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Editor’s Choice articles are based on recommendations by the scientific editors of MDPI journals from around the world. Editors select a small number of articles recently published in the journal that they believe will be particularly interesting to authors, or important in this field. The aim is to provide a snapshot of some of the most exciting work published in the various research areas of the journal.

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Article
Examining the Use of Urban Growth Boundary for Future Urban Expansion of Chattogram, Bangladesh
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5546; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095546 - 05 May 2022
Abstract
With the rapid and unregulated nature of urban expansion occurring in Chattogram, Bangladesh, the adoption of urban growth restriction mechanisms such as the urban growth boundary (UGB) can provide a robust framework necessary to direct the development of built-up areas in a way [...] Read more.
With the rapid and unregulated nature of urban expansion occurring in Chattogram, Bangladesh, the adoption of urban growth restriction mechanisms such as the urban growth boundary (UGB) can provide a robust framework necessary to direct the development of built-up areas in a way that curtails the growth in environmentally sensitive areas of the city. Using a support vector machine (SVM)-based urban growth simulation model, this paper examines the areas of future contiguous expansion of the city to aid in the delineation of the UGB. Utilizing landcover, topographic, and population density data from a variety of sources for the past twenty years, the SVM method with the radial basis function (RBF) kernel is used to develop a model based on fourteen predictor variables. A grid-search is used to tune the hyperparameters and determine the best performance combination of the hyperparameters for the RBF kernel function used in the SVM. The final SVM model using the best performance combination of the hyperparameters indicates a high percentage agreement of 91.79% and a substantial agreement for the Kappa coefficient of 0.7699. The developed SVM simulation model identifies potential areas that are more likely to undergo urban expansion in Chattogram in the next twenty years and provides aids for a stringent and strict delineation of UGB for this region. Full article
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Article
How Efficient Is the Cohesion Policy in Supporting Small and Mid-Sized Enterprises in the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy?
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5317; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095317 - 28 Apr 2022
Abstract
Funds from the European Union that are devoted to fostering a low-carbon economy are aimed at assisting Member States and regions in implementing the required investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and smart distribution electricity grids, and for research and innovation in these [...] Read more.
Funds from the European Union that are devoted to fostering a low-carbon economy are aimed at assisting Member States and regions in implementing the required investments in energy efficiency, renewable energy, and smart distribution electricity grids, and for research and innovation in these areas. In this context, we assessed the implementation of these funds in small and medium-sized enterprises across different beneficiary countries and regions of the European Union. Therefore, this study uses a non-radial slack-based data envelopment analysis model coupled with cluster analysis that covers multiple aspects of evaluation, including two inputs and two outputs, to assess 102 programs from 22 countries. Overall, we were able to ascertain that there are 25 efficient operational programs that remain robustly efficient, whereas 51 remain robustly inefficient for data perturbations of 5 and 10%. Under the current output level, there was almost no input surplus. Therefore, to promote a low-carbon economy, operational program managers should concentrate on solving the problems behind the poor results achieved, both in terms of greenhouse gas emissions reduction and the pace of the programs’ implementation. Full article
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Article
How COVID-19 Affected GHG Emissions of Ferries in Europe
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5287; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095287 - 27 Apr 2022
Abstract
Unprecedented socioeconomic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted shipping. We combined ferry CO2 emissions in Europe (from the EU-MRV) with port call data and vessel parameters, and analysed them using mixed-effects linear models with interactions. We found a generalized reduction in unitary [...] Read more.
Unprecedented socioeconomic conditions during the COVID-19 pandemic impacted shipping. We combined ferry CO2 emissions in Europe (from the EU-MRV) with port call data and vessel parameters, and analysed them using mixed-effects linear models with interactions. We found a generalized reduction in unitary emissions in 2020, confirming its causal relation with COVID-19. Furthermore, for larger ferries, additional and COVID-19-related reductions between 14% and 31% occurred, with the larger reductions for those built before 1999. Ferries operating in the Baltic and Mediterranean Seas experienced comparable reductions in their unitary emissions, but in the North Sea per-ship emissions decreased by an additional 18%. Per-ship emissions at berth, while showing increases or decreases depending on ferry type, did not significantly change at the fleet level. We believe that our methodology may help assess the progress of shipping toward decarbonisation in the presence of external shocks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Statistics and Econometrics of Environment and Climate Change)
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Article
Emerging Trends and Knowledge Structures of Smart Urban Governance
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5275; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095275 - 27 Apr 2022
Abstract
The concept of smart cities peaked in 2015, bringing an increased influx of ‘smart’ devices in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors in cities. As a result, interest in smart urban governance has become more prevalent in administrative, organisational, [...] Read more.
The concept of smart cities peaked in 2015, bringing an increased influx of ‘smart’ devices in the form of the Internet of Things (IoT) and sensors in cities. As a result, interest in smart urban governance has become more prevalent in administrative, organisational, and political circles. This is sustained by both local and global demands for an increased contribution to the goals of sustainability through urban governance processes in response to climate change urgencies. Cities generate up to 70% of global emissions, and in light of societal pressures for more inclusivity and democratic processes, the need for sound urban governance is merited. Further knowledge on the theme of smart urban governance is required to better understand the trends and knowledge structures and better assist policy design. Therefore, this study was undertaken to understand and map the evolution of the concept of smart urban governance through a bibliometric analysis and science mapping techniques using VOSviewer. In total, 1897 articles were retrieved from the Web of Science database over 5 decades, from 1968 to 2021, and divided into three subperiods, namely 1978 to 2015, 2016 to 2019, and 2020 to early 2022. Results indicate that the overall emerging themes across the three periods highlight the need for citizen participation in urban policies, especially in relation to smart cities, and for sustained innovation for e-participation, e-governance, and policy frameworks. The results of this study can aid both researchers exploring the concept of urban governance and policy makers rendering more inclusive urban policies, especially those hosting technological and digital domains. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Sustainable Cities in the Era of Big Data)
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Article
Benchmarking City Layouts—A Methodological Approach and an Accessibility Comparison between a Real City and the Garden City
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5029; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095029 - 22 Apr 2022
Abstract
This article presents a comparative accessibility study between a real city and its redraft as a Garden City. The benchmarking methodology involves defining and evaluating a location-based accessibility indicator in a GIS environment for the city of Coimbra, Portugal, and for the same [...] Read more.
This article presents a comparative accessibility study between a real city and its redraft as a Garden City. The benchmarking methodology involves defining and evaluating a location-based accessibility indicator in a GIS environment for the city of Coimbra, Portugal, and for the same city laid out as a Garden City, with the same number of inhabitants, jobs, and similar number of urban facilities. The results are derived as maps and weighted average distances per inhabitant to the facilities and jobs, and show that, for the Garden City, average distances drop to around 500 m for urban facilities and 1500 m for the combination of facilities and jobs, making much of the city accessible by walking and practically the whole of it accessible by cycling, with positive impact on transport sustainability and accessibility equity. The methodology can be extended to other benchmarking indicators and city layouts, and the quantitative results it yields make a valuable contribution to the debate on the ideal layout of cities. Moreover, it gives directions on how to improve real cities to address current and future sustainability concerns. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Spatial Planning and Analysis in Urban Sustainability)
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Article
A GIS-Based Multi-Criteria Analysis Framework to Evaluate Urban Physical Resilience against Earthquakes
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 5034; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14095034 - 22 Apr 2022
Abstract
As complex man-made systems that are home to the majority of the world population, cities have always faced a wide range of risks such as earthquakes. As the backbone of urban systems, physical components, including buildings, transportation networks, communication networks, and open and [...] Read more.
As complex man-made systems that are home to the majority of the world population, cities have always faced a wide range of risks such as earthquakes. As the backbone of urban systems, physical components, including buildings, transportation networks, communication networks, and open and green spaces, are also vulnerable to disasters. To enhance the capacity to deal with disaster risks, enhancing urban resilience has recently become an essential priority for cities. This study aims to develop and pilot test a framework to evaluate urban physical resilience based on resilience characteristics and associated physical indicators. Interpretive Structural Modelling (ISM) was used to determine the relationships between physical indicators, and Multi-Criteria Decision-Making methods were applied to determine the relative importance of the characteristics. The results showed that the ‘Robustness of Building’, ‘Building Density’, ‘Aspect Ratio’, and ‘Street Width’ are the most important among the twenty physical indicators considered in the proposed framework. Subsequently, the proposed framework was applied to one of the districts of Kerman, a major city located in the southwest, earthquake-prone part of Iran. Overall results indicate low levels of physical resilience. The findings of this study can provide urban planners and decision-makers with more transparent and practical insights into the physical resilience of cities. Results can also be used to design and implement policies and programs to improve the current conditions. Full article
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Article
Cooling the City? A Scientometric Study on Urban Green and Blue Infrastructure and Climate Change-Induced Public Health Effects
Sustainability 2022, 14(9), 4929; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14094929 - 20 Apr 2022
Abstract
Climate change causes global effects on multiple levels. The anthropogenic input of greenhouse gases increases the atmospheric mean temperature. It furthermore leads to a higher probability of extreme weather events (e.g., heat waves, floods) and thus strongly impacts the habitats of humans, animals, [...] Read more.
