Glimpsing America’s Suburban Future

Sequel to SuburbiaMIT Press has published an interesting new book on suburban planning and design entitled A Sequel to Suburbia: Glimpses of America’s Post-Suburban Future. Penned by  Nicholas A. Phelps, a professor of urban and regional development at University College London, the book includes a lengthy case-study on Schaumburg IL as well as on two other paradigmatic suburbs: downtown Kendall, Florida near Miami; and Tysons (formerly Tysons Corner) near Alexandria, Virginia.

The book’s highlighting of Schaumburg as “a regional capital for Chicago’s northwest suburbs” is of particular interest to the authors and readers of Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future blog, and further establishes Schaumburg’s relevance in the scholarly literature on suburban planning and sustainable development.

See this informative review by Kevin Sloan on The Nature of Cities blog, and check out the book’s website here, from which the following is quoted.

In the years after World War II, a distinctly American model for suburban development emerged. The expansive rings of outer suburbs that formed around major cities were decentralized and automobile oriented, an embodiment of America’s postwar mass-production, mass-consumption economy. But alternate models for suburbia, including “transit-oriented development,” “smart growth,” and “New Urbanism,” have inspired critiques of suburbanization and experiments in post-suburban ways of living. In Sequel to Suburbia, Nicholas Phelps considers the possible post-suburban future, offering historical and theoretical context as well as case studies of transforming communities.

Phelps first locates these outer suburban rings within wider metropolitan spaces, describes the suburbs as a “spatial fix” for the postwar capitalist economy, and examines the political and governmental obstacles to reworking suburban space. He then presents three glimpses of post-suburban America, looking at Kendall-Dadeland (in Miami-Dade County, Florida), Tysons Corner (in Fairfax County, Virginia), and Schaumburg, Illinois (near Chicago). He shows Kendall-Dadeland to be an isolated New Urbanism success; describes the re-planning of Tysons Corner to include a retrofitted central downtown area; and examines Schaumburg’s position as a regional capital for Chicago’s northwest suburbs. As these cases show, the reworking of suburban space and the accompanying political process will not be left to a small group of architects, planners, and politicians. Post-suburban politics will have to command the approval of the residents of suburbia.

2015. ISBN: 9780262029834. MIT Press. 248 pages.

Posted in Planning, Schaumburg, Sustainability

Still Time To Claim a Plot in the Schaumburg Campus Garden!

RUrbanPioneer gardeners and volunteers spread compost on the expanded garden on April 20th  (photo: L. Bryson)

RUrbanPioneer gardeners and volunteers spread compost on the expanded garden in 2012
(photo: L. Bryson)

Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus Community Garden is one of the origin sites for our university’s sustainability movement, and is a thriving hub of gardening innovation and community building. Right now, three 5×5 plots are still available for this year’s growing season. The only cost associated with joining the Community Garden would be for the materials that you personally purchase for your garden plot (seeds, soil amendment, etc.).

With the gardening season now moving into high gear, the time is ripe to claim a plot! If you are interested, please reach out to Rebecca Quesnell, Sustainable Operations Coordinator, Dept. of Physical Resources ( Plots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

Posted in Gardening, News, Recreation, Roosevelt, Schaumburg, Schaumburg Campus

Earth Month 2016 Activities at Roosevelt

It’s been decided that Earth Day —a single day dedicated to the importance of preserving our planet and the life it holds– is simply not enough! That’s why the entire month of April has been deemed Earth Month by a team of sustainability-focused students, faculty, and staff at Roosevelt University! Several events and competitions will be hosted during April, the month of Earth Day (22nd). We encourage you to show your support for preserving our planet and sustainability at Roosevelt by participating in the upcoming events and competitions. The majority of events and competitions will be held during the last two weeks of April and there will be prizes, giveaways, and/or food at the events!


Reuse Art Competition — April 18-22: Students, faculty, and staff will be able to collect items that would otherwise be thrown away, and use the items to create their own personal art piece. Your creativity will be on display in both the Downtown and Schaumburg libraries from April 18 through April 22. This is an opportunity for art minors, as well as students, faculty, and staff that are art-inclined and/or passionate about sustainability to show their talents to the RU community. Show us why the materials and items you utilize are not just trash, but worth much more! An online voting form will be available for the whole RU community from April 19 through April 30 to choose winners of the competition. Prizes will be awarded to the top three participants! Get started with collecting your items now, and contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at to sign up. The last day to sign up will be April 14th.

