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Sustainability, Volume 16, Issue 5 (March-1 2024) – 513 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): Planning for resilient cities requires an evidence-based understanding of flood risk and the involvement of stakeholders and local actors. The paper addresses research developed within the URCA! (Urban Resilience to Climate Change: to activate the participatory mapping and decision support tool for enhancing sustainable urban drainage) project. A top-down/bottom-up participatory and flexible methodology for the conception of intergenerational participatory mapping aimed at the planning and installation of sustainable urban drainage systems on the territory was then developed.
The innovative methodology was applied to the Genoa case study in northern Italy. The georeferenced and intergenerational participatory map may be integrated into a decision support system to be developed as a guidance tool for public administration. View this paper
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28 pages, 2684 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Environmental Regulation on Collaborative Innovation Efficiency: Is the Porter Hypothesis Valid in Chengdu–Chongqing Urban Agglomeration?
by Zhaohan Wang, Ying Fu and Junqian Wu
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2223; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052223 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 898
Abstract
Under the advocacy of sustainable and innovation-driven development, the potential impact of environmental regulation on collaborative innovation has become a controversial issue. This article uses panel data from 16 cities in the Chengdu–Chongqing urban agglomeration from 2011 to 2021 to analyze the impact [...] Read more.
Under the advocacy of sustainable and innovation-driven development, the potential impact of environmental regulation on collaborative innovation has become a controversial issue. This article uses panel data from 16 cities in the Chengdu–Chongqing urban agglomeration from 2011 to 2021 to analyze the impact of environmental regulation on collaborative innovation efficiency. First, this study uses the two-stage DEA model to analyze each city’s industry–university–research collaborative innovation efficiency. Then, the impact of environmental regulation on collaborative innovation is analyzed using the Tobit model. The results show that in the temporal dimension, the collaborative innovation efficiency of each city shows an upward trend. This demonstrates the outstanding effectiveness of transforming knowledge into technology for economic development. In the spatial dimension, the collaborative innovation efficiency of this urban agglomeration shows a “high in the center and low in the surroundings” pattern. The Tobit regression model shows that environmental regulation significantly impacts collaborative innovation in the Chengdu–Chongqing urban agglomeration. Command-and-control environmental regulation policies have a threshold effect on collaborative innovation, verifying the Porter hypothesis that appropriate environmental regulation promotes innovative activities. The results provide an initial basis for formulating regional environmental policies to achieve a win–win situation for innovation and sustainability in underdeveloped regions. Full article
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43 pages, 5214 KiB  
Article
G20 Tourism Carbon Footprint and COVID-19 Impact
by Akihiko Tsutsumi, Ryuzo Furukawa, Yusuke Kitamura and Norihiro Itsubo
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2222; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052222 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 1005
Abstract
The Glasgow Declaration called for scientifically based measurements of CO2 emissions in the tourism industry to monitor progress toward the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. Despite the economic and employment downturn caused by COVID-19, there are limited cases of [...] Read more.
The Glasgow Declaration called for scientifically based measurements of CO2 emissions in the tourism industry to monitor progress toward the achievement of the goals of the Paris Agreement. Despite the economic and employment downturn caused by COVID-19, there are limited cases of environmental assessments related to tourism. In this study, we estimated the CFP of the tourism industry in the G20 countries before and after COVID-19. By combining the MRIO and Tourism Satellite Accounts, we clarified the different impacts on the markets for domestic tourism and inbound tourism, aiming to provide a quantitative basis for setting scientifically grounded goals towards the transition to sustainable tourism. The GHG emissions from tourism mainly stem from transportation, but souvenirs, accommodations, and food and beverages also result in significant differences among countries. The pandemic has greatly impacted the tourism industry. In 2020, the GHG emissions from both domestic and inbound tourism significantly decreased due to the decrease in the number of tourists. In some countries, measures against COVID-19 influenced these figures, and although signs of recovery were observed in 2021, the degree of reduction varied by country. These emission reductions should be the goals pursued by the tourism industry in the post-COVID-19 era, and efforts should be made to achieve sustainable tourism. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of COVID-19 on Tourism)
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23 pages, 3409 KiB  
Review
State of the Art of Research towards Sustainable Power Electronics
by Florentin Salomez, Hugo Helbling, Morgan Almanza, Ulrich Soupremanien, Guillaume Viné, Adrien Voldoire, Bruno Allard, Hamid Ben-Ahmed, Daniel Chatroux, Antoine Cizeron, Mylène Delhommais, Murielle Fayolle-Lecocq, Vincent Grennerat, Pierre-Oliver Jeannin, Lionel Laudebat, Boubakr Rahmani, Paul-Étienne Vidal, Luiz Villa, Laurent Dupont and Jean-Christophe Crébier
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2221; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052221 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 829
Abstract
Sustainability in power electronics is a recent research topic. It takes place among current actions to grasp design choices that enable eco-design and circular economy in the domain. This paper shows the results and analysis of a literature review at the intersection of [...] Read more.
Sustainability in power electronics is a recent research topic. It takes place among current actions to grasp design choices that enable eco-design and circular economy in the domain. This paper shows the results and analysis of a literature review at the intersection of power electronics and sustainability without considering the reliability study of the power electronics systems. The first part explains the scope of the study. The second part shows a bibliometric analysis of the collected publications that underlines a pioneering position at the European level. The third part details the state-of-the-art and its analysis over four investigation topics which are: tools and methods, indicators, circularity and materials. This paper and the work behind are the results of collaboration at the French national level, as part of the workgroup CEPPS (Convertisseurs Electronique de Puissance Plus Soutenables—More Sustainable Power Electronics Converters) supported by the CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique—French National Centre for Scientific Research) research group SEEDS (Systèmes d’énergie électrique dans leurs dimensions sociétales—Societal dimensions of electrical energy systems). Full article
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22 pages, 14762 KiB  
Article
Copper-Plated Nanoporous Anodized Aluminum Oxide for Solar Desalination: An Experimental Study
by Ajay Kumar Kaviti, Yerolla Pavan Kumar and Vineet Singh Sikarwar
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2220; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052220 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 527
Abstract
Currently, there is a shortage of potable water in several regions. Various alternative methods exist for producing purified water; however, one particular technology known as solar desalination is gaining prominence as a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. Solar desalination harnesses solar energy to [...] Read more.
