The Most Sustainable U.S. Neighborhood Development Projects
The idea of sustainable development moved into the mainstream when the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it will apply sustainability criteria to screen applications for more than $3 billion in assistance.
What makes a development sustainable? The government housing agency is using the standards set forth in LEED for Neighborhood Development, known as the LEED-ND green neighborhood rating system.
“It’s time that federal dollars stopped encouraging sprawl and started lowering the barriers to the kind of sustainable development our country needs and our communities want,” said HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan in announcing the decision.
LEED-ND is a rating system that integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism, and green building into neighborhood design. The U.S. Green Building Council, the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council developed LEED-ND. The rating system aims to benefit communities by reducing urban sprawl, decreasing automobile dependence, and promoting walkability and the proximity of housing to jobs and services.
Depending on how far along a project is in the development process, it can apply for a LEED-ND rating at any or all of the following stages:
- Stage 1: Conditional approval of a LEED-ND plan, prior to entitlement. (This is meant to help projects get support from the local government and community.)
- Stage 2: Precertification of a LEED-ND plan for fully entitled projects. (This may help projects secure financing, expedited permitting, or tenants.)
- Stage 3: Certification of projects once construction has been completed.
As of June 2010, more than 75 developments had been certified under the LEED-ND pilot rating system. The majority of those projects are in the United States; there are also a few certified developments in Canada and China.
Within the U.S., the certified projects hail from 25 states plus the District of Columbia. More than 30 of the projects have completed at least the first phase of development, and some are fully built. LEED-ND projects range in size from a single building on less than an acre of land, up to a 700-acre new community (Mueller in Austin, TX) and a 1,150-acre redevelopment project (the South Chicago Initiative, also known as the Lakeside/SouthWorks area), and many sizes and scales in between. Most LEED-ND projects are mixed-use developments, and many are transit-oriented. Most have a housing component, and some of them include a significant amount of low-income, affordable housing.
The Partnership for Sustainable Communities is pleased to offer a directory of LEED-ND certified developments in the United States. The listing for each project includes basic project info (e.g., location and size), a brief description of the development, its certification stage and rating, the name of the developer, and links to webpages that provide further information about the project.
This premium content is free for members of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities (check out other benefits of membership); if you're not a member but would like to purchase this directory, the cost is $7.50.
Download PSC’s comprehensive directory of LEED-ND approved projects.
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