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Volume 12, March-2

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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 7 (April-1 2020) – 327 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Gaze Point in the Evacuation Drills: Analysis of Eye Movement at the Indoor Wayfinding
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2902; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072902 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Signage systems are the main means of resolving the wayfinding problem in an emergency evacuation. However, recent literature has proven that signage systems are often not effective in an indoor wayfinding decision-making situation. Many studies that attempted to solve the problem did not [...] Read more.
Signage systems are the main means of resolving the wayfinding problem in an emergency evacuation. However, recent literature has proven that signage systems are often not effective in an indoor wayfinding decision-making situation. Many studies that attempted to solve the problem did not consider the interaction between the optimal location of signage systems and gaze characteristics. Therefore, this study aimed to provide basic database to determine the optimal location of signage by analysing the characteristics of eye movements according to the type of junction. To achieve this, we conducted evacuation experiments in a maze set composed of eight junctions that we created ourselves and analysed the eye movement data of participants with 5196 gaze points and duration of 895,581.49 ms. The result showed that participants most often look between 100 cm and 150 cm (vertical height) in the corridor and in junctions. In addition, the gaze points of the evacuees are quantified by the horizontal and vertical directions according to the type of junction where the wayfinding decisions occur. This investigation showed that there are marked differences depending on the type. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
Open AccessArticle
Incorporation of Sustainability Concepts into the Engineering Core Program by Adopting a Micro Curriculum Approach: A Case Study in Saudi Arabia
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2901; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072901 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Higher education institutions are increasingly pursuing sustainable development goals in engineering and technology education. The concepts related to operations, production, and consumption continue to gain importance and significance for engineering students. In the engineering profession, the incorporation of sustainability means integrating environmental, economic, [...] Read more.
Higher education institutions are increasingly pursuing sustainable development goals in engineering and technology education. The concepts related to operations, production, and consumption continue to gain importance and significance for engineering students. In the engineering profession, the incorporation of sustainability means integrating environmental, economic, and social factors into the evaluation of design processes, products, and services. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an engineering program that along with the technical content, also fosters a critical sense regarding the social and environmental aspects of the field. The current status of sustainability education in engineering programs offered in Saudi universities is not very promising. In this paper, we explore the use of existing university curricula to incorporate sustainability elements into engineering education and training. Sustainability concepts were introduced into selected courses by using a micro-curriculum approach. Moreover, a standalone course is also introduced. We observed that this approach has been successful in integrating sustainability into the engineering curriculum. We recommend that such an approach be used to develop sustainability awareness in engineering programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Local Planning Practice towards Resilience: Insights from the Adaptive Co-Management and Design of a Mediterranean Wetland
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2900; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072900 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Although widely, as well as recently explored, the concept of urban resilience still poses important issues in terms of its operationalization. For this reason, best practices that show how the resilience concept has been turned into planning practice are much needed. This article [...] Read more.
Although widely, as well as recently explored, the concept of urban resilience still poses important issues in terms of its operationalization. For this reason, best practices that show how the resilience concept has been turned into planning practice are much needed. This article presents and discusses the case study of the Charca de Suárez Nature Concerted Reserve, an urban wetland situated along the Andalusian coast (Spain), to contribute to filling the gap on the operationalization of urban resilience at the local planning level. In the Charca, an adaptive co-management and design approach has been successfully put into practice to foster local urban resilience. Starting from some recent key studies on planning and management policies for urban resilience, we propose a framework to read, understand and evaluate the Charca experience, and more generally, resilience-based projects. The analysis highlighted the following crucial key aspects for urban resilience in the Charca case study: A collaborative governance model; and the building of community-capitals. The Charca de Suárez Nature Concerted Reserve can actually be acknowledged as an innovative planning practice, a source of inspiration for visions and experiments oriented to urban resilience. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Developing a Forecasting Model for Real Estate Auction Prices Using Artificial Intelligence
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2899; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072899 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
The real estate auction market has become increasingly important in the financial, economic and investment fields, but few artificial intelligence-based studies have attempted to forecast the auction prices of real estate. The purpose of this study is to develop forecasting models of real [...] Read more.
The real estate auction market has become increasingly important in the financial, economic and investment fields, but few artificial intelligence-based studies have attempted to forecast the auction prices of real estate. The purpose of this study is to develop forecasting models of real estate auction prices using artificial intelligence and statistical methodologies. The forecasting models are developed through a regression model, an artificial neural network and a genetic algorithm. For empirical analysis, we use Seoul apartment auction data from 2013 to 2017 to predict the auction prices and compare the forecasting accuracy of the models. The genetic algorithm model has the best performance, and effective regional segmentation based on the auction appraisal price improves the predictive accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Robo-Advisor and Artificial Intelligence in Finance)
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Open AccessArticle
The Contribution of Sustainable Development Goals and Forest-Related Indicators to National Bioeconomy Progress Monitoring
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2898; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072898 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
A sustainable and circular bioeconomy is a pathway to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 because the bioeconomy relates to a number of SDGs. We therefore focused on whether and how these SDGs are considered in national [...] Read more.
