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  • Sustainable Utilization of Steel Slag from Traditional Industry and Agriculture to Catalysis

    Di Gao; Fu-Ping Wang; Yi-Tong Wang; Ya-Nan Zeng (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Steel slag is a large amount of residual material produced in the process of steel manufacturing. With the requirements of sustainable development in China, the utilization of steel slag has become a hot issue. Through an in-depth study on steel slag, it is apparent that it has been widely used in various fields in recent years. The resource utilization of steel slag is not only conducive to resource conservation, but also conducive to sustainable production and environmental protection. In this paper, the common ways of resource utilization of steel slag in construction, agriculture, industry, and catalysis are reviewed. Steel slag as a solid waste with great development potential and large output is expected to be widely developed into high value-added products such as catalytic material in the future.
  • Analysis of Longitudinal Timber Beam Joints Loaded with Simple Bending

    Kristyna Vavrusova; Antonin Lokaj; David Mikolasek; Oldrich Sucharda (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The joints in timber structures are often the decisive factor in determining the load-bearing capacity, rigidity, sustainability, and durability of timber structures. Compared with the fasteners used for steel and concrete structures, fasteners for timber structures generally have a lower load-bearing capacity and rigidity, with the exception of glued joints. Glued joints in timber structures constitute a diverse group of rigid joints which are distinguished by sudden failure when the joint’s load-bearing capacity is reached. In this contribution, the load-bearing capacity of a longitudinal joint for a beam under simple flexural stress is analyzed using glued, double-sided splices. Joints with double-sided splices and connecting screws were also tested to compare the load-bearing capacity and rigidity. A third series of tests was carried out on joints made using glued double-sided splices augmented with screws. The aim of this combined joint was to ensure greater ductility after the load-bearing capacity of the glued splice joint had been reached.
  • The Use of a Cooperative-Learning Activity with University Students: A Gender Experience

    Salvador Baena-Morales; Daniel Jerez-Mayorga; Francisco Tomás Fernández-González; Juan López-Morales (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) show how education is essential for creating values in students. In particular, SDG 4 (quality education) and SDG 5 (gender equality) indicate how co-education should be a sustainable benchmark. Co-educational methodologies have been studied for decades. Among them, cooperative learning is considered a valid technique for developing social relations and competences. This study aims to describe and characterize the gender differences between university students regarding their impressions and behaviors when working cooperatively. One hundred and seventy-seven university students (98 women and 79 men), from Physical Education and Primary Education degree courses, worked with Aronson’s Jigsaw technique. After its completion, they completed a questionnaire to analyze cooperative work in higher education (ACOES). The results are organized into seven dimensions. The main gender differences found show that women gave a higher evaluation to relating cooperative learning to future teaching roles (<i>p</i> = 0.017) and to understanding the need for cooperative tasks (<i>p</i> = 0.035). Additionally, female students prefer groups to be organized according to academic criteria and that they should remain stable throughout the academic period. Both genders value Aronson’s Jigsaw as a good method for developing social competences, although they are more neutral when considering it effective at improving academic performance. These findings help to generate a gender-cooperation profile that will enable future research to discuss results more accurately.
  • Improving Health Professionals’ Involvement Whilst Sustaining Work–Life Balance: Evidence from an Empirical Analysis

    Rocco Palumbo (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Most sustainability studies applied to healthcare primarily focus on external viability. In particular, they look at the ability of healthcare institutions to establish an economic, environmental, social, and political consonance with their context. Conversely, limited attention has been paid to issues related to internal sustainability. The article discusses health professionals’ involvement as a human resource management practice which contributes to the viability of healthcare organizations. A sequential mediation analysis was designed to shed light on the effects of employees’ involvement on work–life balance, which is an essential ingredient of the recipe for internal sustainability. The study findings suggest that health professionals’ involvement may determine an intensification and an extensification of work efforts, which undermine their work–life balance. Nevertheless, the implications of employees’ involvement on work–life balance are positively and significantly mediated by supportive relationships at work and positive organizational climate. From this standpoint, health professionals’ involvement may act as an effective strategy to enhance the internal sustainability of health care organizations if matched with better relationships with supervisors and improved organizational climate. Whilst calling for further research to enlighten issues and challenges related to internal sustainability, the article stresses that health professionals’ involvement should be paired with an improvement of the organizational climate to contribute to an increased viability of health care institutions.
  • Defining Smart Mobility Service Levels via Text Mining

