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Sustainability assessment of urban water environment treatment public-private partnership projects using fuzzy logic

Huimin Li (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, North China University of Water Resource and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Qing Xia (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, North China University of Water Resource and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Lunyan Wang (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, North China University of Water Resource and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)
Ying Ma (Department of Construction Engineering and Management, North China University of Water Resource and Electric Power, Zhengzhou, China)

Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology

ISSN: 1726-0531

Article publication date: 2 March 2020

Issue publication date: 26 August 2020

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Abstract

Purpose

In recent years, with the increasingly serious urban water environmental pollution, the government has exerted considerable effort to promote the comprehensive improvement of the water environment and conducted numerous urban water environment treatment public–private partnership (PPP) projects (UWETP-PPP). The sustainability assessment of UWETP-PPP has important theoretical and practical significance for the public and private sectors to systematically evaluate the sustainability of projects and promote the sustainable development of projects. Therefore, the purpose of this paper is to advance a method to evaluate the sustainability of UWETP-PPP.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper adopted fuzzy logic method to evaluate the sustainability of UWETP-PPP. First, this paper constructed the sustainability assessment indicator system of UWETP-PPP. Second, this paper determined the appropriate linguistic scale for assessing the performance ratings and importance weights of UWETP-PPP sustainability indicators and collected experts’ evaluations of the project through questionnaires. Then, the linguistic variables were approximated as fuzzy numbers through the concept of fuzzy theory. Finally, the sustainability of the project was determined and the weak sustainability aspects of the project were identified by calculation.

Findings

The feasibility of this method was verified by a specific case. And, the results of the case study showed that the UWETP-PPP in Xuchang City, China, was sustainable, and the indicators of weak sustainability of the project were identified, namely, internal return ratio (IRR), sustainable cash flow, provision of employment opportunities, energy efficiency, comprehensive use of water resources, use of innovation materials, renewal of project facilities, adoption of advanced engineering technology, use of construction waste and waste recycling and reuse. This paper also proposed corresponding suggestions for further improving the sustainability of the UWETP-PPP in Xuchang City, China.

Originality/value

This paper makes two contributions: first, the fuzzy logic method is applied to provide new ideas for a sustainability assessment of UWETP-PPP, and the assessment results facilitate ways to monitor and estimate the degree of sustainability. Second, the identified indicators of weak sustainability provide useful references for the public and private sectors regarding implementing appropriate measures to improve the sustainability level of UWETP-PPP.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This study was supported by the MOE (Ministry of Education in China) Project of Humanities and Social Sciences (No.19YJC630078), China Scholarship Council (201908410388), National Key R&D Program of China (No.2018YFC0406905), National Natural Science Foundation of China (No.71302191), the Foundation for Distinguished Young Talents in Higher Education of Henan (Humanities and Social Sciences), China (No.2017-cxrc-023), Youth Talents Teachers Scheme of Henan Province Universities (No.2018GGJS080) and the 10th graduate student innovation project of North China University of Water Resources and Electric Power (No.YK2018-04).

Citation

Li, H., Xia, Q., Wang, L. and Ma, Y. (2020), "Sustainability assessment of urban water environment treatment public-private partnership projects using fuzzy logic", Journal of Engineering, Design and Technology, Vol. 18 No. 5, pp. 1251-1267. https://doi.org/10.1108/JEDT-10-2019-0260

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

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