A sustainable and circular bioeconomy is a pathway to the achievement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 because the bioeconomy relates to a number of SDGs. We therefore focused on whether and how these SDGs are considered in national bioeconomy strategies, and on their indicator-based progress monitoring and assessment. This paper is based on eight countries that already have elaborated indicators in their national bioeconomy strategies. We analyzed the coverage of SDG issues in national bioeconomy strategies and the indicators used. We focused on how the different national indicators used to monitor the progress of the bioeconomy are related to the SDGs indicators and the already well established and widely applied intergovernmental regional or international forest-related indicators, as the forest sector is one of the key sectors for the development of a bioeconomy. Our material and methods are based on a document review and qualitative analysis of national bioeconomy strategies and their inherent indicator sets for progress monitoring. Based on our findings on the coverage of SDG-related issues of up to 14 out of the 17 SDGs in the bioeconomy strategies and of the high share of forest-related indicators within the bioeconomy indicators used, we derive recommendations for the further development of bioeconomy indicators. Our paper does not contribute to proposing the most suitable indicators, but it does encourage national and regional actors to carefully and holistically develop their bioeconomy monitoring systems using synergies from the already existing SDGs and forest monitoring processes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Anomaly Detection System for Water Networks in Northern Ethiopia Using Bayesian Inference
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2897; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072897 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
For billions of people living in remote and rural communities in the developing countries, small water systems are the only source of clean drinking water. Due to the rural nature of such water systems, site visits may occur infrequently. This means broken water [...] Read more.
For billions of people living in remote and rural communities in the developing countries, small water systems are the only source of clean drinking water. Due to the rural nature of such water systems, site visits may occur infrequently. This means broken water systems can remain in a malfunctioning state for months, forcing communities to return to drinking unsafe water. In this work, we present a novel two-level anomaly detection system aimed to detect malfunctioning remote sensored water hand-pumps, allowing for a proactive approach to pump maintenance. To detect anomalies, we need a model of normal water usage behavior first. We train a multilevel probabilistic model of normal usage using approximate variational Bayesian inference to obtain a conditional probability distribution over the hourly water usage data. We then use this conditional distribution to construct a level-1 scoring function for each hourly water observation and a level-2 scoring function for each pump. Probabilistic models and Bayesian inference collectively were chosen for their ability to capture the high temporal variability in the water usage data at the individual pump level as well as their ability to estimate interpretable model parameters. Experimental results in this work have demonstrated that the pump scoring function is able to detect malfunctioning sensors as well as a change in water usage behavior allowing for a more responsive and proactive pump system maintenance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparison and Bias-Correction of Satellite-Derived Precipitation Datasets at Local Level in Northern Kenya
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2896; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072896 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Understanding ongoing trends at local level is fundamental in research on climate change. However, in the Global South it is hampered by a lack of data. The scarcity of land-based observed data can be overcome through satellite-derived datasets, although performance varies according to [...] Read more.
Understanding ongoing trends at local level is fundamental in research on climate change. However, in the Global South it is hampered by a lack of data. The scarcity of land-based observed data can be overcome through satellite-derived datasets, although performance varies according to the region. The purpose of this study is to compute the normal monthly values of precipitation for the eight main inhabited areas of North Horr Sub-County, in northern Kenya. The official decadal precipitation dataset from the Kenyan Meteorological Department (KMD), the Global Precipitation Climatology Centre (GPCC) monthly dataset and the Climate Hazards Group Infrared Precipitation with Stations (CHIRPS) monthly dataset are compared with the historical observed data by means of the most common statistical indices. The GPCC showed the best fit for the study area. The Quantile Mapping correction is applied to combine the high resolution of the KMD dataset with the high performance of the GPCC set. A new and more reliable bias-corrected monthly precipitation time series for 1983–2014 results for each location. This dataset allows a detailed description of the precipitation distribution through the year, which can be applied in the climate change adaptation and tailored territorial planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Risk-Informed Sustainable Development in the Rural Tropics)
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Open AccessArticle
Removing Sr(II) and Cs(I) from the Aqueous Phase Using Basil Seed and Elucidating the Adsorption Mechanism
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2895; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072895 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
To confirm the capability and mechanisms of Sr(II) and Cs(I) adsorption from the aqueous phase using basil seed (BS), virgin BS, calcined BS (BS500 and BS1000), and enzymatically treated BS, namely Mannanase BGM (M-BS), Pectinase G (P-BS), Hemicellulase (H-BS), and Cellulase A (C-BS) [...] Read more.
