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World, Volume 2, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 8 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Research on Small and Medium-Sized Cities: Framing a New Field of Inquiry
World 2021, 2(1), 105-126; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010008 - 20 Feb 2021
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Abstract
In recent years, research and publication activity in the field of small and medium-sized cities (SMSCs) in an international context has been increasing. However, a survey of extant research remains missing. To bridge this gap, this paper presents a systematic and comprehensive review [...] Read more.
In recent years, research and publication activity in the field of small and medium-sized cities (SMSCs) in an international context has been increasing. However, a survey of extant research remains missing. To bridge this gap, this paper presents a systematic and comprehensive review of the relevant literature revealing how various disciplines, from geography to economics, approach the topic from different perspectives, which can be related to various foci of sustainability. Empirical results show that the development and significance of SMSCs are influenced by spatial location and innovative activity, networking, and the intensity of cooperation with other cities. Additionally, transport infrastructure connections, control through network-related spatial planning approaches, and exceptional positioning of individual architectural buildings can play a decisive role. However, there is no singular understanding of SMSCs, with many different research perspectives distinguishable. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Aesthetic Expertise for Sustainable Development: Envisioning Artful Scientific Policy Advice
World 2021, 2(1), 92-104; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010007 - 10 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Unsustainable developments will continue to be a significant challenge from the global to local level. The United Nations Transformation Agenda 2030 reflects the breadth and depth of the task and serves as a central reference point. The participation and collaboration of state and [...] Read more.
Unsustainable developments will continue to be a significant challenge from the global to local level. The United Nations Transformation Agenda 2030 reflects the breadth and depth of the task and serves as a central reference point. The participation and collaboration of state and non-state actors are considered necessary to make progress in this context. However, politics and policy-making play a central role for guiding and shaping sustainable development. In order to secure societal acceptance for the targeted sustainability transformation, this article claims that policy-making for sustainable development should aim to bring about well-being-oriented transformations. In this regard, besides cognitive insight into the need for change, the multisensory dimensions of human existence in general as well as in everyday social practices in particular should be taken into account more systematically. It is argued that the presented approach of artful scientific policy advice may enable sensory-informed and creative policy-making by providing aesthetic expertise. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing Socio-Economic Factors Affecting the Implementation of Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) Mechanism
World 2021, 2(1), 81-91; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010006 - 05 Feb 2021
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Abstract
The Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) mechanism has been pursued as a means to provide incentives for achieving conservation goals while also promoting rural development by alleviating poverty. However, the degree to which these goals are met depends on the implementation of the [...] Read more.
The Payment for Ecosystem Services (PES) mechanism has been pursued as a means to provide incentives for achieving conservation goals while also promoting rural development by alleviating poverty. However, the degree to which these goals are met depends on the implementation of the programs, which depends on the desirability and accessibility of programs targeting rural communities. Understanding the factors motivating or dissuading PES is vital for successful implementation. This paper evaluated the determinants of locals’ preference for PES implementation in the Begnas Lake Watershed. We interviewed 180 residents representing upstream and downstream. Factors such as income, the distance between house and lake, knowledge about PES, education, and duration of living in the area significantly determined locals’ attitude towards PES implementation. Their decision to take a stake in the PES program, if implemented, was influenced by income, family size, the distance between house and lake, education, and knowledge about PES. The majority of the household prefer community forestry as an institution and indirect payment as a compensation mechanism. The study suggests that the implementation of PES can contribute to uplifting the livelihood of local communities and conservation of Begnas lake watershed. The study further recommends the involvement of multi-stakeholders for ground-level awareness. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social Innovation and the Role of the State: Learning from the Portuguese Experience on Multi-Level Interactions
World 2021, 2(1), 62-80; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010005 - 25 Jan 2021
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Abstract
The state is facing turbulent times. Financial and economic turmoil, growing inequalities, disinvestment in public and social services, and political disenchantment are but a few problems that contemporary society is facing, while traditional policies are failing to deliver the desired results. Social innovation [...] Read more.
The state is facing turbulent times. Financial and economic turmoil, growing inequalities, disinvestment in public and social services, and political disenchantment are but a few problems that contemporary society is facing, while traditional policies are failing to deliver the desired results. Social innovation is a possible approach to deal with emergent social needs. Research and policy experimentation on social innovation increased in the last decade, but many questions remain open. One key interrogation regards the relation of social innovation with the state. How can the state, considering the multi-level interactions that necessarily exist between different stakeholders, promote these practices? Using the case of Portugal, and the recent implementation of a pioneer public programmed dedicated to social innovation—Portugal Social Innovation—, this article contributes to the understanding of the role the state in the promotion of social innovation and the challenges, tensions, and difficulties experienced by those involved in the sector, whether as practitioners of social innovation or as heads of public institutions responsible for assisting in the development and implementation of social innovations. The article presents data gathered from a focus group involving the representatives from key third sector associations and officials responsible for public institutions that support the implementation of social innovation at the relevant levels of government (national, regional, local). Results show opportunities and tensions between the third sector and the different levels of the state, and a difficulty to adapt the processes and practices of public administration to the dynamic and creative nature of social innovation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring Walkability with Street Connectivity and Physical Activity: A Case Study in Iran
World 2021, 2(1), 49-61; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010004 - 18 Jan 2021
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Abstract
The walkability of urban areas is an important criterion related to the level of physical activity and public health of citizens. This research aims to measure this parameter in Golsar town located in Rasht, Iran. Two methods were used in this research: Street [...] Read more.
