Next Issue
Volume 12, December
Previous Issue
Volume 11, December

Challenges, Volume 12, Issue 1 (June 2021) – 15 articles

  • Issues are regarded as officially published after their release is announced to the table of contents alert mailing list.
  • You may sign up for e-mail alerts to receive table of contents of newly released issues.
  • PDF is the official format for papers published in both, html and pdf forms. To view the papers in pdf format, click on the "PDF Full-text" link, and use the free Adobe Readerexternal link to open them.
Order results
Result details
Section
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:
Case Report
Global Mapping of Indigenous Resilience Facing the Challenge of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010015 - 31 May 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1271
Abstract
Indigenous social development scenarios must be understood as the possibility of improving the sustainability of the planet and human health in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrating the institutional resilience approach by learning from the experience of indigenous peoples’ informal institutions through [...] Read more.
Indigenous social development scenarios must be understood as the possibility of improving the sustainability of the planet and human health in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Integrating the institutional resilience approach by learning from the experience of indigenous peoples’ informal institutions through the design of public policies can be a reality. To demonstrate the potential of this premise, a case study was conducted that examined the institutional resilience of one indigenous people, whose findings under nomothetic conditions may be useful for other territories around the world. These peoples provide lessons on how they cope with adversity, the COVID-19 pandemic being one of them. Institutional resilience is a step towards reaching out to the world’s ancestral populations to learn from their knowledge. These scenarios can help us understand the implications of international policies on the capacities of nations to secure access to food and resources and, subsequently, to be better prepared for future pandemics. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Editorial
The Vision of Challenges, a Unique Journal in an Era of Planetary Health Challenges
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010014 - 25 May 2021
Viewed by 943
Abstract
The year 2020 will never be forgotten by the global community [...] Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Communication
SMARTIES Project: The Survey of Needs for Municipalities and Trainers for Smart Cities
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010013 - 14 May 2021
Viewed by 785
Abstract
In an aim to contribute to already existing knowledge upon the subject of smart cities and the public sector’s wider knowledge in Europe, this study investigates the perception by the municipalities and the wider public sector, responsible for implementing smart solutions in the [...] Read more.
In an aim to contribute to already existing knowledge upon the subject of smart cities and the public sector’s wider knowledge in Europe, this study investigates the perception by the municipalities and the wider public sector, responsible for implementing smart solutions in the environment. The understanding of the concept of smart cities/villages by municipalities is on a low level due to the fact that the problem is too wide, not well described, solutions even wider, accompanied by the lack of experts able to offer comprehensive solutions to municipalities. The study presents factors according to the current municipalities’ knowledge (environmental awareness, knowledge and prior experience) and the existing market, of whether these factors can be said that affect the acceptance of smart cities. The public is already aware of the smart cities as a general concept, however, the study sheds light upon the established knowledge that the decision makers have in five countries, Hungary, Slovakia, Italy, Lithuania, and Denmark. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
The Influence of Connectedness to Nature on Psychological Well-Being: Evidence from the Randomized Controlled Trial Play&Grow
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010012 - 10 May 2021
Viewed by 1542
Abstract
Urbanized children today have fewer opportunities to interact with nature which may lead to a greater risk of mental health problems. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate which particular changes in connectedness to nature (CN) would improve psychological well-being [...] Read more.
Urbanized children today have fewer opportunities to interact with nature which may lead to a greater risk of mental health problems. The objective of this randomized controlled trial was to investigate which particular changes in connectedness to nature (CN) would improve psychological well-being (PW) in young children. Six hundred and thirty-nine preschoolers (52.0% boys, age 34.9 ± 9.5 months) participated in Play&Grow, an early environmental education intervention. Children’s CN and PW were evaluated by parents before and after the program with validated measures; the CNI-PPC (four factors) and the SDQ, Strength and Difficulties questionnaire (five factors), respectively. The effectiveness of the intervention on the primary outcomes (CN, PW) as well as the relationship between them was analyzed in a repeated measures path model with intervention status as a causal predictor. Specific CN factors consistently increased ProSocial behavior and reduced Hyperactivity and Emotional problems. In summary, this study showed that the previously reported impact shifted from the total CN score to the specific CN factors. The Play&Grow intervention positively increased children’s CN and improved some aspects of psychological well-being in children which is a preliminary evidence of developmental benefits of connecting young children with nature. Our results indicate promising direction of action for the improvement of families’ psychological health. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Perspective
Improving Mentorship and Supervision during COVID-19 to Reduce Graduate Student Anxiety and Depression Aided by an Online Commercial Platform Narrative Research Group
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010011 - 26 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1364
Abstract
Before COVID-19, post-secondary learning was dominated by in-person, institution-organized meetings. With the 12 March 2020 lockdown, learning became virtual, largely dependent on commercial online platforms. Already more likely to experience anxiety and depression in relation to their research work, perhaps no students have [...] Read more.