    Jaehyun (Jason) So; Hyunju An; Changju Lee (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The concept of smart mobility depends on a country’s or city’s visions and surroundings, such as traffic issues and available transportation modes. This study, therefore, proposes a clear and consistent set of definitions for smart mobility, in the context of past, present, and future, based on investigations of smart mobility practices in South Korea and overseas. In addition, smart mobility definitions are collected from various written sources and analyzed via text mining to define levels of smart mobility beyond the present service level. This study therefore defines smart mobility in six stages: level 0, base infrastructure; level 1, individual digitization; level 2, partial integration; level 3, full integration; level 4, personalized integration; and level 5, mobility transformation. The definition of each stage includes the scope of transportation modes to be integrated, required technology level, mobility operations, and user convenience. This definition of smart mobility by stage will be beneficial for setting the targeted levels of smart mobility services in projects and for setting goals not only in the present context but also for the future of smart mobility, which will be utilized as a roadmap for the implementation of smart mobility in many countries and cities.
  • Effect of Underground-Type Ammunition Magazine Construction in Respect of Civil and Military Coexistence

    Sangwoo Park; Young-Jun Park (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Recently, rapid urban development and changes in the national defense environment have required civil–military coexistence plans. In particular, this is an urgent issue for ammunition magazines, which have the widest range of military protection zones among military facilities because of the safety distance standard and their location at transportation hubs. In this study, fundamental research was conducted on underground-type ammunition magazines for the sake of the sustainable civil and military developments. First, the effects of reducing the safety distance for underground-type ammunition magazines, compared to that for ground-type ammunition magazines, were evaluated. Economic and environmental effects expected by substituting underground-type ammunition magazines for ground-type ammunition magazines were analyzed based on the results. Then, design methods of the underground-type ammunition magazine that effectively reduce the safety distance were suggested by performing numerical simulations. The installation of chambers at different depths and the application of technologies to reduce explosion pressure inside the chambers were discussed. Finally, an endowment and concession project method was analyzed based on the previous researches as the most efficient way of implementing the project of an underground-type ammunition magazine. It was concluded that research to specify design methods for underground-type ammunition magazines was urgently required to vitalize future underground-type ammunition magazine projects.
  • Comparative Analysis of Data Detection Techniques for 5G Massive MIMO Systems

    Mahmoud A. Albreem; Arun Kumar; Mohammed H. Alsharif; Imran Khan; Bong Jun Choi (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Massive multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) is a backbone technology in the fifth-generation (5G) and beyond 5G (B5G) networks. It enhances performance gain, energy efficiency, and spectral efficiency. Unfortunately, a massive number of antennas need sophisticated processing to detect the transmitted signal. Although a detector based on the maximum likelihood (ML) is optimal, it incurs a high computational complexity, and hence, it is not hardware-friendly. In addition, the conventional linear detectors, such as the minimum mean square error (MMSE), include a matrix inversion, which causes a high computational complexity. As an alternative solution, approximate message passing (AMP) algorithm is proposed for data detection in massive MIMO uplink (UL) detectors. Although the AMP algorithm is converging extremely fast, the convergence is not guaranteed. A good initialization influences the convergence rate and affects the performance substantially together and the complexity. In this paper, we exploit several free-matrix-inversion methods, namely, the successive over-relaxation (SOR), the Gauss–Seidel (GS), and the Jacobi (JA), to initialize the AMP-based massive MIMO UL detector. In other words, hybrid detectors are proposed based on AMP, JA, SOR, and GS with an efficient initialization. Numerical results show that proposed detectors achieve a significant performance enhancement and a large reduction in the computational complexity.
  • Business Model as a Base for Building Firms’ Competitiveness