The walkability of urban areas is an important criterion related to the level of physical activity and public health of citizens. This research aims to measure this parameter in Golsar town located in Rasht, Iran. Two methods were used in this research: Street connectivity and International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ). The principal variables of street connectivity were measured in four districts of Golsar by Geographic Information System (GIS) to rank each one. Then, the acquired results were compared by the average walking time of the respondents of the questionnaire. The comparison explicitly indicated that there is a strong positive correlation between the measures of street connectivity and people’s tendency to walk. As well, District 1 had the highest value of connectivity and the highest average time for walking amongst the four districts. This supports the contention that walkability and the level of outdoor physical activities of people in each district are undoubtedly under the influence of the variables of street connectivity. Nevertheless, the evaluation of other indexes such as proximity, land use mix, safety, and density in Golsar, in future research. can expand our perception of the walkability of this region. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Climate-Environmental Governance in the Mexico Valley Metropolitan Area: Assessing Local Institutional Capacities in the Face of Current and Future Urban Metabolic Dynamics
World 2021, 2(1), 32-48; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010003 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 516
Abstract
This paper focuses on the evaluation of local institutional capacities for advancing climate-environmental governance in the Mexico Valley Metropolitan Area (MVMA). It starts with a brief contextualization of the MVMA, followed by an estimation of current and tendential urban inflows and outflows by [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the evaluation of local institutional capacities for advancing climate-environmental governance in the Mexico Valley Metropolitan Area (MVMA). It starts with a brief contextualization of the MVMA, followed by an estimation of current and tendential urban inflows and outflows by 2050 with the objective of delineating the challenges and potential implications ahead. Next, an assessment of local climate-environmental institutional capacities is offered. For that, the methodology and main outcomes of the so-called ICI-CLIMA index is presented for 2019. A qualitative discussion continues in order to assert the challenges and opportunities for advancing a coordinated urban agenda for sustainability and resilience. Such discussion has been enriched with documental and other type of information gathered through field research in all of the 76 municipalities that comprise the MVMA. The paper concludes that, in addition to the limited current climate-environmental local capacities, there is a mismatch between them and both the level of climate vulnerability officially identified and the environmental challenges currently facing. Therefore, for coping with a tendential scenario of increasing urban inflows and outflows and their associated climate-environmental implications, MVMA governments will have to improve their capacities while advancing, at all levels of government, the coordination of climate-environmental agendas, and of the later with urban planning and development agendas. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Socioecological System Transformation: Lessons from COVID-19
World 2021, 2(1), 15-31; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010002 - 05 Jan 2021
Viewed by 558
Abstract
Environmentalists have long warned of a coming shock to the system. COVID-19 exposed fragility in the system and has the potential to result in radical social change. With socioeconomic interruptions cascading through tightly intertwined economic, social, environmental, and political systems, many are not [...] Read more.
Environmentalists have long warned of a coming shock to the system. COVID-19 exposed fragility in the system and has the potential to result in radical social change. With socioeconomic interruptions cascading through tightly intertwined economic, social, environmental, and political systems, many are not working to find the opportunities for change. Prefigurative politics in communities have demonstrated rapid and successful responses to the pandemic. These successes, and others throughout history, demonstrate that prefigurative politics are important for response to crisis. Given the failure of mainstream environmentalism, we use systemic transformation literature to suggest novel strategies to strengthen cooperative prefigurative politics. In this paper, we look at ways in which COVID-19 shock is leveraged in local and global economic contexts. We also explore how the pandemic has exposed paradoxes of global connectivity and interdependence. While responses shed light on potential lessons for ecological sustainability governance, COVID-19 has also demonstrated the importance of local resilience strategies. We use local manufacturing as an example of a possible localized, yet globally connected, resilience strategy and explore some preliminary data that highlight possible tradeoffs of economic contraction. Full article
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Open AccessReview
Post COVID-19 Pandemic Scenarios in an Unequal World Challenges for Sustainable Development in Latin America
World 2021, 2(1), 1-14; https://doi.org/10.3390/world2010001 - 24 Dec 2020
Viewed by 534
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted numerous academic debates about its impact on health and the economy and on possible post-pandemic scenarios across the globe. The discussion has been focused on whether the pandemic will mark a turning point and a unique opportunity to [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted numerous academic debates about its impact on health and the economy and on possible post-pandemic scenarios across the globe. The discussion has been focused on whether the pandemic will mark a turning point and a unique opportunity to generate radical changes in the economic and productive system, or if the State assistance role will, once again, serve to rescue the capitalist system. There is a common link between these two opposing positions in that there will be a crossroads for the future of humanity, regarding the treatment that will be given to nature. However, some of the most optimistic visions seem to underestimate the different realities that the world presents. This paper proposes a combined analysis about the possible post-pandemic scenarios that are debated at a global level, and the impacts of the pandemic in the context of Latin America to fill an information gap and to aid understanding on what the possible post-pandemic scenarios for Latin America could be. The first findings show that the debates about the post-pandemic future at the global level could be grouped between: the return to “business as usual”; a managed transition; and a paradigm shift. For Latin America, the post-pandemic scenario will be highly conditioned on how the new world order is reconfigured, and moving on a path towards sustainability for the region in the post-pandemic scenario seems to be linked to two possibilities: a kind of revolt or revolution fostered by the social bases; or a solution of a global nature that favors making long-term decisions. If this does not occur, the most likely scenario seems to be a return to business as usual. Full article
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