Currently, there is a shortage of potable water in several regions. Various alternative methods exist for producing purified water; however, one particular technology known as solar desalination is gaining prominence as a sustainable and environmentally friendly solution. Solar desalination harnesses solar energy to produce fresh water in regions with abundant sunlight. This study involved the fabrication of a nanostructured porous material composed of copper using anodization, followed by copper electroplating. In order to create three distinct nanoporous structures, we utilized three anodization periods of 40 min, 60 min, and 80 min. Subsequently, these structures underwent a copper deposition process for 30 min using the copper electroplating technique. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy-dispersive X-ray (EDAX), and X-ray diffraction (XRD) techniques were utilized to analyze the characteristics of the copper-plated nanoporous structure. Three distinct samples were utilized in solar desalination experiments, employing solar stills over a span of three consecutive days, with each sample being tested on a separate day. All three samples underwent desalination, unlike the standard solar still, which did not include any sample. Our observation revealed that the sample, which underwent 60 min of anodization followed by copper electroplating, had a significantly greater evaporation rate of 22.22% compared to the conventional still. Full article
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15 pages, 635 KiB  
Review
Review of Sources of Uncertainty and Techniques Used in Uncertainty Quantification and Sensitivity Analysis to Estimate Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Ruminants
by Erica Hargety Kimei, Devotha G. Nyambo, Neema Mduma and Shubi Kaijage
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2219; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052219 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 666
Abstract
Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis are essential for improving the modeling and estimation of greenhouse gas emissions in livestock farming to evaluate and reduce the impact of uncertainty in input parameters to model output. The present study is a comprehensive review of the [...] Read more.
Uncertainty quantification and sensitivity analysis are essential for improving the modeling and estimation of greenhouse gas emissions in livestock farming to evaluate and reduce the impact of uncertainty in input parameters to model output. The present study is a comprehensive review of the sources of uncertainty and techniques used in uncertainty analysis, quantification, and sensitivity analysis. The search process involved rigorous selection criteria and articles retrieved from the Science Direct, Google Scholar, and Scopus databases and exported to RAYYAN for further screening. This review found that identifying the sources of uncertainty, implementing quantifying uncertainty, and analyzing sensitivity are of utmost importance in accurately estimating greenhouse gas emissions. This study proposes the development of an EcoPrecision framework for enhanced precision livestock farming, and estimation of emissions, to address the uncertainties in greenhouse gas emissions and climate change mitigation. Full article
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24 pages, 6241 KiB  
Article
Hybrid Renewable Production Scheduling for a PV–Wind-EV-Battery Architecture Using Sequential Quadratic Programming and Long Short-Term Memory–K-Nearest Neighbors Learning for Smart Buildings
by Asmae Chakir and Mohamed Tabaa
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2218; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052218 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
Electricity demand in residential areas is generally met by the local low-voltage grid or, alternatively, the national grid, which produces electricity using thermal power stations based on conventional sources. These generators are holding back the revolution and the transition to a green planet, [...] Read more.
Electricity demand in residential areas is generally met by the local low-voltage grid or, alternatively, the national grid, which produces electricity using thermal power stations based on conventional sources. These generators are holding back the revolution and the transition to a green planet, being unable to cope with climatic constraints. In the residential context, to ensure a smooth transition to an ecological green city, the idea of using alternative sources will offer the solution. These alternatives must be renewable and naturally available on the planet. This requires a generation that is very responsive to the constraints of the 21st century. However, these sources are intermittent and require a hybrid solution known as Hybrid Renewable Energy Systems (HRESs). To this end, we have designed a hybrid system based on PV-, wind-turbine- and grid-supported battery storage and an electric vehicle connected to a residential building. We proposed an energy management system based on nonlinear programming. This optimization was solved using sequential quadrature programming. The data were then processed using a long short-term memory (LSTM) model to predict, with the contribution and cooperation of each source, how to meet the energy needs of each home. The prediction was ensured with an accuracy of around 95%. These prediction results have been injected into K-nearest neighbors (KNN), random forest (RF) and gradient boost (GRU) repressors to predict the storage collaboration rates handled by the local battery and the electric vehicle. Results have shown an R2_score of 0.6953, 0.8381, and 0.739, respectively. This combination permitted an efficient prediction of the potential consumption from the grid with a value of an R²-score of around 0.9834 using LSTM. This methodology is effective in allowing us to know in advance the amount of energy of each source, storage, and excess grid injection and to propose the switching control of the hybrid architecture. Full article
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17 pages, 883 KiB  
Article
Patent Protection Policy and Firms’ Green Technology Innovation: Mediating Roles of Open Innovation and Human Capital
by Dong Chen and Shi Chen
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2217; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052217 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 706
Abstract
Green innovations such as renewable energy technologies and cleaner process modifications are important technical routes and critical directions for reducing carbon emissions from industrial production processes. This study examines the impact of intellectual property protection on green technology innovation, constructing a progressive difference-in-differences [...] Read more.
Green innovations such as renewable energy technologies and cleaner process modifications are important technical routes and critical directions for reducing carbon emissions from industrial production processes. This study examines the impact of intellectual property protection on green technology innovation, constructing a progressive difference-in-differences model using 849 listed manufacturing firms panel data from 2007 to 2019 and taking the Chinese Intellectual Property Rights model cities as a quasi-natural experiment. Our study finds that the pilot policy significantly enhances corporate green innovation. When considering heterogeneity, the policy treatment effect is more remarkable for large firms, state-owned enterprises, and industries where technology can be easily imitated. Moreover, the mediating effect shows that the policy promotes green innovation by encouraging firms’ research and development cooperation and increasing human capital levels. This study proposes that policymakers should reinforce intellectual property protection, encourage companies to be better and bigger, and emphasize the intermediary function of open innovation and human capital in green technology innovation. Full article
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15 pages, 6300 KiB  
Article
Solar Landscapes: A Methodology for the Adaptive Integration of Renewable Energy Production into Cultural Landscapes
by Chrili Car, Erwin Frohmann and Dagmar Grimm-Pretner
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2216; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052216 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 643
Abstract
The increasing use of solar energy is an integral step toward carbon neutrality. At the same time, outdoor solar farms are significantly altering existing cultural landscapes. This work examines the possibilities of integrating the use of solar energy into these landscapes in such [...] Read more.
The increasing use of solar energy is an integral step toward carbon neutrality. At the same time, outdoor solar farms are significantly altering existing cultural landscapes. This work examines the possibilities of integrating the use of solar energy into these landscapes in such a way that the unique, regional character of places is preserved and enhanced. The research project that was carried out developed a conceptual design approach that takes as its starting point landscape architectural and aesthetic analyses of existing sites in Styria, Austria, the spatial characteristics of the cultural landscapes in which they are embedded, and their suitability for generating solar energy. The comparison of a site’s characteristics with the technical possibilities evaluated from a literature review enables a responsive design practice using solar modules. The result is a method of landscape architectural design that integrates solar energy on the basis of an adaptive site-specific approach as well as a catalogue of sample cases that illustrate how designing with solar modules can honor and add value to existing places while enhancing their ecological, economic, and social functions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Resilient Cultural Landscapes—Methods, Applications and Patterns)
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16 pages, 1736 KiB  
Article
A Comparison of the Chronologies of Introduced versus Native Coniferous Tree Species Growing in Northwestern Poland during the Period of Global Warming
by Anna Cedro and Grzegorz Nowak
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2215; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052215 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 482
Abstract
The ongoing climatic changes are causing the extinction of numerous species or their withdrawal from previously occupied areas. The environmental and economic significance of introduced species may increase. The aim of the present study was to examine the rate of growth of coniferous [...] Read more.
