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About this book

This book addresses sustainability thinking and the bigger picture, by taking into consideration how and from where contemporary schools of thought emerged approximately a quarter-century ago. Evidence from the literature illustrates a number of key concepts and techniques that have been tested and continue to be tested, within various multi-disciplinary fields, on societal functionality. Research into sustainable societies needs to be sound, ethical, and creative. A cross-sectoral, interdisciplinary examination of challenges and strategies is used to interlink sustainability thinking and human-nature relations. With an ever-growing number of people now concentrated within urban areas, providing not only environmental quality and livable space, but also security and resilient urban systems, is becoming increasingly important. This urbanization trend has overlapped with environmental degradation, consumption of natural resources, habitat loss, and overall ecosystem change. Consequently, the goal is for cleaner, safer societies – with higher standards of living – to excel in support of current and future generational communities. The book tackles these challenges by integrating environmental scholarship, economic evaluation, and urban strategies under one umbrella of thought. The relational paradigms presented include examples that correlate developed and developing countries, socioeconomics and community development, and governance of knowledge and education. As such, the book argues, furthering of knowhow should be accessible and shared in order to achieve maximum innovation and benefit. Sustainability thinking, after all, is a metric for intrinsic human-nature relations in terms of past performance, present development, and future goals. This book discusses this metric and offers novel approaches to growing societies and what we can do next.

Table of Contents


Sustainability: Understanding and Insight


Human-Nature Relations: The Unwanted Filibuster

Human–nature relations encompass many of the age-old questions about our existence, place, and time. This chapter explores some of these notions and offers insight into the question “why protect nature?”, the Gaia theory, and linkages from a historical and economical viewpoint between the Global North and the Global South. Arguments in regard to moral and utilitarian viewpoints explore nature conservation with respect to ecocentrism versus anthropocentrism. Gaian ideology is defined and used as a premise to tie sustainability and human responsibility to human–nature and human–human relations. Example research interplays between the Global North and the Global South as two subsystems of human settlement. We utilize Africa as an example of the Global South subsystem and the global economy as an indicator for differentiation. In addition, the objectives, i.e., a recap, of the book and synopsis of the individual chapters are presented.
Giuseppe T. Cirella, Samuel W. Mwangi, Andrzej Paczoski, Solomon T. Abebe

Sociocultural-Carrying Capacity: Impact of Population Growth in Rapa Nui

A sustained population increase in Rapa Nui has been of a significant concern for the local community since the impact raised the need to establish measures of management to ensure its sustainability. To this end, a governing bill has been developed to regulate the permanence, residence, and transferability to the territory, as well as to promote technical instrumentation to calculate the carrying capacity of the island. A series of measures to overcome these concerns was administered by the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile of which this chapter investigates. A proposed methodology to measure the sociocultural-carrying capacity of Rapa Nui and monitor the impact generated from such phenomena, brought about by the increase in population (i.e., residents and tourists not belonging to the local ethnic group), is the fundamental target. Development of a tool-based approach, capable of managing livelihood, preserving and safeguarding local identity, heritage safe-keeping, and social coexistence in the insular territory is applied.
Piroska Ángel, Kay Bergamini

Territorial Integration of Foreigners: Social Sustainability of Host Societies

The foreign population has become a structural trait of Italian society, and its territorial integration a key factor in social sustainability. Mixed couples, an emerging phenomenon in the Italian context, are leading to a change in social space and residential geography of the local environment. Encouraging an improvement in the level of territorial integration of the foreign population, by the host, plays an important role in understanding demographic changes. This chapter proposes a theoretical reflection on the importance of territorial integration of foreigners and an assessment of the dimensional effects it presents to the host societies’ social cohesion, and an empirical application to examine the relationships between foreigner residential integration and mixed couples. Results indicate that the increase in mixed couples leads to a weakening of residential segregation and therefore to greater territorial integration of the foreign population in the host society. Taking level of segregation of other ethnic groups under control, the effect of mixed couples on the level of residential segregation remains negative, while at the same time, the level of residential segregation of a given foreign community is positively correlated with other foreign community’s level of residential segregation. The territorial integration of foreigners is, thus, strongly linked to the local, social environment in context of multi-segregation. From this perspective, the growth of mixed-race couples, at least within a territorial dimension, can represent an agent of change in the social space modifying the majority and minority groups’ residential geography.
Federico Benassi, Alessia Naccarato

