Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050) is an international and cross-disciplinary scholarly, open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic and social sustainability of human beings, which provides an advanced forum for studies related to sustainability and sustainable development. It publishes reviews, regular research papers, communications and short notes, and there is no restriction on the length of the papers.
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Library has: Vol. 1 (2009) to current

Recent Submissions

  • Neighborhood-Level Particle Pollution Assessment during the COVID-19 Pandemic via a Novel IoT Solution

    Christos Spandonidis; Dimitrios Paraskevopoulos; Christina Saravanos (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    In recent years, the concentration levels of various air pollutants have been constantly increasing, primarily due to the high vehicle flow. In 2020, however, severe lockdowns in Greece were imposed to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a rapid reduction in the concentration levels of air pollutants such as PM2.5 and PM10 in the atmosphere. Initially, this paper seeks to identify the correlation between the concentration levels of PM10 and the traffic flow by acquiring data from low-cost IoT devices which were placed in Thessaloniki, Greece, from March to August 2020. The correlation and the linearity between the two parameters were further investigated by applying descriptive analytics, regression techniques, Pearson correlation, and independent T-testing. The obtained results indicate that the concentration levels of PM10 are strongly correlated to the vehicle flow. Therefore, the results hint that the decrease in the vehicle flow could result in improving the quality of environmental air. Finally, the acquired results point out that the temperature and humidity are weakly correlated with the concentration levels of PM10 present in the atmosphere.
  • Convolutional Long Short-Term Memory Two-Dimensional Bidirectional Graph Convolutional Network for Taxi Demand Prediction

    Yibo Cao; Lu Liu; Yuhan Dong (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    With the rise of the online ride-hailing market, taxi demand prediction has received more and more research interest in intelligent transportation. However, most traditional research methods mainly focused on the demand based on the original point and ignored the intention of the passenger’s destination. At the same time, many forecasting methods need sufficient investigation and data processing, which undoubtedly increases the complexity and operability of forecasting problems. Therefore, we regard the current taxi demand prediction as an origin–destination problem in order to provide more accurate predictions for the taxi demand problem. By combining a spatial network based on graph convolutional network (GCN) and a temporal network of convolutional long short-term memory (Conv-LSTM), we propose a new spatial-temporal model of Conv-LSTM two-dimensional bidirectional GCN (CTBGCN) to uncover the potential correlation between origin and destination. We utilize the temporal network for effective temporal information and the spatial network of multi-layers to get the implicit origin–destination correlation. Numerical results suggest that the proposed method outperforms the state-of-the-art baseline and other traditional methods.
  • Predicting Climate Change Impacts on Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica Zucc.) for Mexico: An Approach for Mexico’s Primary Harvest Area

    Aldo Rafael Martínez-Sifuentes; Juan Estrada-Ávalos; Ramón Trucíos-Caciano; José Villanueva-Díaz; Nuria Aidé López-Hernández; Juan de Dios López-Favela (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Candelilla (Euphorbia antisyphilitica Zucc.) is a non-timber forest resource of ecological and economic importance in the arid zones of Mexico due to the commercialization of its wax for industrial purposes. The objectives of this study were (i) to delimit areas of current and projected future candelilla habitat suitability in Mexico and in the state of Coahuila, (ii) to determine the most important variables that define candelilla habitat, and (iii) to propose areas for candelilla conservation under climate change conditions in Coahuila. Records of candelilla presence, current and future bioclimatic layers from the MPIESM-LR and HadGEM2-ES models with two scenarios RCP 4.5 and 8.5, were used to create species distribution models with soil and topographical variables. MaxEnt software was used to project current habitat suitability zones under climate change. We estimated the current surface area of candelilla in Mexico to be 79,336.87 km2, and for Coahuila 25,620.75 km2. In Coahuila, using the MPIESM-LR model for 2050, the estimate was 20,177.67 km2 and 17,079.61 km2 for RCP scenarios 4.5 and 8.5; while for 2070, the estimate was 12,487.18 km2 and 9812.94 km2 for RCP scenarios 4.5 and 8.5. For the HadGEM2-ES model for 2050, the estimate was 20,066.40 km2 and 17,079.61 km2; for 2070 it was 17,156.02 km2 and 16,073.70 km2. As proposed areas for conservation of candelilla in the face of climate change, we estimated 5435.06 km2 and 3636.96 km2. The study area was located in the northwest and center of the state of Coahuila, near the natural protected areas of Ocampo and Bajo Rio San Juan, areas that are resilient to climate change. The results obtained provide information on the environmental and site conditions for the establishment of candelilla in Mexico, as well as the geographical areas, such as Sierra y Cañon de Jimulco, Tomás Garrido, 026 Bajo Río San Juan, Zapalinamé, Zapalinamé, and Cumbres de Monterrey Restoration Zones for the conservation of the species under local climate change scenarios. In addition, new areas in the northwest and center of Coahuila could be used to establish new protected areas for this economically important species.
  • Study on Skywell Shape in Huizhou Traditional Architecture Based on Outdoor Wind Environment Simulation

