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Future Challenges in the Framework of Integrated and Sustainable Environmental Planning: Case Studies and Innovative Proposals

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Environmental Science and Engineering".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 March 2023) | Viewed by 60399

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Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Technical University of Cartagena, Spain
Interests: technology; sustainability; experimental science; built environment; green infrastructures; risk analysis and natural hazards

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Environmental planning has become an indispensable tool in our current society. The complexity and dynamism of the processes of pollution or alteration of the territory are phenomena that require new, more comprehensive environmental policies and integrated and integrative approaches. This changing context forces administrations and researchers in this field to develop increasingly sophisticated and demanding frameworks. However, these actions must be carried out taking into account the increasingly multidisciplinary nature of these phenomena, and assuming the principle of reality that forces them to be socially and economically sustainable. This Special Issue seeks contributions involving innovative approaches or relevant case studies regarding environmental policy and management in topics such as:

- Sustainability frameworks linked to optimization of land and resources consumption;

- Socioecological approaches to solve environmental problems;

- Protected areas policy and management;

- Risk analysis derived from human anthropization of natural resources;

- Regulatory applications aimed at integrating environmental knowledge (e.g., EU INSPIRE Directive);

- Spatial analysis of diffuse pollution phenomena;

- Etc.

Innovative methodologies, frameworks or significant results from relevant case studies related to all these topics are welcome, but similar ones may also be considered for publication if they fit within the scope of this Special Issue.

References:

Boretto, G. Dinámica costera y antropización en playas uruguayas. Un análisis integrado para su conservación. Rev. mex. cienc. Geol. 2018, 35, 291–306.

Huang, F.; Lin, Y.; Zhao, R.; Qin, X.; Chen, Q.; Lin, J. Dissipation Theory-Based Ecological Protection and Restoration Scheme Construction for Reclamation Projects and Adjacent Marine Ecosystems. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16, 4303.

García Galiano, Sandra; Giraldo-Osorio, Juan Diego; Giménez, P. Drought Hazard Mapping from Regional Climate Multimodel Ensemble over Spain. Mod. Appl. Sci. 2015, 10. 17–24.

García-Ayllón, S. GIS Assessment of Mass Tourism Anthropization in Sensitive Coastal Environments: Application to a Case Study in the Mar Menor Area. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1344.

Garcia-Ayllon, S. The Integrated Territorial Investment (ITI) of the Mar Menor as a model for the future in the comprehensive management of enclosed coastal seas. Ocean Coast. Manag. 2018, 166, 82–97.

García-Ayllón, S. Predictive Diagnosis of Agricultural Periurban Areas Based on Territorial Indicators: Comparative Landscape Trends of the So-Called “Orchard of Europe”. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1820.

García-Ayllón, S. New Strategies to Improve Co-Management in Enclosed Coastal Seas and Wetlands Subjected to Complex Environments: Socio-Economic Analysis Applied to an International Recovery Success Case Study after an Environmental Crisis. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1039.

Lee, YJ. & Lin, SY. Vulnerability and ecological footprint: a comparison between urban Taipei and rural Yunlin, Taiwan. Environ. Sci. Pollut. Res. 2019, 1–14.

Shen, M.; Mao, D.; Xie, H.; Li, C. The Social Costs of Marine Litter along the East China Sea: Evidence from Ten Coastal Scenic Spots of Zhejiang Province, China. Sustainability 2019, 11, 1807.

Dr. Salvador García-Ayllón
Dr. Antonio Espín Tomás
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2500 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • environmental planning
  • integrated management
  • environmental policies
  • socioecological systems
  • protected areas
  • risk analysis
  • territorial sustainability
  • human anthropization
  • diffuse pollution

Published Papers (19 papers)

