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Sustainability, Volume 12, Issue 7 (April-1 2020) – 492 articles

Cover Story (view full-size image): The Finnish forest industry is committed to applying novel technologies for increasing carbon-neutral development and environmental sustainability in a “green” circular industry. This study compares the energy efficiency indicators of road freight transportation. The wood-based energy efficiency model of a synchronized transportation system was the most accurate and precise measure as the development indicator. The indicator showed that the timber transportation systems lead to a positive energy ratio of renewable wood and fossil fuels. The indicator also robustly revealed the energy efficiency of a partial system in the smaller supply region. This novel knowledge can be applied to advance the adaptation toward carbon-neutral supply networks. There is also the development potential of an industrial ecosystem model for optimizing the environmental sustainability of “green” circular [...] Read more.
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Article
Evaluation of the Importance of Some East Asian Tree Species for Refinement of Air Quality by Estimating Air Pollution Tolerance Index, Anticipated Performance Index, and Air Pollutant Uptake
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3067; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073067 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1190
Abstract
Potentials of tree species as biofilters depend on appropriate selection based on their tolerance to air pollution, which is usually evaluated by the air pollution tolerance index (APTI) and anticipated performance index (API). Thus, these index values need as a means of scientific [...] Read more.
Potentials of tree species as biofilters depend on appropriate selection based on their tolerance to air pollution, which is usually evaluated by the air pollution tolerance index (APTI) and anticipated performance index (API). Thus, these index values need as a means of scientific understanding to assess the role of urban trees for better greenspace planning/management to mitigate impacts of gaseous air pollution such as ozone (O3) and sulfur dioxide (SO2). O3 exposure to Chionanthus retusus, Pinus densiflora, and Ginkgo biloba showed higher stomatal O3 flux than the others, finally resulting in both favoring stomatal movement and maintaining carbon fixation. In contrast, despite the whole tree enhanced SO2 uptake under excess SO2 exposure, the carbon assimilation capacity was only found in Taxus cuspidata and Zelkova serrata as a consequence of no stomatal sluggishness. On the basis of API, P. densiflora and Prunus × yedoensis were good performers for developing greenspace, while Z. serrata and G. biloba were moderate performers; however, C. retusus and T. cuspidata were estimated to be poor and very poor performers, respectively, for reducing the air quality injury caused by air pollutants. The present study suggests that an integration of both APTI and API based on stomatal absorption flux is needed for selecting sound tree-species in greenspace planning/construction to control gaseous air pollutions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Climate Change and Air Pollution Impacts on Forests)
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Article
MOOC Video Personalized Classification Based on Cluster Analysis and Process Mining
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3066; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073066 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1031
Abstract
In the teaching based on MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and flipped classroom, a teacher needs to understand the difficulty and importance of MOOC videos in real time for students at different knowledge levels. In this way, a teacher can be more focused [...] Read more.
In the teaching based on MOOC (Massive Open Online Courses) and flipped classroom, a teacher needs to understand the difficulty and importance of MOOC videos in real time for students at different knowledge levels. In this way, a teacher can be more focused on the different difficulties and key points contained in the videos for students in a flipped classroom. Thus, the personalized teaching can be implemented. We propose an approach of MOOC video personalized classification based on cluster analysis and process mining to help a teacher understand the difficulty and importance of MOOC videos for students at different knowledge levels. Specifically, students are first clustered based on their knowledge levels through question answering data. Then, we propose the process model of a group of students which reflects the overall video watching behavior of these students. Next, we propose to use the process mining technique to mine the process model of each student cluster by the video watching data of the involved students. Finally, we propose an approach to measure the difficulty and importance of a video based on a process model. With this approach, MOOC videos can be classified for students at different knowledge levels according to difficulty and importance. Therefore, a teacher can carry out a flipped classroom more efficiently. Experiments on a real data set show that the difficulty and importance of videos obtained by the proposed approach can reflect students’ subjective evaluation of the videos. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Education and Approaches)
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Article
The Dynamic Evolution of the Ecological Footprint and Ecological Capacity of Qinghai Province
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3065; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073065 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1043
Abstract
Based on the ecological footprint (EF) model, the dynamic changes in the per capita EF and per capita ecological carrying capacity (EC) in Qinghai Province from 2007 to 2017 were quantitatively analysed. The grey GM(1,1) prediction model was used to predict the per [...] Read more.
Based on the ecological footprint (EF) model, the dynamic changes in the per capita EF and per capita ecological carrying capacity (EC) in Qinghai Province from 2007 to 2017 were quantitatively analysed. The grey GM(1,1) prediction model was used to predict the per capita EF, per capita EC, and EF of ten thousand yuan of GDP. Additionally, the spatial change characteristics of the sustainable development status of the study area in four time periods were analysed using GIS technology. The results showed the following. (1) In the 11-year study period, Qinghai Province’s EF per capita grew gradually, increasing from 2.3027 hm2 in 2007 to 2.9837 hm2 in 2017. (2) The EC per capita in Qinghai Province remained a slight linear upward trend. (3) The environmental sustainability in Qinghai Province deteriorated over time. (4) According to the spatial characteristics, the overall sustainable development state changed markedly in the eastern region but was stable in the central and western regions. This paper proposes some countermeasures and suggestions to help Qinghai Province work towards sustainable development, such as controlling the population, adjusting the industrial structure, developing a low-carbon circular economy, and implementing ecological engineering. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socio-Ecological Systems Sustainability)
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Article
Detecting the Influencer on Social Networks Using Passion Point and Measures of Information Propagation
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3064; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073064 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1254
Abstract
Influencer marketing is a modern method that uses influential users to approach goal customers easily and quickly. An online social network is a useful platform to detect the most effective influencer for a brand. Thus, we have an issue: how can we extract [...] Read more.
