Special Issue "Geographic Information Science and Society: Opportunities and Challenges Towards Social Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Geography and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Shih-Lung Shaw
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996, USA
Interests: transportation geography; geographic information science; time geography; human dynamics
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Yichun Xie
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for Geospatial Research and Education, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197, USA
Interests: geographic information science; spatial modelling; remote sensing theory and methodology; spatiotemporal modelling of urban growth; grassland ecosystem; coupled impacts of human dynamics and environmental change on resource management and ecosystem recovery; land-use and land-cover changes
Special Issues and Collections in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Sustainability has been defined and pursued in many different ways. One approach considers sustainability consisting of environmental sustainability, economic sustainability, and social sustainability. Many early sustainability studies placed an emphasis on environmental sustainability and economic sustainability; however, social sustainability has received increasing attention in recent years. One frequently cited definition of social sustainability by the Western Australia Council of Social Services states that “Social sustainability occurs when the formal and informal processes, systems, structures and relationships actively support the capacity of current and future generations to create healthy and livable communities. Socially sustainable communities are equitable, diverse, connected and democratic and provide a good quality of life.”
Geographic information systems (GIS), which can manage, analyze, and visualize spatial and nonspatial data in an integrated environment, provide a useful platform in support of sustainability studies. Nevertheless, conventional GIS based on Euclidean geometry and a Cartesian coordinate system of Newtonian absolute space encounter limitations of handling local context in relative space, relationships in relational space, and human perceptions in mental space. Overcoming these limitations is a fundamental theme of social sustainability research and applications, which call for further theoretical and methodological developments in geographic information science (GIScience) to better support social sustainability studies.
This Special Issue aims at sharing current research work on GIS applications, addressing various social sustainability issues (e.g., social equity, social cohesion, social diversity, quality of life), development of analysis and/or visualization methods for social sustainability research, and theoretical/conceptual work of extending the conventional GIS approach to make GIScience more relevant and useful to important societal challenges, such as social sustainability. This Special Issue is intended to be cross-disciplinary and invites researchers in geography, planning, sociology, business, public policy, transportation, logistics, and other relevant fields to contribute.

Important Dates

March 1, 2019: Manuscript submission starts
February 28, 2020: Manuscript submission ends
(Note: Manuscripts accepted for publication in this Special Issue will be published online before the full Special Issue becomes available.)

Prof. Dr. Shih-Lung Shaw
Prof. Yichun Xie
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Geographic information systems
  • Geographic information science
  • Social Sustainability
  • Society