Climate change causes global effects on multiple levels. The anthropogenic input of greenhouse gases increases the atmospheric mean temperature. It furthermore leads to a higher probability of extreme weather events (e.g., heat waves, floods) and thus strongly impacts the habitats of humans, animals, and plants. Against this background, research and innovation activities are increasingly focusing on potential health-related aspects and feasible adaptation and mitigation strategies. Progressing urbanization and demographic change paired with the climate change-induced heat island effect exposes humans living in urban habitats to increasing health risks. By employing scientometric methods, this scoping study provides a systematic bird’s eye view on the epistemic landscapes of climate change, its health-related effects, and possible technological and nature-based interventions and strategies in order to make urban areas climate proof. Based on a literature corpus consisting of 2614 research articles collected in SCOPUS, we applied network-based analysis and visualization techniques to map the different scientific communities, discourses and their interrelations. From a public health perspective, the results demonstrate the range of either direct or indirect health effects of climate change. Furthermore, the results indicate that a public health-related scientific discourse is converging with an urban planning and building science driven discourse oriented towards urban blue and green infrastructure. We conclude that this development might mirror the socio-political demand to tackle emerging climate change-induced challenges by transgressing disciplinary boundaries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Urban Green Infrastructure for Climate-Proof and Healthy Cities)
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Article
Modeling Urban Growth and the Impacts of Climate Change: The Case of Esmeraldas City, Ecuador
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4704; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084704 - 14 Apr 2022
Abstract
This research has been developed in the city of Esmeraldas, which is one of the poorest urban centers of Ecuador. Historically, the economic dynamics of the city have been related to the extraction of natural resources, but little has been invested in local [...] Read more.
This research has been developed in the city of Esmeraldas, which is one of the poorest urban centers of Ecuador. Historically, the economic dynamics of the city have been related to the extraction of natural resources, but little has been invested in local populations. The objectives of this paper are, first, to create a predictive scenario of urban growth linked to future climate projections for Esmeraldas, with a focus on vulnerability to landslides and flooding; and second, to generate methodological advances related to the linkage between urban growth simulation and the downscaling of global models for climate change. This paper is based on spatially explicit simulation, Cellular Automata (CA), to capture the dynamics of urban processes. CA is linked to the analysis of vulnerability to climate change based on socioeconomic conditions and is focused on flooding- and landslide-exposed areas. We found that the proportion of Afro-Ecuadorian people and the risk of landslides and flooding are positively related to urban growth. Based on our future scenarios, the urban growth area in Esmeraldas will increase 50% compared to the year 2016. Moreover, if the existing trends continue, natural vegetation—including mangroves—will be removed by that time, increasing the vulnerability to climate change. Full article
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Article
External Knowledge Linkages and the Evolution of Comparative Advantage: An Examination of Territorial Knowledge Dynamics in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4685; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084685 - 14 Apr 2022
Abstract
In the era of the knowledge economy with the superfluidity of information, labor, and goods, the ability to establish external knowledge linkages has become an indispensable asset for the development of regional industries. Based on the assumption that knowledge spillovers decay with distance, [...] Read more.
In the era of the knowledge economy with the superfluidity of information, labor, and goods, the ability to establish external knowledge linkages has become an indispensable asset for the development of regional industries. Based on the assumption that knowledge spillovers decay with distance, several existing studies have explored the role of neighboring regions in local industrial upgrading. Meanwhile, a small but growing literature has explored the evolution of regional comparative advantage from the perspective of multi-location territorial knowledge dynamics (TKDs), exploring multi-locational knowledge interactions (including proximity interactions and distance interactions) and their regional economic effects in the process of knowledge flows. Inspired by the literature on multi-location TKDs, this paper examines two hypotheses: (1) In addition to local capabilities, external knowledge linkages also have a positive effect on local industrial upgrading; (2) the stronger the knowledge linkages, the more similar the regional comparative advantage. Through an analysis of data on authorized patent citation and the two-digit manufacturing industry from Chinese cities in 2011 and 2016, we find that the knowledge flow networks among Chinese cities are characterized by strong external knowledge linkages to both adjacent and distant regions. Further analysis reveals that a particular Chinese city has a higher probability of developing comparative advantages if it maintains strong knowledge linkages with a city specialized in the same industry. In addition, the comparative advantages of regions with strong knowledge linkages are more similar than regions with weak knowledge linkages. Full article
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Article
Grazing Land Productivity, Floral Diversity, and Management in a Semi-Arid Mediterranean Landscape
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4623; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084623 - 12 Apr 2022
Abstract
Most grazing lands in Mediterranean ecosystems that support extensive sheep farming systems are characterized by unfavorable edapho-climatic conditions, especially in semi-arid areas. Often, though, their use is far from sustainable, causing erosion and ecosystem degradation impacts. In this paper, we explore the use, [...] Read more.
Most grazing lands in Mediterranean ecosystems that support extensive sheep farming systems are characterized by unfavorable edapho-climatic conditions, especially in semi-arid areas. Often, though, their use is far from sustainable, causing erosion and ecosystem degradation impacts. In this paper, we explore the use, productivity, and flora diversity of typical Mediterranean grazing lands in four farms at the Agra locality in the western part of Lesvos Island, Greece. For a period of two consecutive growing seasons (September to June), we recorded herbage biomass on 16 plots of grazing lands with three measurements per season of land cover and plant productivity (biomass) inside small exclosures (cages) protected from grazing. We recorded the species richness of herbaceous plant communities within and outside the cages at the end of every growing season, the period of maximum growth of herbaceous species. We also chemically analyzed the biomass for crude protein at the end of each season. Results show sizable productivity differences among pasture plots as well as seasons and an overall medium to high degree of productivity and species richness considering the relatively intensive grazing, with little differences over the different cages and the degree of grazing intensity. These results suggest that the “history” of the fields is important, as grazing lands that had been used for arable crops in the past, as well as those leveled and in favorable locations, were the most productive and diverse ones, while shallower soils and inclined grazing lands showed signs of overuse and degradation. Overall, though, these ecosystems showed a high degree of resilience despite their intensive use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Article
Landscape Design for Flood Adaptation from 20 Years of Constructed Ecologies in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4511; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084511 - 10 Apr 2022
Abstract
In highly urbanized floodplains, it is becoming widely accepted that a change is needed to move away from flood control towards flood adaptation paradigms. To address riverine and flash flooding in urban areas, urban and landscape designers have developed design solutions that are [...] Read more.
In highly urbanized floodplains, it is becoming widely accepted that a change is needed to move away from flood control towards flood adaptation paradigms. To address riverine and flash flooding in urban areas, urban and landscape designers have developed design solutions that are able to increase urban ecological resilience by allocating space to fluctuating water levels. With the purpose of operationalizing flood resilience, this study explores how constructed ecology principles are applied to the design of multifunctional landscapes to restore floodplain functions in urban areas and prevent downstream flooding. The study adopts a design-by-research approach to examine 30 case studies from the Sponge Cities initiative realized in China in the last twenty years and develops a toolbox of Flood Adaptation Types for stormwater management. The results are aimed at informing operations in the planning and design professions by proposing a schematic design framework for flood adaptation in different geographic conditions, scales, and climates. The study sets up the bases for a systematic assessment of flood adaptation responses also by facilitating communication between disciplines, designers, and non-experts. This will enable evidence-based decisions in landscape architecture and urban design, as well as fulfill pedagogic purposes in higher education and research. Full article
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Article
Assessing the Potential Impacts of Urban Expansion on Hydrological Ecosystem Services in a Rapidly Urbanizing Lake Basin in China
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4424; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084424 - 08 Apr 2022
Abstract
Hydrological ecosystem services (HESs) such as water purification and water supply are important for providing other ecosystem services such as drinking water, recreation, and human health. Land use change caused by urbanization is a direct driver affecting the provision of HESs. The quantification [...] Read more.
Hydrological ecosystem services (HESs) such as water purification and water supply are important for providing other ecosystem services such as drinking water, recreation, and human health. Land use change caused by urbanization is a direct driver affecting the provision of HESs. The quantification and integration of HES into watershed management and urban planning have become increasingly important. In this study, we highlighted an integration of the InVEST and CLUE-S models to simulate and predict future changes of HES in a rapidly urbanizing lake basin, namely the Nansihu Lake basin of China. The spatiotemporal patterns of HESs including water yield, water purification, and sediment export in the past five decades (from 1980 to 2015) have been revealed through our integrated modeling approach. Furthermore, urbanization and land use change scenarios till 2030 were developed using land use, topography, climate, and soil data. It is found that due to the rapid expansion of urban land, water yield, total nitrogen (TN), and total phosphorus (TP) export has increased by 5.5%, 7.38%, and 7.02%, respectively, while the sediment export has decreased by 4%. As a result, the risks of flooding and water quality degradation increased. Under a hybrid ecological and farmland redline policy (EFRP) scenario, the HESs have all been significantly improved compared to the level in 2015. This research can help to predict the future changes in HESs for land use management and ecological and environmental protection in the Nansihu Lake basin. Full article
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Article
Estimation of the Urban Heat Island Effect in a Reformed Urban District: A Scenario-Based Study in Hong Kong
Sustainability 2022, 14(8), 4409; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14084409 - 07 Apr 2022
Abstract
Urban heat island (UHI), a phenomenon in which land surface temperatures (LSTs) in an urban area are notably higher than that in the surrounding rural area, has made the living environment thermally uncomfortable, endangered public health, and increased the energy consumption on indoor [...] Read more.
