- Why did USGBC develop LEED for Cities?
- How does LEED for Cities and Communities align with other rating systems?
- How do you define city and community?
- Who can participate in LEED for Cities and Communities?
Why did USGBC develop LEED for Cities?
USGBC has a vision that buildings and communities will regenerate and sustain the health and vitality of all life within a generation. In order to realize a sustainable future for all, the next generation of green building must focus on the development of smart cities and resilient communities. Our cities must champion equitable, safe and healthy development policies, implement interoperable platforms and advanced technologies that improve the performance of their communities and cities, and continue to incorporate concepts like wellness and human experience into city planning, development and management.
But cities face many challenges in this day and age – citizens are demanding more transparency and information about the places where they live, work, learn and play. LEED for Cities and Communities allows us to address these concerns on a global scale. Now more than ever, local governments are becoming laboratories of innovation and are committing to novel ways for social problem solving. Leaders, especially in growing cities, have an enormous opportunity to initiate a dynamic dialogue with citizens and earn their trust in the process.
LEED for Cities and Communities is a response to the need for a flexible, credible and globally consistent way to communicate continuous urban sustainability performance across an array of objectives and to different types of stakeholders. The program harnesses the power of data to compare and benchmark aspects of performance across cities and communities, and to roll data and metrics from the project level up to the city level.
How does LEED for Cities and Communities align with other rating systems?
LEED for Cities and Communities integrates the high-performance metrics from the successful LEED for Cities pilot, time-tested standards from the STAR Community Rating System and scaleable elements of key GBCI green energy and infrastructure rating systems like PEER, TRUE, SITES and RELi. It also can be used to support other goals, data tracking and benchmarking initiatives such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
The LEED for Cities and Communities program can also be used as a complement to the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system. LEED-ND provides a prescriptive approach to developing a new neighborhood, offering strategies that can promote more efficient, sustainable, and well-connected neighborhoods, while LEED for Cities and Communities offers a performance-based certification for measuring local progress. A neighborhood project that has completed LEED-ND can register to track progress through LEED for Cities and Communities by sharing plans and measured data from the neighborhood. For more information about the differences between these rating systems, see 'Choosing between LEED for Neighborhood Development vs. LEED for Cities and Communities'.
The STAR Community Rating System and associated certification program are now owned and managed by USGBC and GBCI. Many of the metrics and best practices included in the STAR Community Rating System have been incorporated into the rating system. For example, STAR was used to enhance and evolve the “Quality of Life” category and embed more equity, health, and social indicators into the program.
How do you define city and community?
The terms ‘Cities’ and ‘Communities’ are defined for purposes of the rating system as follows:
Cities: Cities are political jurisdictions or places defined by their municipal public-sector governance (e.g., mayors or town managers) except in those regions (especially Asia) where the term ‘city’ is culturally understood as encompassing some places with private sector governance.
Communities: Communities are defined as every urbanized location that is not a ‘city’ including sub-city locations such as districts and meta-city regions such as counties. In addition, privately developed or owned urban areas (for example, Songdo District or Rockefeller Center) generally fit within the definition of ‘Community’ except where they are self-identified (per definition of ‘city’ above) as cities.
Who can participate in LEED for Cities and Communities?
LEED for Cities and Communities is designed to be flexible so that local governments (counties and municipalities) and the private sector can use the standards to achieve their goals. The primary applicant for LEED for Cities certification is the governing body of a city or municipality. LEED for Communities certification applies to non-city places, such as counties, regions, districts, economic zones, neighborhoods, campuses and military installations.
Examples of LEED for Cities and Communities applicants include:
- A city manager representing an existing functional city
- A private sector planner developing or operating a new city or community
- A local developer working on an eco-district or collection of buildings on an urban site/block within a mature city
- A housing authority or local group developing a neighborhood
- Townships, large scale developments or mega projects
- Educational, institutional and industrial campuses or communities