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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2065: Assessing Strategies for Urban Climate Change Adaptation: The Case of Six Metropolitan Cities in South Korea

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062065

Authors: Jae-Seung Lee Jeong Won Kim

As interest in climate change adaptation grows, an increasing number of national and local governments are developing adaptation strategies. This study assesses the strategies for urban climate change adaptation of municipal governments in South Korea. The adaptation plans and budget expenditures of six metropolitan cities in South Korea were compared, based on the Implementation Plan for Climate Change Adaptation Strategy (IPCCAS) 2012–2016 and annual expenditure reports of each city. The results show that the actual implementation of these adaptation programs varied vis-à-vis the original plans, in terms of the level of overall expenditure and sector-specific expenditure. The following findings were drawn from the analysis: First, in most cases, the highest adaptation priorities were disaster/infrastructure, water management, and the health sector. Second, actual expenditure on climate change adaptation programs was smaller than the planned budget in the IPCCAS. Third, the prioritized sectors matched for planning and implementation in Seoul, Daegu, Daejeon, and Incheon, but not in Busan and Ulsan. Fourth, the adaptation programs of South Korean metropolitan cities do not seem to have been well-tailored to each case.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2063: The Nexus of FDI, R&D, and Human Capital on Chinese Sustainable Development: Evidence from a Two-Step Approach

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062063

Authors: Sang-Do Park

This study examines the effect of the foreign direct investment (FDI)–human capital and R&D–human capital interactions (FDIHC and RDHHC) on Chinese development between 1991 and 2015. Based on endogenous growth theory, the study focuses on FDI, R&D, and human capital as important factors for sustained economic growth; the interactions among factors are set as the main variables affecting economic growth (GDP). In particular, this study attempts a two-step empirical analysis. First, data mining and semantic network analysis (SNA) are performed using variables as keywords; reliability and realism are reflected as variables. Second, using the vector error correction model (VECM), the study analyzes short and long run mutual influences between variables. The results show that, in data mining and SNA with FDI and R&D as keywords, words related to human capital show high frequency, centrality, and clustering. This finding implies that FDIHC and RDHHC have robustness as variables and can be used as interaction variables. According to the VECM results, FDIHC and RDHHC have positive influences on GDP in the short and long run. The results of a variance decomposition test show that RDHHC has strong mid- to long-run impacts on GDP, FDIHC, and R&D itself.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2066: Critical Factors on the Capital Structure of Public–Private Partnership Projects: A Sustainability Perspective

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062066

Authors: Jing Du Hongyue Wu Xianbo Zhao

Scientific capital structure is the key to guarantee sufficient funds and achievement of objectives of Public–Private Partnership (PPP) projects, while inappropriate capital structure has caused the failure of many projects. Meanwhile, sustainability is an important concept that should be concerned during the life cycle of PPP projects. Therefore, this study aimed to: (1) identify the critical factors influencing the capital structure of PPP projects from a sustainability perspective; and (2) analyze the relationships between the factors and the capital structure based on qualitative comparative analysis (QCA). This study identified seven critical factors influencing the capital structure of PPP projects. Moreover, the non-economic indicators should be concerned as well as the economic indicators. Thus, proper capital structure not only provides ample funds but also promotes the long-term healthy operation of projects and creates positive effects on the industry, region and society. Furthermore, the findings indicated that benefit, external situation, cost, ability of private sector and government support were the top critical factors. In addition, although risk did not show great importance, it had close relationship with other factors, which means risk should be concerned comprehensively. This study enriches the theoretical research about the capital structure of PPP projects and offers a new idea about the integration of sustainability and PPP projects. In addition, it supports the reasonable selection of capital structure in practice and promotes the practical application of sustainability on PPP projects.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2064: Contrasted Effects of Relative Humidity and Precipitation on Urban PM2.5 Pollution in High Elevation Urban Areas

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062064

Authors: Rasa Zalakeviciute Jesús López-Villada Yves Rybarczyk

Levels of urban pollution can be influenced largely by meteorological conditions and the topography of the area. The impact of the relative humidity (RH) on the daily average PM2.5 concentrations was studied at several sites in a mid-size South American city at a high elevation over the period of nine years. In this work, we show that there is a positive correlation between daily average urban PM2.5 concentrations and the RH in traffic-busy central areas, and a negative correlation in the outskirts of the city in more industrial areas. While in the traffic sites strong events of precipitation (≥9 mm) played a major role in PM2.5 pollution removal, in the city outskirts, the PM2.5 concentrations decreased with increasing RH independently of rain accumulation. Increasing PM2.5 concentrations are to be expected in any highly motorized city where there is high RH and a lack of strong precipitation, especially in rapidly growing and developing countries with high motorization due to poor fuel quality. Finally, two models, based on a logistic regression algorithm, are proposed to describe the effect of rain and RH on PM2.5, when the source of pollution is traffic-based vs. industry-based.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2062: Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on Value Creation from a Stakeholder Perspective