Urban heat island (UHI), a phenomenon in which land surface temperatures (LSTs) in an urban area are notably higher than that in the surrounding rural area, has made the living environment thermally uncomfortable, endangered public health, and increased the energy consumption on indoor air cooling. To develop a liveable and sustainable city, it is crucial to provide an accurate estimation of the UHI effect for urban planners when an area is transformed from bare lands to a high density of buildings. With this objective, the study develops multivariate spatial regression models based on LSTs retrieved from Landsat-8 thermal images to estimate the distribution of urban heat magnitudes (i.e., UHMs, relative temperatures referenced to rural temperature), by considering four types of causative factors that include land use and land cover, urban morphology, heat source, and local climate zones. Partial correlation analysis is performed to determine explainable variables and R2 is used to evaluate the models. Based on the constructed models and a master plan of buildings in Kowloon East, Hong Kong, the future UHM distributions are forecasted on four representative days in different seasons. Results show that the UHI effect will be mitigated significantly when the new buildings are built, suggesting appropriate urban planning regarding the urban thermal environment. We found that the considered factors can largely explain the daytime UHIs in both the built-up areas and land-cover areas. The proposed method can also be used to optimize the urban design for creating a more thermo-friendly urban environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability Challenges in Urban Heat Island Mitigation Strategies)
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Article
An Innovative Photovoltaic Luminescent Solar Concentrator Window: Energy and Environmental Aspects
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4292; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074292 - 04 Apr 2022
Abstract
Over the years, different types of smart windows have been tested and developed. In this study, an innovative prototype of a photovoltaic smart window, that integrates luminescent solar concentrators, was analysed. The device independently regulates the movement of the shading system and allows [...] Read more.
Over the years, different types of smart windows have been tested and developed. In this study, an innovative prototype of a photovoltaic smart window, that integrates luminescent solar concentrators, was analysed. The device independently regulates the movement of the shading system and allows energy surplus, through the electricity generated by modules. Considering the peculiar structure (characterized by the presence of a light shelf) and the thermal characteristics of the device, the analyses focused on optical, thermal, and electrical performances, comparing them with those of a traditional window. The analysis followed an experimental approach that involved lighting and electrical monitoring studies in a real test room, to create validated models for conducting simulations in larger buildings. The results were expressed through the study of illuminance maps, electricity generation obtainable from the integrated photovoltaic technology and in terms of energy savings. Energy generation accounts for around 10 Wh/month, with up to 50% improvement from the perspective of energy use for heating and cooling. The technology proves effective in allowing efficient overall energy performances while generating enough energy to operate the smart window control systems. Full article
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Article
Degradation Risk Assessment: Understanding the Impacts of Climate Change on Geoheritage
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4262; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074262 - 03 Apr 2022
Abstract
Several factors and processes, both natural and anthropogenic, can threaten the integrity of any geosite, leading to their degradation. For this reason, geoheritage degradation risks should be considered a fundamental step in any geoconservation strategy, all the more when the aim is to [...] Read more.
Several factors and processes, both natural and anthropogenic, can threaten the integrity of any geosite, leading to their degradation. For this reason, geoheritage degradation risks should be considered a fundamental step in any geoconservation strategy, all the more when the aim is to tackle the effects of climate change. The present work proposes a quantitative methodology for the degradation risk assessment of geosites by considering the extrinsic factors that can damage the geoheritage. The methodology has been tested on the Maltese Islands, where considerable previous research has been undertaken in order to highlight the international significance of the Maltese landscapes. Three criteria to assess the degradation risk are proposed: natural vulnerability, anthropogenic vulnerability and public use. For each criterion, several parameters have been identified in order to propose a detailed numerical evaluation. The results show that the degradation risk of geosites is mainly related to negligence and lack of knowledge of its inherent geological heritage, and which leads to public misuse and mismanagement of the geosites. The results give an overview of the condition of the geosites and provide information for the design and management of suitable protection measures, especially in the light of future threats related to climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Environmental Sustainability and Applications)
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Article
Acknowledging Sustainability in the Framework of Ethical Certification for AI
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4157; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074157 - 31 Mar 2022
Abstract
In the past few years, many stakeholders have begun to develop ethical and trustworthiness certification for AI applications. This study furnishes the reader with a discussion of the philosophical arguments that impel the need to include sustainability, in its different forms, among the [...] Read more.
In the past few years, many stakeholders have begun to develop ethical and trustworthiness certification for AI applications. This study furnishes the reader with a discussion of the philosophical arguments that impel the need to include sustainability, in its different forms, among the audit areas of ethical AI certification. We demonstrate how sustainability might be included in two different types of ethical impact assessment: assessment certifying the fulfillment of minimum ethical requirements and what we describe as nuanced assessment. The paper focuses on the European, and especially the German, context, and the development of certification for AI. Full article
Article
Contribution of Mining Industry in Chosen EU Countries to the Sustainability Issues
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4177; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074177 - 31 Mar 2022
Abstract
In recent years, the mining industry has achieved an important position in the national economy due to its increasing productivity. However, since 2000, there have been signs of a slowdown, resulting from the national and local conditions of the mining industry. It is [...] Read more.
In recent years, the mining industry has achieved an important position in the national economy due to its increasing productivity. However, since 2000, there have been signs of a slowdown, resulting from the national and local conditions of the mining industry. It is for these reasons that we have concluded that this type of industry must be assessed not only from the economic but also from the national and regional sectors, because the performance of the mining industry is directly affected by the value of mineral deposits and the structure of other industries. The present paper aims to analyze the development of the mining industry in Slovakia, in comparison with similar development in chosen European Union countries. Slovakia has been considered as a country with mineral resources and mineral-based products representing an important part of Slovakia’s foreign trade, with the significant imported mineral resources including mainly mineral fuels and ore raw materials. The development of the mining industry is assessed from the economics through the growth rate of gross domestic product (GDP) and through the national aspect through the rate of growth of the national economy. The aspects are evaluated by the multi-criteria method Technique for Order of Preference by Similarity to Ideal Solution (TOPSIS), with which we evaluated the country with the best mining industry development. The results of detailed quantitative analyses of the selected indicators for mining industry development for individual European Union countries show a fluctuating trend during the observed period, which is characterized by development disparities. Such results can be used to determine raw material policies in the relevant countries. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Earth Resources Evaluation and Recycling of Municipal Waste)
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Article
Credit Card Use, Hedonic Motivations, and Impulse Buying Behavior in Fast Fashion Physical Stores during COVID-19: The Sustainability Paradox
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4133; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074133 - 30 Mar 2022
Abstract
The health crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected consumption and payment patterns worldwide. Consumers have had to change their habits and deal with new sanitation guidelines and have often struggled with lengthy infrastructure closures. These factors significantly influenced both the choice of payment [...] Read more.
The health crisis caused by COVID-19 has affected consumption and payment patterns worldwide. Consumers have had to change their habits and deal with new sanitation guidelines and have often struggled with lengthy infrastructure closures. These factors significantly influenced both the choice of payment methods and purchase decisions made by consumers. Still, consumption patterns during the pandemic as a new social situation have not yet been thoroughly investigated. As the unsustainable consumption of resources is an important issue, this paper aims to analyze the relationship between credit card use, hedonic motivations, and its impact on the impulsive buying behavior in physical fast fashion stores during the COVID-19 pandemic in Spain. For this purpose, an online survey was conducted on a sample of 300 regular fast fashion buyers in physical stores. Structural equation modelling was used for the data analysis. The results show that there is a significant relationship between credit card use and impulse buying behavior for fast fashion in physical stores, as well as between credit card use and social shopping. It is also observed that hedonic motivations such as gratification shopping, value shopping, novelty-seeking shopping, and adventure-seeking shopping are related to impulse buying behavior. Therefore, this evidences the unsustainable overconsumption, thereby having a higher negative environmental and social impact. With the increased popularity of cashless payment methods, including credit cards relaxing tighter budgets during the pandemic, fast fashion impulse buying should be considered an important issue in individual, social and environmental well-being. Consequently, the need for more responsible consumption and sustainability-focused value orientation arises so as to mitigate the environmental impact of the fast fashion industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Looking for Common Ground: Marine Living Resource Development in Alaska and Northern Norway in the Context of the Blue Economy
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4115; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074115 - 30 Mar 2022
Abstract
Although the concept of the blue economy was created by the Small Island Developing States, its relevance extends to any coastal region around the globe, making the engagement of both state and corporate actors imperative. At the core of the blue economy framework [...] Read more.
Although the concept of the blue economy was created by the Small Island Developing States, its relevance extends to any coastal region around the globe, making the engagement of both state and corporate actors imperative. At the core of the blue economy framework stands the incorporation of ocean values and services into economic modeling and governance. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture are thus significant in this endeavor, particularly for Arctic nations, the economies of which are predominantly based on seafood production. Yet, while focus is increasingly placed on sustainability and blue economy models among Arctic states, the need for structured transnational collaboration is not always acknowledged. In that respect, this article aims to articulate a comparative study of the status quo, challenges, and opportunities of fisheries and aquaculture in Alaska and northern Norway and seeks to explore potentials for cross-sectoral synergies between the two regions in the context of the blue economy. Full article
Article
Effects of the Concrete Strength and FRP Reinforcement Type on the Non-Linear Behavior of Concrete Deep Beams
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4136; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074136 - 30 Mar 2022
Abstract
To provide sustainable reinforced concrete deep beams, the replacement of steel rebars by FRP rebars with high-chemical resistance is proposed by researchers. However, the effects of the concrete strength, top and web longitudinal reinforcements, and types of FRP flexural rebars on the non-linear [...] Read more.
