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Sustainability, Volume 7, Issue 7 (July 2015), Pages 8051-9752

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Open AccessArticle Spatio-Temporal Features of China’s Urban Fires: An Investigation with Reference to Gross Domestic Product and Humidity
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9734-9752; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079734
Received: 30 April 2015 / Revised: 20 June 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1573 | PDF Full-text (1959 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Frequent fire accidents pose a serious threat to human life and property. The spatio-temporal features of China’s urban fires, and their drivers should be investigated. Based on the Spatio-temporal Dynamic panel data Model (SDM), and using fire data gathered from 337 Chinese cities
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Frequent fire accidents pose a serious threat to human life and property. The spatio-temporal features of China’s urban fires, and their drivers should be investigated. Based on the Spatio-temporal Dynamic panel data Model (SDM), and using fire data gathered from 337 Chinese cities in 2000 to 2009, the influence of spatio-temporal factors on the frequency of urban fires was analyzed. The results show that (1) the overall fire incidence of China increased annually before 2002 and reduced significantly after 2003, and then high fire incidence increased in western China; (2) Spatio-temporal factors play a significant role in the frequency of Chinese urban fires; specifically, the fire assimilation effect, fire inertia effect and fire caution effect. The ratio of fire incidence of China has reduced significantly, and the focus of fire incidence moved towards the western region of China. GDP and humidity have a significant effect on urban fire situation change in China, and these effects may be referred to as “fire assimilation effects”, “fire inertia effects” and “fire caution effects”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Place-Based Education in the Architectural Design Studio: Agrarian Landscape as a Resource for Sustainable Urban Lifestyle
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9711-9733; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079711
Received: 26 April 2015 / Revised: 17 June 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 22 July 2015
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1558 | PDF Full-text (2905 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This article highlights how “place-based education” can be used to raise awareness about sustainability and potentially influence design process decisions that have environmental and cultural implications. “Place-based education” is a term used to describe an educational worldview based on development of curriculum centered
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This article highlights how “place-based education” can be used to raise awareness about sustainability and potentially influence design process decisions that have environmental and cultural implications. “Place-based education” is a term used to describe an educational worldview based on development of curriculum centered on the local, social, economic, and ecological resources of a community. The study shows results of Masters Students’ research on situating a housing complex in the context of the agrarian landscape of Vojvodina, Serbia, considering it as a resource for a new sustainable urban lifestyle. During the first year of Masters Studies at the Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade University, an architectural design studio with 15 students had the task of exploring the potential of expanding the city of Belgrade across the agrarian landscape, as to affirm the role of place in contemporary everyday life. Students were expected to explore the possibilities and limitations of the relationship between man and agrarian landscape via architecture, re-thinking how various architectural design approaches could balance and harmonize the impact of the built environment on the agrarian landscape. The paper shows that “place-based education” possesses elements necessary for the inclusion of a wider spatial-cultural context in the process of architectural design and prioritization of environmental literacy and responsibility, as one of the main components of sustainable development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Perceptions of Different Stakeholders on Reclaimed Water Reuse: The Case of Beijing, China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9696-9710; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079696
Received: 25 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 26 June 2015 / Published: 21 July 2015
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1910 | PDF Full-text (825 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Public involvement is critical to the successful implementation of reclaimed water reuse programs. Based on the participatory research method, we studied the attitudes of the stakeholders who are involved in reclaimed water reuse in Beijing, China. Results showed that the general public’s knowledge
[...] Read more.
Public involvement is critical to the successful implementation of reclaimed water reuse programs. Based on the participatory research method, we studied the attitudes of the stakeholders who are involved in reclaimed water reuse in Beijing, China. Results showed that the general public’s knowledge on water resources was poor, while their awareness on reclaimed water reuse was high. The general public showed a strong acceptance of non-contact and non-potable reclaimed water reuse, but their acceptance of the three major water reuse types of river water supplement, park water supplement, and agriculture irrigation was not high. The beneficial use of reclaimed water was admired by water resource managers, industrial sectors, and researchers, and these stakeholders strongly supported the advancement of reclaimed water reuse. However, some of the stakeholders showed concerns about the potential risks from reclaimed wastewater reuse. Among them, risks from waste water treatment facilities were the biggest concern. Stakeholders’ perception of reclaimed water was influenced by their social-economic attributes. This study will enrich the current survey findings on public perception of reclaimed water reuse, particularly in developing countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Energy Performance and Thermal Comfort of a High Efficiency House: RhOME for denCity, Winner of Solar Decathlon Europe 2014
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9681-9695; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079681
Received: 4 June 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 17 | Viewed by 2121 | PDF Full-text (3612 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80%
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The increase of people living in large cities and the expansion of new urban areas are keys to defining new sustainable models. It is estimated that about 70% of the EU population lives in urban areas, and it is expected to reach 80% by 2030. Consequently, it is important to find a new concept of buildings that can reduce the total energy consumption. The Solar Decathlon is an international university competition, born in 2002, created by the U.S. State Energy Department (DOE). Students are challenged to design and operate a full-scale, innovative and sustainable house able to exploit solar radiation as its sole energy source. The objective of the competition is to promote research and education in sustainable architecture and solar energy fields. This paper presents an overview on the contribution of LIFT (Interdisciplinary Laboratory of Technical Physics of Roma Tre University) to the winning project of the Solar Decathlon Europe 2014 competition: The RhOME for denCity. This project consists of a building properly designed to produce a solar-powered house that is cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Energy Optimization of Road Tunnel Lighting Systems