Green Office Competition — April 25-29: This challenge is open to all Roosevelt faculty and staff at the Chicago and Schaumburg campuses. A sustainability tracking form will be provided to all competing offices. The goal of this competition is to get faculty and staff to think and act sustainably, and we hope for it to continue after the competition ends. All participating offices will be recognized for their participation with a Green Office Certificate, and the office in 1st place will be in for a treat! The competition concludes on April 29th. Please contact Sarah Tag, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at as soon as possible to get started.

Indoor Walking Course Competition – April 25-29: An out-of-your-office, interactive challenge, this competition encourages those at the Schaumburg campus to avoid the ‘2:00pm crash’ and instead get up to stretch a little throughout the day. The course (starting in the Licht Center) will have signage posted and 4 laps (in either direction) amounts to 1.13 miles. Each day you can mark your name, email, and distance you walked on the course on a slip of paper and put it in a box— the paper and box will be at the start of the course. You may also email the information to Nick Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate, at The top 2-4 participants with the most miles walked, will receive a grand prize.


Safe Cycling Demo
Thursday, April 14
1:15-1:45pm, Wabash 1215
Katie Bowes, Special Projects and Enforcement Coordinator with the Chicago Department of Transportation, will be discussing safety while cycling – being visible and predictable, proper helmet use, bike locking, commuting, bike lane use, and more.  There will be time for questions as well.


Schaumburg Prairie

Outdoor Workday/Cleanup
Monday, April 18
9am-12pm, Schaumburg Campus
In an effort to get outside and work together as a community, an outdoor work/cleanup day will take place at the Schaumburg Campus. We will meet near the kiosk at the main entrance area of the building. Activities will include planting flowers, cleaning up any trash,and—best of all—getting some fresh air and having a lunch after, near the volleyball court.

Student Teach-Ins by SUST 340
Tuesday, April 19
2-5pm, WB Dining Center and AUD Congress & Fainman Lounges
Students in SUST 340: Policy, Law, & Ethics Class will be hosting multiple teach-ins on various applications of sustainability in the Dining Center, Fainman Lounge, and Congress Lounge. The event focuses on increasing awareness about positive sustainable action on campus and beyond. Students from SUST 340 will run interactive exhibits/activities and provide information about environmental justice, food waste, campus/community sustainability, and water quality. Free RU t-shirts and reusable water bottles will be available till they run out. Please stop by and engage in conversation and fun activities! Contact Professor Mike Bryson at with any questions or for more info.

Environmental Justice Twitter Chat
Tuesday, April 19
12:30-1:30pm, online and WB 1214
RU Sustainability Studies professor Mike Bryson (@MikeBryson22) hosts an #RUjusticechat on Twitter about environmental justice (EJ) in Chicago. Share stories, photos, questions, and comments about #Environmental(In)Justice here in Chicago, the birthplace of the urban environmental justice movement. Tweet from where you are, or bring your laptop/device to the LEED-Gold Wabash Building (room 1214) at RU’s Chicago Campus to join Professor Bryson in person for some communal Earth Week tweeting and accompanying verbal conversation. All are welcome!

Garden Planting Day & Recyclable Sorting Contestewaste
Wednesday, April 20
2-5pm, Wabash 317
The RU community will be able to start seedlings for the rooftop garden, create and decorate personal, potted plants to take home, and compete in a recyclable sorting and jump-shooting contest. All three activities will be hosted by RU Green (student organization) and Physical Resources, with help from RU Reforesting, in WB 317, on April 20, 2-5pm — there will be prize giveaways and free food! This is an opportunity to take part in the expanding rooftop garden in the Wabash building, learn more about sustainability on campus, and much more.
The recyclable sorting and jump-shooting contest will allow you to show off both your sustainability knowledge and jump shot! Participants will sort through (thoroughly-cleaned) dry waste, and determine what is recyclable and what is not. After the recyclables are sorted out, the items will be shot into their respective bins. 1st and 2nd place winners of the contest will receive $25 gift cards to Cafecito! Please join us at any time during the event from 2-5pm.

Earth Day Meal
Friday, April 22
Wabash Dining Center
The first 100 people to order an Earth Day Meal (all vegan and plant based) will receive a free tree seedling – White Fir or White Dogwood (1 per person, for the first 100 people). We look forward to celebrating Earth Day with you!

Arbor Day Observance, 2015, with Bright Horizons

Arbor Day Observance & Tree Planting
Friday, April 22
10-11am, Schaumburg Campus
The History of Arbor Day can be traced back to 1872, when J. Sterling Morton first proposed the idea. In the 1870s, the tradition of this observance and celebration expanded and by 1882 schools nationwide participated.