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Research

18 pages, 4805 KiB  
Article
Coastal Monitoring Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for the Management of the Spanish Mediterranean Coast: The Case of Almenara-Sagunto
by Vicent Esteban Chapapría, José Serra Peris and José A. González-Escrivá
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(9), 5457; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19095457 - 29 Apr 2022
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2149
Abstract
The concentration of the world’s population in coastal areas means an increase in pressure on the environment and coastal ecosystems. The impacts of climate change affect natural biophysical and ecological systems and human health. Research has been developed to create coastal monitoring with [...] Read more.
The concentration of the world’s population in coastal areas means an increase in pressure on the environment and coastal ecosystems. The impacts of climate change affect natural biophysical and ecological systems and human health. Research has been developed to create coastal monitoring with Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) that allow data to be obtained and methodologies that integrate computer vision algorithms for 3D and image processing techniques for analysis, combined with maritime information. The Valencian oval is located on the Spanish Mediterranean coast and registers significant coastal erosion. It is a densely populated area, with high economic relevance and tourist activity. The main goals of the developed research in this coastal area include creating a methodology of data collection that identifies environmental indicators significant to community health and uses in the coastal areas, to test progression of interventions and to assess coastal erosion detection and monitoring. The final objective is to aid in decision-making and coastal management. Sediment characterization was obtained, and continuous maritime information was collected. The dynamic evolution of coastal areas was researched by using UAVs on the Spanish Mediterranean coast. This technique is suitable for measuring medium to small coastal changes. Flight planning was carried out using the grid mode and adapted to areas in order to obtain a homogeneous pixel size and precision. This monitoring program takes advantage of technological development with very low economic costs and is a good tool for making decisions that must be based on scientific information. With the monitoring work, an annual erosion between 12 and 6 m was detected. The monitoring program has evidenced the shoreline trend as a result of the impact of rigid structures, mainly ports and groins, in promoting down-drift erosion processes in the area. Full article
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25 pages, 467 KiB  
Article
Promoting Inclusive Outdoor Recreation in National Park Governance: A Comparative Perspective from Canada and Spain
by Maria José Aguilar-Carrasco, Eric Gielen, Maria Vallés-Planells, Francisco Galiana, Mercedes Almenar-Muñoz and Cecil Konijnendijk
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(5), 2566; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19052566 - 23 Feb 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2936
Abstract
While national parks (NPs) have for a long time made substantial contributions to visitor well-being, many spaces remain out of reach of people with disabilities (PwDs). This is partly due to a lack of policies that take accessibility for broader intersectional audiences into [...] Read more.
While national parks (NPs) have for a long time made substantial contributions to visitor well-being, many spaces remain out of reach of people with disabilities (PwDs). This is partly due to a lack of policies that take accessibility for broader intersectional audiences into consideration. This paper evaluates governance and legal frameworks in NPs in both Canada and Spain. A decision-making framework based on intersectionality realities is proposed to assess current conditions of environmental good governance using a set of descriptors created to scrutinize laws and technical documents that can promote equitable access to NPs. To validate results derived from the regulatory evaluation, semistructured interviews with park managers were carried out. Results revealed the importance of incorporating equity discourses into policies that regulate NP networks to guarantee that all the intersectional realities for park uses are considered in their management. Furthermore, when a country develops a well-structured federal framework under which the rights of PwDs are ensured, it transcends other fields of law. Differences between the Canadian and the Spanish situation are highlighted, as well as the need for links between higher-level policies and laws and on-the-ground implementation, with NP management plans playing an important role. Full article
22 pages, 1343 KiB  
Article
The Impact of Environmental Uncertainty on Corporate Innovation: Empirical Evidence from an Emerging Economy
by Jinyong Chen, Weijia Shu, Xiaochi Wang, Muhammad Safdar Sial, Mariana Sehleanu and Daniel Badulescu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 334; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010334 - 29 Dec 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2542
Abstract
The paper analyzes the effect of environmental uncertainty on corporate technological innovation from the perspective of an innovation value chain under the institutional background of China. This paper not only discusses the intermediary effect of agency problems on environmental uncertainty and corporate technological [...] Read more.