Influencer marketing is a modern method that uses influential users to approach goal customers easily and quickly. An online social network is a useful platform to detect the most effective influencer for a brand. Thus, we have an issue: how can we extract user data to determine an influencer? In this paper, a model for representing a social network based on users, tags, and the relationships among them, called the SNet model, is presented. A graph-based approach for computing the impact of users and the speed of information propagation, and measuring the favorite brand of a user and sharing the similar brand characteristics, called a passion point, is proposed. Therefore, we consider two main influential measures, including the extent of the influence on other people by the relationships between users and the concern to user’s tags, and the tag propagation through social pulse on the social network. Based on these, the problem of determining the influencer of a specific brand on a social network is solved. The results of this method are used to run the influencer marketing strategy in practice and have obtained positive results. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Problems of Selected Industries on the Way to Suitable Development)
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Article
Decision Support Simulation Method for Process Improvement of Electronic Product Testing Systems
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3063; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073063 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 851
Abstract
Spread of the Jidoka concept can be phrased as a trend at the production of electronic products. In most of the cases, with the application of this concept, the development of testing procedures (for quality assurance purposes) of the finished products can be [...] Read more.
Spread of the Jidoka concept can be phrased as a trend at the production of electronic products. In most of the cases, with the application of this concept, the development of testing procedures (for quality assurance purposes) of the finished products can be avoided. In those cases, when the production process of the appropriate quality product cannot be implemented safely for the establishment of the product testing process (following the production process), changing the number of variety products, change of requirements concerning the electronic products (e.g., instructions related to energy consumption, noise level) and the variation of the required testing capacity make the modification of the established testing process necessary. The implementation of related plans often leads to problems (e.g., not the appropriate storage area, material flow process or material handling equipment having been chosen). The method of process configuration affects the sustainability, since the poorly established process can lead to additional usage of non-renewable natural resources and unjustified environmental impact. For one of the tools of Industry 4.0, we developed such a state-of-the-art testing method with the use of simulation modelling by which the change of testing process can be effectively examined and evaluated, thus we can prevent the unnecessary planning failures. The application of the developed method is also shown through a case study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Manufacturing Processes and Machine Tool Technology)
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Article
Competitive Structure of Accommodations in a Traditional Japanese Hot Springs Tourism Area
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3062; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073062 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 982
Abstract
This paper investigates the competitive structure of prices in a traditional hot springs resort area in Japan from a spatial econometric perspective. This perspective has not been addressed in hot springs—or “onsen” in Japanese—tourism areas, which have been gradually losing momentum due to [...] Read more.
This paper investigates the competitive structure of prices in a traditional hot springs resort area in Japan from a spatial econometric perspective. This perspective has not been addressed in hot springs—or “onsen” in Japanese—tourism areas, which have been gradually losing momentum due to the ageing of operators and diversification of leisure activities. The study area is one of the three oldest hot springs in Japan, the Dogo Onsen area in Matsuyama, where hotels and ryokans are clustered. First, we present a conceptual framework that characterizes two strategies, namely, differentiation and partnership strategies. Then, spatial error models are employed to test the hypothesis that spatial closeness intensifies price competition, while social closeness mitigates price competition. The estimation results reveal that our hypothesis was verified, in that the social network which has been nurtured for generations in the study hot spring area mitigates price competition, in comparison with the non-hot spring area in Matsuyama. Thus, good partnerships among local operators based on social networks should be more closely scrutinized for the revitalization of traditional hot springs areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Article
Museum as a Sensory Space: A Discussion of Communication Effect of Multi-Senses in Taizhou Museum
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3061; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073061 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1296
Abstract
Museums are much more than repositories of cultural relics to be preserved for the future. They are centers of learning, community centers, social hubs—even places of healing and contemplation. The museum experience is a multilayered journey that is proprioceptive, sensory, aesthetic and social. [...] Read more.
Museums are much more than repositories of cultural relics to be preserved for the future. They are centers of learning, community centers, social hubs—even places of healing and contemplation. The museum experience is a multilayered journey that is proprioceptive, sensory, aesthetic and social. In this context, this study takes the case of the ‘People at the Seashore’ multisensory area in the folk exhibition of Taizhou Museum, applies three data collection techniques (questionnaire, in-depth interview and observation) to assess various types of experiences (object, cognitive, social and introspective) and effects (visceral, cognitive and emotional) in the museum, and analyzes the practical effect and relative merits of the multisensory approaches used in this exhibition through the lens of communication effect. Accordingly, multi-senses acquire creative significances upon the attractive and holding power of museum exhibitions, specifically the emotional relevance and resonances. Thus, museums should be more concerned with the connection and complex interaction between senses and experience, meanwhile be active with visual, auditory, olfactory, taste and proprioceptive experiences and engage in the potential impact on visitors from cognitive and emotional aspects, which is an important trend for the museum’s future development and also the vision of this study. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Tourism, Culture, and Heritage)
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Article
Circular Economy Concept in the Context of Economic Development in EU Countries
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3060; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073060 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 1670
Abstract
The need has arisen to implement a circular economic model that enables economic growth and prosperity in accordance with environmental protection and sustainable development because of the current unsustainable linear means of production in the economy. The aim of this paper is to [...] Read more.