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9664-9680; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079664
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 2014 | PDF Full-text (1668 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting
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A road tunnel is an enclosed and covered infrastructure for the vehicular traffic. Its lighting system provides 24 h of artificial sources only, with a higher amount of electric power used during the day. Due to safety reasons, when there is natural lighting outside the tunnel, the lighting levels in the stretches right after the entrance and before the exit must be high, in order to guide the driver’s eye towards the middle of the tunnel where the luminance must guarantee safe driving, avoid any over-dimensioning of the lighting systems, and produce energy savings. Such effects can be reached not only through the technological advances in the field of artificial lighting sources with high luminous efficiency, but also through new materials for road paving characterized by a higher reflection coefficient than other ordinary asphalts. This case study examines different technical scenarios, analyzing and comparing possible energy and economic savings. Traditional solutions are thus compared with scenarios suggesting the solutions previously mentioned. Special asphalts are interesting from an economic point of view, whereas the high costs of LED sources nowadays represent an obstacle for their implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A First Approach to Natural Thermoventilation of Residential Buildings through Ventilation Chimneys Supplied by Solar Ponds
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9649-9663; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079649
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 3 July 2015 / Accepted: 14 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 2035 | PDF Full-text (1637 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful
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The exploitation of natural ventilation is a good solution to improve buildings from an energetic point of view and to fulfill the requirements demanded by the thermohygrometric comfort and the air quality in enclosed spaces. Some past researches demonstrated how some devices, useful to this purpose, follow the principles of solar chimneys and are able to move air masses while exploiting the Archimedes thrust. The natural ventilation must be supplied by a flow moving upward, generated by a heat source performing at temperatures slightly higher than the one present in the environment. To have a minimum energetic effect, the heat can be extracted from solar ponds; solar ponds are able to collect and store solar energy in the geographical regions characterized by sufficient values of solar radiation. Thus it is possible, in summer, to provoke a nocturnal natural ventilation useful for the air change in indoor spaces (in those climatic areas where, during the night, there is a temperature gradient). Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Effect of Payments for Ecosystem Services Programs on the Relationship of Livelihood Capital and Livelihood Strategy among Rural Communities in Northwestern China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9628-9648; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079628
Received: 8 December 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1688 | PDF Full-text (1512 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The security and quality of livelihoods for peasant households is the core issue for rural areas in China. A stable livelihood contributes to the harmonious development of related polices, poverty eradication and sustainable use of resources. In Qinghe County, located in the extremely
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The security and quality of livelihoods for peasant households is the core issue for rural areas in China. A stable livelihood contributes to the harmonious development of related polices, poverty eradication and sustainable use of resources. In Qinghe County, located in the extremely arid zone of Northwest China, 238 validated surveys were conducted. The analysis focuses on the importance of livelihood capitals for the selection of on- or off-farm livelihood strategies among beneficiaries of different kinds of ecological compensation packages. The goal is to see if different groups of beneficiaries are better able to pursue off-farm livelihoods activity, which reduces pressure on the resource base, and whether specific capitals are especially effective in helping households pursue off-farm livelihoods, which benefits their well-being. The findings show that proportionally more herdsmen (who participated in a pastureland rehabilitation program) were able to pursue off-farm livelihoods than farmers (who participated in the cultivated land reforestation program), and especially agro-pastoralists (who participated in both programs). Further, models of livelihood strategy show that human and financial capitals facilitate off-farm livelihoods, while productive capital tends to lead to on-farm livelihoods. These findings indicate that there is no single determinant of livelihood strategy, and future policies must consciously differentiate among beneficiaries to reach the desired result. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Factors Influencing Compensation Demanded for Environmental Impacts Generated by Different Economic Activities
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9608-9627; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079608
Received: 12 May 2015 / Revised: 27 June 2015 / Accepted: 5 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
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Abstract
This work advances the understanding of compensation demanded for environmental impacts on atmosphere, lakes and rivers, soil, and ocean generated by mining, urban, fishing and agriculture activities. Our aims are to determine whether compensation demanded depends on the standard variables used in the
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This work advances the understanding of compensation demanded for environmental impacts on atmosphere, lakes and rivers, soil, and ocean generated by mining, urban, fishing and agriculture activities. Our aims are to determine whether compensation demanded depends on the standard variables used in the field of risk perception (as perceived risk, public acceptability and trust in regulating authorities), and to explore whether these relationships depend on the environment affected and on the economic activity generating the impacts. General Linear Models were used to analyze survey responses from 427 citizens of Santiago, Chile. Results showed that compensation demanded depends on perceived risk, acceptability, and on the economic activity, but not on the environment affected. Acceptability depends on trust in authorities, on perceived risk and on the economic activity. Perceived risk depends on trust, the economic activity and the environment affected. Overall, environmental impacts from the mining industry are perceived as riskier, less acceptable, and have a higher compensation demanded than those generated by the other sectors. These results suggest that to achieve sustainable development, regulations should consider not only environmental impacts but also the economic activity originating them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Dependence of Parking Pricing on Land Use and Time of Day
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9587-9607; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079587
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1657 | PDF Full-text (1541 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
A key strategy of sustainable transportation, parking pricing can directly contribute to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This paper describes an optimal structure of parking rates in terms of parking locations and time of day. A two-level parking model based on
[...] Read more.