The paper analyzes the effect of environmental uncertainty on corporate technological innovation from the perspective of an innovation value chain under the institutional background of China. This paper not only discusses the intermediary effect of agency problems on environmental uncertainty and corporate technological innovation but also deeply explores the influence of information transparency, government subsidies, and other mechanisms to alleviate agency problems on environmental uncertainty and corporate technological innovation. We use the data of listed companies in China from 2008 to 2019 as the research sample, and the results show that, in general, environmental uncertainty has a negative effect on both input and output of technological innovation, and the negative effect can last for two years. Further research shows that the agency problem has an intermediary effect on the environmental uncertainty and corporate technology innovation, and the environmental uncertainty aggravates the agency problem, which hinders the input and output of corporate technology innovation. As an important mechanism to alleviate the agency problems, information transparency and government subsidies can effectively alleviate the agency conflict, thus reducing the inhibition of environmental uncertainty on the input and output of technological innovation. Our findings contribute to the discussion of driving factors for technological innovation in the context of China’s system. Our results provide useful insights into the link between environmental uncertainty and corporate innovation for economic academics and practitioners alike. Full article
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21 pages, 1577 KiB  
Article
The Contribution of MCDM to SUMP: The Case of Spanish Cities during 2006–2021
by Salvador Garcia-Ayllon, Eloy Hontoria and Nolberto Munier
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2022, 19(1), 294; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph19010294 - 28 Dec 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2603
Abstract
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) are increasingly popular planning tools in cities with environmental issues where numerous actions are usually proposed to reduce pollution from urban transport. However, the diagnosis and implementation of these processes requires broad consensus from all stakeholders and the [...] Read more.
Sustainable Urban Mobility Plans (SUMP) are increasingly popular planning tools in cities with environmental issues where numerous actions are usually proposed to reduce pollution from urban transport. However, the diagnosis and implementation of these processes requires broad consensus from all stakeholders and the ability to fit them into urban planning in such a way that it allows the proposals to become realistic actions. In this study, a review of the sustainable urban mobility plans of 47 cities in Spain during the last 15 years has been carried out, analyzing both the diagnosis and proposal of solutions and their subsequent implementation. From the results obtained, a new framework based on a structured hybrid methodology is proposed to aid decision-making for the evaluation of alternatives in the implementation of proposals in SUMP. This hybrid methodology considers experts’ and stakeholders’ opinion and applies two different multi-criteria decision making (MCDM) methods in different phases to present two rankings of best alternatives. From that experience, an analysis based on the MCDM methods called ‘Sequential Interactive Modelling for Urban Systems (SIMUS)’ and weighted sum method (WSM) was applied to a case study of the city of Cartagena, a southeastern middle-size city in Spain. This analytic proposal has been transferred to the practical field in the SUMP of Cartagena, the first instrument of this nature developed after COVID-19 in Spain for a relevant city. The results show how this framework, based on a hybrid methodology, allows the development of complex decision mapping processes using these instruments without obviating the need to generate planning tools that can be transferred from the theoretical framework of urban reality. Full article
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27 pages, 4210 KiB  
Article
Identification of Policies Based on Assessment-Optimization Model to Confront Vulnerable Resources System with Large Population Scale in a Big City
by Xueting Zeng, Hua Xiang, Jia Liu, Yong Xue, Jinxin Zhu and Yuqian Xu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(24), 13097; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph182413097 - 11 Dec 2021
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2762
Abstract
The conflict between excessive population development and vulnerable resource (including water, food, and energy resources) capacity influenced by multiple uncertainties can increase the difficulty of decision making in a big city with large population scale. In this study, an adaptive population and water–food–energy [...] Read more.
The conflict between excessive population development and vulnerable resource (including water, food, and energy resources) capacity influenced by multiple uncertainties can increase the difficulty of decision making in a big city with large population scale. In this study, an adaptive population and water–food–energy (WFE) management framework (APRF) incorporating vulnerability assessment, uncertainty analysis, and systemic optimization methods is developed for optimizing the relationship between population development and WFE management (P-WFE) under combined policies. In the APRF, the vulnerability of WFE was calculated by an entropy-based driver–pressure–state–response (E-DPSR) model to reflect the exposure, sensitivity, and adaptability caused by population growth, economic development, and resource governance. Meanwhile, a scenario-based dynamic fuzzy model with Hurwicz criterion (SDFH) is proposed for not only optimizing the relationship of P-WFE with uncertain information expressed as possibility and probability distributions, but also reflecting the risk preference of policymakers with an elected manner. The developed APRF is applied to a real case study of Beijing city, which has characteristics of a large population scale and resource deficit. The results of WFE shortages and population adjustments were obtained to identify an optimized P-WEF plan under various policies, to support the adjustment of the current policy in Beijing city. Meanwhile, the results associated with resource vulnerability and benefit analysis were analyzed for improving the robustness of policy generation. Full article
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24 pages, 5481 KiB  
Article
Romanian Students’ Environment-Related Routines during COVID-19 Home Confinement: Water, Plastic, and Paper Consumption
by Vasile Gherheș, Mariana Cernicova-Buca, Marcela Alina Fărcașiu and Adina Palea
