Sustainable Land Development, what is it?
January 21, 2008 2 Comments
There is great conversation and debate being had at every level of government and private firm that deals with all things Land Development. The conversation has essentially started with the LEED certification program by the US Green Building Council. So what is the conversation and why does it matter to anyone?
The conversation is about Best Management Practices, LEED certifciation, blah, blah, blah. Just more hoops to jump through. Government complexities. Unfortunately, that is the arrogance of a country that is only 231 years old. Place that in stark contrast to China which has been around since 221 BC! So what that they’ve got us by about a cool 2000 years? What have we learned?
Apparently not much according to William McDonough. For those of you who attended the AEC Main Presentation at AU this year, you heard him speak on many issues and questions that boiled down to sustainability. You may have also heard him elsewhere speak about this topic, it seems to be his life story. If not, you can catch a glimpse here, a video recording on TED.
The point of his contribution seems to be this;
“I see environmentally intelligent design as being driven by three principles, which I’ve borrowed from nature: Remember that waste equals food. Use current solar income. Respect diversity.” – Fast Company.com
So how do we “design” a living space that is as efficient as a tree? Rule #1 – waste is food. The house you live in generates waste. Is your waste food for something else in the environment? What about streets? Sewage plants? Why do we rely on energy that has byproducts detrimenal to our life? How do our cities reflect nature?
OK, that’s fine. but what does green building, LEED and sustainability have to do with land development? Actually, there is a LEED-ND specification in its early stages which is trying to address the neighborhood design aspect of green building. Additionally, others have taken it upon themselves to generate a different specification of sorts that is “more holistic” than LEED. That organization is called Sustainable Land Development International. Their purpose is this:
“Sustainable Land Development International is a member-owned organization dedicated to promoting land development around the world that balances the needs of people, planet and profit – for today and future generations. ”
So the converation is strong right now for a complete mind shift and hopefully will bring us around from our consumer arrogance. What do you have to say? Will we consume the land like a hoard of locusts? Or replenish the land like the Chinese farmer has done since forever?