The need has arisen to implement a circular economic model that enables economic growth and prosperity in accordance with environmental protection and sustainable development because of the current unsustainable linear means of production in the economy. The aim of this paper is to determine the application of the circular economy concept in member countries of the European Union from 2008 to 2016. The purpose is to analyse whether economic development measured by GDP (gross domestic product) affects the analysed circular economy variables. Based on the hypotheses set, an econometric model was formed where GDP was identified as an independent variable, while the dependent variables were the production of municipal waste per capita, the recycling rate of municipal waste, the recycling rate of packaging waste by type of packaging, the recycling of bio-waste, and the recycling rate of e-waste. The first part of the statistical analysis conducted using the Stata software package shows the Pearson correlation between the abovestated variables, while the second part explores the univariate regression model. The results point towards the conclusion that the application of the circular economy concept can ensure economic growth and GDP growth while reducing the use of natural resources and ensuring greater environmental protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Hyperspectral Reflectance as a Basis to Discriminate Olive Varieties—A Tool for Sustainable Crop Management
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3059; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073059 - 10 Apr 2020
Viewed by 799
Abstract
Worldwide sustainable development is threatened by current agricultural land change trends, particularly by the increasing rural farmland abandonment and agricultural intensification phenomena. In Mediterranean countries, these processes are affecting especially traditional olive groves with enormous socio-economic costs to rural areas, endangering environmental sustainability [...] Read more.
Worldwide sustainable development is threatened by current agricultural land change trends, particularly by the increasing rural farmland abandonment and agricultural intensification phenomena. In Mediterranean countries, these processes are affecting especially traditional olive groves with enormous socio-economic costs to rural areas, endangering environmental sustainability and biodiversity. Traditional olive groves abandonment and intensification are clearly related to the reduction of olive oil production income, leading to reduced economic viability. Most promising strategies to boost traditional groves competitiveness—such as olive oil differentiation through adoption of protected denomination of origin labels and development of value-added olive products—rely on knowledge of the olive varieties and its specific properties that confer their uniqueness and authenticity. Given the lack of information about olive varieties on traditional groves, a feasible and inexpensive method of variety identification is required. We analyzed leaf spectral information of ten Portuguese olive varieties with a powerful data-mining approach in order to verify the ability of satellite’s hyperspectral sensors to provide an accurate olive variety identification. Our results show that these olive varieties are distinguishable by leaf reflectance information and suggest that even satellite open-source data could be used to map them. Additional advantages of olive varieties mapping were further discussed. Full article
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Article
Framework of Spatial Flood Risk Assessment for a Case Study in Quang Binh Province, Vietnam
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3058; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073058 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 2021
Abstract
Vietnam has been extensively affected by floods, suffering heavy losses in human life and property. While the Vietnamese government has focused on structural measures of flood defence such as levees and early warning systems, the country still lacks flood risk assessment methodologies and [...] Read more.
Vietnam has been extensively affected by floods, suffering heavy losses in human life and property. While the Vietnamese government has focused on structural measures of flood defence such as levees and early warning systems, the country still lacks flood risk assessment methodologies and frameworks at local and national levels. In response to this gap, this study developed a flood risk assessment framework that uses historical flood mark data and a high-resolution digital elevation model to create an inundation map, then combined this map with exposure and vulnerability data to develop a holistic flood risk assessment map. The case study is the October 2010 flood event in Quang Binh province, which caused 74 deaths, 210 injuries, 188,628 flooded properties, 9019 ha of submerged and damaged agricultural land, and widespread damages to canals, levees, and roads. The final flood risk map showed a total inundation area of 64,348 ha, in which 8.3% area of low risk, 16.3% area of medium risk, 12.0% area of high risk, 37.1% area of very high risk, and 26.2% area of extremely high risk. The holistic flood risk assessment map of Quang Binh province is a valuable tool and source for flood preparedness activities at the local scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Flood Risks, Vulnerability and Governance)
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Article
Integrating Environmental, Geographical and Social Data to Assess Sustainability in Hydrographic Basins: The ESI Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3057; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073057 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1400
Abstract
The elaboration of environmental sustainability indexes (ESI) aims to describe the complexity between social, environmental and ecological health. These indexes play a crucial role by helping stakeholders during the decision-making process and by identifying possible sites that require practical sustainable actions. In this [...] Read more.