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(15), 8209; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18158209 - 3 Aug 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3181
Abstract
The disruptive force of the COVID-19 pandemic is lessening in power and plans are being made for the postcrisis period, among which increasing the sustainability of higher education is of significant importance. The study aims at establishing students’ existing environment-related routines during their [...] Read more.
The disruptive force of the COVID-19 pandemic is lessening in power and plans are being made for the postcrisis period, among which increasing the sustainability of higher education is of significant importance. The study aims at establishing students’ existing environment-related routines during their home confinement, as a basis for applying green measures to campus living once academic life is resumed with the physical presence of students. The collected data rely on self-reported information provided by 816 students from Politehnica University of Timisoara (Romania), collected via an online, anonymous survey. The novelty of the approach is that household environment-related routines are investigated during a crisis period, with the possibility to build upon the results to implement tailored measures to encourage or diminish environmentally relevant consumption by young, highly skilled individuals. The students display a moderate awareness of environmental issues and indicate consumption routines that may be steered towards an increased sustainability-conscious campus life, through the combined intervention of the university, city administration, and stakeholder involvement. The findings are used to explore the possible directions for action towards increasing or contributing to the territorial sustainability in the socio-ecological context of Timisoara, the largest university city in the western part of Romania via educational, managerial and policy interventions. Full article
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18 pages, 21326 KiB  
Article
Decoupling and Decomposition Analysis of Land Natural Capital Utilization and Economic Growth: A Case Study in Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China
by Shanshan Guo, Yinghong Wang, Jiu Huang, Jihong Dong and Jian Zhang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 646; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020646 - 14 Jan 2021
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2593
Abstract
In order to reduce the depletion of land natural capital and develop economy simultaneously, it is necessary to study how to achieve the strong decoupling relationship between them. However, so far such studies have been relatively limited. Thus, taking the case of Ningxia [...] Read more.
In order to reduce the depletion of land natural capital and develop economy simultaneously, it is necessary to study how to achieve the strong decoupling relationship between them. However, so far such studies have been relatively limited. Thus, taking the case of Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, China, this paper firstly analyzes the state of land natural capital utilization in 1999–2017 by using improved ecological footprint. Then, decoupling state is quantified by Tapio decoupling model. Last, major driving factors on the decoupling relationship are explored with combination of LMDI decomposition and Kaya identity equation. Results showed that: (1) Both natural capital flows and stock depletion of cultivated land decrease obviously during the transition to corn-based intensive ecological agriculture. Grassland and water are the most unsustainable development sectors among all land types with their stock depletion intensified. Forest land and construction land could basically meet the consumer demand, but the flow occupancy of construction land is the fastest-growing segment. (2) Decoupling relationship is in an alternating state between weak decoupling and strong decoupling in 1999–2017. Wherein, the cultivated land and forest land showed a preferred decoupling state, followed by grassland, while the water and construction land showed the unfavorable expansive negative decoupling and weak decoupling. (3) Decomposition results show that intensity effect is the major factor that promotes the decoupling while economic effect inhibits the decoupling, but this negative impact is weakening in the process of industrial transformation. The other three factors affect less on the decoupling. This study has a certain reference value to construct an ecological civilization in eco-fragile regions and formulate relevant policies on the increase of land natural capital efficiency. Full article
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28 pages, 15737 KiB  
Article
The Variability of Nitrogen Forms in Soils Due to Traditional and Precision Agriculture: Case Studies in Poland
by Anna Podlasek, Eugeniusz Koda and Magdalena Daria Vaverková
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(2), 465; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18020465 - 8 Jan 2021
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2862
Abstract
The soil and human health issues are closely linked. Properly managed nitrogen (N) does not endanger human health and increases crop production, nevertheless when overused and uncontrolled, can contribute to side effects. This research was intended to highlight that there is a need [...] Read more.
The soil and human health issues are closely linked. Properly managed nitrogen (N) does not endanger human health and increases crop production, nevertheless when overused and uncontrolled, can contribute to side effects. This research was intended to highlight that there is a need for carrying out monitoring studies in agricultural areas in order to expand the available knowledge on the content of N forms in agricultural lands and proper management in farming practice. The impact of two types of fertilization, concerning spatially variable (VRA) and uniform (UNI) N dose, on the distribution of N forms in soils was analyzed. The analysis was performed on the basis of soil monitoring data from agricultural fields located in three different experimental sites in Poland. The analyses performed at selected sites were supported by statistical evaluation and recognition of spatial diversification of N forms in soil. It was revealed that the movement of unused N forms to deeper parts of the soil, and therefore to the groundwater system, is more limited due to VRA fertilization. Finally, it was also concluded that the management in agricultural practice should be based on the prediction of spatial variability of soil properties that allow to ensure proper application of N fertilizers, resulting in the reduction of possible N losses. Full article
