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Special Issue "Evaluation and Indicators for Sustainability: Tools for Governance and Resilience"

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

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2021).

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Saadi Lahlou
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
London School of Economics and Paris Institute for Advanced Study
Interests: public policy; governance and evaluation; behavioural change; societal psychology; complexity

Special Issue Information

Dear collaegues,

Sustainability in times of major transitions requires resilience, the ability of systems and all their stakeholders, beyond avoiding negative externalities, to continue to function and pursue their development objectives, regardless of shocks or environment changes. E.g., for territories, the capacity to cope with shocks but also to better adapt to and reduce chronic stresses. In order to allow a constructive dialogue with all specialists in the field (sustainable development, sustainability, adaptation, ecological transition, etc.), we opt for a broad definition of the term “resilience”.

Resilience, while becoming a key goal in governance, is difficult to assess. There is a large offer of quantitative techniques to evaluate financial aspects of technical projects, but not much to assess how policies and modes of governance can positively impact the resilience of territories in its multiple aspects.

Indeed, the effects are often cross-sectoral in nature, involving government and institutions, business, civil society and even users and academia. The setting up and management of such projects and adaptive innovation policies must take into account often systemic and qualitative effects that emerge in multiple temporalities, dimensions of value and forms of impact. For example, social cohesion is increasingly recognized as an essential factor.

Some tools for evaluation exist, which need to be improved, validated and disseminated; others need to be built. This Special Issue welcomes the presentation of tools, methods, indicators, processes or principles to design, evaluate and monitor the impact of projects on resilience at micro, meso and macro scales. We acknowledge that the very notion of indicators is limiting, and therefore we welcome ground-breaking and innovative contributions. We hope this Special Issue will be a landmark both for researchers and practitioners, and will feed the practice of decision-makers and their advisers.

Transdisciplinary and intersectoral—i.e., (co-)authored with non-academic experts—papers are welcome. Case studies are of course expected and welcome; they should include reflection on transferability and lessons learned beyond the specific case. Conversely, theoretical papers should include links to empirical material.

We expect this Special Issue will become a major reference on how to evaluate resilience. Hence, keep in mind when writing that your readers may be practitioners, consultants or leaders, or academics: readability and illustration with regard to concrete cases will be a plus.

Director, Paris Institute for Advanced Study
Chair in Social Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science

Prof. Saadi Lahlou
Guest Editor

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

  • evaluation
  • assessment
  • indicators
  • resilience
  • transition
  • impact
  • governance
  • innovation
  • public policy
  • case study

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Article
Evaluating the Implementation of the “Build-Back-Better” Concept for Critical Infrastructure Systems: Lessons from Saint-Martin’s Island Following Hurricane Irma
Sustainability 2021, 13(6), 3133; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13063133 - 12 Mar 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1018
Abstract
A limited number of studies in the scientific literature discuss the “Build-Back-Better” (BBB) critical infrastructure (CI) concept. Investigations of its operational aspects and its efficient implementation are even rarer. The term “Better” in BBB is often confusing to practitioners and leads to unclear [...] Read more.
A limited number of studies in the scientific literature discuss the “Build-Back-Better” (BBB) critical infrastructure (CI) concept. Investigations of its operational aspects and its efficient implementation are even rarer. The term “Better” in BBB is often confusing to practitioners and leads to unclear and non-uniform objectives for guiding accurate decision-making. In an attempt to fill these gaps, this study offers a conceptual analysis of BBB’s operational aspects by examining the term “Better”. In its methodological approach, this study evaluates the state of Saint-Martin’s CI before and after Hurricane Irma and, accordingly, reveals the indicators to assess during reconstruction projects. The proposed methods offer practitioners a guidance tool for planning efficient BBB CI projects or for evaluating ongoing programs through the established BBB evaluation grid. Key findings of the study offer insights and a new conceptual equation of the BBB CI by revealing the holistic and interdisciplinary connotations behind the term “Better” CI: “Build-Back-resilient”, “Build-Back-sustainable”, and “Build-Back-accessible to all and upgraded CI”. The proposed explanations can facilitate the efficient application of BBB for CI by operators, stakeholders, and practitioners and can help them to contextualize the term “Better” with respect to their area and its CI systems. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Online Deliberative Quality: New Indicators Using Network Analysis and Time-Series Analysis
Sustainability 2021, 13(3), 1187; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13031187 - 23 Jan 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 848
Abstract
Online deliberation research has recently developed automated indicators to assess the deliberative quality of much user-generated online data. While most previous studies have developed indicators based on content analysis and network analysis, time-series data and associated methods have been studied less thoroughly. This [...] Read more.
Online deliberation research has recently developed automated indicators to assess the deliberative quality of much user-generated online data. While most previous studies have developed indicators based on content analysis and network analysis, time-series data and associated methods have been studied less thoroughly. This article contributes to the literature by proposing indicators based on a combination of network analysis and time-series analysis, arguing that it will help monitor how online deliberation evolves. Based on Habermasian deliberative criteria, we develop six throughput indicators and demonstrate their applications in the OmaStadi participatory budgeting project in Helsinki, Finland. The study results show that these indicators consist of intuitive figures and visualizations that will facilitate collective intelligence on ongoing processes and ways to solve problems promptly. Full article
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Article
A Holistic Approach to Integrate and Evaluate Sustainable Development in Higher Education. The Case Study of the University of the Basque Country
Sustainability 2021, 13(1), 392; https://doi.org/10.3390/su13010392 - 04 Jan 2021
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 2364
Abstract
Since the United Nations (UN) approved the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in 2015, higher education institutions have increasingly demonstrated their commitment by supporting several initiatives. Although a great deal of progress has been made, there is still a lack of integrative approaches [...] Read more.
Since the United Nations (UN) approved the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development in 2015, higher education institutions have increasingly demonstrated their commitment by supporting several initiatives. Although a great deal of progress has been made, there is still a lack of integrative approaches to truly implement Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in higher education. This paper presents a practical case that illustrates how to design and articulate SDGs within an institutional setting adopting a holistic approach: EHUagenda 2030 plan of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU). It is based on empirical inquiry into global and holistic sustainable transformation and a real experience to move towards a verifiable and pragmatic contribution to sustainability. This plan describes the contribution to 12 of the 17 SDGs, along with three sectorial plans (Equality Campus, Inclusion Campus and Planet Campus), as well as the refocus of the UPV/EHU’s Educational Model and the panel of sustainable development indicators, which addresses the technical aspects of monitoring the SDGs. The methodology (mapping; mainstreaming; diagnosis and definition and, finally, estimation) is systematic and replicable in other universities yet to embark upon this integration. This case study makes a contribution towards the understanding of the complexity of the changes in Higher Education and the ways to approach it. Full article
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