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

Article
Improvement of Disability Rights via Geographic Information Science
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5807; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12145807 - 19 Jul 2020
Viewed by 918
Abstract
Rights, legal regulations, and practices often arise from societal and scientific developments, and societal transformations may originate from new legal regulations as well. Basic rights can be re-defined with advancements in science and technology. In such an evolutional loop, where mutual supply is [...] Read more.
Rights, legal regulations, and practices often arise from societal and scientific developments, and societal transformations may originate from new legal regulations as well. Basic rights can be re-defined with advancements in science and technology. In such an evolutional loop, where mutual supply is obvious, combined legal and technological frameworks should be exercised and developed for practicing human rights. The main aim of this article is to propose a conceptual and methodological framework for the improvement of disability rights in the light of recent advancements in geographic information science (GIScience), in particular for those with motor disabilities, for whom questions related to “where” are essential. The concept of disability is discussed, considering different aspects, and a new methodological framework is proposed in which Geographic Information Systems (GIS), volunteered geographic information (VGI) and citizen science are at the core. In order to implement the framework at the national and international levels, a spatial data model should be developed first. The new data collection and interpretation approaches based on VGI, citizen science, and machine learning methods may help to realize equal rights for people with motor disabilities, by enabling improved access to education, health, and travel. Full article
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Article
Assessment of Spatial Accessibility to Residential Care Facilities in 2020 in Guangzhou by Small-Scale Residential Community Data
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3169; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12083169 - 15 Apr 2020
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 681
Abstract
Population aging has increasingly challenged socio-economic development worldwide, highlighting the significance of relevant research such as accessibility to residential care facilities (RCFs). However, a number of previous studies are carried out only on street (town)-to-district scales, which could cause errors of the accessibility [...] Read more.
Population aging has increasingly challenged socio-economic development worldwide, highlighting the significance of relevant research such as accessibility to residential care facilities (RCFs). However, a number of previous studies are carried out only on street (town)-to-district scales, which could cause errors of the accessibility to RCFs for a family. In order to improve the resolution to individual families, we measure and compare the accessibilities to RCFs based on 3494 residential communities and 169 streets of Guangzhou in 2020 through the two-step floating catchment area (2SFCA) method. It was found that the distributions of the elderly and the service-dense blobs of the RCFs show patterns of a three-level spatial distribution, with a characteristic clustering at the center with peripheral dispersion. The resultant accessibility to RCFs in Guangzhou, ranging from 2.5 to 3.45, is generally consistent with the studies focusing on street scales. However, the maximum difference in the accessibility of two residential communities on the same street ranges from less than 0.02 to 0.94 in Guangzhou, indicating large variations. Although the relative errors of the accessibility results based on bi-scale data are relatively low, the cumulative errors can be high, e.g., over 25% in many streets of large cities. Consequently, hundreds of elderly persons per street can be adversely affected by those errors, with six streets over 1000. Therefore, this study focusing on the smaller-scale residential community data may provide more accurate reference to individual households. For the spatial allocation and optimal layout of Guangzhou and similar cities with population aging, we suggest maximizing RCFs in metropolises by taking full advantage of existing residential care facilities with necessary restructuring, improvements, and expansions on service capability. While for less connected cities, we encourage building new RCFs in situ. Full article
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Article
Spatial Agglomeration Characteristics of Rural Settlements in Poor Mountainous Areas of Southwest China
Sustainability 2020, 12(5), 1818; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12051818 - 28 Feb 2020
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 787
Abstract
The rural settlements in poverty-stricken mountainous areas are the "living fossils" of an economic society with the characteristics of spatial dispersion and are slowly changing. Spatial agglomeration is the development direction of rural settlements. In-depth exploration of the spatial agglomeration characteristics and influencing [...] Read more.
The rural settlements in poverty-stricken mountainous areas are the "living fossils" of an economic society with the characteristics of spatial dispersion and are slowly changing. Spatial agglomeration is the development direction of rural settlements. In-depth exploration of the spatial agglomeration characteristics and influencing factors of rural settlements in poverty-stricken mountainous areas is a way to provide a basis for rural settlement restructuring. We selected Pengshui County, a national poverty-stricken county in the southwestern mountainous area of China, as the research area. Spatial buffer and kernel density analysis were used to analyze the agglomeration characteristics of rural settlements and influencing factors. The results show that: (1) The rural settlements are small in scale and the space is evenly dispersed. 55.63% of the rural settlements’ sizes are less than 1000 m2, 84.15% of the rural settlements’ sizes are less than 2500 m2, and 92.81% of the rural settlements are within 200 m. (2) The elevation and slope of topographic factors have a significant agglomeration effect on rural settlements. However, the slope direction has no agglomeration effect. 85.41% of rural settlements (52.75% of rural settlements are gathered between 400 and 800 m above sea level) are gathered at an altitude of 1000 m or less, and 77.59% of rural settlements are gathered with a slope of 6~25°. Additionally, there are few rural settlements with a slope of 0~2°. Moreover, the distribution of residential areas has no agglomeration effect on rural settlements. (3) The cultivated land exerts the most significant effect on rural settlements followed by roads and water sources, while the role of urban land is weak. 99.48% of rural settlements are concentrated in the 100 m area of cultivated land. Therefore, in the poverty-stricken mountainous areas in the southwestern mountainous areas of China, convenient farming is the primary condition for production and living. Rural settlements are highly correlated with cultivated land. Rural settlements are scattered and concentrated with the scattered cultivated land. The rural settlements were leaded by the distribution of cultivated land. Less high-quality cultivated land with less slope were occupied or not by rural residential areas’ people. Full article
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Article
