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National Center for Suburban Studies at Hofstra University®

NCSS: Sustainability

The NCSS responds to the imperative of integrating environmental stewardship with measures that maintain the long-term vitality of diverse suburban communities. Suburbs have emerged as a focal point for discussions of social and environmental sustainability. Past and present patterns of suburban development often have jeopardized ecological systems, human health, and future economic growth. This objective thus encompasses a broad range of projects, from re-designing suburban transportation systems, to re-imagining suburban homeownership, to remediating and supporting suburbs that have borne the heaviest environmental burdens. The Center is involved with several research projects on sustainability related to water pollution, street sweeping, nuisance animals, greenhouse gas management, suburban food production, and international sustainable development. In addition, the Center supports the Hofstra Student Garden which trains students on suburban agriculture.


Introduction to Sustainability, by Dr. Robert Brinkmann, is the first major textbook to review major themes in the cutting-edge field of sustainability. The text includes material on the development of the field of sustainability; environmental sustainability issues like water, food, and energy; social sustainability themes like environmental justice and transportation; and economic sustainability topics like green businesses and economic development.  Interspersed with many fascinating case studies and text boxes that encourage students to deeply explore the material, Dr. Brinkmann’s book allows students to see the world in new ways while also encouraging them to become part of the change needed to ensure the long-term sustainability of the planet.


The Storm, the Strife, and Everyday Life: Sea Changes in the Suburbs - This creative and forward-thinking book presents the results of a design studio at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design in Fall, 2014, under the supervision of Harvard Prof. Daniel D’Oca. The studio, which was generously sponsored by the Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund in the NY Community Trust, the Long Island Community Foundation, and the Rauch Foundation, invited graduate students of architecture, landscape architecture, urban planning, and urban design to take stock of how Long Island is changing. Then, with advice from NCSS Executive Dean Lawrence Levy, who wrote a foreword to the book, the Harvard students used this research to work with community-based partners to help their communities confront today’s demographic and environmental realities.

Sustainability Studies Director Robert Brinkmann on Sinkholes

Florida Sinkholes Cover

Florida Sinkholes--the first comprehensive book on the subject--is an easy-to-follow guide to understanding how sinkholes form and what to do about them. City planners, construction managers, developers, and homeowners alike will find this book invaluable because of the heavy impact and increasing frequency of sinkhole formation in the state. Packing an abundance of sound scientific fact into frank, readable language, this book examines case studies of notable sinkholes, explains karst--the Swiss cheese-like formations of soluble rock that underlie Florida’s peninsula--and reviews practical concerns like structural damage, repairs, and insurance problems related to sinkholes.

The Sustainability Studies Director, Robert Brinkmann, was featured on CNN, CBS, and published an editorial on CNN.com: