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April 2010

LEED for Neighborhood Development
Communities: The next step in LEED's evolution

LEED for Neighborhood DevelopmentLast month, LEED celebrated its 10th anniversary. For a decade, the LEED rating systems have driven the marketplace toward recognizing the central tenet of green building: that our economic, environmental and personal health is dramatically impacted by the places where we live, work, learn, shop, heal, dine and play. But those buildings don’t exist in a bubble, and green building shouldn’t either.

Market transformation will depend on our ability to create sustainable communities. The LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system is now officially launched after a two-and-a-half year pilot program, invaluable market and user feedback, and the crucial involvement of USGBC members’ committee participation and balloting. LEED for Neighborhood Development was developed by USGBC in partnership with the Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC).

LEED for Neighborhood Development certifies projects of all sizes in four credit categories unique to this rating system: Smart Location & Linkage, Neighborhood Pattern & Design, Green Infrastructure & Buildings, and Innovation & Design Process. Learn about these credit categories in the new online training series, LEED 252: LEED for Neighborhood Development Credit-by-Credit Review. These credit categories integrate the principles of smart growth, new urbanism and green building into the first national rating system for neighborhood design. LEED for Neighborhood Development enables us to bring the integrated, holistic approach that defines LEED from the building level to the whole-development level.

The EPA estimates that we spend as much as 90% of our days in buildings, but we spend 100% of our time in communities: not just buildings, but also that in-between space, the infrastructure and linkages and sense of place that tie those buildings together and connect us to the outside world – and to each other.

You can build your LEED for Neighborhood Development knowledge and expertise with USGBC’s essential LEED curriculum – whether you’re a LEED newcomer or a long-time LEED expert looking to learn more about LEED for Neighborhood Development.

Upcoming LEED for Neighborhood Development trainings include:

Visit for more information.

Other ways you can get involved:

  • Advocate for LEED for Neighborhood Development projects in your community, or register your development project with LEED for Neighborhood Development. Learn more at
  • Demonstrate your LEED for Neighborhood Development expertise by earning the new LEED AP ND professional credential. Learn how USGBC can help you prepare for the LEED AP ND credential at

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