To provide sustainable reinforced concrete deep beams, the replacement of steel rebars by FRP rebars with high-chemical resistance is proposed by researchers. However, the effects of the concrete strength, top and web longitudinal reinforcements, and types of FRP flexural rebars on the non-linear performance of concrete deep beams have rarely been evaluated. This study numerically assessed the effects of the top and web longitudinal reinforcements and concrete strength on the non-linear behaviour of GFRP- and CFRP-strengthened concrete deep beams with various shear span-to-overall depth (a/h) ratios. As per the results, the highest tensile stress was obtained for the steel reinforcement, and the tensile stress in the CFRP reinforcement was more than that of the GFRP reinforcement under the failure load. Meanwhile, the results of high- and normal-strength concrete deep beams with the web reinforcement (16.4%) were lower than those without the web reinforcement (22.3%). Therefore, the web reinforcement moderately compensated for the low strength of normal concrete and the absence of the top longitudinal rebar to reinforce concrete deep beams in carrying the ultimate load. Furthermore, the participation of the GFRP reinforcement with the high-strength concrete was more than that with the normal-strength concrete in carrying a higher amount of loading. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Organic Waste Management to Promote the Recycling System)
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Article
Green Fences for Buenos Aires: Implementing Green Infrastructure for (More than) Air Quality
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4129; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074129 - 30 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Schoolyards in North America and Europe are increasingly using green fences as one measure to protect vulnerable populations from localised air pollution. This paper assesses the possibilities and limits for mobilising this format of site-specific green infrastructure in cities in low- and middle-income [...] Read more.
Schoolyards in North America and Europe are increasingly using green fences as one measure to protect vulnerable populations from localised air pollution. This paper assesses the possibilities and limits for mobilising this format of site-specific green infrastructure in cities in low- and middle-income countries beset by air pollution and multiple other socio-environmental challenges, and particularly questions the definition of green fences as a green infrastructure for air quality (GI4AQ). We applied several qualitative and action research methods to the question of green fence implementation in Buenos Aires, Argentina—a Latin American city with weak air-quality policies, limited green infrastructure, and little experience with nature-based solutions. Firstly, we conducted a literature review of the role that urban vegetation and ecosystem services may play in AQ policy and the implementation barriers to such approaches globally and in the city. Secondly, we planned, designed, constructed, maintained, and evaluated a pilot green fence in a school playground. Thirdly, we carried out supplementary interviews with stakeholders and expert informants and compiled project members’ narratives to respectively characterise the barriers that the project encountered and delineate its attributes based on the associated actions that we took to overcome such barriers to implementation and complete the pilot. Our findings identify multiple barriers across seven known categories (institutional, engagement, political, socio-cultural, built environment and natural landscape, knowledge base and financial) and highlight examples not previously considered in the extant international literature. Furthermore, learning from this experience, the paper proposes an expanded model of green infrastructure for air quality plus multi-dimensional co-benefits (GI4AQ+) to increase implementation chances by attending to local needs and priorities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Green Infrastructures and Sustainable Development)
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Article
The Relevance of Recyclability for the Life Cycle Assessment of Packaging Based on Design for Life Cycle
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4076; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074076 - 30 Mar 2022
Abstract
The awareness for more environmentally sustainable packaging solutions is steadily growing. With both consumers and manufacturers looking to minimize their impacts on the environment, the need for easy-to-implement and standardized measures strengthening a circular economy rises. In the research, the goal was to [...] Read more.
The awareness for more environmentally sustainable packaging solutions is steadily growing. With both consumers and manufacturers looking to minimize their impacts on the environment, the need for easy-to-implement and standardized measures strengthening a circular economy rises. In the research, the goal was to determine whether the carbon footprint and circularity of non-food plastic packaging can be improved by simple design changes. The results should then lead to design recommendations, providing a Design for Life Cycle approach. The methodology of the study was to conceptually design a single-use plastic packaging with attributes having positive and negative effects on recyclability. Herein, only design characteristics from products obtainable on the market were regarded. Moreover, a comparison over existing recyclability assessment methods is given. The recyclability was then determined with the selected approach by Cyclos HTP, and a reference calculation was conducted. Life Cycle Assessments were implemented for 14 packaging designs using the GaBi software and the Environmental Footprint method. The results showed that dark color, material compounds, insoluble adhesives, and large labels result in lower recyclability of the single-use packaging. The impacts on climate change range from 0.13 kg CO2-equivalent emissions (100% recyclability) to 0.21 kg CO2-equivalent emissions (0% recyclability) per packaging, showing that lower recyclability leads to a larger carbon footprint in all assessed scenarios. Concluding, the research demonstrated that by applying Design for Life Cycle measures, impacts on climate change can be reduced. Lastly, design recommendations for decision makers are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Sustainability of Packaging)
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Article
Using Thermal Monitoring and Fibre Optic Measurements to Verify Numerical Models, Soil Parameters and to Determine the Impact of the Implemented Investment on Neighbouring Structures
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4050; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074050 - 29 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Numerical modelling using Finite Element Method (FEM) is currently a standard procedure for engineering complex structures and determining structure–subsoil cooperation conditions. It is used for, among others, forecasting displacements, which are the calculation results most easily verified. Numerical modelling is also used to [...] Read more.
Numerical modelling using Finite Element Method (FEM) is currently a standard procedure for engineering complex structures and determining structure–subsoil cooperation conditions. It is used for, among others, forecasting displacements, which are the calculation results most easily verified. Numerical modelling is also used to identify the impact on neighbouring structures and design a monitoring system and determine expected values, e.g., displacements. A numerical model enables one to optimally design the monitoring system for a facility under construction and the neighbouring structures through selecting a measurement technology, matching the scope of obtained results or choosing sensor and measurement point locations. The implemented monitoring may be based on various technologies, from thermal monitoring, laser scanning, fibre optic measurements, to classic surveying measurements. The walls must protect the soil from excessive displacement and protect the excavation against groundwater inflow. If the wall is not watertight, deepening the excavation may cause a sudden water inflow. Leak and erosion process thermal monitoring is a proven leak detection method. It is based on the tests utilizing heat and water transfer process relations, which are coupled processes. Another tool for verifying numerical models is the installation of DFOS (Distributed Fibre Optic Sensors) at the stage of executing structural elements (e.g., diaphragm walls, barrettes, foundation slab). It allows one to permanently monitor both temperature and displacements during element execution (concrete curing), and following facility construction and operation stages. The paper presents methods for designing selected monitoring elements of engineering objects, based on calculations using the Finite Element Method. The verification of numerical models, based on data obtained from DFOS, classic surveying measurements and thermal monitoring, is also presented. Full article
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Article
Leveraging UAV Capabilities for Vehicle Tracking and Collision Risk Assessment at Road Intersections
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 4034; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14074034 - 29 Mar 2022
Abstract
Transportation agencies continue to pursue crash reduction. Initiatives include the design of safer facilities, promotion of safe behaviors, and assessments of collision risk as a precursor to the identification of proactive countermeasures. Collision risk assessment includes reliable prediction of vehicle trajectories. Unfortunately, in [...] Read more.
Transportation agencies continue to pursue crash reduction. Initiatives include the design of safer facilities, promotion of safe behaviors, and assessments of collision risk as a precursor to the identification of proactive countermeasures. Collision risk assessment includes reliable prediction of vehicle trajectories. Unfortunately, in using traditional tracking equipment, such prediction can be impaired by occlusion. It has been suggested in recent literature that unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) can be deployed to address this issue successfully, given their wide visual field and movement flexibility. This paper presents a methodology that integrates UAVs to track the movement of road users and to assess potential collisions at intersections. The proposed methodology includes an existing deep-learning-based algorithm to identify road users, extract trajectories, and calculate collision risk. The methodology was applied using a case study, and the results show that the methodology can provide beneficial information for the purpose of measuring and analyzing the infrastructure performance. Based on vehicle movements it observes, the UAV can communicate its collision risk to each vehicle so that the vehicle can undertake proactive driving decisions. Finally, the proposed framework can serve as a valuable tool for urban road agencies to develop measures to reduce crash risks. Full article
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Article
Multi-Analytical Investigation of the Oil Painting “Il Venditore di Cerini” by Antonio Mancini and Definition of the Best Green Cleaning Treatment
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3972; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073972 - 28 Mar 2022
Abstract
This paper describes the multi-analytical approach implemented for the study of the oil painting Il Venditore di Cerini made by Antonio Mancini in 1878. The research was carried out to characterize both the original stratigraphy and the alleged non-original varnish on the surface. [...] Read more.
This paper describes the multi-analytical approach implemented for the study of the oil painting Il Venditore di Cerini made by Antonio Mancini in 1878. The research was carried out to characterize both the original stratigraphy and the alleged non-original varnish on the surface. SEM/EDS analysis showed the presence of pigments already detected in other paintings by Antonio Mancini. Multispectral imaging, DinoLite microscope, and FT-IR ATR spectroscopy revealed significant data regarding the invention of the “graticola” method—a technique implemented by Mancini to respect the proportions of the figures—also proving the presence of an aged layer of non-original shellac on the surface. The yellow/brownish tone of the varnish was hiding the real shapes of the figure, requiring a selective removal of the aged coating. The proposed cleaning systems were chosen among the green chemical alternatives present in the market, aiming at promoting a sustainable development in the Cultural Heritage field. The selection was made according to the Fd parameter of the cleaning systems—which defines the energy from dispersion forces between molecules—in relation to what is defined in the literature as the suitable Fd value for the removal of the shellac. The best-performing green cleaning system proved to be the Polar Varnish Rescue GEL—a gelled acetals mixture developed by YOCOCU APS—for its effectiveness in selectively remove the aged shellac while preserving the integrity of the original stratigraphy. Full article
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Article
Screening on the Presence of Plant Growth Regulators in High Biomass Forming Seaweeds from the Ionian Sea (Mediterranean Sea)
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3914; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073914 - 25 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
The use of seaweed as plant biostimulants is a solution for sustainable agriculture. The present study aims to quantify and compare the presence of plant growth regulators (PGRs) in four genetically labeled macroalgae growing in the Ionian Sea. Species were selected because they [...] Read more.