A key strategy of sustainable transportation, parking pricing can directly contribute to decreased greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution. This paper describes an optimal structure of parking rates in terms of parking locations and time of day. A two-level parking model based on game theory is established using parking survey data collected in Beijing in 2014. The model was estimated based on Stackelberg game and the Nash equilibrium. Using the two-level parking model, the optimal structure of parking rates for inside/outside business zones and during peak/off-peak hours was calculated. In addition, the relationship between the government (which represents the public benefit) and car users, as well as the relationships among car users in the parking system were investigated. The results indicate that equilibrium among all of the agents in the parking system can be obtained using the proposed parking rate structure. The findings provide a better understanding of parking behavior, and the two-level parking model presented in the paper can be used to determine the optimal parking rate to balance the temporal and spatial distribution of parking demand in urban areas. This research helps reduce car use and the parking-related cruising time and thus contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions and air pollution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon reduction strategies and methods in transportation)
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of Factors that Influence the Willingness to Pay for Irrigation Water in the Kurdistan Regional Government, Iraq
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9574-9586; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079574
Received: 5 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 9 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1645 | PDF Full-text (953 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Water availability has become a problem in many countries of the world. Water scarcity can be economic or physical. Agricultural water use accounts for about three quarters of total global consumption; in many developing countries, irrigation represents over 90% of the water used.
[...] Read more.
Water availability has become a problem in many countries of the world. Water scarcity can be economic or physical. Agricultural water use accounts for about three quarters of total global consumption; in many developing countries, irrigation represents over 90% of the water used. The purpose of this paper is to explore the willingness to pay for irrigation water among the farmers from the boundaries governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). During the field study, 236 farmers from KRG were interviewed. The collected data were analyzed for each of the precipitation zones of the area (secured (A) and non-secured rainfed (B)). The contingent valuation method was used to determine the willingness to pay for irrigation water. The following possible independent variables influencing farmers’ decisions were considered: the bid amounts; evaluation scale of the water deficit; source of water for irrigation; cultivated area; education and age of respondents; main agricultural activity. In Zone A, the median willingness to pay of the farmers that used ground water for irrigation is 20.28 USD/10 m3, and for the farmers that use other sources of water, the willingness to pay is 11.49 USD/10 m3. The median willingness to pay in Zone B is 18.56/10 m3. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Determinants of Sustainability and Organisational Effectiveness in Non-Profit Organisations
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9560-9573; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079560
Received: 22 May 2015 / Revised: 4 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2910 | PDF Full-text (761 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This case study investigates the criteria for organizational effectiveness in non-profit organizations (NPOs) with the aim to determine how the elements of sustainability fit within the criteria. To achieve this, the study utilized the research questions: “what criteria do NPOs use to evaluate
[...] Read more.
This case study investigates the criteria for organizational effectiveness in non-profit organizations (NPOs) with the aim to determine how the elements of sustainability fit within the criteria. To achieve this, the study utilized the research questions: “what criteria do NPOs use to evaluate their effectiveness?” and “how is sustainability embedded in NPO effectiveness?” The research design was interpretivist, adopting focus group interviews to obtain data. Specifically, two focus group interviews were held with the top management of an NPO which revealed that both financial and non-financial criteria were equally essential for NPO effectiveness. This finding is consistent with the literature, although it contradicts the initial assumption of the study that NPO effectiveness was based more on non-financial criteria than financial criteria. The study also found that the effectiveness of an NPO should be viewed in two ways: firstly, “the full achievement of its mandate” and, secondly, “the ability to run business projects to cover cost.” It also emerged that both the ability to cover costs and the achievement of a mandate should be done in a sustainable manner (a sustainable manner is seen as one that is harmonious with the natural and the socio-political environment). The results of this paper present a practical case for the management of NPOs by reiterating that the full achievement of the NPO mandate and the successful running of social projects to generate funds for sustainability are key elements of effectiveness. Given the essential role that NPOs play in developing countries, this study has provided the foundation for more widespread enquiry into the sustainability and effectiveness of NPOs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle The Effects of Coal Switching and Improvements in Electricity Production Efficiency and Consumption on CO2 Mitigation Goals in China
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9540-9559; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079540
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1854 | PDF Full-text (745 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although the average CO2 emission for a person in China is only about 1/4 that of a person in the US, the government of China still made a commitment to ensure that CO2 emissions will reach their peak in 2030 because
