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Sustainability, Volume 14, Issue 5 (March-1 2022) – 658 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): In several areas of Europe, various thresholds and limit values of air pollution are frequently exceeded, mainly due to particulate matter, ozone, and nitrous oxide. Source apportionment represents a useful modeling tool to evaluate the contributions of different emission sources to episodes of poor air pollution and to design useful mitigation strategies. In this context, this contribution assesses the impact of various emission sectors on levels of air pollution in southwestern Europe (the Iberian Peninsula). A sensitivity analysis was conducted, which indicated that large reductions in precursor emissions (coming mainly from energy generation, road traffic, and maritime-harbor emissions) are needed to improve air quality and attain the thresholds set in the European Directive 2008/50/EC. View this paper
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Article
Management and Mapping Ecosystem Services in a Privately Owned Natura 2000 Site: An Insight into the Stellantis–La Mandria Site (Italy)
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3134; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053134 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1230
Abstract
The Natura 2000 network is an ecological network covering the whole territory of the European Union to ensure the long-term maintenance of threatened or rare natural habitats and species of flora and fauna, including in metropolitan and rural areas. Some of the Natura [...] Read more.
The Natura 2000 network is an ecological network covering the whole territory of the European Union to ensure the long-term maintenance of threatened or rare natural habitats and species of flora and fauna, including in metropolitan and rural areas. Some of the Natura 2000 sites have been subject to changes in ownership that have led to a fragmentation of the territory. Private entities may own areas within a Natura 2000 site and must ensure sustainable management of their property, especially from an ecological point of view. The case study is the Stellantis–La Mandria site, a private area owned by Stellantis, within the Natura 2000 site “ZSC IT1110079 La Mandria”, near Turin. The research proposes a participatory methodology, mainly addressed in this first phase to experts and professionals and aimed at the valorisation and management of private Natura 2000 sites previously considered as industrial sites, to allow a careful fruition and safeguarding of the natural heritage. The aim of the research is to provide a methodological approach and the first qualitative results useful to providing the owners with an indication for a more targeted management of the site; mapping the areas that provide ecosystem services (ES, especially cultural ones); mapping the areas that could be subject to future fruition; collaborating with the managing body to collect useful data for the future drafting of a new area plan. Two main research activities were carried out, a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats) analysis concerning the management and possible future fruition of the site and a participatory mapping of ES. It should be emphasised that the research allowed the first results to be obtained, which, on the one hand, make it possible to validate the methodology used to achieve the objectives and, on the other hand, the results will have to be implemented over time by involving numerous stakeholders among those who can access the private area. The results of the research highlight opportunities and threats with regard to the conservation of ecological–environmental characteristics and future fruition of the site. The participatory mapping identifies areas with different ecological value and, therefore, different management needs and identifies areas that could be used differently for future fruition. Overall, the results aim to meet some of the European Commission’s wishes regarding Natura 2000 sites, with particular reference to the involvement of different stakeholders and experts for the conservation of biodiversity and the integration of ecological and social aspects into the management and fruition plans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Rural Landscape: Study, Planning, and Design)
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Article
Health First: The Sustainable Development of Physical Education in Chinese Schools
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053133 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 993
Abstract
Strengthening school physical education (PE) is of great strategic significance in enhancing students’ all-round development, which mainly includes their morality, intelligence and physique development. School PE has upheld the guiding ideology of ‘health first’ and continuously enhanced PE development in China. The guiding [...] Read more.
Strengthening school physical education (PE) is of great strategic significance in enhancing students’ all-round development, which mainly includes their morality, intelligence and physique development. School PE has upheld the guiding ideology of ‘health first’ and continuously enhanced PE development in China. The guiding ideology of ‘health first’ has involved three stages: (1) improving students’ physical conditions; (2) enhancing students’ physical health, mental health and ability to socially adapt; and (3) promoting students’ all-round human development. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the social and political contexts, aims, policies and practice of Chinese school PE, and goes on to analyze different sports views that reshape the value orientation of ‘health first’. Moreover, this paper shows that a regulated and institutionalized Chinese school PE system has gradually formed with the evolving ideology of ‘health first’ and policy changes, but it has a long way to accomplish the new mission of ‘foster virtue through education’ in students’ all-round development. For students’ all-round development, Chinese school PE needs to prioritize the value proposition of ‘foster virtue through education’, advance the theoretical research on PE curriculum and teaching materials, and further enhance the reform of the assessment and evaluation system of constitutional health. Eventually, a new national school PE core curriculum needs to be established to integrate the mission of ‘foster virtue through education’ and guiding ideology of ‘health first’ together. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Towards a Sustainable Future through Innovative STEM Education)
Article
Comparative Review of Neighborhood Sustainability Assessment Tools
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3132; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053132 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 737
Abstract
The paper aims to evaluate criteria for appraising the existing urban transformation projects in view of the social dimension of sustainability. Within the case study of the recovery project of “G. Prandina” barrack in Padua, north-east of Italy, the paper compares two different [...] Read more.
