U.S. GREEN BUILDING COUNCIL: Neighborhood Development Update

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The LEED AP Neighborhood Development exam is now available! The exam, which launched last month, is designed to measure your knowledge and skills as they relate to the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system and will test your ability to identify neighborhoods that meet rigorous levels of environmentally responsible, sustainable development. Individuals interested in taking the exam should review the LEED AP ND Candidate Handbook and eligibility requirements on GBCI’s website.

New LEED for Neighborhood Development Online Training

AICP CM Credits have been approved! View the flyer for more information.

HUD to Reference LEED for Neighborhood Development

Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Shaun Donovan, recently announced plans for HUD to use LEED for Neighborhood Development in its upcoming and existing grant programs. To view the Secretary’s prepared remarks, click here.

Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program

LEED for Neighborhood Development encourages locations that reduce VMT and are proximate to jobs and services by foot or transit. With reduced transportation costs and the option to walk or ride to work, school, or local services, LEED for Neighborhood Development projects with affordable housing can bring the environmental benefits such as green homes and infrastructure, health benefits such as walkable streets, economic benefits such as new jobs, and social benefits such as new parks and access to fresh food to low income and working families.

To support affordable housing in green neighborhoods, the U.S. Green Building Council, with generous support from the Bank of America Foundation, is pleased to offer a grant program that recognizes affordable housing developers who are committed to building mixed-income, sustainable communities. The Affordable Green Neighborhoods Grant Program will award grants to developers of affordable housing and related public agencies that choose to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development certification. The grant will include a cash award of approximately $20,000 to be used toward certification. In addition, an educational package will be awarded which will include a LEED Reference Guide for Green Neighborhood Development, workshops, and webinars. The deadline to submit for the grant program is September 9, 2010. Ten to 12 winners will be selected.

For more information about the grant program, please visit: www.usgbc.org/affordablegreenneighborhoods.

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LEED for Neighborhood Development Project Spotlight: Tassafaronga Village (Oakland, CA) - Stage 2, Certified Plan

Tassafaronga Village brings affordable Gold and Platinum to East Oakland
By Kaid Benfield

David Baker + Partners

Oakland, California’s Tassafaronga Village is a new mixed-income, green neighborhood development that is bringing a high degree of environmental excellence to a traditionally underserved portion of the city’s Elmhurst district. A federally assisted HOPE VI development built by the Oakland Housing Authority, Tassafaronga is replacing 87 deteriorated public housing units with 60 affordable apartments in a new, three-story building, an additional 77 in a section of new two- and three-story townhouses, and 20 more, along with a medical clinic, in an adapted building that formerly housed a pasta factory.

In addition, Habitat for Humanity is building 22 affordable, for-sale townhomes on the site. (Habitat has also constructed a nearby project that I really like in another portion of East Oakland.)

David Baker + Partners

Tassafaronga has been certified under the LEED for Neighborhood Development pilot program at the Gold level, and the individual homes, which incorporate solar power for the generation of electricity and hot water, are being built with the goal of Platinum certification under the LEED for Homes program. The development has also won awards from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference as “best green sustainable community of the year” and “best infill, redevelopment, or rehab site plan.”

Site improvements include reconstructed streets with traffic calming, green stormwater infrastructure, and green roofs. In addition, the apartments are designed to hide a parking structure to their rear, and the Village includes a common public plaza as well as semi-private shared outdoor spaces (see photo below) within each of the three main clusters of housing. The Local Initiatives Support Corporation (see LISC’s summary here) provided $25.3 million in equity financing with low income housing tax credits through its National Equity Fund.

David Baker + Partners

Kaid Benfield via Google Earth

As you can see from the satellite image, the oddly shaped, 7.5-acre site is on the cusp between residential neighborhoods to the east and an industrial area to the west. There is an abundance of bus transit nearby (look for the small blue symbols on the image), as well as a BART line (in green) to the Village’s southwest, though the nearest BART station is a longish walk from the edge of the site. Bus rapid transit is planned for the commercial corridor visible to the east. There are two elementary schools (the red-roofed campus just to the north), a community center and a park bordering the site, as well as a pharmacy, hardware store, eateries and food markets within walking distance. The site’s Walk Score varies from 49 to 60, depending on where the measurement is taken; that is below average for Oakland, but one hopes that Tassafaronga can be a catalyst for further neighborhood improvements, including additional shops and services.

David Baker + Partners

In the smaller satellite images just above, the architects superimpose the site plan into the image (left), and indicate the location of the Habitat for Humanity housing (right).

The project’s LEED for Neighborhood Development scorecard indicates that it scored particularly well for its urban location, brownfield cleanup and reuse, reduced automobile dependence (i.e., the nearby bus lines), proximity to jobs and schools, affordability, housing diversity, and energy and water efficiency. Architecture was by David Baker & Partners, and the firm’s site for the project contains a full list of others involved.

David Baker + Partners

A pre-project description of the site prepared by the California EPA in connection with the brownfield assessment indicates that the southern portion of the site was first developed by the US government as temporary war housing in 1945; the Oakland Housing authority built the now-replaced public housing ten years later. The northern portion of the site was used for various industrial purposes, including the pasta factory, an auto repair business, and a trucking company.

LISC’s site features Tassafaronga as a development that not only builds new homes, but also transforms an under-served, tough neighborhood, with “an example of how affordable housing can be built attractively and responsibly.” I agree, and congratulations to the sponsors for their well-earned awards.

Reprinted with Permission. For more information and additional content, visit switchboard.nrdc.org.

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