Before COVID-19, post-secondary learning was dominated by in-person, institution-organized meetings. With the 12 March 2020 lockdown, learning became virtual, largely dependent on commercial online platforms. Already more likely to experience anxiety and depression in relation to their research work, perhaps no students have endured more regarding the limitations imposed by COVID-19 than graduate students concerning their mentorship and supervision. The increase in mental health issues facing graduate students has been recognized by post-secondary institutions. Programs have been devised to reduce these challenges. However, the additional attention and funds to combat depression and anxiety have not shown anticipated results. A new approach to mitigate anxiety and depression in graduate students through mentorship and supervision is warranted. Offered here is an award-winning model featuring self-directed learning in a community formed by adding together different, equal, diverse points of view rather than agreement. The approach, delivered through a commercial online platform, is non-hierarchical, and based in narrative research. The proposed model and approach are presented, discussed and limitations considered. They are offered as a promising solution to ebb the increase in anxiety and depression in graduate students—particularly in response to COVID-19. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Viewpoint
Microbial Muses: Threads of Our Inner Wisdom
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010010 - 25 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 943
Abstract
Spiritual journeys unveil our inner wisdom to help us navigate traumatic life events. Scientific evidence implicates a gut–immune–brain axis in our sense of self, raising the possibility that our microbial partners and hormone oxytocin offer a sense of connectedness and liberate our ancestral [...] Read more.
Spiritual journeys unveil our inner wisdom to help us navigate traumatic life events. Scientific evidence implicates a gut–immune–brain axis in our sense of self, raising the possibility that our microbial partners and hormone oxytocin offer a sense of connectedness and liberate our ancestral archives to sustain us during challenging times. Full article
Viewpoint
Catalyst Twenty-Twenty: Post-Traumatic Growth at Scales of Person, Place and Planet
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010009 - 13 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1270
Abstract
Planetary health is a broad multidisciplinary effort that attempts to address what has been described as “Anthropocene Syndrome”—the wicked, interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden [...] Read more.
Planetary health is a broad multidisciplinary effort that attempts to address what has been described as “Anthropocene Syndrome”—the wicked, interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities, social injustices, erosion of wisdom and civility, together with the many structural underpinnings of these grand challenges. The ultimate aim of planetary health is flourishing along every link in the person, place and planet continuum. The events of “2020” have illuminated the consequences of “mass trauma” and how sub-threshold anxiety and/or depressive symptoms erase the rigid lines between mental “health” and mental “disorders”, and unmasked the systemic forms of injustice, discrimination, and oppression that have too often escaped discourse. Here, we query the ways in which post-traumatic growth research might inform the larger planetary health community, especially in the context of a global pandemic, broadening socioeconomic inequalities, a worsening climate crisis, and the rise of political authoritarianism. The available research would suggest that “2020” fulfills the trauma criteria of having a “seismic impact on the assumptive world”, and as such, provides fertile ground for post-traumatic growth. Among the many potential positive changes that might occur in response to trauma, we focus on the value of new awareness, perspective and greater wisdom. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Viewpoint
How Should We Respond to the Global Pandemic: The Need for Cultural Change
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010008 - 03 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1247
Abstract
The Covid pandemic has had a terrible effect on the world and government responses have been described as “Catastrophic Moral Failure”. The approach of bioethics of developing “normative ethics” has provided frameworks on how to act but despite the fact that we knew [...] Read more.