    Tihana Koprivnjak; Sunčica Oberman Peterka (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Designing and creating a business model is crucial for a successful firm’s operation in today’s market in a complex and changing environment. A business model is the factor that differentiates one firm from another—it defines the distinctions of the firm, how the firm deals with the competition, the firms’ partnerships, and customer relations. This paper explores the role of the business model in the creation of sustainable competitive advantage. The empirical part of the paper presents the business model of three small companies from the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Croatia using the Business Model Canvas. Additionally, business model components were also analyzed using a framework for evaluating a business model. The results of the analysis point to a few crucial components of the business model, on which small ICT firms in Croatia build their competitive advantage by creating significant distinctions of those components. These distinctions are essential for their longevity and sustainability.
  • Indigenous Knowledge and Acceptability of Treated Effluent in Agriculture

    Andrew Emmanuel Okem; Alfred Oduor Odindo (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The twin challenges of lack of access to improved sanitation and food insecurity remain critical, particularly in the global south. With cognizance of the nutrient potential of human excreta, there has been increasing interest in linking sanitation innovations with agriculture by using nutrients recovered from human excreta for crop production, thus, closing the nutrient loop. While studies and field trials have explored and validated the technical feasibility of reusing nutrients recovered from human excreta in agriculture, there is still limited knowledge of its social acceptability. This study examined whether indigenous knowledge can be leveraged to increase the acceptability of human-excreta-derived plant nutrient sources such as treated effluent in agriculture. A qualitative research design comprising seven focus group interviews (five in rural areas and two in peri-urban areas) was conducted in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Findings from the focus groups reveal a willingness to grow and consume food using treated effluent. Additionally, participants made references to indigenous practices that encourage recycling and reuse of human excreta. Given the potential to simultaneously address issues of food insecurity and sanitation that characterize many peri-urban and rural areas in South Africa, we recommend further studies in this area.
  • Envisaging Mitigation Action Can Induce Lower Discounting toward Future Environmental Gains and Promote Pro-Environmental Behavior

    Liang-Chu Ho; Yu-Hsien Sung; Chia-Chun Wu; Pei-Shan Lee; Wen-Bin Chiou (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Low engagement with climate change may stem from the tendency to discount the distant benefits of mitigation action. Hence, a reduced tendency to discount the future should be associated with increased involvement in climate change mitigation. Prior research has demonstrated that episodic future thinking (EFT; i.e., envisioning future events that involve self-projection) can reduce discounting. In two laboratory studies, we showed that engaging in EFT about mitigation action was associated with a lower discounting tendency toward future environmental gains (Experiments 1 and 2) and a greater tendency to act pro-environmentally, as manifested by using air conditioning in an energy-saving manner (Experiment 1), choosing a meal with less environmental impact (Experiment 2), and willingness to participate in beach cleaning (Experiment 2). The present findings suggest that engagement in EFT about mitigation action may represent a promising strategy for improving personal involvement in climate change.
  • Finding the Links between Risk Management and Project Success: Evidence from International Development Projects in Colombia

    Rocío Rodríguez-Rivero; Isabel Ortiz-Marcos; Javier Romero; Luis Ballesteros-Sánchez (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The aim of this research is to help improve the effectiveness of international development projects (IDPs) with a focus on enhancing their success. For this purpose, this work seeks to identify links between the management of risks among five projects executed in Cauca (Colombia) and the success of these projects in terms of project management and impacts on the beneficiary communities. An analysis of these projects reveals the most critical risks encountered and the relationships between the management of those risks and the success of the projects. The use of fuzzy logic through the fuzzy-set qualitative comparative analysis (fsQCA) program is key to performing this difficult task. The results of a qualitative study reveal that the most important risks correspond to economic, cultural, and political factors. A quantitative analysis by fsQCA shows a direct relationship between the management of cultural differences and the positive impacts of IDPs on the beneficiary communities.
  • A Systematic Review for Urban Regeneration Effects Analysis in Urban Cores