Sustainable Land Reforms and Irregular Migration Management

Land-related issues are directly and indirectly the main cause of instability, conflict, and violence in Africa. When we think of addressing the root cause of human displacement and irregular migration in Africa, resolving historical land injustice, mitigating marginalization, and implementation of sustainable land reform ought to be central. Yet, land reform is inadequately considered from the international community toward finding solutions for instability and irregular migration. Land reform legislation hardly shows up in the European Union (EU)-Africa partnership on migration management major policy documents. This research asserts that stability and sustainable migration management in Africa are grounded on enhanced social inclusion established through sustainable land reforms. It also brings to the limelight the disconnection between international relations with Africa in addressing irregular migration and the real threat facing some African communities and households. The linked concept of human security to land security and relational ties to socio-ecological vulnerability and resilience is examined. An exploratory sustainable land reform option is considered as a comprehensive perspective of irregular migration management within the EU-Africa mobility framework.
Samuel W. Mwangi, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Role of the International Ecological Network, Emerald, in the Western Balkans’ Protected Areas

Ecological networks play an important role in controlling, preserving, and protecting nature all around Europe. Since not all European countries are part of the European Union (EU), consequently not all of the countries are part of Natura 2000, the largest European network for nature protection. All European countries, including non-EU, countries are part of one ecological network named Emerald. Emerald is international ecological network composed of Network of Areas of Special Conservation Interest (ASCI). Protected areas in Western Europe conduct more research and have more monetary assets, contrary to Eastern Europe. Research is focused on the Western Balkan countries and the number of Emerald nature protected areas on the borders of these countries. Historical overview of the political situation in this area before the Yugoslavian war is considered and consequences from this event on nature protected areas. Cross-border cooperation among many countries, cities, and villages, or even whole regions is very dependent on cooperation between geographical entities. By enlarging the Western Balkans into the EU, it is important to observe ASCI changes to the Emerald Network which presents a basis for addressing future EU-level Natura 2000 sites.
Tea Požar, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Economic Evaluation: Perspective Ideas


How Efficient is Urban Land Speculation?

Urban land speculation presents planning challenges of contemporary urbanization and settlements worldwide. Studies concerning land speculation focus primarily on the Global North and Asia, while little has been done on Sub-Saharan Africa. Available research in Sub-Saharan Africa is largely confined to studying economic forces driving peri-urbanization, land markets, and informal influences. Few have explicitly examined the policy forces driving it. Urban areas in Ethiopia have been growing very quickly in recent decades, which have led to ever-increasing demand for land in peri-urban and urban areas for housing and other non-agricultural activities. This has had several transformative impacts on transitional peri-urban areas, including engulfment of local communities and conversion of land rights and use from an agricultural to a built-up property rights system. Peri-urban areas also compete for land among speculators of diverse backgrounds. This chapter analyzes the urbanization and policy forces driving land speculation, economic role of land speculators, opportunity of land speculation and motives behind land speculation in the city of Shashemene, Ethiopia. It scrutinizes the city’s urbanization policy and national land policy by investigating how and why they are linked with the city’s land speculation processes. The analyses utilize primary data collected through household surveys, field observations, and key informant interviews, which are complemented by secondary data from national legal and policy documents, and regional and city administrative reports. The chapter encompasses an attempt to discover the process of land speculation in peri-urban and urban land by looking at the principal actors involved in land speculation. A principle finding illustrates that the societal costs in a typical city are increased by about 5–11% as a result of speculative increases in the value of urban land.
Bedane Sh. Gemeda, Birhanu G. Abebe, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Land Use Change Model Comparison: Mae Sot Special Economic Zone

Development of the Mae Sot Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Tak province, connects Thailand’s economy through the city of Myawaddy, Karen State, Myanmar with Mawlamyine, Yangon, Myanmar, India, and the south of China. Support for several basic infrastructure-related projects and public sector mega department stores are under construction. To date, these investments had not appeared in Tak province. As a result, land use change plays an important part in influencing Mae Sot SEZ. This chapter is a case study on land use change and prediction modeling over the next 20 years (i.e., 2028 and 2038) utilizing the cellular automata (CA)-Markov model and Land Change Modeler (LCM) methods. Predictive results show similar findings from both methods. Results indicate the forest areas and water bodies will change into agricultural and community areas, while the agricultural areas will change to community areas. These methods can assist in proper administrative safe measures to monitor impact on society, environment, security, and public health.
Sutatip Chavanavesskul, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Cohesion Policy for Europe 2020

