The U.S. Green Building Council’s new rating system for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design in neighborhood development, known as LEED-ND, is coming under fire for not putting a greater emphasis on affordable housing.
Critics say LEED-ND, in its current draft, discourages participating developers from alloting dollars into expensive energy-efficient affordable housing if their payback is, at most, four points out of a possible 106. They worry the point system, and any resulting developer disincentives, will get ingrained in municipal law books if local governments continue to adopt LEED standards at unprecedented rates — all at a time, they add, when the growing gap between wages and mortgages is creating an affordable housing crisis regionally and nationally.
In a recent study by Cambridge, Mass.-based New Ecology Inc., the cost of building green affordable housing held a nearly 3 percent premium, ranging up to 9 percent on some projects.
read more @ the SOURCE: Mlive.com – Critics say new green rating hurts affordable housing.
Ed: Although an interesting article however the article doesn’t mention the savings that low-income families will gain with lower energy bills.
More education of the public in relation to LEED is needed (eg initial construction cost vs long-term running costs and reduced environmental costs). Urban Planning also becomes more important including density of housing.
What does one of the largest independently owned oil and gas companies do to turn over a more sustainable leaf? Well, in this case, EnCana hired green-tech architecture firm du jour Foster + Partners to design their new, environmentally sustainable headquarters in Calgary, Canada. Dubbed The Bow, the new tower’s namesake comes from its overall shape, as well as the breathtaking views it offers inhabitants of the Bow River. As expected from a Foster + Partners design, the form of this sustainable skyscraper follows some very green function.
SOURCE: Inhabitat » Calgary’s new green skyscraper by Foster + Partners.
Forget budget furniture or do-it-yourself interior design – New Yorkers are switching to homegrown dining in an effort to cut costs as the economy flounders.
The number of green-thumbed residents using the city’s vegetable gardens has increased by the bushel in recent months because of soaring prices in the food aisles.
“We have had a huge increase in our participation this year,” said Jennifer Plewka, who manages Drew Gardens in the Bronx, where membership doubled from 25 to 50 in the last year.
Read more @ the SOURCE: NYDailynews.com – City veggie gardens flourish.
It is hard to believe that under this carpet of stunning purple orchids lies a landfill site.
His desire to spruce up neglected plots of land came following a trip to Holland in 1981, where he was taught the skill of sowing hay to produce orchids. And back home, the former professor of plant ecology at Wolverhampton University set about sprucing up pieces of land which had been left to rot as eyesores.
After talks with Wolverhampton City Council’s landscape architect Peter Millett, the pair decided that a former landfill site in Kitchen Lane, Wednesfield, would be the perfect spot to create a stunning meadow.
SOURCE: Express & Star – Wild orchids taking hold in city .
Reginans who want their yards landscaped can thank the current boom in the housing industry for longer-than-normal wait times.
Landscaping architects and contractors alike are struggling to keep up with a higher-than-normal demand for their services.
“Like all the other aspects of the construction industry, the landscape side is certainly booming,” agreed Cam Patterson, senior landscape architect for Stantec Consulting Ltd. and past-president of the Saskatchewan Association of Landscape Architects.
The increase in demand for landscaping services is translating into longer wait times for customers. “Projects are definitely taking longer to get built,” Patterson said. “Our biggest problem is finding people to do the work from the design side. We’re looking to hire,” Patterson said.
SOURCE: LeaderPost – easier.com – Landscaping wait grows
The UAE may soon be the world’s premiere home for theme parks as an increasing number of entertainment giants such as Paramount Pictures and Marvel Entertainment are teaming up with local developers to build mega resorts in the country. However, as billions of dollars are being poured into these projects, some experts are raising concerns about whether these parks will be as successful as hoped.
SOURCE: AMEinfor.com – UAE prepares for theme park boom – UAE Focus.
IT HAS been a frustrating time for many businesses in India’s IT hub of Bangalore. Endless traffic jams, sporadic power, a chaotic airport and many politicians who just couldn’t give a damn.
For four years, Karnataka state, home to India’s “silicon valley”, was ruled by a chaotic coalition with a regional party. Janata Dal (S)’s support base was among farmers, and politicians were criticised for ignoring Bangalore’s IT “elites”.
The result: more decrepit public transport, four-hour commutes, packed roads and blackouts that have taken some gleam off this city as it faces increasing competition for foreign investment from rival cities such as Shanghai and Manila.
Read more @ the SOURCE – Scotsman.com News – India’s politicians pay the price for ignoring booming urban economy – .