The paper aims to evaluate criteria for appraising the existing urban transformation projects in view of the social dimension of sustainability. Within the case study of the recovery project of “G. Prandina” barrack in Padua, north-east of Italy, the paper compares two different Italian rating systems to evaluate neighborhood sustainability: “GBC Quartieri” and “ITACA Scala Urbana”. The GBC Quartieri rating system, with a point scheme, allots credits for neighborhood design features, and integrates the environment, infrastructures, and buildings for the creation of sustainable communities with a relationship net and a pre-existence connection. The “ITACA Scala Urbana” procedure consists of a multicriteria evaluation of the environmental sustainability and the compilation of a group of worksheets, one for each different internal performance indicator. The results show the main differences and analogies among the different tools, and this analysis confirms that new neighborhood protocols originating from building rating systems dedicate little space to social aspects and to the concept of inclusion, instead of the newly developed neighborhood protocols. Through this examination, the research can also conclude that the identification of common macro-areas is present, which highlights the different levels of importance given to the various features connected to social sustainability in neighborhood transformation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Cities: Challenges and Potential Solutions)
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Article
Assessment Patterns during Portuguese Emergency Remote Teaching
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3131; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053131 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 624
Abstract
COVID-19 certainly brought more negative aspects than positive ones to education. On the one hand, new gaps and challenges emerged from the lockdowns worldwide. On the other hand, we have been witnessing the increased relationship between technology and education, which created an opportunity [...] Read more.
COVID-19 certainly brought more negative aspects than positive ones to education. On the one hand, new gaps and challenges emerged from the lockdowns worldwide. On the other hand, we have been witnessing the increased relationship between technology and education, which created an opportunity for education to evolve and enhance the use of digital tools in classes. During several lockdowns worldwide, due to the pandemic crisis, millions of students and teachers were forced to continue the process of teaching and learning at home and experienced Emergency Remote Teaching (ERT), which led to new challenges on the process of students’ assessment. To understand what assessment challenges teachers face during the ERT and their patterns for evaluation, we performed a survey in Portugal where the ERT lasted several months in the last two years. The survey was validated and conducted in the first semester of 2021. We found two main patterns: (i) the group of teachers that prefer oral discussion and dialogue simulation and display disbelief towards traditional tests and educational games; and (ii) the group of teachers that tend to prefer oral simulation and display greater disbelief about educational games, dialogue simulation and peer work and review. From the survey analysis, we also found that teachers considered their students to be more distracted and less engaged in online classes. They were negatively affected both in their learning and evaluation process. Using digital tools to collect and validate data and creating patterns between collected data is essential to understand what to expect in future crises. The presented analysis should be correlated with other studies to extract patterns of knowledge from data and to be able to obtain conclusions about how to move education forward. Full article
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Article
Green Microfinance and Women’s Empowerment: Why Does Financial Literacy Matter?
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3130; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053130 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1090
Abstract
This study investigated the role of financial literacy in the relationship between women’s empowerment and green microfinance. We set a conceptual model with green microfinance as an outcome variable, financial literacy as a mediating variable, and women’s empowerment as an exposure variable. Variance-based [...] Read more.
This study investigated the role of financial literacy in the relationship between women’s empowerment and green microfinance. We set a conceptual model with green microfinance as an outcome variable, financial literacy as a mediating variable, and women’s empowerment as an exposure variable. Variance-based SEM was employed for analysis. The results show that the exposure and mediating variables have a significant direct and indirect impact on the outcome variable. The relationship between women’s empowerment and green microfinance is partially mediated by financial literacy. Local wisdom-based financial literacy is found to be an alternative for mainstreaming women’s empowerment in local development. In addition, gender-targeted programs need to consider pro-literacy policies for achieving green microfinance sustainability. By using financial literacy as a mediating variable, this study contributes to the current literature on the relationship between women’s empowerment and green microfinance. Full article
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Article
Improved Intuitionistic Fuzzy Entropy and Its Application in the Evaluation of Regional Collaborative Innovation Capability
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3129; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053129 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 688
Abstract
Intuitionistic fuzzy entropy is an important concept to describe the uncertainty of intuitionistic fuzzy sets (IFSs). To fully measure the fuzziness of IFSs, this paper comprehensively considers the deviation between membership and non-membership and the influence of hesitation, constructs the general expression of [...] Read more.
Intuitionistic fuzzy entropy is an important concept to describe the uncertainty of intuitionistic fuzzy sets (IFSs). To fully measure the fuzziness of IFSs, this paper comprehensively considers the deviation between membership and non-membership and the influence of hesitation, constructs the general expression of intuitionistic fuzzy entropy based on special functions, and proves some of its major properties. Then, it is verified that some existing intuitionistic fuzzy entropies can be constructed by specific functions. Finally, based on a specific parametric intuitionistic fuzzy entropy, this paper applies it to evaluate the regional collaborative innovation capability, to verify the feasibility and practicability of the entropy. In addition, the effectiveness and practicability of this entropy in decision making are further illustrated by comparing it with other entropy measures. Full article
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Article
A New Mobility Era: Stakeholders’ Insights regarding Urban Air Mobility
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3128; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053128 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 896
Abstract
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) constitutes a future aerial mobility alternative, which concerns the use of electric and autonomous aerial vehicles for transporting people throughout a planned network of vertiports. To materialize UAM, several actors of the air and urban transport ecosystem play a [...] Read more.
Urban Air Mobility (UAM) constitutes a future aerial mobility alternative, which concerns the use of electric and autonomous aerial vehicles for transporting people throughout a planned network of vertiports. To materialize UAM, several actors of the air and urban transport ecosystem play a vital role. This paper describes the insights gathered from 32 key stakeholders around the world to present and frame the key aspects for the future implementation of UAM. The participants include representatives from the UAM industry such as airports, airlines, aviation consulting companies, academia, and authorities. The data collection encompasses various key research areas, covering topics such as UAM strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks, requirements for implementation, concept integration in the existing transport system, specific use cases, business models, and end-user segments. The research aims at setting up the stakeholder scene and expanding the current literature for UAM by engaging key decision makers and experts towards shaping the new mobility era. The results demonstrate that ensuring certification standards for UAM fleets and updating the current legal and regulatory framework are the main prerequisites for UAM’s realization. In addition, the usage of UAM for transporting cargo or for air ambulance services are the most mature business models for the coming decade. Full article
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Article
Circularity of Bioenergy Residues: Acidification of Anaerobic Digestate Prior to Addition of Wood Ash
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3127; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053127 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 947
Abstract
The present study investigated the acidification treatment of an agrowaste digestate and a food waste digestate, which is necessary before the addition of the wood ashes to attain the pH of zero point of charge in the blend intended to behave as a [...] Read more.
