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Session spotlight: Certifying neighborhood sustainability around the globe

Published on Posted in Greenbuild

There are approximately one dozen neighborhood sustainability certification systems now operating worldwide.

The Greenbuild 2013 session “Certifying Neighborhood Sustainability Around the Globe,” examines the growth of these programs and analyze their successes. Through an interactive panel and audience discussions, this session will identify the societal values and best practices of neighborhood certification; assess whether current programs serve the greatest environmental social and economic needs; and consider whether global standards of neighborhood sustainability make sense and, if so, how current programs can support their formulation.

Session Speaker Adam Beck, Program Director at EcoDistricts, and Greenbuild Program Working Group Member Komal Kotwal (who picked this as her favorite session at Greenbuild 2013), Senior Sustainable Design Specialist at HOK, offer a sneak peak of this interactive session!

Why should Greenbuild attendees attend this session spefically?

Adam: This session is one of the first of its kind, bringing together a group of leaders experienced across a range of the global neighborhood rating systems. As a special set session it has been designed for multiple audience interactions, where delegates get to ask the questions.

Komal: One of the learning objectives of this session is to assess the relevance of neighborhood certification programs to the world’s most pressing ubran needs, particularly substandard living conditions. A growing number of Greenbuild attendees are now working across various regions in the world. Attending this session, with a focus on neighborhood sustainability ratings systems at the international scale promises to add direct, applicable educational value to their Greenbuild experience.

What interests or excites you the most about this session?

Komal: Sustainable design at an international scale cannot be a ‘one size fits all’ solution. This is especially true once we expand from the building scale to sustainability at the neighborhood (i.e. urban/city scale). I am interested in a key question this session aims to address: ‘Are current sustainability standards serving the greatest environmental social and economic needs of the worlds cities?’

Why is the topic of this session so important?

Adam: The neighborhood scale is a critical one. It helps cities deploy projects and innovation more quickly than at a city level, and having greater impact than at an individual building level.

Komal: As neighborhood sustainability certification systems continue to evolve and operate worldwide, it is important that they address the current problems in the context that they are applied. For instance, a certification system or solution created for a Western context is not necessarily the optimal solution for energy developing cities of the East. It is important that this discussion on whether global standards of neighborhood sustainability make sense be brought to Greenbuild.

What’s the most interesting experience you’ve had in the green building/sustainability world?

Adam: The Greenbuild experience is quite special, so many people in one place with the same passion and energy to transform our built environment.

What’s the most interesting non-green building related fact about yourself?

Adam: I love to skateboard.

Komal: If I weren’t in the architecture/sustainable design profession, I would be a ‘travel-food journalist’; combining my passion for travel, photography and interpreting culture.

Interested in creating the education program at Greenbuild? There are numerous Committees and Working Groups that you can join. The 2014 Call for Expressions of Interest is open from Oct. 7-Nov. 29, 2013. Learn more about the application process.

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