The use of seaweed as plant biostimulants is a solution for sustainable agriculture. The present study aims to quantify and compare the presence of plant growth regulators (PGRs) in four genetically labeled macroalgae growing in the Ionian Sea. Species were selected because they produce abundant biomass, disturbing ecological equilibrium and anthropic activities. We measured the content of gibberellic acid (GA3), kinetin (KN), indoleacetic acid (IAA), abscisic acid (ABA) and indole butyric acid (IBA). The method applied was modified from the literature to obtain simultaneously different PGRs from seaweed biomass in a shorter period of time. Among results, it is notable that Hypnea corona Huisman et Petrocelli (Rhodophyta) showed higher GA3 concentration, while in Spyridia filamentosa (Wulfen) Harvey (Rhodophyta), higher KN, IBA, IAA and ABA contents were recorded. The latter species displayed an interesting profile of PGRs, with an IAA value comparable with that reported in Ascophyllum nodosum (Linnaeus) Le Jolis (Ochrophyta), which is currently used as a source of plant biostimulants in agriculture. Macroalgae thrive abundantly in nutrient-rich environments, such as anthropized coastal areas affecting human economic activities. Consequently, environmental agencies are forced to dredge algal thalli and discard them as waste. Any use of unwanted biomass as an economic product is highly desirable in the perspective of ecosustainable development. Full article
Article
Sustainable Tourism Issues in European Countries during the Global Pandemic Crisis
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3844; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073844 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
Sustainable economic growth can be achieved through tourism by protecting the environment, maintaining natural resources, creating employment, improving cultural diversity, and recognizing cultural heritage values. The concept of tourism sustainability is gradually growing globally and becoming a dominant aspect in modern business, as [...] Read more.
Sustainable economic growth can be achieved through tourism by protecting the environment, maintaining natural resources, creating employment, improving cultural diversity, and recognizing cultural heritage values. The concept of tourism sustainability is gradually growing globally and becoming a dominant aspect in modern business, as companies need to meet stakeholders’ demands regarding environmental management. Sustainable tourism incorporates environmental, social, economic, and cultural issues into operations. The demand for green tourism, ethical consumption, protection of natural resources, and living close to nature is expected to increase. In particular, the latter gains more and more popularity due to the stress caused by the global pandemic and also because values have been re-evaluated at every level of society. In this paper, we explore sustainability in the tourism industry within the international context during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a specific focus on tourism in 35 European countries for the period between January 2020 and September 2021. We aimed to study the impact of tourism on sustainability based on the Eurostat database, using cluster analysis and descriptive statistics. The results indicate that tourism will recover slightly, even though the pandemic will continue, recording different effects in European countries. Furthermore, we highlight the relationship between income and tourism, the clusters on tourism being significantly different according to income. The results also identify potential recovery options to align this business area with global sustainable development goals, generate effective transformational change, and suggest how to create a viable growth process pushed by a glocal perspective. Full article
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Article
Using Different Migratory Game Bird Hunter Types to Explore Drivers of Support for Hunter Recruitment, Retention, and Reactivation Policies in North Carolina, USA
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3820; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073820 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
Policies designed to retain, recruit, and reactivate hunters have been developed to stimulate a range of motivations, although knowledge of which hunter types are more driven by various motivations remains deficient. To help fill this gap, we use survey responses from two types [...] Read more.
Policies designed to retain, recruit, and reactivate hunters have been developed to stimulate a range of motivations, although knowledge of which hunter types are more driven by various motivations remains deficient. To help fill this gap, we use survey responses from two types of migratory bird hunters in North Carolina as a case study to better understand hunter attitudes towards and motivational drivers of support for/opposition against the Sunday hunting of migratory birds. The results indicate that support for the legalization of Sunday migratory waterfowl hunting was driven by the importance of including as many weekends as possible each season, beliefs about increasing youth participation, and the potential for economic benefits, whereas opposition was driven by the importance of providing time for waterfowl to rest from hunting pressure. Opposition to the legalization of Sunday webless migratory bird hunting was driven by the belief that legalization may harm webless migratory bird populations. These findings provide agencies with an understanding of the differences in migratory waterfowl and webless migratory bird hunters’ motivations and encourage the inclusion of both social and ecological motivations when designing recruitment, retention, and reactivation policies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Conservation Planning and Wildlife Management)
Article
Requirements and Solution Approaches to Personality-Adaptive Conversational Agents in Mental Health Care
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3832; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073832 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enable Conversational Agents (CAs) to perform highly complex tasks in a human-like manner and may help people cope with anxiety to improve their mental health and well-being. To support patients with their mental well-being in an authentic way, CAs [...] Read more.
Artificial intelligence (AI) technologies enable Conversational Agents (CAs) to perform highly complex tasks in a human-like manner and may help people cope with anxiety to improve their mental health and well-being. To support patients with their mental well-being in an authentic way, CAs need to be imbued with human-like behavior, such as personality. In this paper we cover an innovative form of CA, so-called Personality-Adaptive Conversational Agents (PACAs) that automatically infer users’ personality traits and adapt accordingly to their personality. We empirically investigate their benefits and caveats in mental health care. The results of our study show that PACAs can be beneficial for mental health support, but they also raise concerns about trust and privacy issues. We present a set of relevant requirements for designing PACAs and provide solution approaches that can be followed when designing and implementing PACAs for mental health care. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Digital Innovation and Transformation in Healthcare)
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Article
Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet and COVID-19: A Segmentation Analysis of Italian and US Consumers
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3823; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073823 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many countries to implement restrictions on individual freedom to stop the contagion. The imposition of lockdowns has affected many socio-economic aspects and, in particular, eating habits, highlighting the need to analyse the healthiness of new consumption patterns. The [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has led many countries to implement restrictions on individual freedom to stop the contagion. The imposition of lockdowns has affected many socio-economic aspects and, in particular, eating habits, highlighting the need to analyse the healthiness of new consumption patterns. The aim of our study was to investigate the changes in adherence to the Mediterranean diet, a dietary model universally recognized as healthy, that have occurred both during and since the lockdown. The subsequent profiling of consumers allowed us to understand which sociodemographic and psychographic factors favoured the development of more or less adherence to Mediterranean diet consumption patterns. The study was conducted by administering a questionnaire to a representative sample of Italians and New Yorkers. Both groups, defined by deep socio-economic differences and by their own eating habits compared to the Mediterranean diet model, were affected by similar lockdown measures. The data collected were processed by cluster analysis that allowed to identify four homogeneous groups with respect to the adherence to the Mediterranean diet model. The results highlight a worrying situation with respect to the impacts of the pandemic on maintaining a proper dietary style according to the principles of the Mediterranean diet. In fact, there has been a general worsening trend due to an increase in consumption, in part linked to emotional eating, which is a cause for concern about the potential future impacts on the health of consumers. The study highlights the need, therefore, to implement actions by public decision-makers aimed at raising the awareness of citizens on the issue of correct eating habits and at developing adequate food policies to stem the trend towards unhealthy diets. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Marketing and Consumers’ Food Preference)
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Article
Relating Social and Ecological Resilience: Dutch Citizen’s Initiatives for Biodiversity
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3857; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073857 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
Social resilience and ecological resilience are related and distinguished, and the potential of social resilience to enhance resilience of encompassing social-ecological systems is discussed. The value of resilience thinking is recognized, yet social resilience needs to be better understood in its distinctive qualities, [...] Read more.
Social resilience and ecological resilience are related and distinguished, and the potential of social resilience to enhance resilience of encompassing social-ecological systems is discussed. The value of resilience thinking is recognized, yet social resilience needs to be better understood in its distinctive qualities, while resisting identification of social resilience with one particular form of governance or organization. Emerging self-organizing citizen’s initiatives in The Netherlands, initiatives involving re-relating to nature in the living environment, are analyzed, using a systems theoretical framework which resists reduction of nature to culture or vice versa. It is argued that space for self-organization needs to be cultivated, that local self-organization and mobilization around themes of nature in daily life and space have the potential to re-link social and ecological systems in a more resilient manner, yet that maintaining the diversity of forms of knowing and organizing in the overall governance system is essential to the maintenance of social resilience and of diverse capacities to know human-environment relations and to reorganize them in an adaptive manner. Conclusions are drawn in the light of the new Biodiversity Strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Policy and Governance: Evolutionary Perspectives)
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Article
Evaluation of Marine Recreational Fisheries and Their Relation to Sustainability of Fisheries Resources in Greece
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3824; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073824 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
During 2019, Greece conducted a nationwide telephone survey in order to estimate the number of marine recreational fishers (MRF), to identify the main fishing methods, to estimate their effort, economic aspects of their activity and to evaluate certain perceptions of marine recreational fishing. [...] Read more.
