Farr from Sustainable: Green Buildings Are Not Enough

MattBerggren's picture

Last Thursday Doug Farr gave a free lecture on Sustainable Urbanism at the Monona Terrace Convention Center in Madison, WI. This event was a preview of CNU's 19th annual Congress, which is taking place from June 1-4, 2011 at the Monona Terrace Convention Center as well. In his lecture, Farr discussed the future of urbanism. In Madison Magazine's coverage of the event, Jeff Schmidt did a great job of summing up the current mood of New Urbanists:

All across America people are asking for more ecologically efficient products and homes, and government and business are responding. But some say this is just the beginning of a sea change in the way we live, work and play, and that the next big ideas on how to reduce our impact on the environment will incorporate entire neighborhoods and other large-scale urban areas, rather than the current model of singular private or public initiative.

Farr and other New Urbanists are calling for the building of sustainble communities that have mixed-use development and are transit-oriented. The idea is to not only build green buidlings, but to go beyond that. A hundred green buildings are not sustainble if they are located in car-dependent suburbs. A big initiiative of CNU's recently was the devlopment of LEED-ND, or LEED for Neighborhood Development:

The ideas presented by Farr, who also serves on CNU’s board of directors, focused on applying the development strategies of LEED, a national voluntary certification program for new buildings, to whole community development. Building or retrofitting one green residential or commercial building is good, but wouldn’t green neighborhoods be even better? Called LEED-ND (“Neighborhood Development), the strategies, developed by the CNU in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (that also oversees LEED) and the Natural Resources Defense Council, are laid out in the form of a 110-point checklist. The list takes into account a project’s location to bike and pedestrian friendly destinations, the preservation of environmentally sensitive ecosystems, the efficiency of buildings and infrastructure and other areas of innovation and design.

As market demand begins to focus more on sustainable development, the concept of New Urbanism is becoming increasingly important. And Farr's ideas are only the beginning. CNU 19 promises to bring together thousands of great minds to discuss the future of urbanism. Check out cnu19.org for more details.



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