Over the past few years, USGBC has been expanding our vision beyond buildings. The next generation of green building will seamlessly integrate buildings into communities, to ensure a sustainable future for all. We’ve been envisioning a new way forward for the growth of smart cities, and our efforts have taught us that in order to scale smart cities globally, we need to encourage all cities to measure and improve the performance of their environment, economy and people.
When cities and communities increase transparency around their performance, they focus more and more on the outcomes generated from their sustainability efforts and strive to make improvements. They start to implement new technologies and practices to make improvements that address the water, energy, waste management and mobility issues they are facing. They realize new ways to engage more of their businesses, residents and community members around improvements. This creates more opportunities, supports improved citizen health and wellness, and provides economic growth, without compromising the environment or our resources.
By focusing on integrated performance, cities and communities can revolutionize the way their buildings, communities and cities are planned, developed and operated. This focus can improve the quality of life of their citizens, open the door for new businesses and new residents, and stimulate a robust, green economy.
Recognizing that cities and communities lacked a globally consistent way to actually measure their performance, USGBC introduced two new certification programs in 2016—LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities—to help local leaders communicate the performance of their economies, environment and people across an array of objectives and to different types of stakeholders.
These programs are helping cities and communities develop responsible, sustainable and specific plans for energy, water, waste, transportation and many other factors that contribute to quality of life. They are designed to support continuous progress toward developing better places to live, work and play. And as of July 2019, more than 160 cities and communities have certified to or registered under these programs, in areas encompassing nearly 53 million people.
The hallmark of LEED is that it is continuously updated through stakeholder engagement to ensure we continue to raise the bar on what LEED can do to help our buildings, communities and cities improve their performance and raise the living standard for people around the world.
Thanks to our stakeholders and to the green building community and its extensive feedback, LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities was launched in April to provide a framework for planning, designing, measuring and managing the performance of social, economic and environmental conditions on a citywide or community level.
We are excited to share the summary of our stakeholder comments in this feedback report and to highlight that many of the comments have already been incorporated in the LEED v4.1 for Cities and Communities rating system.
Thank you again for your leadership and contributions to help raise the living standard in populations all over the world. Please keep your comments coming as we continue to evolve LEED to ensure that this rating system is not only the de facto leadership standard, but also a living standard.