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Thread: LEED for cities?

  1. #1

    LEED for cities?

    I've beeen thinking about it, and why don't they try doing LEED for cities? This would be a good way to help control the sprawl and start making our cities more sustainable for the future.

    Points could be based on:

    recycle programs
    auto dependence
    green energy
    local food production
    mass transit avail.
    parks & greenspace
    sustainable development
    smart growth
    new urbanism
    streetscape (roads and sidewalks)
    green infrastructure (inc. rain gardens, etc...)
    green regulations
    biking friendliness
    walkability
    historic landmark preservation
    # of LEED cert. buildings
    # of LEED cert. people
    preserved land (preservation/Ntl. & State Parks)
    variety of species in/around city
    quality of zoo

    Things like eliminating/slowing sprawl and significantly reducing auto dependence would be worth much more in LEED points.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian
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    http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=148

    Retrofitting entire existing communities to meet LEED standards would be a nightmare, although I could see a similar pilot be implemented in existing communities way down the road.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    I agree with Nick, retrofits are sometimes all nightmares and almost better to just demo and start from scratch. HCB, are you thinking LEED for new development or neighborhoods? If so, LEED ND is the way to go. But then again, working with developers, LEED shouldn't be the only one we base more sustainable design on. there are others such as "build it green" etc. which developers support far more than LEED. Here in California, the state, as well as some cities have already taken the first steps by requiring new government buildings to be LEED certified, as well as updating Title 22 codes to be the most energy efficient building code in the nation.
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  4. #4
    Cyburbian graciela's avatar
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    Earthcraft has made a step in that direction with their communities program. I think programs like this will continue to evolve and will help cities look at new developments with the goals you listed above in mind. The city of LaGrange Georgia has a great scorecard with a points system that they review projects with. It is set up to reward sustainable developments.

    I have a pdf of it if you are interested.

    I am not sure if LEED is the right tool for rating cities in such a manner. I do think that the idea is great and would probably be better employed under it's own program. Sounds like a great project to start!
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  5. #5
    I'm talking about mostly existing communities...

    We absolutely HAVE to start changing our cities drastically if we want to be prepared for what is coming, and if want to make things better for the upcoming generations.

    A rating system for cities like this really needs to be pushed and promoted so that cities will WANT to start changing in order to fit the set standards. Yes this would mean cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles etc... would take a hit in the ratings system, but it would be just more of an incentive to get them to change.

    What I would personally like to see, is as neighborhoods/suburbs that are sprawl begin to empty, they need to be demolished and replaced with either farms or protected land.

    Yes it would be difficult for cities to change... But it absolutely HAS to be done. Cities and neighborhoods should WANT to be green and sustainable.

  6. #6
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    cities like Atlanta, Los Angeles etc... would take a hit in the ratings system, but it would be just more of an incentive to get them to change.
    What is the point of the rating system? What are you trying to prove? I mean, if you look at Los Angeles, as big as it is, and the poster boy for "sprawl" per se, The Los Angeles Basin is one of most dense urban areas in America as shown through the last census, and has one of the better public transportation systems, it is just you can't get us Californians out of our damn cars. Comp Plans and land use decisions made at the local level can be more intuitive as a catalyst to change than using a LEED rating system. Look at the Bay Area. TOD development picked up via leaps and bounds around BART stations through targeted redevelopment funds, etc. There needs to be some sort of incentive to change!

    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    What I would personally like to see, is as neighborhoods/suburbs that are sprawl begin to empty, they need to be demolished and replaced with either farms or protected land.
    And how is exactly are suburbs going to empty? Too many americans love the 1/3 acre lot, large backyard, etc. Yes, sure the concept of suburbia is taking a hit due to high gas prices, but there will always be a market. Period. You will not see suburbs replaced with farmlands or protected land for generations (unless of course we have some huge disaster to change thinking like Katrina).
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  7. #7
    You don't listen to James Howard Kunstler do you?