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14 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
The Nexus between Economic Complexity and Energy Consumption under the Context of Sustainable Environment: Evidence from the LMC Countries
by Hongbo Liu, Shuanglu Liang and Qingbo Cui
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18(1), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph18010124 - 27 Dec 2020
Cited by 22 | Viewed by 3394
Abstract
The wide application of various energy resources in economic development is allegedly responsible for deepening environmental deterioration in terms of increasing pollution emissions and other negative consequences including climate change. This current work investigates the interdependent correlation between energy consumption (both fossil fuel [...] Read more.
The wide application of various energy resources in economic development is allegedly responsible for deepening environmental deterioration in terms of increasing pollution emissions and other negative consequences including climate change. This current work investigates the interdependent correlation between energy consumption (both fossil fuel energy consumption and renewable energy consumption) and economic complexity among Lancang-Mekong Cooperation (hereafter LMC) countries, from 1991 to 2017. As for empirical analysis, a panel vector autoregression (PVAR) model was employed. Outcomes of this research confirm the existence of a unidirectional relationship between energy consumption and economic complexity index. It is verified that renewable energy usage is a possible alternative to traditional energy and is able to increase economic complexity. This current research proposed to contribute as a pioneering exploration on LMC countries by adding original observations into existing studies. Finally, we will discuss policy implications of this work. Full article
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20 pages, 1539 KiB  
Article
The Construction and Validation of a Sustainable Tourism Development Evaluation Model
by Han-Shen Chen
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7306; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197306 - 7 Oct 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 2849
Abstract
As climate change, food crises, sustainable development, and ecological conservation gain traction, the revival of traditional fishing villages has become an important governmental policy for Taiwan. To reduce cognitive bias, the choice experiment method was applied to construct an attribute function in fishing [...] Read more.
As climate change, food crises, sustainable development, and ecological conservation gain traction, the revival of traditional fishing villages has become an important governmental policy for Taiwan. To reduce cognitive bias, the choice experiment method was applied to construct an attribute function in fishing village tourism coupled with virtual reality headsets. Conditional logit and random parameter logit models were employed to estimate tourism utility functions. Moreover, a latent class model was employed to determine whether hetxerogeneous preferences regarding fishing village travel existed. The sampling sites were distributed across the Dongshi area. In total, 612 tourists and 170 local residents were interviewed. After incomplete questionnaires were removed, 816 valid questionnaires remained, representing 95.83% of the total questionnaires. Older residents and residents with shorter histories of education were inclined to increase land development and utilization by reducing natural landscapes; tourists preferred preserving landscapes and preventing land development. Residents with more education believed that local landscape imagery was essential. Tourists who were more educated, with high incomes, and those who were older believed that a selling platform incorporating local industries and products within the villages would be attractive for other tourists. Full article
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20 pages, 4807 KiB  
Article
Simulating Urban Growth Scenarios Based on Ecological Security Pattern: A Case Study in Quanzhou, China
by Xiaoyang Liu, Ming Wei and Jian Zeng
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 7282; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17197282 - 5 Oct 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 2897
Abstract
In recent decades, the ecological security pattern (ESP) has drawn increasing scientific attention against the backdrop of rapid urbanization and worsening ecological environment. Despite numerous achievements in identifying and constructing the ecological security pattern, limited attention has been paid on applying ESP to [...] Read more.
In recent decades, the ecological security pattern (ESP) has drawn increasing scientific attention against the backdrop of rapid urbanization and worsening ecological environment. Despite numerous achievements in identifying and constructing the ecological security pattern, limited attention has been paid on applying ESP to predict urban growth. To bridge the research gap, this paper took Quanzhou, China as a study case and incorporated the identified ESP into an urban growth simulation with three distinct scenarios. Following the “ecological source–ecological corridor–ecological security pattern” paradigm, the ESP identification was carried out from four single aspects (i.e., water, geology, biodiversity, and recreation) into three levels (i.e., basic ESP, intermediate ESP, and optimal ESP). Grounded in an equally weighted superposition algorithm, the four single ESPs were combined as an integrated ESP (IESP) with three levels. Taking IESP as an exclusion element, urban growth simulation in 2030 was completed with thee SLEUTH model. Drawing on the three levels of IESP, our urban growth simulation contained three scenarios. In terms of urban sprawl distribution coupled with urban growth rate, an optimal urban growth scenario is recommended in this paper to balance both urban development and eco-environment protection. We argue that our ESP-based urban growth simulation results shed new light on predicting urban sprawl and have the potential to inform planners and policymakers to contribute to more environmentally-friendly urban development. Full article
