Special Issue "Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 October 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe T. Cirella
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Polo Centre of Sustainability, Via Nizza, 5/8, 18100 Imperia IM, Italy
2. University of Gdansk, 80-309 Gdańsk, Poland
Interests: human geography; sustainability; consumption; globalisation and resources; sustainability indices and trends; interdisciplinary societal studies
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Alessio Russo
E-Mail Website1 Website2
Guest Editor
1. Polo Centre of Sustainability, Via Nizza, 5/8, 18100 Imperia IM, Italy
2. University of Gloucestershire, GL50 2RH Cheltenham, UK
Interests: smart cities; ecosystem services; sustainable landscape design; urban sustainability; green infrastructure
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainable interdisciplinarity focuses on human–nature relations and a multitude of contemporary overlapping research conducted within society. A variety of disciplines have played a large part in better understanding sustainability since its high profile emergence approximately a quarter-century ago. At present, the forefront of sustainability research is an array of methods, techniques, and growing knowledge-base that takes into account past, present, and future pathways. Special multi-discipline concentrations include: Sustainability within social change, political transformations, international comparative studies on the environment and understanding how well key theories and dynamics perform in practice. Specializations in complex sustainability issues address international governance arrangements, rules and organizations—both public and private. Pressing issues are those related to biodiversity, water quality and quantity, quality of ecosystems and natural resource suppliers. In terms of multinational corporations, the private sector plays a crucial role in shaping sustainability in the current economic paradigm. Innovative environmental partnerships, specifically focusing on the role of societal and ethical responsibility of business and the market, at large, are key within this paradigmatic focus. Research into sustainable societies needs to be sound, ethical and creative by forming sustainably higher standards of living that support current and future generations.

This Special Issue aims to shed light on a wide array of research activities within the scope of four themes: sustainability, human geography, environment and interdisciplinary societal studies. These themes are further broken down into supporting tracks and exemplify sustainable interdisciplinarity. Researchers are invited to contribute original research articles that look at and understand novel knowledge-base central to these themes or their supporting tracks. Articles will exemplify novelty, technical depth, elegance, practical or theoretic impact and presentation.

▪ Theme 1: Sustainability

Supporting tracks: Governance, globalization, consumption, sustainability indices, ecosystem services, urban sustainability, green infrastructure

▪ Theme 2: Human Geography

Supporting tracks: Developing world, Africa, Asia, Latin America, global health and medical geography, remote sensing, population migration, transportation, food and agriculture, geographic information systems

▪ Theme 3: Environment

Supporting tracks: Nature and culture, energy and climate, resource management, conservation, environmental ethics, environmental management systems

▪ Theme 4: Interdisciplinary Societal Studies

Supporting tracks: Society studies, rights, socioeconomics, politics of food, gender, poverty and aid, political ecology, geopolitics

Prof. Dr. Giuseppe T. Cirella
Prof. Dr. Alessio Russo
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 1700 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

  • Sustainability
  • Human Geography
  • Environment
  • Interdisciplinary Societal Studies

