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Cities As Gardens: Sustainable Urbanism & LEED’s Role – Part Two

Link to Part One: Why LEED-ND should exist, some background.

Part Two:  Where LEED-ND got its roots – New Urbanism – and its basic criteria

The late 19th, and early 20th century was rich of urban desing schools advocating the usage of cars. Both Le Corbusier’s  ”Ville Contemporaine” and Howard’s “Garden City” are urban-scapes intra-connected, primarily, with trunk roads. Though, admittedly, both included public transport in their plans too, such measures were rarely translated into fruition.

Garden City separated by function

However, more glaringly, both these design principles separated, for most of the part, the city both socio-economically and by function. There are certain areas for the wealthy, certain for the “proletariat”, certain for work, certain for housing and certain for play. This methodology is an accurate representation of modern day North American cities with their downtown cores, and belts of suburbia. Use is divided and this puts a massive strain on the transport infrastructure, public and private. Traffic jams have become commonplace with the excessive use of automobiles that these cities enable. Public transport has been reduced to a lower social connotation and walking is totally out of the question due to the vast spatial separation of our cities.


LA Metro: Promoting Mass Transit

This is where New Urbanism arose. It was to counter the overbearing of automobiles on both the design of the city and, increasingly obviously, on the environment. It is based on a collection of multi-use, mixed-income and walkable neighbourhoods based around an extensive intra-city public transit system to create more liveable neighbourhoods and a less spatially divided city. LEED-ND is based on these principles.

 Showing LEED-ND Criterion, Priorities and Requirements

LEED-ND is divided into primarily 3 main criteria:

  • Smart Location & Linkage: In relation to Public Transit mindedness of the neighbourhood’s location and design and reduced automobile dependence
  • Neighbourhood Pattern & Design: As to establish dense, walkable communities with multi-use facilities and multi-income inhabitants
  • Green Infrastructure & Buildings: To ensure physical sustainability – concerning material and resource use – of the neighbourhood

Here is a short video exemplifying the importance of LEED-ND in industry featuring Avneet Gujral’s, a LEED Accredited Professional, experience with the code.

The next blog posts in this series will be analysing the main LEED-ND criteria, and their prioritized sub-criteria, and will showcase current exemplars of neighbourhood design.

(To Be Continued)
Part Three: Smart Location & Linkage and its Benefits for Modern Cities

Also of Note: This year’s TED Prize is dedicated to the city of the future, “City 2.0″, further exemplifying the importance of improving our urban landscapes socially, physically and aesthetically; a great encouraging measure for initiatives such as LEED-ND and corresponding industry. Cities are the key to improving the standard of human living holistically, and the TED prize exemplifies this. LEED-ND exemplifies one of the measures to achieve this.

2 Comments to “Cities As Gardens: Sustainable Urbanism & LEED’s Role – Part Two”

  1. Is there a place for residents of rural areas in this concept? Must they stick with rural or virtual jobs, or remain reliant on cars? Or is there some way to include them, should they wish to work in a city? Public transport is normally not cost-effective in rural areas because of the low population density and long distances. Bicycle paths are rarely developed specifically to serve rural populations intending to travel to the city – again, cost benefit probably decrees that path development should focus on cities. The difficulty with this logic is that rural areas increasingly become the preserve of the wealthy, who can afford a long daily drive, or those very few who can still find work in a rural area. Communities could be considerably more diverse in rural areas if they were included in thinking about the city ecosystem.

    • Hi Julia,
      Thank you for your comment and response.
      The idea of the article was to exemplify why we need to continue the war on car and stop Urban Sprawl in its tracks. As metropolitan cities continue to increase in population, we must increase the amount of high-density neighbourhoods, where we can live, work and play. LEED ND takes into account where humans do those 3 aforementioned items and reduces the need to depend on your vehicle to accomplish them. Being reliant on cars should not have anything to do with the wealthy, quite the opposite rather. The working class are forced to move further and further away to rural areas and thus depend on cars to travel into the city. A compromise must be made between the size of your property, mode of transportation and vicinity to amenities.

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