To confirm the capability and mechanisms of Sr(II) and Cs(I) adsorption from the aqueous phase using basil seed (BS), virgin BS, calcined BS (BS500 and BS1000), and enzymatically treated BS, namely Mannanase BGM (M-BS), Pectinase G (P-BS), Hemicellulase (H-BS), and Cellulase A (C-BS) was evaluated. The adsorption capabilities of Sr(II) and Cs(I) of various BS adsorbents were also evaluated. The quantity of Sr(II) and Cs(I) adsorbed onto BS was greater than that of BS500 or BS1000, suggesting that the physicochemical characteristics of the BS surface affected Sr(II) and Cs(I) removal from the aqueous phase. Furthermore, the quantity of Sr(II) and Cs(I) adsorbed onto virgin BS was greater than that of enzymatically treated BS, indicating that glucomannan or (1,4)-xylan in the cellulosic hydrocolloid of the BS strongly affected the adsorption capability of Cs(I) or Sr(II) (except for M-BS in Sr(II) adsorption). Our obtained results indicate that, as an adsorbent, BS was capable of removing Sr(II) and Cs(I) from the aqueous solution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Chemistry)
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Open AccessArticle
A Conceptual Framework to Understand the Dynamics of Rural–Urban Linkages for Rural Flood Vulnerability
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2894; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072894 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Rural areas are highly vulnerable to floods due to limited social, economic, and physical resources. Understanding rural vulnerability is vital for developing effective disaster risk reduction strategies. Even though rural areas and cities are intrinsically linked, rural vulnerability was assessed without considering its [...] Read more.
Rural areas are highly vulnerable to floods due to limited social, economic, and physical resources. Understanding rural vulnerability is vital for developing effective disaster risk reduction strategies. Even though rural areas and cities are intrinsically linked, rural vulnerability was assessed without considering its relation to cities. Numerous theoretical frameworks on systemizing and assessing vulnerability were developed with varying level of scope and depth in terms of scale, dimensions, and components. Nevertheless, these frameworks did not explicitly mention the impact of flood or other hazards on the linkages between spatial units i.e., rural and urban. This study aims to understand and conceptualize the rural vulnerability with respect to the dynamics of rural–urban linkages in the case of flood events. To do so, current literature on rural–urban linkages, vulnerability, as well as factors that influence them were critically reviewed. Taking into account the main elements of rural–urban linkages (flow of people, information, finances, goods and services), components of vulnerability (exposure, susceptibility, and capacity), and factors (social, economic, institutional, infrastructural, spatial, and environmental), a unified framework is proposed. The framework underscores that the role of rural–urban linkages is essential to fully understand rural flood vulnerability. Moreover, the framework highlights the role of spatial factors—city size and proximity to the city—as crucial to comprehend rural vulnerability. This framework can be used as a tool for understanding multifaceted rural vulnerability for climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction considering spatial development perspective. In this context, empirical investigations can be made to validate the proposed framework and policies can be introduced accordingly. Overall, the proposed framework can help recognize concepts and links of vulnerability, rural–urban dependencies, and rural development dynamics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Human Geography and Social Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Determining Factors in MOOCs Completion Rates: Application Test in Energy Sustainability Courses
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2893; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072893 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are open educational activities that allow for distance learning and professional updating, although the academic community has questioned their effectiveness due to their low completion rates. This research analyzes which factors (personal, family, social, labor, and instructional design) [...] Read more.
Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCs) are open educational activities that allow for distance learning and professional updating, although the academic community has questioned their effectiveness due to their low completion rates. This research analyzes which factors (personal, family, social, labor, and instructional design) are involved in the value expectations and engagement of the MOOCs and to what degree these affect the decision to enroll and the completion of the MOOC. To this end, in the context of 12 MOOCs on energy sustainability carried out between 2017 and 2018, 8737 participants were surveyed using two instruments designed according to theoretical constructs and expert judgment. The main results show that all the factors reviewed influence the decision to take a MOOC, although the “professional development” aspect has the most significant impact on participants who have graduated from technical and engineering careers. Additionally, this study emphasizes that the “instructional design” factor is decisive in the engagement of younger participants, showing that the conventional design of xMOOCs (Stanford Model) may be one of the most important reasons for the low completion rates of this type of course. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Global Food Surplus and Food Waste to Tackle Economic and Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2892; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072892 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Although food surplus and food waste issues are extremely important, the amount of literature published on these topics is astonishingly low by our observation. The relationships between food surplus/food waste and economic/environmental sustainability have not yet been holistically assessed and discussed. The main [...] Read more.
Although food surplus and food waste issues are extremely important, the amount of literature published on these topics is astonishingly low by our observation. The relationships between food surplus/food waste and economic/environmental sustainability have not yet been holistically assessed and discussed. The main purpose of this study is to understand global food surplus and food waste issues in order to tackle the economic sustainability and environmental sustainability crisis. Content analysis was used to analyze 500 relevant materials and was conducted by NVivo 12 Plus software. The results contain seven countries, six organizations, and six continents, providing a framework to recognize the economic and environmental sustainability crisis. In addition, six major organizations and regions were identified and were found to be relevant to the important issues of food surplus, food waste, the sharing economy, economic sustainability, and environmental sustainability. With the trend of globalization, this study highlights some preliminary evidence for reducing food waste, for conflicts of the sharing economy, and for regulated sustainability. Further research and regulations in terms of economic and environmental sustainability are strongly suggested. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Technology Characteristics, Stakeholder Pressure, Social Influence, and Green Innovation: Empirical Evidence from Chinese Express Companies
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2891; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072891 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Over the past decade, the rapid development of e-commerce and express industries in China has resulted in huge environmental costs. Compared with manufacturing industries, the values of green innovation are less recognized in logistics industries. To promote the green practices in logistic enterprises, [...] Read more.
