Photo of William Shutkin

William Shutkin

Former Lecturer and Director, Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute, --

A.B., Brown University, 1987
M.A., J.D., University of Virginia, 1991

A global leader in sustainability and social entrepreneurship, Bill is the Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Land Use Institute and a Lecturer at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law, where the Institute is based. He is also a Visiting Scholar at the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Institute at the University of Colorado Boulder. Bill has led several organizations at the nexus of environmental protection, community development and sustainability, including the nation’s premier environmental justice center, Boston-based Alternatives for Community & Environment; the pioneering green development research and consulting organization New Ecology, Inc., among the first to successfully make the business case for green, energy-efficient community development; the Orton Family Foundation, an operating foundation with a sustainable land use planning mission; and, the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies, the world’s fastest growing sustainable business trade association with over 60 member networks across the U.S. and Canada committed to zero-waste, green business strategies. He is also an Associate of the Citistates Group, the nation’s foremost think-tank and speakers’ bureau for metropolitanism and regional development, and on the Advisory Board of NRDC’s Smarter Cities.

Bill taught environmental policy and planning from 1999-2004 at MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. He was an Adjunct Professor from 1993-2004 at Boston College Law School and has taught at Tufts University and Northeastern University School of Law. Bill has lectured and consulted around the world on environmental policy and sustainable development and is the author of the award-winning book, The Land That Could Be: Environmentalism and Democracy in the Twenty-First Century, and A Republic of Trees: Field Notes on People, Place, and the Planet. He is also a published poet. Bill has been a commentator for Vermont Public Radio, a contributing writer for Northern Woodlands magazine and has been featured in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, U.S. News & World Report and on National Public Radio, as well as in the book, Eco-Pioneers: Practical Visionaries Solving Today’s Environmental Problems. David Brower described Bill as “an environmental visionary creating solutions to today’s problems with a passion that would make John Muir and Martin Luther King equally proud.”

Bill earned an AB in History and Classics from Brown University, an MA in History and JD from the University of Virginia and completed doctoral studies in Jurisprudence and Social Policy as a Regents Fellow at the University of California at Berkeley. He was a law clerk to Chief Judge Franklin S. Billings, Jr. of the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont.

FEATURED PUBLICATIONS

Books
A REPUBLIC OF TREES, FIELD NOTES ON PEOPLE, PLACE AND THE PLANET (The Public Press, 2007)
THE LAND THAT COULD BE: ENVIRONMENTALISM AND DEMOCRACY IN THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY (MIT Press, 2000) (Winner, 2001 Best Book Award, American Political Science Association, Ecological and Transformational Politics Section; 2002 Time Magazine “The Green Century” Recommended Book; translated into one foreign language (Hindi))
ENVIRONMENTAL LAWYER’S EMPOWERMENT PRACTICE HANDBOOK (Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education, 1995)

Chapters
What is Sustainability, in W. Robison, ed., SUSTAINABILITY ETHICS (forthcoming, 2010)
Foreword, in W. Travis, NEW GEOGRAPHIES OF THE AMERICAN WEST: LAND USE AND THE CHANGING PATTERNS OF PLACE (Island Press, 2007)
Coming Home to Roost, in J. Isham and S. Waage, eds., IGNITION: WHAT YOU CAN DO TO FIGHT GLOBAL WARMING AND SPARK A MOVEMENT (Island Press, 2007)
Oakland’s Fruitvale Transit Village: Building an Environmentally Sound Vehicle for Neighborhood Revitalization, in L. King and D. McCarthy, eds., ENVIRONMENTAL SOCIOLOGY: FROM ANALYSIS TO ACTION (Rowman & Littlefield, 2005)
From Pollution Control to Place-Making: The Role of Environmental Regulation in Creating Communities of Place, in E. Ben-Joseph and T. Szold, eds., REGULATING PLACE: STANDARDS AND THE SHAPING OF URBAN AMERICA (Routledge, 2004)
Once Upon a Brownfield: Toward a Vision of Green Development for Boston’s South Bay, in R. Greenstein, ed., RECYCLING THE CITY: THE USE AND REUSE OF URBAN LAND (Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, 2004)
An Environmentalism We Cannot Live Without, in National Neighborhood Coalition, ed., SMART GROWTH, BETTER NEIGHBORHOODS: COMMUNITIES LEADING THE WAY (National Neighborhood Coalition, 2000)
Brownfields and the Redevelopment of Communities, in R. Hofrichter, ed., RECLAIMING THE ENVIRONMENTAL DEBATE: ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH IN A TOXIC CULTURE (MIT Press, 2000) (with R. Mares)

