Alan Durning: Biography

Alan Durning founded Sightline Institute in 1993. He contributed significantly to Sightline’s effort to create a new regional index of progress, the Cascadia Scorecard, and has led many of the organization’s other successes.

Durning is author or co-author of more than ten Sightline books including This Place on Earth 2002: Measuring What Matters; This Place on Earth 2001: Guide to a Sustainable NorthwestThis Place on Earth: Home and the Practice of Permanence (winner of the Governor’s Writers Award in 1996); The Car and the City; Unlocking Home: Three Keys to Affordable Communities; and Tax Shift. Alan’s current topics of focus include housing affordability and democracy reform. He has also written in recent years about Making Sustainability Legal, parking reform, car-less livingbike friendlinesselectric bikes, and climate fairness, as well as affordable housing, which resulted in the 2013 publication of Sightline’s first e-book, Unlocking Home.

Prior to founding Sightline, Durning was a senior researcher at Worldwatch Institute in Washington, DC, where he studied the relationships between social and environmental issues. While at Worldwatch, Durning wrote How Much is Enough? The Consumer Society and the Future of the Earth (1992), which was translated into seven languages and given two awards. He also coauthored seven State of the World reports along with Worldwatch Papers on topics ranging from animal agriculture to indigenous peoples.

Durning’s articles have been published in over 100 periodicals, including the Washington PostLos Angeles TimesNew York TimesChristian Science MonitorInternational Herald TribuneForeign Policy,SierraUtne Reader, and Technology Review. He publishes regularly in the Northwest press.

A sought-after keynote speaker, Durning has lectured at the White House, major universities, and numerous conferences including 2012 TEDx Bellevue. He consults with Northwest leaders on a variety of issues and serves on various advisory panels.

Durning holds a Bachelor of Arts with high honors, Phi Beta Kappa, from the Oberlin College and a Bachelor of Music, Pi Kappa Lambda, from the Oberlin Conservatory. He also holds a certificate in nonprofit leadership from the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Durning lives in Seattle. He has three children.