The ongoing climatic changes are causing the extinction of numerous species or their withdrawal from previously occupied areas. The environmental and economic significance of introduced species may increase. The aim of the present study was to examine the rate of growth of coniferous species growing in northwestern Poland and to analyze the tree ring width–climate relationships. Six tree species were selected for this study. Two of these species have natural occurrences in Poland: Pinus sylvestris and Larix decidua. The remaining four species were introduced from North America: Chamaecyparis lawsoniana, Thuja plicata, Pseudotsuga menziesii, and Pinus strobus. Samples were collected from 131 trees using a Pressler borer at 1.3 m above ground. Tree ring widths were measured down to 0.01 mm. Climatic data were retrieved from a weather station located 23 km from the study plot. The average tree ring width reaches the lowest value for the P. sylvestris chronology (1.62 mm/year) and for P. strobus (1.69 mm/year), and the highest value is reached for T. plicata (2.80 mm/year) and P. menziesii (2.56 mm/year). The analysis of weather conditions in the designated pointer years and the response function analysis indicate that winter and early spring air temperature is the factor responsible for the formation of wide tree rings in the following species studied: P. sylvestris, C. lawsoniana, P. menziesii, and T. plicata. For L. decidua and P. strobus, the climate–growth relationships are different: weather conditions in the previous growth year are important, and it is the weather in the late spring and summer months. Two of the investigated introduced species (T. plicata and P. menziesii) are characterized by very good acclimatization and are best adapted to the new habitat during the current climate changes. These tree species can constitute a basis for replacing native species, which, due to increasingly severe droughts and higher temperatures, are doing less and less well in their current habitats. Foresters wanting to conduct sustainable forest management will look for replacement species that are well adapted to new habitat conditions in order to maintain the continuity of forest cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Forestry)
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24 pages, 793 KiB  
Article
A Study on the Impact of Pilot Carbon Emission Trading Policies on Corporate Performance
by Guihuan Yan and Zhilei Shi
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2214; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052214 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 529
Abstract
This paper uses the carbon emission trading policy as a quasi-natural experiment to comprehensively investigate its impact on the financial and market performance of firms. The study uses data from A-share listed companies for the period from 2009 to 2022 and adopts the [...] Read more.
This paper uses the carbon emission trading policy as a quasi-natural experiment to comprehensively investigate its impact on the financial and market performance of firms. The study uses data from A-share listed companies for the period from 2009 to 2022 and adopts the difference-in-differences model for a rigorous analysis. The mediating effect of financing constraints and the moderating role of managerial capabilities are examined with respect to the influencing mechanisms; heterogeneity was also analyzed in terms of carbon allowance allocation methods, carbon prices, environmental enforcement efforts, and type of industry. The results of the study show that the carbon trading policy has a significant effect on improving the financial performance of firms, while also inhibiting their market performance. The feasibility of the findings was further validated after conducting robustness tests such as propensity score matching and placebo tests. The mechanism analysis finds that financing constraints play a masking effect on the impact of carbon trading policies on firms’ financial performance; managerial competence can positively moderate firms’ market performance. Heterogeneity analysis shows that the inhibitory effect of emissions trading policies on market performance is more significant for firms in regions with a smaller share of free allowances. For companies in high carbon price regions, carbon trading policies have a more significant impact on financial performance. For companies located in regions with higher levels of environmental enforcement, the positive effect of carbon trading policies on financial performance is unchanged, but the dampening effect on market performance is more significant. Carbon trading policies have a stronger positive effect on the financial performance of high-polluting firms, but a more significant dampening effect on the market performance of low-polluting firms. The findings of this study enhance China’s research framework on the economic impacts of carbon trading policies on micro-enterprises, promoting sustainable business development and serving as a useful reference for policy sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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16 pages, 687 KiB  
Article
Perceptions from Member-Consumers of a University Community for Sustainable and Healthy Eating: Evidence from Greece
by Athina Mastora, Fotios Chatzitheodoridis and Dimitris Skalkos
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2213; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052213 - 06 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 532
Abstract
Healthy eating is a vital component of a sustainable daily life, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we investigated the perceptions and attitudes of the members of a Greek university community, especially the young members, on: (i) health itself, (ii) healthy [...] Read more.
Healthy eating is a vital component of a sustainable daily life, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic. In this study, we investigated the perceptions and attitudes of the members of a Greek university community, especially the young members, on: (i) health itself, (ii) healthy eating, and (iii) healthy eating campaigns today. The research was conducted electronically in the last three months of 2023 via a questionnaire survey and 1046 member-consumers participated. Statistical analysis, including descriptive and cluster analysis to group respondents into homogenous segments, was performed by employing a one-way ANOVA. The highlights of the results indicate that consumers perceive physical and mental health and energy efficiency as health preconditions, while they perceive a balanced and sustainable diet as the main parameter of healthy eating. They are influenced mostly by doctors and health providers and use information mostly based on common sense and their upbringing for their healthy eating choices. The cluster analysis revealed two distinctive groups of consumers categorized by this study as the “approachables” (54.5%), affected by today’s sustainable knowledge and concepts on healthy eating, and the “conservatives” (45.5%), who are reluctant to accepted these as such. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Food)
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20 pages, 11865 KiB  
Article
Temporal and Spatial Evolution of Meteorological Drought in Inner Mongolia Inland River Basin and Its Driving Factors
by Weijie Zhang, Hengzhi Guo, Yingjie Wu, Zezhong Zhang, Hang Yin, Kai Feng, Jian Liu and Bin Fu
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052212 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 559
Abstract
In order to analyze the temporal and spatial evolution of meteorological drought and explore its driving factors, the inland river basin of Inner Mongolia (IMIRB) was taken as a typical research area, the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) of various scales was calculated, [...] Read more.
