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Special Issue "Rural Population and Social Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Urban and Rural Development".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2018).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Luis Camarero
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Theory, Methodology and Social Change. UNED (Madrid), Spain
Interests: rural population; migrations; social inequalities; deagrarization; rural development
Prof. Dr. Jesús Oliva
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Sociology and Social Work, Universidad Pública de Navarra. (Pamplona-Iruña), Spain
Interests: rural and urban studies; mobilities; sociology of work; social diversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleges,

The rural population plays a crucial role to face the sustainability challenge. However, during the last few decades, in many regions, rural populations have undergone considerable changes that put into question their autonomy to manage economic activities and living conditions by themselves. On the one hand, degrarization, as one of the effects of the globalization process, has transformed rural economic life. On the other hand, the interrelation between rural and urban areas is increasing and also mobility does it -including long-distance travel and transnational migration-. These trends have important effects in the rural community life. Considering the future of communities, the most important issue is the broad disequilibrium reached between generations. Some of the consequences of this situation are the reduction of family enterprises, the difficulties for generational renewal that implies limitations to carry on the economic activities and also to manage the caring chains. As a result, the rural population, that is one of the pillars of global sustainability, suffer trouble about their own sustainability.

This Special Issue aims to encourage debate about the opportunities and conditions to re-equilibrate and revitalize the population in rural areas. As suggestions, some topics are highlighted: The ways to reconnect rural economies standing out the ability of rural populations to manage environmental sustainable practices; the lack of welfare conditions, the difficulties to access to services and social resources and their impact in terms of social sustainability; and the potential of the new ICTs and modes of transport (shared, collaborative) to support another kind of rural accessibility and the reduction of social inequalities in these areas. Although other proposals will be welcome, we appreciate contributions focusing on the former topics and about the capacity of social systems to regulate the imbalances that affect rural areas, as well as the participation of sociologists, geographers, environmentalists and specialists in rural planning.

Prof. Dr. Luis Camarero
Prof. Dr. Jesús Oliva
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 2000 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

  • Local development
  • Regional governance
  • Mobilities
  • Rural planning
  • Rural studies
  • Rural population
  • Generational renewal

