You neighborhood is about to get greener. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)--best known for its LEED certification program--just announced the launching of its LEED for Neighborhood Development program. Your home is LEED-certified. Your kids' school is LEED-certified. Now your whole neighborhood can be LEED-certified.
Rather than rating on square footage (as is done in residential and commercial projects), the LEED for Neighborhood Development system rates by acreage. Neighborhoods seeking the certification will be evaluated by three criteria: Smart Location & Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern & Design, and Green Infrastructure & Buildings.
One of the goals of the program is to promote things like walkable streets and access to public transportation. LEED-certified Green Neighborhoods will also limit urban sprawl and dependence on automobiles.
Sadly, I don't see my neighborhood qualifying for LEED-certification. It's pretty widely spread out, and the only bus that travels my street is the school bus. But then again, the program is designed for neighborhoods in or near large metropolitan areas.
I can't wait to visit a LEED-certified Green Neighborhood sometime in the near future. Would you want to live in one?
Although a nice idea, and I would love to live in such a community, most new subdivisions in my area are being built on the outskirts of the city. To really create green neighborhoods, we need urban planners with the foresight to discover ways in making our existing areas meet these demands.