Over the past decade, the rapid development of e-commerce and express industries in China has resulted in huge environmental costs. Compared with manufacturing industries, the values of green innovation are less recognized in logistics industries. To promote the green practices in logistic enterprises, it is imperative to have a thorough understanding of the determinants of green innovation adoption. To this end, this paper performs an empirical investigation into the intentions to adopt green innovation from 196 Chinese express companies. The determinant variables were constructed from the perspective of technology characteristics (perceived green usefulness and perceived integration ease of use), stakeholder pressure (government, customer, and platform pressures), and social influence. Then, a 20-item scale was designed based on the literature review and expert opinions. The results revealed the significant positive effects of technology characteristics and social influence on the intentions to adopt green innovation. Meanwhile, only the platform pressure was significant with the adopting intentions among the variables from stakeholder pressure. Moreover, variables from technology characteristics were found to have meditation effects between social influence and adopting intentions. Based on the findings, theoretical and practical implications are proposed to promote the green and sustainable development of express companies in China. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Transportation)
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Open AccessArticle
The Behavioral Pattern of Chinese Public Cultural Participation in Museums
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2890; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072890 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Studying the cultural participation model of the public and its influencing factors is important for the sustainable development of regional culture. Therefore, in this study, we determined which factors influence the cultural participation of the Chinese public. Firstly, we extracted the key features [...] Read more.
Studying the cultural participation model of the public and its influencing factors is important for the sustainable development of regional culture. Therefore, in this study, we determined which factors influence the cultural participation of the Chinese public. Firstly, we extracted the key features of the motivation and timing for a museum visit with multiple correspondence analysis (MCA), and explored the relationship of the features of different motivations with the frequency and duration of the public’s visits to the museum. Secondly, we determined the monotonicity of the influence of ordinal variables on cultural participation behavior and identified the mechanism through which the independent variable influences public cultural participation with categorical regression (CATREG). Finally, we analyzed the research data from the museum audience survey in the Hubei Provincial Museum and a national public culture participation survey. We found that education, occupation, academic discipline, income, distance, age, and sex affect the public’s museum participation. This indicates that to guarantee the public’s cultural rights and promote sustainable development, education, planning, and other aspects must be coordinated in cultural management to increase public cultural participation, rather than removing the economic threshold for public cultural participation through public finances alone. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Culture Management and Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle
A Multistage Design Procedure for Planning and Implementing Public Charging Infrastructures for Electric Vehicles
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2889; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072889 (registering DOI) - 05 Apr 2020
Abstract
Presented in this paper is a Multistage Design Procedure (MSDP) for planning and implementing Public Charging Infrastructures (PCIs) to satisfy intracity charging demand of Electric Vehicles (EVs). The proposed MSDP splits planning and design processes into multiple stages, from macroscale to fine-scale levels. [...] Read more.
Presented in this paper is a Multistage Design Procedure (MSDP) for planning and implementing Public Charging Infrastructures (PCIs) to satisfy intracity charging demand of Electric Vehicles (EVs). The proposed MSDP splits planning and design processes into multiple stages, from macroscale to fine-scale levels. Consequently, the preliminary results achieved at each stage can be refined at the subsequent stages, leading to determine the accurate number and precise geographical location of each charging point. The main advantage of the proposed approach is that it splits a very complicated procedure into multiple and simpler stages, at each of which appropriate goals, targets and constraints can be included. As a result, the iterative interactions among all the stakeholders involved in the PCI design process are significantly simplified. The proposed MSDP has been employed in the planning and design of the PCI of the Italian island of Sardinia, accordingly to all the public bodies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Energy Management and Sustainable Transportation Systems)
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Open AccessArticle
Housing Choices of Older People: Staying or Moving in the Case of High Care Needs
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2888; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072888 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 169
Abstract
Despite the development of various housing options across Europe, older people often face the choice of staying at home with the support of family and/or formal services or moving to a care home, but how people vary regarding these preferences and how newer [...] Read more.
Despite the development of various housing options across Europe, older people often face the choice of staying at home with the support of family and/or formal services or moving to a care home, but how people vary regarding these preferences and how newer cohorts will be different is under-researched. This study explores the housing choices of older people under the condition of liminality, which is defined as the hypothetical condition of high care needs. The most common choices available are compared; that is, staying at home (with social home-care support or visits to a daycare centre) or moving to supported housing or a care home. Cluster analysis revealed five distinct groups of older people that were differentiated in their choices between various options of moving versus staying at home, either by using home care or daycare. Differences between the clusters along three dimensions that influence decisions to move or stay, namely levels of attachment, satisfaction with housing and availability of support, which often function as limits on the options that are preferred, were explored. The results present the complexity of the decision-making process under imagined conditions of liminality and show a great diversity among people’s preferences. They also indicate that a significant share of older people have a strong preference for only one option (two of the cluster groups). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue A Healthy Built Environment for an Ageing Population)
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Open AccessArticle
Historical Cloisters and Courtyards as Quiet Areas
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2887; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072887 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 173
Abstract
Searching for renovating and/or constructing quiet areas in historical urban sites, along with the conservation and valorization policies of the tangible and intangible value of historic urban sites are goals that can be combined into a unique sustainable strategy for the preservation of [...] Read more.