    Also, we must keep in mind that not only are these suburban neighborhoods poorly designed, but they are often poorly built, not always adhering to all codes. We could use this against the developers and demolish the suburban houses (that is, those built in the last 20-30 years as sprawl) that do not meet codes. As well as demolish the houses that are empty or foreclosed.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian MacheteJames's avatar
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    What SHOULD happen and what actually does happen in the public realm are two vastly different things. Spending a little time in a planning office will make that clear in a hurry.The political will necessary to make drastic changes in our living arrangements to fight climate change does not exist. As time goes on, It's becoming more and more clear to me nothing will happen until we are all, literally, feeling the heat too much to have any alternative but to take drastic action. LEED is great and all but the real work in the future will be in adapting to the inevitable climate alterations that will happen because we are too short sighted to do what's right in the present.

  9. #9
    I'm just hoping that people will stop screwing over my generation and the ones after it... I don't want my generation or generations after me to have to suffer because people would rather live how they want to and make others suffer the consequences than let their greed take a hit for the team and actually do something that helps others more than themselves.

  10. #10
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    You don't listen to James Howard Kunstler do you?
    I don't. I read, analyze and formulate my opinions based on trends, and the real world, which you still don't work in, and neither do some of our most opinionated planners in academia.

    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    Also, we must keep in mind that not only are these suburban neighborhoods poorly designed, but they are often poorly built, not always adhering to all codes. We could use this against the developers and demolish the suburban houses (that is, those built in the last 20-30 years as sprawl) that do not meet codes. As well as demolish the houses that are empty or foreclosed.
    Poorly designed, maybe in the planner's eyes, but in a buyers eye, they are paradise. There is a reason why there is a thing called "cul-de-sac premium." As for poorly built, yes, some of them do have shooty craftsmanship due to the type of labor production houses get, but in terms of code, if you are not up to code, you can't occupy the home. California has very strict standards for occupation and meeting code. Why would we demo existing houses or foreclosed homes? Some of us who sat out the boom are now in the driver's seat for these homes. If you want to curb sprawl and new home growth, it would be counter-intuitive to destroy these homes. You want people to occupy them as quickly as possible, or else you get a "war-zone" of foreclosed homes that recently plagued my parents neighborhood but now are filled with first time home buyers. I don't disagree that we need to curb sprawl, but bulldozing whole neighborhoods and starting a new? We tried that with the "projects" and there is a reason why we called them a "project". I think that idea failed.
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  11. #11
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    wow.

    just wow.

    I'm not sure where to begin?

    LEED for entire cities? You do realize that only 14 LEED credits have to do with site selection, right? The other 55 have nothing to do with sprawl, cul-de-sacs, etc.

    You want to demolish whole neighborhoods? Umm...yeah. What are you going to tell the homeowner?

    Also, we must keep in mind that not only are these suburban neighborhoods poorly designed, but they are often poorly built, not always adhering to all codes. We could use this against the developers and demolish the suburban houses (that is, those built in the last 20-30 years as sprawl) that do not meet codes. As well as demolish the houses that are empty or foreclosed.
    poorly designed? Are you an engineer? What are you basing this statement on?

    Poorly built? Are you a carpenter, general contractor, mason? What are you basing this statement on?

    demolish houses that don't meet codes? What code? What developer? You think they care about a house they sold 20 years ago?

    Demolish empty or foreclosed houses? I'm sure the banks will love this.

    Seriously, is this post a joke?

  12. #12
    maudit anglais
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    I think there is a LEED Neighbourhood standard being developed, but this would be for new subdivisions. What exactly would an existing community gain by being LEED certified?

    Mike Gurnee might be able to shed some light on a town in Kansas that was destroyed by a tornado and is seeking to rebuild as a "green" community.

    I think initiatives like ICLEI or other sustainable city programs would be a better place to start than LEED. In the end, LEED is really just a marketing tool.

  13. #13
    Cyburbian mike gurnee's avatar
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    It is easier, of course, when there are no structures. However, the marketplace still decides how people are going to live. Several Greensburg residents have opted to buy multiple lots and have their little piece of suburbia. Their homes are as sustainable as possible. But they have a choice in this country, and some chose the suburban lifestyle. Others have chosen to live in townhomes; a few are considering lofts above their businesses. We are accommodating green building; providing as many housing/lifestyle choices as possible. And btw, LEED is just one of many models for sustainablity.

    Heartland, I admire your passion. But do more than just listen to Kunstler. Sprawl is not a new construct, nor or most of the alternate remedies.

  14. #14
    I DO work in the real world... And the comment about the poorly built houses comes from Architects who have seen homes that other architects and contractors have built. I don't know how much of a problem it is elsewhere, but it's apparently a big problem in our region...