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062062

Authors: Josefina Fernández-Guadaño Jesús H. Sarria-Pedroza

In recent years, we have witnessed how companies and institutions have devoted significant effort to developing Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies, basing their decision on the improvement in company results and the subsequent benefits for shareholders and other stakeholders. CSR means that managers must go beyond the mere satisfaction of the shareholders and take steps to establish balanced relations with all their stakeholders. The principles behind the CSR approach empower stakeholder governance. To test whether CSR policy constitutes a factor in value creation for shareholders and certain stakeholders such as employees, creditors and the State, we conducted an explanatory study, using a Correlated Random Effects approach, which compares the socially responsible companies included in the Spanish sustainability index, FTSE4Good Ibex, with the companies listed on the other indices of the IBEX family. On the one hand, the data show that sustainability reporting is well established in large companies in Spain but that it needs to be introduced more extensively in small and medium-sized enterprises. On the other hand, the findings point out that CSR has a positive and significant influence on the distribution of value in favor of the State, a negative influence for employees and no influence on other stakeholders.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2067: Vibration Suppression of a Single-Cylinder Engine by Means of Multi-objective Evolutionary Optimisation

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062067

Authors: Suwin Sleesongsom Sujin Bureerat

This paper presents a new design strategy for the passive vibration suppression of a single-cylindrical engine (SCE) through multi-objective evolutionary optimisation. The vibration causes machine damages and human pain, which are unsustainable problemsthat need to be alleviated. Mathematical forced vibration analyses of a single-cylinder engine, including dynamic pressure force due to ignition combustion, are presented. A multi-objective design problem is set to find the shape and size variables of the crank and connecting rod of the engine. The objective functions consist of the minimisation of the crank and connecting rod mass, and the minimisation of vibration response while the SCE is subject to inertial force and pressure force. Moreover, design constraints include crank and rod safety. The design problem is tackled by using an adaptation of a hybrid of multi-objective population-based incremental learning and differential evolution (RPBIL-DE). The optimum results found that the proposed design strategy is a powerful tool for the vibration suppression of SCE.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2055: Geographical Dynamics of Poverty in Nepal between 2005 and 2011: Where and How?

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062055

Authors: Jifei Zhang Chunyan Liu Craig Hutton Hriday Lal Koirala

Poverty eradication is currently a central issue within the national economic development strategy in developing countries. Understanding the spatial changes and possible drivers of poverty from different geographical perspectives has the potential to provide a policy-relevant understanding of the trends in poverty. By district-level data, poverty incidence (PI), and a statistical analysis of the period from 2005 to 2011 in Nepal, we used the location quotient (LQ), as well as the Lorenz curve, to inspect the poverty concentration and the spatial-temporal variation of poverty in Nepal. As such, this study analyzed the change in identified typologies of poverty using an approach, which accounts for inter-regional and three identified terrain components. The PI methodological approach was applied in order to (i) compare the spatial change in poverty for Nepal during the study period from a geographical-administrative perspective and (ii) to develop Lorenze curves which show the change of poverty concentration over the study period. Within the Foster-Greer-Thorbecke (FGT) approach, PI was further used, in combination with the indices of poverty gap (PG) and squared poverty gap (SPG), in order to highlight the unidimensional poverty (UP), that is the incidence, depth, and severity of poverty between 2005 and 2011. Simultaneously, the spatial relationship between UP and economic development was assessed, leading to five specific economic modes or typologies of poverty. Our findings identified that proportional poverty appears to have grown in mountainous areas as well as more urbanized and developed regions, while the mid hill regions have steadily reduced proportions of poverty. We propose a hypothesis, for further examination, which suggests that the increase in proportional poverty in the mountain regions is as a result of the migration to the urban areas of Nepal of the relatively less poor, leaving behind a trapped poorer population. This migration to urban areas of the relatively less poor, rather counterintuitively, produced an increase in proportional poverty in the urban areas. This is due to the fact that while this population represents the wealthier mountain communities, they are still relatively poor in an urban setting.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2057: Impact of Climate Change on Daily Streamflow and Its Extreme Values in Pacific Island Watersheds

