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Sustainability, Volume 9, Issue 2 (February 2017)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): 1. No Poverty. The photo is adapted from [...] Read more.
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Muhammad, S.; Fathelrahman, E.; Tasbih Ullah, R.U. The Significance of Consumer’s Awareness about Organic Food Products in the United Arab Emirates. Sustainability 2016, 8, 833
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020326
Received: 21 February 2017 / Revised: 21 February 2017 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The authors wish to make the following correction to their paper [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle Restructuring the Vietnamese Rice Sector: Towards Increasing Sustainability
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020325
Received: 29 November 2016 / Revised: 31 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (835 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable
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Although Vietnam is one of the biggest rice exporters today, there is an urgent need to restructure the sector. To guide the transition from being a quantity-focused producer to a credible supplier of quality rice, this study explores the sector’s opportunities for sustainable value chain upgrading. Data was collected through focus group discussions with farmers, stacked surveys with rice value chain stakeholders, and a participatory workshop bringing several value chain actors together. Stakeholders perceive the sector’s capability to grasp opportunities (including growing export and domestic markets) to be higher than its resilience to potential threats (including more stringent food safety regulations and climate change). Three strategies are discussed for making rice value chains more sustainable; embodying sustainability in the product through certified sustainable production labels; internalizing sustainable production standards through vertical coordination (e.g., contract farming); and disembodying sustainability through book and claim certificate trading. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Effectiveness Evaluation for a Commercialized PV-Assisted Charging Station
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 323; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020323
Received: 19 January 2017 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (3169 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The Photovoltaic–assisted Charging Station (PVCS) is regarded as one of the most promising charging facilities for future electric vehicle (EV) energy supplementation. In this paper, the operation mode and profitability of a commercialized PVCS are analyzed under the energy policy of China. In
[...] Read more.
The Photovoltaic–assisted Charging Station (PVCS) is regarded as one of the most promising charging facilities for future electric vehicle (EV) energy supplementation. In this paper, the operation mode and profitability of a commercialized PVCS are analyzed under the energy policy of China. In order to evaluate the long-term effectiveness of using the PVCS to provide guidance for the investors of the stations, a set of evaluation indexes is introduced, including the quality of service, the environmental and economic benefits, and the impacts on the grid. Furthermore, an easily-achieved charging strategy which considers the quality of service and the self-consumption of PV energy is proposed. Finally, an effectiveness evaluation for different operational scenarios of the PVCS is completed, based on the actual statistical data. The simulation and evaluation results indicate that the PVCS has the potential to produce satisfactory environmental/economic benefits and to reduce the impacts and dependence of an EV’s charging load on the grid. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Photovoltaic Electricity)
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Open AccessArticle How to Set the Allowance Benchmarking for Cement Industry in China’s Carbon Market: Marginal Analysis and the Case of the Hubei Emission Trading Pilot
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 322; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020322
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 16 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarking for allocation serves as rewards for early actions in mitigating GHG emissions by using more advanced technologies. China Hubei launched the carbon emission trading pilot in 2014, with the cement industry represented as a major contributor to the GHG
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Greenhouse gas (GHG) benchmarking for allocation serves as rewards for early actions in mitigating GHG emissions by using more advanced technologies. China Hubei launched the carbon emission trading pilot in 2014, with the cement industry represented as a major contributor to the GHG emissions in Hubei. This article is set to establish a general benchmarking framework by describing and calculating the marginal abatement cost curve (MACC) and marginal revenue and then comparing the different GHG benchmarking approaches for the cement industry in the Hubei Emission Trading Pilot (Hubei ETS) case. Based on the comparison of three GHG benchmarking approaches, the Waxman-Markey standard, the European Union Emission Trading Scheme (EU ETS) cement benchmarking, and the benchmarking approach applied in California Cap-and-Trade program, it is found that; (1) the Waxman-Markey benchmark is too loose to apply in Hubei as it provides little incentive for companies to mitigate; (2) the EU ETS benchmark approach fits the current cement industry in Hubei ETS; and (3) the GHG benchmarking standard in the California Cap-and-Trade Program is the most stringent standard and drives the direction of the future development for Hubei ETS. Full article
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Open AccessErratum Erratum: Corrigan, E. and Nieuwenhuis, M. Using Goal-Programming to Model the Effect of Stakeholder Determined Policy and Industry Changes on the Future Management of, and Ecosystem Services Provision by Ireland’s Western Peatland Forests. Sustainability 2017, 9, 11.