    It isn't about what you want... It's about what the community needs...
    Screw individual rights and individual wants... Screw the selfish, greedy people that want to live that lifestyle.

    As I said before... I and others are watching this generation SCREW OVER our generation and the generations after us because this generation refuses to do anything other than continuing the status quo. Generations are going to keep screwing over the next generations because they want to continue this crap until they can't afford to anymore. The idiots out there are going to continue until we have a crisis on our hands.

    You chastize and criticize ME for being critical of the idiots out there who think that supplying the demand is the most important thing? You should be criticizing the capitalism of this greedy country. Personally, I'd rather have the generations after me living in countries in Europe rather than continue the idiotic and destructive status quo here in this country. At least they are better designed and better managed than this one.

    Personally, I know it isn't going to happen, but the USA needs to turn more socialistic if it wants to continue thriving for centuries to come, because the current way it's going, it isn't going to last as a major power for long.

  15. #15
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    .
    It isn't about what you want... It's about what the community needs...
    Screw individual rights and individual wants... Screw the selfish, greedy people that want to live that lifestyle.
    And who appointed you the king of what the community needs? Do you even know what your community you live in needs? Do you think your community in the midwest "needs" to stop sprawl? I think there is probably way more "ills" of your community other than sprawl (and let's start with local schools, homelessness, job creation, etc). How in F**K are you are gonna solve those by stopping sprawl? You don't. End of story.

    Dude, you are living in the imaginary fantasy world where it is your why or the highway, and last time i checked, you are not Howard Roak, so you just can't tell people to screw themselves and the rights that are afforded to them through the constitution. Hell, even in Europe, there are these things called property rights, and i am just taking a shot in the dark, not as rigorous, but they still have them. You are going to shape up to be one piss poor planner if you can't find room to comprise with the "idiots" out there. Sure i got "idiot" clients, and i try to educate them on issues, and hopefully they eventually see the light and if not, then i try to improve under the radar.

    Do i feel screwed over by my parent's generation? No. Does it suck that some of the decisions made have cause problems today, yea it does, but that's what ingenuity is for to solve the problems of today for the future of tomorrow. Radical ideas are great when they are thought out and could be feasible implemented. Your ideas are simply infeasible and fodder for those of us who are practicing planners.
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  16. #16
    I don't ever care to be a planner... I don't want to have to deal with people that don't know and don't care about the environment or the upcoming generations.

    Personally, even though I may work in the USA much of my life, I'd probably seriously consider moving to Europe for the benefit of the generations after me.

    I'm not a capitalist by any means, I'd MUCH rather live in a more socialistic country, however those are harder to find these days. But to just live in a LESS capitalistic country would be a VERY wonderful thing.

  17. #17
    Corn Burning Fool giff57's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    I'm not a capitalist by any means, I'd MUCH rather live in a more socialistic country, however those are harder to find these days. But to just live in a LESS capitalistic country would be a VERY wonderful thing.

    The reason they are hard to find is that humans love free choices. When you get ready to leave I'm sure we could raise enough cash for a one way plane ticket for you.
    “As soon as public service ceases to be the chief business of the citizens, and they would rather serve with their money than with their persons, the State is not far from its fall”
    Jean-Jacques Rousseau

  18. #18
    Cyburbian
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    A Feasible Model Sustainable/Hydrogen City?

    Hey folks,

    I see the emotions are running high for a few of us here. There are some good ideas here, too. I posted a number of months ago requesting some perspectives on the feasibility of a model sustainable/hydrogen city, a locally-functioning hydrogen economy being developed in the micropolitan city of Macomb, IL. A search could yield these other posts here at Cyburbia. But I thought I'd mention my website in this thread, so as to continue to solicit informed opinions from the professionals here. My "Model Sustainable Cities" website can be found at www.modelsustainablecities.weebly.com I've been receiving a number of positive responses to the idea, as well as some keen observations as to the difficulties of implementing such a project. I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

    Thank You

  19. #19
    humans love free choices
    It's obvious you don't know much about Socialism (as an economic form)

  20. #20
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    It's obvious you don't know much about Socialism (as an economic form)
    ...and i think it is pretty obvious you dont know much about planning, the planning process, dealing with the public, dealing with developers, dealing with government. the duties of a planner are to be the mediator between all of these, not to stand up on some soap box reciting some Kunstler-esque rant about how we should all live in communal dormitories in the inner city.