The elaboration of environmental sustainability indexes (ESI) aims to describe the complexity between social, environmental and ecological health. These indexes play a crucial role by helping stakeholders during the decision-making process and by identifying possible sites that require practical sustainable actions. In this study, we aim to elaborate an ESI for hydrographic basins. We use three factors to build the index: land use; vulnerability to soil degradation and topographic land attributes; and human development. The human development factor includes the dimensions of education, sanitation, longevity and income. These three factors are recommended by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and reflect the pressure–state–impact assessment model. To verify the effectiveness of the proposed ESI, we applied it in a hydrographic basin located in southern Brazil. The sustainability level variation in the basin was classified into five groups: very low (0%), low (17%), intermediate (72%), high (11%) and very high (0%). The predominance of the intermediate sustainability level was found to mainly owe to the extent of agricultural land and the high degree of susceptibility to soil erosion in areas with low environmental conservation. In areas with native vegetation, environmental sustainability was found to be higher than in areas with other land use types. The resulting ESI will help facilitate future studies in environmental, economic or social dimensions in any hydrographic basin. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geography and Sustainability)
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Article
Urban Crime Occurrences in Association with Built Environment Characteristics: An African Case with Implications for Urban Design
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3056; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073056 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1362
Abstract
Empirically, the physical spatial arrangement of places provides us with a clue about the likelihood for crime opportunities based on the principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Although we know that the quality of the urban built environment influences people’s behavior, [...] Read more.
Empirically, the physical spatial arrangement of places provides us with a clue about the likelihood for crime opportunities based on the principles of crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED). Although we know that the quality of the urban built environment influences people’s behavior, its measurement as a variable is not an easy task. In this study, we present and develop a set of urban built environment indicators (UBEIs) based on two datasets: building footprints and road networks at the neighborhood level in the city of Praia, Cape Verde. We selected the four most relevant UBEIs to create a single urban built environment indicator (CUBEI), and then, explored their relationships with five types of crime (i.e., burglary, robbery, mugging, residential robbery, and crimes involving weapons) using correlation and regression analysis. Our results showed a consistent and statistically significant relationship between different types of crimes with both the UBEIs and CUBEI, suggesting that a poor urban built environment is associated with an increase of all types of crimes investigated in this study. Thus, to minimize crime incidents, urban planners should rehabilitate or design neighborhoods from the earlier stage, considering the principles of CPTED and broken window theory (BWT). Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Geography and Sustainability)
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Article
Efficiency Analysis of Water Conservation Measures in Sanitary Infrastructure Systems by Means of a Systemic Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3055; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073055 - 10 Apr 2020
Viewed by 804
Abstract
The challenges of urban water management and sanitary infrastructure (water supply (WSS), sewage (SS), urban drainage (UDS) systems) are increasingly frequent in Brazilian cities whether as a combined result of overcrowding and/or a lack governmental interest and hence investments, in the sector. Such [...] Read more.
The challenges of urban water management and sanitary infrastructure (water supply (WSS), sewage (SS), urban drainage (UDS) systems) are increasingly frequent in Brazilian cities whether as a combined result of overcrowding and/or a lack governmental interest and hence investments, in the sector. Such an increase in environmental pressure reflects directly on population welfare and well-being related to the availability of drinking water, wastewater treatment, and access to effective drainage systems in order to minimize, or at least reduce, the occurrence of urban flooding and associated public health risks. Thus, alternatives with an integrated approach to urban water management are interesting to the reality of countries such as Brazil. The urban water use (UWU) model is a strategic planning tool with integrated way of thinking, which selects measures to mitigate the urban impacts in sanitary infrastructure and buildings. In this sense, the objective of this research is to apply the UWU model in a case study in Curitiba/Brazil to demonstrate the effect of the systematic approach and its intrinsic synergies in the systems in question, promoting water conservation in urban areas. The results are favorable to integrated systems with synergy use, evidencing quantitatively a greater efficiency in them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Water Resources in the Developing Cities)
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Article
Cruise Tourism for Sustainability: An Exploration of Value Chain in Shenzhen Shekou Port
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3054; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073054 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1095
Abstract
Based on the support of governmental policies and the rapid growth of China’s economic development, residents’ living standards, and tourism consumption demand, cruise tourism has continuously developed and its service level has gradually improved, which have become the main driving forces for the [...] Read more.
Based on the support of governmental policies and the rapid growth of China’s economic development, residents’ living standards, and tourism consumption demand, cruise tourism has continuously developed and its service level has gradually improved, which have become the main driving forces for the sustainable growth of China’s cruise tourism industry. This paper took Shenzhen Shekou Port (SSP) as a research site and used an online text analysis method by Rost Content Mining 6 software to analyze 2552 Ctrip travel network, and then did further study through face to face interviews from the perspective of “tourists source” and “procurement” in the value chain theory. Only by understanding the developing trend of cruise tourists can we cultivate cruise culture, expand cruise tourism market, and finally realize the benign development of cruise tourism. The research results show that the cruise business in Shenzhen should strengthen the senior citizens market and marketing to kids and parents, and improve the satisfaction of cruise passengers in terms of enriching entertainment facilities, elevating service quality, and upgrading duty-free shopping centers. This paper not only focused on the study of cruise tourists in Southern China, but also enriches the research of the cruise value chain. Full article
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Article
Application of Affordance Factors for User-Centered Smart Homes: A Case Study Approach
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3053; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073053 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 970
Abstract
Smart homes improve quality of life by providing various services based on information and communication technologies. However, smart home systems are complicated and user interfaces for the interaction between smart home and user are often not user-friendly, causing potential difficulties and inconvenience for [...] Read more.