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062057

Authors: Olkeba Tolessa Leta Aly I. El-Kadi Henrietta Dulai

The integration of hydrology and climate is important for understanding the present and future impact of climate on streamflow, which may cause frequent flooding, droughts, and shortage of water supply. In view of this, we assessed the impact of climate change on daily streamflow duration curves as well as extreme peak and low flow values. The objectives were to assess how climate change impacts watershed-wide streamflow and its extreme values and to provide an overview of the impacts of different climate change scenarios (Representative Concentration Pathways (RCP) 4.5 and 8.5) on streamflow and hydrological extremes when compared with the baseline values. We used the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for daily streamflow and its extreme value modeling of two watersheds located on the Island of Oahu (Hawaii). Following successful calibration and validation of SWAT at three USGS flow gauging stations, we simulated the impact of climate change by the 2050s (2041–2070) and the 2080s (2071–2100). We used climate change perturbation factors and applied the factors to the historical time series data of 1980–2014. SWAT adequately reproduced observed daily streamflow with Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) values of greater than 0.5 and bracketed >80% of observed streamflow data at 95% model prediction uncertainty at all flow gauging stations, indicating the applicability of the model for future daily streamflow prediction. We found that while the considered climate change scenarios generally show considerable negative impacts on daily streamflow and its extreme values, the extreme peak flows are expected to increase by as much as 22% especially under the RCP 8.5 scenario. However, a consistent decrease in extreme low flows by as much as 60% compared to the baseline values is projected. Larger negative changes of low flows are expected in the upstream part of the watersheds where higher groundwater contributions are expected. Consequently, severe problems, such as frequent hydrological droughts (groundwater scarcity), reduction in agricultural crop productivity, and increase in drinking water demand, are significantly expected on Oahu. Furthermore, the extreme values are more sensitive to rainfall change in comparison to temperature and solar radiation changes. Overall, findings generally indicated that climate change impacts will be amplified by the end of this century and may cause earlier occurrence of hydrological droughts when compared to the current hydrological regime, suggesting water resources managers, ecosystem conservationists, and ecologists to implement mitigation measures to climate change in Hawaii and similar Islands.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2061: Heterogeneous Preferences for Public Goods Provided by Agriculture in a Region of Intensive Agricultural Production: The Case of the Marchfeld

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062061

Authors: Andreas Niedermayr Lena Schaller Petr Mariel Pia Kieninger Jochen Kantelhardt

The aim of this paper is to elicit the marginal willingness to pay (MWTP) for the improved provision of public goods (PGs) by agriculture in a region of intensive agricultural production, embodying many of the environmental problems related to agriculture within and outside the European Union (EU). Our analysis was based on a participatory approach, combining the involvement of local stakeholders and a discrete choice experiment (DCE) in the Marchfeld region in Austria. We estimated a random parameters logit model (RPL), including interactions with socio-demographic factors, to disentangle preference heterogeneity and find a positive MWTP of the local population for all three PGs analyzed: (i) groundwater quality; (ii) landscape quality; and (iii) soil functionality in connection with climate stability. Furthermore, MWTP varies considerably with respect to age, farmers/non-farmers and locals/incomers. Further research could combine the results of this demand-side valuation with those of a supply-side valuation, where the opportunity costs of different management options for farmers are estimated. Based on such a cost–benefit analysis and further participation of local stakeholders, new governance mechanisms for the smart and sustainable provision of PGs by agriculture could be developed for the Marchfeld region and for comparable European regions.

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Sustainability, Vol. 10, Pages 2060: Energy Management for Plug-In Hybrid Electric Vehicle Based on Adaptive Simplified-ECMS

Sustainability doi: 10.3390/su10062060

Authors: Zeng Cai Kou Gao Qin

When searching for the optimal solution, Equivalent Consumption Minimum Strategy (ECMS) has to calculate and compare the total equivalent fuel rate of huge candidates covered all over the control domain for each time instant. Therefore, this strategy still has a heavy computation burden problem; it is a challenge for ECMS to be implemented online for real-time control. To reduce ECMS’s calculation load, this paper proposes an adaptive Simplified-ECMS-based strategy for a parallel plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV). A convex piecewise function is applied to fit the total equivalent fuel rate with respect to the motor torque, which is the control variable. Then, the ECMS problem is simplified to calculate and compare only five candidates’ total equivalent fuel rate to determine the optimal torque distribution. Particle swarm optimization (PSO) algorithm is applied to optimize the equivalent factor, and the MAPs of this factor under different driving cycles, driving distances and initial SOC are obtained. Based on this, the adaptive Simplified-ECMS-based strategy is proposed. Simulations were performed, and the results show that the Simplified-ECMS-based strategy can obviously shorten the calculation time compared to ECMS-based strategy, and the adaptive Simplified-ECMS-based strategy can decrease fuel consumption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle by 16.43% under the testing driving cycle, compared to CD-CS-based strategy. A road test on the prototype vehicle is conducted and the effectiveness of the Simplified-ECMS-based strategy is validated by the test data.

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