In order to analyze the temporal and spatial evolution of meteorological drought and explore its driving factors, the inland river basin of Inner Mongolia (IMIRB) was taken as a typical research area, the Standardized Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI) of various scales was calculated, and the spatio-temporal trend change characteristics of meteorological drought were analyzed combined with the modified Mann–Kendall trend test (MMK). The typical meteorological drought events were analyzed by using the three-dimensional identification method, and the spatio-temporal evolution characteristics and dynamic evolution law of meteorological drought were analyzed comprehensively and accurately. The driving effects of Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), North Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO), Arctic Oscillation (AO), El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and sunspot on meteorological drought were investigated by using the cross wavelet method. The results are as follows: (1) with the increase of SPEI time scale, the frequency of meteorological drought decreased, but the duration and intensity of drought increased; (2) the trend was greatest in spring, with the largest number of areas showing a significant downward trend in SPEI, the strongest persistence in intensity, and significant aridification characteristics; (3) summer meteorological droughts had the largest area of high intensity drought but the smallest area of high frequency areas, and winter droughts had the smallest area of high intensity drought but the largest percentage of high frequency areas; (4) the meteorological drought event that occurred from April 2017 to December 2017 was the most serious, and reached its maximum value in June 2017, which mainly experienced five processes: occurrence—intensification—attenuation—re-intensification—extinction; (5) atmospheric circulation factor, sunspot, and meteorological drought of IMIRB were correlated, and ENSO had the greatest effect on drought. This study provides effective theoretical support for IMIRB drought prevention and disaster reduction. Full article
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22 pages, 1049 KiB  
Article
MMKG-PAR: Multi-Modal Knowledge Graphs-Based Personalized Attraction Recommendation
by Gengyue Zhang, Hao Li, Shuangling Li, Beibei Wang and Zhixing Ding
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2211; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052211 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 575
Abstract
As the tourism industry rapidly develops, providing personalized attraction recommendations has become a hot research area. Knowledge graphs, with their rich semantic information and entity relationships, not only enhance the accuracy and personalization of recommendation systems but also energize the sustainable development of [...] Read more.
As the tourism industry rapidly develops, providing personalized attraction recommendations has become a hot research area. Knowledge graphs, with their rich semantic information and entity relationships, not only enhance the accuracy and personalization of recommendation systems but also energize the sustainable development of the tourism industry. Current research mainly focuses on single-modal knowledge modeling, limiting the in-depth understanding of complex entity characteristics and relationships. To address this challenge, this paper proposes a multi-modal knowledge graphs-based personalized attraction recommendation (MMKG-PAR) model. We utilized data from the “Travel Yunnan” app, along with users’ historical interaction data, to construct a collaborative multi-modal knowledge graph for Yunnan tourist attractions, which includes various forms such as images and text. Then, we employed advanced feature extraction methods to extract useful features from multi-modal data (images and text), and these were used as entity attributes to enhance the representation of entity nodes. To more effectively process graph-structured data and capture the complex relationships between nodes, our model incorporated graph neural networks and introduced an attention mechanism for mining and inferring higher-order information about entities. Additionally, MMKG-PAR introduced a dynamic time-weighted strategy for representing users, effectively capturing and precisely describing the dynamics of user behavior. Experimental results demonstrate that MMKG-PAR surpasses existing methods in personalized recommendations, providing significant support for the continuous development and innovation in the tourism industry. Full article
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30 pages, 18455 KiB  
Article
Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Different Urban Fabrics to Face Increasingly Hot Summer Days Due to Climate Change
by Paola Lassandro, Sara Antonella Zaccaro and Silvia Di Turi
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052210 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 492
Abstract
As global warming and heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe, cities, with their different morphological districts, must be at the forefront of environmental challenges. Notably, many Mediterranean towns maintain the original medieval urban fabric and the regular one. The research focuses [...] Read more.
As global warming and heat waves are becoming more frequent and severe, cities, with their different morphological districts, must be at the forefront of environmental challenges. Notably, many Mediterranean towns maintain the original medieval urban fabric and the regular one. The research focuses on the development of a methodology with the application of high-resolution 3D modelling software ENVI-met V5.1 to analyze the microclimatic effects of mitigation and adaptation strategies derived from the study of medieval and regular urban fabric. The aim is to address contemporary challenges such as heat waves and urban heat island (UHI) effects in modern cities. By studying outdoor energy behavior in a southern Italian city (Bari), the research proposes scenarios for urban settlements in the face of climate change. This approach provides recommendations for creating more climate-resilient urban environments both in the historic and modern city. The use of trees with large crowns and tall shrubs and the inclusion of fountain jets are strategies to achieve sky view factor and air temperatures in the modern city similar to those in the historical fabric. Increasing albedo values and the use of green roofs prove to be further strategies for improving outdoor climatic conditions. Full article
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0 pages, 34558 KiB  
Article
Measuring the Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Levels of Pakistani Megacities for TOD Application: A Case Study of Lahore
by Ayesha Anwar, Hong Leng, Humayun Ashraf and Alina Haider
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2209; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052209 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 779
Abstract
The urbanization challenges in the megacities of Pakistan necessitate the implementation of comprehensive sustainable development practices to effectively address contemporary urban issues. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a globally accepted device in achieving sustainable urban development through transport and land use integration. Evaluating the [...] Read more.
The urbanization challenges in the megacities of Pakistan necessitate the implementation of comprehensive sustainable development practices to effectively address contemporary urban issues. Transit-oriented development (TOD) is a globally accepted device in achieving sustainable urban development through transport and land use integration. Evaluating the levels of TOD built in present conditions is essential for productive TOD planning, as it enables the prioritization of development interferences. In this context, we utilized a methodology to evaluate the levels of TOD (TOD-ness) present near transportation nodes through a TOD index. It utilizes ArcGIS and spatial multi-criteria analysis (SMCA) to determine the extent of TOD-supporting qualities around a transit node and identifies areas for potential improvements in transit orientation. The methodology was executed in the megacity of Lahore, situated in Pakistan. A TOD index was computed for areas surrounding the 26 LRT and 27 BRT stations along two existing corridors. The findings suggest that the TOD concept is feasible for Pakistani megacities, and urban decision makers can utilize the TOD index results to facilitate urban- or regional-level planning, funding, and investment policies. Furthermore, these findings offer valuable insights into the transportation obstacles and potential opportunities in similar developing cities in South Asia. Full article
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14 pages, 881 KiB  
Article
The Potential of Moringa oleifera as a Sustainable Broiler Feed Additive: Investigating Awareness, Perceptions and Use by Broiler Farmers and Moringa Farmers in South Africa
by Nobuhle S. Lungu, Joyce G. Maina, Martin Dallimer and Este van Marle-Köster
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2208; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052208 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 570
Abstract
Moringa oleifera’s high nutritional value and bioactive properties have attracted significant scientific research interest as an additive in broiler feed for sustainable broiler production. The tree’s multifunctional characteristics make it a potent alternative growth promoter for broilers and a valuable resource to [...] Read more.