Smart homes improve quality of life by providing various services based on information and communication technologies. However, smart home systems are complicated and user interfaces for the interaction between smart home and user are often not user-friendly, causing potential difficulties and inconvenience for the user. Therefore, in order for smart homes to become user-centered, usability needs to be improved. This study aims to present guidelines for improving the usability of smart homes based on the concept of affordance, which is highly meaningful in user-centered design. To do this, firstly, the affordance factors that could be applied to improve the usability of active devices and user interfaces in smart homes were extracted, secondly, a case study was conducted to analyze the application of affordance factors, focusing on active devices (e.g., control devices and smart appliances) and user interfaces that directly interact with users in smart homes. Lastly, guidelines on the application of affordance factors were presented by combining case analysis results with relevant guidelines. Active devices and user interfaces should provide users with appropriate cognitive, physical, functional, and sensory affordances so that users can use the smart home services easily and conveniently. Full article
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Article
Chinese Demand for Agritourism in Rural America
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3052; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073052 - 10 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1328
Abstract
China is one of the largest sources of outbound tourists coming to the United States. We used data from a choice experiment to determine whether Chinese tourists are interested and willing to pay for agritourism tour packages in which the U.S. state of [...] Read more.
China is one of the largest sources of outbound tourists coming to the United States. We used data from a choice experiment to determine whether Chinese tourists are interested and willing to pay for agritourism tour packages in which the U.S. state of Oklahoma is the rural destination. Our research is important because agritourism is a growing source of farm revenue, international tourists have potential to accelerate this growth, and China is the largest market for international tourism. Results suggest that, from various agritourism packages offered to them, Chinese travelers are price conscious but willing to pay significant amounts for packages that provide more local foods, that allow them to visit more event and recreation sites, and stay in cabins rather than farmstead accommodations. We also find evidence of significant heterogeneity in Chinese willingness to pay for agritourism attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Emerging Destinations Tourism Economics)
Article
The Effect of Selected Factors on Separation Efficiency in a Pneumatic Conical Separator
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3051; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073051 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 622
Abstract
Pneumatic separation is one of the available methods for cleaning seed mixtures. Variously shaped seeds, including spherical (vetch), elongated (wheat), and pyramid-shaped seeds (buckwheat), were analyzed in this study. A seed mixture containing 80% of main crop seeds and 20% of other crop [...] Read more.
Pneumatic separation is one of the available methods for cleaning seed mixtures. Variously shaped seeds, including spherical (vetch), elongated (wheat), and pyramid-shaped seeds (buckwheat), were analyzed in this study. A seed mixture containing 80% of main crop seeds and 20% of other crop seeds imitating impurities was separated in a pneumatic separator with the shape of an inverted cone in a stream of air. The regression equations describing the separation efficiency of the main crop seeds and other crop seeds imitating impurities (η) and the separation efficiency index (ε) were characterized by high and very high fit to empirical data. The coefficient of determination for the analyzed seed mixtures ranged from 0.71 to 0.99. The conical separator supported effective separation of seed mixture components in a stream of air. Full article
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What Are the Conflicting Tensions in an Italian Cooperative and How Do Members Manage Them? Business Goals’, Integrated Management, and Reduction of Waste within a Fruit and Vegetables Supply Chain
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3050; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073050 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 935
Abstract
Social enterprise is a model of hybrid organization driven by the need to generate positive externalities by reinvesting their surplus for social and environmental objectives. One of the biggest problems arising from joining financial goals with social goals is the presence of increasing [...] Read more.
Social enterprise is a model of hybrid organization driven by the need to generate positive externalities by reinvesting their surplus for social and environmental objectives. One of the biggest problems arising from joining financial goals with social goals is the presence of increasing tensions between the members and stakeholders involved. Nevertheless, there has not been enough focus on how managers, employees, and stakeholders respond to the tensions caused by contradictions and how they try to reach a balance between financial, environmental, and social goals. Therefore, the present study is aimed at investigating how members of an agricultural cooperative in the Apulia region (Italy) try to join the organizational forms of business and social values, namely, the sustainable practices related to CO2 emission reduction, resource use efficiency, and food waste mitigation. Additionally, the study goes further and explores whether and how these contradictory pressures are solved. Starting from the sensemaking approach, the study carried out an inductive case study through the use of a multiple case study design and in-depth interviews. The findings highlight the following two novel aspects: (1) Managers prefer to adopt a cumulative mitigating hybridization approach and (2) a weak integration can be noticed between social and commercial dimensions, originating from a lack of holistic perspective and poor interorganizational communication. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agricultural Value Chains: Innovations and Sustainability)
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The Whole Lifecycle Management Efficiency of the Public Sector in PPP Infrastructure Projects
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3049; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073049 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1106
Abstract
The management role of the public sector in public–private partnership PPP infrastructure projects has been extensively expanded to the whole lifecycle rather than in the traditional infrastructure projects. The performance of the public sector in a PPP is the key for the PPP [...] Read more.