    Huanhuan Fang; Xiang Ji; Yun Chu; Lufeng Nie; Jianyuan Wang (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This study was conducted in the context of the latest Chinese policy on “double carbon”. First, we obtained building skywell and meteorological data parameters through a site survey and measurements. We applied the PHOENICS software to simulate and analyze the wind environment of a traditional building skywell. Secondly, the outdoor wind environment of typical building skywells could be simulated and evaluated one by one. Finally, using the method of controlling the variables and by combining typical buildings and skywell-scale layouts, the study summarized and compared the wind environment of the skywell under different scale combinations from three aspects: building skywell shape, skywell scale ratio, and skywell door opening. The following conclusions were drawn: (1) Among the four skywell shapes, the wind environment inside of the skywell was best in the HUI shape. (2) The wind environment inside of the skywell was best in the simulated skywell width-to-height ratio D/H values of 0.2–0.6; the AO shape D/H value was equal to 0.3; and the best wind environment in the skywell occurred when the D/H value of the HUI shape was equal to 0.4. (3) The wind environment in the skywell was best in the range of 1–1.5 for the aspect ratio W/L in the HUI-shaped building skywell (when the width-to-height D/H ratio was 0.4). (4) The opening of the door of the residential building had a great impact on the wind environment of the skywell.
  • Division and Analysis of Accident-Prone Areas near Highway Ramps Based on Spatial Autocorrelation

    Qing Ye; Yi Li; Wenzhe Shen; Zhaoze Xuan (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This study focuses on identifying accident-prone areas and analyzing the factors contributing to the distribution of traffic accidents near highway ramps. A combined method of kernel density estimation, spatial autocorrelation analysis, and multivariate logistic regression analysis helped to identify accident hotspots. Through data collection and analysis, the clustering characteristics of traffic accidents in the diversion and merging areas were identified. Four levels of accident-prone areas were divided according to the accident rates. The factors influencing the spatial distribution of accidents were analyzed. The results showed that traffic accidents in the diversion area were concentrated near the exit, but the accidents in merging areas had a wider range of distribution. The analysis of this phenomenon was conducted using the multinomial logit model results. The important factors of different accident-prone areas were clarified. The temperature, the accident lane, weather conditions, and the time of day had significant impacts on the spatial distribution of traffic accidents. The study’s findings provide an important decision-making basis for highway accident prevention management.
  • A Hybrid Photovoltaic/Diesel System for Off-Grid Applications in Lubumbashi, DR Congo: A HOMER Pro Modeling and Optimization Study

    Ilunga Kajila Rice; Hanhua Zhu; Cunquan Zhang; Arnauld Robert Tapa (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    In Lubumbashi, the capital of Haut Katanga in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), diesel power plants are a common source of electricity. The need to utilize local renewable energy sources in DR Congo has increased due to the unreliability of the state grid and the rising cost of running diesel generators. Solar photovoltaic (PV) panels and batteries, in particular, have recently recorded significant price drops. It is important for operators and suppliers to choose optimal generators together with a renewable energy system to lessen the energy deficit. Diesel generators are still widely used in DRC, but their efficiency pales in contrast to that of more recent power facilities. Consuming fossil fuels results in high expenses for upkeep and operation, in addition to severe environmental damage. This study assessed the feasibility of using local weather and technical data to evaluate the efficiency of a diesel power plant hybridized with a PV system. The Hybrid Optimization Model for Electric Renewable (HOMER) simulations suggest that the hybrid system schedule is preferable due to its many economic and environmental advantages for the local community and its inhabitants. The promotion of such a hybrid system may encourage the sustainable economic development of a stable source of electricity for the Congo Region.
  • Impact of Hot Weather Conditions on the Performance of Supplementary Cementitious Materials Concrete

