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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3961: An Assessment of the Impact of Spatial Agglomeration on the Quality of China’s Wood Processing Industry Products

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143961

Authors: Chenlu Tao Jinzhu Zhang Baodong Cheng Yu Liu

The influence of industrial agglomeration on corporate export behavior has been widely studied by both industry and academia. However, few studies have explored the impact of the spatial agglomeration of China’s wood processing industry on the quality of its products at the micro level. In this study, we analyzed data from the China Customs Database to determine the quality of wood processing industry products at the enterprise level. Then, we matched the China Customs Database with the data in the China Industrial Enterprise Database. Based on this, we analyzed the impact of the spatial agglomeration on the quality of wood products using panel data regression. According to our results, spatial agglomeration of the wood processing industry can significantly improve product quality. Also, private enterprises are more likely to benefit from the advantages conferred by agglomeration than state-owned enterprises. Moreover, trade method does not significantly modulate the effect of spatial agglomeration on the quality of wood products. Last but not least, the agglomeration has the most significantly positive impact on the quality of products produced by the wood chip processing industry, followed by the wood products industry and the wood panel industry. Agglomeration of the bamboo and rattan palm industry actually decreases product quality. Therefore, we encourage agglomeration of timber processing enterprises, especially privately owned wood chip, wood product, and wood panel enterprises, to fully realize the benefits of the agglomeration economy. We also make policy recommendations to improve wood product quality.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3962: Perceptions of Priority Policy Areas and Interventions for Urban Sustainability in Polish Municipalities: Can Polish Cities Become Smart, Inclusive and Green?

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143962

Authors: Justyna Przywojska Aldona Podgórniak-Krzykacz Justyna Wiktorowicz

The transition to sustainable urban development requires both appropriate city management and local authorities that are aware of the implications posed by new urban sustainability challenges. The article aims to identify the priority policy/practice areas and interventions to solve sustainability challenges in Polish municipalities, as well as the factors that differentiate these priorities. Through an online questionnaire we surveyed 460 Polish municipalities, and conducted a multidimensional assessment concerning how mayors (and their executive teams) prioritise possible policy/practice areas and interventions related to sustainability. Our analysis implies that the mayors (and their executive teams) assign higher priority to policy/practice areas and interventions related to economic and social domains, and slightly lower priority to environmental ones. However, an important finding is that the priority policy/practice areas and interventions do not correspond well to some of the contemporary sustainability challenges in Polish cities. Effectively tackling urban environmental, economic and social problems would require the implementation of new approaches related to smart cities, the circular economy and/or cultural diversity. However, these less traditional policy/practice areas and interventions are quite low on the priority list of Polish mayors and their executive teams. Interestingly mayors and executive teams that prefer more participatory and solidarity-based management approaches are more likely to prioritise less traditional policy/practice areas and interventions to solve urban sustainability challenges in their municipalities.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3960: Assessment of the Potential Use of Young Barley Shoots and Leaves for the Production of Green Juices

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143960

Authors: Agata Blicharz-Kania Dariusz Andrejko Franciszek Kluza Leszek Rydzak Zbigniew Kobus

It is possible to use the aboveground parts of barley, which are cultivated as a forecrop. They are often simply composted or dried for bedding. It is worth trying other more effective methods of processing aboveground biomass. The aim of this study was to preliminary investigate the possibility of using young barley leaves and shoots for the production of green juice with potential health properties. The material was collected at days 7, 14, 21, and 28 after plant emergence. The length and strength of the shoots were measured and the pressing yield was calculated. The pH value and the content of protein, chlorides, and reducing sugars were also determined. The juice was additionally subjected to pasteurisation and freezing, and changes in pH and chlorophyll content occurring during storage were determined. The pressing yield of young barley leaves and shoots was estimated to be between 69% and 73%. The product was characterised by a high content of total protein (34.45%–51.81%d.w.) and chlorophylls (6.62 mg·g−1). The chlorophyll content declined during barley juice storage. Pasteurisation of the juice from young barley leaves does not induce statistically significant changes in the pH of the juice, but reduces the chlorophyll content. Our results revealed that the most effective way to preserve the green juice is by freezing. This process does not induce changes in juice acidity and only slightly reduces the chlorophyll content during storage of the product.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3957: Mechanism of Spatiotemporal Air Quality Response to Meteorological Parameters: A National-Scale Analysis in China