Moringa oleifera’s high nutritional value and bioactive properties have attracted significant scientific research interest as an additive in broiler feed for sustainable broiler production. The tree’s multifunctional characteristics make it a potent alternative growth promoter for broilers and a valuable resource to address Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty alleviation, food security, good health, and responsible consumption. Moreover, it provides a less expensive and environmentally friendly alternative for broiler farmers. However, less is known about the awareness, perceptions, and prevailing practices of broiler farmers and M. oleifera farmers regarding the plant’s use as an additive. This study determined the awareness, perceptions, and practices of M. oleifera use among broiler and M. oleifera farmers in South Africa. Quantitative data collected from 165 purposively sampled small-scale broiler farmers, along with qualitative insights from 11 key informants, indicated that 66.7% of respondents, primarily females, knew about M. oleifera but lacked awareness of its benefits for broilers (82.4%). Awareness varied significantly (p < 0.05) by gender. Only 10.9% of those aware used M. oleifera, predominantly small-scale female farmers. Leaves and stems were common parts used, added to feed, or infused in water. Perceived benefits included improved growth rates and reduced mortalities. Large-scale broiler farmers expressed interest if provided with more information on the nutritional benefits and the availability of bulk M. oleifera to sustain their large operations. The study underscores the need for targeted awareness campaigns, especially among female farmers, and providing guidelines for M. oleifera use. Formulating broiler diets that include M. oleifera as an ingredient will require a consistent supply, which is currently lacking. Therefore, there is a need to address the production capacity to meet the requirements of larger broiler operations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security)
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25 pages, 2557 KiB  
Review
Pavement Inspection in Transport Infrastructures Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
by Ianca Feitosa, Bertha Santos and Pedro G. Almeida
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2207; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052207 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 617
Abstract
The growing demand for the transportation of goods and people has led to an increasing reliance on transportation infrastructure, which, in turn, subjects the pavements to high traffic volumes. In order to maintain adequate service and safety standards for users, it is essential [...] Read more.
The growing demand for the transportation of goods and people has led to an increasing reliance on transportation infrastructure, which, in turn, subjects the pavements to high traffic volumes. In order to maintain adequate service and safety standards for users, it is essential to establish effective maintenance strategies that ensure the preservation of pavement conditions. As a result, emerging innovations in pavement surface inspection methods, surpassing traditional techniques in terms of inspection and data processing speed and accuracy, have garnered significant attention. One such groundbreaking innovation in inspection systems that has been tested and used in recent years to assess infrastructure condition is the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). This study aims to present a critical open-access literature review on the use of UAVs in the inspection of transportation infrastructure pavement in order to assess the type of equipment used, the technology involved, applicability conditions, data processing, and future evolution. The analysis of relevant literature suggests that the integration of intelligent technologies substantially enhances the accuracy of data collection and the detection of pavement distress. Furthermore, it is evident that most applications and research efforts are oriented towards exploring image processing techniques for the creation of 3D pavement models and distress detection and classification. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Transportation Infrastructure Management)
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16 pages, 2264 KiB  
Article
Distinguishing between Low- and High-Cost Pro-Environmental Behavior: Empirical Evidence from Two Complementary Studies
by Henriette Rau, Susanne Nicolai, Philipp Franikowski and Susanne Stoll-Kleemann
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052206 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 565
Abstract
To reach sustainability goals, researchers and policymakers must focus on addressing changes toward more pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Therefore, this study shows evidence-based perceptions of low- and high-cost behaviors and deduces recommendations for PEB interventions. We applied a multi-step mixed-method approach: First, a representative [...] Read more.
To reach sustainability goals, researchers and policymakers must focus on addressing changes toward more pro-environmental behavior (PEB). Therefore, this study shows evidence-based perceptions of low- and high-cost behaviors and deduces recommendations for PEB interventions. We applied a multi-step mixed-method approach: First, a representative online survey was conducted to collect a general quantitative overview and classify low- and high-cost behavior based on past behavior and behavioral intentions. Second, a gamification intervention that aimed to gain quantitative data about certain behaviors and perceived low- and high-costs was conducted with university students. The results of the two studies showed that PEB can easily be categorized into high-, rather-high-, rather-low-, and low-cost behavior. However, this classification is not based on emission sectors, e.g., mobility, but on the specific behavior. Interventions can be recommended according to subjective costs: For example, low-cost behavior does not need additional interventions in most cases but must be maintained as is. According to the empirical findings, high-cost behavior needs top-down interventions, while rather-high- and rather-low-cost behavior requires bottom-up interventions to achieve behavior changes. In summary, managing interventions using this classification and focusing on high-impact behavior can lead to successful behavior changes and emission reductions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Transformation to Sustainability and Behavior Change)
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19 pages, 5247 KiB  
Article
Measuring the Industry 5.0-Readiness Level of SMEs Using Industry 1.0–5.0 Practices: The Case of the Seafood Processing Industry
by Meena Madhavan, Mohammed Ali Sharafuddin and Sutee Wangtueai
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2205; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052205 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 706
Abstract
SMEs across the globe have witnessed increasing internal and external pressure to adopt the recent industrial revolution (4.0 & 5.0). There has been pressure for SMEs to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, but this did not transpire in traditional industries such as agricultural and [...] Read more.
SMEs across the globe have witnessed increasing internal and external pressure to adopt the recent industrial revolution (4.0 & 5.0). There has been pressure for SMEs to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies, but this did not transpire in traditional industries such as agricultural and seafood processing. Also, there is no published evidence of Industry 4.0 technologies’ support for food processing industries to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs). Hence, Industry 5.0 is conceptualized to be (a) human-centric, (b) sustainable, and (c) resilient. However, most of the earlier studies conducted to assess the “Industry 4.0 adoption level” failed to address the respondents’ current level of industrial practices. Therefore, to overcome the research gap, this research aims to measure the current level of industrial practices and I5.0 readiness level of seafood processing SMEs in Thailand. Thus, this research developed a seven-factor framework including “production line”; “major energy source”; “seafood processing”; “packaging”; “labelling”; “anti-bacterial testing methods sensory, texture analyzing and quality control”; and “business process, documentation, and communication”, with forty-two questions related to Industry 1.0–5.0 practices in the context of seafood processing SMEs. The findings reveal that the SMEs are still in I1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 practices. There is minimal adoption of I4.0. However, there is a comparatively higher level of Industry 5.0 readiness among SMEs in terms of business processes, documentation, and communication. Thus, SMEs can adopt Industry 5.0 partially, and escalate step-by-step from Industry 1.0–Industry 4.0 according to changing trends and demand. Full article
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25 pages, 7171 KiB  
Article
A Quantitative Risk Analysis during Truck-to-Ship Ammonia Bunkering
by Phan Anh Duong, Hee Jin Kim, Bo Rim Ryu and Hokeun Kang
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2204; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052204 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 528
Abstract
A primary objective for the sustainable development of the maritime sector is to transition toward carbon-neutral fuels, with the aim to reduce emissions from maritime transportation. Ammonia emerges as a promising contender for hydrogen storage, offering the potential for CO2-free energy [...] Read more.