Articles
Symposium on Urban Development and Climate Change, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW REVIEW (Fall 2009) (with N. Davidson)
Tele Towns, TELEMARK SKIER MAGAZINE (Fall 2008)
A Bronx Brownfield Tale (Book Review), ORION MAGAZINE (May/June 2003) (reviewing L. Harris, TILTING AT MILLS: GREEN DREAMS, DIRTY DEALINGS, AND THE CORPORATE SQUEEZE (2003))
Paper Promises (Book Review), GRIST MAGAZINE (May 2003) (reviewing L. Harris, TILTING AT MILLS: GREEN DREAMS, DIRTY DEALINGS, AND THE CORPORATE SQUEEZE (2003) and A. Hershkowitz, BRONX ECOLOGY: BLUEPRINT FOR A NEW ENVIRONMENTALISM (2002))
Building Sustainable Cities (Roundtable), HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE (Spring, 2003)
Civic Environmentalism, MEMOS TO THE GOVERNOR: THE COMMONWEALTH THAT COULD BE, A PROJECT OF THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR PUBLIC ADMINISTRATION (American Society of Pubic Administration, 2002) (with C. Foster, et al.)
A River (And $5 Billion in Infrastructure) Run Through It: Sustainability Slouches Towards Somerville’s Waterfront, 28 BOSTON COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS LAW REVIEW 565 (2001)
Toward a Global Model for Sustainable Urban Redevelopment: Extrapolating from the U.S. Experience, 4 CITY DEVELOPMENT STRATEGIES 44 (Fall, 2000) (with T. Dyke)
Book Review, 27 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION 1 (Winter, 2001) (reviewing D. Mazmanian and M. Kraft, eds., TOWARD SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES: TRANSITION AND TRANSFORMATIONS IN ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY (2000))
Toward a New Ecology: Bridging the Divide Between Environmental Protection and Community Building, 33 NEW ENGLAND LAW REVIEW 101 (1999)
The Concept of Environmental Justice and a Reconception of Democracy, 14 VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL 579 (1996)
Environmental Justice and the Use of History, 22 BOSTON COLLEGE ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS LAW REVIEW 1 (1995) (with C. Lord)
Environmental Law, Environmental Justice and Democracy, 96 WEST VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW 1117 (1994) (with C. Lord)
Pragmatism and the Promise of Adjudication, 18 VERMONT LAW REVIEW 59 (1993)
The Meaning of Law (Book Review), 15 AMERICAN BOOK REVIEW 24 (1993) (reviewing R. Weisberg, POETHICS: AND OTHER STRATEGIES OF LAW AND LITERATURE (1992))
International Human Rights Law and the Earth: The Protection of Indigenous Cultures and the Environment, 31 VIRGINIA JOURNAL OF INTERNATIONAL LAW 479 (1991)
The National Park Service Act Revisited, 10 VIRGINIA ENVIRONMENTAL LAW JOURNAL 339 (1991)
Reports from International Courts and Tribunals, 1 YEARBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL
ENVIRONMENTAL LAW 271 (1991) (with P. Sands)