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Although the average CO2 emission for a person in China is only about 1/4 that of a person in the US, the government of China still made a commitment to ensure that CO2 emissions will reach their peak in 2030 because of the ever-increasing pressure of global warming. In this work, we examined the effects of coal switching, efficiency improvements in thermal power generation and the electricity consumption of economic activities on realizing this goal. An improved STIRPAT model was developed to create the scenarios. In order to make the estimated elasticities more consistent with different variables selected to construct the formulation, a double-layer STIRPAT model was constructed, and by integrating the two equations obtained by regressing the series in each layer, we finally got the equation to describe the long-run relationship among CO2 emissions (Ic), the share of coal in overall energy consumption (FMC), coal intensity of thermal power generation (CIp) and electricity intensity of GDP (EIelec). The long term elasticities represented by the equation show that the growth of CO2 emissions in China is quite sensitive to FMC, CIp and EIelec. After that, five scenarios were developed in order to examine the effects of China’s possible different CO2 emission reduction policies, focusing on improving FMC, CIp and EIelec respectively. Through a rigorous analysis, we found that in order to realize the committed CO2 emissions mitigating goal, China should obviously accelerate the pace in switching from coal to low carbon fuels, coupled with a consistent improvement in electricity efficiency of economic activities and a slightly slower improvement in the coal efficiency of thermal power generation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effects of Large-Scale Acquisition on Food Insecurity in Sierra Leone
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9505-9539; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079505
Received: 2 May 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2037 | PDF Full-text (602 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
The recent phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land for a variety of investment purposes has raised deep concerns over the food security, livelihood and socio-economic development of communities in many regions of the developing world. This study set out to investigate the food
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The recent phenomenon of large-scale acquisition of land for a variety of investment purposes has raised deep concerns over the food security, livelihood and socio-economic development of communities in many regions of the developing world. This study set out to investigate the food security outcomes of land acquisitions in northern Sierra Leone. Using a mixture of quantitative and qualitative research methods, the study measures the severity of food insecurity and hunger, compares the situation of food security before and after the onset of operations of a land investing company, analyzes the food security implications of producing own food versus depending on wage labour for household food needs, and evaluates initiatives put in place by the land investing company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint. Results show an increase in the severity of food insecurity and hunger. Household income from agricultural production has fallen. Employment by the land investing company is limited in terms of the number of people it employs relative to the population of communities in which it operates. Also, wages from employment by the company cannot meet the staple food needs of its employees. The programme that has been put in place by the company to mitigate its food insecurity footprint is failing because of a host of reasons that relate to organization and power relations. In conclusion, rural people are better off producing their own food than depending on the corporate structure of land investment companies. Governments should provide an enabling framework to accommodate this food security need, both in land investment operations that are ongoing and in those that are yet to operate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Agriculture, Food and Wildlife)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Modeling of Urban Vegetation and Land Surface Temperature: A Case Study of Beijing
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9478-9504; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079478
Received: 27 April 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1836 | PDF Full-text (3473 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The coupling relationship between urban vegetation and land surface temperature (LST) has been heatedly debated in a variety of environmental studies. This paper studies the urban vegetation information and LST by utilizing a series of remote sensing imagery covering the period from 1990
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The coupling relationship between urban vegetation and land surface temperature (LST) has been heatedly debated in a variety of environmental studies. This paper studies the urban vegetation information and LST by utilizing a series of remote sensing imagery covering the period from 1990 to 2007. Their coupling relationship is analyzed, in order to provide the basis for ecological planning and environment protection. The results show that the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), urban vegetation abundance (UVA) and urban forest abundance (UFA) are negatively correlated with LST, which means that both urban vegetation and urban forest are capable in decreasing LST. The apparent influence of urban vegetation and urban forest on LST varies with the spatial resolution of the imagery, and peaks at the resolutions ranging from 90 m to 120 m. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Identifying Ecological Red Lines: A Case Study of the Coast in Liaoning Province
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9461-9477; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079461
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 11 July 2015 / Accepted: 13 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2030 | PDF Full-text (3422 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The global decline in estuarine and coastal ecosystems is affecting critical ecosystem services. The spatial agglomeration of population, industries and resources has led to the emergence of regionally-specific ecological problems. Therefore, identifying “ecological red lines”, based on specific natural and environmental features, could
[...] Read more.