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 319; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020319
Received: 20 February 2017 / Revised: 20 February 2017 / Accepted: 20 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Open AccessArticle Carbon Dioxide Emission Evaluation of Porous Vegetation Concrete Blocks for Ecological Restoration Projects
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 318; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020318
Received: 25 December 2016 / Revised: 2 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
The purpose of this study is to determine the mix proportions that can minimize CO2 emissions while satisfying the target performance of porous vegetation concrete. The target performance of porous vegetation concrete was selected as compressive strength (>15 MPa) and void ratio
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The purpose of this study is to determine the mix proportions that can minimize CO2 emissions while satisfying the target performance of porous vegetation concrete. The target performance of porous vegetation concrete was selected as compressive strength (>15 MPa) and void ratio (>25%). This study considered the use of reinforcing fiber and styrene butadiene (SB) latex to improve the strength of porous vegetation concrete, as well as the use of blast furnace slag aggregate to improve the CO2 emissions-reducing effect, and analyzed and evaluated the influence of fiber reinforcing, SB latex, and blast furnace slag aggregate on the compressive strength and CO2 emissions of porous vegetation concrete. The CO2 emissions of the raw materials were highest for cement, followed by aggregate, SB latex, and fiber. Blast furnace slag aggregate showed a 30% or more CO2 emissions-reducing effect versus crushed aggregate, and blast furnace slag cement showed a 78% CO2 emissions-reducing effect versus Portland cement. The CO2 emissions analyses for each raw material showed that the CO2 emissions during transportation were highest for the aggregate. Regarding CO2 emissions in each production stage, the materials stage produced the highest CO2 emissions, while the proportion of CO2 emissions in the transportation stage for each raw material, excluding fiber, were below 3% of total emissions. Use of blast furnace slag aggregate in porous vegetation concrete produced CO2 emissions-reducing effects, but decreased its compressive strength. Use of latex in porous vegetation concrete improved its compressive strength, but also increased CO2 emissions. Thus, it is appropriate to use latex in porous vegetation concrete to improve its strength and void ratio, and to use a blast furnace slag aggregate replacement ratio of 40% or less. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle The New Cooperative Medical Scheme and Self-Employment in Rural China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 304; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020304
Received: 29 October 2016 / Revised: 5 January 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 22 February 2017
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Abstract
Using panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study estimates the effect of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on self-employment in rural China, based on a difference-in-differences method (combined with propensity score matching). Specifically, we compare employment status of
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Using panel data from the China Health and Nutrition Survey, this study estimates the effect of the New Cooperative Medical Scheme (NCMS) on self-employment in rural China, based on a difference-in-differences method (combined with propensity score matching). Specifically, we compare employment status of the participants and non-participants groups before and after the NCMS was implemented (within the common-support region). We found that the NCMS increased a rural resident’s likelihood of shifting from working for others to self-employed by 38 percentage points and that of shifting from temporarily employed to self-employed by 23 percentage points. These results suggest that apart from reducing uncertainty in future spending for the insured due to catastrophic illness, universal health insurance could also have a positive effect on the labor market, namely, that of increasing rates of self-employment. Full article
Open AccessArticle Effects of Continuous Tomato Monoculture on Soil Microbial Properties and Enzyme Activities in a Solar Greenhouse
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 317; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020317
Received: 10 December 2016 / Revised: 17 February 2017 / Accepted: 17 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Soil-related obstacles resulting from continuous monoculture have limited the sustainable development of the tomato industry in China. An experiment on tomatoes with seven continuous monoculture treatments (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th crops, respectively) was conducted in a solar greenhouse,
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Soil-related obstacles resulting from continuous monoculture have limited the sustainable development of the tomato industry in China. An experiment on tomatoes with seven continuous monoculture treatments (the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, 11th, and 13th crops, respectively) was conducted in a solar greenhouse, to investigate the influence of monoculture on soil quality. Most soil quality indicators first increased and then decreased with increasing continuous monoculture crops, and significant differences among crops were observed. Indicators at the 13th crop were significantly lower than those at the other crops in terms of average well color development (AWCD), substrate richness (S), the Shannon diversity index (H), and the McIntosh index (U) of the soil microbial community (SMC), soil urease (UR), and neutral phosphatase (N-PHO) activities, and available nitrogen (AN) and potassium (AK). However, fungal abundance (FUN) at the 13th crop was significantly higher than that at the other crops. As principal component analysis (PCA) revealed, SMC functional diversity at the 1st, 11th, and 13th crops were similar, and were obviously distinguished from those at the other crops. Moreover, the tomato yield was significantly and positively correlated with soil-available potassium and SMC functional diversity indexes. Our findings indicated that short-term continuous monoculture, e.g., for fewer than seven or nine crops, was beneficial for soil quality improvement. However, continuous monoculture for greater than 11 crops had adverse effects on soil enzyme activities, soil microbial abundances, soil chemical properties, soil SMC functional diversity, and the tomato yield, particularly at the 13th crop. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Science in Conservation Agricultural Systems)
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Open AccessArticle The MIMOSE Approach to Support Sustainable Forest Management Planning at Regional Scale in Mediterranean Contexts
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 316; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020316
Received: 19 December 2016 / Revised: 15 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a