Op-Eds, Essays & Commentaries
Recovery Versus Discovery: Which Way Are We Headed, CITIWIRE.NET (Aug. 14, 2009)
Getting Down to Business In Sustainability 2.0, CITIWIRE.NET (March 15, 2009) (with A. Flint)
The New, Evolved Capitalism, THE BOSTON GLOBE (July 27, 2007)
Entergy Is Not the Enemy, THE BURLINGTON FREE PRESS (May 28, 2007)
A Day in the Life of Carbon Balanced Living, THE BURLINGTON FREE PRESS (March 25, 2007)
Vermont Must Conserve Its Human Resources, THE BURLINGTON FREE PRESS (June 28, 2006)
Wind Power Debate, VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO (Dec. 12, 2005) (Wind Power Debate commentary series, winner of the 2006 Regional AP Award for Editorials)
North Woods for Sale, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Fall, 2005)
Mountains and Mileage, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Spring 2005)
Who Governs the Forest?, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Fall, 2004)
Builders and Savers: The Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, VERMONT PUBLIC RADIO (Nov. 29, 2004) (“Great Thoughts of Vermont” commentary series)
Essay, 10th Year Anniversary Issue, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Summer, 2004)
Farewell to ‘The People’s Republic,’ THE BOSTON GLOBE (June 25, 2004)
Regarding the Wind, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Spring, 2004)
A Lesson Before Hiking, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Fall, 2003)
Too Much ‘Island’ Thinking on Nantucket, THE BOSTON GLOBE (Aug. 15, 2003)
Haunted by Waters, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Spring, 2003)
Howls Over Cape Wind Farm Drown Out Merits, THE BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL (Oct. 25, 2002)
The Greening of a Boston Brownfield, THE BOSTON GLOBE (June 20, 2002)
An Environmentalist’s Axe, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Summer, 2002)
The Case for Good Zoning, CONSERVATION MATTERS: JOURNAL OF THE CONSERVATION LAW FOUNDATION (Spring, 2002)
Civic By Nature, URBAN ECOLOGY (Spring, 2002)
All Environmentalism Is Local (Essay), THE GUARDIAN (U.K.) (Jan. 15, 2002)
The Democracy of the Backcountry, THE RUTLAND (VT) HERALD (Feb. 27, 2002)
Green Development Connects Neighborhoods and Nature, THE BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL (Feb. 8, 2002)
Beyond Backyards and Bottom Lines, THE RUTLAND (VT) HERALD (Oct. 24, 2001)
The Old Growth Among Us, NORTHERN WOODLANDS (Fall, 2001)
Five Reasons Capitalism and Environmental Protection Are Compatible, MUTE MAGAZINE (U.K.) (May, 2001)
Learning Lessons from Building Schools on Toxic Sites, THE BOSTON GLOBE (Dec. 3, 2000)
Civic Environmentalism in the City, THE BROWNFIELDS REPORT (Nov. 24, 2000)
Environmentalists and the Wish for Kings (Audio Commentary), NPR LIVING ON EARTH (Oct. 28, 2000)
Fruitvale Transit Village: A Sound Vehicle for Neighborhood Revitalization, ORION AFIELD MAGAZINE (Summer, 2000)
Land Use and Development as Toxic as Any Other Threat (Focus Section Essay), THE BOSTON GLOBE (Apr. 16, 2000)
Clean Politics and Clean Environment Go Together, THE BOSTON GLOBE (Oct. 2, 1999)
Needed: A Civic Action, CONSERVATION MATTERS: JOURNAL OF THE CONSERVATION LAW FOUNDATION (Spring, 1999)
Environmentalists Must Play Bigger Marketplace Role, THE BOSTON BUSINESS JOURNAL (Jan. 22, 1999)
A Green Approach to the Incinerator Site, THE BOSTON GLOBE (July 14, 1998)
The Undemocratic Effects of Growth, THE BOSTON GLOBE (Aug. 11, 1997)
Redevelopment Efforts Could Benefit Hard-Hit Areas, BANKER & TRADESMAN (Jan. 27, 1997)

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Featured Publications

  • Just the Right Amount: Municipal Water Efficiency, Population Growth and Climate Change, University of Denver Water Law Review, with Matthew Brodahl (date of acceptance: March 2011; date of publication: Summer 2011).
  • What is Sustainability, ch. in W. Robison, ed., SUSTAINABILITY ETHICS (forthcoming, 2010).
  • Symposium on Urban Development and Climate Change, co-authored with N. Davidson, UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO LAW REVIEW (Fall 2009).
  • Recovery Versus Discovery: Which Way Are We Headed, CITIWIRE.NET (Aug. 14, 2009).
  • Getting Down to Business In Sustainability 2.0, co-authored with A. Flint, CITIWIRE.NET (March 15, 2009).