U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL: Neighborhood Development Update

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HUD Requires LEED for Neighborhood Development

2012 Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program

USGBC at the APA Conference in LA

LEED 2012 Development Cycle

LEED for Neighborhood Development Statistics


The Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program Now Open

USGBC and the Bank of America Charitable Foundation are excited to announce the opening of the 2012 Affordable Green Neighborhood Grant Program. The program, in its second year, awards a grant of $25,000 technical assistance and educational resources to affordable housing developers committed to building sustainable communities through the LEED for Neighborhood Development program. Applications are being accepted now through Friday, Aug. 10 at 5 PM PT.

Learn more and apply now »

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LEED 2012 Fourth Public Comment Period Open

The fourth public comment period for LEED 2012 is open now through May 28. For more information on the LEED 2012 development process or to submit your comments, visit usgbc.org/LEED2012.

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Neighborhoods Go Green Exhibit on the Road to San Francisco

The Neighborhoods Go Green Exhibit will be traveling to Greenbuild 2012, in San Francisco from Nov. 14-16. If your organization is interested in sponsoring the exhibit, please email [email protected].

For more information on the exhibit, or to bring it to your community, please visit usgbc.org/ngg.

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Mapping Suitable Locations for Development in King County using LEED for Neighborhood Development as a Guide
By Jason Woycke


As the Puget Sound region continues to grow, guidance is needed to help identify locations for future growth as well as areas to be conserved.  The Central Puget Sound Region, made up of King, Snohomish, Pierce, and Kitsap counties, is expected to increase in population by 1.3 million in 30 years, nearing five million by 2040. To maintain quality of life and to conserve working farms and forests, the majority of new growth should occur within existing infrastructure-supported communities. For research undertaken for my master's thesis at the University of Washington's Department of Urban Design and Planning, with the Cascade Land Conservancy (CLC) as the client, the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system was used as a guide to identify suitable locations for development and growth in King County, Washington.  CLC is a land conservation, stewardship and community building organization in Washington State that understands the need not only for land conservation, but also for smart planning of growth to accommodate expected population increases. The maps resulting from this analysis are intended to help CLC visually communicate the need for careful planning of where growth should be accommodated in the region and where growth should be avoided.

The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system provides several location-based suitability criteria,  within the Smart Location and Linkage (SLL) credit category, were the basis for this project's suitability maps. All King County lands were considered for this analysis, however the area within the Urban Growth Boundary was given emphasis since the majority of King County is resource and rural land that does not qualify for dense growth. Additionally maps of the city of Issaquah and adjacent lands were produced alongside the King County maps to illustrate suitability at the jurisdictional level. Issaquah is located in the eastern part of King County near Bellevue and Redmond.

The SLL prerequisite 1: Smart Location maps illustrate favorable areas for development where existing water and wastewater infrastructure, developed parcels, dense street connectivity or transit service is located. On the other hand, SLL prerequisites 2 through 5 (Imperiled Species and Ecological Communities; Wetland and Water Body Conservation; Agricultural Land Conservation; and Floodplain Avoidance) maps demonstrate environmentally sensitive areas that should be excluded from development. The King County and Issaquah composite maps that combine the results of the SLL prerequisites analyses are important concluding maps (see below).

A fair amount of the data used in this project included disclaimers warning that the data was not appropriate, or precise enough, for parcel‐level analysis. This was especially true for much of the sensitive-area data used in prerequisites SLL prerequisites 2 through 5. In other instances, there was a lack of data. For example, SLL prerequisite 1: Smart Location, option 1 allows parcels to qualify for LEED for Neighborhood Development if they are infill sites (surrounded on at least 75% of its boundary by parcels that are at least 50% previously developed). While no data exists for whether or not sites in King County have been previously developed, assessor's data does indicate the present use of every parcel in King County. Therefore, option 1 had to be modified to take into consideration only the present use or existence of development.




The maps provide for an in-depth discussion on development suitability in general, as well as the suitability of specific locations in King County.  A comparison of Old Town Issaquah and the Issaquah Highlands community, a new village center started in 1996, provides an interesting case study comparing suitability in new and old developments. King County planning policy is also examined by comparing and contrasting areas of population growth between 2000 and 2005 to areas deemed suitable on the maps. According to the findings, there is room for policy improvement. Further analysis is called for to compare areas on the maps to their respective zoning. Areas suitable for new development, according to this study, that are not zoned for dense growth, may need to be considered for a re-zone. Finally, one of the realizations while working on this project was that the results of the SLL prerequisite 1: Smart Location analyses mimic the Urban Growth Area quite well. Mapping with LEED for Neighborhood Development can serve as a guide for analyzing development suitability. It is a tool that can be applied anywhere satisfactory data exists. For this project, the rating system illustrates that King County has many areas suitable for development and many locations that are not suitable.

Jason Woycke is a graduate of the University of Washington's Master of Urban Planning program.  This is an excerpt from his professional project, "Mapping Suitable Locations for Development in King County using LEED-ND as a Guide." He would like to thank Jeff Aken, Christopher Walter, George Rolfe, Brendon Slotterback, Eliot Allen, and the Cascade Land Conservancy for their contributions. Access the project's24 original maps produced with ArcGIS. Jason can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions.


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