Philadelphia, Oakland and six other U.S. cities will get free help this year from sustainable building and development experts with an eye toward the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standard for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). The others are Dearborn, Mich.; Eden Prairie, Minn.; Greensboro, N.C.; Lafayette, Ind.; Lakewood, Colo.; and Louisville, Ky. The goal is to help cities understand how to transform urban communities into places that offer a balanced mix of residential, commercial, and recreational areas that are easily accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transportation users.
Unlike most other LEED certifications, LEED-ND applies to areas with multiple buildings (at least two) and was designed for up to 320 acres, though larger areas can earn the designation. LEED-ND requires at least one green building along with additional water, energy, and construction activity waste reductions for new buildings or major renovations. (Click here for an overview of LEED-ND.)
The consultants will spend three days in each city and then make recommendations on infrastructure and policy changes intended to further development of sustainable communities. The consultations are being provided by the nonprofit Global Green USA through funding from the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. Cities were selected based on factors that included the strength of sustainability projects they have planned, the level of community engagement, urgency, and need for help.