The management role of the public sector in public–private partnership PPP infrastructure projects has been extensively expanded to the whole lifecycle rather than in the traditional infrastructure projects. The performance of the public sector in a PPP is the key for the PPP to achieve sustainability; however, there is a lack of research on the whole lifecycle management efficiency of the public sector in a PPP. This research aims to examine the governance role of the public sector in PPP projects, and therefore evaluate their whole lifecycle management efficiency. An evaluation framework is developed through the lens of governmentality to evaluate the performance of the public sector. Multiple case studies on PPP infrastructure projects in China have identified loopholes during the whole lifecycle of a PPP at the local governmental level. On the basis of the findings of case studies, a conceptual model is proposed to demonstrate ways for the public sector to improve efficiency through integrated governance of PPP projects. The research findings benefit both the central government in terms of evaluation and decision making and the local government by improving their efficiency in PPP infrastructure projects for the purpose of achieving sustainability. According to the findings, policy strategies are provided for the central government on how to further regulate the PPP market and address the loopholes, including further standardizing regulations and instruction, providing unified quantitative calculation or measurement tools, training, and education for the public sector to integrate whole lifecycle project management, and quality control of consultancy for the PPP infrastructure projects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Geographical Indications and Price Volatility Dynamics of Lamb Prices in Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3048; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073048 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1022
Abstract
For decades, food quality standards have attracted the interest of governance institutions and regulation authorities, who have responded to the increasing and demanding societal challenges. In addition, the open debate on significant variability and unusually high levels of agrifood prices recorded in 2007 [...] Read more.
For decades, food quality standards have attracted the interest of governance institutions and regulation authorities, who have responded to the increasing and demanding societal challenges. In addition, the open debate on significant variability and unusually high levels of agrifood prices recorded in 2007 and later in 2011 affect the behavior of the chain actors involved. As an attempt to bring together these wide concerns within a quantitative framework, a comparative analysis of the performance of the price volatility dynamics allowing for asymmetric behavior along the supply chain of a protected geographical indication (PGI)-certified lamb and its corresponding non-PGI counterpart, both located in the same region of Spain, was undertaken using weekly farm-retail prices for the period 2011–2018. The results indicate the existence of significant volatilities and an asymmetric transmission mechanism along the non-PGI-certified lamb supply chain, whereas the PGI-certified supply chain is impacted by volatility effects, yet characterized by symmetric behavior, which may suggest a high degree of relative market efficiency. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geographical Indications, Public Goods, and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Hybrid Genetic Algorithm-Based Approach for Estimating Flood Losses on Structures of Buildings
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3047; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073047 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 859
Abstract
Occurrence of extreme natural events raises the need for a quick and accurate estimation of losses on the insured residential property in order to support timely recovery of the area. Although various models are now available to estimate the amount of loss on [...] Read more.
Occurrence of extreme natural events raises the need for a quick and accurate estimation of losses on the insured residential property in order to support timely recovery of the area. Although various models are now available to estimate the amount of loss on buildings, there is a lack of models providing a sufficient level of detail and accuracy that can be used for insurance purposes. In this study, a hybrid genetic algorithm-based model for flood loss estimation on the structures of buildings is presented. The proposed model combines the ordinary least squares method, a genetic algorithm, and the bill of costs method, which offers a good balance of maximum simplicity on the one hand and the accuracy of calculation on the other hand. The model considers the geometric characteristics (dimensions and shape) of rooms and is enabled to work with various types of materials and structures, as well as a variable depth of flooding. The results achieved show that in quick loss estimation, the model provides highly accurate results which meet the requirements for its use for the purposes of settlement of real insurance claims by insurance companies. The article outlines the potential automated connection of the model to insurance companies’ information system in order to create a simple building information model (BIM) of the insured property (building’s structures). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Issues in Civil Engineering and Management)
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Article
Student Concepts after a Didactic Experiment in Heritage Education
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3046; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073046 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 849
Abstract
This work highlights the importance of heritage education as a vehicle for citizen education. We present an analysis of concepts of heritage, citizenship, and territory held by third-year social science students. The results are obtained from statistical analysis of a questionnaire given before [...] Read more.
This work highlights the importance of heritage education as a vehicle for citizen education. We present an analysis of concepts of heritage, citizenship, and territory held by third-year social science students. The results are obtained from statistical analysis of a questionnaire given before and after a didactic intervention and the application of a table of categories drawn up based on heritage education in terms of the parameters we consider desirable, from a holistic, socio-critical, motivating, and participatory perspective. The outcomes show the success of the intervention, with the students presenting better reflective and critical knowledge of their environment, showing appreciation, respect, protection, and dissemination of heritage as a symbol of identity and favoring the commitment to sustainable actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Sustainable Citizenship and Education)
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Article
Crisis Response and Supervision System for Food Security: A Comparative Analysis between Mainland China and Taiwan
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3045; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073045 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 875
Abstract
In Mainland China, major food security incidents have occurred with high frequency, of which the number and degree of harm are both increasing. At the same time, Taiwan’s food security crisis has also been spreading. For these reasons, this article makes a comparative [...] Read more.