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22 pages, 1283 KiB  
Article
Overcoming Barriers to Agriculture Green Technology Diffusion through Stakeholders in China: A Social Network Analysis
by Wenke Wang, Jue Wang, Kebei Liu and Yenchun Jim Wu
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(19), 6976; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17196976 - 24 Sep 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 3710
Abstract
It is crucial to actively encourage the development of agriculture green technology, which has been regarded as one of the most effective solutions to the environmental degradation caused by agricultural activities. However, agriculture green technology diffusion is indeed a challenging task and still [...] Read more.
It is crucial to actively encourage the development of agriculture green technology, which has been regarded as one of the most effective solutions to the environmental degradation caused by agricultural activities. However, agriculture green technology diffusion is indeed a challenging task and still faces numerous barriers. The stakeholders who can potentially deal with these barriers, however, have been overlooked by previous studies. To address these issues, social network analysis was performed to identify critical stakeholders and barriers. Their interactions in agriculture green technology diffusion were analyzed based on the literature, a questionnaire survey and expert judgments. A two-mode network and two one-mode networks were used to analyze the relationships among the identified 12 barriers and 14 stakeholders who can influence these 12 barriers identified. The results show that agricultural research institutes, universities, agribusiness, agencies of township promotion, the government and farmers’ relatives are key stakeholders and that the limited market demand for green technology and the high cost of its diffusion are two main barriers. However, poor green technology operability and farmer families in distress are factors that are not as important as previously perceived. Finally, some recommendations and suggestions are provided to promote agriculture green technology diffusion in China. Full article
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17 pages, 1724 KiB  
Article
The Analysis of Green Areas’ Accessibility in Comparison with Statistical Data in Poland
by Joanna Wysmułek, Maria Hełdak and Anatolii Kucher
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(12), 4492; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17124492 - 22 Jun 2020
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 3579
Abstract
The study discusses the problem of public green areas’ accessibility for the residents of large cities in Poland. The purpose of the research is to assess the possibility of applying the British Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt) method in determining the amount of [...] Read more.
The study discusses the problem of public green areas’ accessibility for the residents of large cities in Poland. The purpose of the research is to assess the possibility of applying the British Accessible Natural Greenspace Standard (ANGSt) method in determining the amount of natural green space available to residents in Polish conditions including, in particular, the assessment of accessibility using data collected by the Central Statistical Office and the verification of results based on detailed research. The identification of green areas for 18 voivodeship cities in Poland was prepared using the GIS programme, taking into account public green space, provided for general access and free of change. The verification of the ANGSt method consisted of mapping spatial barriers extending the route of access either on foot or by roads as well as closed private areas. The conducted research revealed that, after taking into account the access routes to selected areas, the distance to public green areas increased, on average, from 50 m in the smallest cities (Gorzów Wielkopolski and Olsztyn) to as much as 450 m in Warszawa. A detailed analysis showed that the discussed accessibility was reduced, on average, by almost 10% for the residents of the analysed cities. It was also found that the introduced barriers did not affect the accessibility of more distant, larger green space areas. Full article
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14 pages, 1204 KiB  
Article
Making Paving Stones from Copper Mine Tailings as Aggregates
by Elizabeth J. Lam, Vicente Zetola, Yendery Ramírez, Ítalo L. Montofré and Franco Pereira
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2448; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072448 - 3 Apr 2020
Cited by 24 | Viewed by 4555
Abstract
Copper mining, the central axis of Chile’s economic development, produces a large number of tailings, which become a potential environmental risk. This study aims to evaluate the mechanical properties resulting from the making of Portland cement mixtures with tailings as aggregates so that [...] Read more.
Copper mining, the central axis of Chile’s economic development, produces a large number of tailings, which become a potential environmental risk. This study aims to evaluate the mechanical properties resulting from the making of Portland cement mixtures with tailings as aggregates so that they can be eventually used in paving stones for building inactive tailings dams. Tailings coming from two dams at a concentration plant located in Taltal (Chile) were used. Currently, Dam 1 is inactive, while Dam 2 is active. The tailings samples obtained from both dams were granulometrically characterized by sieving. In addition, pH, humidity, Eh, and mineralogical assays (sulfides, oxides, sulfates, carbonates, phosphates, and silicates) were measured. The fines content of the tailings from Dams 1 and 2 with a sieve size of N°200 ASTM were 76.2% and 29.6%, respectively. Therefore, owing to their high percentage of fines, they cannot be as used as concrete aggregates. Aggregates must contain a maximum percentage of