11 February 2009

Live Blog: Potential for LEED-ND to Curb Sprawl in NJ

Exploring the Potential for LEED-ND to Curb Sprawl in New Jersey
The Spring 2009 Environmental Geomatics Lecture
John Hasse, PhD
Rowan University

Part I: Patterns of Land Development in NJ
How do you know sprawl when you see it?
One person's sprawl is another person's American Dream.
Most densely populated state
Still increasing population, but the rate is slowing down a little
Does that mean that development is slowing down?
Using Google Earth, Dr. Hasse illustrated land use change patterns and showed that new development in a 16 year period was equal to the total land area of Bergen, Hudson, Passaic and Essex Counties combined.

He projects that in August 2008 we crossed the line where forest was the largest land use in NJ, to where Urban is now the largest!

The basic numbers on loss of forests and wetlands and gains in development are on the CRSSA Landscape Change web page.

He encouraged students to go to the NJ State Atlas website to get some other ways to look at the landscapes of New Jersey.

Part II: Can LEED-ND help with NJ Sprawl?

LEED-ND is the USGNC's new LEED measure for Neighborhood Development. While LEED has been around for buildings (like the Comcast building in Philly - the world's tallest green building) it is pretty new for developments. It includes firm requirements, like not building on wetlands, and some things you can do to get points, like affordable rental housing. It also requires at least 7 houses per acre and rewards transit, energy efficient buildings.

Dr. Hasse used Rowan Boulevard in Glassboro as a case study. This is a redevelopment of a deteriorating town center driven by the school, meant to help the town. Technically it would be ineligible because of an existing stream. But he proceeded to explore some other measures. The site avoided T&E species habitat, had more than 55% of front doors within a walking distance of a bus stop, connected to a bike path, and had dwelling units close to schools.

1 comment:

Chris said...

How is "affordable rental housing" a green building technique? What impact does "affordable rental housing" have on environmental quality? Sounds the the COAH crowd has some friends on the LEED-ND development committee. For this one fact alone, expect most municipalities in NJ to reject the voluntary implementation of LEED-ND guidelines.