The present study investigated the acidification treatment of an agrowaste digestate and a food waste digestate, which is necessary before the addition of the wood ashes to attain the pH of zero point of charge in the blend intended to behave as a slow-release fertilizer. The 336-h acidification treatments of the 2.39 ± 0.35 g of digestates were performed with high and low doses of four commercial acids (sulfuric, hydrochloric, nitric, and lactic acids) in 50-mL capped Corning® tubes. For analytical purposes, after the incubation, ultrapure milli-Q® water was added at a rate of 10 mL for each gram of digestate to create a water-soluble phase that allowed the measurement of the pH and the electric conductivity. The results showed that the optimum dose and type of acid were very dependent on the nature of the anaerobic digestate. The maximum buffer capacity of the agrowaste digestate was 0.07 mmol H+-H2SO4/g, but this increased by adding the food waste digestate with a greater content of ammoniacal nitrogen. The agrowaste digestate with a greater content of undigested fiber was more easily oxidized by nitric acid. On the other hand, sulfuric acid oxidized the food waste digestate to a greater extent than the other acids did. Since a high dose of acid was required to achieve a greater efficiency in the solid–liquid separation, which would ease any subsequent handling of the digestates, hydrochloric acid was considered to be the most suitable acid. Lactic acid promoted the growth of filamentous microbes in the agrowaste digestate and microbial colonies in the food waste digestate, which is an indication of the poor preservation of the organic matter under these conditions. Full article
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Article
Versatile Green Processing for Recovery of Phenolic Compounds from Natural Product Extracts towards Bioeconomy and Cascade Utilization for Waste Valorization on the Example of Cocoa Bean Shell (CBS)
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053126 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 801
Abstract
In the context of bioeconomic research approaches, a cascade use of plant raw materials makes sense in many cases for waste valorization. This not only guarantees that the raw material is used as completely as possible, but also offers the possibility of using [...] Read more.
In the context of bioeconomic research approaches, a cascade use of plant raw materials makes sense in many cases for waste valorization. This not only guarantees that the raw material is used as completely as possible, but also offers the possibility of using its by-products and residual flows profitably. To make such cascade uses as efficient as possible, efficient and environmentally friendly processes are needed. To exemplify the versatile method, e.g., every year 675,000 metric tons of cocoa bean shell (CBS) accrues as a waste stream in the food processing industry worldwide. A novel green process reaches very high yields of up to 100% in one extraction stage, ensures low consumption of organic solvents due to double usage of ethanol as the only organic solvent, is adaptable enough to capture all kinds of secondary metabolites from hot water extracts and ensures the usage of structural carbohydrates from precipitation. A Design of Experiments (DoE) was conducted to optimize the influence of pH value and phase ratio on the yield and purity of the integrated ethanol/water/salt aqueous-two-phase extraction (ATPS) system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Circular Bioeconomy)
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Article
Carbon Footprint of a Typical Neapolitan Pizzeria
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3125; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053125 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 829
Abstract
Neapolitan pizza is very popular worldwide and is registered on the traditional specialties guaranteed (TSG) list. This study was aimed at identifying the cradle-to-grave carbon footprint (CF) of a medium-sized pizza restaurant serving in situ or takeaway true Neapolitan pizzas conforming to the [...] Read more.
Neapolitan pizza is very popular worldwide and is registered on the traditional specialties guaranteed (TSG) list. This study was aimed at identifying the cradle-to-grave carbon footprint (CF) of a medium-sized pizza restaurant serving in situ or takeaway true Neapolitan pizzas conforming to the Publicly Available Specification (PAS) 2050 standard method. An average CF of ~4.69 kg CO2e/diner was estimated, about 74% of which was due to the production of the ingredients used (with buffalo mozzarella cheese alone representing as much as 52% of CF). The contribution of beverages, packaging materials, transportation, and energy sources varied within 6.8 and 4.6% of CF. The percentage relative variation of CF with respect to its basic score was of about +26%, +4.4%, and +1.6% or +2.1%, provided that the emission factor of buffalo mozzarella, fresh cow mozzarella (fiordilatte), Grana Padano cheeses, and electricity varied by +50% with respect to each corresponding default value, respectively. The specific carbon footprint for Marinara pizza was equal to ~4 kg CO2e/kg, while for Margherita pizza, it was up to 5.1, or 10.8 kg CO2e/kg when topped with fresh cow or buffalo mozzarella cheese. To help pizza restaurant operators select the most rewarding mitigation strategy, we explored how CF was affected by more sustainable buffalo mozzarella cheese production, lighter and reusable containers for beer, mineral water, and main fresh vegetables, newer diesel-powered vans, less air-polluting electric ovens instead of traditional wood-fired ovens, as well as renewable electricity sources. Full article
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Article
The Impact of Pb from Ammunition on the Vegetation of a Bird Shooting Range
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3124; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053124 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 683
Abstract
Hunting with lead ammunition represents a source of heavy metal pollution to the environment that can be potentially high at the local scale. Intensive hunting of small game species can concentrate high levels of ammunition discharging in small areas. This type of hunting [...] Read more.