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In recent decades, Mediterranean landscapes have been affected by human-induced drivers, such as land use and climate change. Forest ecosystems and landscapes have been particularly affected in mountainous regions due to limited management and stewardship, especially in remote areas. Therefore, there is a need to set up new strategies to enhance ecosystem services in forested areas which, in turn, will benefit local communities and economies. In this study, we implemented a new approach—Multiscale Mapping of Ecosystem Services (MIMOSE)—to assess ecosystem services in Mediterranean forests located in a mountainous region of Italy. We spatially assessed timber provision and carbon sequestration according to three forest management strategies: business-as-usual, maximizing economic values, and prioritizing conservation. Sustainable strategies for forest planning were identified at the landscape scale. We found that (i) timber provision is a conflicting service, especially when adaptation strategies are promoted; (ii) the most balanced set of forest ecosystem services is achieved through prioritizing conservation; and (iii) the ecosystem services availability is enhanced by optimizing the spatial allocation of different management strategies. Our approach is suitable to support landscape planning for balancing forest ecosystem potentialities while respecting local community needs and promoting sustainable development goals in the Mediterranean area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessReview Fostering Learning in Large Programmes and Portfolios: Emerging Lessons from Climate Change and Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 315; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020315
Received: 31 October 2016 / Revised: 25 January 2017 / Accepted: 9 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
In fields like climate and development, where the challenges being addressed can be described as “wicked”, learning is key to successful programming. Useful practical and theoretical work is being undertaken to better understand the role of reflexive learning in bringing together different knowledge
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In fields like climate and development, where the challenges being addressed can be described as “wicked”, learning is key to successful programming. Useful practical and theoretical work is being undertaken to better understand the role of reflexive learning in bringing together different knowledge to address complex problems like climate change. Through a review of practical cases and learning theories commonly used in the areas of resilience, climate change adaptation and environmental management, this article: (i) reviews the theories that have shaped approaches to reflexive learning in large, highly-distributed climate change and resilience-building programmes for development; and (ii) conducts a comparative learning review of key challenges and lessons emerging from early efforts to promote and integrate reflexive learning processes in programmes of this nature. Using a case study approach, the authors focus on early efforts made in four large, inter-related (or nested) programmes to establish, integrate and sustain learning processes and systems. Eight themes emerged from the review and are considered from the perspective of learning programmes as emergent communities of practice. By investigating how these themes play out in the nested programming, the paper contributes to the limited existing body of evidence on learning in large climate change programmes and identifies areas where future efforts might focus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Open AccessArticle A General Micro-Level Modeling Approach to Analyzing Interconnected SDGs: Achieving SDG 6 and More through Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS)
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 314; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020314
Received: 12 December 2016 / Revised: 11 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through
[...] Read more.
The 2030 agenda presents an integrated set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and targets that will shape development activities for the coming decade. The challenge now facing development organizations and governments is how to operationalize this interconnected set of goals and targets through effective projects and programs. This paper presents a micro-level modeling approach that can quantitatively assess the impacts associated with rural water interventions that are tailored to specific communities. The analysis focuses on how a multiple-use water services (MUS) approach to SDG 6 could reinforce a wide range of other SDGs and targets. The multilevel modeling framework provides a generalizable template that can be used in multiple sectors. In this paper, we apply the methodology to a dataset on rural water services from Mozambique to show that community-specific equivalents of macro-level variables used in the literature such as Cost of Illness (COI) avoided can provide a better indication of the impacts of a specific intervention. The proposed modeling framework presents a new frontier for designing projects in any sector that address the specific needs of communities, while also leveraging the knowledge gained from previous projects in any country. The approach also presents a way for agencies and organizations to design projects or programs that bridge sectors/disciplines (water, irrigation, health, energy, economic development, etc.) to advance an interconnected set of SDGs and targets. Full article
Open AccessArticle Balancing Disassembly Line in Product Recovery to Promote the Coordinated Development of Economy and Environment
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 309; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020309
Received: 21 December 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
For environmentally conscious and sustainable manufacturing, many more manufacturers are acting to recycle and remanufacture their post-consumed products. The most critical process of remanufacturing is disassembly, since it allows for the selective extraction of the valuable components and materials from returned products to
[...] Read more.
For environmentally conscious and sustainable manufacturing, many more manufacturers are acting to recycle and remanufacture their post-consumed products. The most critical process of remanufacturing is disassembly, since it allows for the selective extraction of the valuable components and materials from returned products to reduce the waste disposal volume. It is, therefore, important to design and balance the disassembly line to work efficiently due to its vital role in effective resource usage and environmental protection. Considering the disassembly precedence relationships and sequence-dependent parts removal time increments, this paper presents an improved discrete artificial bee colony algorithm (DABC) for solving the sequence-dependent disassembly line balancing problem (SDDLBP). The performance of the proposed algorithm was tested against nine other approaches. Computational results evidently indicate the superior efficiency of the proposed algorithm for addressing the environmental and economic concerns while optimizing the multi-objective SDDLBP. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Improving Agricultural Water Use Efficiency: A Quantitative Study of Zhangye City Using the Static CGE Model with a CES Water−Land Resources Account
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 308; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020308
Received: 1 November 2016 / Revised: 5 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a
[...] Read more.
