Sustainable Residential Development: Planning and Design for Green Neighborhoods

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The Urban Revolution Henri Lefebvre.

Could houses be built at the touch of a button?

Making the Invisible Visible Leonie Sandercock. Kitchen Table Sustainability Nancy Hofer. Planning in Indigenous Australia Louise C. Municipal Dreams John Boughton.

Developing Sustainable Housing: Moving Beyond Green

Planning Australia Paul Maginn. Planning Theory Philip Allmendinger. Pocket Neighborhoods Ross Chapin. Scaling Infrastructure Alan Berger. Space, Place and Gender Doreen Massey. Neighbor Power Jim Diers.

Developing Sustainable Housing: Moving Beyond Green – Planners Network

Spatial Divisions of Labour Doreen Massey. Staying Alive Vandana Shiva. Planning the Mobile Metropolis Luca Bertolini. The Islamist Phoenix Loretta Napoleoni. Environmental Planning in Context Iain White. The short guide to community development Alison Gilchrist. Planning the Megacity Christopher Silver. Megaprojects and Risk Nils Bruzelius. Urban Planning Chris Couch. Introduction to Emergency Management Damon P. Table of contents Preface Acknowledgments Chapter 1: Fundamental Terms and Principles Chapter 2: The Rise of Suburbia Chapter 3: Siting a Community Chapter 4: High-Density Neighborhoods Chapter 5: Green Homes Chapter 6: Urban and Dwelling Renewal Chapter 7: The impact of unhealthy housing is evident by the association between poor-quality housing and various health conditions.

Besides health issues, housing is not affordable for many. The vast majority of these households represent the lowest income earners in the U. Another indication of growing affordability problems is the number of households paying more than 30 percent of income on housing, which increased to The high cost of housing can also negatively affect regional economies, as individuals have less disposal income, putting communities at a competitive disadvantage when compared to areas having lower housing costs.

The combination of the aforementioned problems are helping to drive efforts to examine more sustainable ways to develop housing.

Sustainable residential development : planning and design for green neighborhoods

Certainly initiatives by the U. Many within the housing industry are also jumping on the green building bandwagon, as the NAHB is promoting green housing and encouraging local chapters to set up green building programs. In addition, the prevalence of unhealthy housing has reunited many groups within the public health and affordable housing communities, something that has not happened to this extent since the days of the tenement movement.

Organizations such as the National Center for Healthy Housing and others have effectively called attention to myriad problems related to health and housing. The smart growth movement emerged out of growing concerns about negative effects of urban and suburban sprawl by many environmentalists and policymakers.


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  • Sustainable Residential Development : Planning and Design for Green Neighborhoods.

On the other hand, proponents argue that high-density development reduces land and housing costs. Furthermore, the first smart growth principle, creating a range of housing opportunities and choices, advocates for a diversity of housing types for all incomes, including affordable units. Closely related to smart growth, new urbanism also attempts to encourage higher density design, but is more influenced by architects and physical planners. New urbanism postulates that modifications of forms will produce positive social, economic and environmental change, but critics complain that such changes are limited.

To counter these perceptions, CNU recently launched the Affordable Housing Initiative to encourage more inclusion of affordable housing in new urbanism projects. Individual organizations like CNU and the Smart Growth Network are beginning to join forces to develop better quality housing and communities. The goal of the partnership was to develop a national standard for neighborhood design encompassing four areas: To test the new LEED-ND rating system, a pilot program has been started to certify neighborhood developments from various regions and community types.

Based on the evaluation of these projects, the rating system will be modified, with the anticipated release of the final standards in Within the pilot rating system, projects can accumulate up to a maximum of points, with four certification levels requiring anywhere from points to achieve certification.

While encouraging green and environmental practices are priorities of LEED-ND, projects can also earn up to 4 points if at least 20 percent of the units are affordable. This initiative is different from many green housing programs as it targets only affordable housing, but is also focuses on improving economic efficiencies. Traditional affordable housing advocacy groups, such as the National Low Income Housing Coalition, are supporting sustainable affordable housing as it reduces utility costs for low-income households. We are also seeing more initiatives at the state and local level to ensure that the social dimension of sustainability is included in green housing.

Many local non-profit affordable housing developers are beginning to incorporate more sustainable design features into their social justice work. Urban Edge, a year-old CDC located in Boston committed to developing healthy and sustainable communities, built a unit, affordable, mixed-use, transit-oriented project on an old brownfield site with green design features, including solar energy.

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On the west side of Buffalo, People United for Sustainable Housing PUSH is conducting grassroots organizing to reclaim abandoned houses for low-income residents and clean up contaminated sites, including advocating for changes in housing policy and new urbanism from a social justice perspective. The above examples are surely encouraging advances towards more sustainable housing development, however, can we create more sustainable housing without significant changes to the current housing system?

It is certainly heartening that groups like NAHB and NAR are supporting principles of green housing and smart growth, as well as affordability and inclusion, but will these and other private interests attempt to block a more activist government? Last year, spending on housing actually dropped in real dollars by 2.

Regardless of potential industry opposition, government must clearly play a more active role in promoting sustainable housing and ensuring issues of equity are given equal priority.


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A new Democratic-controlled Congress may provide more political support for these initiatives. In addition, inequities within the system, such as tax deductions providing housing subsidies for affluent homeowners and industry groups while reducing support to low-income families, must be addressed.

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Most sustainable housing development activity has happened despite inadequate federal assistance because state and local government made supporting these projects a high priority. Moreover, state and local government should change zoning and permitting laws that currently promote high-cost, low-density development and establish regulatory barriers to affordable housing.

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