Hunting with lead ammunition represents a source of heavy metal pollution to the environment that can be potentially high at the local scale. Intensive hunting of small game species can concentrate high levels of ammunition discharging in small areas. This type of hunting is a relevant economic resource for private landowners in some regions of Spain, and current legislation allows the use of lead ammunition in these scenarios. It becomes, therefore, highly relevant to study whether this activity may pose concerns to the conservation of the environment in the areas where it takes place. Using a red-legged partridge (Alectoris rufa) shooting range as a study area, we examined the effect of intensive hunting on this species on the vegetation present. We found significantly higher lead levels in the sprouts of plants of shooting areas related to control sites of the same property where partridge shooting does not occur. We found differences in the presence of lead between sprouts of different plant species. In addition, old sprouts of existing vegetation in shooting areas also showed higher lead levels than newly emerged sprouts of the same plants. These results demonstrate the impact of lead ammunition on vegetation in terms of persistence over time and differences between species. Further analyses using chemical and ecotoxicological data are necessary to evaluate the extent of environmental pollution risks. Our results provide new support in favor of the use of alternative ammunition, with particular emphasis on scenarios where hunting activity is intensive. Full article
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Review
A Topological Advancement Review of Magnetically Coupled Impedance Source Network Configurations
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3123; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053123 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 621
Abstract
Magnetically coupled impedance source networks provide a wide range of applications, such as dc to dc, dc to ac, ac to ac, ac to dc unidirectional or bi-directional power conversion. Various impedance source networks are reported in the literature to overcome the barriers [...] Read more.
Magnetically coupled impedance source networks provide a wide range of applications, such as dc to dc, dc to ac, ac to ac, ac to dc unidirectional or bi-directional power conversion. Various impedance source networks are reported in the literature to overcome the barriers of conventional voltage source inverters. They offer high boost with buck-boost capabilities and reduce power conversion stages. Thus, they provide an economical solution to expanding power systems, and are most suitable for renewable sources having low output. The goal of this study is to provide an in-depth comprehensive review of the major topologies of magnetically coupled impedance source networks. The review is more focused towards the fast-growing niche area, which has seen many advancements in the last few years. Best efforts are made to include relevant major topological advancements, with the aim of providing relevant and accessible information for researchers. This research provides a detailed comparison of essential factors and presents a full assessment of major topological improvements in MCIS networks. Full article
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Article
Applicability of Grassland Production Estimation Using Remote Sensing for the Mongolian Plateau by Comparing Typical Regions in China and Mongolia
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3122; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053122 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 624
Abstract
Grasslands on the Mongolian Plateau are critical for supporting local sustainable development. Sufficient measured sample information is the basis of remote sensing modeling and estimation of grassland production. Limited by field inventory costs, it is difficult to collect sufficient and widely distributed samples [...] Read more.
Grasslands on the Mongolian Plateau are critical for supporting local sustainable development. Sufficient measured sample information is the basis of remote sensing modeling and estimation of grassland production. Limited by field inventory costs, it is difficult to collect sufficient and widely distributed samples in the Mongolian Plateau, especially in transboundary areas, which affects the results of grassland production estimation. Here, considering that the measured sample points are sparse, this study took Xilingol League of Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region in China and Dornogovi Province in Mongolia as the study areas, introduced multiple interpolation methods for interpolation experiments, established a statistical regression model based on the above measured and interpolated samples combined with the normalized differential vegetation index, and discussed the applicability of grassland production estimation. The comparison results revealed that the point estimation biased sample hospital-based area disease estimation method and radial basis function showed the best interpolation results for grassland production in Xilingol League and Dornogovi Province, respectively. The power function model was suitable for grassland production estimation in both regions. By inversion, we obtained annual grassland production for 2010–2021 and the uneven spatial distribution of grassland production in both regions. In these two regions, the spatial change in grassland production showed a decreasing trend from northeast to southwest, and the interannual change generally showed a dynamic upward trend. The growth rate of grassland output was faster in Xilingol League than in Dornogovi Province with similar physical geography and climate conditions, indicating that the animal husbandry regulation policies play important roles beyond the influence of climate change. The study recommended grassland estimation methods for an area with sparse samples and the results can be used to support decision making for sustainable animal husbandry and grassland succession management. Full article
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Article
Exchange Rates, Optimization of Industrial Resources Allocation Efficiency, and Environmental Pollution: Evidence from China Manufacturing
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3121; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053121 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 680
Abstract
The impact of exchange-rate fluctuations on resource reallocation is of particular interest to researchers and policymakers with China’s further opening to the international market and the transformation of economic growth. With high-speed growth, pollution issues have become an international concern. This paper examines [...] Read more.
The impact of exchange-rate fluctuations on resource reallocation is of particular interest to researchers and policymakers with China’s further opening to the international market and the transformation of economic growth. With high-speed growth, pollution issues have become an international concern. This paper examines how RMB exchange-rate movements affect resource allocation efficiency within industries at different pollution levels, based on the data of Chinese industrial enterprises during 1998–2007. Unlike previous studies, we analyze how within-industry productivity dispersion reacts to exchange-rate appreciation from the perspective of the heterogeneity across firms in their exposure to foreign competition in each industry. Our findings suggest that appreciation causes an increase in productivity dispersion, which implies a decrease in resource allocation efficiency. The increased dispersion of industries with higher pollution levels is more diminutive than lower levels. The productivity dispersion is intended to shrink for high-polluting industries due to the real exchange-rate appreciation. Appreciation plays a positive role in efficiency for pollution-intensive industries. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Geosites within a Natural Protected Area: A Case Study of Cajas National Park
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3120; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053120 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Cajas National Park (CNP), located in southern Ecuador, comprises an area of high natural, scientific and cultural value with wide recognition worldwide. This national park has a large number of elements that, as a whole, constitute a relevant geological heritage. However, this geological [...] Read more.
