Sam Cole is a Professor in the Department of Planning (since 1983) and the Department of Geography (1993 to 1997) at the State University of New York at Buffalo, and Director of the Center for Regional Studies (1988-1993), and former President of the North East Regional Science Association.
Prior to this he was at the Science Policy Research Unit at the University of Sussex, the United Kingdom Department of Environment, and the Cavendish Laboratory, Cambridge. He is a member of the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis and the National Center for Earthquake Engineering Research.
Dr. Cole has authored and edited several books on global models and futures scenarios including “Models of Doom: A Critique of the Limits to Growth” and “World Futures – The Great Debate”, “Worlds Apart: Technology, Distribution and the International Economy”, “The Global Impact of Information Technology”, and “Global Models and Futures Studies”. He was a member of the Council of the World Futures Studies Federation and is a North American editor of the journal Futures. In 2000 a paper “Dare to Dream: Bringing Futures into Planning” was part of a symposium that won the best paper of the year award from the American Planning Association.
Professor Cole has been a consultant to several international agencies including the European Commission, the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, the UNDP African National Long Term Perspectives Studies Project, the UN Commission on Culture and Development, and prepared an Economic Development Plan for the Caribbean island of Aruba. He has worked with the UNDP/World Bank Project in China on Sustainable Development for the Yellow River Delta.
During the summer of 1999, Dr. Cole and two students from the Planning Program assisted the Statistics Department in Aruba in developing a GIS system for the Island’s Year 2000 Census of Population. He has recently been involved with the evaluation of the Niagara Mohawk Power Choice proposals for New York State, assessing the impact of a Cruise Ship Care facility in the Bahamas, and a socio-economic analysis of the role of the Niagara Falls Power Project in the development of Western New York.
In Spring 2000, Professor Cole worked with the Center for Urban Studies to develop economic impact models for inner-city communities. In a subsequent project, he worked with Professor Henry Taylor on a project entitled Utilizing Tax Increment Financing to Revitalize a Heritage Neighborhood which won the Fannie Mae/American Collegiate Schools of Planning Award for the best practice-oriented paper.
In 2002-2003 Sam Cole and Victoria Razak, on sabbatical in Aruba, were invited to prepare a framework for sustainable tourism for the island and this was presented, during 2003-4, at several venues in Aruba and elsewhere.
Since returning from Aruba, Dr. Cole has led tourism planning studios in the Southern Tier of Western New York and in 2005 his students won the coveted APA Carole Bloom Award. He is currently working on theories of chaos and complexity in tourist destinations as an aspect of globalization.