    It's time to move on, son.

  21. #21
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    It's obvious you don't know much about Socialism (as an economic form)
    ...kicks feet back on desk and chuckles at this ridiculous thread...

    Comrade Heartland, your posts make you sound more like a soviet than just a socialist (and as an armchair planner, halfway between a Robert Moses and a Stalin).

    Some of the most beautiful socialist garbage (food for thought):
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seven_Sisters_(Moscow) (hey, this link might need to be repaired).

    Solzhenitsyn would be rolling over in his newly dug grave.

  22. #22
    Cyburbian Raf's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by HeartlandCityBoy View post
    It's obvious you don't know much about Socialism (as an economic form)
    LOL, man, every thread, it's kinda like the Simpson's episode where marge tells home "think before you speak." Your stance on demo and rebuild stinks of strong arm centralist governments in terms of socalist planning ideology and is borderline communistic. But hey under your planning scenario, there is no wiggle room for your church project, you either take it or leave it unlike here in the good ol USA. Sounds like you need to examine what a socialist government is versus an economic forum and re-evaluate your response there son, because you are just talking out of your arse now. (and yes, i do realize that most countries run a "socialist" form of government, like our Canadian brothers to the north, yet they still bask in capitalism, those bloody pigs!)

    Why don't you ask some Chinese citizens what they think when their homes were demoed in order to host venues for the olympics, or in some extreme cases taken out because "blight" would appear along a main marathon route? I am sure your boy Kim Jong Ill needs some good planners form the west and i hear North Korea is beautiful most times in the year for drab Maoist garb. Maybe you should hit them up after your done with that program of yours. I am sure their government fits your ideology to a "T".
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  23. #23
    Hmm... Funny how you guys start calling me a communist and a fascist...

    I NEVER said to take peoples homes away from them. Whenever people move out of the suburbs, the houses need to be demolished and replaced with protected land.

    If we do this, the poor cannot move out into the suburbs, and the rich will be encouraged to move into the cities.

    The best thing is to NOT separate the poor and the rich, but rather to put them together (and to spread the poor out). The whole reason the minority race families in the inner cities are in the situation they are in and that they can't get out of it is entirely because of those that left the cities and those that are well off.

    Sprawl is bad, there is no denying that, and there is NOT going to be an middle stage between gas prices now and the gas spike in the future.

    As for Solzhenitsyn and Schemmeman. I would NEVER EVER support a Soviet or Communist government. They are fascists and NOT socialists.

    My ideas aren't socialistic because I wouldn't be taking land from families as long as the house is occupied. In our area, there are entire neighborhoods that are empty, and yet developers are STILL building. This needs to stop, and those neighborhoods need to be taken down (save for the occupied homes).

    People before Profit, and I should add... Community before Profit, and Environment before Profit...

  24. #24
    Cyburbian
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    Heartland, you watermelon, poverty runs rampant in rural/isolated areas as well (probably even worse than some cities).

    Moderator note:
    Please refrain from namecalling, no matter how tempting it might seem.
    Last edited by Tranplanner; 22 Aug 2008 at 12:45 PM. Reason: mod note added

  25. #25
    Cyburbian Jeff's avatar
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    I NEVER said to take peoples homes away from them. Whenever people move out of the suburbs, the houses need to be demolished and replaced with protected land.

    If we do this, the poor cannot move out into the suburbs, and the rich will be encouraged to move into the cities.
    What is this phenomena of just "vacating" one's home in the suburbs and leaving it abandoned.

    Under your theory, a farmer looses his right to sell his land? Instead of sitting on his retirement, he is now looking at a field he is too old to farm?

    The best thing is to NOT separate the poor and the rich, but rather to put them together (and to spread the poor out). The whole reason the minority race families in the inner cities are in the situation they are in and that they can't get out of it is entirely because of those that left the cities and those that are well off.
    Yeah, that Section 8 housing is really doing wonders. You know why? Because people who are able to, want to live in areas surrounded by their same socio-economic class. i dont want my nice home, sitting next door to a home that was supplied to a low-income family via some gov't program. Why? Because they get the house, then cant afford to maintain it. You know, paint the walls, mow the lawn, etc. the price of the house is only the tip of the iceberg.

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