Cajas National Park (CNP), located in southern Ecuador, comprises an area of high natural, scientific and cultural value with wide recognition worldwide. This national park has a large number of elements that, as a whole, constitute a relevant geological heritage. However, this geological heritage requires an enhancement that complements the important contribution made by the Natural Park in terms of conservation and protection of the natural heritage. This study aims to evaluate sites of geological relevance present in CNP through international geosite assessment methodologies and thus provide knowledge favouring these resources’ sustainable use and geoconservation. The study phases comprise four stages: (i) a base information analysis of the study area; (ii) identification and selection of sites of geological interest; (iii) a geosite and geomorphosite assessment using the Inventario Español de Lugares de Interés Geological (IELIG) method and Brilha method; (iv) a qualitative assessment using a strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT) analysis for the contribution and influence of geomorphosites in the development of the study area. This work made it possible to determine that all the analysed geosites and geomorphological sites (14) have a high and very high interest. The Llaviucu valley site stands out for its relevant scientific, academic and tourist value. The IELIG method revealed that 50% of the evaluated sites have a high protection priority, while the rest are in the “medium” category. In addition, the investigation through the SWOT analysis revealed that the geomorphosites could provide significant added value to the development of geotourism and of the NP itself, complementing the already known natural attractions; moreover, the study presented strategies for the use of these in the sustainable development of the area. Full article
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Article
Study of Noise and Vibration Impacts to Buildings Due to Urban Rail Transit and Mitigation Measures
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3119; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053119 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 770
Abstract
The developments in urban rail transit (URT) construction are associated with the benefits of moving people efficiently and the negative impacts of noise and vibrations caused to surroundings. Despite a proliferation of studies conducted throughout the world, very few studies employed the field [...] Read more.
The developments in urban rail transit (URT) construction are associated with the benefits of moving people efficiently and the negative impacts of noise and vibrations caused to surroundings. Despite a proliferation of studies conducted throughout the world, very few studies employed the field measurement approach due to various limitations. Using a metropolitan city, Tianjin (China), as an example, field measurement was set up to monitor the indoor vibration and noise spectrum in buildings near urban rapid transit lines to establish a baseline as well as the effectiveness of corresponding mitigation measures, namely wheel-rail polishing and train speed reduction. While our study suggests a maximum 6 dB reduction in indoor vibration, the effectiveness of noise and vibration reduction measures depends on the attenuation of the main frequency corresponding to the secondary radiation noise of the indoor vibration excitation in the building. In our field test, the peaks of the frequency spectrum were found to be 40, 50, 63 and 80 Hz. The secondary radiation noise attenuation and vibration were invariant to the change in frequency spectrum. Mitigation measures such as polishing may cause vibration frequency to peak in non-main frequency spectrums. URT speed reduction will lead to vibration and noise attenuation energy being concentrated at around 50 Hz. Given the presently inconsistent and widely varying industrial and international standards, this study can provide important field measurement data supporting future development in standards, regulation and legislation with respect to URT development, especially in mature townships. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Noise Analysis and Management in Smart Cities)
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Article
Application of a Novel Optimized Fractional Grey Holt-Winters Model in Energy Forecasting
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3118; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053118 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 615
Abstract
It is of great significance to be able to accurately predict the time series of energy data. In this paper, based on the seasonal and nonlinear characteristics of monthly and quarterly energy time series, a new optimized fractional grey Holt–Winters model (NOFGHW) is [...] Read more.
It is of great significance to be able to accurately predict the time series of energy data. In this paper, based on the seasonal and nonlinear characteristics of monthly and quarterly energy time series, a new optimized fractional grey Holt–Winters model (NOFGHW) is proposed to improve the identification of the model by integrating the processing methods of the two characteristics. The model consists of three parts. Firstly, a new fractional periodic accumulation operator is proposed, which preserves the periodic fluctuation of data after accumulation. Secondly, the new operator is introduced into the Holt–Winters model to describe the seasonality of the sequence. Finally, the LBFGS algorithm is used to optimize the parameters of the model, which can deal with nonlinear characteristics in the sequence. Furthermore, in order to verify the superiority of the model in energy prediction, the new model is applied to two cases with different seasonal, different cycle, and different energy types, namely monthly crude oil production and quarterly industrial electricity consumption. The experimental results show that the new model can be used to predict monthly and quarterly energy time series, which is better than the OGHW, SNGBM, SARIMA, LSSVR, and BPNN models. Based on this, the new model demonstrates reliability in energy prediction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Development Trends of Environmental and Energy Economics)
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Article
Investigating Company’s Technical Development Directions Based on Internal Knowledge Inheritance and Inventor Capabilities: The Case of Samsung Electronics
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3117; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053117 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 816
Abstract
This paper proposes a new method to analyze technical development directions of a company using knowledge persistence-based main path analysis and co-inventor network analysis. Main path analysis is used for identifying internal technical knowledge flows and inheritances over time within a company, and [...] Read more.
This paper proposes a new method to analyze technical development directions of a company using knowledge persistence-based main path analysis and co-inventor network analysis. Main path analysis is used for identifying internal technical knowledge flows and inheritances over time within a company, and knowledge persistence-based main path analysis can well identify major knowledge streams of each sub-domain within a relatively small knowledge network generated by one company without omission of significant inventions. A co-inventor network analysis is used for identifying key inventors who can be represented as the major technical capabilities of a company. The method is a meaningful attempt in that it applies knowledge persistence-based main path analysis to analyzing a company’s internal technical development and combines the two approaches to provide the information on both base technical capabilities and new technical characteristics. To test the method, this paper conducted an empirical study of Samsung Electronics. The results show that the method generated major knowledge flows and identified key inventors of Samsung Electronics. In particular, the method can identify the base technical knowledge as the ‘backbone’ and newly injected knowledge as ‘fresh blood’ for forecasting future technical development. Based on the identified clue information, this paper forecasted the potential future technologies for each sub-domain of Samsung Electronics with technical keywords and descriptions. Full article
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Article
Sustainability in Rainfed Maize (Zea mays L.) Production Using Choice of Corn Variety and Nitrogen Scheduling
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3116; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053116 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Interestingly more than 50% of the world’s area is rainfed and approximately 80% of maize is cultivated under rainfed condition where selection of cultivar and management of nitrogen have major impact on production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the growth, [...] Read more.
