By Bob Weiss

by Bob Weiss LEED AP ND
Here's and example of “before” good neighborhood planning 

If you are reading this, you probably already think about how your lifestyle fits in with a sustainable planet. That’s what neighborhood development is about: living, working, doing business and conducting daily life in a way that sustains our world. It’s not a new concept, but the past decades’ interest in our environment takes all that we have learned about green buildings to the next level: the places where we put those buildings, what elements make up those places and how do we put them together. To this end, the Chapter’s new working group advances neighborhood development and smart growth in Massachusetts communities.

And here's “after” good neighborhood development planning

Many organizations around the globe value district-scaled development. The Congress for New Urbanism, Enterprise Green Communities, community development corporations and EcoDistricts are among them.  USGBC recognized the benefits of development on a neighborhood scale when it crafted its LEED ND rating system. Now, with LEED ND as a guide, the Mass Chapter of USGBC is assembling a Neighborhood Development Working Group.  The Neighborhood Development Working Group is a sub-committee of the Residential Green Building Committee to examine the nature of sustainable neighborhood development and to promote its implementation in Massachusetts.

Last year, the Chapter invested significant staff and volunteer time to work with a wide range of organizations creating a Host Committee to present the 2013 EcoDistricts Summit in Boston in November. (The growing EcoDistricts framework is globally recognized as one of the key movements promoting neighborhood development as the means to leverage the best practices of sustainability.) The new Neighborhood Development Working Group will join its fellow EcoDistricts Host Committee members in continuing the spirit of neighborhood development in Massachusetts with several happenings in 2014. The Boston Redevelopment Authority will kick things off with its February 4th “Innovations in Sustainability and Resiliency” event in the Innovation District at District Hall.

Our working group will plan an exciting LEED ND event for the Chapter that is scheduled for the late spring. We'd love to hear your ideas on what should be included and who we should highlight. You can join Mike Davis and Neil Angus to help so we can follow up on the original LEED ND New England pilot projects and bring our community up to date on the state-of-the-art aspect, demonstrating how the rating system has grown into a practical tool for sustainable neighborhood development.

Mass Chapter’s Neighborhood Development Working Group is still on the ground floor and we look forward to convening a team composed of the widest spectrum of disciplines and industries. If you can help us build a successful LEED ND event, then you will help us build the new group! For more information on the Chapter’s Neighborhood Development working group contact Bob Weiss at or 617-653-0948.


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