Scott Carlson

Scott Carlson writes about facilities, energy, architecture, and sustainability for The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Living

Revolution will be televised: On TV dramas and our end-of-the-world fetish

If only climate collapse led to perfect hair: The new NBC drama "Revolution" plays to all of our fantasies of a simple life, where what we do actually matters, and we look fabulous without even trying.

Transportation

A low-cost way to improve public transit: Add joy

Can transit incorporate art? Yes! How about playground equipment? You bet. Even … sex? Oh yeah, baby.

Business & Technology

Wendell Berry: This old farmer is still full of piss and vinegar

Speaking to a room full of Washington's high society, the poet, novelist, and agrarian didn’t pull any punches. Our world is coming apart, he said, and we’re all implicated.

Cities

Get your subterranean doomsday condo — while supplies last!

Where will you go when The End comes? Well, if you’ve got enough cash, you can go live in an old missile silo and wait for the climate crisis to blow over. Then again, cave dwelling might not be all that it’s cracked up to be.

Biking

The a$#&^% biker problem: Why it’s hard to share the road

There’s no doubt about it. Riding a bicycle on the streets can turn you into a monster. But whose fault is that?

Sprawl

Sick of the suburbs: How badly designed communities trash our health

There’s no way around it: The suburbs make us sick. One brave researcher has set out to spread the word -- and suggest healthy alternatives.

Cities

Defense insiders: Sustainable communities are key to the future

David Orr.Photo: Lisa DeJongThis story is the second of two pieces excerpted from a feature story in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the first piece here, and the full Chronicle story here. Environmental studies professor David Orr has set out to turn the aging rust belt town of Oberlin, Ohio, into a laboratory for sustainability. In the process, he has drawn interest from unlikely places: Experts from the military and in national security see the Oberlin Project as a compelling plan to focus on vulnerabilities in the nation’s food, energy, and socioeconomic systems. They and others, including leaders of …

Cities

An aging rust belt town becomes a laboratory for sustainability

Environmental Studies professor David OrrPhoto: Lisa DeJongThis story is the first of two pieces excerpted from a feature story in the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read part 2 here and the full Chronicle story here. Oberlin, Ohio — This northern Ohio college town is barely a blip on a map, far away from national centers of power. And yet people here are working on a plan that could make it a model for fundamentally reshaping the American economy and its society. The architect of the plan is David W. Orr, a professor of environmental studies and politics at Oberlin College. …

Cities

Why small cities are poised for success in an oil-starved future

Cross-posted from Urbanite. A couple of years ago, while I was reporting on a redevelopment plan in Buffalo, N.Y., I met up with Robert Shibley, an architecture professor who had long been interested in a renaissance for his once-great Rust Belt town. Buffalo, along with cities like Utica, Syracuse, and Rochester, had the sort of wonderful, old architecture and infrastructure you can find across upstate New York. We agreed that it was a shame to watch these places crumble in abandonment. But Shibley foresaw a glorious future. With ample freshwater (including the nearby Great Lakes), rich agricultural land, and a …

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