Interestingly more than 50% of the world’s area is rainfed and approximately 80% of maize is cultivated under rainfed condition where selection of cultivar and management of nitrogen have major impact on production. The aim of this study was to evaluate the growth, phenology, yield and quality parameters of maize as influenced by variety and nitrogen scheduling under rainfed condition. For this, a field experiment having two factors was laid out in a factorial randomised block design and replicated three times. The first factor was variety, i.e., V1 (JM 216) and V2 (JM 218), and the second was six nitrogen scheduling, i.e., N1 to N6, in which nitrogen splitting was done based on 30-years of average rainfall data. Variety JM 218 and N5 [40 kg N as basal followed by (fb) 2 splits of 40 kg N and 38.8 kg N at 30 and 52 days after sowing (DAS) and 1% N foliar spray at 40 DAS] nitrogen scheduling were found promising under rainfed situation because it recorded maximum value of growth parameters, yield attributes, grain yield and quality parameters (protein, mineral and dickson quality index). Thus, it can be inferred that JM 218 and N5 nitrogen schedule would be a better choice than alternative options. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Fertility and Plant Nutrition in Sustainable Crop Production)
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Article
Towards Understanding the Landscapes of Neighbourhood Research: An Insight from Bibliometric Analysis
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3115; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053115 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 669
Abstract
The concept of neighbourhood remains contested and negotiated, and how to define it continues to be subject to debate. Neighbourhood is important for understanding social processes, behavioural characteristics, policy implementation and development initiatives. Until now, no attempt has been made to statistically characterise [...] Read more.
The concept of neighbourhood remains contested and negotiated, and how to define it continues to be subject to debate. Neighbourhood is important for understanding social processes, behavioural characteristics, policy implementation and development initiatives. Until now, no attempt has been made to statistically characterise the field. This study aims to provide a macroscopic overview using bibliometric analysis of the main characteristics of neighbourhood research publications in order to understand the academic landscape. This characterisation will help to understand the scholarship nuances, which are often difficult to grasp by reading selected academic papers. The study analyses the emergence and evolution of the concept of neighbourhood in published research, its global regional distribution and extent of collaboration between regions, the contribution of institutions, author and journal productivity, as well as scholarship clusters of neighbourhood publications. The paper shows that the subfield of neighbourhood research is predominantly under the hegemony of the United States, given its major role in publication records, institutional contributions and international collaborations. While most studies have concentrated on social and environmental aspects of neighbourhood, topics related to the local economy of neighbourhoods are sparse, suggesting a major gap in the literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Article
Mindful Application of Digitalization for Sustainable Development: The Digitainability Assessment Framework
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3114; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053114 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 977
Abstract
Digitalization is widely recognized as a transformative power for sustainable development. Careful alignment of progress made by digitalization with the globally acknowledged Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is crucial for inclusive and holistic sustainable development in the digital era. However, limited reference has been [...] Read more.
Digitalization is widely recognized as a transformative power for sustainable development. Careful alignment of progress made by digitalization with the globally acknowledged Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is crucial for inclusive and holistic sustainable development in the digital era. However, limited reference has been made in SDGs about harnessing the opportunities offered by digitalization capabilities. Moreover, research on inhibiting or enabling effects of digitalization considering its multi-faceted interlinkages with the SDGs and their targets is fragmented. There are only limited instances in the literature examining and categorizing the impact of digitalization on sustainable development. To overcome this gap, this paper introduces a new Digitainability Assessment Framework (DAF) for context-aware practical assessment of the impact of the digitalization intervention on the SDGs. The DAF facilitates in-depth assessment of the many diverse technical, social, ethical, and environmental aspects of a digital intervention by systematically examining its impact on the SDG indicators. Our approach draws on and adapts concepts of the Theory of Change (ToC). The DAF should support developers, users as well policymakers by providing a 360-degree perspective on the impact of digital services or products, as well as providing hints for its possible improvement. We demonstrate the application of the DAF with the three test case studies illustrating how it supports in providing a holistic view of the relation between digitalization and SDGs. Full article
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Article
Human Activity Intensity in China under Multi-Factor Interactions: Spatiotemporal Characteristics and Influencing Factors
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3113; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053113 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 520
Abstract
Human activities involving nature have various environmental impacts. The assessment of the spatial and temporal evolution of human activity intensity (HAI) and its driving forces is significant for determining the effects of human activities on regional ecological environments and regulating such activities. This [...] Read more.
