LEED-ND is for everyone (in a lot of places)!
In Kaid Benfield's latest blog entry, "Analysis proves that even small towns and rural areas have locations eligible for LEED-ND honors," he fights back against the idea that small towns and rural areas cannot receive a LEED-ND rating. According to Benfield:
"[...] there are several ways for a development site to pass the system's location screens. While small communities are less likely to have transit service, or a street network dense enough to meet our criterion for adjacent connectivity, they frequently have sites that meet one of our other criteria for eligibility. These include infill sites that are appropriately sized for small-town development, and sites that are within a half- or quarter-mile of features on our list of neighborhood assets such as food stores, churches, pharmacies, banks, licensed day-care centers, and so on. Our system is designed not to exclude small communities from its benefits but rather to honor and encourage development that locates within the community. Given that many small towns have suffered disinvestment and abandonment in their town centers and Main Streets just as larger cities have in their downtown neighborhoods, this is exactly what we should be encouraging."
Benfield did an analysis in the metropolitan areas of the Twin Cities and he discovered hundreds of places that could qualify for a LEED-ND rating. Places that qualify are in green on the above map on the right. Some examples of places that qualify include Bethel, Ham Lake, Forest Lake, Stillwater, Lake St. Croix Beach, Hastings, Randoph, Elko and New Market, and Jordan. The populations of these towns ranged from around 300 people to around 20,000 people. The proximity of the towns to the Twin Cities is made apparent by the map above on the left.
There is nothing about small towns that disqualify them from receiving a LEED-ND rating. It is exactly these small, walkable towns that should be encouraged. Not the sprawl that lies between.
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