Cincinnati City Councilmember Roxanne Qualls traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to assist in the development of a new worldwide system for rating and certifying green neighborhoods.
Qualls and a group of national experts met with the U.S. Green Building CouncilCongress for the New Urbanism
, and the National Resources Defense Council
to advise them on how to educate elected officials, construction managers, city administrators, developers, architects, and urban designers about the new LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) pilot program rating standards.
LEED, a third-party verification system for energy efficiency and sustainability, has been applied to buildings since 1998. LEED-ND would broaden its scope to include entire neighborhoods and communities.
Qualls says that, while energy efficiency in buildings is important, one-third of our greenhouse gases come from transportation.
"This new standard will help promote the kind of transit- and bicycle-friendly, walkable neighborhoods that will help us reduce greenhouse gas emissions and give our urban neighborhoods a competitive advantage," she says. "The idea is to look beyond individual buildings, and incorporate land use and neighborhood design into a broader standard for sustainable neighborhoods."
LEED-ND would rate neighborhoods according to the categories of smart location and linkage, neighborhood pattern and design, green infrastructure and buildings, and innovation and design.
Criteria for the ratings include density, conservation of wetlands and agricultural lands, reducing automobile dependence, proximity to housing and jobs, walkability, and energy efficiency.
More than 200 projects have sought certification in the LEED-ND pilot, including The Arbors in Pleasant Ridge and the Greenhills residential redevelopment.
A post-pilot version of LEED-ND will be launched this summer.
"This initiative will encourage development teams, planners, and local governments to construct sustainable, compact neighborhoods," Qualls says. "It is an innovative approach that will give us one more tool to improve our quality of life and help build a globally-competitive economy here in Cincinnati."
Qualls is council's representative on the City Planning Commission and the Hamilton County Planning Commission
, as served on the Congress for the New Urbanism board from 2000 to 2008.
Writer: Kevin LeMaster
Source: Roxanne Qualls, Cincinnati City Council; Jennifer O'Donnell, office of Councilmember Qualls