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Archive: William Shutkin

Recovery Versus Discovery: Which Way Are We Headed?

William Shutkin / Aug 14 2009

For Release Friday, August 14, 2009

William Shutkin Th[e] journey may take us through suffering, difficulties, and doubts of all kinds, but they will become our greatest teachers. Through them we will … discover the inner strength and fearlessness we need to emerge from our old habits and set patterns.–Sogyal Rinpoche, Buddhist Teacher

With construction spending and housing prices up, foreclosure rates starting to level off and supersized bonuses returning to Wall Street banks, discussion about America’s Great Recession is starting to recede, giving way to pronouncements, however guarded, of recovery. Whether or not we are in fact emerging from the tumultuous economy of the past two years, with its attendant suffering, difficulties and doubts, the real question before us is, “What, exactly, are we recovering?”

The recent financial collapse, coupled with the election of the nation’s first black president and the end of the eight-year Bush era, have caused many Americans to engage in a kind of national soul-searching. They are asking basic, existential questions about the purpose of our economy and society and the values upon which they’ve been built. They’ve talked about doing more with less, placing limits on the excesses and greed of corporate America and redefining success and the American Dream. Read More »

Getting Down to Business In Sustainability 2.0

Anthony Flint and William Shutkin / Mar 12 2009

For Release Sunday, March 15, 2009

Anthony FlintWilliam ShutkinBOULDER, Colo. — For those concerned with sustainability, some big things are on the way from Washington. There’s the distribution of the $787 billion economic stimulus package for public works infrastructure. The reauthorization of federal transportation funding, which could finally shift significant funds from highways to transit. The Obama administration’s ambitious clean-energy plans, and its interest in a cap-and-trade system to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

We haven’t been used to such heavy lifting from the federal government. For years, the action has been at the local level, in metropolitan regions that have been engines of innovation focused on green, compact, transit-oriented settlement. In fact, during the final stages of the Bush administration and into these first days for President Obama, the bottom-up dynamic has led to a kind of Sustainability 2.0.

Consider the innovative practices of two Denver-based developers, Urban Villages and Zocolo Community Development. They’re building mixed-use, walkable, dense infill development that is integrated with transportation and open space, with all buildings constructed to last 100 years, powered by state-of-the-art heating and cooling systems–solar, radiant, thermal–that will use 80 percent less energy than the typical building today. Read More »