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Articles by Charles Shaw

Charles Shaw is a regular contributor to Scoop and The Next American City. He is the editor in chief of Conscious Choice.

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Doug Farr was heading into The Grind, a local fair-trade coffee spot in Chicago’s swanky Lincoln Square neighborhood, when he ran into Peter Nicholson, the organizer of the city’s monthly Green Drinks. The two well-heeled unofficial flag-wavers for the local green scene exchanged enthusiastic greetings, and began discussing the latest goings-on.

Doug Farr.

“Ugh. I’m really over green buildings,” Farr said, with a dash of weariness.

Nicholson said nothing, waiting to see if Farr was joking. It was, after all, a strange thing to hear from one of the world’s premier green architects. Farr needed no prompting to continue: “We have to do more. We have to think bigger. We have to start thinking about how we can build whole sustainable communities.”

“That would require systemic change,” Nicholson replied.

“Well, then I guess sustainability is about systemic change.”

It was somewhat of an epiphany, and a maxim that both would later employ. But for Farr, it would also become the panacea for his peculiar architectural malaise.

A New Approach

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