Special Issue "The Human Factor in Designing Sustainable Systems"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Energy Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2021.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Lluis Oviedo
Guest Editor
Theology, Pontificia Università Antonianum, 00185 Roma RM, Italy
Interests: new scientific study of religion; theological and scientific anthropologies; sustainable systems
Prof. Dr. Sara Lumbreras
Guest Editor
Institute for Research in Technology (IIT), ICAI School of Engineering, Comillas Pontifical University, 28015 Madrid, Spain
Interests: power systems; transmission expansion planning; offshore wind farm design; stochastic programming
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Hans-Ferdinand Angel
Guest Editor
Karl-Franzens-Universitat Grazdisabled, 8010 Graz, Austria
Interests: creditions project; study of believing dynamics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As highlighted in the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (and recently, in Horizon Europe), it is imperative to rethink sustainability from an integral and practical perspective. Among the many elements that will underlie our transformation towards sustainability, there are key human factors such as beliefs and social preferences, as well as behavioral aspects. This Special Issue is dedicated to presenting and discussing these human components, which have gone through a deep transformation in the recent pandemic.

In the context of the energy transition, we find that the awareness of our connection to each other and the environment could, for instance, fuel support for renewable energies, which can provide a cleaner alternative to other technologies. In addition, the value of independence and resilience has been highlighted in recent years, and especially during the coronavirus crisis. From being able to produce masks to energy, distributed resources, multilevel planning, and balancing independence and coordination should be key in the post-covid era. This can have deep implications with respect to the specific technological options that will be deployed, for instance, in distributed electricity generation.

A crucially important matter is the reduction in consumption that has taken place during the lockdown months, which adds to the trend of mindful consumption. This adds to the possibility of a degrowth economy where social welfare is not compromised.

Future development will depend on one human component, namely, the human capacity to believe. In recent years, the processes and functions of the believing processes have become a topic of interdisciplinary research. This sheds light onto the issue of how people organize their beliefs about sustainability and how believing processes influence the interaction between perception and action.

All these elements will interact and reshape our understanding of sustainability and determine the targets and policies that we will witness in the next decades This Special Issue welcomes original articles dealing with these or other related issues, incorporating the new perspective on sustainability that the pandemic is shaping worldwide.

This Special Issue welcomes articles on the following points and others related to the human factor in sustainability:

  • Sustainability and beliefs;
  • Social support for renewables, distributed generation, and demand response in electricity markets;
  • Social support for reducing consumption, reusing, and recycling;
  • A degrowth economy and its social impact;
  • Mindful consumption;
  • Sustainability and justice.

Prof. Lluis Oviedo
Prof. Dr. Sara Lumbreras
Prof. Dr. Hans-Ferdinand Angel
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 1900 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.


  • human behaviour
  • social dimensions
  • beliefs
  • degrowth economy
  • consumption
  • education
  • social impact

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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