    Michela Tiboni; Francesco Botticini; Sílvia Sousa; Natacha Jesus-Silva (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    In this article, we aim to promote a methodology to analyze the effects of urban regeneration in historical sites. Different case studies are observed in depth, and they allow us to understand certain aspects concerning ex-post and ex-ante assessments. This methodology, which is supported by Geographic Information System (GIS) software and an online database, is based on different phases: the first is the quantification of the resources employed within the process, giving attention to the policies that are the basis for social and environmental changes. Then, the analysis moves to the effects of the interventions. In particular, the goal of the methodology was to understand how different urban operations can contribute to creating public value, and importance was given to the available tools for public bodies to develop partnerships and to capture that value. With the ex-post assessment, it was feasible to compare the situations before and after the realization of the projects, whereas, with the ex-ante assessment, it was viable to assess different possible development scenarios and compare them with the baseline of the current situation. The methodology was tested for the ex-post assessment case study of the city of Porto (PT) and for the ex-ante assessment case study of the city of Brescia (IT).
  • The Digitalization Sustainability Matrix: A Participatory Research Tool for Investigating Digitainability

    Shivam Gupta; Mahsa Motlagh; Jakob Rhyner (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Rapidly increasing applications of Digitalization and Artificial Intelligence (D&AI) are already impacting our day-to-day life substantially, along with social and economic prospects worldwide. The accelerating utilization of D&AI has stirred the discussion concerning the responsible application of technologies for assisting the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). D&AI can raise productivity, lower costs, reduce resource intensity, and enable efficient public services. However, there are also risks and downsides that we all must identify and tackle to address any potential short-/long-term undesired impact. Notably, there exists a gap in knowledge about the mutual relationships between D&AI and the 17 SDGs. To address this gap and gather broader perspectives of experts on the potential uses and pitfalls of D&AI for SDGs and their respective indicators, we propose a participatory research approach: the Digitalization–Sustainability Matrix (DSM). The DSM serves as a means for collaborative methods, such as participatory action research (PAR), for the knowledge production process. We exercised the DSM in the Digitainable Thinkathon event, a gathering of experts from diverse sectors and backgrounds for capturing the action-oriented dialogues concerning the use of D&AI technologies for the indicators of SDGs 4 (Education) and 13 (Climate Action). As a tool, the DSM aided in the discussion by systematically capturing transdisciplinary knowledge generated on several aspects, such as: (1) the need for research–practice nexus action; (2) data-capturing efforts and social considerations; (3) collaborative planning for utilizing the power of D&AI; (4) lessons from the diverse community to encourage the purposeful use of technologies. Overall, the proposed approach effectively triggered a discussion on the crucial aspects that need to be considered for D&AI’s practices, a step towards deep-rooting the transdisciplinary perspectives for meaningful use of D&AI for SDGs.
  • The Application of ICT and Smart Technologies in Polish Museums—Towards Smart Tourism

    Mateusz Naramski (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    The concept of Smart Tourism is rapidly developing alongside Smart Cities, with increasing numbers of ICT solutions being applied for the convenience of travelers as well as for gathering information, which has become a valuable resource. The vast progress in the development of Information Technologies has also impacted the needs and expectations of tourists. However, various branches of tourism are adopting this concept at a different pace, and thus a growing development gap might emerge. Cases from all over the world show that museums are not immune to this, and it is important for their future to meet these expectations. Therefore, the main objective of this study was to investigate the use of modern technologies in Polish museums and assess their readiness for adopting Smart Tourism. For this purpose, a nationwide online survey was conducted with a sample size of 218 museums (from 500 unique entities in total). The results show that the issue of Smart Tourism in Polish museums is ambiguous. The results reveal that, currently, the status of Smart Tourism adoption in museums is quite low, and significant gaps in some areas are shown; at the same time, other areas revealed a high potential for the future application of Smart Tourism.
  • Improving Cooperation among Farmers for Communal Land Conservation in Ethiopia: A Public Goods Experiment