Human activities involving nature have various environmental impacts. The assessment of the spatial and temporal evolution of human activity intensity (HAI) and its driving forces is significant for determining the effects of human activities on regional ecological environments and regulating such activities. This research quantified the HAI of China, assessed its spatiotemporal characteristics, and analyzed its influencing factors based on the land use data and panel data of 31 provinces in mainland China. The results indicate that the HAI in China is increasing, with the average value increasing from 15.83% in 1980 to 20.04% in 2018, and the HAI was relatively serious in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei region, Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta in this period. The spatial differences in the HAI in China show a pattern of being strong in the east and weak in the west, and the spatial center of gravity of China’s HAI has gradually moved west, changing from a central enhancement mode to a point-like “core” enhancement mode. The dominant factors affecting spatial differences in HAI are economic and industrial levels. Labor, population, and capital factors also strongly impact HAI, and energy consumption and pollution emissions have little impact. These results deepen the understanding of the underlying mechanism of the environmental impact of human activities and provide a scientific basis for land-use-related decision making and eco-environment construction. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Urban Mobility via a Pressure-State-Response (PSR) Model with the IVIF-AHP and FCE Methods: A Case Study of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3112; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053112 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 596
Abstract
Urban transportation issues continue to emerge and evolve as a result of rapid urbanization, and the systematic and scientific assessment of urban mobility is becoming increasingly essential. In this work, a Pressure-State-Response (PSR) model with 25 indicators was established to reflect the status [...] Read more.
Urban transportation issues continue to emerge and evolve as a result of rapid urbanization, and the systematic and scientific assessment of urban mobility is becoming increasingly essential. In this work, a Pressure-State-Response (PSR) model with 25 indicators was established to reflect the status of urban mobility. Then, the importance of indicators was determined with the interval-valued intuitionistic fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (IVIF-AHP) method, and the fuzzy comprehensive evaluation (FCE) method was applied to assess the overall status of urban mobility. The validity of the proposed model was demonstrated using the mobility system of Beijing as a case study, and the pressure, state, and response scores were calculated. The proposed assessment model can help to improve urban transportation monitoring and can also provide a scientific foundation for future urban transportation policymaking, planning, and traffic management, thereby further ensuring the sustainable development of urban transportation systems. Full article
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Article
Impact of Government Subsidy Strategies on Supply Chains Considering Carbon Emission Reduction and Marketing Efforts
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3111; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053111 - 07 Mar 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 574
Abstract
This study analyzes the impact of different government subsidies on supply chain members under the low-carbon policy. Using the theory and the Stackelberg game method, we derive the equilibrium decision of diverse government subsidy models on the carbon emission reduction efforts and marketing [...] Read more.
This study analyzes the impact of different government subsidies on supply chain members under the low-carbon policy. Using the theory and the Stackelberg game method, we derive the equilibrium decision of diverse government subsidy models on the carbon emission reduction efforts and marketing efforts of supply chain members when manufacturers are dominant. We found that government subsidies positively influenced the carbon emission reduction efforts and marketing efforts of supply chain members and could increase the overall profit of the supply chain and the overall welfare of society. Meanwhile, social welfare increased first and then decreased with the subsidy, and there was a maximum value. Within a certain threshold, when the market demand was sensitive to carbon emission reduction efforts, it was more beneficial to subsidize manufacturers, and when it was sensitive to marketing efforts, subsidizing retailers was more beneficial. Regardless of the subsidy situation, an optimal subsidy rate exists among supply chain members. Meanwhile, adjusting government subsidy measures can decrease the profit gap between supply chain members, and it provides potential possibilities for cooperation among supply chain members. Full article
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Article
Intergenerational Occupational Mobility, Labor Migration and Sustained Demographic Dividends
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3110; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053110 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 528
Abstract
Based on the 1% sample survey of the National Population Census (2015), this paper empirically analyzes the impact of intergenerational occupational mobility levels on labor migration in terms of push and pull factors. We found that increasing the degree of intergenerational occupational mobility [...] Read more.
Based on the 1% sample survey of the National Population Census (2015), this paper empirically analyzes the impact of intergenerational occupational mobility levels on labor migration in terms of push and pull factors. We found that increasing the degree of intergenerational occupational mobility has a significant “agglomeration effect” on registered and mobile labor: reducing the emigration willingness of household registered labor and increasing the immigration probability of labor from cities with a lower degree of intergenerational occupational mobility. Labor migration generally occurs from cities with lower intergenerational occupational mobility to cities with a higher degree of intergenerational occupational mobility. The heterogeneity analysis reveals that the agglomeration effect of a city on native labor is insignificant in east, northwest and northeast China. Rural laborers, highly educated laborers and rural laborers with high education levels are more likely to move from their registered cities. The mechanism analysis finds that improving the city’s comprehensive economic incremental competitiveness will enhance the city’s agglomeration effect on native labor, while increasing the degree of educational returns will strengthen the city’s agglomeration effect on mobile labor from cities with a lower degree of intergenerational mobility. Moreover, after using IV-probit, IV-2SLS and heteroscedasticity-based IVs to deal with endogenous problems, the above conclusions are still robust. Our findings may contribute to realizing sustained demographic dividends through internal migration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Labor Economics and Sustainability)
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Article
Evaluation of the Response of Grain Productivity to Different Arable Land Allocation Intensities in the Land Use Planning System of China
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3109; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053109 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 442
Abstract
This study measured the spatio-temporal change of the Arable Land Allocation Intensity (ALAI), and established a toughness index to evaluate the responses of grain productivities to the ALAIs in 31 provinces. The results show that the ALAI decreased in 31 provinces during 2005–2020, [...] Read more.
