Skip to Content
Scott Cloutier

Scott Cloutier

Senior Sustainability Scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability
Assistant Professor, School of Sustainability

Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives
Arizona State University
PO Box 878009
Tempe, AZ 85287-8009

Dr. Scott Cloutier is an Assistant Professor, Walton Sustainability Fellow and Senior Sustainability Scholar within the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability. He is focused on charting a new course for sustainability to maximize opportunities for happiness. Scott’s experience and expanding research agenda revolve around three key elements: (1) Sustainable Urban/Neighborhood Development research designed to integrate community development subsystems (e.g. water, waste, energy, transportation, business and economic development) to maximize community well-being through sustainable interventions; (2) Qualitative and Quantitative Mixed Method research designed to explore and reflect human/built-and-natural-environment/sustainability connections from both subjective and objective perspectives; and (3) Theoretical Processes research around constructs of quality of life, community well-being, subjective well-being (happiness), hedonia, eudaimonia and biological underpinnings.

Scott currently leads the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness™ (SNfH) project - a multi-year research, teaching and applied sustainability solutions effort to improve neighborhood well-being and the happiness of residents living within. The SNfH is a partnership between universities, local municipalities, city officials, non-profit organizations, businesses, faculty, staff and students. His work takes him to neighborhoods in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, Guatemala and Denmark. He works closely with partners and residents to identify pressing sustainability issues and, through participatory processes, develops and applies culturally sensitive solutions that maximize opportunities for happiness.

Scott is the developer of the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index (SNHI): a tool used to assess and compare how well individual cities, towns, neighborhoods and communities of any size embrace sustainable practices and how these practices translate to opportunities for residents to pursue happiness. He is also the founder of the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Research Consortium (sn4hrc). Prior to ;joining the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, Scott served six years in the United States Navy, earned a Bachelors and Masters degree from the University of New Hampshire, his doctorate from Cornell University and spent a year at the University of Georgia as a postdoctoral researcher. His prior teaching experiences include engineering and sustainability courses at a charter high school and college level math, engineering, environmental science, sustainability, and community development courses both in a classroom and online format. He is constantly driven to shift the focus of sustainability to enhancing neighborhood well-being, resilience and opportunities for happiness through intentional design and retrofit.

PhD, Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, 2014

MS, Civil Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2010

BS, Environmental Engineering, University of New Hampshire, 2008

Journal Articles


Cloutier, S., A. Karner, H. L. Breetz, P. Toufani, N. C. Onat, S. Patel, S. N. Paralkar, E. Berejnoi, B. Morrison, J. T. Papenfuss, A. D. Briggs and C. Carlson. 2017. Measures of a sustainable commute as a predictor of happiness. Sustainability 9(7):1214. DOI: 10.3390/su9071214. (link )


Larson, L. R., V. Jennings and S. A. Cloutier. 2016. Public parks and wellbeing in urban areas of the United States. PLOS One 11(4):e0153211. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0153211. (link )

Pfeiffer, D. and S. Cloutier. 2016. Planning for happy neighborhoods. Journal of the American Planning Association 82(3):267-279. DOI: 10.1080/01944363.2016.1166347. (link )


Cloutier, S. 2015. In pursuit of happiness: Moving our communities toward a sustainable and happy future. The International Journal of Sustainability in Economic, Social and Cultural Context 11(3):29-40. (link )

Cloutier, S. and D. Pfeiffer. 2015. Sustainability through happiness: A framework for sustainable development. Sustainable Development 23(5):317-327. DOI: 10.1002/sd.1593. (link )


Cloutier, S., J. R. Jambeck and N. R. Scott. 2014. Application of the Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index to coastal cities in the United States. Ocean & Coastal Management 96(August):203-209. DOI: 10.1016/j.ocecoaman.2014.02.017. (link )

Cloutier, S., J. Jambeck and N. Scott. 2014. The Sustainable Neighborhoods for Happiness Index (SNHI): A metric for assessing a community’s potential influence on residential happiness. Ecological Indicators 40(May):147-152. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolind.2014.01.012. (link )

Cloutier, S., L. R. Larson and J. R. Jambeck. 2014. Are sustainable cities “happy” cities?: Associations between sustainable development and human well-being in urban areas of the United States. Environment, Development & Sustainability 16(3): 633-647. DOI: 10.1007/s10668-013-9499-0. (link )



Kraeger, P., S. Cloutier and C. Talmage eds. 2017. New Dimensions in Community Well-Being. Springer International Publishing. ISBN: 978-3-319-55407-5.

Book Chapters


Cloutier, S. and D. Pfeiffer. 2017. Happiness: An alternative objective for sustainable community development. Pp. 85-96 In: Phillips, R. and C. Wong eds., Handbook of Community Well-Being Research. Springer Netherlands. ISBN: 978-94-024-0876-8.

Magazine Articles


Cloutier, S. 2014. Design for Happiness: The Ultimate Sustainability Solution. Slate. (link )

Pod Casts


Cloutier, S. Interview with Scott Cloutier. Here We Are Podcast. (link). mp3. (link )



Reber, T., A. Guttikonda, C. McCrone, N. Scott, J. Tester and S. Cloutier. 2013. Sustainable Communities for Revitalizing and Transforming New York. Cornell University. (link )

Thesis (PhD)


Cloutier, S. 2014. The Implications of Sustainable Development for Happy Neighborhoods. Cornell University. (link )