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Article
Research on Role Cognition and Employment Strategy of Rural Female Laborers in Sichuan, China
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1708; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061708 - 21 Mar 2019
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 951
Abstract
Paying attention to role cognition and the employment strategies of female rural laborers has great significance for the improvement of the status of women and the rational transfer of labor forces. However, there are few studies of role cognition amongst the rural female [...] Read more.
Paying attention to role cognition and the employment strategies of female rural laborers has great significance for the improvement of the status of women and the rational transfer of labor forces. However, there are few studies of role cognition amongst the rural female labor workforce. There is even less research on the relationship between role cognition and employment transfer strategies. In this study, a survey of 425 female rural laborers in the Sichuan Province, China, was conducted to construct a role-based cognitive scale in order to measure the cognitive levels of subjective ability, self-role expectations and role conflicts. This paper divides employment strategy into four aspects: Actual workplaces, workplace preferences, actual industries, and industry preferences. An unorganized multi-classification logistic regression model was constructed in order to explore the relationship between the role cognition and employment strategy selections. The results indicated that there was a significant difference between employment expectations and realities. Rural females with more equal modern role cognition had a higher expectation of employment. Meanwhile, those who had a strong feeling of role conflicts, tended to work in other places and choose secondary and tertiary industries. However, in reality, most were unemployed. The conflict of roles clearly restricts employment options of the rural female workforce. This study enhances our understanding of the relationship between the perceptions of the Chinese female labor workforce and the employment strategies used. The findings can help to provide a reference for guiding employment policies and the flow of the female labor workforce. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
About Intentions to Donate for Sustainable Rural Development: An Exploratory Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 765; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030765 - 01 Feb 2019
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 1457
Abstract
The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) was used to investigate factors affecting the intention of citizens to donate money altruistically for sustainable rural development projects in Spain. To achieve this aim, individuals’ attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control have been considered; also, [...] Read more.
The Theory of Planned Behaviour (TPB) was used to investigate factors affecting the intention of citizens to donate money altruistically for sustainable rural development projects in Spain. To achieve this aim, individuals’ attitudes, subjective norms and perceived behavioural control have been considered; also, Azjen’s model was further extended to include additional elements: Moral norms, past behaviour, knowledge and some background factors. Respondents completed an online questionnaire assessing domains elaborated in the extended TPB model. Hierarchical multiple regression analysis revealed support for the model. Attitudes, injunctive norms, perceived behavioural control, moral norms, past behaviour, crowdfunding knowledge, age and employment condition were found to have positive and significant influence on intentions to donate. Theoretical and applied implications of the results are discussed, highlighting important considerations for public policy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
Internal Differentiation within the Rural Migrant Population from the Sustainable Urban Development Perspective: Evidence from China
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4839; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124839 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1482
Abstract
Population mobility and attendant issues, especially housing issues, have a major impact on sustainable urban development. In the urbanization process, a number of micro-communities with various social characteristics have come to compose the rural migrant population (RMP), resulting in internal differentiation. This study [...] Read more.
Population mobility and attendant issues, especially housing issues, have a major impact on sustainable urban development. In the urbanization process, a number of micro-communities with various social characteristics have come to compose the rural migrant population (RMP), resulting in internal differentiation. This study aims to reveal the demographic structure of this specific group, and to analyze the effects of the mechanism between population flow trends and sustainable urban development, taking housing demand as a starting point. To this end, a clustering model for mixed-type data based on partitioning around the medoid is proposed, and the linked characteristics and potential laws of the RMP are analyzed, based on the dynamic data of the migrant population in eastern China. To achieve sustainable urban development, the locational preferences and coping strategies of inflowing micro-communities based on city types are demonstrated. The results show that the RMP can be divided into four groups that have strong representativeness and that show significant differences in population structure and housing demand. Super-large and medium-sized cities are the main migration destinations. Several suggestions are proposed, based on these results. Housing security policies should be designed according to the housing demand characteristics and the spatial distribution of different groups. Housing security policies should play a full and positive role in reasonably guiding RMP movement. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
The Impacts of Tourism Development in Rural Indigenous Destinations: An Investigation of the Local Residents’ Perception Using Choice Modeling
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4766; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124766 - 13 Dec 2018
Cited by 14 | Viewed by 2788
Abstract
Since indigenous areas have profound ethnic culture and ecological significance and sensitivity, successful tourism development must consider the perceptions of the indigenous community in order to build a mutual relationship grounded on respect and feasibility. The local indigenous communities are influenced by both [...] Read more.
Since indigenous areas have profound ethnic culture and ecological significance and sensitivity, successful tourism development must consider the perceptions of the indigenous community in order to build a mutual relationship grounded on respect and feasibility. The local indigenous communities are influenced by both the positive and negative impacts of tourism. To recognize which tourism impacts are most anticipated and concerning, we determined which and to what extent tourism impacts affect indigenous hosts’ support of alternatives for tourism plans. We used discrete choice modeling in the experiment design for empirical data collection and used mixed-logistic regression to evaluate the influence of each impact on local residents’ perceptions. We rank the effects of socio-culture, economic, and environmental tourism impacts. Our findings suggest that culture-related impacts most improve indigenous residents’ tourism development support. The residents expect economic impacts on both the regional and local scales. However, the results show a willingness to accept pollution following increased tourism. The residents have an adverse opinion of practices that are likely to cause environmental damage. The potential for conflict between local residents and tourists is not important to the local residents. This study contributes essential information to the understanding of tourism impacts from an indigenous perspective. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
Role of Local Action Groups in Improving the Sense of Belonging of Local Communities with Their Territories
Sustainability 2018, 10(12), 4681; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10124681 - 08 Dec 2018
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 1407
Abstract
The perception of the landscape by the population is one of the themes introduced by the European Landscape Convention. Perception is the key to the integration between human and territorial activities, and between economic development and sustainability. Local Action Groups (LAGs) are groups [...] Read more.
