Special Issue "Sustainable Communities: Economic, Social and Environmental Dimensions"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 October 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Eva Mª Buitrago Esquinas
Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Economía Aplicada III, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Interests: sustainable tourism; quality of institutions; social diversity; social inclusion
Dr. Mª Ángeles Caraballo Pou
Website
Guest Editor
Departamento de Economía e Historia Económica and IUSEN, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Interests: economic growth, quality of institutions, social diversity, environmental risks
Dr. Rocío Yñiguez Ovando
Website
Guest Editor
Análisis Económico y Economía Política, Universidad de Sevilla, Sevilla, Spain
Interests: environmental risks; environmental efficiency; social integration; economic inequalities

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

As pointed out by the World Bank, the increase of urban population and urbanized land in the world, especially in developing countries, is creating new opportunities for an improvement of the quality of life, at the same time as creating new challenges to overcome growing economic inequalities, social exclusion, environmental risks, and institutional problems. In order to tackle these challenges, the building of sustainable communities plays a critical role.

The concept of “sustainable communities” is a broad one, and several definitions can be found. In this Issue, we focus on the definition proposed by the World Bank’s Social, Urban, Rural, and Resilience Global Practice, which includes the following four key dimensions: First, sustainable communities are environmentally sustainable in terms of cleanliness and efficiency. Second, sustainable communities are resilient to social, economic, and natural shocks. Third, sustainable communities are inclusive communities. Finally, sustainable communities are competitive communities that can stay productive and generate jobs for members of the community.

Theoretical and empirical contributions addressing any aspect of these dimensions are welcome.

 This Special Issue will include, but is not limited to, the following topics:

  • Analysis of the measures and initiatives in order to minimize climate change, protect the environment, make efficient use of natural resources, protect and improve bio-diversity, and promote a lifestyle that enhances positive environmental impacts;
  • Analysis of the different dimensions of social cohesion, as well as their effects on social and economic outcomes;
  • Measures and effects of social diversity from different perspectives;
  • Ways of social inclusion;
  • The role of the quality of institutions in the improvement of quality of life;
  • The role of institutions in enabling inclusive, active, and effective participation by individuals and organizations;
  • Contributions of economic activities to sustainable communities;
  • Tourism in sustainable communities.

Dr. Eva Mª Buitrago Esquinas
Dr. Mª Ángeles Caraballo Pou
Dr. Rocío Yñiguez Ovando
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.

Keywords

  • sustainable communities
  • environmental risks
  • social inclusion
  • quality of life
  • economic inequalities
  • quality of institutions
  • sustainable tourism