This study measured the spatio-temporal change of the Arable Land Allocation Intensity (ALAI), and established a toughness index to evaluate the responses of grain productivities to the ALAIs in 31 provinces. The results show that the ALAI decreased in 31 provinces during 2005–2020, whereas the grain productivity responses differed. Though China’s Major Grain producing areas (CMGPA) experienced decreasing arable land allocation intensities compared with the non-CMGPAs, they still showed a robust toughness of grain productivity. The spatial barycenter of grain productivity moved towards Northeast China, which was much faster and further than the northwest movement of the ALAI, indicating a dislocated motion of grain production and ALAI. In all, both the toughness of grain productivity and the tightening arable land allocation intensities were apparent in the CMGPAs, especially in the northeastern CMGPAs in China. In order to improve the grain productivity on shrinking arable land resources, this study suggests that we tighten the quota of arable land transformed into construction land, improve the per-unit grain yield, and enhance the remote sensing technology and field surveys to better monitor the local governments’ performance in arable land management. Full article
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Article
Electric Vehicles Aggregation for Frequency Control of Microgrid under Various Operation Conditions Using an Optimal Coordinated Strategy
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3108; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053108 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 449
Abstract
This paper presents a novel optimal coordinated strategy for frequency regulation (FR) through electric vehicles (EVs) under variable power system operation states (PSOSs). The methodology ensures a secure and economical operation of the power system through the coordination of the frequency regulation, the [...] Read more.
This paper presents a novel optimal coordinated strategy for frequency regulation (FR) through electric vehicles (EVs) under variable power system operation states (PSOSs). The methodology ensures a secure and economical operation of the power system through the coordination of the frequency regulation, the power of the electric vehicles and generators with multiple optimization objectives. In the normal state of operation of the power system, the battery degradation cost is taken into account and accordingly the minimum FR cost is utilized as an objective. On the other hand, for abnormal operation, the optimization objective considers the minimum frequency restoration duration. Different scenarios have been investigated to validate the proposed method. The simulation results confirm the usefulness and superior performance of the proposed optimized coordinated control strategy. Full article
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Article
Can High Levels of Hindrance Demands Increase the Worker’s Intellectual Response?
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053107 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 497
Abstract
Job demands are factors that are associated with a physical and psychological cost when it comes to coping with them, but which can also positively affect the motivational process. Demands such as overload, defined as an excessive workload, have not presented positive results [...] Read more.
Job demands are factors that are associated with a physical and psychological cost when it comes to coping with them, but which can also positively affect the motivational process. Demands such as overload, defined as an excessive workload, have not presented positive results in any of the studies that have related it to employee engagement. The present study aims to delve into the possible positive effect of this demand on the intellectual bonding of employees. It is hypothesized that: (a) Initially, the increase in the perception of work overload will show a negative influence on the intellectual engagement of the employees; but (b) high perceptions of overload will change this effect, producing an increase in the intellectual dimension of engagement. The sample is made up of 706 employees of a Spanish multinational company. The results support this asymmetric curvilinear influence. The level of intellectual engagement is significantly reduced when the role overload increases from the lower values of the scale. However, upon reaching high levels of role overload, the intellectual engagement response begins to grow. These results challenge the conceptualization of overload as only negative and opens the door to consider that the positive response to a demand can also occur at high levels of it. Full article
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Article
Risk Assessment and Prediction of Air Pollution Disasters in Four Chinese Regions
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3106; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053106 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 642
Abstract
Evaluating the regional trends of air pollution disaster risk in areas of heavy industry and economically developed cities is vital for regional sustainable development. Until now, previous studies have mainly adopted a traditional weighted comprehensive evaluation method to analyze the air pollution disaster [...] Read more.
Evaluating the regional trends of air pollution disaster risk in areas of heavy industry and economically developed cities is vital for regional sustainable development. Until now, previous studies have mainly adopted a traditional weighted comprehensive evaluation method to analyze the air pollution disaster risk. This research has integrated principal component analysis (PCA), a genetic algorithm (GA) and a backpropagation (BP) neural network to evaluate the regional disaster risk. Hazard risk, hazard-laden environment sensitivity, hazard-bearing body vulnerability and disaster resilience were used to measure the degree of disaster risk. The main findings were: (1) the air pollution disaster risk index of Liaoning Province, Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong Province increased year by year from 2010 to 2019; (2) the mean absolute error (MAE), root mean square error (RMSE) and mean absolute percentage error (MAPE) of each regional air pollution disaster risk index in 2019, as predicted by the PCA-GA-BP neural network, were 0.607, 0.317 and 20.3%, respectively; (3) the predicted results were more accurate than those using a PCA-BP neural network, GA-BP neural network, traditional BP neural network, support vector regression (SVR) or extreme gradient boosting (XGBoost), which verified that machine learning could be used as a method of air pollution disaster risk assessment to a considerable extent. Full article
(This article belongs to the Topic Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Developing Sustainable Careers during a Pandemic: The Role of Psychological Capital and Career Adaptability
Sustainability 2022, 14(5), 3105; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14053105 - 07 Mar 2022
Viewed by 1014
Abstract
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has not only had negative effects on employees’ health, but also on their prospects to gain and maintain employment. Using a longitudinal research design with two measurement points, we investigated the ramifications of various psychological and organizational resources [...] Read more.
The Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has not only had negative effects on employees’ health, but also on their prospects to gain and maintain employment. Using a longitudinal research design with two measurement points, we investigated the ramifications of various psychological and organizational resources on employees’ careers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, in a sample of German employees (N = 305), we investigated the role of psychological capital (PsyCap) for four career-related outcomes: career satisfaction, career engagement, coping with changes in career due to COVID-19, and career-related COVID-19 worries. We also employed leader–member exchange (LMX) as a moderator and career adaptability as a mediating variable in these relationships. Results from path analyses revealed a positive association between PsyCap and career satisfaction and career coping. Furthermore, PsyCap was indirectly related to career engagement through career adaptability. However, moderation analysis showed no moderating role of LMX on the link between PsyCap and career adaptability. Our study contributes to the systematic research concerning the role of psychological and organizational resources for employees’ careers and well-being, especially for crisis contexts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Employability and Career Success in Times of COVID-19)
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