    Yassir M. Abbas; Galal Fares; Mohammad Iqbal Khan (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This study aimed to investigate the strength and permeability properties of binary and ternary systems for producing concrete mixes with a cure time of 7, 28, 90, and 180 days under high ambient temperatures (about 35–45 °C). The key variables were silica fume (SF) and fly ash (FA) and the water-to-binder ratio (0.18 to 0.55) needed for cementitious systems of normal to ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC). The tests were conducted under BS 1881 and ASTM C 1202. Further, a parametric study was conducted using isoresponse curves and predictive models developed in the study. After 28 days with 5% SF, the SF-binary concrete mixes showed significant gains in compressive strength, while 10% and 15% showed no significant gains. With a water–binder ratio of 0.55, concrete showed slightly higher strength gains than concrete with ratios of 0.16, 0.25, and 0.40. A 5% SF addition to 0.25-based concrete reduced permeability by 70%, which was marginal for 10% and 15%. However, higher SF content did not significantly affect concrete permeability with water–binder ratios of 0.55 and 0.40. The SF-FA ternary cementitious system of UHPC resulted in negligible permeability. With the developed model, the predicted–tested strength and permeability ratio was between 0.96 and 1.01. The isoresponse pattern of permeability changes at 6% SF content, while adding SF increases permeability significantly. The parametric analysis revealed that strength development deteriorates after 120 days regardless of whether SF is added at 10% or 15%.
  • Compaction Effort Evaluation of Crumb Rubber Modified Hot Mix Asphalt

    Dlzar Bakr Qadr; Aso Faiz Talabany (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    The primary goal of this study was to obtain the same performance from an asphalt mixture made using a Marshall impact hammer (MIH) as from asphalt made using a Superpave gyratory compactor (SGC). This was due to the expense of Superpave equipment compared with Marshall equipment. A wet process was used to blend the CR with PG 70-16 asphalt. A crushed stone aggregate was used with a 19 mm nominal maximum aggregate size, and the samples were prepared using an SGC and an MIH. The results show that nine percent CR was determined to be the optimum crumb-rubber content (OCRC). In addition, the SGC provided excellent performance in Marshall stability, density, tensile strength, and compressive strength at different numbers of blows and gyrations compared with the MIH. Moreover, the MIH required approximately 21, 21, 18, and 24 extra blows to obtain the same stability, density, tensile strength, and compressive strength, respectively, as the SGC at the design number of gyrations (Ndesign). Furthermore, modified mixtures at the OCRC increased the compressive strength in the range from 16 to 48 percent and had higher values on the index of retained strength than unmodified mixtures. As a result, they provided mixtures with less susceptibility to moisture damage. The significance of this study is that asphalt that performed the same as Superpave samples was obtained using only Marshall equipment.
  • Creating a Virtuous Food Cycle in Monterrey, Mexico

    Rob Roggema; Ana Elena Mallet; Aleksandra Krstikj (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This article focuses on the connection between health, food, and social wellbeing. Several health problems are caused by the types of food consumed. At the same time, traditional ingredients are increasingly less used. The potential of healthy, traditional foods, locally grown ingredients, and preparation in local quality restaurants could decrease health problems, especially in disadvantaged communities. The methodology focuses on developing the missing links between traditional recipes, the growth of local food, and the preparation and consumption of healthy food. The main finding of this article is the interconnected model and the definition of the components that link the abovementioned separate fields. Major components are a collection of traditional recipes from the elderly in local communities, establishing an urban farm in disadvantaged communities, local quality chefs who use the recipes and ingredients in their menu, and pop-up restaurants in the local communities where residents have access to healthy dishes. The main conclusion is that by connecting the fragmented fields of investigation, the most vulnerable residents gain access to healthy food options.
  • Assessment of Modular Construction System Made with Low Environmental Impact Construction Materials for Achieving Sustainable Housing Projects

    Guisel Romero Quidel; Matías Javier Soto Acuña; Carlos Javier Rojas Herrera; Karin Rodríguez Neira; Juan Pablo Cárdenas-Ramírez (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    The construction industry faces a significant challenge in addressing both the housing crisis and climate change. To mitigate this challenge, there has been a push toward the incorporation of industrialization in the construction process to improve product quality, reduce execution times, and lower production costs. However, it is also crucial to implement materials with sustainable characteristics to decrease the environmental impact of housing. In light of this, the present study analyzes the environmental and economic impacts through the development(design) of a modular construction system using materials with low environmental impact. Specifically, the structural components of the system are constructed using plywood boards, thermal insulation is provided by wheat straw, and the interior finish is made of clay plaster. The Skylark 250 model served as the chassis for the structure, with the wheat straw being applied through a blowing process and the clay plaster applied manually. Thermal transmittance, energy demand, environmental impact, and economic analysis were all evaluated for this solution. The study results yielded a modular housing solution with an energy demand of 55 (kWh/m2/year), which, when paired with photovoltaic panels, meets the Net Zero challenge. In terms of construction time, the proposed system requires 44% less time than traditional construction methods and is 29% less expensive economically, making it an attractive option for the housing market.
  • Effects of Content Characteristics and Improvement in User Satisfaction on the Reuse of Home Fitness Application