Regional Inequality of Firms’ Export Opportunity in China: Geographical Location and Economic Openness
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 9; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su12010009 - 18 Dec 2019
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 789
Abstract
China has a large land area and uneven regional development. There are significant disparities between the three belts (eastern, central, and western China), with the eastern region being the most developed and the western region the least developed. Considering that export is regarded [...] Read more.
China has a large land area and uneven regional development. There are significant disparities between the three belts (eastern, central, and western China), with the eastern region being the most developed and the western region the least developed. Considering that export is regarded as one of the troikas for China’s economic growth and firms are the basic entities engaged in trade activities, we examine whether there exists inequality of firms’ export opportunity between the three regions. We find that the critical productivity level of firms’ export in developed eastern China is significantly lower than that of western and central regions. Our results indicate that firms in eastern China are more likely to export and there is an obvious inequality of firms’ exporting opportunities. Full article
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Article
Addressing Geospatial Preparedness Inequity: A Sustainable Bottom-Up Approach for Non-Governmental Development Organizations
Sustainability 2019, 11(23), 6634; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11236634 - 23 Nov 2019
Viewed by 835
Abstract
In less developed areas, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to coordinate disaster response is hindered by a lack of geospatial preparedness. Humanitarian missions often rely on OpenStreetMap as a source of information to overcome this limitation. In these places, Non-Governmental Organizations [...] Read more.
In less developed areas, the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to coordinate disaster response is hindered by a lack of geospatial preparedness. Humanitarian missions often rely on OpenStreetMap as a source of information to overcome this limitation. In these places, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) might already be using GIS to implement development projects before the disaster. This study considers the management of geospatial information by those NGOs and whether they could improve geospatial preparedness from within the communities. This bottom-up approach would allow the inclusion of information relevant to the community in the disaster response decision-making process. The research method was an online survey with a worldwide sample of more than 200 development NGOs. The results show that many NGOs use digital geographic information, mostly open-data. They could indeed improve geospatial preparedness while using open-data and community mapping for the implementation of their projects. There is, however, a limitation; most of the development NGOs using open geographic data are not familiar with the open platforms used by the humanitarian community (i.e., OpenStreetMap). Therefore, the study indicates that the sustainability of this synergic approach requires further harmonization between development and humanitarian organizations working for the wellbeing of the same communities. Full article
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Article
Spatial–Temporal Characteristics and Determinants of Digital Divide in China: A Multivariate Spatial Analysis
Sustainability 2019, 11(17), 4529; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11174529 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1082
Abstract
The digital divide has loomed as a sustainable development issue for over two decades and there has been much research in terms of efforts to measure the digital divide from different dimensions and scales. Drawing on spatial agglomeration analysis and multiple linear regression, [...] Read more.
The digital divide has loomed as a sustainable development issue for over two decades and there has been much research in terms of efforts to measure the digital divide from different dimensions and scales. Drawing on spatial agglomeration analysis and multiple linear regression, this paper aims to reveal the spatiotemporal pattern of the prefectural digital divide in China and its determinants. The results show that there is a significant prefectural digital divide in China that is characterized by a decline of ICT development index (IDI) values from the east to the west as well as from core cities to more peripheral ones. Cities with high IDI values are mainly concentrated in large metropolitan areas in eastern China, whereas cities with low values tend to concentrate in poverty stricken regions in central and western China. However, the digital divide has been characterized by a reduction from 2001 to 2015. The results also show that both economic and educational factors have significant influences on the prefectural digital divide in China. During the early stages, the percentage of university students, urban residential income, and the urbanization rate were key factors. However, after 2010, the adult literacy rate and rural residential income determined the digital divide. Full article
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Article
Distribution and Spatial Pattern Analysis on Dengue Cases in Seremban District, Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia
Sustainability 2019, 11(13), 3572; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su11133572 - 28 Jun 2019
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 1533
Abstract
Dengue fever disease increases alongside urbanization rate in tropical countries. Hence, the need to visualize the distribution pattern of increases is vital for the management of dengue cases, especially in Malaysia. Thus, the dengue surveillance system is proposed for the monitoring of dengue [...] Read more.
Dengue fever disease increases alongside urbanization rate in tropical countries. Hence, the need to visualize the distribution pattern of increases is vital for the management of dengue cases, especially in Malaysia. Thus, the dengue surveillance system is proposed for the monitoring of dengue cases using computer-generated modeling for spatial distribution patterns, which is important for management and control. The present study performed distribution and spatial pattern analysis of dengue cases reported in the growing Seremban district in Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia in 2008 and 2009. The purpose of the study is to evaluate the pattern of distribution and determine whether it is clustered or dispersed. A total of 1401 and 1056 cases for dengue-related diseases were reported by the Ministry of Health Malaysia in Seremban district in the years 2008 and 2009, respectively. Three spatial statistical analysis were conducted: Spatial mean center, directional distribution, and standard distant on distribution of dengue cases reported. This study found that the distribution pattern for dengue cases is clustered. Spatial mean center and directional distribution for both sets of years have slight differences. Meanwhile, standard distance for dengue cases reported in the year 2008 is 22,085.82 m, which is bigger than dengue cases reported in 2009, showing a standard distance of 20,318.35 m. More sets of cases throughout years are required in further studies to identify factors that contribute to dengue epidemiology in the Seremban district undergoing urbanization. Full article
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