During 2019, Greece conducted a nationwide telephone survey in order to estimate the number of marine recreational fishers (MRF), to identify the main fishing methods, to estimate their effort, economic aspects of their activity and to evaluate certain perceptions of marine recreational fishing. MRF are estimated to be 7.93% of the country’s resident population. Three main fishing methods were identified, fishing from the shore, fishing by boat and spearfishing. It is estimated that Greek MRF carry out approximately 11,461,765 fishing trips/year, their total catch is 9350 t/year and the total yearly expenditure is 132,186,000 Euros. Marine recreational catches constitute one-third of the reported small scale coastal fisheries’ catches, with their main catches belonging to the Sparidae family. The majority of MRFs are aware of the rules and limits associated with their activity, however a significant percentage seems to ignore or deny their existence. The results of the study indicate the social and economic importance of the activity in Greece and clearly demonstrates the need for regular monitoring and field work in order to properly evaluate marine recreational fisheries and sustainably manage both the activity and fisheries resources in the country. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marine Recreational Fishing: From Sea to Policy)
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Article
Advancing Wildlife Policy of Eastern Timber Wolves and Lake Sturgeon through Traditional Ecological Knowledge
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3859; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14073859 - 24 Mar 2022
Abstract
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is becoming more prominent in wildlife management decisions and policy making. The cooperation of TEK and Western science paradigms have been beneficial for conserving our natural resources and wildlife populations. However, there are still concerns with accepting TEK as [...] Read more.
Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) is becoming more prominent in wildlife management decisions and policy making. The cooperation of TEK and Western science paradigms have been beneficial for conserving our natural resources and wildlife populations. However, there are still concerns with accepting TEK as part of wildlife management, policy, and regulations. With increasing challenges to wildlife conservation, it is vital to implement Indigenous TEK to form more robust and holistic approaches to wildlife management. Here, we present two case studies in the upper Midwest region of the United States involving the Ojibwe tribe that show the importance of TEK collaboration and how that knowledge can be used for the betterment of ecologically sensitive species—lake sturgeon and eastern timber wolves. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wildlife Conservation: Managing Resources for a Sustainable World)
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Article
The Mediating Role of Eco-Friendly Artwork for Urban Hotels to Attract Environmental Educated Consumers
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3784; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073784 - 23 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
The adoption and implementation of environmental marketing strategies is the hotel industry’s new approach to maintaining a competitive advantage and attracting more green consumers. Indeed, hotels with more sustainable practices and eco-friendly artwork generate more trust and make green consumers more loyal and [...] Read more.
The adoption and implementation of environmental marketing strategies is the hotel industry’s new approach to maintaining a competitive advantage and attracting more green consumers. Indeed, hotels with more sustainable practices and eco-friendly artwork generate more trust and make green consumers more loyal and satisfied. However, there is little prior research which has suggested the mediating role of green artwork between customers’ levels of green perception and their hotel satisfaction. For this reason, the current authors obtained a total of 659 responses from South Korean consumers and conducted the structural equation analysis (SEM) to identify the indirect effect explaining how green arts boosts green hotel consumers’ satisfaction. Our statistical findings offer vital insights regarding the relationship between customers’ green perceptions and their hotel satisfaction, with eco-friendly artwork in the hotel interior design as the mediating variable. Finally, the current study provides a detailed understanding of art infusion to urban hotels by highlighting the impact of art and its spillover effects on consumer satisfaction. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing Strategies and Sustainability in Hospitality Industry)
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Article
Sustainable Development Practices of Restaurants in Romania and Changes during the COVID-19 Pandemic
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3798; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073798 - 23 Mar 2022
Abstract
Sustainable development is a constant and a necessity of daily life in the restaurant industry. The restaurant industry has high consumptions of energy, water, detergents, and consumables, together with tremendous food waste. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted many acute sustainable development problems. In this [...] Read more.
Sustainable development is a constant and a necessity of daily life in the restaurant industry. The restaurant industry has high consumptions of energy, water, detergents, and consumables, together with tremendous food waste. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted many acute sustainable development problems. In this context, this article analyzes the practices identified by restaurant managers that define their responsible behavior, and the significant changes made towards sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic. This article presents the results obtained through qualitative research, carried out by semi-directive in-depth interviews, conducted with 56 restaurant managers from Romania. The answers obtained are based on five topics of discussion highlighting the managers’ growing interest in finding solutions to counteract negative effects on the environment, to ensure the wellbeing of customers and employees, and to increase the profitability of their company. The results obtained from the research reflect the thoughts and actions of restaurant managers in Romania, contributing to the body of knowledge in the understanding of sustainability practices in the foodservice sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Marketing in Tourism and Sustainable Development)
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Article
Multi-Hazard Housing Safety Perceptions of Those Involved with Housing Construction in Puerto Rico
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3802; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073802 - 23 Mar 2022
Abstract
Globally, hazards are increasingly threatening housing each year, and housing constructed outside the formal sector may be particularly vulnerable. Yet, limited studies have investigated the perceptions of those responsible for designing and building this housing. These safety perceptions motivate the informal housing construction [...] Read more.
Globally, hazards are increasingly threatening housing each year, and housing constructed outside the formal sector may be particularly vulnerable. Yet, limited studies have investigated the perceptions of those responsible for designing and building this housing. These safety perceptions motivate the informal housing construction practices that ultimately determine housing safety. Thus, this study investigates the multi-hazard housing safety perceptions of individuals involved with housing construction in Puerto Rico. We surveyed 345 builders and hardware store employees across Puerto Rico to understand their perceptions of expected housing damage in hurricanes and earthquakes, important mitigation measures, and barriers to safer housing construction. Our results reveal that prior hazard experience did not influence perceptions of expected housing damage, but previous housing construction experience did. Respondents viewed wood and concrete housing as less safe in hurricanes and earthquakes, respectively. Yet, respondents appeared uncertain about the importance of mitigation measures for concrete houses in earthquakes, likely due to a combination of limited earthquake experience and “hidden” reinforcement detailing in a reinforced concrete house. Interestingly, our results also show that respondents perceive technical construction capacity as a major barrier to safer informal housing construction rather than resource constraints alone. These findings suggest areas for technical construction capacity development for Puerto Rico’s informal construction sector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Housing — the Basic Principle of Sustainability)
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Article
Combined Electrocoagulation and Physicochemical Treatment of Cork Boiling Wastewater
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3727; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073727 - 22 Mar 2022
Abstract
Cork boiling wastewater (CBW) is a highly polluted and difficult to treat effluent resultant from the cork manufacturing industry. This study aims to evaluate a new, reliable, efficient, and sustainable process to treat this effluent. This paper tested electrocoagulation as a pre- and [...] Read more.
Cork boiling wastewater (CBW) is a highly polluted and difficult to treat effluent resultant from the cork manufacturing industry. This study aims to evaluate a new, reliable, efficient, and sustainable process to treat this effluent. This paper tested electrocoagulation as a pre- and post-treatment to improve the already existing physicochemical treatment in a cork production facility in Portugal. In the physicochemical procedures (PC), the addition of different volumes of coagulant (ferric chloride (III) 40% w/w), neutralizer (sodium hydroxide, 32% w/w), and flocculant (polyacrylamide, 0.2 g/L) were evaluated. Electrocoagulation (EC) was performed in a bench-scale reactor, using aluminum and stainless-steel electrodes. For EC, different initial pH, current density, and current tension values were tested. When electrocoagulation was used as a post-treatment, better performances were achieved. However, treatment costs were increased significantly. Coagulation/flocculation offers a viable and cheap treatment, achieving removal efficiencies of 88.2%, 81.0%, 76.9%, and 94.2% for total chemical oxygen demand (tCOD), total carbon (TC), total nitrogen (TN), and soluble chemical oxygen demand (sCOD), respectively. With a PC-EC combination, it is possible to achieve removal efficiencies of 92.4%, 88.0%, 91.4%, and 91.4% for tCOD, TC, TN, and sCOD, respectively. The increased TN removal efficiency can translate into great benefits for certain discharge conditions and should be taken into consideration for improving the sustainability of cork industry. On the other hand, when EC is used as a pre-treatment, there are no benefits either in terms of treatment performance or operating costs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Toxicity Assessment and Remediation of Industrial Wastewater)
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Article
The Effects of COVID-19 on Wellbeing: Evidence from Israel
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3750; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073750 - 22 Mar 2022
Abstract
Many aspects of wellbeing have been studied in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, studies that measure a comprehensive, multi-faceted conceptualization of wellbeing are rare. Using a broad conceptualization of wellbeing, based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) wellbeing [...] Read more.
Many aspects of wellbeing have been studied in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, studies that measure a comprehensive, multi-faceted conceptualization of wellbeing are rare. Using a broad conceptualization of wellbeing, based on the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) wellbeing indicators and a theoretical model of wellbeing developed previously, this study empirically assesses the wellbeing effects of COVID-19 in Israel. A representative sample of the adult population in Israel was surveyed and structural equation modeling (SEM) was used to analyze the impacts of the pandemic on a number of wellbeing indicators. Relationships among indicators were also analyzed. The study’s findings highlight the importance of social interactions, economics, mental health, and leisure on wellbeing. The study can be used by policymakers to fully understand the impact of various COVID-19 response policies on the wellbeing of the population. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Economic and Social Consequences of the COVID-19 Pandemic)
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Article
Facilitating Smart City Development through Adaption of the Learnings from Enterprise Systems Integration
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3730; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073730 - 22 Mar 2022
Abstract
Cross-sectoral city systems integration is a necessity for Smart City Development (SCD) to provide real-time services to citizens. However, there is scant knowledge about integrating city systems, while the existing literature is replete with learnings on systems integration from private enterprises. Hence, the [...] Read more.