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Open AccessArticle
Application of Ostrom’s Social-Ecological Systems Framework in Nature Reserves: Hybrid Psycho-Economic Model of Collective Forest Management
Sustainability 2019, 11(24), 6929; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11246929 - 05 Dec 2019
Abstract
Nature reserves (NRs) are complex social-ecological systems (SESs). In China, many collective forests (CFs), owned by villagers, are bound within NRs. This paper aimed at carrying out a dynamic analysis of three case studies of CF management based on Ostrom’s SES conceptual framework. [...] Read more.
Nature reserves (NRs) are complex social-ecological systems (SESs). In China, many collective forests (CFs), owned by villagers, are bound within NRs. This paper aimed at carrying out a dynamic analysis of three case studies of CF management based on Ostrom’s SES conceptual framework. The hybrid psycho-economic model is designed within this context and tested. Results indicate that CF management is determined jointly by the interaction of all levels of governance based on subsystem characteristics (i.e., resource system, resource units, and actor system) specific to the local social, economic, and political settings. Use of the hybrid psycho-economic model compares one classified harmonious NR scenario with two conflictual ones. The model indicated the scenario with the harmonious NR as having less CF value at the resource level, less dependence on villagers for CF resources, stronger environmental awareness, lower levels of involvement from new actors, overarching governance control (i.e., by the NR administration), greater levels of self-organization (i.e., within villages), and augmented economic compensation and regulation from outside influences. The conflict-oriented NRs mostly revealed opposite sets of interaction. Different public policies, including the ecosystem service payment, are recommended for improving management of CFs in NRs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Transformative Economy: Community-Based Ecotourism
Sustainability 2019, 11(18), 4977; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11184977 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Ecotourism has a high potential impact on remote communities, by improving economic opportunity and natural resources conservation, and is increasingly accepted as an alternative livelihood for rural people. This study examines ecotourism development from the perspective of participation and economic impact for the [...] Read more.
Ecotourism has a high potential impact on remote communities, by improving economic opportunity and natural resources conservation, and is increasingly accepted as an alternative livelihood for rural people. This study examines ecotourism development from the perspective of participation and economic impact for the Bousra people in Cambodia. A total of 237 households were selected as the sample size. Data collection was carried out with face-to-face interviews and analyzed using logistic regression and ordinary least square methods. Results revealed that local households depend mostly on agriculture (i.e., crop plantation and farming) and utilize ecotourism as a secondary source of income. Most households acknowledged ecotourism had a positive impact on environmental, social, and economic perspectives, while some signaled negative backlash due to depleted natural resources and impact on local culture. Household participation in ecotourism was not significantly affected from assistance issued by government or non-governmental organizations. However, causal relationships were found based on household demographic factors, attitude to environmental conservation, and village life. It was shown that the percentage of people involvement in ecotourism is high, but their income percentage is low due to education, skill, and capacity to expand. As a low-impact alternative to standard commercial tourism, community-based ecotourism has potential in becoming a transformative form of economics for local communities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Bike-Sharing Systems in Poland
Sustainability 2019, 11(9), 2458; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11092458 - 26 Apr 2019
Abstract
Bike-sharing is widely recognized as an eco-friendly mode of transportation and seen as one of the solutions to the problem of air pollution and congestion. As there is little research exploring the performance of bicycle-sharing systems (BSS), many municipal authorities invest in their [...] Read more.
Bike-sharing is widely recognized as an eco-friendly mode of transportation and seen as one of the solutions to the problem of air pollution and congestion. As there is little research exploring the performance of bicycle-sharing systems (BSS), many municipal authorities invest in their development without knowledge of their effectiveness. Therefore, the aim of this article is to identify factors that correlate with BSS performance. Data related to BSS and urban characteristics were collected for the 56 cities in Poland, which is the population of BSS systems in this country. The Ordinary Least Square regression model was used to estimate the model. Additionally, to support our findings, a survey of 3631 cyclists was conducted. Our main findings show that BSS performance was positively related to cities’ population, tourism, number of bike stations per capita, congestion, bicycle pathways’ length and higher temperature, and negatively related to precipitation. We have also found that one BSS operator was more effective compared to the others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Stakeholder Collaboration on Policymaking for Sustainable Water Management in Singapore’s Hotel Sector: A Network Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2360; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082360 - 19 Apr 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Stakeholder collaboration has become a critical issue in sustainable tourism policy due to the increasing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of the domain. Policymaking should reflect tourism values through a dynamic system in which stakeholders come to a consensus on sustainability issues via ongoing [...] Read more.