The perception of the landscape by the population is one of the themes introduced by the European Landscape Convention. Perception is the key to the integration between human and territorial activities, and between economic development and sustainability. Local Action Groups (LAGs) are groups with territorial boundaries, established by the European Common Agricultural Policy for implementing local development strategies by awarding grants to local projects. The aim of this work is the development of a method for evaluating the ability of the LAGs to enhance the sense of belonging of the population with their territories. The developed method includes identification of those natural, agricultural, historical, and cultural resources for which people feel a sense of belonging, and evaluation of the same through a comprehensive multivariate statistical analysis. This paper reports the results of the statistical analysis of the rankings of local landscapes made by 330 residents of an Italian LAG on the basis of their sense of belonging with them. People showed that the community of the studied LAG does not recognize itself in the typical crops of the entire area, and the attachment to minor historical centres scattered in the territory remains the prerogative of the individual municipalities. The results of this method could be used as a performance indicator for a local plan, in respect to the creation of a shared perception of the local area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
Does Rural–Urban Migration Improve Employment Quality and Household Welfare? Evidence from Pakistan
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4281; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114281 - 19 Nov 2018
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2123
Abstract
Urban migration unlocks new employment opportunities for rural dwellers in a productive manner. This study assessed the quality of employment of migrant workers, and its effect on rural households’ welfare. To this end, we used primary data collected from the four major districts [...] Read more.
Urban migration unlocks new employment opportunities for rural dwellers in a productive manner. This study assessed the quality of employment of migrant workers, and its effect on rural households’ welfare. To this end, we used primary data collected from the four major districts of Lahore, Gujranwala, Faisalabad, and Sialkot in Punjab, Pakistan. These data include 504 immigrant and non-immigrant families in rural areas, and 252 migrant workers in urban destinations. We use IV probit and two-step sequential estimation methods for the empirical analysis. The study provides new insights for migration in Pakistan. First, migrant workers are better off in their new urban settings in terms of improved incomes and living conditions, but their social protection status is still poor. Second, the results of the employment quality models show that migration is a successful strategy for rural households to improve the quality of their employment. In addition, the characteristics of migrants and native households affect the relative improvement in the quality of employment and migrants’ conditions. Third, the results of the propensity score matching technique suggest that migration has a positive impact on rural households’ income, and these impacts are more pronounced in large cities. Based on the findings, the study recommends that the government should invest in quality education in rural areas, and ensure that social security schemes are provided for migrant workers in urban areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
Article
How Long Do Return Migrants Stay in Their Home Counties? Trends and Causes
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4153; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114153 - 12 Nov 2018
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1094
Abstract
Return migration is an important form of rural labor mobility in China, and it has been given growing concern recently by governments in the background of rural revitalization. However, research covering the duration of stay in migrants’ home counties, a basic question of [...] Read more.
Return migration is an important form of rural labor mobility in China, and it has been given growing concern recently by governments in the background of rural revitalization. However, research covering the duration of stay in migrants’ home counties, a basic question of labor mobility and a precondition for policy making, is far from enough. The aim of this paper is to analyze the period of return for these migrants based on employment history data by tracking their mobility among rural laborers from 1998 to 2015. The data was collected from a randomized, nationally representative sample of 100 rural villages in five provinces of China. We find that only 22.3 percent of migrants returned from 1998 to 2015, and most return migrants still remained in their home counties as of 2015. Using the OLS, Tobit, and Heckman sample selection models, the results show that return migrants who are old, more educated, unmarried, and with children are more likely to stay longer in their home counties. From a development perspective, return migrants are expected to play an important role in the process of rural revitalization. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
Evaluation of the Potential Change to the Ecosystem Service Provision Due to Industrialization
Sustainability 2018, 10(9), 3355; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10093355 - 19 Sep 2018
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1940
Abstract
The provision of ecosystem services (ES) in a particular region is strongly related to land use. In 2013, San José Chiapa, México, was selected as the new operations base for an automotive company. The installation of the new automotive plant will encourage population [...] Read more.
The provision of ecosystem services (ES) in a particular region is strongly related to land use. In 2013, San José Chiapa, México, was selected as the new operations base for an automotive company. The installation of the new automotive plant will encourage population growth from 8000 to 200,000 inhabitants by 2050. Consequently, the rise in the demand for land to urbanize will increase at a rate expected to have a significant impact in terms of land-use change, affecting the provision of ES in the region. This paper aims to characterize the ES provision that was present in the region before industrialization and to evaluate the potential effect of land-use change on ES provision. This study analyzed geographic and demographic information and involved a series of field trips to characterize the services present in the area. The ES budget is positive regarding the production of biomass, due to the rural nature of most of the study area. However, this picture is changing with the continuous growth of urban areas due to economic development. This is a critical point for the region regarding ES provision, and only a joint effort between municipalities and industry will make it possible for the region to seize on development while maintaining ES provision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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Article
The Influence of Poverty Alleviation Resettlement on Rural Household Livelihood Vulnerability in the Western Mountainous Areas, China
Sustainability 2018, 10(8), 2793; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10082793 - 07 Aug 2018
Cited by 25 | Viewed by 1775
Abstract
Poverty alleviation resettlement (PAR) is China’s largest-ever resettlement program and one of China’s flagship poverty alleviation initiatives. Resorting to this state-led conversation and development program, the central and provincial governments aim to lift the poor out of the poverty trap and into sustainable [...] Read more.
Poverty alleviation resettlement (PAR) is China’s largest-ever resettlement program and one of China’s flagship poverty alleviation initiatives. Resorting to this state-led conversation and development program, the central and provincial governments aim to lift the poor out of the poverty trap and into sustainable livelihoods, by delivering improvements in housing conditions, infrastructure services, public amenities, and living standards. Taking Ankang as an example, this study examines the PAR from the perspective of vulnerability through a household survey conducted in Ankang prefecture of Shaanxi province, China. A total of six townships in Ankang are covered, with 657 valid questionnaires collected. This study shows that there is a difference in exposure, sensitivity, and the adaptive capacity of rural households with different relocation characteristics, hence generating different livelihood vulnerabilities. The PAR generally achieves the target of livelihood vulnerability reduction. Specifically, the project-induced relocation has a significant positive effect on vulnerability, but there is a significant negative correlation between livelihood vulnerability and relocation region, relocation time, and relocation subsidy. Challenges and problems remain to be addressed for the next phases of the PAR, including diminishing the financial burden on those relocated and providing free public transportation services, carrying out community-building programs and updating the household registration institution, balancing the redistribution and sharing of farmland, furnishing assistance measures for employment searches and training in specific skills, and creating an impartial project to safeguard the non-movers from the significant negative impacts on their physical and spiritual dimensions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Population and Social Sustainability)
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