In Mainland China, major food security incidents have occurred with high frequency, of which the number and degree of harm are both increasing. At the same time, Taiwan’s food security crisis has also been spreading. For these reasons, this article makes a comparative analysis of food security issues between Mainland China and Taiwan from a legal point of view and identifies the blind spots of the legal system and supervision using official documents and research papers regarding the most typical incidents in the period of 2008–2019. The results indicate that, compared with Mainland China, Taiwan has a better food security supervision system, and its experience with the supervision system, specific rules, social supervision, and responsibility is worth investigating. However, while there are loopholes in criminal law in Mainland China, which has not formed a complete system, criminal law in Taiwan is also weak in terms of regulation of food security incidents. Based on the results, this article puts forward suggestions with the expectation that, in the face of an increasingly severe food security crisis, Mainland China and Taiwan will strengthen their cooperation in constructing legal systems for food security supervision and inspection, exchange experience, cooperate in inspection, and share food security information to avoid rumors of food insecurity circulating in popular science. It is expected that the results and suggestions of this study will be helpful in the crisis response, as well as in the supervision systems in Mainland China and Taiwan for guarding food security. Although the comparative analysis is specific to the two regions, its characteristics are typical of food security globally, especially in Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability in Food Consumption and Food Security)
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Article
Higher Education Institutions as Knowledge Brokers in Smart Specialisation
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3044; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073044 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1001
Abstract
The effectiveness of societal interaction has become a key aspect in evaluating the success of higher education institutions (HEIs) in performing their duties. These factors have been built into institutional funding models, and the funding of research follows a similar approach. External stakeholders [...] Read more.
The effectiveness of societal interaction has become a key aspect in evaluating the success of higher education institutions (HEIs) in performing their duties. These factors have been built into institutional funding models, and the funding of research follows a similar approach. External stakeholders are now having to share in undertaking some of the functions that will define higher education institutions’ external activities, societal interaction and impact on society. The European Union’s smart specialisation strategy is such a factor. This initiative allows higher education institutions to implement policies by building regional clusters. The counterparts of higher education institutions in these clusters of smart specialisation are knowledge-intensive enterprises, high-tech service providers, educational institutions, the Arctic Smartness Specialisation Platform and other centers of expertise for smart specialisation. In this paper, we have analysed the role of higher education institutions as knowledge brokers in smart specialisation though a qualitative analysis of 20 interviews conducted during the implementation of the smart specialisation project. Our findings show that the knowledge broker role can be promoted from four perspectives: the social dimension of networks; decision-making and control; cluster building; and exchange elements. The clarification and legitimation of the role of higher education institutions as knowledge brokers in these areas would give smart specialisation more impetus to reach its goals. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Higher Education in Innovation Ecosystems)
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Article
A Sustainable Solution to Overtourism in the Social Media Era: An Exploratory Analysis on the Roles and Functions of Place–Visitor Relationship (PVR)
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3043; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073043 - 10 Apr 2020
Viewed by 1187
Abstract
As overtourism has become a serious threat to the tourism industry in recent years, this study attempts to extend the theoretical framework of organization-public relationship (OPR) developed in the public relations scholarship to the context of overtourism. To that end, the concept of [...] Read more.
As overtourism has become a serious threat to the tourism industry in recent years, this study attempts to extend the theoretical framework of organization-public relationship (OPR) developed in the public relations scholarship to the context of overtourism. To that end, the concept of place–visitor relationship (PVR) is theoretically suggested and empirically tested in a structural equation model. Also, statistical reliability and validity of PVR are put under investigation. The findings helped confirm the roles and functions of PVR as a potential solution to overtourism in the social media era. As an antecedent, visitors’ affective tour experiences stemming from exposure to social media information significantly influenced PVR. PVR, on the other hand, significantly affected attitudes toward a place and, further, behavioral intentions toward measures against overtourism. In addition, the findings revealed that PVR consists of two sub-factors: Loyalty and relational attachment. Relationship strategies as a solution to the issue of overtourism are discussed in light of PVR. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Tourism in the Social Media and Big Data Era)
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Article
Evaluation of MSW Compost and Digestate Mixtures for a Circular Economy Application
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3042; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073042 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1137
Abstract
In order to obtain a product with agronomic characteristics and biological stability consistent with the EU fertilizer decree for the market of EU fertilising products three different mixtures obtained from sludge digestate from municipal wastewater treatment plant, fresh compost and mature compost have [...] Read more.
In order to obtain a product with agronomic characteristics and biological stability consistent with the EU fertilizer decree for the market of EU fertilising products three different mixtures obtained from sludge digestate from municipal wastewater treatment plant, fresh compost and mature compost have been studied and characterized. For the experimental activity, the raw samples and three mixing ones were collected for the analytical characterization. The biological stability was then assessed for all samples using different stability criteria such as Specific Oxygen Uptake Rate, Rottegrad self-heating factor, Residual biogas potential. Specific enzymatic tests provided information about the status of nutrient cycles (C, P and S) and to overall microbial activity. Physical (bulk density, particle density, air capacity and water content), nutritional (C, N, P, K, Mg, and Ca) and toxicological properties (seedling growth tests on Lepidum sativum L., Cucumis sativus L., Lolium perenne L.) were also evaluated in order to assess the feasibility of agronomic use of the digestate-based mixtures. All the digestate-based mixtures responded to the main characteristics of compost quality requirements proposed in national and international regulations. The evidence found in this study highlighted that the strategy of mixing of sludge digestates with the composts allowed to mitigate the environmental risk posed by each starting material and to valorize their nutrient content. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Municipal Solid Waste Management in a Circular Economy)
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Article
Land Access in the Development of Horticultural Crops in East Africa. A Case Study of Passion Fruit in Burundi, Kenya, and Rwanda
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3041; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073041 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1141
Abstract
Rapid population growth in fertile agricultural lands of East Africa creates land scarcity, which has become a major hindrance to land access for the introduction of new horticultural crops. But their introduction in these areas is increasing, because of their high market price, [...] Read more.
