory in order to develop a strategy that allows the sustainable tourism development of the territory. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Optimal Tourism Development)
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Open AccessArticle
Fatalism, Climate Resiliency Training and Farmers’ Adaptation Responses: Implications for Sustainable Rainfed-Wheat Production in Pakistan
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1650; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041650 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 166
Abstract
Climate change is a severe threat to the agricultural sector in general and to rainfed farming in particular. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that can potentially affect the adaptation process against climate change. This study focused on wheat [...] Read more.
Climate change is a severe threat to the agricultural sector in general and to rainfed farming in particular. The aim of this study was to investigate the factors that can potentially affect the adaptation process against climate change. This study focused on wheat farmers and farming systems in the rainfed agroecological zone of Pakistan. Farmers’ data that related to climate change fatalism, the availability of climate-specific extension services, socioeconomic and institutional variables, and farm characteristics were collected. A logit model to assess farmers’ decisions to adopt an adaptation measure and a multinomial logit model to assess their choice of various adaptation measures were used. The results showed that fatalistic farmers were unlikely to implement climate change adaptation measures. The variables related to the climate-specific extension services, including farmers’ participation in training on climate-resilient crop farming and the availability of mobile communication-based advisory services, had highly significant and positive impacts on farmers’ decisions and their choice of adaptation measures. Input market access and tractor ownership also had positive and significant impacts on farmers’ decisions to adapt and their choice of adaptation measures. This study highlights the need to improve rainfed-wheat farmers’ education levels to change their fatalistic attitudes towards climate change. Furthermore, government action is needed to provide climate-specific extension services to ensure sustainable production levels that will ultimately lead to food and livelihood security under a changing climate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Resilient Sustainable Agricultural Production Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Urban Change in the United States, 1990–2010: A Spatial Assessment of Administrative Reclassification
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1649; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041649 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 115
Abstract
In today’s increasingly urban world, understanding the components of urban population growth is essential. While the demographic components of natural increase and migration have received the overwhelming share of attention to date, this paper addresses the effects of administrative reclassification on urban population [...] Read more.
In today’s increasingly urban world, understanding the components of urban population growth is essential. While the demographic components of natural increase and migration have received the overwhelming share of attention to date, this paper addresses the effects of administrative reclassification on urban population growth as derived from census data, which remain largely unstudied. We adopt a spatial approach, using the finest resolution US census data available for three decennial census periods, to estimate the magnitude of reclassification and examine the spatial-temporal variation in reclassification effects. We supplement the census data by using satellite-derived settlement data to further explain reclassification outcomes. We find that while 10% and 7% of the population live in areas that underwent urban/rural reclassification during the 1990–2000 and 2000–2010 time periods, respectively (with smaller fractions of corresponding land), reclassification has a substantial effect on metrics derived to characterize the urbanization process—comprising roughly 44% and 34% of total urban population growth over each period. The estimated magnitude of this effect is sensitive to assumptions regarding the timing of reclassification. The approach also reveals where, how, to what degree, and, in some part, why reclassification is affecting to the process of urbanization on the fine spatial scale, including the impact of underlying demographic processes. This research provides new directions to more effectively study coupled nature–human systems and their interactions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
How Do Companies Collaborate for Circular Oriented Innovation?
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041648 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 115
Abstract
Collaborative innovation is necessary to explore and implement circular economy strategies. Yet, empirical investigations into such collaborations are scarce. It is unclear whether the circular context creates differences or represents adaptions within how collaborative innovation is conducted. We draw upon strategic management and [...] Read more.
Collaborative innovation is necessary to explore and implement circular economy strategies. Yet, empirical investigations into such collaborations are scarce. It is unclear whether the circular context creates differences or represents adaptions within how collaborative innovation is conducted. We draw upon strategic management and open innovation literature to highlight what is known about collaborative innovation and the types of innovation conducted. We use these insights to investigate explorative qualitative case research into how practitioners in the Netherlands have conducted collaborative circular oriented innovation. Our findings show that open innovation criteria can aid our understanding and analysis. Key managerial considerations relate to the incremental or systemic nature of the innovation pursued, which induce different collaborative projects and knowledge management structures. For incremental innovation, we observe phases of collaboration, whereas for more systemic innovation, we observe a more collaborative portfolio and layered approach. Furthermore, the more radical innovation pursuits that explore slowing or recovery strategies, especially beyond business-to-business arrangements, challenge companies. A crucial challenge remains related to how to develop and assess collaborative and system-oriented business models in the transition towards a circular economy. Finally, future research is needed to assess whether the current modes of collaborative innovation are sufficient to deliver a circular economy transition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Influence of Xenocentrism on Purchase Intentions of the Consumer: The Mediating Role of Product Attitudes
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1647; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041647 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 171
Abstract
Globally, xenocentrism has emerged as a significant concept to understand consumer behavior regarding local and foreign products. In this context and based on a sample of Colombian customers, this investigation aims to analyze both the direct and indirect effects of xenocentrism on the [...] Read more.
