What the skeptics say about LEED-ND


Planning Magazine

Some planners question whether LEED for Neighborhood Development really works as a way of creating effective neighborhoods.

Planning Magazine considers the ways in which LEED-ND seems to fall short:

“The problems with Block 37 [a downtown Chicago development in the LEED-ND program] signify problems with the LEED-ND program as a whole. While planners generally accept the designation as a step forward, a way to publicize the value of ‘going green,’ some practitioners (and academics as well) raise important questions about some of its features.

“‘There are some real positives about it, but there are also some rough edges,’ says longtime Chicago planning consultant Leslie Pollock, FAICP, whose firm, Camiros, Ltd., has prepared master plans and zoning codes for cities around the country. ‘But it’s not neighborhood planning in the general sense of the term. It’s more project planning for a specific site.’ In short, in focusing on energy savings, a LEED plan leaves out many of the social and economic factors that figure into a typical neighborhood plan.

“‘My sense is there needs to be some broader political testing of some of the criteria,’ says Pollock. ‘For instance, I wonder how many city neighborhoods will get points for food production.’ He also questions the process of becoming a LEED ‘accredited professional.’ ‘It’s easier to do this if you’re an architect or engineer, if you’re building-oriented, than if you’re a land-use planner,’ he says. ‘The LEED people need to reach out to main-line planners.’ And that, he says, includes those who work on zoning codes.”