Cross-sectoral city systems integration is a necessity for Smart City Development (SCD) to provide real-time services to citizens. However, there is scant knowledge about integrating city systems, while the existing literature is replete with learnings on systems integration from private enterprises. Hence, the wisdom of Enterprise Systems Integration (ESI) can be utilised to integrate systems for SCD. Yet, there is limited knowledge on the association between these two contexts. This research aims to develop an innovative model, referred to as ‘AdaptModel’, that enables the adaption of the ESI learnings for SCD based on the differences and similarities between city and enterprise through qualitative research utilising literature analysis, semi-structured interviews, and document analysis. The findings show that the difference between cities and private enterprises from a systems integration viewpoint is in degree rather than in kind. Hence, using ESI learnings for the SCD context is valuable and informative, but it would be more complex, bureaucratic, time-consuming, and expensive. The research offers guidance in addressing the systems integration challenges associated with SCD based on interrelations between SCD and ESI; this is carried out by applying a novel approach of contextualising and modifying the ESI learnings to support cross-sectoral city systems integration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Smart Cities, Connected Communities, and Environmental Sustainability)
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Article
Comparison of Individual Tree Height Estimated from LiDAR and Digital Aerial Photogrammetry in Young Forests
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3720; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073720 - 22 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
Biomass stored in young forests has enormous potential for the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. However, to ensure long-term sustainability, the measurement accuracy of tree height is crucial for forest biomass and carbon stock monitoring, particularly in young forests. Precise height measurement using [...] Read more.
Biomass stored in young forests has enormous potential for the reduction of fossil fuel consumption. However, to ensure long-term sustainability, the measurement accuracy of tree height is crucial for forest biomass and carbon stock monitoring, particularly in young forests. Precise height measurement using traditional field measurements is challenging and time consuming. Remote sensing (RS) methods can, however, replace traditional field-based forest inventory. In our study, we compare individual tree height estimation from Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Digital Aerial Photogrammetry (DAP) with field measurements. It should be noted, however, that there was a one-year temporal difference between the field measurement and LiDAR/DAP scanning. A total of 130 trees (32 Scots Pine, 29 Norway Spruce, 67 Silver Birch, and 2 Eurasian Aspen) were selected for height measurement in a young private forest in south-east Finland. Statistical correlation based on paired t-tests and analysis of variance (ANOVA, one way) was used to compare the tree height measured with the different methods. Comparative results between the remote sensing methods and field measurements showed that LiDAR measurements had a stronger correlation with the field measurements and higher accuracy for pine (R2 = 0.86, bias = 0.70, RMSE = 1.44) and birch (R2 = 0.81, bias = 0.86, RMSE = 1.56) than DAP, which had correlation values of (R2 = 0.71, bias = 0.82, RMSE = 2.13) for pine and (R2 = 0.69, bias = 1.19, RMSE = 2.08) for birch. The correlation of the two remote sensing methods with the field measurements was very similar for spruce: LiDAR (R2 = 0.83, bias = 0.30, RMSE = 1.17) and DAP (R2 = 0.83, bias = 0.44, RMSE = 1.26). Moreover, the correlation was highly significant, with minimum error and mean difference (R2 = 0.79–0.98, MD = 0.12–0.33, RMSD = 0.45–1.67) between LiDAR and DAP for all species. However, the paired t-test suggested that there is a significant difference (p < 0.05) in height observation between the field measurements and remote sensing for pine and birch. The test showed that LiDAR and DAP output are not significantly different for pine and spruce. Presumably, the time difference in field campaign between the methods was the reason for these significant results. Additionally, the ANOVA test indicated that the overall means of estimated height from LiDAR and DAP were not significantly different from field measurements in all species. We concluded that utilization of LiDAR and DAP for estimating individual tree height in young forests is possible with acceptable error and comparable accuracy to field measurement. Hence, forest inventory in young forests can be carried out using LiDAR or DAP for height estimation at the individual tree level as an alternative to traditional field measurement approaches. Full article
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Article
Socio-Ecological Futures: Embedded Solutions for Stakeholder-Driven Alternative Futures
Sustainability 2022, 14(7), 3732; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14073732 - 22 Mar 2022
Abstract
Scenarios of landscape change have the capacity to address spatial and temporal issues, current and future trends, and solutions that increase capacity and/or resilience in social-ecological systems and their networks. In this study, we present a resilience framework for food–energy–water systems and demonstrate [...] Read more.
Scenarios of landscape change have the capacity to address spatial and temporal issues, current and future trends, and solutions that increase capacity and/or resilience in social-ecological systems and their networks. In this study, we present a resilience framework for food–energy–water systems and demonstrate it with a case study in Magic Valley, Idaho. We formulated scenarios of change based on stakeholder input (qualitative data), researcher-developed models (quantitative data), and validation of plausibility through impact and indicator evaluation. The stakeholder engagement process identified key issues, critical uncertainties, and plausible and viable solutions to future challenges. Specifically, we analyzed cross-scenario futures and their solutions to address water quality issues in the face of climate change, land-use change conflicts, and population shifts in the region. The process activates stakeholder and research-based models to create geospatial alternative futures and their associated timesteps, with embedded solutions, which broadens and improves conventional scenario-based research. The process intends to provide policy-makers, researchers, and scenario facilitators with a strategic framework to activate solutions temporally with a stakeholder-defined suite of scenarios. Full article
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Article
The Influence of a New Food Waste Bio-Oil (FWBO) Rejuvenating Agent on Cracking Susceptibility of Aged Binder and RAP
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3673; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063673 - 21 Mar 2022
Abstract
This research aims to deliver a new promising asphalt binder rejuvenator developed from food waste to mitigate the effects of aging on the asphalt. The research relied on three different binders: two unmodified PG 64–22 binders and a Polymer Modified (PMA) PG 76–22 [...] Read more.
This research aims to deliver a new promising asphalt binder rejuvenator developed from food waste to mitigate the effects of aging on the asphalt. The research relied on three different binders: two unmodified PG 64–22 binders and a Polymer Modified (PMA) PG 76–22 binder. Moreover, a field-extracted RAP binder is utilized in evaluating the rejuvenator’s efficiency. For this study, the proposed food waste bio-oil (FWBO) is compared against two market-available rejuvenators. The experimental program relied on aging control binder samples for each asphalt type with no rejuvenation using the Rolling Thin Film Oven (RTFO) test, followed by the Pressure Aging Vessel (PAV) test for 20 hours to create an Artificial RAP (ARAP) binder. Then, ARAP and RAP binders were blended with 5% by their weight with one of the two on-market rejuvenators (#1, #2) or the proposed FWBO rejuvenator. Testing results reveal that low-temperature relaxation was significantly improved for all the investigated samples after an additional PAV aging cycle, as Delta Tc values increased compared to the control binders. Further, samples’ master curves were used to calculate the Glover–Rowe (G-R) parameter, crossover frequency, and modulus (ωc, Gc*). The results clearly showed the ability of the FWBO to reduce the aging rate and improve the rheological properties of RAP binders. Further, the Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) test showed that the new FWBO rejuvenator reduces the oxidation levels of the aged RAP binders, as suggested by the carbonyl index. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Waste and Recycling)
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Article
The Food for Feed Concept: Redefining the Use of Hotel Food Residues in Broiler Diets
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3659; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063659 - 21 Mar 2022
Abstract
The large quantities of food waste that are generated every year have raised management concerns. Animal diets might be a feasible strategy for utilizing food waste and partially replacing commercially available feedstuffs. The present study examined the potential use of food waste originating [...] Read more.
The large quantities of food waste that are generated every year have raised management concerns. Animal diets might be a feasible strategy for utilizing food waste and partially replacing commercially available feedstuffs. The present study examined the potential use of food waste originating from hotels for broiler chickens’ diets. Two hundred and forty (240) one-day-old broilers were allocated into four treatment groups, namely, control (C), non-meat treatment (NM), non-sterilized treatment (NS) and sterilized treatment (S), each with 5 replicate pens of 12 broilers. The experimental period lasted 42 days. Several parameters were recorded throughout the experiment, such as the initial and final body weight, the feed conversion ratio (FCR), the traits, some biochemical and hematological parameters, the weight of internal organs and selected breast meat quality indices. The results showed no major differences in health parameters and the carcass quality traits. There was also no difference in growth rate between the three groups (C, NS, S), but broilers fed the NM diet (without meat remnants) had a significantly lower growth rate by 11.4% compared to the control. Food waste residues can be an alternative feedstuff for broiler chickens and can maintain performance at acceptable levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue RETASTE: Rethink Food Waste)
Article
Implementing Artificial Intelligence Techniques to Predict Environmental Impacts: Case of Construction Products
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3699; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063699 - 21 Mar 2022
Abstract
Nowadays, product designers, manufacturers, and consumers consider the environmental impacts of products, processes, and services in their decision-making process. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that assesses the environmental impacts over a product’s life cycle. Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) requires [...] Read more.