In an effort to recognize this long-standing tradition, and to express the importance of trees to the community and environment, Roosevelt University, via the Physical Resources Department, will be holding an Arbor Day Observance at the Schaumburg Campus from about 10am-11am on Friday, April 22 (Earth Day). We will meet near the Torch and the tree planting will take place near the front entrance of the building—you won’t be able to miss seeing the location. Free give-a-ways will be available and we look forward to participation from the RU Community.

Sustainability Studies Student Symposium
Wednesday, April 27
2:30-5:30pm, Wabash 1214
This spring’s SUST Student Symposium is hosted by students of the SUST 390 Sustainable Campus honors seminar, and is the biggest symposium to date since this biannual event began in Fall 2013. Honors students will describe their campus sustainability/activism projects undertaken this semester starting at 2:30pm, then at 3:45pm senior SUST and BCPS majors will present findings from their internships and research projects from this past year. Join us for lively conversation and scrumptiously healthy refreshments, and be dazzled by the work of our students! Refreshments at 2pm; presentations begin at 2:30pm. Free and open to the public. Come late, leave early, stay for everything — all are welcome to attend! RSVP to Professor Mike Bryson (

Questions or comments on any of the events/competitions? Contact Rebecca Quesnell, RU’s Sustainable Operations Coordinator at or 312-341-3673, and you will be directed to the right person.

Competition/Event Organizers and Contributors: Physical Resources, Sustainability ru green logo 2Studies Program, RU Green, and Wabash Dining Center
Prizes Contributors & Sponsors*: RU Admissions, RU CSI, RU Bookstore, Cafecito, Mark Vend*
Author: Reece Krishnan, SUST Senior and Environmental Sustainability Associate in Physical Resources

Posted in Chicago, Education, Events, People, Roosevelt, Schaumburg, Schaumburg Campus, Students, Sustainability

SUST Program Looks Back at 2015

Today’s post on the SUST at RU Blog, the official voice of Roosevelt’s Sustainability Studies undergraduate program, is a review of 2015’s events, accomplishments, and projects. Several of these had a positive impact on RU’s Schaumburg Campus, including the work done by SUST majors Mary Rasic and Sarah Tag (BA ’15) on the RU Community Garden, which finished its 4th growing season; and on the comprehensive tree-tagging project of the campus arboretum that took place last fall.

Other new developments on this website include dozens of posts and research essays from students in SUST 210 Sustainable Future and 240 Waste classes in 2015, plus a notable expansion of the Environmental Justice section of our site. SUST senior Tiffany Mucci began work as Assistant Editor of Schaumburg’s Sustainable Future this past fall and will continue her work throughout the Spring 2016 semester on expanding this community-focused EJ project.

Thanks to all in the Schaumburg community who’ve supported the SUST Program since its inception in 2010. Here’s to a fun and productive 2016!

Posted in Education, News, People, Roosevelt, Schaumburg Campus, Students, Sustainability, Uncategorized

Planned Renaissance for RU’s Schaumburg Campus

One year after former RU president Chuck Middleton announced program cuts and facility contractions at the university’s Schaumburg Campus (est. 1996), Roosevelt’s new president, Dr. Ali Malekzadeh, articulated bold plans to renew, expand, and reinvigorate the campus and reclaim RU’s place as the leading university presence in Chicago’s busy northwest suburbs.

Details are in the 21 Oct 2015 Daily Herald  article by Eric Peterson as well as the accompanying editorial, which signals enthusiasm in Schaumburg and its surrounding communities for Ali’s plans.

Restored prairie along the detention pond at RU's Schaumburg Campus (S. Tag, Aug 2015)

Restored prairie along the detention pond at RU’s Schaumburg Campus (S. Tag, Aug 2015)

Posted in Education, News, Roosevelt, Schaumburg, Schaumburg Campus

Cultivating RU’s Schaumburg Campus: SUST Senior Sarah Tag Recaps Her Summer Internship

During the summer of 2015, several Roosevelt University students majoring in Sustainability Studies have been doing internships or pursuing study abroad opportunities in various locales around the world, from Chicago to Hawaii and from Schaumburg to Scandinavia. We’ve invited them to write up reports from the field on their activities, adventures, and advocacy work in the service of environmental conservation, sustainable development, and social justice.

This post is from Sarah Tag, a senior SUST major, has been managing the RU Community Garden and working this summer and fall at RU’s Schaumburg Campus on a wide variety of sustainability projects.