A primary objective for the sustainable development of the maritime sector is to transition toward carbon-neutral fuels, with the aim to reduce emissions from maritime transportation. Ammonia emerges as a promising contender for hydrogen storage, offering the potential for CO2-free energy systems in the future. Notably, ammonia presents advantageous attributes for hydrogen storage, such as its high volumetric hydrogen density, low storage pressure requirements, and long-term stability. However, it is important to acknowledge that ammonia also poses challenges due to its toxicity, flammability, and corrosive nature, presenting more serious safety concerns that need to be addressed compared with other alternative fuels. This study sought to explore the dispersion characteristics of leaked gas during truck-to-ship ammonia bunkering, providing insights into the establishment of appropriate safety zones to minimize the potential hazards associated with this process. The research encompassed parametric studies conducted under various operational and environmental conditions, including different bunkering conditions, gas leak rates, wind speeds, and ammonia toxic doses. EFFECTS, which is commercial software for consequence analysis, was utilized to analyze specific scenarios. The focus was on a hypothetical ammonia bunkering truck of 37,000 L refueling an 8973 deadweight tonnage (DWT) service vessel with a tank capacity of 7500 m3 in the area of Mokpo Port, South Korea. The study’s findings underscore that the ammonia leak rate, ambient temperature, and wind characteristics significantly impacted the determination of safety zones. Additionally, the bunkering conditions, leak hole size, and surrounding traffic also played influential roles. This study revealed that bunkering in winter resulted in a larger safety zone compared with bunkering in summer. The lethality dose of ammonia was affected by the leak hole size, time for dispersion, and the amount of ammonia released. These observed variations imply that ammonia truck-to-ship bunkering should be undertaken with carefully chosen suitable safety criteria, thereby significantly altering the scope of safety zones. Consequently, the risk assessment method outlined in this paper is expected to assist in determining the appropriate extent of safety zones and provide practical insights for port authorities and flag states contributing to the future sustainable development of the maritime industry. Full article
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22 pages, 11368 KiB  
Article
Correlations of Spatial Form Characteristics on Wind–Thermal Environment in Hill-Neighboring Blocks
by Liang Zhao, Yijie Zhang, Yiting Li, Zichao Feng and Yuetao Wang
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2203; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052203 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 443
Abstract
The spatial forms of hill-neighboring blocks and the wind–thermal environment are crucial components of urban planning and urban ecology. Understanding their correlation is significant for creating a healthy community and enhancing the sustainable level of buildings and their systems. Therefore, Jinan, a multi-mountainous [...] Read more.
The spatial forms of hill-neighboring blocks and the wind–thermal environment are crucial components of urban planning and urban ecology. Understanding their correlation is significant for creating a healthy community and enhancing the sustainable level of buildings and their systems. Therefore, Jinan, a multi-mountainous city in China, is taken as the research area, and the ideal model of hill-neighboring blocks is built based on categories of all these block types by aerial imagery and a semantic segmentation algorithm. Then, we use the CFD simulation software PHOENICS and the evaluation system weighted by random forest to simulate and assess the wind–thermal environment. Ultimately, the correlations and specific mathematical equations between the spatial form indicators and wind–thermal environment are obtained by a parametric method. The results demonstrate that the interface density on the near-hill side and hill surface roughness are the most related indicators to the overall wind–thermal environment. The variation in block spatial form has the most distinct influence on the proportion of breeze area and PMV. The relationship determined herein can provide strategic recommendations for decision makers for optimizing the outdoor air flow of blocks and enhancing the thermal comfort of pedestrians, which helps to create a healthy and comfortable outdoor environment in multi-mountainous cities. Full article
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27 pages, 6835 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Groundwater Potential Zones Utilizing Geographic Information System-Based Analytical Hierarchy Process, Vlse Kriterijumska Optimizacija Kompromisno Resenje, and Technique for Order Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution Methods: A Case Study in Mersin, Türkiye
by Mehmet Özgür Çelik, Lütfiye Kuşak and Murat Yakar
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2202; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052202 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
The indiscriminate use of surface water has heightened the demand for groundwater supplies. Therefore, it is critical to locate potential groundwater sources to develop alternative water resources. Groundwater detection is tremendously valuable, as is sustainable groundwater management. Mersin, in southern Türkiye, is expected [...] Read more.
The indiscriminate use of surface water has heightened the demand for groundwater supplies. Therefore, it is critical to locate potential groundwater sources to develop alternative water resources. Groundwater detection is tremendously valuable, as is sustainable groundwater management. Mersin, in southern Türkiye, is expected to confront drought shortly due to increased population, industry, and global climate change. The groundwater potential zones of Mersin were determined in this study by GIS-based AHP, VIKOR, and TOPSIS methods. Fifteen parameters were used for this goal. The study area was separated into five categories. The results show that the study area can be divided into “Very High” zones (4.98%, 5.94%, 7.96%), followed by “High” zones (10.89%, 10.32%, 16.50%), “Moderate” zones (60.68%, 52.41%, 51.56%), “Low” zones (21.28%, 28.53%, 20.90%), and “Very Low” zones (2.18%, 2.80%, 3.07%) in turn. Data from 60 wells were used to validate potential groundwater resources. The ROC-AUC technique was utilized for this. It was seen that the performance of the VIKOR model is better than that of the AHP and TOPSIS (76.5%). The findings demonstrated that the methods and parameters used are reliable for sustainable groundwater management. We believe that the study will also help decision makers for this purpose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Groundwater Hydrology, Contamination, and Sustainable Development)
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28 pages, 2485 KiB  
Article
Investigating the Influencing Factors of the Purchase Intention of the Continuing Care Retirement Community: A Case Study of Shenzhen
by Shenghan Li, Jun Huang, Chen Lu, Zezhou Wu and Maxwell Fordjour Antwi-Afari
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2201; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052201 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 565
Abstract
China officially entered the aging society in 2000, witnessing a rapid surge in demand for senior care services. In response, the real estate industry introduced the concept of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The relationship between this model and complex risks in urban [...] Read more.
China officially entered the aging society in 2000, witnessing a rapid surge in demand for senior care services. In response, the real estate industry introduced the concept of Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs). The relationship between this model and complex risks in urban security resilience encompasses various factors, including filial care, demand for senior care, and urban sustainable development. The strategic layout and planning of CCRC enhance the security resilience of urban operational systems in the face of intricate senior care risks. However, the development and operation of CCRCs have encountered the challenge of sluggish project progress, primarily due to a lack of robust purchase intention. This study investigates the factors influencing the purchase intention of CCRCs in mainland China, using the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) as the foundational theoretical model. Additionally, three contextual constructs (economic cost, product performance, and external stimuli) were introduced to form the initial model. Based on the initial model, six factors were identified and nine hypotheses were proposed. A questionnaire survey was conducted to collect data, and Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) analysis was employed to test the proposed hypotheses. The results indicate that consumers’ purchase intention of CCRCs is primarily influenced by product performance and subjective norms, followed by economic cost. At the same time, external stimuli have a significant indirect effect on it. Full article
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20 pages, 1891 KiB  
Review
Valorisation of Sugarcane Bagasse for the Sustainable Production of Polyhydroxyalkanoates
by Soulayma Hassan, Tien Ngo and Andrew S. Ball
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2200; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052200 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 925
Abstract
With the world shifting towards renewable and sustainable resources, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have attracted significant interest as an alternative to synthetic plastics. While possessing promising properties suitable for various applications, the production of PHAs has not yet reached a global commercial scale. The main [...] Read more.
