Scott Carlson

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


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 …


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. …


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 …