Public Comment Now Open for LEED-ND

CNU Calls on Urbanists to Comment on the Latest Draft of the Rating System

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It is clearer than ever that green building and community form shouldn't go it alone. A powerful strategy for achieving environmental sustainability is incorporating high-performance buildings in compact, mixed-use neighborhoods that reduce driving by making walking and transit attractive options. In response, CNU has partnered with U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) to create LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND). This new rating system will certify the cutting-edge projects that integrate the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, and green building into the design and development of communities.

As the rating system approaches completion, the partners are opening it up for public comment beginning Nov. 17, 2008. The public comment period will close Jan. 5, 2009. The final rating system will be balloted by the members of each partner organization in spring 2009 and is predicted to launch mid-2009.

“We now ask urbanists to review this work to help ensure that the rating system follows the principles outlined in the Charter of the New Urbanism and reflects the best practices within the movement,” stated Susan Mudd, CNU Board member and LEED-ND Core Committee Vice Chair. Earlier this year, the Core Committee and technical advisory groups revised the rating system to reflect what they learned from real world pilot projects. A total of 238 developments signed up to participate in the pilot program.

Victor Dover, LEED-ND Core Committee and CNU board member, stressed the importance of reviewing the draft. “Since we will not have another opportunity to test the recent changes against projects, it is essential that new urbanists comment on the current draft and continue to improve on our work.”

“CNU relies on the expertise of its members to advance the best practices of New Urbanism,” explained CNU President John Norquist. “This public comment period is one of those opportunities and we call on our members to contribute.” USGBC will be hosting the online comment form on its website. After a simple sign-in, members of the public can comment on specific prerequisites and credits. The core committee will be reviewing all comments submitted—the more targeted and concise the recommendation, the better.

CNU brought a number of leading planners and architects from the new urbanist movement to help shape the new rating system to reflect the environmental benefits of compact development that supports walking, transit, and bicycle use for everyday trips. New Urbanism promotes compact neighborhood form, a wide range of urban housing types from multi-unit buildings to singe-family homes, a vibrant mix of uses within close proximity of each other, humane public spaces and well-connected streets and blocks serving users ranging from pedestrians and cyclists to transit riders and drivers.

For more information go to CNU’s LEED-ND initiative page at

About LEED for Neighborhood Development
CNU is working with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and the Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC) to lay the groundwork for a more coordinated and powerful environmental strategy: sustainability at the scale of neighborhoods and communities. The new joint venture known as LEED for Neighborhood Developments or LEED-ND is a system for rating and certifying green neighborhoods. LEED-ND builds on USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) systems by expanding the project’s scope beyond individual buildings to a more holistic concern about the context of those buildings.

About the Congress for the New Urbanism
The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) is a leading organization promoting walkable, neighborhood-based development as an alternative to sprawl. CNU takes a proactive, multi-disciplinary approach to restoring our communities. Members are the life of the organization – they are the planners, developers, architects, engineers, public officials, investors, and community activists who create and influence our built environment, transforming growth patterns from the inside out. Whether it's bringing restorative plans to hurricane-battered communities in the Gulf Coast, turning dying malls into vibrant mixed-use neighborhoods, or reconnecting isolated public housing projects to the surrounding fabric, new urbanists are providing leadership in community building and creating tools that make it easier to put New Urbanism into practice around the world.