Rapid population growth in fertile agricultural lands of East Africa creates land scarcity, which has become a major hindrance to land access for the introduction of new horticultural crops. But their introduction in these areas is increasing, because of their high market price, which improves farmers’ income. As such, this research evaluated land access dynamics (availability, acquisition, and use changes) on the introduction of passion fruits in East Africa. The study used purposeful sampling to collect information from 171 passion fruit farmers from Burundi (60), Kenya (51), and Rwanda (60) through interviews during field surveys. Among the respondents from all three countries, inheritance and land purchase were the predominant modes of land access (>50% and >21%, respectively). Furthermore, the substitution of other crops by passion fruits was high (>60%) among Kenyan and Rwandan farmers, but low (18%) among Burundian farmers. Our findings indicate that land access influences the patterns of adoption of new crops, since, when limited in supply, it may require the acquisition of new land space, abandonment of other crops, or opting for mixed farming. As such, land access should be a consideration in the promotion of new crops for sustainable agricultural ventures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Impacts of Land Tenure Systems on Land Use Sustainability)
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Article
Spatial Differentiation of Land Use and Landscape Pattern Changes in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei Area
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3040; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073040 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 807
Abstract
Landscape pattern analysis based on geometric features effectively reflects the spatial patterns of land use. Based on the administrative boundaries of prefecture-level cities, the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei collaborative development area is divided into three sub-regions, according to ecological–production–living functions. We used remote sensing data of [...] Read more.
Landscape pattern analysis based on geometric features effectively reflects the spatial patterns of land use. Based on the administrative boundaries of prefecture-level cities, the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei collaborative development area is divided into three sub-regions, according to ecological–production–living functions. We used remote sensing data of long time series land-use change from late 1980 to 2015, and analyzed landscape pattern changes and spatial differentiation in the past 30 years. The results show that: (1) The main type of land-use change was the flow of cultivated land to urban construction land, and the urbanization process was significant. (2) The urban construction land was the landscape type with the highest degree of fragmentation and maximum land-use change in the region. (3) The patch density in the Beijing–Tianjin–Hebei area increased while the average patch area decreased, and the entire landscape tended towards significant fragmentation. The Shannon diversity and evenness indexes continued to increase, indicating that the overall landscape in this region is heterogeneous and diversified. The ecological and environmental protection measures implemented in this region so far have achieved results, but require more stringent measures to ensure the total diversification of land use in the region. Full article
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Article
Analysis of Consumer Preference for Milk Produced through Sustainable Farming: The Case of Mountainous Dairy Farming
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3039; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073039 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 815
Abstract
As income is rising and urbanization progressing, the consumption of meat and dairy products is increasing, especially in developing countries. However, increasing livestock production leads to challenges that need to be addressed, such as yielding environmental pollution and causing climate change. Due to [...] Read more.
As income is rising and urbanization progressing, the consumption of meat and dairy products is increasing, especially in developing countries. However, increasing livestock production leads to challenges that need to be addressed, such as yielding environmental pollution and causing climate change. Due to these circumstances, the importance of sustainable livestock farming has been highlighted in order to effectively utilize natural resources and to protect the environment. We analyzed consumers’ preference and willingness to pay for milk, one of the representative dairy products, which was produced in a sustainable way. Among the various attributes of milk, marginal willingness to pay for “performing sustainability” through mountainous farming was estimated to be the biggest. The willingness to pay was revealed to be higher for the consumer group with a high awareness of sustainable farming than the consumer group with low awareness. The empirical results in this study suggest that it is important to consider the economic feasibility of dairy farming by forming a consensus with consumers through publicity and changing the production pattern to promote sustainability. Full article
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Article
Safety or Travel: Which Is More Important? The Impact of Disaster Events on Tourism
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 3038; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12073038 - 10 Apr 2020
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1198
Abstract
Tourism is making an increasingly considerable contribution to the sustainable development of world economy, but its development is susceptible to a series of disaster events. The impact of disaster events on tourists’ travel decisions is receiving ever-growing attention. In this study, disasters are [...] Read more.
Tourism is making an increasingly considerable contribution to the sustainable development of world economy, but its development is susceptible to a series of disaster events. The impact of disaster events on tourists’ travel decisions is receiving ever-growing attention. In this study, disasters are classified into two categories: namely, natural disasters and man-made disasters. Among these disasters, earthquakes and terrorist attacks—as the most representative two types—are taken as research examples. By virtue of a difference-in-difference research method and online review data from TripAdvisor, multiple incidents that have occurred in different countries are systematically and comparatively analyzed for verifying the effects of catastrophic events with varying natures, frequencies, and intensities on tourism. The main findings are as follows: (1) both natural disasters and man-made disasters have a negative effect on the number of tourists and the tourist experience; (2) higher frequency and intensity of terrorist attacks may not correspond to tourism, and terrorist attacks exert a more influential impact on the safety image of tourist destinations; (3) compared with the scale and intensity of earthquakes, the frequency of earthquakes has a greater effect on tourism; (4) compared with terrorist attacks, earthquakes have a greater effect on the number of tourists. Full article
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