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Systemic Sustainable Development in the Transport Service Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(22), 9525; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12229525 - 16 Nov 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 389
Abstract
The concept of sustainability and sustainable development, especially systemic sustainable development, still raises controversy in literature. The article makes an attempt to re-examine these concepts from a systems perspective, seeking foundations and applications in the selected sector. It is becoming increasingly clear that [...] Read more.
The concept of sustainability and sustainable development, especially systemic sustainable development, still raises controversy in literature. The article makes an attempt to re-examine these concepts from a systems perspective, seeking foundations and applications in the selected sector. It is becoming increasingly clear that sustainability and sustainable development are aimed at integrated economic, social, cultural, political, and ecological factors. This causes a need for a constructive approach to the issue, taking into account all the actors, areas and dimensions involved in the pursuit of systemic sustainable development. As a result, both local and global dimensions and the way they interact must be explored in a multifaceted manner in order to offer a perspective more effective and useful than other analytical approaches, as the systems view is a way of thinking in terms of connectedness, relationships, and context. The article aims to review selected publications and studies so as to form the general idea of systemic sustainable development and define the systemic development of sustainable transport, including in particular the perspective of the actors of the sector, transport providers (passenger, urban), and transport development program, implemented both by local governments and on the European scale. An attempt was made to identify elements of the systemic sustainable development model, setting it in the reality of the following subcategories: “Society”, “Economy”, and “Environment” in sectoral terms. It is supposed that systemic sustainable development is a conglomerate of public administration entities, companies operating in the sector, individual and corporate customers, acting in certain conditions for economic, social, and environmental well-being, and a number of their initiatives of major or minor significance, grouped in six sub-areas, undertaken to achieve systemic value in the examined sector, with a positive or negative business/economic, social, and environmental impact. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Residents’ Quality of Life in Smart Tourism Destinations: A Theoretical Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(20), 8445; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12208445 - 14 Oct 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 654
Abstract
The objective of this research is to propose a theoretical model based on studies on residents’ quality of life in smart tourism destinations. Smart tourism destinations are territories based on information and communication technologies (ICT), which improve travelers’ tourist experiences as well as [...] Read more.
The objective of this research is to propose a theoretical model based on studies on residents’ quality of life in smart tourism destinations. Smart tourism destinations are territories based on information and communication technologies (ICT), which improve travelers’ tourist experiences as well as affect the quality of life of residents. To know the context of the relationships between tourism and quality of life, main studies and theories regarding these two phenomena are analyzed. Likewise, the relationship between smart places and quality of life is also studied. Therefore, a theoretical model on residents’ quality of life in smart tourism destinations is proposed based on a systematized analysis of the literature. From the theoretical model, it is perceived that residents’ overall life satisfaction results from the relationship between perceived tourism impacts and satisfaction with specific life factors, and they are measured by qualitative indicators. Also, it is identified that the quality of life of residents is clearly influenced by the impacts of tourism and ICTs. In addition, it is understood that the residents’ overall life satisfaction corroborates for the further development of the smart tourism destination. Finally, we understand that the knowledge of residents’ perception and satisfaction of their quality of life contribute to formulation and implementation of urban and tourism development policies in smart tourism destinations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable and Community-Centred Development of Smart Cities and Villages
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 3961; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12103961 - 12 May 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1904
Abstract
The article highlights the need to rethink and reconceptualise the accepted concepts of smart cities and villages by shifting the attention from technology and technological solutions and moving it towards understanding the significance of communities and sustainability. The conceptual framework combines four essential [...] Read more.
The article highlights the need to rethink and reconceptualise the accepted concepts of smart cities and villages by shifting the attention from technology and technological solutions and moving it towards understanding the significance of communities and sustainability. The conceptual framework combines four essential features—community, village, city and sustainability—and analyses the links and relationships between them. A new community-centred approach to development is suggested in order to emphasise that sustainable living cannot be achieved only through technological solutions. Instead, we suggest that to ensure social sustainability, appropriation, and effectiveness of new solutions in the long term, the process has to start, be adapted and led by people and their needs. In this light, the article analyses three dimensions of smart living—energy, mobility, waste—through the prism of rural–urban linkages and the role of ICT. Core principles and recommendations (calm technology, community size, identification of community leaders, surveillance and control issues, community building) for designers of ICT solutions and developmental projects in smart cities and villages are presented. These principles take into account people and communities and combine findings of engineering and social sciences, especially anthropology, psychology, and sociology. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Can In-Kind Compensation for Expropriated Real Property Promote Spatial Justice? A Case Study Analysis of Resettlement in Kigali City, Rwanda
Sustainability 2020, 12(9), 3753; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12093753 - 06 May 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 632
Abstract
Kigali city authorities have recently adopted an in-kind compensation option to mitigate some patterns of spatial injustices, reflected in the displacement of expropriated real property owners towards urban outskirts, where they can afford new properties using the in-cash compensation they receive. This study [...] Read more.
Kigali city authorities have recently adopted an in-kind compensation option to mitigate some patterns of spatial injustices, reflected in the displacement of expropriated real property owners towards urban outskirts, where they can afford new properties using the in-cash compensation they receive. This study assesses whether this form of compensation promotes a spatially just and inclusive urban (re)development. It applies an evaluative framework comprising a series of indicators connected to three dimensions (rules, processes, and outcomes) of spatial justice and its four forms consisting of procedural, recognitional, redistributive, and intra-generational justice. It relies on data collected through field surveys and a review of literature on expropriation and urban (re)development processes in Kigali city. The findings reveal that the adopted in-kind compensation exhibits some aspects of spatial justice connected with the access to decent houses, basic urban amenities, and increased tenure security. However, these findings unveil deficiencies in procedural, recognitional, redistributive, and intra-generational justice, portrayed in the lack of negotiation on the compensation option, non-participation of expropriated property owners in their resettlement process, overcrowding conditions of the new houses, and loss of the main sources of incomes. Some options for a better implementation of the in-kind compensation are suggested. Two strands of procedural and recognitional justice, namely negotiation and community participation, are central to their successful implementation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Risk Assessment of New Energy Vehicle Supply Chain Based on Variable Weight Theory and Cloud Model: A Case Study in China