The global decline in estuarine and coastal ecosystems is affecting critical ecosystem services. The spatial agglomeration of population, industries and resources has led to the emergence of regionally-specific ecological problems. Therefore, identifying “ecological red lines”, based on specific natural and environmental features, could help to differentiate the economic development and ecological protection directions or potentials of different regions in future. The aim of this case study is to define the ecological red line in the coastal zone of Liaoning Province, China, by evaluating the ecological importance and environmental stress in its marine and terrestrial ecosystems. For this purpose, the ecological importance of this area was first classified into four conservation indices (species, wetland, water and coast and islands) and assigned values of 5, 3 and 1 for indications of high, moderate and minor importance. In the meantime, environmental stress was also classified into four indices (water environment, salinization, soil erosion and erosion of coasts and islands) and assigned values of 5, 3 and 1 for indications of high, moderate and low stress, respectively. Then, based on an overlay analysis and evaluation of the above results, we defined two grades of ecological red line zones. Grade I ecological red line zones contain the areas with critical and diverse ecosystem services, areas of high importance for species conservation and nature reserves, as well as ecologically-vulnerable and sensitive areas. It is important in these areas to maintain the biological diversity and to improve the quality of the ecological environment, which should be strictly protected and explicitly controlled. Grade II ecological red line zones display areas with minimum requirements for maintaining the basic needs of a livable environment and human health, moderate to minor levels of ecological importance and high to moderate levels of environmental stress. To better control and protect such ecological red lines, setting up an ecological inventory through remote sensing satellites and ground-level monitoring and appraising the effectiveness of dynamical protection are highly recommended. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Built Environmental Designs in Promoting Pedestrian Safety
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9444-9460; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079444
Received: 28 May 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1386 | PDF Full-text (894 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This study examined two-level (road environments and census tracts) built environments related to the probability of severe injury for pedestrians. In total, 1407 pedestrian–vehicle crashes (years 2008–2012) were identified from 140 census tracts in the city of Austin. Two multilevel models were applied
[...] Read more.
This study examined two-level (road environments and census tracts) built environments related to the probability of severe injury for pedestrians. In total, 1407 pedestrian–vehicle crashes (years 2008–2012) were identified from 140 census tracts in the city of Austin. Two multilevel models were applied to examine pedestrian injury severity by using level-1 factors (individual characteristics, road environments, and area characteristics around the crash location) and level-2 factors (characteristics of census tracts). The results demonstrated the importance of using the multi-level model to avoid the biased results from employing the single-level model. This study showed that the likelihood of being severely injured or killed decreased when vehicles turned left, when crashes occurred at intersections, when there were traffic control devices at the crash location, and when crashes occurred during inclement weather conditions. Areas with higher sidewalk densities and higher percentage of commercial uses were negative correlates, while population density was a positive predictor. Pedestrian injury severity has been and will continue to be an important topic for the fields of public health. Future safety programs should focus on providing connected sidewalks and on populated areas. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Critical Connections: The Role of the Built Environment Sector in Delivering Green Cities and a Green Economy
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9417-9443; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079417
Received: 3 March 2015 / Revised: 9 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1911 | PDF Full-text (1033 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The green agenda for cities and the economy in general is a major focus of global institutions and is increasingly a major national and urban priority. Core issues and best practice for built environment businesses were collated from published studies and used in
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The green agenda for cities and the economy in general is a major focus of global institutions and is increasingly a major national and urban priority. Core issues and best practice for built environment businesses were collated from published studies and used in a survey of Australian firms to see how committed they were to the green economy. The results show high awareness of the challenges and opportunities with 85% of firms having sustainability as an established agenda with senior management and over 20% of built environment firms deriving more than 50% of their sales from green products and services. This is much higher in design firms and is globally high. Whilst recognizing the scope for more engagement by industry in transitioning to a low carbon green economy, there is doubt within the built environment sector about how to create a business case for innovative green ventures and a lack of certainty or encouragement from government about how to proceed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Planning, Development and Management of Sustainable Cities)
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Open AccessArticle Financial Development, Environmental Quality and Economic Growth
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9395-9416; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079395
Received: 28 April 2015 / Revised: 10 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 17 July 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1771 | PDF Full-text (752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this study, the relationships between financial development, environmental quality and economic growth are studied based on data from 102 countries over the period 1980–2010 using the generalized method of moments (GMM) estimation. The econometric results show the following three basic conclusions: First,
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In this study, the relationships between financial development, environmental quality and economic growth are studied based on data from 102 countries over the period 1980–2010 using the generalized method of moments (GMM) estimation. The econometric results show the following three basic conclusions: First, both financial development and environmental quality have a significant impact on economic growth and should be included in the production function of the economic growth model as important variables. Second, there is a significant and robust “inverted U-shaped” relationship between financial development and economic growth; with the improvement of the level of financial development, economic growth would first increase and then decrease, which is consistent with the results of previous studies. Third, there is also a significant and robust “inverted U-shaped” relationship between economic growth and carbon emissions, indicating that there exists a “critical point” at which achieving economic growth comes at the expense of environmental quality, and after passing the critical point, the deterioration of environmental quality will lead to a significant slowdown in economic growth. In addition, the econometric analysis in this paper also shows that there was a mutually promoting and strengthening relationship between financial development and environmental quality. Specifically, the degree of financial development can further strengthen the promoting effect of environmental quality on economic growth; meanwhile, an improvement in environmental quality can also strengthen the promoting effect of financial development on economic growth. Financial development and environmental quality could influence economic growth through strengthening the marginal product effects of capital and labor, which further indicates the that both financial and environmental factors play an important role in modern economic development. Full article