Searching for renovating and/or constructing quiet areas in historical urban sites, along with the conservation and valorization policies of the tangible and intangible value of historic urban sites are goals that can be combined into a unique sustainable strategy for the preservation of the sense of place and identity of communities as well as their well-being. Historic cloisters and courtyards are examples of such sites. Due to their physical, architectural, environmental and cultural features, they present restorative capabilities that could qualify them as quite areas. This paper aims to establish a new procedure that, through the exploration and analysis of past and current aspects of these sites, makes it possible to classify them and understand whether they still preserve a restorative character. A graphic representation, obtained from a historical analysis and an objective description of past and current historical/architectural, environmental and cultural scenarios, has been used. The results were compared with those of the Perceived Restorativeness Scale (PRS-11). A diamond shape represents highly restorative sites, while deviations from this shape were found to be weakly correlated with a restorative nature. This has also been shown by the high positive correlation of analytical parameters with the PRS-11 score and, in particular, with the component of Fascination. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
An AHP-SWOT-Fuzzy TOPSIS Approach for Achieving a Cross-Border RES Cooperation
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2886; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072886 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 135
Abstract
The emerging need to tackle climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions has led to the consolidation of interest in renewable energy sources (RES) setting specific targets in the European area. To achieve the ambitious targets set, Member States are given the opportunity [...] Read more.
The emerging need to tackle climate change and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions has led to the consolidation of interest in renewable energy sources (RES) setting specific targets in the European area. To achieve the ambitious targets set, Member States are given the opportunity to cooperate with one or more of their developing neighboring countries. The aim of this paper is to develop a methodological framework based on the combination of the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) analysis with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) and the Fuzzy Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (Fuzzy TOPSIS) methods for adopting the most appropriate strategic plan, in order to establish a successful energy cooperation that will create beneficial conditions for all the involved parties. The results could be important in facilitating decision makers to assess the role and design of this cooperation mechanism. Key insights will also emerge with regards to opportunities for energy strategy cooperation between Europe and its neighboring countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Failure Mechanisms of Rheological Coal Roadway
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2885; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072885 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 135
Abstract
The roadway instability in deep underground conditions has attracted constant concerns in recent years, as it seriously affects the efficiency of coal mining and the safety of personnel. The large rheological deformations normally occur in deep roadway with soft coal mass. However, the [...] Read more.
The roadway instability in deep underground conditions has attracted constant concerns in recent years, as it seriously affects the efficiency of coal mining and the safety of personnel. The large rheological deformations normally occur in deep roadway with soft coal mass. However, the failure mechanism of such roadways is still not clear. In this study, based on a typical soft coal roadway in the field, the in-situ measurements and rock mass properties were obtained. The rheological deformation of that roadway was revealed. Then a time-dependent 3D numerical model was established and verified. Based on the verified model, the deformation properties and evolutionary failure mechanism of deep coal roadway were investigated in detail. The results showed that the deformation of the soft coal roadway demonstrated rheological behavior and the applied support structures failed completely. After roadway excavation, the maximum and minimum stresses around the roadway deteriorated gradually with the increase of time. The failure zones in soft coal mass expanded increasingly over time, which had a negative effect on roadway stability in the long-term. According to the findings, helpful suggestions were further presented to control the rheological deformation in the roadway. This research systematically reveals the instability mechanism of the deep coal roadway and provides some strategies for maintaining roadway stability, which can significantly promote the sustainability of mining in deep underground coal mines. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Innovation Diffusion of Mobile Applications in Social Networks: A Multi-Agent System
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2884; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072884 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 156
Abstract
Mobile application innovation diffusion can be used to enhance the reputation and competitiveness of Internet enterprises. However, few works have explored the process of mobile application innovation diffusion from the individual perspective. Therefore, this paper employs multi-agent methods to simulate the innovation diffusion [...] Read more.
Mobile application innovation diffusion can be used to enhance the reputation and competitiveness of Internet enterprises. However, few works have explored the process of mobile application innovation diffusion from the individual perspective. Therefore, this paper employs multi-agent methods to simulate the innovation diffusion of mobile applications from the perspective of social networks. Specifically, we combine psychology, sociology, game theory and network effect theory to model user behaviors of adoption and rejection decisions for mobile applications. The multi-agent model was built in Anylogic 8 to simulate the communication and interaction between individual users. Then, this paper discusses the evolution of decision-making of social network user groups with different network structures and network effects. We also investigate the impact of different firms’ promotion on innovation diffusion. Our findings suggest firms could make better strategies and achieve better diffusion effects from mobile applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
How do Partners Benefit from IT Use in Supply-Chain Management: An Empirical Study of Taiwan’s Bicycle Industry
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2883; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072883 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 180
Abstract
To be sustainable and growing amongst uncertain environments and intensive global competition, supply-chain network leaders have established supply-chain management systems (SCMS) to leverage the resources and knowledge of their partners to achieve greater supply-chain capabilities (SCC) to respond to market changes and complexity. [...] Read more.