Water resources play a vital role in human life and agriculture irrigation, especially for agriculture-dominant developing countries and regions. Improving agricultural water use efficiency has consequently become a key strategic choice. This study, based on Zhangye City’s economic characteristics and data, applies a static Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model with a constant elasticity of substitution (CES) composited water−land resources account to assess the impact of improving agricultural water use efficiency on economy, water conservation and land reallocation. Results reveal that: Zhangye City’s GDP increases by 0.10% owing to an increasing average technical level by improving agricultural water use efficiency; total water consumption decreases by 122 million m3, 69% of which comes from a reduction of surface water use; and land demand increases by 257.43 hectares mainly due to agricultural land demands. With respect to the sectors’ output, export-oriented sectors with higher water intensities in the agricultural sectors benefit most. In contrast, land-intensive sectors contract the most, as the rental price of land rises. Therefore, agricultural water conservation technology should be introduced considering more in surface water. Furthermore, higher demand for agricultural land would reduce land availability for other sectors, thus inhibiting urbanization pace on a small scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Weight Determination of Sustainable Development Indicators Using a Global Sensitivity Analysis Method
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 303; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020303
Received: 28 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
Cited by 6 | PDF Full-text (1721 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Sustainable development (SD) evaluations have attracted considerable attention from governments and scientific communities around the world. The objective and quantitative calculation of the importance of sustainable assessment indicators is a key problem in the accurate evaluation of SD. Traditional methods fail to quantify
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Sustainable development (SD) evaluations have attracted considerable attention from governments and scientific communities around the world. The objective and quantitative calculation of the importance of sustainable assessment indicators is a key problem in the accurate evaluation of SD. Traditional methods fail to quantify the coupling effects among indicators. This paper presents a weight determination approach based on the global sensitivity analysis algorithm known as the extended Fourier amplitude sensitivity test (EFAST). This method is efficient and robust and is not only able to quantify the sensitivity of the evaluation indictors to the target, but can also quantitatively describe the uncertainties among the indictors. In this paper, we analyze the sensitivity of 18 indicators in a multi-index comprehensive evaluation model and weigh the indicators in the system according to their importance. To verify the feasibility and advantages of this new method, we compare the evaluation result with the traditional entropy method. The comparison shows that the EFAST algorithm can provide greater detail in an SD evaluation. Additionally, the EFAST algorithm is more specific in terms of quantitative analysis and comprehensive aspects and can more effectively distinguish the importance of indicators. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Emergency Vehicle Routing Problem with Uncertain Demand under Sustainability Environments
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 288; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020288
Received: 2 November 2016 / Revised: 8 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 21 February 2017
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Abstract
The reasonable utilization of limited resources is critical to realize the sustainable developments. In the initial 72-h crucial rescue period after the disaster, emergency supplies have always been insufficient and the demands in the affected area have always been uncertain. In order to
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The reasonable utilization of limited resources is critical to realize the sustainable developments. In the initial 72-h crucial rescue period after the disaster, emergency supplies have always been insufficient and the demands in the affected area have always been uncertain. In order to improve timeliness, utilization and sustainability of emergency service, the allocation of the emergency supplies and the emergency vehicle routes should be determined simultaneously. Assuming the uncertain demands follow normal distribution, an optimization model for the emergency vehicle routing, by considering the insufficient supplies and the uncertain demands, is developed. The objective function is applied to minimize the total costs, including the penalty costs induced by more or less supplies than the actual demands at all demand points, as well as the constraints of the time windows and vehicle load capacity taken into account. In more details, a solution method for the model, based on the genetic algorithm, is proposed, which solves the problem in two stages. A numerical example is presented to demonstrate the efficiency and validity of the proposed model and algorithm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Supply Chain Management)
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Open AccessArticle Analyzing Agricultural Agglomeration in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 313; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020313
Received: 9 January 2017 / Accepted: 4 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
There has been little scholarly research on Chinese agriculture’s geographic pattern of agglomeration and its evolutionary mechanisms, which are essential to sustainable development in China. By calculating the barycenter coordinates, the Gini coefficient, spatial autocorrelation and specialization indices for 11 crops during 1981–2012,
[...] Read more.
There has been little scholarly research on Chinese agriculture’s geographic pattern of agglomeration and its evolutionary mechanisms, which are essential to sustainable development in China. By calculating the barycenter coordinates, the Gini coefficient, spatial autocorrelation and specialization indices for 11 crops during 1981–2012, we analyze the evolutionary pattern and mechanisms of agricultural agglomeration. We argue that the degree of spatial concentration of Chinese planting has been gradually increasing and that regional specialization and diversification have progressively been strengthened. Furthermore, Chinese crop production is moving from the eastern provinces to the central and western provinces. This is in contrast to Chinese manufacturing growth which has continued to be concentrated in the coastal and southeastern regions. In Northeast China, the Sanjiang and Songnen plains have become agricultural clustering regions, and the earlier domination of aquaculture and rice production in Southeast China has gradually decreased. In summary, this paper provides a political economy framework for understanding the regionalization of Chinese agriculture, focusing on the interaction among the objectives, decisionmaking behavior, path dependencies and spatial effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Mapping the Influence of Land Use/Land Cover Changes on the Urban Heat Island Effect—A Case Study of Changchun, China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020312
Received: 30 December 2016 / Accepted: 13 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
The spatio-temporal patterns of land use/land cover changes (LUCC) can significantly affect the distribution and intensity of the urban heat island (UHI) effect. However, few studies have mapped a clear picture of the influence of LUCC on UHI. In this study, both qualitative
[...] Read more.