    Moonju Nam; Taegeon Song; Dasran Kim; Kukjin Jang; Jinsick Kim; Byeongsoo Koo; Jooyeoun Lee; Myoungsug Chung (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    As the global fitness industry rapidly digitalizes, home fitness applications have emerged as a convenient solution for people to exercise anytime, anywhere. This study investigated the mediation effect of exercise satisfaction on the relationship between content characteristics and continuance intention to use home fitness applications. This study provided guidance for developing effective home fitness applications by analyzing which content characteristics can increase the continuance intention to use home fitness applications. The mediation effect of exercise satisfaction on content characteristics and continuance intention to use was examined using a structural equation model analysis, and 330 survey responses from individuals who have used home fitness applications for exercise were analyzed. The results confirmed that the enhancement of the content characteristics exerted a positive effect on exercise satisfaction and continuance intention to use. Additionally, the enhancement of exercise satisfaction characteristics positively affected the continuance intention to use. Further, exercise satisfaction was observed to exert a significant mediating effect on the relationship between the content characteristics and continuance intention to use home fitness applications. These findings suggest that it is essential to devote significant attention to enhancing content characteristics and exercise satisfaction in the development of home fitness applications.
  • Recent Trends, Developments, and Emerging Technologies towards Sustainable Intelligent Machining: A Critical Review, Perspectives and Future Directions

    Muhammad Asif; Hang Shen; Chunlin Zhou; Yuandong Guo; Yibo Yuan; Pu Shao; Lan Xie; Muhammad Shoaib Bhutta (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Intelligent manufacturing is considered among the most important elements of the modern industrial revolution, which includes digitalization, networking, and the development of the intelligent manufacturing industry. With the progressive development of modern information technology, particularly the new generation of artificial intelligence (AI) technology, many new opportunities are coming into existence for intelligent machine tool (IMT) development. Intelligent machine tools offer diverse advantages, including learning and optimizing machining processes, error compensation, energy savings, and failure prevention. The paper focuses on the machine tool market in terms of global production, the leading machine tool-producing countries, and the leading countries’ market share in machine tool production. Moreover, the usage of various artificial intelligence techniques in intelligent machining operations is also considered in this comprehensive review, including machining parameter optimization, tool condition monitoring (TCM), and chatter vibration management of intelligent machine tools. Furthermore, future challenges for the machine tool industry are also highlighted.
  • Blockchain Technology Adoption for Improved Environmental Supply Chain Performance: The Mediation Effect of Supply Chain Resilience, Customer Integration, and Green Customer Information Sharing

    Summer K. Mohamed; Sandra Haddad; Mahmoud Barakat; Bojan Rosi (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Due to the complexity of building supply chain resilience (SCR) towards long-term environmental sustainability amendments, the use of emerging technologies such as Blockchain Technology (BCT) can be adopted as an innovative tool to enhance the sustainability and resilience of supply chains, especially in uncertain environments. Drawing on the Knowledge-Based View (KBV) and Dynamic Capability View (DCV), this research aims to demonstrate how the adoption of BCT can enhance the environmental supply chain performance (SCP). A total of 603 valid surveys were collected from respondents from manufacturing and service organizations in Egypt. The collected data were analyzed using structural equation modelling, and results revealed that BCT adoption alone had a negative direct impact on environmental SCP. However, when this relationship was mediated by SCR and sequentially mediated by customer integration and green customer information sharing, the results were positive. This research presents insights on how organizations can adapt to dynamic business environments, and, in addition, it extends the theories of KBV and DCV in an empirical contribution by filling the gap in understanding regarding how environmental SCP can be enhanced through the adoption of BCT.
  • Gen Z’s Attitude towards Green Image Destinations, Green Tourism and Behavioural Intention Regarding Green Holiday Destination Choice: A Study in Poland and India