To be sustainable and growing amongst uncertain environments and intensive global competition, supply-chain network leaders have established supply-chain management systems (SCMS) to leverage the resources and knowledge of their partners to achieve greater supply-chain capabilities (SCC) to respond to market changes and complexity. Although several studies have investigated the benefits to network leaders from these systems in various industries, little attention has been paid to the delivery of substantial benefits and advantages to its partners. Based on information technology (IT) applications and SCC literature, this paper proposes a model relating partners use of SCMS to benefits. Data from 168 partners using an SCMS implemented by a leading bicycle supply chain in Taiwan to test the hypotheses that SCC and operational performance has a mediating role linking SCMS use in order to affect a partner’s performance. The results indicate that SCMS implementation has a significant impact on SCC, which in turn create a significant positive effect on operational (sustainable) performance, ultimately leading to improved growth rate and profitability in partners. Another interesting finding of the research is that SCMS cannot directly affect financial performance. In addition, from sustainable performance aspects, it is revealed that IT enables supply chain management (SCM) to achieve environmental value through information sharing (up and down), process integration (vertical and horizontal) and automation (i.e., planning, operation and control). This finding highlights the importance for maximizing benefits and sustainability for the whole supply-chain partners, the IT implementation must be integrated with the sustainable development goals and inserted in the eco-operation supply-chain platform process. The results also contribute to the debate in prior studies by disclosing why so many partners could not find to gain benefit from these IT implementations. Furthermore, this study represents the first attempt to examine how partners benefit from IT use in SCC for traditional industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Business Model and Digital Transformation)
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Open AccessArticle
A User-Based Look at Visualization Tools for Environmental Data and Suggestions for Improvement—An Inventory among City Planners in Gothenburg
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2882; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072882 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 151
Abstract
With a growing interest in environmental data and the need to consider various environmental factors earlier in the planning processes, it becomes more important to disseminate this type of information to different target groups in a comprehensible way. To support easier decision making, [...] Read more.
With a growing interest in environmental data and the need to consider various environmental factors earlier in the planning processes, it becomes more important to disseminate this type of information to different target groups in a comprehensible way. To support easier decision making, many cities and municipalities are increasingly using digital city models where it is possible to integrate different types of information based on simulation and visualization of future scenarios. Such tools have high potential, but the visual representation of data still needs to be developed. In this paper, we investigate how professionals within urban planning currently use visualization to communicate environmental data, and what their needs are regarding tools and visual representation. We discuss challenges for representing environmental data in urban development processes, with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of these issues. We base our investigation on a literature study, an inventorying survey and a focus group discussion with professionals within urban planning. This study provides an end-user perspective among urban planners and valuable insights on tool usage and visualization. Results show that applications used for environmental visualization still can be improved regarding, e.g., user friendliness and information handling, which may increase their efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Urban Planning Techniques)
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Open AccessArticle
Performance, Body Water Balance, Ingestive Behavior and Blood Metabolites in Goats Fed with Cactus Pear (Opuntia ficus-indica L. Miller) Silage Subjected to An Intermittent Water Supply
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2881; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072881 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 140
Abstract
This study evaluated the performance, body water balance, ingestive behavior and blood metabolites in goats fed with cactus pear silage subjected to an intermittent water supply. Thirty-six goats were distributed in a randomized block design arranged as a 3 × 3 factorial with [...] Read more.
This study evaluated the performance, body water balance, ingestive behavior and blood metabolites in goats fed with cactus pear silage subjected to an intermittent water supply. Thirty-six goats were distributed in a randomized block design arranged as a 3 × 3 factorial with cactus pear silage in the goats’ diet (on a 0%, 21% and 42% dry matter-DM basis) and water offer frequency (ad libitum, and 24 and 48 h water restrictions). There was an interaction only between the cactus pear silage level and water offerings for drinking water. Goats fed 42% cactus pear silage had greater intake of non-fibrous carbohydrates, energy, Ca, Mg and Na minerals, water intake, urinary water excretion, body water retention and nutrient digestibility. Cactus pear silage inclusion up to a 42% rate reduced eating and ruminating time and increased the time spent idling as well as the eating and the ruminating efficiency rate. Water restriction at 48 h reduced drinking water intake. Performance and blood metabolites were not affected by cactus silage inclusion or water offering. Cactus pear silage inclusion at up to 42% for goats is recommended during periods of water shortage in semiarid and arid regions because it improves eating, the ruminating efficiency rate, and body water retention; cactus pear silage inclusion at this rate reduces water consumption and it does not affect the performance or health of the animals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
Open AccessArticle
Analysis of Techno-Economic-Environmental Suitability of an Isolated Microgrid System Located in a Remote Island of Bangladesh
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2880; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072880 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 273
Abstract
Following a rise in population, load demand is increasing even in the remote areas and islands of Bangladesh. Being an island that is also far from the mainland of Bangladesh, St. Martin’s is in need of electricity. As it has ample renewable energy [...] Read more.