Open AccessArticle MODELI: An Emotion-Based Software Engineering Methodology for the Development of Digital Learning Objects for the Preservation of the Mixtec Language
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9344-9394; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079344
Received: 3 April 2015 / Revised: 30 June 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
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Abstract
In this paper, a methodology termed MODELI (methodology for the design of educational digital objects for indigenous languages) is presented for the development of digital learning objects (DLOs) for the Mixtec language, which is an indigenous Mexican language. MODELI is based on the
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In this paper, a methodology termed MODELI (methodology for the design of educational digital objects for indigenous languages) is presented for the development of digital learning objects (DLOs) for the Mixtec language, which is an indigenous Mexican language. MODELI is based on the spiral model of software development and integrates three important aspects for the analysis and design of DLOs: pedagogical, affective-emotional and technological-functional. The premise of MODELI is that the emotional aspect with the inclusion of cultural factors has an important effect on the learning motivation of indigenous users when interacting with the DLO. Principles of the visual, auditory (or aural), read/write, kinesthetic (VARK) model and Kansei engineering were considered for the inclusion of the pedagogical, emotional and technological-functional aspects within the spiral model for the development of MODELI. The methodology was validated with the development of a DLO for a previously unknown variant of the Mixtec language. Usability tests of the DLO built with MODELI evidenced an improvement on the learning motivation and the value of cultural identity of indigenous children. These results are important for the preservation of indigenous languages in Mexico, because most of them are partially documented, and there is social rejection of indigenous culture caused by discrimination of ethnic communities. Full article
Open AccessArticle Calculating Puerto Rico’s Ecological Footprint (1970–2010) Using Freely Available Data
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9326-9343; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079326
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1697 | PDF Full-text (970 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) is appealing as a metric of sustainability because it is straightforward in theory and easy to conceptualize. However, EFA is difficult to implement because it requires extensive data. A simplified approach to EFA that requires fewer data can serve
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Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) is appealing as a metric of sustainability because it is straightforward in theory and easy to conceptualize. However, EFA is difficult to implement because it requires extensive data. A simplified approach to EFA that requires fewer data can serve as a perfunctory analysis allowing researchers to examine a system with relatively little cost and effort. We examined whether a simplified approach using freely available data could be applied to Puerto Rico, a densely populated island with limited land resources. Forty-one years of data were assembled to compute the ecological footprint from 1970 to 2010. According to EFA, individuals in Puerto Rico were moving toward sustainability over time, as the per capita ecological footprint decreased from 3.69 ha per capita (ha/ca) in 1970 to 3.05 ha/ca in 2010. However, due to population growth, the population’s footprint rose from 1.00 × 107 ha in 1970 to 1.14 × 107 ha in 2010, indicating Puerto Rico as a whole was moving away from sustainability. Our findings demonstrate the promise for conducting EFA using a simplified approach with freely available data, and we discuss potential limitations on data quality and availability that should be addressed to further improve the science. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Social Ecology and Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Hydrogen Production from Water by Photolysis, Sonolysis and Sonophotolysis with Solid Solutions of Rare Earth, Gallium and Indium Oxides as Heterogeneous Catalysts
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9310-9325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079310
Received: 18 May 2015 / Revised: 8 July 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1763 | PDF Full-text (802 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best
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In this work, we present the hydrogen production by photolysis, sonolysis and sonophotolysis of water in the presence of newly synthesized solid solutions of rare earth, gallium and indium oxides playing as catalysts. From the experiments of photolysis, we found that the best photocatalyst is the solid solution Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 doped by sulphur atoms. In experiments of sonolysis, we optimized the rate of hydrogen production by changing the amount of water, adding ethanol and tuning the power of our piezoelectric transducer. Finally, we performed sonolysis and sonophotolysis experiments in the presence of S:Y0.8Ga0.2InO3 finding a promising synergistic effect of UV-visible electromagnetic waves and 38 kHz ultrasound waves in producing H2. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Sustainable Consumption: Analysis of Consumers’ Perceptions about Using Private Brands in Food Retail
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9293-9309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079293
Received: 13 May 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1701 | PDF Full-text (678 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Private brands are representing an important vector for retailers, helping them to build sustainable relationships with their customers. Usually, private brands are perceived as products differentiated by lower prices. The purpose of this research is to identify consumers’ trust level in private brands
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Private brands are representing an important vector for retailers, helping them to build sustainable relationships with their customers. Usually, private brands are perceived as products differentiated by lower prices. The purpose of this research is to identify consumers’ trust level in private brands used in food retail and their perceptions about the quality of retailers’ own products. The research question is: What are consumers’ perceptions about using private brands in food retail? Pursuing this question, a survey based on a questionnaire was carried out. Research findings showed that the main reason why people buy private brands’ products is lower price rather than high quality. The interviews showed that the typical private brand user is male, aged between 45 and 65 years old, with middle-level income, and employees with secondary education. These results are useful for retailers in their efforts to decide strategies for their private brands and for building consumers’ trust. The findings are useful for food producers as well, because they should reconsider their marketing strategies in order to adapt themselves to the continuous growth of retailers’ private brands. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Prioritizing Climate Change Adaptations in Canadian Arctic Communities
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9268-9292; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079268