The spatio-temporal patterns of land use/land cover changes (LUCC) can significantly affect the distribution and intensity of the urban heat island (UHI) effect. However, few studies have mapped a clear picture of the influence of LUCC on UHI. In this study, both qualitative and quantitative models are employed to explore the effect of LUCC on UHI. UHI and LUCC maps were retrieved from Landsat data acquired from 1984, 1992, 2000, 2007, and 2014 to show their spatiotemporal patterns. The results showed that: (1) both the patterns of LUCC and UHI have had dramatic changes in the past 30 years. The urban area of Changchun increased more than four times, from 143.15 km2 in 1984 to 577.45 km2 in 2014, and the proportion of UHI regions has increased from 15.27% in 1984 to 29.62% in 2014; (2) the spatiotemporal changes in thermal environment were consistent with the process of urbanization. The average LST of the study area has been continuously increasing as many other land use types have been transformed to urban regions. The mean temperatures were higher in urban regions than rural areas over all of the periods, but the UHI intensity varied based on different measurements; and (3) the thermal environment inside the city varied widely even within a small area. The LST possesses a very strong positive relationship with impervious surface area (ISA), and the relationship has become stronger in recent years. The UHI we employ, specifically in this study, is SUHI (surface urban heat island). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Heat Island)
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Open AccessArticle Causes for Adaptation: Access to Forests, Markets and Representation in Eastern Senegal
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 311; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020311
Received: 21 December 2016 / Accepted: 7 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Adaptation is a means of reducing vulnerability. So, understanding causes of vulnerability should help to achieve adaptation. Why, then, are people vulnerable? Why do expected dry spells turn into hunger? Why do mere droughts become disasters? This article shows some of the multiscale
[...] Read more.
Adaptation is a means of reducing vulnerability. So, understanding causes of vulnerability should help to achieve adaptation. Why, then, are people vulnerable? Why do expected dry spells turn into hunger? Why do mere droughts become disasters? This article shows some of the multiscale processes that make the lives of people in the forests of Eastern Senegal precarious; it outlines processes that reduce forest villagers’ access to resources, lucrative markets and political representation. These are the processes that place villagers at risk when exposed to stressors— climate or otherwise. In this case, the Forest Service applies double standards—favoring urban merchants while subordinating forest villagers—through the making, interpretation, implementation and circumvention of laws and regulations. The wealth of the poor is continuously expropriated by a well-adapted extractive apparatus, enriching urban merchants while leaving villagers incapacitated. These people may lack adaptive capacity or capability or assets or social protections, but those lacks have causes. “Adaptation” without identifying and addressing these root causes is palliative at best. Security requires emancipatory transformations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Governance for Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle Assessment of Soil Health in Urban Agriculture: Soil Enzymes and Microbial Properties
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020310
Received: 15 August 2016 / Accepted: 16 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
Urban agriculture has been recently highlighted with the increased importance for recreation in modern society; however, soil quality and public health may not be guaranteed because of continuous exposure to various pollutants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the soil quality
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Urban agriculture has been recently highlighted with the increased importance for recreation in modern society; however, soil quality and public health may not be guaranteed because of continuous exposure to various pollutants. The objective of this study was to evaluate the soil quality of urban agriculture by soil microbial assessments. Two independent variables, organic and inorganic fertilizers, were considered. The activities of soil enzymes including dehydrogenase, β-glucosidase, arylsulfatase, urease, alkaline and acid phosphatases were used as indicators of important microbial mediated functions and the soil chemical properties were measured in the soils applied with organic or inorganic fertilizer for 10 years. Fatty acid methyl ester analysis was applied to determine the soil microbial community composition. Relatively higher microbial community richness and enzyme activities were found in the organic fertilizers applied soils as compared to the inorganic fertilizers applied soils. Principal component analysis explained the positive influence of organic fertilizers on the microbial community. The application of organic fertilizers can be a better alternative compared to inorganic fertilizers for the long-term health and security of urban agriculture. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Management of Post-Epidemic Mass Carcasses Burial Sites)
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Open AccessArticle Feasibility Study of the Post-2020 Commitment to the Power Generation Sector in South Korea
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 307; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020307
Received: 6 December 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
We analyze the economic effects of greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction measures of the generation sector of South Korea to accomplish the 2030 GHG reduction target using a scenario-based approach. We estimate the GHG emission of the South Korean power industry in 2030 based
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We analyze the economic effects of greenhouse gases (GHG) reduction measures of the generation sector of South Korea to accomplish the 2030 GHG reduction target using a scenario-based approach. We estimate the GHG emission of the South Korean power industry in 2030 based on both the 7th Electricity Supply and Demand Plan and the GHG emission coefficients issued by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). We establish four scenarios for reduction measures by replacing the coal-fired power plants with nuclear power, renewable energy and carbon capture and storage, and liquefied natural gas (LNG) combined cycle generation. Finally, the nuclear power scenario demonstrates the most positive measure in terms of GHG reduction and economic effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability and Nuclear Power)
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Open AccessConcept Paper Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation—A Sustainable Development Systems Perspective
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 293; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020293
Received: 13 December 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 20 February 2017
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Abstract