    Marek Nowacki; Joanna Kowalczyk-Anioł; Yash Chawla (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Using PLS-SEM, this article proposes and verifies a model among Gen Z that captures the relationship between attitudes towards the environmental ecosystem and green tourism, personal and social norms regarding pro-environmental behaviour, perceived behavioural control, perceived green image of destinations (PGID), behavioural intentions regarding green holiday destinations (GHD), and willingness to pay (WTP) more for visiting them. The paper also verifies whether intercultural differences exist in the relationships between these variables. The most important results indicate that (1) for Gen Z, the perceived green image of destinations has the strongest impact on intention to travel to green holiday destinations; (2) the proposed variables explain the willingness to visit green holiday destinations to a much greater extent than the WTP a higher price for such trips. This study contributes to the literature concerning generational changes in tourism, pro-environmental (transition) planning, and the growing green economy and marketing.
  • Influence of Gas Pressure on the Failure Mechanism of Coal-like Burst-Prone Briquette and the Subsequent Geological Dynamic Disasters

    Ying Chen; Zhiwen Wang; Qianjia Hui; Zhaoju Zhang; Zikai Zhang; Bingjie Huo; Yang Chen; Jinliang Liu (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Rock bursts and coal and gas outbursts are geodynamic disasters in underground coal mines. Laboratory testing of raw coal samples is the dominant research method for disaster prediction. However, the reliability of the experimental data is low due to the inconsistency of the mechanical properties of raw coal materials. The utilization of structural coal resources and the development of new coal-like materials are of significance for geodynamic disaster prediction and prevention. This paper studies the failure characteristics and dynamic disaster propensities of coal-like burst-prone briquettes under different gas pressures. A self-made multi-function rock–gas coupling experimental device was developed and burst-prone briquettes were synthesized, which greatly improved the efficiency and precision of the experimental data. The results showed that the burst proneness of the briquette was thoroughly reduced at a critical gas pressure of 0.4 MPa. When the gas pressure was close to 0.8 MPa, both the bearing capacity and the stored burst energy reduced significantly and the dynamic failure duration extended considerably, indicating the typical plastic-flow failure characteristics of coal and gas outbursts. The acoustic emission monitoring results showed that with the increase in gas pressure, the post-peak ringing and the AE energy ratio of coal samples increased, suggesting that the macroscopic damage pattern changed from bursting-ejecting of large pieces to stripping–shedding of small fragments adhered to mylonitic coal. In addition, the transformation and coexistence of coal failure modes were discussed from the perspectives of coal geology and gas migration. This study provides a new method for the scientific research of compound dynamic disaster prevention in burst coal mines with high gas contents.
  • Experiment and Simulation on a Refrigeration Ventilation System for Deep Metal Mines

    Wei Shao; Shuo Wang; Wenpu Wang; Kun Shao; Qi Xiao; Zheng Cui (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Significant harm from heat has become a key restriction for deep metal mining with increasing mining depth. This paper proposes a refrigeration ventilation system for deep metal mines combined with an existing air cycling system and builds an experimental platform with six stope simulation boxes. Using the heat current method and the driving-resistance balance relationship, the heat transfer and flow constraints of the system were constructed. An artificial neural network was used to establish models of heat exchangers and refrigerators with historical experimental data. Combining the models of the system and stope simulation box, an algorithm that iterates the water outlet temperature of the evaporator and condenser of the refrigerator was proposed to design the coupled simulation model. The heat balance analysis and comparison of the air outlet temperatures of the stope, as well as the heat transfer rates of the heat exchangers with the experimental data, validated the coupled simulation model. Additionally, the effects of cooling fans and the air inlet temperature of the cooling tower were discussed, which provided a powerful modelling method for the coupled model of a refrigeration ventilation system, helps to reduce energy consumption, and improves the sustainability of mining production.
  • Effects of Household Clean Fuel Combustion on the Physical and Mental Health of the Elderly in Rural China

    Huiying Chen; Shuyan Gu; Cangcang Jia; Hai Gu; Qinglin Xu; Zi Lin (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Against the backdrop of the construction of an ecological civilization and the “Healthy China 2030” initiative, access to clean fuels is crucial for achieving optimal health and wellbeing, as well as sustainable social development. The purpose of this study is to investigate the effect of household clean fuel combustion (HCFC) on multiple dimensions of health among older adults while shedding light on the potential mechanisms. We performed a cross-sectional study of the data from the 2018 China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Survey, and we surmounted the underlying issues of endogeneity with the application of propensity score matching and the instrumental variable strategy. The results revealed that HCFC has positive effects on the health of older adults, particularly by improving their psychological wellbeing. The adoption of clean fuels among the elderly was associated with a significant increase in SRH by 3.06% to 3.42% and a decrease in CES-D by 7.96% to 8.28%. These positive environmental health effects became stronger among the elderly under the age of 75, as well as among those who were educated and had chronic diseases. Moreover, the results demonstrated that HCFC significantly alleviated chronic pain and increased social interaction among older adults, highlighting two potential pathways for promoting their wellbeing. Given that a significant number of rural households in China rely on polluting fuels, targeted strategies are crucial for promoting the use of clean fuels, particularly for vulnerable populations.
  • Effect of Urea-Calcium Sulfate Cocrystal Nitrogen Fertilizer on Sorghum Productivity and Soil N2O Emissions