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143957

Authors: Zhi Qiao Feng Wu Xinliang Xu Jin Yang Luo Liu

The air quality over China exhibits seasonal and regional variation, resulting from heterogeneity in industrialization, and is highly affected by variability in meteorological conditions. We performed the first national-scale exploration of the relationship between the Air Pollution Index (API) and multiple meteorological parameters in China, using partial correlation and hierarchical cluster analyses. Relative humidity, wind speed, and temperature were the dominant factors influencing air quality year-round, due to their significant effects on pollutant dispersion and/or transformation of pollutants. The response of the API to single or multiple meteorological factors varied among cities and seasons, and a regional clustering of response mechanisms was observed, particularly in winter. Clear north–south differentiation was detected in the mechanisms of API response to relative humidity and wind speed. These findings provide insight into the spatiotemporal variation in air quality sensitivity to meteorological conditions, which will be useful for implementing regional air pollution control strategies.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3958: Identifying Factors Affecting the Quality of Teaching in Basic Science Education: Physics, Biological Sciences, Mathematics, and Chemistry

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143958

Authors: Joonmo Cho Wonyoung Baek

Basic science education provides the most fundamental knowledge for preparing students to pursue departmental major courses. Considering that basic science courses are laboratory classes conducted alongside theory classes, the factors affecting instructor–student communication and feedback can vary between theory and laboratory classes. We applied the ordinary least squares model to the refined data of basic science courses. We drew on variables reflecting instructor–student interaction such as class size, type of subject, and instructor characteristics to analyze the factors affecting student satisfaction with theory and laboratory classes. The analysis results indicated that the educational environment of a large-sized class could be improved by subdividing it into smaller groups to facilitate feedback. The use of online platforms to supplement offline courses provides an additional mechanism for the exchange of feedback and positively affects student satisfaction. We also confirmed empirically that the instructor–student communication which takes place during laboratory work, in contrast to the one-sided conveyance of course materials by the instructor in lectures, was a crucial factor in the quality of education. These results are linked to the demand for knowledge in engineering education, the student’s educational performance, and the labor market performance needed to establish a sustainable system in engineering education.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3956: The Impact of Traffic Crashes on Urban Network Traffic Flow

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143956

Authors: Junwei Zeng Yongsheng Qian Bingbing Wang Tingjuan Wang Xuting Wei

This paper aims to investigate the impact of occasional traffic crashes on the urban traffic network flow. Toward this purpose, an extended model of coupled Nagel–Schreckenberg (NaSch) and Biham–Middleton–Levine (BML) models is presented. This extended model not only improves the initial conditions of the coupled models, but also gives the definition of traffic crashes and their spatial/time distribution. Further, we simulated the impact of the number of traffic crashes, their time distribution, and their spatial distribution on urban network traffic flow. This research contributes to the comprehensive understanding of the operational state of urban network traffic flow after traffic crashes, towards mastering the causes and propagation rules of traffic congestion. This work also a theoretical guidance value for the optimization of urban traffic network flow and the prevention and release of traffic crashes.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3959: City Brand: What Are the Main Conditions for Territorial Performance?