The Covid pandemic has had a terrible effect on the world and government responses have been described as “Catastrophic Moral Failure”. The approach of bioethics of developing “normative ethics” has provided frameworks on how to act but despite the fact that we knew what to do to prevent the pandemic, we did not do it. In this paper I argue that ethics is culture bound: it is the stories that “we” live by. I illustrate this with examples of cultures with differing values that were developed as a result of the particular circumstances of those cultures. I then argue that after World War 2 in response to the risks of further large wars and atrocities, work was done to further establish a “global culture” and a detailed normative ethical framework was developed by negotiation through the United Nations for that “culture”. Whilst this approach has been necessary, it has not been sufficient. I argue that we need to reframe the approach as one of achieving cultural change rather than complying with ethical norms. Some societies that were unable to adapt to changed circumstances failed to survive, others failed to thrive. A similar fate awaits the whole planet if we cannot change the stories we live by. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Challenges: 10th Anniversary)
Project Report
State-Subsidised Housing and Architecture in 20th-Century Portugal: A Critical Review Outlining Multidisciplinary Implications
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010007 - 01 Mar 2021
Viewed by 1189
Abstract
Stable access to affordable quality housing is a core feature of public health principles and practices. In this report, we provide an update on the research project “Mapping Public Housing: A Critical Review of the State-subsidised Residential Architecture in Portugal (1910–1974) [...] Read more.
Stable access to affordable quality housing is a core feature of public health principles and practices. In this report, we provide an update on the research project “Mapping Public Housing: A Critical Review of the State-subsidised Residential Architecture in Portugal (1910–1974)” (MdH), developed between 2016 and 2019 at the Faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto (FAUP) in Portugal. This funded research project (PTDC/CPC-HAT/1688/2014) brought together an international and multidisciplinary team composed of architects, sociologists, historians, an economist, an anthropologist, information scientists and archivists, from different academic levels (senior researchers, postdoctoral, PhD and Master’s degree students), adopting a variety of approaches and operating in a range of different contexts. The aim of the research undertaken was to investigate the reality of social and state-subsidised housing in terms of its architecture, while, at the same time, seeking to broaden our understanding of this phenomenon and of the transition to a democratic regime. Furthermore, this research project was designed to contribute towards the development of common ground for supporting decisions in the environmental, social and economic fields relating to housing management, as well as architectural heritage management and protection. This review is based on the submitted application (2015) and final report (2020). Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Article
Purposeful Evaluation of Scholarship in the Open Science Era
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010006 - 27 Feb 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1399
Abstract
In most of the world’s countries, scholarship evaluation for tenure and promotion continues to rely on conventional criteria of publications in journals of high impact factor and achievements in securing research funds. Continuing to hire and promote scholars based on these criteria exposes [...] Read more.
In most of the world’s countries, scholarship evaluation for tenure and promotion continues to rely on conventional criteria of publications in journals of high impact factor and achievements in securing research funds. Continuing to hire and promote scholars based on these criteria exposes universities to risk because students, directly and indirectly through government funds, are the main source of revenues for academic institutions. At the same time, talented young researchers increasingly look for professors renowned for excellence in mentoring doctoral students and early career researchers. Purposeful scholarship evaluation in the open science era needs to include all three areas of scholarly activity: research, teaching and mentoring, and service to society. Full article
Article
Seeing and Overcoming the Complexities of Intersectionality
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 5; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010005 - 05 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3262
Abstract
Background: Intersectionality contests that individuals have multiple characteristics in their identity that cannot be siloed or deemed exclusive to each other. Understanding and utilising an intersectional lens in organisations can increase inclusion of individuals and organisational performance. An educational package known as [...] Read more.
Background: Intersectionality contests that individuals have multiple characteristics in their identity that cannot be siloed or deemed exclusive to each other. Understanding and utilising an intersectional lens in organisations can increase inclusion of individuals and organisational performance. An educational package known as the Intersectionality Walk (IW) was developed by the authors, piloted, and evaluated in order to break down the commonly held descriptors of diversity silos that fragments inclusion, and to understand how various identity characteristics compound disadvantage. The paper outlines the need to transition from siloed views of diversity to a more intrinsic view of identity to achieve inclusivity. Methods: The IW was developed and trialled with a series of work-based scenarios and realistic multifaceted personas. Data collection occurred pre- and post-IW utilising a mixed methods approach. Responses to Likert scale surveys and open-ended questions were captured and analysed via inductive and grounded theory perspectives. Results: An improved awareness and understanding of individual knowledge, reflectivity and positionality relating to intersectionality and intersectional approaches was reported on completion of the IW. Furthermore, responses reported how and why organisations can approach and improve inclusivity via using intersectional approaches. Conclusions: The IW as an educational package has a positive impact and is a key linkage for all employers to build an inclusive culture and to harness the talent of all employees. Further research will occur to measure the implemented change in organisations following the IW. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Editorial
Acknowledgment of Reviewers of Challenges in 2020
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 4; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010004 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 875
Abstract
Peer review is the driving force of journal development, and reviewers are gatekeepers who ensure that Challenges maintains its standards for the high quality of its published papers [...] Full article
Article
A Model for the Spread of Infectious Diseases with Application to COVID-19
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010003 - 26 Jan 2021
Viewed by 1625
Abstract
Given the present pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 virus, the authors tried fitting existing models for the daily loss of lives. Based on data reported by Worldometers on the initial stages (first wave) of the pandemic [...] Read more.