fines so that mortars and concrete can meet Chilean standards. In this paper, to comply with a 7% and 15% fines content lower than 0.075 mm, tailings materials were mixed with conventional aggregates containing very little fines. In addition, a reference mixture was made with only tailings aggregates with and without a superplasticizer additive. To measure the mixtures of cement, aggregates, and tailings, bending and compression strength assays were made of the specimens after a 28-day curing, according to the Chilean standard. The results of the study show that the addition of only part of the tailings to the mixture increases bending strength by 26% and compression strength by 180% compared with the reference mortar, with a fines content lower than 0.075 mm in the 7% mixture, thus allowing paving stone manufacture with tailings materials. In addition, it was possible to increase the workability of the reference mixture by using superplasticizers as additives. Full article
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29 pages, 7413 KiB  
Article
Quality Criteria to Evaluate Performance and Scope of 2030 Agenda in Metropolitan Areas: Case Study on Strategic Planning of Environmental Municipality Management
by María de Fátima Poza-Vilches, José Gutiérrez-Pérez and María Teresa Pozo-Llorente
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 419; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020419 - 8 Jan 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3642
Abstract
The United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda brings new governance challenges to municipal environmental planning, both in large urban centres and in metropolitan peripheries. The opportunities of the new framework of action proposed by the United Nations (UN) and its integrative, global, and transversal [...] Read more.
The United Nations’ (UN) 2030 Agenda brings new governance challenges to municipal environmental planning, both in large urban centres and in metropolitan peripheries. The opportunities of the new framework of action proposed by the United Nations (UN) and its integrative, global, and transversal nature constitute advances from the previous models of municipal management based on the Local Agenda 21. This text provides evidence to apply quality criteria and validated instruments of participatory evaluation. These instruments have been built on the foundation of evaluative research, a scientific discipline that provides rigour and validity to those decisions adopted at a municipal level. A case study focused on a metropolitan area serves as a field of experimentation for this model of the modernization of environmental management structures at a local level. Details of the instruments, agents, priority decision areas, methodologies, participation processes, and quality criteria are provided, as well as an empirically validated model for participatory municipal management based on action research processes and strategic planning that favours a shared responsibility across all social groups in the decision-making process and in the development of continuous improvement activities that are committed to sustainability. Finally, a critical comparison of weaknesses and strengths is included in light of the evidence collected. Full article
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16 pages, 2501 KiB  
Article
Ecological Security Assessment Based on Ecological Footprint Approach in Hulunbeir Grassland, China
by Shanshan Guo and Yinghong Wang
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4805; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234805 - 29 Nov 2019
Cited by 21 | Viewed by 2880
Abstract
Hulunbeir grassland, as a crucial ecological barrier and energy supply base in northwest China, suffers from a fragile ecological environment. Therefore, it is crucially important for Hulunbeir grassland to achieve the sustainable development of its social economies and ecological environments through the evaluation [...] Read more.
Hulunbeir grassland, as a crucial ecological barrier and energy supply base in northwest China, suffers from a fragile ecological environment. Therefore, it is crucially important for Hulunbeir grassland to achieve the sustainable development of its social economies and ecological environments through the evaluation of its ecological security. This paper introduces the indexes of the ecological pressure index (EPI), ecological footprint diversity index (EFDI), and ecological coordination coefficient (ECC) based on the ecological footprint model. Furthermore, the Stochastic Impacts by Regression on Population, Affluence, and Technology (STIRPAT) model was applied to analyze the main driving factors of the change of the ecological footprint. The results showed that: The ecological footprint (EF) per capita of Hulunbeir grassland has nearly doubled in 11 years to 11.04 ha/cap in 2016, while the ecological capacity (EC) per capita was rather low and increased slowly, leading to a continuous increase of per capita ecological deficit (ED) (from 5.7113 ha/cap to 11.0937 ha/cap). Within this, the footprint of fossil energy land and grassland contributed the most to the total EF, and forestland and cropland played the major role in EC. The EPI increased from 0.82 in 2006 to 1.25 in 2016, leading the level of ecological security to increase from level 3 (moderately safe) to level 4 (moderately risky). The indexes of the EFDI and ECC both reached a minimum in 2014 and then began to rise, indicating that Hulunbeir steppe’s ecological environment, as well as its coordination with economy, was considered to be worse in 2014 but then gradually ameliorated. The STIRPAT model indicated that the main factors driving the EF increase were per capita GDP and the proportion of secondary industry, while the decrease of unit GDP energy consumption played an effective role in curbing the continuous growth of the EF. These findings not only have realistic significance in promoting the coordinated development between economy and natural resource utilization under the constraint of fragile environment, but also provide a scientific reference for similar energy-rich ecologically fragile regions. Full article
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16 pages, 2460 KiB  
Article
Dynamic Analysis of the Coupling Coordination Relationship between Urbanization and Water Resource Security and Its Obstacle Factor
