Lessons for LEED® for Neighborhood Development, Social Equity, and Affordable Housing

Journal of the American Planning Association, 82(1): 37-49, 2016

By: American Planning Association, Nicola Szibbo

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Table of Contents


Affordable Housing Programs

This article looks at the relationship between LEED®ND certification and affordable housing. It finds that most projects fail to meet equity goals and provide only limited, if any, affordable housing. It asks why developers see value in pursuing LEED®ND certification and considers how it impacts their decision making.

Green Building

This article examines the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) certification from a standpoint of equity. It includes a comprehensive survey of certified projects and interviews with LEED-ND accredited professionals (APs). The article recommends making the certification more equitable by incentivizing developers to include more affordable housing.

Social Equity

This article tracks why LEED®ND certification often fails on its social equity criteria. It uses qualitative methods to explore how the certification influences developer decisions related to affordable housing and urges planners to set additional provisions, beyond requiring LEED®ND certification, to truly influence housing affordability in a new development.