Nowadays, product designers, manufacturers, and consumers consider the environmental impacts of products, processes, and services in their decision-making process. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a tool that assesses the environmental impacts over a product’s life cycle. Conducting a life cycle assessment (LCA) requires meticulous data sourcing and collection and is often time-consuming for both practitioner and verifier. However, predicting the environmental impacts of products and services can help stakeholders and decision-makers identify the hotspots. Our work proposes using Artificial Intelligence (AI) techniques to predict the environmental performance of a product or service to assist LCA practitioners and verifiers. This approach uses data from environmental product declarations of construction products. The data is processed utilizing natural language processing (NLP) which is then trained to random forest algorithm, an ensemble tree-based machine learning method. Finally, we trained the model with information on the product and their environmental impacts using seven impact category values and verified the results using a testing dataset (20% of EPD data). Our results demonstrate that the model was able to predict the values of impact categories: global warming potential, abiotic depletion potential for fossil resources, acidification potential, and photochemical ozone creation potential with an accuracy (measured using R2 metrics, a measure to score the correlation of predicted values to real value) of 81%, 77%, 68%, and 70%, respectively. Our method demonstrates the capability to predict environmental performance with a defined variability by learning from the results of the previous LCA studies. The model’s performance also depends on the amount of data available for training. However, this approach does not replace a detailed LCA but is rather a quick prediction and assistance to LCA practitioners and verifiers in realizing an LCA. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Life Cycle Thinking and Sustainability Assessment of Buildings)
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Article
Multi-Objective Water Planning in a Poor Water Data Region: Aragvi River Basin
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3649; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063649 - 20 Mar 2022
Abstract
Water resources planning in regions with sufficient data continuity and quality is complex, but in regions with poor water data, the task is further complicated. In this paper, we share our experience developing a multi-objective technical assessment of water resources in a region [...] Read more.
Water resources planning in regions with sufficient data continuity and quality is complex, but in regions with poor water data, the task is further complicated. In this paper, we share our experience developing a multi-objective technical assessment of water resources in a region with scarce water data. This research is an example of collaborative modeling in which stakeholders were involved during the modeling process to create a model using the Shared Vision collaborative strategy for water planning in the Aragvi River Basin in the country of Georgia. We developed a regional water planning model suitable for evaluating water supply and water demand interaction as well as current and alternative water management strategies. Remarks from scenario development enlightened the need for water efficiency and conservation activities as currently the system is not entirely reliable, and its reliability is expected to decline with population growth and increased hydropower demands. This research is a strong foundation for future water-related projects in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Modeling and Managing Catastrophic Risks in Heterogeneous Systems)
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Article
Thematic Analysis as a New Culturomic Tool: The Social Media Coverage on COVID-19 Pandemic in Italy
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3643; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063643 - 20 Mar 2022
Cited by 1
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic influenced people’s everyday lives because of the health emergency and the resulting socio-economic crisis. People use social media to share experiences and search for information about the disease more than before. This paper aims at analysing the discourse on COVID-19 [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic influenced people’s everyday lives because of the health emergency and the resulting socio-economic crisis. People use social media to share experiences and search for information about the disease more than before. This paper aims at analysing the discourse on COVID-19 developed in 2020 by Italian tweeters, creating a digital storytelling of the pandemic. Employing thematic analysis, an approach used in bibliometrics to highlight the conceptual structure of a research domain, different time slices have been described, bringing out the most discussed topics. The graphical mapping of these topics allowed obtaining an easily readable representation of the discourse, paving the way for novel uses of thematic analyses in social sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Collection Public Health and Social Science on COVID-19)
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Article
The Economic and Welfare Effects of Food Waste Reduction on a Food-Production-Driven Rural Region
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3632; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063632 - 19 Mar 2022
Abstract
Food waste is economically and ecologically unsustainable; the benefits of food waste reduction are indisputable. Yet knowledge of the economic trade-offs and knock-on effects of such reduction is deficient. This study examines the economic effects of food waste reduction in a rural region [...] Read more.
Food waste is economically and ecologically unsustainable; the benefits of food waste reduction are indisputable. Yet knowledge of the economic trade-offs and knock-on effects of such reduction is deficient. This study examines the economic effects of food waste reduction in a rural region that is a nationally important producer of agricultural and food products in Finland. We built a detailed social accounting matrix to trace the transactions among the economic agents. Five different simulations of food waste reduction were run by applying a computable general equilibrium model. In the simulations, households and food services halved their food waste. The results indicated that food waste reduction is economically worthwhile in terms of regional investments and gross domestic product at market prices. However, the reduction induced economic trade-offs and welfare redistribution. The value added to the agriculture and food industries and the welfare of agricultural households decreased, albeit that the simulated compensations alleviated the effects. In the long run, falling agricultural wages and factor incomes entail closedowns and, finally, decrease local food production. This aspect is worth considering in terms of policy planning under the principle of just transition of the European Green Deal. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Economic and Business Aspects of Sustainability)
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Article
Park Characteristics and Changes in Park Visitation before, during, and after COVID-19 Shelter-in-Place Order
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3579; https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063579 - 18 Mar 2022
Abstract
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited people’s visitation to public places because of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. According to Google’s community mobility reports, some countries showed a decrease in park visitation during the pandemic, while others showed an increase. Although government responses played [...] Read more.
The COVID-19 pandemic has limited people’s visitation to public places because of social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. According to Google’s community mobility reports, some countries showed a decrease in park visitation during the pandemic, while others showed an increase. Although government responses played a significant role in this variation, little is known about park visitation changes and the park attributes that are associated with these changes. Therefore, we aimed to examine the associations between park characteristics and percent changes in park visitation in Harris County, TX, for three time periods: before, during, and after the shelter-in-place order of Harris County. We utilized SafeGraph’s point-of-interest data to extract weekly park visitation counts for the Harris County area. This dataset included the size of each park and its weekly number of visits from 2 March to 31 May 2020. In addition, we measured park characteristics, including greenness density, using the normalized difference vegetation index; park type (mini, neighborhood, community, regional/metropolitan); presence of sidewalks and bikeways; sidewalk and bikeway quantity; and bikeway quality. Results showed that park visitation decreased after issuing the shelter-in-place order and increased after this order was lifted. Results from linear regression models indicated that the higher the greenness density of the park, the smaller the decrease in park visitation during the shelter-in-place period compared to before the shelter-in-place order. This relationship also appeared after the shelter-in-place order. The presence of more sidewalks was related to less visitation increase after the shelter-in-place order. These findings can guide planners and designers to implement parks that promote public visitation during pandemics and potentially benefit people’s physical and mental health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Innovation Thinking of Urban Green on Human Health)
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Article
Use of Vegetable Residues and Cover Crops in the Cultivation of Maize Grown in Different Tillage Systems
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3609; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063609 - 18 Mar 2022
Abstract
The purpose of research on alternative variants of soil tillage systems related to fertilization, vegetal residues, and cover crops, in the case of the maize crop, is to elaborate and promote certain integrated technologies on conservation agriculture. This paper presents the results of [...] Read more.
The purpose of research on alternative variants of soil tillage systems related to fertilization, vegetal residues, and cover crops, in the case of the maize crop, is to elaborate and promote certain integrated technologies on conservation agriculture. This paper presents the results of a study conducted in the Transylvanian Plain during 2019–2021, regarding the influence of certain technological and climatic factors on the yield and quality of maize. The objective of the research was to focus on how vegetable residues and cover crops can be integrated into the optimization of the fertilization system of conservation agriculture. A multifactorial experiment was carried out based on the formula A × B × C × D − R: 4 × 2 × 3 × 3 − 2, where A represents the soil tillage system (a1 conventional tillage with moldboard plow; a2 minimum tillage with chisel; a3 minimum tillage with disk; a4 no tillage); B represents the maize hybrid (b1 Turda 332; b2 Turda 344); C represents the vegetable residues and cover crops (c1 vegetable residues 2.5 t ha−1 + 350 kg ha−1 NPK; c2 vegetable residues 2.5 t ha−1 + cover crops mustard; c3 vegetable residues 2.5 t ha−1 + gulle 10 t ha−1); D represents the year (d1 2019; d2 2020; d3 2021); and R represents the replicates. The results emphasized the fact that for the soil conditions from the area taken into account (Chernozem), for maize, a minimum tillage with chisel during autumn + disk harrow in spring + sowing can be considered as an alternative to the conventional tillage system. Yield and quality of maize can be improved and optimized by combined fertilization: vegetable residues and cover crops being supported with different sources of mineral NPK. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Effects of Soil Conservation Practices on Sediment Yield)
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Article
Outdoor Space Quality Mapping by Combining Accessibility, Openness, and Microclimate: A Case Study in a Neighborhood Park in Shanghai, China
Sustainability 2022, 14(6), 3570; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su14063570 - 18 Mar 2022
Abstract
The vitality of outdoor space is largely determined by its quality, which encompasses many factors such as traffic accessibility, openness, microclimate, etc. Creating space with high quality can attract more visitors and contribute to urban vitality and sustainability. Visualization of quality distribution can [...] Read more.
The vitality of outdoor space is largely determined by its quality, which encompasses many factors such as traffic accessibility, openness, microclimate, etc. Creating space with high quality can attract more visitors and contribute to urban vitality and sustainability. Visualization of quality distribution can aid the design and management of high-quality outdoor spaces. In this study, we developed a method for generating an integrated outdoor space quality map by normalizing, weighting, and summing up the traffic accessibility, openness, and microclimate distributions in the space. Field surveys were conducted on a neighborhood park in Shanghai, China, to obtain data to determine the relative importance of the studied factors. Integrated mapping was then performed on the park as a case study. As for accessibility, since the park only has one entrance, the metric step distance (MSD) increased with the distance from that entrance, indicating poor accessibility. The high openness found in the central areas of the park indicate that people may easily notice the central spaces and conduct activities there. The microclimate map denoted by physiologically equivalent temperature (PET) shows that in winter in Shanghai, the distribution of heat stress is mainly dominated by solar radiation. By integrating the distributions of accessibility, openness, and microclimate, we found that some spaces had better space quality than others. Based on the comprehensive map, we proposed a series of design strategies. The method developed in this study provides a quantitative tool to design outdoor spaces with high quality. Full article
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