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3150; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083150 - 14 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 776
Abstract
In order to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption, new energy vehicles have begun to be vigorously promoted in various countries. In recent years, the rise of intelligent technology has had a great impact on the supply chain of new energy vehicles, [...] Read more.
In order to protect the environment and reduce energy consumption, new energy vehicles have begun to be vigorously promoted in various countries. In recent years, the rise of intelligent technology has had a great impact on the supply chain of new energy vehicles, which, coupled with the complexity of the supply chain itself, puts it at great risk. Therefore, it is quite indispensable to evaluate the risk of the new energy vehicle supply chain. This paper assesses the risks faced by China’s new energy vehicle supply chain in this period of technological transformation. First of all, this paper establishes an evaluation criteria system of 16 sub-criterion related to three dimensions: the market risk, operational risk, and the environmental risk. Then, variable weight theory is proposed to modify the constant weight obtained by the fuzzy analytic hierarchy process (FAHP). Finally, a risk assessment of China’s new energy vehicle supply chain is carried out by combining the variable weight and the cloud model. This method can effectively explain the randomness of matters, and avoid the influence of value abnormality on the criteria system. The results show that China’s new energy vehicle supply chain is at a high level. Through the identification of risk factors, mainly referring to the low clustering risk, technical level risk and information transparency risk, this paper can provide a risk prevention reference for corresponding enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Green Brand of Companies and Greenwashing under Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1679; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041679 - 24 Feb 2020
Cited by 13 | Viewed by 2338
Abstract
Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and increasing environmental issues provokes changes in consumers’ and stakeholders’ behavior. Thus, stakeholders try to invest in green companies and projects; consumers prefer to buy eco-friendly products instead of traditional ones; and consumers and investors refuse to deal [...] Read more.
Implementing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and increasing environmental issues provokes changes in consumers’ and stakeholders’ behavior. Thus, stakeholders try to invest in green companies and projects; consumers prefer to buy eco-friendly products instead of traditional ones; and consumers and investors refuse to deal with unfair green companies. In this case, the companies should quickly adapt their strategy corresponding to the new trend of transformation from overconsumption to green consumption. This process leads to increasing the frequency of using greenwashing as an unfair marketing instrument to promote the company’s green achievements. Such companies’ behavior leads to a decrease in trust in the company’s green brand from the green investors. Thus, the aim of the study is to check the impact of greenwashing on companies’ green brand. For that purpose, the partial least-squares structural equation modeling (PLS-PM), content analysis and Fishbourne methods were used. The dataset for analysis was obtained from the companies’ websites and financial and non-financial reports. The objects of analysis were Ukrainian large industrial companies, which work not only in the local market but also in the international one. The findings proved that a one point increase in greenwashing leads to a 0.56 point decline in the company’s green brand with a load factor of 0.78. The most significant variable (loading factor 0.34) influencing greenwashing was the information at official websites masking the company’s real economic goals. Thus, a recommendation for companies is to eliminate greenwashing through the publishing of detailed official reports of the companies’ green policy and achievements. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Impact of Income Distribution on Social and Economic Well-Being of the State
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 429; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010429 - 06 Jan 2020
Cited by 20 | Viewed by 1379
Abstract
Income distribution can cause large-scale transformations in human resources structure, essential changes of economic outputs via its impact on life satisfaction and motivation of work. Thus, the overall objective of this research is to improve methodological tools of income distribution analysis based on [...] Read more.
Income distribution can cause large-scale transformations in human resources structure, essential changes of economic outputs via its impact on life satisfaction and motivation of work. Thus, the overall objective of this research is to improve methodological tools of income distribution analysis based on identifying the links between different structural indicators of income inequality and the most essential features of social and economic well-being. We conducted comparative analysis of EU Member States and Ukraine. We used structural analysis based on two forms of income distribution—functional (share of “labour” in Gross domestic product - GDP) and household one (ratio of incomes measured by special decile coefficients) to identify income inequality and inconsistencies in distributive strategies. By grouping European countries according to economic well-being (described as GDP per capita) and inequality in income distribution (based on Gini coefficient), we determined apparent tendencies in distributive policies and revealed links between income distribution and connected social-economic features of well-being. We conclude that countries with the most stable and clear patterns in income distribution have distinct connections between the share of labour costs in GDP and successes in social and economic spheres, including human development level, property rights protection, GDP growth, possibilities for taxation and budgeting of social programmes. Full article
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Why Community-Based Tourism and Rural Tourism in Developing and Developed Nations are Treated Differently? A Review
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5938; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155938 - 23 Jul 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 736
Abstract
Rural community tourism initiatives in developed nations share most positive and negative characteristics with community-based tourism (CBT) initiatives in developing nations. They also share many barriers and conditions for tourism development. What makes them different is the context in which they operate. This [...] Read more.
Rural community tourism initiatives in developed nations share most positive and negative characteristics with community-based tourism (CBT) initiatives in developing nations. They also share many barriers and conditions for tourism development. What makes them different is the context in which they operate. This paper identifies the main conditions that explain these differences through a review of findings from 103 location-specific case studies and other available literature that provides empirical evidence. The paper also explores the usage of the concepts of CBT and rural tourism. The findings are discussed under seven categories: Definitions, socioeconomic and cultural factors, policy and governance, land ownership, community cohesiveness, assimilation of external stakeholders, and type of visitors. It is argued that it is the developing-/developed-nation context, and not objectively established criteria, which largely dictates authors’ narratives with corresponding takes on tourism development and subsequent recommendations. The paper engages in a discussion about case-study research, its weaknesses and tendencies, providing some recommendations on how to increase the contribution of case studies to knowledge, and calls for more research on externally assisted non-Indigenous community-tourism initiatives in developed nations. Full article
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