Following a rise in population, load demand is increasing even in the remote areas and islands of Bangladesh. Being an island that is also far from the mainland of Bangladesh, St. Martin’s is in need of electricity. As it has ample renewable energy resources, a renewable energy-based microgrid system seems to be the ultimate solution, considering the ever-increasing price of diesel fuel. This study proposes a microgrid system and tests its technical and economic feasibility in that area. All possible configurations have been simulated to try and find the optimal system for the island, which would be eco-friendly and economical with and without considering renewable energy options. The existing power supply configuration has also been compared to the best system after analyzing and investigating all technical and economic feasibility. Sensitivity and risk analysis between different cases provide added value to this study. The results show that the current diesel-based system is not viable for the island’s people, but rather a heavy burden to them due to the high cost of per unit electricity and the net present cost. In contrast, a PV /Wind/Diesel/Battery hybrid microgrid appeared to be the most feasible system. The proposed system is found to be around 1.5 times and 28% inexpensive considering the net present cost and cost of energy, respectively, with a high (56%) share of renewable energy which reduces 23% carbon dioxide. Full article
(This article belongs to the collection Sustainable Electric Power Systems Research)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Simulation to Develop Divergent and Reflective Thinking in Teacher Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2879; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072879 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 154
Abstract
Purpose: This study examined the influence of simulation on flexible and reflective thinking in student teachers (STs), and appraised how they evaluate its potential contribution to teacher education programs. Method: Twenty-three Israeli physical education STs participated in a simulation course. They planned teaching-learning [...] Read more.
Purpose: This study examined the influence of simulation on flexible and reflective thinking in student teachers (STs), and appraised how they evaluate its potential contribution to teacher education programs. Method: Twenty-three Israeli physical education STs participated in a simulation course. They planned teaching-learning conflict scenarios, and served as actors or volunteers in these scenarios, which were filmed and discussed. Discussions were videotaped and transcribed. Content analyses were conducted on the discussions and the written reflections. Results: STs not only increased their flexible and reflective thinking, but they gained an understanding of how to do it independently. As they were learning how to be more open-minded, they were able to feel, think, and behave authentically, and to offer a variety of solutions regarding conflictual situations. Conclusion: STs developed flexible and reflective thinking, and widened their repertoire of behaviors that succeeded in integrating thoughts and feelings into learning-teaching situations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
Open AccessArticle
Does Foreign Direct Investment Affect Tropospheric SO2 Emissions? A Spatial Analysis in Eastern China from 2011 to 2017
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2878; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072878 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 190
Abstract
Air pollution has attracted much attention worldwide. Sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) is a major air pollutant in cities and affects human health seriously. The purpose of this paper is to examine how foreign direct investment affects SO 2 emissions and whether the [...] Read more.
Air pollution has attracted much attention worldwide. Sulfur dioxide (SO 2 ) is a major air pollutant in cities and affects human health seriously. The purpose of this paper is to examine how foreign direct investment affects SO 2 emissions and whether the pollution haven hypothesis exists in eastern China. On basis of the detailed data, we performed the spatial autocorrelation analysis and the spatial regression analysis. The results show that an increase in the foreign direct investment in a city is associated with a decline in SO 2 emissions in the same city, indicating that the pollution haven hypothesis does not hold in eastern China. But the spillover effect of the foreign direct investment is positive, indicating that a larger foreign direct investment in neighboring cities tends to raise SO 2 emissions in the local city. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Analysis of the Reduction of Pollutant Emissions by the Vehicle Fleet of the City of Reggio Calabria Due to the Introduction of Ecological Vehicles
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2877; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072877 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 186
Abstract
Nowadays, the effects of pollution at a global scale are mainly due to the emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2 in particular), especially generated by thermoelectrical plants, as well as the transport, industrial, and civil sectors. Moreover, local pollution effects are generated by [...] Read more.
Nowadays, the effects of pollution at a global scale are mainly due to the emissions of greenhouse gases (CO2 in particular), especially generated by thermoelectrical plants, as well as the transport, industrial, and civil sectors. Moreover, local pollution effects are generated by several pollutants, such as CO, NOx, SOx, VOC, and PM, produced during combustion in transports or building thermal plants. Because of the increasing demand for mobility at an urban scale, pollution caused by transportation plays a significant role. To reduce its environmental impact, a partial or total replacement of old and polluting vehicles with more ecological ones must be urgently implemented. With this aim, in the paper, a detailed analysis of the vehicle fleet of the city of Reggio Calabria (Italy), with reference to passenger cars has been carried out, elaborating four scenarios to reduce their pollutant emissions from 2017 to 2025, both greenhouse gases and local scale ones, through the replacement of old and polluting vehicles with hybrid or electric ones. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Improving Rural Accessibility: A Multilayer Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2876; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072876 (registering DOI) - 04 Apr 2020
Viewed by 184
Abstract
Rural territories are worse equipped than urban ones in terms of accessibility to services and opportunities, due to their scattered development and peripheral character. Increasing cuts to loss-making services in traditional public transport contributed to increased social inequality and marginality, in so doing [...] Read more.