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143959

Authors: Paulo Ferreira Andreia Dionísio

Territories and respective political agents recognize now the importance of being attractive, not only because of tourism, but also because this is an important feature to attract investment and even new residents. Based on this evolution, the concept of territory branding has been developed, with rankings like the Portugal City Brand measuring it. With the objective of explaining the most important conditions for territories to attain higher city branding and based on a large dataset, a factor analysis was applied to identify possible components to be used. With those components and using a fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis, the main conditions for a better position in the ranking are identified. Results point to better identification of conditions to distinguish lower positioned municipalities, namely lack of economic conditions, of general conditions and low demographic indicators. Moreover, it is possible to conclude that the conditions of the different sub-rankings are different from the ones of the main ranking.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3952: Household Welfare Implications of Better Fertilizer Access and Lower Use Inefficiency: Long-Term Scenarios for Ethiopia

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143952

Authors: Ermias Engida Legesse Amit Kumar Srivastava Arnim Kuhn Thomas Gaiser

High population growth in Ethiopia is aggravating farmland scarcity, as the agrarian share of the population stays persistently high, and also creates increasing demand for food and non-food biomass. Based on this fact, this study investigates welfare implications of intensification measures like interventions that improve access and use efficiency to modern farming inputs. Using a dynamic meso-economic modeling framework for Ethiopia, ex-ante scenarios that simulate a) decreased costs of fertilizer use and b) elevated efficiency of fertilizer application for all crops are run for a period of 20 years. Fertilizer-yield response functions are estimated (based on results from an agronomic crop model and actual survey data) and embedded into the economic model in order to get realistic marginal returns to fertilizer application. This is our novel methodological contribution in which we introduce how to calculate input use inefficiency based on attainable yield levels from agronomic crop model and actual yield levels. Simultaneous implementation of these interventions lead to annual yield increases of 8.7 percent for an average crop farmer compared to the current level. Increased fertilizer application is also found to be profitable for an average farmer despite price reduction for crops following increased market supply. As a result of price and income effects of the interventions, all household types exhibit welfare gain. Non-farming households, being net consumers, enjoy lower costs of living. Rural farming households enjoy even higher welfare gain than non-farming households because they consume a higher share from crop commodities that become cheaper, and because their farming profits increase.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3954: Governing Climate Engineering: A Proposal for Immediate Governance of Solar Radiation Management

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143954

Authors: Sikina Jinnah Simon Nicholson David R. Morrow Zachary Dove Paul Wapner Walter Valdivia Leslie Paul Thiele Catriona McKinnon Andrew Light Myanna Lahsen Prakash Kashwan Aarti Gupta Alexander Gillespie Richard Falk Ken Conca Dan Chong Netra Chhetri

Solar radiation management (SRM) technologies would reflect a small amount of incoming solar radiation back into space before the radiation can warm the planet. Although SRM may emerge as a useful component of a global response to climate change, there is also good reason for caution. In June 2017, the Academic Working Group on Climate Engineering Governance released a policy report, “Governing Solar Radiation Management”, which developed a set of objectives to govern SRM in the near-term future: (1) keep mitigation and adaptation first; (2) thoroughly and transparently evaluate risks, burdens, and benefits; (3) enable responsible knowledge creation; and (4) ensure robust governance before any consideration of deployment. To advance the governance objectives identified above, the working group developed twelve recommendations, grouped into three clusters: (1) create politically legitimate deliberative bodies; (2) leverage existing institutions; and (3) make research transparent and accountable. This communication discusses the rationale behind each cluster and elaborates on a subset of the recommendations from each cluster.

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Sustainability, Vol. 11, Pages 3953: Fuzzy Decision-Support System for Safeguarding Tangible and Intangible Cultural Heritage

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su11143953

Authors: Andrés José Prieto Juan Manuel Macías-Bernal Ana Silva Pilar Ortiz

In the current world economic situation, the maintenance of built heritage has been limited due to a lack of funds and accurate tools for proper management and implementation of these actions. However, in specific local areas, the maintenance and conservation of historical and cultural heritage have become an investment opportunity. In this sense, in this study, a new tool is proposed, for the estimation of the functional service life of heritage buildings in a local region (city of Seville, South Spain). This tool is developed in Art-Risk research project and consists of a free software to evaluate decisions in regional policies, planning and management of tangible and intangible cultural heritage, considering physical, environmental, economic and social resources. This tool provides a ranking of priority of intervention among case studies belonging to a particular urban context. This information is particularly relevant for the stakeholders responsible for the management of maintenance plans in built heritage.

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