    Shunji Oniki; Haftu Etsay; Melaku Berhe; Teklay Negash (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Farmers in developing countries depend on communal natural resources, yet countries in Sub-Saharan Africa are facing the severe degradation of communal lands due to the so-called “tragedy of the commons”. For the sustainable management of common resources, policy interventions, such as farmer seminars, are necessary to ensure high-level cooperation among farmers for land conservation. However, the effects of this type of information provision are not well known. The purpose of this study is to examine the effects of the dissemination of conservation information on collaborative communal forest management using an economic field experiment with 936 farmers selected by random sampling from 11 villages in the northern Ethiopian Highlands. We conducted a public goods game experiment using a framework of voluntary contribution to communal land conservation with an intervention to remind participants about the consequence of their behaviors. The results show that the volunteer contribution increased after the intervention, and thereafter the decay of the contribution was slow. The results indicate that providing information about the consequences leads to a higher contribution. The effects of information provision are heterogeneous in terms of social condition, such as access to an urban area and social capital, and individual characteristics, such as wealth. These findings imply that information provision effectively improves farmer collaboration toward natural resource conservation in developing countries.
  • Videogames and Innovation: Fostering Innovators’ Skills in Online-Learning Environments

    Hendrys Tobar-Muñoz; Juan G. Cárcamo; Henner Solarte; Christiam Ventes; Jorge H. Mesa (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Innovation is quite important for economies and entrepreneurs around the world, especially for developing countries such as Colombia, where this study was based. Therefore, education for innovation becomes as important, and newer and innovative educational means must be adjusted for developing skills in innovation and entrepreneurship. Innovator’s DNA is a framework of skills that are meant to be developed by innovators. This framework proposes five discovery skills, which are: observing, associating, experimenting, networking, and questioning. This paper studied whether and how videogames can develop innovators’ skills in students of entrepreneurship and innovation in online-learning environments, by directly observing the participation of 23 participants during an interaction with a game specifically tailored for fostering these skills. The videogame used is called CAFET, and it consists of a card-based game where players enact coffee industry entrepreneurs in Colombia. A mixed-methods research was carried out by coding each observable action conducted by the participants and interviewing them about their behaviors. Results showed that participants enact actions that may involve and develop innovator’s DNA skills, specifically observing, associating, and experimenting. This study analyzed how videogames can develop innovation skills and explains the behaviors observed among other insights.
  • Building Orientation in Green Facade Performance and Its Positive Effects on Urban Landscape Case Study: An Urban Block in Barcelona

    Faezeh Bagheri Moghaddam; Josep Maria Fort Mir; Alia Besné Yanguas; Isidro Navarro Delgado; Ernest Redondo Dominguez (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    This paper addresses the effect of building orientation efficiency of the green facade in energy consumption, for which the case study is an urban block in Passeig de Gracia, L’Eixample, Barcelona. Nowadays, many countries are faced with the trouble of the deficiency of energy resources and the incapability of saving them. Most of this energy is consumed in the cooling, heating, and artificial ventilation of buildings. For this reason, the development of an integrated strategy like a green facade is essential to transform buildings into structures that consume less energy and to improve the occupants’ comfort conditions. From the perspective of the urban landscape, the green facade can influence the quality of life in cities due to its positive effects such as the purification of air, the absorption of carbon dioxide, and the mitigation of dust, as well as the aesthetic and psychological aspects. Such criteria are based on the adoption of suitable orientation for the green facade, which is the second layer of the facade in an office building with a curtain wall as the main facade. Since the most important factor in the implementation of a green facade is the building’s orientation, the optimum orientation could be the key factor in regards to the reduction of energy consumption and cost and the improvement of overall energy efficiency. We used software that helped simulate the total energy consumption, the cost, and the energy use intensity annually and monthly. Consequently, after testing was carried out, it was proven that a green facade as a second layer with a southeast and/or a southwest orientation results in the maximum energy saving in a coastal city with a Mediterranean climate like Barcelona.
  • Sustainable Ambient Environment to Prevent Future Outbreaks: How Ambient Environment Relates to COVID-19 Local Transmission in Lima, Peru

