Contemplating a Neighborhood Design Standard

The effects of the U.S. Green Building Council's new LEED-ND certification for neighborhoods leaves plenty of questions to be answered regarding its effects (intended or not) on land use, sprawl, and property values.

"Not only will there likely be a certain cachet associated with LEED-ND neighborhoods, the USGBC foresees certain tangible benefits to developer, namely local governmental incentives such as reduced fees or shorter development permit waiting periods. Among the intangible benefits stated by the USGBC, "leaving a good impression on your neighbors" illustrates the desire of the USGBC to influence the surrounding urban fabric.

The tenets of LEED-ND are not new, however. A resurgence of interest in traditional urban design principles led to a movement in the 1990s that redefined urban planning in the United States - new urbanism and neo-traditional neighborhood development. The new urbanism and neo-traditional town planning concepts were heralded by influential members of the urban planning community, and such concepts were transformed into reality by aesthetically pleasing developments such as Seaside and Celebration in Florida, Kentlands in Maryland and numerous other variations and adaptations throughout the United States. New urbanism was a reaction to suburban sprawl and irresponsible development patterns of the previous 50 years. Its focus was largely on new self-contained green-field developments in exurban areas."

Full Story: Certifying place with the new LEED-ND designation
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Horrors of the nonprofit USGBC

This real estate attorney raises fears that a nonprofit USGBC certification (that is entirely voluntary) threatens private property rights.

Surely he does not mean to imply that the government should intervene to limit voluntary actions by citizens based on a nonprofit agency, which is in turn promoting its mission by establishing its own grading system?

That would seriously threaten the private sector.

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