Rural territories are worse equipped than urban ones in terms of accessibility to services and opportunities, due to their scattered development and peripheral character. Increasing cuts to loss-making services in traditional public transport contributed to increased social inequality and marginality, in so doing undermining the livability of rural communities. In this light, improving accessibility is an essential prerequisite for the sustainable development of rural areas. Whereas demand responsive transport solutions are often seen as a panacea in circumstances where traditional services are not viable, their implementation is more challenging than it may seem, due to the potential barriers intrinsically related to the differential socioeconomic, cultural, and institutional features of places. Furthermore, enhancing transport offer is only one side of the multifaceted prism of rural accessibility, and the institution of effective multi-level and multi-sector governance mechanisms is a precondition to approach the mentioned challenges under a more comprehensive perspective. Drawing on the results of the European Territorial Observatory Network (ESPON) Urban-Rural Connectivity in Non-Metropolitan Areas (URRUC) project, the paper sheds light on this issue, exploring the accessibility challenges of rural areas and proposing a multilayer policy approach aimed at supporting decision-makers in improving rural accessibility across Europe. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Using Virtual Reality to Assess Landscape: A Comparative Study Between On-Site Survey and Virtual Reality of Aesthetic Preference and Landscape Cognition
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2875; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072875 (registering DOI) - 03 Apr 2020
Viewed by 238
Abstract
In recent years, research on landscape perception has been generally overoptimistic about the use of virtual reality (VR); however, few have questioned the validity of VR. It is necessary to examine whether on-site stimulation can be substituted by VR. The purpose of this [...] Read more.
In recent years, research on landscape perception has been generally overoptimistic about the use of virtual reality (VR); however, few have questioned the validity of VR. It is necessary to examine whether on-site stimulation can be substituted by VR. The purpose of this study was to assess the degree of agreement between on-site survey and VR for landscape perception. The sample included 11 representative landscapes from Tsuchiura city and Tsukuba city, Japan. On-site survey data was collected for 17 items related to aesthetic preference and landscape cognition. The same scenes were produced by VR and same survey data as on-site was collected. The agreement of both the overall mean of all landscapes and the ratings of all individuals in each landscape confirmed the high level of concordance of most cognitive attributes between the two stimuli. The findings support immersive VR as a reliable tool for assessing landscape cognition. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Soil Recovery Assessment after Timber Harvesting Based on the Sustainable Forest Operation (SFO) Perspective in Iranian Temperate Forests
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2874; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072874 (registering DOI) - 03 Apr 2020
Viewed by 202
Abstract
Minimizing the impact of timber harvesting on forest stands and soils is one of the main
goals of sustainable forest operation (SFO). Thus, it is necessary to make an accurate assessment of
forest operations on soil that is based on the SFO perspective. [...] Read more.
Minimizing the impact of timber harvesting on forest stands and soils is one of the main
goals of sustainable forest operation (SFO). Thus, it is necessary to make an accurate assessment of
forest operations on soil that is based on the SFO perspective. The present study was conducted
according to SFO principles to investigate the time required for the natural recovery of soil after
disturbance by skidding operations in some Iranian forests. The physical, chemical, and biological
properties of soil found in abandoned skid trails from different time periods were compared with
undisturbed forest soils. The soil bulk density, the penetration resistance, and the microporosity of
a 25-year-old skid trail were 8.4–27.4% and 50.4% greater, and the total porosity, macroporosity, and
soil moisture were 1.9–17.1% and 4.6% lower than the undisturbed area. In a 25-year-old skid trail,
the values of pH, Electrical conductivity (EC), C, N, available P, K, Ca, and Mg, earthworm density,
and biomass were lower than in the undisturbed area, and the C/N ratio value was higher than in
the undisturbed area. High traffic intensity and slope classes of 20–30% in a three-year-old skid trail
had the greatest impact on soil properties. In order to have sustainable timber production, SFO
should be developed and soil recovery time should be reduced through post-harvest management
operation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
A Publicly Available Cost Simulation of Sustainable Construction Options for Residential Houses
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2873; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072873 (registering DOI) - 03 Apr 2020
Viewed by 195
Abstract
major consideration for consumers and the residential construction industry is the cost–
benefit and break-even of various sustainable construction options. This research provides a
publicly available simulation that allows users to compare baseline construction options versus
sustainable options and evaluates both break-even costs [...] Read more.
major consideration for consumers and the residential construction industry is the cost–
benefit and break-even of various sustainable construction options. This research provides a
publicly available simulation that allows users to compare baseline construction options versus
sustainable options and evaluates both break-even costs as well as environmental effects. This R Shiny
Monte Carlo simulation uses common pseudo-random number streams for replicability and includes
options for solar, rainwater harvesting, wells, Icynene foam, engineered lumber, Energy Star windows
and doors, low flow fixtures, aerobic/non-aerobic/city waste treatment, electric versus gasoline
vehicles, and many other options. This is the first simulation to quantify multiple sustainable
construction options, associated break-even points, and environmental considerations for public use.
Using user default parameters, coupled with a 100% solar solution for a baseline 3,000 square foot/279
square meter house with 2 occupants results in a break-even of 9 years. Results show that many of the
sustainable options are both green for the environment and green for the pocketbook. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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