Special Issue "Environmental and Social Sustainability in Rural Areas"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 September 2020.

Special Issue Editors

Asst. Prof. Maria Partalidou
Guest Editor
School of Agriculture, Forestry & Environmental Sciences, Faculty of Agriculture , Dep. of Agricultural Economics , 54124, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece
Interests: rural sociology; rural tourism; local development; CLLD; female farmers; social capital; social innovation; urban agriculture; community-supported agriculture; social farms
Prof. Theodosia Anthopoulou
Guest Editor
Department of Social Policy, School of Political Sciences, Panteion University of Social and Political Sciences, Athens, Greece
Interests: rural restructuring and multifunctionality of rural area, localized agro-food systems (SYAL), alternative and solidarity food networks, social innovation and community-led territorial/ rural development
Prof. Stavriani Koutsou
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, School of Geotechnical Sciences, International Hellenic University, Program of Rural Economy & Entrepreneurship, Alexander Campus of Thessaloniki, P.O. 141, 57400 Sindos, Greece
Interests: collective actions in rural areas, social capital, commons, social innovation, female entrepreneurship, young farmers, transformations of rural societies, rural development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rural communities need to re-imagine their future within a locally based economy, rooted in a sustainable paradigm that builds on local assets, skills and collective action. The potentials emerging for sustainable agricultural food production and the production of renewable energy are well documented as addressing contemporary needs of society for mitigating climate change challenges and environmental threats. This Special Issue represents an attempt to put forth a discussion that goes beyond the established popular discourses on the environmental dimension of sustainability: it will try to shed light on the least addressed- but still equally important- pillar, social sustainability, and advocate for the symbiotic relationship between the two terms (environmental and social sustainability). In so doing, this special issue draws on the theoretical lens of community-led development and diverse economies and builds on cases that unlock the dynamics of the community economies, while at the same time advocates on environmental and social sustainability in the rural. Some of the questions posed are: Can rural areas produce food considering the environment while simultaneously ensuring decent employment possibilities for farmers and local communities? Can rural areas integrate migrants and provide ethical wages for them? Can they valorize local know-how as well as alternative paid labor (self-provisioning, volunteer, reciprocal labor in and among rural households and family farms)? How can they promote wellbeing for rural dwellers?hat are the new forms of collective-–solidarity action in the countryside? What are the new forms of democratic governance for rural areas and solidarity urban-rural partnership?

Papers discussing the reframing of values within the concept of environmental and social sustainability are welcomed. Theoretical and empirical research, addressing the challenges rural areas and communities face, falls within the overall scope of the issue. Deadline for manuscript abstract submissions: 1 June 2020
Upon acceptance of the abstract the Deadline for full manuscript submissions: 15 September 2020.

References (optional)

  • CORK 2.0 DECLARATION “A Better Life in Rural Areas”
  • Roevlink, G.; J.K. Gibson-Graham. A postcapitalist politics of dwelling. Australian Humanities Review 2009, 46, 145–158.

  • TFSSE (2019). Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: What Role for Social and Solidarity Economy? Conference Summary prepared by Ilcheong Yi, Samuel Brülisauer, Gabriel Salathé-Beaulieu and Martina Piras. UN Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy (TFSSE). Available online: http://unsse.org/knowledge-hub/conference-summary/.

Asst. Prof. Maria Partalidou
Prof. Theodosia Anthopoulou
Prof. Stavriani Koutsou
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 1800 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.


  • Community economies
  • Social solidarity economy
  • Rural commons
  • Collective actions
  • Social innovation
  • Alternative foodscapes
  • Localised agrifood systems

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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