    Tsai-Chi Kuo; Ana Maria Pacheco; Aditya Prana Iswara; Denny Dermawan; Gerry Andhikaputra; Lin-Han Chiang Hsieh (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), universally recognized as COVID-19, is currently is a global issue. Our study uses multivariate regression for determining the relationship between the ambient environment and COVID-19 cases in Lima. We also forecast the pattern trajectory of COVID-19 cases with variables using an Auto-Regressive Integrated Moving Average Model (ARIMA). There is a significant association between ambient temperature and PM<sub>10</sub> and COVID-19 cases, while no significant correlation has been seen for PM<sub>2.5</sub>. All variables in the multivariate regression model have R<sup>2</sup> = 0.788, which describes a significant exposure to COVID-19 cases in Lima. ARIMA (1,1,1), during observation time of PM<sub>2.5</sub>, PM<sub>10</sub>, and average temperature, is found to be suitable for forecasting COVID-19 cases in Lima. This result indicates that the expected high particle concentration and low ambient temperature in the coming season will further facilitate the transmission of the coronavirus if there is no other policy intervention. A suggested sustainable policy related to ambient environment and the lessons learned from different countries to prevent future outbreaks are also discussed in this study.
  • A Model to Evaluate the Flooding Opportunity and Sustainable Use of Former Open-Pits

    Izabela-Maria Apostu; Maria Lazar; Florin Faur (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    As a result of open-pit mining exploitations, impressive size gaps occur in the landscape. Their flooding leads to the occurrence of so-called open-pit lakes and represents an interesting way to reclaim and use sustainably the degraded land. In the literature, there are numerous plans, strategies, and guidelines for mine closure and open-pit recovery, but these are usually developed at the regional or national level and offer general suggestions, which must be evaluated and approached case-by-case. Because there is still no way to evaluate the opportunity of flooding the open-pits, a methodology for assessing this opportunity was developed to identify the open-pits that are suitable for flooding, this being the main objective of the paper. The paper is novel because of the multicriteria evaluation of open-pits and their remaining gaps, the logical succession of the criteria, and the proposed concept, methods, models, and equations that allow a complex assessment of the flooding opportunity. The methodology also aims to ensure maximum safety conditions in the former mining perimeter, the socio-economic and cultural requirements of local communities, the harmonization of the land in accordance with adjacent ecosystems, and the sustainable development of the region.
  • Sustainable Financing for New Vaccines in Indonesia: Challenges and Strategies

    Fonette Fonjungo; Debabrata Banerjee; Rizky Abdulah; Ajeng Diantini; Arif S. W. Kusuma; Muhammad Y. Permana; Auliya A. Suwantika (MDPI AG, 2020-11-01)
    Immunization is one of the most cost-effective interventions in global health and has a crucial role in achieving 14 of the 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs). The issue of sustainable financing for new vaccines is particularly pertinent as Indonesia transitions away from extensive Gavi support towards a self-financing immunization system. As the current immunization system transitions, practical solutions must be found and applied to provide more flexibility in the budget for financing immunizations without sacrificing the current healthcare system’s needs. Despite the fact that economic evaluation studies are essential as an initial step to ensure financial readiness, the lack of reliable data is the first barrier to Indonesia’s journey toward a self-financing immunization system. To overcome this problem, standardization of data collection strategies and methodologies are required. In particular, Indonesia may have to explore other options to increase revenue for its immunization system, such as through general revenue from the central government, a sector-wide approach to financing, and a national trust fund. To deal with the tight immunization budget and its consequences, Indonesia also has to restructure its immunization system, which can be implemented through province block grants, insurance mandate and subsidy. Taking the potential of a COVID-19 vaccine into account, the Indonesian government should consider a number of costs and issues beyond the development and procurement of vaccines. The costs of delivering vaccines to the remote parts of Indonesia, implementing the necessary infrastructure, and modifying vaccine delivery are also important in this time of transition. These constraints must be addressed in the new self-financing system and other public health efforts must be increased to decrease the burden of infectious disease as Indonesia develops a stronger immunization system.

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