    Prakriti Bista; Mohamed Eisa; Dovilė Ragauskaitė; Sundar Sapkota; Jonas Baltrusaitis; Rajan Ghimire (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    Urea cocrystal materials have recently emerged as high nitrogen (N) content fertilizers with low solubility capable of minimizing N loss and improving their use efficiency. However, their effects on crop productivity and N2O emissions remain underexplored. A greenhouse study was designed to evaluate sorghum (Sorghum bicolor (L.) Moench) yield, N uptake, and N2O emissions under six N treatments: C0 (without fertilizer), UR100 (urea), UC100 (CaSO4⋅4urea cocrystal) at 150 kg N ha−1, and CaSO4⋅4urea cocrystal at 40%, 70%, and 130% of 150 kg N ha−1 (UC40, UC70, and UC130, respectively). The results demonstrated that UR100, UC100, and UC130 had 51.4%, 87.5%, and 91.5% greater grain yields than the control. The soil nitrate and sulfur concentration, N uptake, and use efficiency were the greatest in UC130, while UR100 had significantly greater N2O loss within the first week of N application than the control and all the urea cocrystal treatments. UC130 minimized the rapid N loss in the environment as N2O emissions shortly after fertilizer application. Results of this study suggest the positive role of urea cocrystal in providing a balanced N supply and increasing crop yield in a more environmentally friendly way than urea alone. It could be good alternative fertilizer to minimize N loss as N2O emissions and significantly increase the N use efficiency in sorghum.
  • Unveiling the Smart City Concept: Perspectives from an Emerging Market via the Social Representation Theory

    Flavia Michelotto; Luiz Antonio Joia (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This study aims to investigate the perception of citizens about the smart city construct since, so far, there is no consensus on what a “smart city” really is. As a result of this, the term has been used in different circumstances and with different names and is associated with several conceptual variants. Thus, the novelty of this work is based on capturing this perception and comparing it with the definition of the smart city found in the scientific literature in order to identify similarities and cognitive gaps and refine the smart city concept—a still open knowledge gap. For this purpose, the Social Representation Theory was used, operationalized by the evocation of words technique. The study was carried out in Brazil, herein considered as a proxy for other emerging markets with regard to smart cities. The results indicated a highly technocentric view on the part of citizens about the smart city concept. In addition, citizens did not realize some dimensions of smart cities that are often addressed in the scientific literature, such as People, Citizen Participation and Culture. Finally, it was noticed that most of the existing scientific literature on the definition of the smart city comes from developed countries rather than the Global South—curiously, where the largest urban agglomerations with the biggest problems to be faced are located. Thus, research on the concept of smart cities in developing countries is necessary, which is one of the motivations for the development of this work.
  • Analysis of the Influence Mechanism of New Urbanization on High-Quality Economic Development in Northeast China

    Dongchao Zhang; Fangyi Jiao; Xiyue Zheng; Jianing Pang (MDPI AG, 2023-05-01)
    This paper examines the effect of new urbanization on high-quality economic development in Northeast China, focusing on three aspects: urban factor aggregation, internal division of labor, and scale effect. A panel mediated and moderated effects model is used to analyze data from 34 cities between 2000 and 2020. The results show that new urbanization promotes high-quality economic development through the mediating variables of innovation, consumption, and investment, with a strong mediating effect observed for innovation and consumption and a relatively weaker effect for investment. Furthermore, the study finds that public services, ecological environment, and industrial structure upgrading have significant positive moderating effects on innovation and consumption mediation but a negative effect on investment. In promoting new urbanization, Northeast China should prioritize investment in innovative factors, expand domestic demand, upgrade consumption patterns, improve people’s livelihoods, enhance urban investment in social service functions, optimize investment to promote industrial upgrading and improve urban public services, ecological environment, and management efficiency.

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