This article considers the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development in relation to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. We conceptualize sustainability from a social systemic perspective, that is, from a perspective that encompasses the multiple functionalities of a social system and
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This article considers the concepts of sustainability and sustainable development in relation to disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation. We conceptualize sustainability from a social systemic perspective, that is, from a perspective that encompasses the multiple functionalities of a social system and their interrelationships in particular environmental contexts. The systems perspective is applied in our consideration and analysis of disaster risk reduction (DRR), climate change adaptation (CCA), and sustainable development (SD). Section “Sustainability and Sustainable Development” introduces briefly sustainability and sustainable development, followed by a brief presentation of the theory of complex social systems (Section “Social System Model”). The theory conceptualizes interdependent subsystems, their multiple functionalities, and the agential and systemic responses to internal and external stressors on a social system. Section “Case Studies of Response to Stressors” considers disaster risk reduction (DRR) and climate change adaptation (CCA), emerging in response to one or more systemic stressors. It illustrates these with disaster risk reduction in the cases of food and chemical security regulation in the EU. CCA is illustrated by initiatives and developments on the island of Gotland, Sweden and in the Gothenburg Metropolitan area, which go beyond a limited CCA perspective, taking into account long-term sustainability issues. Section “Sustainable Development as a Societal Development System” discusses the limitations of DRR and CCA, not only their technical limitations but economic, socio-cultural, and political limitations, as informed from a sustainability perspective. It is argued that DRRs are only partial subsystems and must be considered and assessed in the context of a more encompassing systemic perspective. Part of the discussion is focused on the distinction between sustainable and non-sustainable DRRs and CCAs. Section “Concluding Remarks” presents a few concluding remarks about the importance of a systemic perspective in analyzing DRR and CCA as well as other similar subsystems in terms of sustainable development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Long-Term Hydrocarbon Trade Options for the Maghreb Region and Europe—Renewable Energy Based Synthetic Fuels for a Net Zero Emissions World
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 306; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020306
Received: 20 November 2016 / Revised: 6 January 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 19 February 2017
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Abstract
Concerns about climate change and increasing emission costs are drivers for new sources of fuels for Europe. Sustainable hydrocarbons can be produced synthetically by power-to-gas (PtG) and power-to-liquids (PtL) facilities, for sectors with low direct electrification such as aviation, heavy transportation and chemical
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Concerns about climate change and increasing emission costs are drivers for new sources of fuels for Europe. Sustainable hydrocarbons can be produced synthetically by power-to-gas (PtG) and power-to-liquids (PtL) facilities, for sectors with low direct electrification such as aviation, heavy transportation and chemical industry. Hybrid PV–Wind power plants can harvest high solar and wind potentials of the Maghreb region to power these systems. This paper calculates the cost of these fuels for Europe, and presents a respective business case for the Maghreb region. Calculations are hourly resolved to find the least cost combination of technologies in a 0.45° × 0.45° spatial resolution. Results show that, for 7% weighted average cost of capital (WACC), renewable energy based synthetic natural gas (RE-SNG) and RE-diesel can be produced in 2030 for a minimum cost of 76 €/MWhHHV (0.78 €/m3SNG) and 88 €/MWhHHV (0.85 €/L), respectively. While in 2040, these production costs can drop to 66 €/MWhHHV (0.68 €/m3SNG) and 83 €/MWhHHV (0.80 €/L), respectively. Considering access to a WACC of 5% in a de-risking project, oxygen sales and CO2 emissions costs, RE-diesel can reach fuel-parity at crude oil prices of 101 and 83 USD/bbl in 2030 and 2040, respectively. Thus, RE-synthetic fuels could be produced to answer fuel demand and remove environmental concerns in Europe at an affordable cost. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Renewable Electricity)
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Open AccessArticle The Suitability of Different Nighttime Light Data for GDP Estimation at Different Spatial Scales and Regional Levels
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 305; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020305
Received: 9 December 2016 / Revised: 10 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 19 February 2017
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Abstract
Nighttime light data offer a unique view of the Earth’s surface and can be used to estimate the spatial distribution of gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, using a simple regression function, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) has been used
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Nighttime light data offer a unique view of the Earth’s surface and can be used to estimate the spatial distribution of gross domestic product (GDP). Historically, using a simple regression function, the Defense Meteorological Satellite Program’s Operational Linescan System (DMSP/OLS) has been used to correlate regional and global GDP values. In early 2013, the first global Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) visible infrared imaging radiometer suite (VIIRS) nighttime light data were released. Compared with DMSP/OLS, they have a higher spatial resolution and a wider radiometric detection range. This paper aims to study the suitability of the two nighttime light data sources for estimating the GDP relationship between the provincial and city levels in Mainland China, as well as of different regression functions. First, NPP/VIIRS nighttime light data for 2014 are corrected with DMSP/OLS data for 2013 to reduce the background noise in the original data. Subsequently, three regression functions are used to estimate the relationship between nighttime light data and GDP statistical data at the provincial and city levels in Mainland China. Then, through the comparison of the relative residual error (RE) and the relative root mean square error (RRMSE) parameters, a systematical assessment of the suitability of the GDP estimation is provided. The results show that the NPP/VIIRS nighttime light data are better than the DMSP/OLS data for GDP estimation, whether at the provincial or city level, and that the power function and polynomial models are better for GDP estimation than the linear regression model. This study reveals that the accuracy of GDP estimation based on nighttime light data is affected by the resolution of the data and the spatial scale of the study area, as well as by the land cover types and industrial structures of the study area. Full article
