Friday, January 28, 2011

Sustainable Communities: The Oberlin Project

One of the more intriguing sustainability initiatives currently taking place is the Oberlin Project spearheaded by David Orr from Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. The College owns a 13 acre plot in downtown Oberlin which they plan to develop and make a LEED platinum neighborhood. Working with the Clinton Global Initiative and the US Green Building Council, this initiative brings together a partnership with expertise in changing neighborhoods and improving peoples lives.

In their effort to revitalize about a dozen buildings in the next several years, this effort may prove to be a viable example of collaborations between colleges and their local communities. Rather than remaining as educational islands, by engaging with their communities colleges have an opportunity to implement their vision of sustainable practices into their local towns. In effect, expanding their ideas into projects that improve the lives of local residents while enhancing their educational mission. Replicating these types of projects may prove essential as we reinvent the meaning of creating sustainable and thriveable communities.