David J. Hess

Urban Sustainability Programs:
Case Study Collections

This page has two sets of case studies.

The first set is based on undergraduate research projects at Vanderbilt University as part of courses that included the analysis of local sustainability poltiics and policies. The student papers discussed sustainability plans and programs as well as a specific area of relative strength. Papers are posted with students' permission. Contents include discussions of overall initiatives and a selected leading initiative in various cities: Barcelona, Berkeley, Bogota, Chicago, Denver, London, Madrid, Melbourne, Montreal,New York, Oakland, Ottowa, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Shenzen,Singapore, Sydney, Vancouver, Washington (DC). This set of case studies is available as a single document here.

The second set is based on research conducted in 2005 as part of a graduate student research training project that was funded by the National Science Foundation,Science and Technology Studies Program (SES 0425039) that analyzed issues of localism, sustainability and the design of industrial and technological systems. Students received training in qualitative social science research methods. The case studies are made available here for high school, college, and general public educational purposes. The cases are listed below.

1. The greening of urban public transit and electricity: This document contains case studies of the greening of public transit systems (Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District, Chattanooga (CARTA), San Francisco Muni, and Seattle Metro Transit) and of the greening of electricity (Austin Energy, San Francisco Community Choice, and Seattle City Light and Public Power).

2. Reuse centers and building deconstruction organizations: This document contains case studies of the Habitat for Humanity Re-store (Austin), the Loading Dock (Baltimore), Urban Ore (Berkeley), Recycle North (Burlington), the Reuse People (Oakland), Construction Junction (Pittsburgh), and the Rebuilding Center (Portland).

3. Locally oriented and green business networks: This document contains four case studies. One is of an AMIBA network, the Austin Independent Business Alliance, and the others are of the Sustainable Business Network of Greater Philadelphia, Local Exchange (San Francisco), and the Vermont Sustainable Jobs Fund.

4. Community gardens and sustainable local agriculture: There are separate case studies here for community gardens in Boston, Denver, Cleveland, Detroit, New York, Philadelphia, Portland, Sacramento, San Francisco, and Seattle. There is also a case study of an urban farm in Sacramento and a farmers' market in San Francisco.

For case studies of CSA farms, visit the U.Mass. site: http://www.umassvegetable.org/food_farming_systems/csa/farm_profiles.html

The graduate student training for the second set of case studies was funded by a project on "Sustainability, the Politics of Design, and Localism," sponsored by the National Science Foundation through the STS Program (SES 0425039). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.Four graduate students--Colin Beech, Rachel Dowty, Govind Gopakumar, and Richard Arias--conducted some of the interviews and received training as part of the project.