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Open AccessArticle A Feasibility Assessment of Photovoltaic Power Systems in Ireland; a Case Study for the Dublin Region
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 302; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020302
Received: 18 November 2016 / Revised: 6 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Photovoltaic (PV) power generation is one of the cleanest sources for producing renewable energy; however uptake on the Irish renewable energy market to date has been low. There is a lack of support for solar PV systems in Ireland; there is currently no
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Photovoltaic (PV) power generation is one of the cleanest sources for producing renewable energy; however uptake on the Irish renewable energy market to date has been low. There is a lack of support for solar PV systems in Ireland; there is currently no solar PV energy feed-in-tariff as there are for other renewable energy systems in Ireland. Despite the current lack of support, the Government has indicated that support for the uptake of solar PV installations will be provided through the provision of a feed-in tariff in the future. The aim of this study was to determine the feasibility of installing PV systems under Irish climatic conditions at a location based in Dublin, Ireland, from a technical, environmental and economic point of view. This was achieved by carrying out a life cycle assessment of potential environmental impacts, and analysis of energy and economic payback times relating to the proposed PV system. Four possible renewable feed-in-tariffs (based on existing feed-in-tariffs for other renewable energy systems) were considered to determine the effect of such tariffs on the overall economics of the proposed PV system. Results show that life cycle GHG emissions are 69 g CO2-eq per kWh generated by the system, significantly lower than the current electricity grid mix emissions of 469 g CO2-eq per kWh. It will take 5.23 years of operation of the solar plant to generate the same amount of energy (in terms of primary energy equivalent) that was used to produce the system itself. The economic payback time varies from 19.3 and 34.4 years depending on the rate of renewable energy feed-in-tariff applied. The costs for the production of PV electricity in this study are higher than is usual in countries where the solar PV market is more developed, e.g., Germany, due to constraints with building integration and lack of experienced PV installers. As more PV is deployed, the Irish PV installer base will increase and ‘learning by doing’ effects will allow installers to install projects more efficiently and quickly under Irish conditions, leading to significantly reduced costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Solar Photovoltaic Electricity)
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Open AccessArticle Addressing Wildfire Risk in Forest Management Planning with Multiple Criteria Decision Making Methods
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020298
Received: 30 November 2016 / Revised: 13 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
Wildfires impact the outcomes of forest management plans. Addressing that impact is thus critical for effective forest ecosystem management planning. This paper presents research on the use of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that integrate wildfire risk in planning contexts characterized by
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Wildfires impact the outcomes of forest management plans. Addressing that impact is thus critical for effective forest ecosystem management planning. This paper presents research on the use of multiple criteria decision making (MCDM) methods that integrate wildfire risk in planning contexts characterized by multiple objectives. Specifically, an a posteriori preference modeling approach is developed that adds wildfire criteria to a set of objectives representing ecosystem services supply values. Wildfire risk criteria are derived from stand-level wildfire occurrence and damage models as well as from the characteristics of neighboring stands that may impact wildfire probability and spread. A forested landscape classified into 1976 stands is used for testing purposes. The management planning criteria include the carbon stock, harvest volumes for three forest species, the volume of the ending inventory, and resistance to wildfire risk indicators. Results show the potential of multiple criteria decision making methods to provide information about trade-offs between wildfire risk and the supply of provisioning (timber) as well as regulatory (carbon) ecosystem services. This information may contribute to the effectiveness of forest ecosystem management planning. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Decision Support for Forest Ecosystem Management Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle Exploring Change in China’s Carbon Intensity: A Decomposition Approach
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 296; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020296
Received: 30 December 2016 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 18 February 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to explore the change of CO2 intensity in China at both national and provincial levels. To serve this purpose, we introduce a decomposition model which integrates the merits of index decomposition analysis and production-theoretical decomposition analysis. Based on the
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This paper aims to explore the change of CO2 intensity in China at both national and provincial levels. To serve this purpose, we introduce a decomposition model which integrates the merits of index decomposition analysis and production-theoretical decomposition analysis. Based on the decomposition, we also estimate the potential reduction of CO2 intensity for China and its provinces. Using a panel data set including China’s 30 provinces during the period of 2006–2012, the empirical analysis is conducted and meaningful results are obtained. First, the potential energy intensity change was the dominant driving factor for the decrease of CO2 intensity, which contributed to a total reduction of 19.8%. Second, the energy efficiency change and the CO2 emission factor change also play positive roles in the CO2 intensity reduction for most provinces. Third, provinces in the western area generally showed a relatively large potential reduction in CO2 intensity, while those in the eastern area only demonstrated a small reduction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Emission Control in River Network System of the Taihu Basin for Water Quality Assurance of Water Environmentally Sensitive Areas
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 301; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020301
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
As pollution incidents frequently occurred in the functional water areas of the Taihu Basin, Yangtze Delta, effective emission control to guarantee water quality in the Taihu Basin became the priority for environmental management. In this study, a new total emission control (TEC) method