A tagged tree at RU's Schaumburg Campus, Fall 2015 (photo: S. Tag)

A tagged tree at RU’s Schaumburg Campus, Fall 2015 (photo: S. Tag)

One of the most exciting projects that I have had the opportunity to work on for my environmental sustainability internship this summer is tree tagging. Roosevelt University’s Schaumburg campus is a certified arboretum, and we work hard to maintain accreditation. As part of our efforts, we are labeling every tree on campus with a round numbered aluminum tag.

Tree tagging is significant because it communicates the importance of trees to the local community. Trees benefit us in so many ways, and our Schaumburg campus tree community is a major part of our sustainable landscape. Trees filter air pollutants, thus enhancing and preserving air quality. They reduce erosion and sedimentation, which helps to stabilize the soil. They provide wind breaking and shade effects, which reduces energy consumption. They provide nesting areas for birds and other wildlife, which help control insects. They reduce stormwater runoff, and thus replenish groundwater supplies. Finally, they reduce the spread of noise. These benefits are gained not just by those visiting the Schaumburg campus, but also for those living in and visiting the village of Schaumburg.

There are over 400 trees on campus in Schaumburg, including 13 young fruit trees that were planted earlier this year to make up our edible forest. Every one of these trees is accounted for, with a number on a map that was created long before I began my work here. As we work our way through the campus tagging the trees, we need to follow this map every step of the way. The task is far from complete. We expect to have some help with this task, though. A local Boy Scout troop will be joining us in October to help finish this enormous project. It will be a very proud day when each of these trees’ numbers is displayed for students, faculty, and visitors of the university to see!

Submitted by Sarah Tag on 15 Sept 2015

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Conservation, Education, Landscaping, Roosevelt, Schaumburg, Schaumburg Campus, Students, Sustainability

Cultivating Roosevelt’s Schaumburg Campus: SUST Senior Sarah Tag Reports on Her Summer Internship at RU

During the summer of 2015, several Roosevelt University students majoring in Sustainability Studies have been doing internships or pursuing study abroad opportunities in various locales around the world, from Chicago to Hawaii and from Schaumburg to Scandinavia. We’ve invited them to write up reports from the field on their activities, adventures, and advocacy work in the service of environmental conservation, sustainable development, and social justice.

This post is from Sarah Tag, a senior SUST major who is working this summer and fall as RU’s Schaumburg Campus on a wide variety of sustainability projects.

Restored prairie along the detention pond at RU's Schaumburg Campus (S. Tag, Aug 2015)

Restored prairie along the detention pond at RU’s Schaumburg Campus (S. Tag, Aug 2015)

This summer, I have had the privilege of working as Roosevelt University’s environmental sustainability student associate for the Schaumburg campus. The tasks for this position are varied, but among my most important responsibilities are monitoring and maintaining the community garden, as well as keeping an eye on things through the tall grasses and flowers of the prairie walk.

As part of monitoring and maintaining the community garden I am often checking and double checking our automatic irrigation system and making adjustments, checking the rain barrel to make sure it is full and functioning, weeding, laying wood chips, taking pictures of the flora and fauna, and regularly corresponding with gardeners to answer questions and resolve any issues.

Generally things run fairly smoothly, although the job is not without its challenges.  One of my toughest issues arose when I had just begun my position in Schaumburg, and spotted a tick while working on one of the irrigation heads.  I then took it upon myself to minimize the issue:  I did some research on the CDC website, and sent an update to the community gardeners with helpful tips.  I also worked with the landscaper to have the tall grasses that abut the community gardens cut back a bit, leaving a buffer zone between them.  Then I did the really heavy lifting.  I spent numerous hot days loading a wheelbarrow full of wood chips (from trees that were cut on campus), pushing them over to the garden area, laying them down, and spreading them neatly.  Wood chips not only deter weeds, but also discourage ticks.

Schaumburg's wild fauna (S. Tag, Aug 2015

Schaumburg’s wild fauna (S. Tag, Aug 2015

When I say the job is a privilege, however, it is no exaggeration.  I have walked through  the prairie walk on so many days and said to myself, “Is this really my job?!  I am so lucky!”  One of my favorite things to hear when I get out there is the song of the goldfinches flying above me.  I can identify them without even looking up above my head now, and I grin every time.  I know their dip-swoop pattern of flying and their fluttery song well.  I have seen and heard other animals and critters too, even a toad.  From the exotic to the mundane, every day on this job has been an adventure.​

Submitted by Sarah Tag on 26 Aug 2015

Posted in Agriculture, Biodiversity, Conservation, Education, Food, Gardening, Landscaping, Roosevelt, Schaumburg, Schaumburg Campus, Students, Sustainability | 1 Comment