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Kaid Benfield, Special Counsel for Urban Solutions, Washington, DC,

Kaid Benfield

Special counsel for urban solutions, NRDC; adjunct professor, George Washington University School of Law; co-founder, LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system; co-founder, Smart Growth America coalition; author of several books on smart growth and sprawl.

Attorney, recovering litigator, cyclist, blogger, dreamer. Kaid’s latest book is People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think about Greener, Healthier Cities.

Follow Kaid on Twitter: @Kaid_at_NRDC.

Recent Posts

My place on the earth

Posted April 22, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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    Move your cursor over the images for credit information. Kaid Benfield writes about community, development, and the environment on Switchboard and in other national media.  Kaid’s latest book is People Habitat: 25 Ways to Think About Greener,...continued

City growth outpaces that of suburbs: new data

Posted April 16, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  New data confirm that central cities continue to grow faster than their suburbs.  This still relatively new trend reverses a century of just the opposite, when city dwellers fled to suburbs and sprawl ate up the countryside.  Not that...continued

The coolest urban trail you are likely to see

Posted April 10, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  Something special is happening in Indianapolis, and it's transforming neighborhoods.  As I wrote in People Habitat, revitalization when done well is almost unparalleled in its ability to boost the “triple bottom line” of sustainability: a healthy environment, a healthy...continued

LA's Little Tokyo strengthens its identity by planning a "cultural eco-district" (written with Thomas Yee)

Posted April 3, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  The Little Tokyo neighborhood in Los Angeles is one of the country’s most important Asian-American communities.  Comprising roughly five large city blocks, it has been maintained over the generations with ups and downs – including substantial depletion of population...continued

Your neighborhood (or mine, or anyone's) after nature's jungle takes over

Posted March 31, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in The Media and the Environment

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  Remember that book from a few years ago, The World Without Us?  It depicted the post-apocalyptic ruins of civilization once the buildings and infrastructure began to wear down and there was no one around to tame the inevitable reclaiming...continued

Helping neighbors plan their own communities' future: a model for inclusive revitalization

Posted March 28, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  Sustainable neighborhoods are the building blocks of sustainable cities.  Neighborhoods are where development decisions are made and where increments of change – whether good or bad – actually take place, as well as where residents and workers experience the...continued

A fresh look at Bangkok, rising Asian megacity (by Lee Epstein)

Posted March 19, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Living Sustainably

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  I am a lover of cities, just as I am a lover of the natural world.  When I travel, I can’t help but take note of how well cities and regions function.   I recently had the opportunity to return...continued

The thorny matter of gentrification

Posted March 14, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  A few days ago, I made a presentation to a group of thoughtful and accomplished philanthropists on sustainable land development.  I made a strong pitch for urban revitalization and was countered with a question about gentrification, the messy phenomenon...continued

Why urban demographers are right about the trend toward downtowns and walkable suburbs

Posted February 25, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  I and others have been tracking for some time a surging interest in walkable neighborhoods, in both reinvested downtowns and more pedestrian-friendly suburban developments.  Just last month I cited University of Utah Professor Arthur C. Nelson for the propositions...continued

Ten large US cities join major new initiative to reduce carbon pollution from buildings

Posted February 21, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Curbing Pollution, Green Enterprise, Solving Global Warming

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  On January 29, mayors from ten major American cities announced that they will participate in a united effort to significantly boost energy efficiency in their buildings.  Combined, the initiative could cut as much carbon pollution as generated by 1...continued

A glimpse inside the "undercity" of a Mumbai slum

Posted February 19, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  Mumbai is a study in contrasts.  Once known to English speakers as Bombay, the city is India’s largest, with a population of some 12.5 million people (metro area 20.5 million).  It has the highest GDP of any city in...continued

How the diverse textures and contrasts of city life engage us

Posted February 17, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Living Sustainably

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  Some years ago, when our movement to replace sprawl with better cities and suburbs was relatively new, I had a big moment at NRDC.  I finally persuaded the Powers That Be in our large, complex organization to feature the...continued

Ten things planners need to know about demographics and the future real estate market

Posted January 30, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Living Sustainably

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  Professor Arthur C. Nelson, of the University of Utah, has made a career out of studying the relationships between demographic and real estate market trends.  He predicted the 2007 collapse of the housing market because of oversupply of key housing...continued

The top 10 US cities for public transportation

Posted January 28, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, Moving Beyond Oil

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  The folks who have brought us the wonderful app Walk Score and who also generate “transit scores” for neighborhoods and cities have just issued new rankings of the best cities in the US for taking public transportation.  In particular,...continued

Why historic post offices matter, and what might help save them

Posted January 22, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  When a city or town loses a historic building in its center, it loses a piece of its identity, part of the “there” that communities must have to distinguish themselves, to be cared for and loved.  It is important,...continued

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Switchboard is the staff blog of the Natural Resources Defense Council, the nation’s most effective environmental group. For more about our work, including in-depth policy documents, action alerts and ways you can contribute, visit NRDC.org.

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