Globally, xenocentrism has emerged as a significant concept to understand consumer behavior regarding local and foreign products. In this context and based on a sample of Colombian customers, this investigation aims to analyze both the direct and indirect effects of xenocentrism on the consumer purchase intentions of imported products through product attitudes and perceived product quality. Xenocentrism was measured using the XSCALE, and the research model was analyzed with partial least squares structural equation modeling. The result indicates that xenocentrism has a positive direct effect on purchase intentions, perceived product quality, and product attitudes. The analysis also shows that product attitudes will partially mediate the effect between xenocentrism and purchase intentions. In light of these findings, xenocentrism in Latin America arises as a solid construction to explain consumer behavior, mainly when individuals’ beliefs generate a positive appreciation of the purchase of imported products that compete in local markets. Moreover, these results permit designing sustainable marketing strategies that are more suited to the xenocentrism of Latin American consumers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Social Media on Restaurant Corporations’ Financial Performance
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1646; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041646 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 141
Abstract
Social media, in the form of online reviews (ORs), has become an essential element for consumers in the restaurant industry, providing reliable and unbiased information based on the dining experiences of other consumers. Social media is not only a crucial phenomenon for the [...] Read more.
Social media, in the form of online reviews (ORs), has become an essential element for consumers in the restaurant industry, providing reliable and unbiased information based on the dining experiences of other consumers. Social media is not only a crucial phenomenon for the strategy of restaurants, but also for their corporations. However, previous literature has focused on the analysis at the establishment level, rather than at the corporate level, especially when referring to financial performance. The present study tries to verify if social media also affects corporate financial performance. For this, the impact of ORs on advanced measures of financial performance was examined at the corporate level on a sample of 800 restaurants selected from the total population of active restaurants in Europe in 2018. The investigation applied both regression analysis and nonparametric techniques. They demonstrate a positive effect of ORs on financial performance, and a heterogeneous relationship between both variables across the European countries. Restaurants are becoming aware of the implications of this phenomenon since it could provide strategies for sustainable economic development. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Efficiency Loss and Intensification Potential of Urban Industrial Land Use in Three Major Urban Agglomerations in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1645; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041645 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 119
Abstract
In recent decades, efficiency and intensification have emerged as hot topics within urban industrial land use (UILU) studies in China. However, the measurement and analysis of UILU efficiency and intensification are not accurate and in-depth enough. The study of UILU efficiency loss and [...] Read more.
In recent decades, efficiency and intensification have emerged as hot topics within urban industrial land use (UILU) studies in China. However, the measurement and analysis of UILU efficiency and intensification are not accurate and in-depth enough. The study of UILU efficiency loss and intensification potential and their relationship is still lacking, and the application of parametric methods with clearer causal mechanisms is insufficient. This paper argued that the intensification potential of UILU could be defined as the amount of saved land or output growth resulting from reduced efficiency loss of UILU. Accordingly, we constructed quantitative models for measuring and evaluating the intensification potential of UILU, using the stochastic frontier analysis (SFA) method to calculate efficiency loss in three major urban agglomerations (38 cities) in China. Our results revealed a large scale and an expanding trend in the efficiency loss and intensification potential of UILU in three major urban agglomerations in China. From 2003 to 2016, the annual efficiency loss of UILU was 31.56%, the annual land-saving potential was 979.98 km2, and the annual output growth potential was 8775.23 billion Yuan (referring to the constant price for 2003). It is, therefore, imperative to formulate and implement better policies and measures to promote further intensification and to reduce inefficiency, especially in the Yangtze and Pearl River Deltas and prioritizing a few key cities, such as Dongguan, Shenzhen, and Shanghai. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Community-Level Analysis of Value Webs of Biomass-Based Resources: A Case Study among Local Actors in Ghana
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041644 (registering DOI) - 22 Feb 2020
Viewed by 142
Abstract
The biomass sector in Ghana is very important for supplying essential food and non-food biomass-based resources to many people for a wide range of uses. There is, however, limited deliberation on these culturally important biomass-based resources at a community level in the country. [...] Read more.
The biomass sector in Ghana is very important for supplying essential food and non-food biomass-based resources to many people for a wide range of uses. There is, however, limited deliberation on these culturally important biomass-based resources at a community level in the country. The aims of this study are three-fold, namely to (i) document various kinds of biomass-based resources and their cultural importance to local actors, (ii) examine socio-demographic factors influencing local actors’ knowledge base on biomass-based resources, and (iii) identify value webs, challenges, and future actions for sustainable use of biomass-based resources. Individual interviews were thus performed using structured questionnaires to cover 180 local actors (consisting of 120 smallholder farmers and 60 local commercial intermediaries) across six rural communities in the Northern and Upper East regions of Ghana. Cereals, e.g., maize (Zea mays), Guinea corn (Sorghum bicolor), rice (Oryza sativa), millet (Pennisetum glaucum), and legumes, e.g., groundnuts (Arachis hypogaea) are cultivated as major crops in the study areas and also considered by local actors as the most culturally important food crop species, as well as minor crops like tubers and vegetables. Ethnicity and residential status of local actors were found to significantly influence local knowledge on biomass-based resources. The value webs of selected food biomass-based resources are not elaborately developed and still remained simple and traditional in nature, since no cascading uses of by-products were identified. Several challenges and the future actions for managing locally produced biomass-based resources are addressed. The sustainable utilization of these biomass-based resources and value addition to their products are required to help increase family incomes and improve their livelihoods. Full article
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