With the world shifting towards renewable and sustainable resources, polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) have attracted significant interest as an alternative to synthetic plastics. While possessing promising properties suitable for various applications, the production of PHAs has not yet reached a global commercial scale. The main reason is the high cost of production, which represents a major limitation. Sugarcane bagasse (SCB) is an abundant lignocellulosic waste around the world. Its use to produce PHA enhances the feasibility of producing PHAs at commercial scale. However, SCB requires pretreatment and hydrolysis steps to release the sugars prior to the microbial fermentation. The cost associated with these steps poses additional challenges for large-scale production. Another challenge is the release of inhibitors during the pretreatment process which can result in a low PHA yield. The development of a low cost, co-culture strategy for the bioconversion of SCB into PHAs, can represent a pivotal step towards the large-scale production of bioplastics. This review highlights the advancements made in recent years on the microbial production of PHA using SCB as potential feedstock, with a proposed biological strategy and circular economy model. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Resources and Sustainable Utilization)
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26 pages, 681 KiB  
Article
Research on the Measurement and Influencing Factors of Carbon Emissions in the Swine Industry from the Perspective of the Industry Chain
by Yaguai Yu, Qiong Li, Yinzi Bao, Ersheng Fu, Yiting Chen and Taohan Ni
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2199; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052199 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 503
Abstract
From the perspective of the industry chain, this paper uses the life cycle assessment (LCA) method to divide the swine industry into six production stages: feed crop cultivation, feed crop transportation and processing, intestinal fermentation, manure management, energy consumption in pig farming, and [...] Read more.
From the perspective of the industry chain, this paper uses the life cycle assessment (LCA) method to divide the swine industry into six production stages: feed crop cultivation, feed crop transportation and processing, intestinal fermentation, manure management, energy consumption in pig farming, and slaughtering and processing. Using the LCA method, the carbon emissions from the swine industry are measured from 2001 to 2020 for the whole country and 31 provincial regions. Based on the measurement results, this paper analyzes the dynamic evolution of carbon emissions from the national swine industry during the study period. Meanwhile, the spatial divergence in carbon emissions from the swine industry and the share of carbon emissions from each production stage were further analyzed by combining different provincial regions and production stages. Afterward, this paper uses the Logarithmic Mean Divisia Index (LMDI) model to decompose the influencing factors of carbon emissions at the national and provincial levels, and in each production stage. It is found that (1) The dynamic evolution of China’s swine industry carbon emissions from 2001 to 2020 roughly follows a trend of “slow growth—sharp decline—fluctuating rise—fluctuating decline.” The fluctuations are influenced by multiple factors, including the industry structure, agricultural policy, and farming scale. The primary driver for the increase in carbon emissions from the swine industry is the growth in demand for pork consumption, leading to the rise in swine supply. (2) In terms of spatial divergence at the provincial level, the regional differences in carbon emissions from the swine industry are significant, the total carbon emissions and unit carbon emissions of Jiangsu, Anhui, and Henan are higher than the national average. (3) In the production stages of the swine industry, feed crop cultivation and manure management are the primary sources of carbon emissions, associated with factors such as substantial feed consumption, crop production patterns, and backward manure management practices. (4) Regarding influencing factors, production efficiency, industry structure, and urbanization level have inhibiting effects on carbon emissions in the swine industry. Economic development and population scale have promoting effects. Production efficiency is the most significant inhibiting factor, and economic development is the most significant promoting factor. Finally, suggestions are made to curb carbon emissions in China’s swine industry, including strengthening environmental control, formulating long-term plans for carbon emission reduction, delineating key areas and demonstration bases for carbon emission reduction, enhancing expertise in fertilizer application and manure treatment, and improving agricultural machinery and equipment. Full article
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16 pages, 762 KiB  
Article
Toward a Sustainable World: Affective Factors Explain How Emotional Salary Influences Different Performance Indicators
by Ana Junça Silva, Ana Rita Burgette and João Fontes da Costa
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2198; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052198 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 538
Abstract
The concept of emotional salary refers to the non-monetary rewards granted to workers, focusing on improving interpersonal relationships, strengthening productivity, and enhancing the competitiveness of organizations. The topic of emotional salary is still recent and lacks empirical studies demonstrating its beneficial effects for [...] Read more.
The concept of emotional salary refers to the non-monetary rewards granted to workers, focusing on improving interpersonal relationships, strengthening productivity, and enhancing the competitiveness of organizations. The topic of emotional salary is still recent and lacks empirical studies demonstrating its beneficial effects for both workers (e.g., job satisfaction) and organizations (e.g., performance). Therefore, to expand knowledge about the benefits of emotional salary, the present study used the self-determination theory to hypothesize that motivation and satisfaction would serve as affective mechanisms linking emotional salary to workers’ performance. Through a non-experimental correlational study, an online questionnaire was administered to 215 workers from various organizations. The results showed that emotional salary influenced performance (task, contextual, and adaptive) by increasing motivation and job satisfaction. The results also indicated evidence of a serial mediation path between emotional salary, motivation, satisfaction, and then performance. From a management perspective, considering emotional salary as an organizational resource capable of motivating and satisfying workers is a starting point for acknowledging the practical and theoretical importance of this concept, as well as a strategy to contribute to organizational sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development)
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18 pages, 7179 KiB  
Article
Development of Shared Modeling and Simulation Environment for Sustainable e-Learning in the STEM Field
by Anatolijs Zabasta, Volodymyr Kazymyr, Oleksandr Drozd, Sammy Verslype, Ludovic Espeel and Rasa Bruzgiene
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2197; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052197 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 521
Abstract
A novel educational platform called the Shared Modeling and Simulation Environment (SMSE) was initiated in the ERASMUS+ “CybPhys” project. It integrates the Jupyter platform, including Jupyter Notebooks, with the Moodle Learning Management System for e-learning in the STEM field. This novel platform enhances [...] Read more.