Stakeholder collaboration has become a critical issue in sustainable tourism policy due to the increasing complexity and interdisciplinary nature of the domain. Policymaking should reflect tourism values through a dynamic system in which stakeholders come to a consensus on sustainability issues via ongoing interactive engagement. Taking Singapore’s hotel sector as a case, this study explores how stakeholder relationships contribute to participatory policymaking on sustainable water management. Based on a survey of 33 relevant organisations, this research applies network analysis to investigate stakeholder collaboration within this policy domain. While the policymaking process is derived from a complex web of actors and their formal and informal interactions, the national water agency of Singapore and some private businesses were found to be centrally located in the policy network. The aforementioned government body is also perceived to hold the greatest legitimacy, power, and urgency over others in the policy domain. Central stakeholders were found to play an important “bridging” role in terms of the interconnectedness of policy actors across boundaries of the public, private, and third sectors. These prominent political and industry players were also likely to exert control over the policymaking process and access to important resources based on their favourable network positions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Developing the Urban Thermal Environment Management and Planning (UTEMP) System to Support Urban Planning and Design
Sustainability 2019, 11(8), 2224; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11082224 - 12 Apr 2019
Abstract
Mathematical Climate Simulation Modeling (MCSM) has the advantage of not only investigating the urban heat island phenomenon but also of identifying the effects of thermal environment improvement plans in detail. As a result, MCSM has been applied worldwide as a scientific tool to [...] Read more.
Mathematical Climate Simulation Modeling (MCSM) has the advantage of not only investigating the urban heat island phenomenon but also of identifying the effects of thermal environment improvement plans in detail. As a result, MCSM has been applied worldwide as a scientific tool to analyze urban thermal environment problems. However, the meteorological models developed thus far have been insufficient in terms of their direct application to the urban planning and design fields due to the preprocessing task for modeling operations and the excessive time required. By combining meteorological modeling and Geographic Information System (GIS) analysis methods, this study developed the Urban Thermal Environment Management and Planning (UTEMP) system that is user-friendly and can be applied to urban planning and design. Furthermore, the usefulness of UTEMP was investigated in this study by application to areas where the heat island phenomenon occurs frequently: Seoul, Korea. The accuracy of the UTEMP system was verified by comparing its results to the Automatic Weather Systems (AWSs) data. Urban spatial change scenarios were prepared and air temperature variations according to such changes were compared. Subsequently, the urban spatial change scenarios were distinguished by four cases, including the existing condition (before the development), applications of the thermal environment measures to the existing condition, allowable future urban development (the maximum development density under the urban planning regulations), and application of the thermal environment measures to allowable future development. The UTEMP system demonstrated an accuracy of adj. R2 0.952 and a ±0.91 Root Mean Square Error (RMSE). By applying the UTEMP system to urban spatial change scenarios, the average air temperature of 0.35 °C and maximum air temperature of 1.27 °C were found to rise when the maximum development density was achieved. Meanwhile, the air temperature reduction effect of rooftop greening was identified by an average of 0.12 °C with a maximum of 0.45 °C. Thus, the development of UTEMPS can be utilized as an effective tool to analyze the impacts of urban spatial changes and for planning and design. As a result, the UTEMP system will allow for more efficient and practical establishment of measures to improve the urban thermal environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Do Sociodemographic Characteristics in Waste Management Matter? Case Study of Recyclable Generation in the Czech Republic
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 2030; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11072030 - 05 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The generation of recyclables in the Czech Republic has long been under the European average, but the proportion from municipal waste as a whole has been growing over the past few years. Previous research in the Czech Republic mainly focused on organizational or [...] Read more.
The generation of recyclables in the Czech Republic has long been under the European average, but the proportion from municipal waste as a whole has been growing over the past few years. Previous research in the Czech Republic mainly focused on organizational or situational factors explaining recycling performance in municipalities. This study focuses on individual characteristics that are connected, among other things, to ongoing demographic changes. Currently ongoing sociodemographic development in the Czech Republic, as well as other developed countries, influence a broad range of aspects of social life, including waste generation and its structure. This paper aims at quantifying the relation between the sociodemographic characteristics of municipality inhabitants and recyclable generation. For this purpose, 13 variables describing inhabitants, households, and housing in 4897 Czech municipalities were selected that could influence the generation of recyclables according to foreign studies. Data were analyzed using multidimensional linear regression. Even though the resulting model only explains 9%, it is statistically significant and implies that sociodemographic variables can help explain recyclable generation. From this point of view, important variables are average household size, share of tertiary educated people, share of family houses, purchasing power per person, percentage of people employed in agriculture, and sex ratio. To increase the explained variability and emphasize local differences in recyclable generation, we also used geographically weighted regression (GWR). GWR results show that, to understand waste generation (at least in the Czech Republic) on a municipal level, it is necessary to also consider spatial effects and regional specifics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Classifying Urban Climate Zones (UCZs) Based on Spatial Statistical Analyses