Cohesion policy is one of the more important elements of the European Union’s (EU) integrated processes. Evaluating this type of mechanism can show the efficiency of European policy convergence and its elimination of development inequalities between Member States (MSs). The Europe 2020 Strategy introduced new challenges for MSs through strategic goals piloted by targets. MSs work at creating opportunities in an endogenous Union in which cohesion policy is formulated to best conflate and balance cooperation. This chapter examines cohesion policy as a tool for harmonized development by enlightening what are the, and how to decrease, development disparities among MSs. Europe 2020 targets are examined from 2011 to 2018. Overall, best results were found in Scandinavia, Benelux, and Northern Western countries, while Southern countries recorded low results. Specific MS-concerns, highlighted at the national-level, include lack of effective institutional framework, transport infrastructure, education, and innovation policy.
Andrzej Paczoski, Solomon T. Abebe, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Evaluating Green Infrastructure via Unmanned Aerial Systems and Optical Imagery Indices

Within small-sized areas, one of the most time and cost-effective remote sensing techniques for evaluating green infrastructure is unmanned aerial systems (UAS) in conjunction with optical imagery indices. In terms of urban sustainability, this approach can be applicable when, otherwise, expensive or up-to-date imagery is unavailable. This chapter illustrates the use of UAS as an adjunct to best urban planning practice and landscape infrastructural design and pieces together an environmental application by using flood mitigation as an example. The study area, located in Slovenia, assembles bottom-up imagery to produce a UAS-based flood map from predicted and potential rainfall. The basis of this research is to utilize simulation data from climate scenarios to show the intensification of precipitation change with pronounced change in seasonal variability. As such, green urban infrastructure mitigation policy can utilize UAS as a complimentary environmental monitoring tool for relating natural and urban systems.
Matjaž N. Perc, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Urbanization and Sustainability Strategies


Urban Sustainability: Integrating Ecology in City Design and Planning

Urban sustainability depends on ecosystem services and biodiversity which directly affects quality of urban life. At present, urbanization is having a drastic effect on the way human beings interact with the world around us. Urbanized environments tend to lessen the amount of habitat and increase habitat fragmentation. This important factor stresses the need for sound urban sustainability thinking as well as related urban planning and urban design processes. Adaptive urban knowhow is as the root of this chapter in which a number of exploratory concepts and notions are put forth with the intention of creating dialogue between ecosystem services and human well-being (i.e., through concerted ecological, economic, and social action). The chapter begins with a look at urban sustainability, explores sustainable urban strategies, considers a number of ideas under the umbrella of urban green infrastructure—reviewing a number of case examples—and concludes with background research in properly developing sustainable models and tools. Integrating ecology in city design and planning should support resilience-orient development and highlight a synergetic, evolutionary form of multi-disciplinary sustainability.
Alessio Russo, Giuseppe T. Cirella

Urbanization and Population Change: Banjar Municipality

There is a worldwide growing concern that increased concentration of people are moving to cities. There are numerous studies that describe and explain this phenomenon. A limited amount of research focuses on specific autonomous urban environments. Evidence on land use and population density change examines Banjar Municipality, a new autonomous city, in Indonesia. Google Earth Image Series data, an appropriate solution for tracking land use change in smaller geographic areas, is examined between 2006 and 2016. Results show an increase in urban area from 13.49 to 15.41% while agricultural land decreased from 71.22 to 69.87%. Positive observational highlights indicate urban forested areas are minimally impacted by the Municipality’s city-wide development. A small percentage of the surrounding water bodies increased as a result of the local authority building a new artificial lake. Interestingly, urban area changes mostly have occurred throughout the districts of Banjar and Langensari, not in Pataruman, which has experienced the highest increase in population in the latter decade. The underlying research focalizes on the constraints to facilitate land use within an urban corridor setting.
Agus Supriyadi, Tao Wang, Shanshan Chu, Tianwu Ma, Raden G. Shaumirahman, Giuseppe T. Cirella


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