Received: 23 February 2015 / Revised: 8 June 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1832 | PDF Full-text (1585 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
Abstract
Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential
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Arctic regions are experiencing the most rapid climate change globally and adaptation has been identified as a priority across scales. Anticipatory planning to adapt to the impacts of climate change usually follows a number of steps: assess current and future vulnerability, identify potential adaptations, prioritize options, implement prioritized options, and monitor and evaluate implementation. While most of these steps are well documented, there has been limited examination of the process of adaptation prioritization in Arctic communities. In this paper, we build upon existing tools and propose a framework for prioritizing adaptation options and guiding decision-making for implementation in Arctic regions. Using four adaptation performance criteria (timescale, equity, sustainability and total costs) to evaluate options through a multi-criteria decision analysis coupled with a network centric approach, our Adaptation Prioritization Framework promotes a participatory approach for adaptation prioritization and planning. We illustrate application of the framework using a hypothetical example from the territory of Nunavut in the Canadian Arctic. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Strategies to Adapt to Climate Change)
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Open AccessArticle Additional Indicators to Promote Social Sustainability within Government Programs: Equity and Efficiency
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9251-9267; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079251
Received: 10 April 2015 / Revised: 14 June 2015 / Accepted: 6 July 2015 / Published: 16 July 2015
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1676 | PDF Full-text (728 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Social programs are crucial to reduce poverty and inequity in developing countries. The operation of social programs, however, cannot be improved with traditional engineering tools since these tools are designed to maximize profits: in social programs maximizing profits is not the objective, social
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Social programs are crucial to reduce poverty and inequity in developing countries. The operation of social programs, however, cannot be improved with traditional engineering tools since these tools are designed to maximize profits: in social programs maximizing profits is not the objective, social sustainability is. Field research was conducted and it was found that the operation of social programs is considered more socially sustainable if it meets two criteria: Efficiency and Equity; in other words, if the program can help more people who need it the most. This paper proposes a methodology centered in the development of mathematical formulas for the concepts of Efficiency and Equity, so that, by being able to measure them, government programs operation can be enhanced with engineering tools. The methodology is illustrated with a case study, a subsidized milk distribution program in Mexico, called Liconsa. Once the formulas were developed and used in a simulation model for Liconsa, different policies were tested and their results regarding Efficiency and Equity were compared. Results showed the best policies for Liconsa are the balanced ones: where help is increased for beneficiaries, while cost reduction commitments are obtained. In the discussion it is argued how the developed Equity and Efficiency indicators help to understand the tradeoffs between the objectives in opposition: instead of analyzing dozens of indicators, some of them improving and others worsening, the two formulas allow to capture all effects into two objectives and evaluate decisions based on their integral impact. Conclusions show that the mathematical definition of Equity and Efficiency supports better and more informed decision making towards improving the social sustainability of the programs operation. The mathematical definition of Equity and Efficiency and its use in engineering models helps balance the opposing objectives of social programs operation and promotes better and faster changes towards more socially sustainable programs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Employment Policies for a Green Economy at the European Union Level
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9231-9250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079231
Received: 6 May 2015 / Revised: 26 June 2015 / Accepted: 10 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 2133 | PDF Full-text (887 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable economic development requires ensuring economic growth and development in terms of environmental protection by providing a bridge between sustainable economic growth, improvement in human health, social justice, employment and environmental protection. Our paper aims to study the situation of green jobs at
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Sustainable economic development requires ensuring economic growth and development in terms of environmental protection by providing a bridge between sustainable economic growth, improvement in human health, social justice, employment and environmental protection. Our paper aims to study the situation of green jobs at the European Union level and the relationship between environment and employment, by analysing the link between employment and environmental policies. It highlights the main trends recorded at the European Union level in the field of employment policy to promote green jobs for sustainable economic development. Although there is little effect from environmental policies on employment, the effects are positive, which shows that the relationship between environmental and employment policy should be continued and improved by measures taken at both the macro- and microeconomic levels. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Impact of Local Microclimate Boundary Conditions on Building Energy Performance
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9207-9230; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079207
Received: 17 June 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 7 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1609 | PDF Full-text (3129 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous
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Local environmental boundaries play an important role in determining microclimate conditions affecting thermal-energy behavior of buildings. In this scenario, the purpose of the present work is to investigate how residential buildings are affected by different local microclimate conditions. To this aim, the continuous microclimate monitoring of (i) a rural area; (ii) a suburban area; and (iii) an urban area is carried out, and the comparative analysis of the different boundary conditions is performed. In particular, the effect of the presence of a large lake in the rural area on building energy demand for heating and cooling is evaluated, both in winter and summer. Coupled degree hour method and numerical analysis are performed in order to predict the energy requirement of buildings subject to local microclimate boundary conditions. The main results show higher air temperature and relative humidity values for the rural area. No significant mitigation effect due to the lake presence is found in urban and suburban areas because of the peculiar wind regime of the region. Additionally, the dynamic thermal-energy simulation shows a decrease of 14% and 25% in the heating consumption and an increase of 58% and 194% in cooling requirements of buildings situated in the rural area around the lake compared to the urban and suburban areas, respectively. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Analysis of the Environmental Efficiency of the Chinese Transportation Sector Using an Undesirable Output Slacks-Based Measure Data Envelopment Analysis Model
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9187-9206; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079187