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1915; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071915 - 30 Mar 2019
Abstract
The objective of this study is the classification of urban climate zones (UCZs) based on spatial statistical approaches to provide key information for the establishment of thermal environments to improve urban planning. To achieve this, using data from 246 automatic weather stations (AWSs), [...] Read more.
The objective of this study is the classification of urban climate zones (UCZs) based on spatial statistical approaches to provide key information for the establishment of thermal environments to improve urban planning. To achieve this, using data from 246 automatic weather stations (AWSs), air temperature maps in the summer of the study area were prepared applying universal kriging interpolation analysis. In addition, 22 preliminary variables to classify UCZs were prepared by a 100 m × 100 m grid. Next, six influential urban spatial variables to classify UCZs were finalized using spatial regression analysis between air temperature and preliminary variables. Finally, the UCZs of the study area were delineated by applying K-mean clustering analysis, and each spatial characteristic of the UCZs was identified. The results found that the accuracy of the air temperature of the study area ranged from ±0.184 °C to ±0.824 °C with a mean 0.501 root mean square predict error (RMSPE). Elevation, normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), commercial area, average height of buildings, terrain roughness class, building height to road width (H/W) ratio, distance from subway stations, and distance from water spaces were identified as finalized variables to classify UCZs. Finally, a total of 8 types of UCZs were identified and each zone showed a different urban spatial pattern and air temperature range. Based on the spatial statistical analysis results, this study delineated clearer UCZs boundaries by applying influential urban spatial elements that resulted from previous classification studies of UCZs mainly based on pre-determined spatial variables. The methods presented in this study can be effectively applied to other cities to establish urban heat island counter measures that have similar weather observation conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence and Sustainability of the Concept of Landscape Seen in Cheonggye Stream and Suseongdong Valley Restoration Projects
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041126 - 21 Feb 2019
Abstract
This study considered that the pursuit of nature in a city in the restoration projects of Cheonggye Stream and Suseongdong valley was the main motive of the landscape concept premised on humanity and, furthermore, found that it originated from Korean thoughts and cultures [...] Read more.
This study considered that the pursuit of nature in a city in the restoration projects of Cheonggye Stream and Suseongdong valley was the main motive of the landscape concept premised on humanity and, furthermore, found that it originated from Korean thoughts and cultures about nature. Based on these findings, the study aimed to investigate the influence and sustainability of historical and cultural backgrounds in the planning features of nature in the two restoration projects. The concept of landscape that started from the desire to go out of a city is premised on the secular world of humans. In Korean society, the concept has been developed based on the above common premise, through cultural exchanges with China, and in its regional specificity. In particular, the Korean culture of singing and painting the beauty of landscape using the words “Gyeong (景)” and “Gok (曲)” can be found in the backgrounds and landscape architecture plans of the Cheonggye Stream and Suseongdong Valley restoration projects. Therefore, the historical and cultural thoughts that pursued natural beauty were in the work for the restoration of the two streams, and these concepts should be considered for sustainable development for harmony between the city with nature and between nature with cultures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Ideology on Attitudes toward GM Food Safety among Chinese Internet Users
Sustainability 2018, 10(11), 4326; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10114326 - 21 Nov 2018
Cited by 2
Abstract
This study explores the causal relationship between Internet users’ ideologies and their corresponding attitudes to genetically modified (GM) food safety. Using the 2015 Chinese Internet User Survey data (N = 3780) as a representative sample of Internet users from China, the study [...] Read more.
This study explores the causal relationship between Internet users’ ideologies and their corresponding attitudes to genetically modified (GM) food safety. Using the 2015 Chinese Internet User Survey data (N = 3780) as a representative sample of Internet users from China, the study investigates factors influencing people’s attitudes to GM food safety. Multinomial Logistic Regression Models are applied to examine the effects of demographic features (gender, age, education, family annual income, location, CPC membership, and occupation) and ideological factors (general ideology, political ideology, economic ideology, and cultural ideology) on attitudes to GM food safety. The results demonstrate that the percentage of people whose attitude is that “GM food is risky” (35.1%) surpasses those who think “GM food is safe” (20.4%). The young generation respondents think that GM food is safe, while those with higher levels of income and education are more inclined to view GM food as risky. In addition, public sector employees tend to think that GM food is risky. Respondents characterized with right-wing ideology in general tend to regard GM food as safe, compared to left-wing ideologists. However, their attitude varies in different ideological dimensions of politics, economics, and culture. This paper contributes new insights into understanding ideological influences on science development and sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)