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As pollution incidents frequently occurred in the functional water areas of the Taihu Basin, Yangtze Delta, effective emission control to guarantee water quality in the Taihu Basin became the priority for environmental management. In this study, a new total emission control (TEC) method was proposed with an emphasis on the concept of water environmentally sensitive areas (WESAs). This method was verified in Wujiang District and the techniques can be concluded in three steps: (1) a 1-D mathematical model for the study area was established and the model was calibrated using field measurement data; (2) based on an analysis of administrative planning and regulations, WESAs were identified as the main controlling objectives for emission control calculations. The weighting coefficient of local pollution sources was investigated to discuss the effectiveness of TEC on water quality improvement at WESAs; and (3) applying the river network mathematical model, water quality along the river segments was simulated under different pollution control plans. The results proved the effectiveness of TEC in the study area and indicated that a 14.6% reduction in the total amount of ammonia-nitrogen (NH3-N), as well as a 31.1% reduction in the total amount of chemical oxygen demand (CODcr), was essential in order to meet the water quality standard in the WESAs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Ecological Land Fragmentation Evaluation and Dynamic Change of a Typical Black Soil Farming Area in Northeast China
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 300; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020300
Received: 20 December 2016 / Revised: 12 February 2017 / Accepted: 14 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Ecological land is a land use category provided with considerable ecological value and a vital indicator reflecting regional eco-environmental quality. However, it has experienced severe fragmentation during the rapid urbanization in China which strongly threatened the regional ecological security, land use pattern and
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Ecological land is a land use category provided with considerable ecological value and a vital indicator reflecting regional eco-environmental quality. However, it has experienced severe fragmentation during the rapid urbanization in China which strongly threatened the regional ecological security, land use pattern and human living environment. Therefore, analysis of spatiotemporal change of ecological land use and ecological landscape pattern is particularly essential. In this paper, a case study was made in Nong’an County, which is a typical black soil farming area located in northeast China facing severe conflicts among cultivated land protection, urban expansion and ecological security. A landscape fragmentation evaluation model was proposed to measure the degree of regional ecological land fragmentation. We also determined the land use change features through the methods of dynamic change information exploration and by performing transfer trajectory analysis during the period from 1996 to 2014. The results showed that the ecological land in Nong’an County has experienced increasing fragmentation during the past 18 years. The statistical results showed that the land transition between ecological land and other land categories was quite frequent, and it especially appeared as a dramatic decline of grassland and severe increase of saline-alkali land. In addition, human interferences especially construction activities and cultivated land occupation were still the dominant factors to the fragmentation of ecological land and the frequent transition among the land use categories. The fragmentation degree showed a downward tendency at the end of the study, which indicated noticeable benefits of land use regulation and land protection policies directed towards land ecological value. This study aims to provide a scientific evaluation model for measuring ecological land fragmentation degree, and figure out the regional land use transition relationships to offer suggestions for decision-making and provide a practical case in a typical region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources)
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Open AccessArticle Reconfiguring Urban Sustainability Transitions, Analysing Multiplicity
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 299; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020299
Received: 11 November 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Cities, and the networked infrastructures that sustain urban life, are seen as crucial sites for creating more sustainable futures. Yet, although there are many plans, the realisation of sustainable urban infrastructures on the ground is uneven. To develop better ways of understanding why
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Cities, and the networked infrastructures that sustain urban life, are seen as crucial sites for creating more sustainable futures. Yet, although there are many plans, the realisation of sustainable urban infrastructures on the ground is uneven. To develop better ways of understanding why this is the case, the paper makes a conceptual contribution by engaging with current understanding of urban sustainability transitions, using urban sustainable mobility as a reference point. It extends these insights to argue that urban transitions are not about technological or social innovation per se, but about how multiple innovations are experimented with, combined and reconfigured in existing urban contexts and how such processes are governed. There are potentially many ways in which urban sustainable mobility can be reconfigured contextually. Innovation is in the particular form of reconfiguration rather than individual technologies. To make analytical sense of this multiplicity, a preliminary framework is developed that offers the potential to think about urban transitions as contextual and reconfigurational. We argue that there is a need to embrace multiplicity and to understand its relationships to forms of reconfiguration, through empirical exploration and further theoretical and conceptual development. The preliminary framework is a contribution to doing so and we set out future directions for research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Governing the Transformation of Urban Infrastructures)
Open AccessEditorial A Helicopter View of the Special Issue on Wave Energy Converters
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 297; https://doi.org/10.3390/su9020297
Received: 14 February 2017 / Revised: 14 February 2017 / Accepted: 15 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (172 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper intends to provide the reader with an overview of the Special Issue on Wave Energy Converters. Through 16 contributions from authors of 10 different countries, a number of key topics have been tackled, including resource assessment, engineering design, and financial analysis.
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This paper intends to provide the reader with an overview of the Special Issue on Wave Energy Converters. Through 16 contributions from authors of 10 different countries, a number of key topics have been tackled, including resource assessment, engineering design, and financial analysis. As a whole, the Special Issue forms an interesting and helpful compendium on the state of the art of wave energy extraction and exploitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wave Energy Converters)
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