by Kaize Zhang, Juqin Shen, Ran He, Bihang Fan and Han Han
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(23), 4765; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16234765 - 28 Nov 2019
Cited by 49 | Viewed by 3408
Abstract
Water resource security is an important condition for socio-economic development. Recently, the process of urbanization brings increasing pressures on water resources. Thus, a good understanding of harmonious development of urbanization and water resource security (WRS) systems is necessary. This paper examined the coordination [...] Read more.
Water resource security is an important condition for socio-economic development. Recently, the process of urbanization brings increasing pressures on water resources. Thus, a good understanding of harmonious development of urbanization and water resource security (WRS) systems is necessary. This paper examined the coordination state between urbanization and WRS and its obstacle factors in Beijing city, utilizing the improved coupling coordination degree (ICCD) model, obstacle degree model, and indicator data from 2008 to 2017. Results indicated that: (1) The coupling coordination degree between WRS and urbanization displayed an overall upward tendency during the 2008–2017 period; the coupling coordination state has changed from an imbalanced state into a good coordination state, experiencing from a high-speed development stage (2008–2010), through a steady growth stage (2010–2014), towards a low-speed growth (2014–2017). (2) In urbanization system, both the social and spatial urbanizations have the greatest obstruction to the development of urbanization-WRS system. The subsystems of pressure and state are the domain obstacle subsystems in WRS system. These results can provide important support for urban planning and water resource protection in the future, and hold great significance for urban sustainable development. Full article
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16 pages, 6828 KiB  
Article
Dissipation Theory-Based Ecological Protection and Restoration Scheme Construction for Reclamation Projects and Adjacent Marine Ecosystems
by Faming Huang, Yanhong Lin, Rongrong Zhao, Xuan Qin, Qiuming Chen and Jie Lin
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(21), 4303; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16214303 - 5 Nov 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 3033
Abstract
According to the 2017 results of the Special Inspector of Sea Reclamation, a substantial number of idle reclamation zones existed in 11 provinces (cities) along the coast of China. To improve the protection level of coastal wetlands and strictly control reclamation activities, it [...] Read more.
According to the 2017 results of the Special Inspector of Sea Reclamation, a substantial number of idle reclamation zones existed in 11 provinces (cities) along the coast of China. To improve the protection level of coastal wetlands and strictly control reclamation activities, it is necessary to carry out ecological restoration of reclamation projects and adjacent marine ecosystems. The characteristics of Guanghai Bay and its reclamation project are typical in China’s coastal areas, making it an optimal representative site for this study. The dissipative structure and entropy theory was used to analyze ecological problems and environmental threats. The analytic hierarchy process was applied to determine the order of the negative entropy flow importance. The entropy increase and decrease mechanism was used to determine an ecological protection and restoration scheme for the reclamation, including the reclamation of wetland resource restoration, shoreline landscape restoration, environmental pollution control, and marine biological resource restoration. Finally, based on system logic, a typical ecological restoration system was constructed east of Guanghai Bay, with the mangrove wetland area as the model in the north and the artificial sandbeach recreation area as the focus in the south. Full article
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20 pages, 8525 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Environmental Strategies for Shrinking Cities Based on Processing Successful Case Studies Facing Decline Using a Decision-Support System
by Francisco Sergio Campos-Sánchez, Rafael Reinoso-Bellido and Francisco Javier Abarca-Álvarez
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3727; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193727 - 3 Oct 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 2885
Abstract
Since the middle of the last century post-industrial cities around the world have been losing population and shrinking due to the decline of their structural growth models, showing important socioeconomic transformations. This is a negative phenomenon but one that cities can benefit from. [...] Read more.
Since the middle of the last century post-industrial cities around the world have been losing population and shrinking due to the decline of their structural growth models, showing important socioeconomic transformations. This is a negative phenomenon but one that cities can benefit from. The aim of this work is to verify what type of measures against urban decline would be most suitable if applied to a specific case study. To do this, international cases of shrinking cities where successful measures were already carried out facing decline: (i) are collected, (ii) are classified based on several influencing criteria, and (iii) are grouped under similar alternatives against the decline. Measures and criteria focused on achieving sustainability are emphasized. Alternatives are then prioritised using an Analytic Hierarchy Process designed at several hierarchical levels. The results are discussed based on the construction of sustainable future scenarios according to the optimal alternatives regarding the case study, improving the model validity. The work evidences that environmental and low-cost measures encouraging the economy and increasing the quality of life, regardless of the city size-population range where they were performed, may be the most replicable. Future research lines on the integration of the method together with other decision-support systems and techniques are provided. Full article
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