Given the present pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 or SARS-CoV-2 virus, the authors tried fitting existing models for the daily loss of lives. Based on data reported by Worldometers on the initial stages (first wave) of the pandemic for countries acquiring the disease, the authors observed that the logarithmic rendering of their data hinted the response of a first-order process to a step function input, which may be modeled by a three-parameters function, as described in this paper. This model was compared against other similar, log(N)-class of models that are non-compartmental type (such as the susceptible, infected, and removed, or SIR models), obtaining good fit and statistical comparison results, where N denotes the cumulative number of daily presumed deaths. This simple first-order response model can also be applied to bacterial and other biological growth phenomena. Here we describe the model, the numerical methods utilized for its application to actual pandemic data, and the statistical comparisons with other models which shows that our simple model is comparatively outstanding, given its simplicity. While researching the models available, the authors found other functions that can also be applied, with extra parameters, to be described in follow-on articles. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Review
Data Science on Industrial Data—Today’s Challenges in Brown Field Applications
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 2; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010002 - 25 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1201
Abstract
Much research is done on data analytics and machine learning for data coming from industrial processes. In practical approaches, one finds many pitfalls restraining the application of these modern technologies especially in brownfield applications. With this paper, we want to show state of [...] Read more.
Much research is done on data analytics and machine learning for data coming from industrial processes. In practical approaches, one finds many pitfalls restraining the application of these modern technologies especially in brownfield applications. With this paper, we want to show state of the art and what to expect when working with stock machines in the field. The paper is a review of literature found to cover challenges for cyber-physical production systems (CPPS) in brownfield applications. This review is combined with our own personal experience and findings gained while setting up such systems in processing and packaging machines as well as in other areas. A major focus in this paper is on data collection, which tends be more cumbersome than most people might expect. In addition, data quality for machine learning applications is a challenge once leaving the laboratory and its academic data sets. Topics here include missing ground truth or the lack of semantic description of the data. A last challenge covered is IT security and passing data through firewalls to allow for the cyber part in CPPS. However, all of these findings show that potentials of data driven production systems are strongly depending on data collection to build proclaimed new automation systems with more flexibility, improved human–machine interaction and better process-stability and thus less waste during manufacturing. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Viewpoint
Healing Anthropocene Syndrome: Planetary Health Requires Remediation of the Toxic Post-Truth Environment
Challenges 2021, 12(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/challe12010001 - 21 Jan 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1747
Abstract
The term “Anthropocene Syndrome” describes the wicked interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, unacceptable poverty (of both income and opportunity), grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health [...] Read more.
The term “Anthropocene Syndrome” describes the wicked interrelated challenges of our time. These include, but are not limited to, unacceptable poverty (of both income and opportunity), grotesque biodiversity losses, climate change, environmental degradation, resource depletion, the global burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), health inequalities, social injustices, the spread of ultra-processed foods, consumerism and incivility in tandem with a diminished emphasis on the greater potential of humankind, efforts toward unity, or the value of fulfilment and flourishing of all humankind. Planetary health is a concept that recognizes the interdependent vitality of all natural and anthropogenic ecosystems—social, political and otherwise; it blurs the artificial lines between health at scales of person, place and planet. Promoting planetary health requires addressing the underlying pathology of “Anthropocene Syndrome” and the deeper value systems and power dynamics that promote its various signs and symptoms. Here, we focus on misinformation as a toxin that maintains the syndromic status quo—rapid dissemination of falsehoods and dark conspiracies on social media, fake news, alternative facts and medical misinformation described by the World Health Organization as an “infodemic”. In the context of planetary health, we explore the historical antecedents of this “infodemic” and underscore an urgent need to remediate the misinformation mess. It is our contention that education (especially in early life) emphasizing mindfulness and understanding of the mechanisms by which propaganda is spread (and unhealthy products are marketed) is essential. We expand the discourse on positive social contagion and argue that empowerment through education can help lead to an information transformation with the aim of flourishing along every link in the person, place and planet continuum. Full article
Show Figures

Figure 1

Previous Issue
Next Issue
Back to TopTop