Before joining the Department of Environmental Planning and Design at UB in 1983, Professor Sam Cole worked in a wide variety of national and international positions in national, urban, and regional planning.
Educated at Imperial College London and Sussex University and after completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the Cavendish Laboratory Cambridge he was became a Senior Scientific Officer in the Urban Planning Division of the UK Department of Environment. In 1971 Sam was appointed Senior Fellow at the Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, Visiting Fellow at the United Nations Institute for Training and Research, New York, with appointments in Papua New Guinea and Sweden, and Professor in the UB Department of Geography. Over the years he has consulted with international and regional development agencies and private organizations in many countries in Africa, Asia and the South Pacific, and the Americas. He has drafted policy documents for several high-level UN Committees including the Commission on Culture and Development, the UN Population Division, and the UNESCO Medium Term Plan. Prior to his arrival in Buffalo Sam was Senior Economist in charge of the preparation of a macro-economic plan for the independence of the island nation of Aruba and continues to research disaster management, tourism, and public policy issues in the Caribbean and elsewhere. Sam has published well-over one hundred scholarly articles, books, and consultant reports.
Professor Cole's research interests match his teaching and experience. He is currently involved in projects on methods of futures studies with the United Nations University Millennium Project, Tourism Planning, Disaster Management and Planning with a European-Japanese-US group, and social accounting methods in regional science. His most recent research involves the application of chaos and innovation theories to secular and metropolitan development. He is a member of several university research institutes, including the Multidisciplinary Center for Earthquake Engineering Research, National Center for Geographic Information Systems, the Environment and Society Institute, the Center for Urban Studies, and formerly Director of the Center for Regional Studies. He is currently a member of the World Futures Studies Federation, the International Input-Output Association, the North American and International Regional Science Associations.
Professor Cole is involved in public service through university centers, consulting activities, and also through departmental studios. His activities include preparation of a new framework for sustainable tourism in Aruba for the Island Government, a socio-economic analysis of the Niagara Power Project for the New York Power Authority, a “Turning Point” inner-city development strategy for the City of Buffalo with the Center for Urban Studies, and a tourism strategy for counties in the Southern Tier of Western New York with students in the tourism studio, and advised community action groups in the UK. He has recently prepared a "Strategy for Sustainable Tourism" in Aruba. Sam has been a University at Buffalo academic delegate to the United University Professions since 2009.
In 2005, Cole's studio students won the APA Carol Bloome Award for the Best Group Tourism Project. Joint-Winner of Best Paper in Journal of the American Planning Association –2001. Joint-Winner of Fannie Mae/Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning, Best Practice Paper -2000. Editorial Board Futures- the International Journal of Policy, Planning, and Futures Studies; Regional Science Review; and the Journal of Regional Analysis and Policy. Open, Doctoral, and Post-doctoral Scholarships to London , Sussex , and Cambridge Universities . Research Fellow of the World Futures Studies Federation. In earlier times Sam was an passionate racing cyclist and rugby player for regional and university teams. He remains an avid mountain-biker.