Received: 4 May 2015 / Revised: 2 July 2015 / Accepted: 3 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1489 | PDF Full-text (2812 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Many countries are attempting to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their industries. An undesirable-output-oriented data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with slacks-based measure (SBM) was used to evaluate the changes in the environmental efficiency of
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Many countries are attempting to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions while increasing the productivity and efficiency of their industries. An undesirable-output-oriented data envelopment analysis (DEA) model with slacks-based measure (SBM) was used to evaluate the changes in the environmental efficiency of the transportation sector in 30 Chinese provinces (municipalities and autonomous regions) between 2003 and 2012. The potential for decreasing CO2 emissions and energy saving was also assessed. Transportation was found to be inefficient in most of the provinces and the average environmental efficiency was low (0.45). The overall average efficiency reached a maximum in 2005 and continually decreased until a minimum was reached in 2009; since then, it has increased. In general, transportation is more efficient in eastern than in central or western China. A sensitivity analysis was also carried out on the input and output indicators. Based on these findings, some policies are proposed to improve the environmental efficiency of the transportation sector in China. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Education for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR): Linking Theory with Practice in Ghana’s Basic Schools
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9160-9186; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079160
Received: 4 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 2 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2195 | PDF Full-text (1318 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Current understanding of disaster risk reduction (DRR) concurs that, when provided the right education, children have the potential to reduce their own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others in their community. What, then, comprises the right education for DRR? Research has established the
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Current understanding of disaster risk reduction (DRR) concurs that, when provided the right education, children have the potential to reduce their own vulnerability and the vulnerability of others in their community. What, then, comprises the right education for DRR? Research has established the need for disaster education to address the causes and effects, prevention and response, and management and recovery from disaster events. The educational process must include diverse and practical techniques that reinforce disaster knowledge and builds a culture of safety and resilience amongst students. Drawing on syllabus content analysis and field research in two rural communities in semi-arid Northern Ghana, this study explored the presence and nature of DRR within the syllabi of the basic school system. By comparing the result of the content analysis with results from interviews and questionnaires completed by teachers and students, significant gaps were identified between the disaster pedagogy outlined in the syllabi (theory) and that which occurs in the classroom (practice). It was realized that while the theory outlines active and innovative techniques for teaching, learning, and evaluating DRR lessons, various challenges hinder the practical application of these techniques in the classroom. The study concludes that a lack of teacher training and professional development, and inadequate teaching and learning materials, generally account for these results. A new and consolidated effort is required from all stakeholders to train teachers and to provide the appropriate learning materials to improve on the current DRR education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Education for Sustainable Development)
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Open AccessArticle Spatial Distribution of Energy Consumption and Carbon Emission of Regional Logistics
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9140-9159; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079140
Received: 25 March 2015 / Revised: 29 June 2015 / Accepted: 30 June 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 1877 | PDF Full-text (1103 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Facing serious energy-related constraints and environmental stress, the development of the green logistics industry is restricted by degrees of logistics energy utilization and carbon emissions. Considering different logistics spatial distributions, this paper uses the degree of regional logistics energy utilization and the spatial
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Facing serious energy-related constraints and environmental stress, the development of the green logistics industry is restricted by degrees of logistics energy utilization and carbon emissions. Considering different logistics spatial distributions, this paper uses the degree of regional logistics energy utilization and the spatial distribution of carbon emissions as two indicators of green logistics to investigate the regional differences and changes in spatiotemporal logistics energy efficiency. We firstly measure the regional logistics in terms of energy consumption and carbon emission, then further measure the logistics by energy intensity and carbon intensity. Based on these four indicators, the relations between spatiotemporal logistics and regional logistics development are analyzed. Through studying the spatial and temporal evolution trends of the above indicators, we found that a certain convergence exists. Finally, based on the analysis, the suggestions for energy saving and emission reduction are proposed according to regional conditions. The results benefit to narrow the efficiency gap between regions and achieve the goal of improving logistics energy efficiency. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Interdisciplinarity as an Emergent Property: The Research Project “CINTERA” and the Study of Marine Eutrophication
Sustainability 2015, 7(7), 9118-9139; https://doi.org/10.3390/su7079118
Received: 14 April 2015 / Revised: 1 July 2015 / Accepted: 8 July 2015 / Published: 15 July 2015
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2393 | PDF Full-text (1304 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale
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Research projects combining different disciplines are increasingly common and sought after by funding agencies looking for ways to achieve environmental, social, and economic sustainability. Creating and running a truly integrated research project that combines very different disciplines is, however, no easy task. Large-scale efforts to create interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary research efforts have reported on their experiences in trying to achieve this goal. This article shares the methods, challenges and achievements experienced by a smaller group of researchers who have developed an interdisciplinary approach based on former results of Norwegian and Chilean experiments. The project “A Cross-disciplinary Integrated Eco-system Eutrophication Research and Management Approach” (CINTERA), funded by the Research Council of Norway (RCN, project 216607), brings together the fields of political science, economics, marine biology/oceanography and marine bio-geo-chemistry to improve the understanding of marine eutrophication and its possible socio-economic impacts. CINTERA is a multidisciplinary project that evolved into an interdisciplinary project and in so doing, transformed the attitudes of participants. The transformative process was generated particularly by the need to work closely together in making the CINTERA project useful for policy-makers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Resources)
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