A novel educational platform called the Shared Modeling and Simulation Environment (SMSE) was initiated in the ERASMUS+ “CybPhys” project. It integrates the Jupyter platform, including Jupyter Notebooks, with the Moodle Learning Management System for e-learning in the STEM field. This novel platform enhances e-learning by combining the content of training courses in Moodle with practical programming provided Jupyter’s capabilities to create virtual labs. A survey was conducted in the spring of 2023 among bachelor’s and master’s students at Chernihiv Polytechnic National University, which aimed at gathering feedback from students using SMSE in their e-learning process. Two student groups were involved: one of them consisted of students using SMSE in both the autumn and spring semesters and another represented the students starting with SMSE in the spring semester. The survey, based on the adjusted Technology Acceptance Model (TAM), was conducted to understand the acceptance of this e-learning approach. A comprehensive analysis of students’ answers based on the TAM approach revealed the inner process of the transformation of students’ perceptions during the acquisition of the SMSE platform. Our research demonstrates that SMSE effectively merges Moodle’s online learning capabilities with Jupyter Notebooks, providing a flexible and interactive learning experience for both in-class and remote students. It provides a web-based, multifunctional e-learning environment that combines a variety of tools and technologies, giving students the possibility to be involved in all sorts of teaching activities related to STEM education, such as theoretical knowledge, exercises, simulations and calculations, through the use of one single online environment. Full article
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17 pages, 3064 KiB  
Article
Improvement of Saline Soil Properties and Brassica rapa L. Growth Using Biofertilizers
by Rui Li, Bo Sun, Manjiao Song, Gaojun Yan, Qing Hu, Zhihui Bai, Jiancheng Wang and Xuliang Zhuang
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2196; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052196 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 539
Abstract
The decline in agricultural productivity because of soil salinization has become a global problem in recent years. Biofertilizers show great potential for soil improvement as a sustainable strategy; however, their effectiveness in improving saline soils and enhancing plant growth under saline stress is [...] Read more.
The decline in agricultural productivity because of soil salinization has become a global problem in recent years. Biofertilizers show great potential for soil improvement as a sustainable strategy; however, their effectiveness in improving saline soils and enhancing plant growth under saline stress is poorly understood. We assessed the effectiveness of biofertilizers in improving saline soils and enhancing crop growth under saline stress and investigated the related potential mechanisms. Changes in soil physicochemical properties, plant physiological parameters, and soil microbial communities were analyzed using pot experiments. The results showed that biofertilizer application reduced total soluble salts in the soil by 30.8% and increased Brassica rapa L. biomass by 8.4 times. Biofertilizer application increased soil organic matter, total nitrogen, and available phosphorus by 56.1%, 57.0%, and 290%, respectively. Simultaneously, superoxide dismutase, catalase, chlorophyll a, chlorophyll b, total soluble sugar, and proline levels also increased by 89.5%, 140%, 110%, 190%, and 130%, respectively. Biofertilizers increased the abundance of Bacillus and Planococcus and decreased the abundance of Mortierella and Aspergillus, which could potentially be the underlying reason for the promotion of plant growth. Overall, the results of this study demonstrate the efficacy of biofertilizers in improving saline soils and that the application of biofertilizer could greatly promote agricultural production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Research on Soil Pollution and Sustainable Agriculture)
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18 pages, 42200 KiB  
Article
Exploring Spatial Accessibility to Urban Activities Based on the Transit-Oriented Development Concept in Pathum Thani, Thailand
by Pawinee Iamtrakul and Sararad Chayphong
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2195; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052195 - 06 Mar 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 528
Abstract
Transit-oriented development (TOD) serves as a model for sustainable urban planning, integrating land use and transport planning. Successful implementation varies across specific geographic locations and has yet to be fully realized in the suburban areas of Thailand. This study empirically examined and searched [...] Read more.
Transit-oriented development (TOD) serves as a model for sustainable urban planning, integrating land use and transport planning. Successful implementation varies across specific geographic locations and has yet to be fully realized in the suburban areas of Thailand. This study empirically examined and searched for understanding of the enhanced accessibility to urban activities through the TOD concept by focusing on bus stops and rail mass transit. The study utilized a network buffer zone approach around transit areas as TOD measurement units, examining distances of 500 m, 1000 m, and 2000 m. Spatial analysis was applied to examine and understand the enhanced accessibility to urban activities through TOD by using network analysis, Getis-Ord Gi* hotspot analysis, and bivariate local Moran’s I. The results revealed that this area still has limited access to activities via public transport, particularly in the areas where activities are concentrated, especially in commercial, mixed-use, and residential zones. However, upon examining the relationship between access distance and the intensity of land use activities, it became apparent that within the network buffer zone encircling the transit areas, designated as transit-oriented development (TOD) measurement units, there exists a notable concentration and diversity of land use activities. Specifically, enhanced accessibility to the transportation system corresponded to increased activity density. Nonetheless, this correlation was predominantly observed at stations situated in more central areas, whereas stations located at greater distances exhibited a lower intensity and diversity of activities within the TOD zone. Full article
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21 pages, 2000 KiB  
Article
Analysis of Business Risk Measurement and Factors Influencing Plantation-Based Farming Cooperatives: Evidence from Guizhou Province, China
by Genhong Liang, Zhuo Zhang, Peirong Wu, Zhijie Zhang and Xiwu Shao
Sustainability 2024, 16(5), 2194; https://doi.org/10.3390/su16052194 - 06 Mar 2024
Viewed by 418
Abstract
Plantation-based farming cooperatives are important carriers to promote agricultural and rural modernization and increase farmers’ income. Their risk management is related not only to their own sustainable development but also to the practical interests of farmers. Based on the survey data of 226 [...] Read more.
Plantation-based farming cooperatives are important carriers to promote agricultural and rural modernization and increase farmers’ income. Their risk management is related not only to their own sustainable development but also to the practical interests of farmers. Based on the survey data of 226 sample cooperatives in Guizhou Province, this study measures the business risk of plantation-based farming cooperatives via factor analysis and empirically tests its influencing factors using a structural equation model. This research shows that there are different types of operational risks in plantation-based farming cooperatives, and the order of these risks is as follows: market risk (0.334) > policy risk (0.162) > natural risk (0.140) > technical risk (0.104) > management risk (0.097). In terms of the factors influencing business risk, the impact effect value of the economic environment is 0.522, making it the most important external interference factor. The technology environment and policy environment have a greater impact on business risk (effect values of 0.323 and 0.219, respectively). The effect of the social service environment (an effect value of 0.114) is relatively weak. The internal factor, operator characteristics, is the core factor (an effect value of 0.533) that affects the business risk of plantation-based farming cooperatives, which determines the development prospects of the cooperatives. Resource endowment is an important internal factor affecting the business risk of cooperatives (an effect value of 0.331). According to the conclusions of our research, some policy implications on how to promote the high-quality development of plantation-based farming cooperatives are presented, i.e., to refine the policy support for plantation-based farming cooperatives, optimize the economic environment of the agricultural market, further improve agricultural infrastructure, deepen the reform of the agricultural land transfer system, and improve the internal management level of cooperatives. Full article
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