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Open AccessFeature PaperEssay
Designing Urban Green Blue Infrastructure for Mental Health and Elderly Wellbeing
Sustainability 2019, 11(22), 6425; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11226425 - 15 Nov 2019
Abstract
The main objective of this essay is to illustrate the state-of-the-art on ‘mental health-sensitive’ open space design in the built environment. Urban Green Blue Infrastructure can contribute to urbanites’ mental health and wellbeing as well as healthy aging, while providing co-benefits balancing the [...] Read more.
The main objective of this essay is to illustrate the state-of-the-art on ‘mental health-sensitive’ open space design in the built environment. Urban Green Blue Infrastructure can contribute to urbanites’ mental health and wellbeing as well as healthy aging, while providing co-benefits balancing the negative impacts of climate change, through the provision of integrated ecosystem services. There are a number of ways that exposure to and affiliation with Nature have shown to support mental health, but we are still missing the necessary evidence of the actual benefits achieved, as well as the key performance indicators and metrics to monitor and adapt our open space to the growing urban challenges. After introducing the key concepts of degenerative mental disorders as they are growing in the urban environment, and the emerging green blue infrastructure design approach, the authors present international case studies describing how evidence-based design and Nature-based Solutions have been found to be beneficial, especially to those diagnosed with mental disorders. Subsequently, in a comparative critical analysis, the authors look closer at a number of design solutions capable, at different scales, to support healthy aging through exposure to, and affiliation with, biodiversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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Open AccessConcept Paper
Interior Architectural Design for Adaptive Reuse in Application of Environmental Sustainability Principles
Sustainability 2019, 11(14), 3820; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11143820 - 12 Jul 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The paper discusses an interior architectural design model to enable the accomplishment of sustainable design strategy of efficient resources/waste management. The proposed design concept, referred to as interior architectural design for adaptive reuse, is based on the reintroduction of reclaimed or salvaged building [...] Read more.
The paper discusses an interior architectural design model to enable the accomplishment of sustainable design strategy of efficient resources/waste management. The proposed design concept, referred to as interior architectural design for adaptive reuse, is based on the reintroduction of reclaimed or salvaged building construction materials and products acquired from demolished or refurbished building structural portions, into the structure of interior components. The presented design approach puts circular design methods and techniques in interior design practice at the core of environmentally responsible architectural design. To achieve its objectives, the implementation of resources efficiency strategy into the interior design scheme should remain a decisive interior design quality criterion. Meanwhile, the issues related to the environmental contextualization of interior spaces and their constitutive components, in fulfilment of sustainable design requirements for the conservation of natural resources, are neither sufficiently recognized by interior designers, nor appropriately highlighted in the current design practice. The main purpose of this concept paper is to develop a theoretical scheme for systemic inclusion of interior architectural design for adaptive reuse into the environmentally sustainable interior architectural design framework. This study provides interior designers with the concept of interior components design for the fulfilment of resources efficiency and waste management effectiveness. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Interdisciplinarity: Human-Nature Relations)
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