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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

What we like - and don't like - about our cities

Posted July 29, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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    American city dwellers place a high value on their cities’ food offerings, from restaurants to farmers’ markets.  We also love historic buildings and good public spaces.  Traffic, not so much.  These findings are from a new study released...continued

Meet the original 'High Line'

Posted July 14, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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    New York’s City’s hugely successful and justly celebrated High Line wasn’t the first elevated urban railroad bed to be converted into a much-loved linear park.  Today, as we mark the national holiday of France, let’s also pay tribute...continued

Moving beyond "smart growth" to a more holistic city agenda

Posted July 8, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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   I have spent most of the last twenty years working on an agenda grounded in, for lack of a better phrase, “smart growth.”  That agenda basically holds that our regions must replace suburban sprawl with more compact forms of...continued

Agriculture Department to demonstrate green infrastructure, organic farming in DC 'outdoor museum'

Posted June 27, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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    Heirloom and Pollinator Garden at USDA headquarters One of the more thoughtful landscaping undertakings I have seen will be installed over the next fifteen years on, appropriately enough, the grounds of the US Department of Agriculture headquarters in...continued

Mission-driven Mobile Market targets food deserts, underserved schools

Posted June 24, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Environmental Justice, Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  It’s not unusual for a farmers’ market to dispense healthy, fresh produce by vehicle, moving from one location to another as the hours and days go by.  There’s one that sets up in a school parking lot in my...continued

Six ways that thoughtful community planning can help fight climate change

Posted June 4, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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   It is almost a tautology to declare that our future, and that of our children and their children, depends on how we shape our communities for the 21st century and beyond.  Here in the US, we’re going to be...continued

Pedestrian safety leads to more walking, or is it vice versa?

Posted May 30, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  As a nation, we Americans don’t walk very much, especially compared to residents of other countries.  Nationally, we take only about ten percent of our total trips by foot, while we take 83 percent by car, truck, or van. ...continued

What makes a good Main Street work?

Posted May 27, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  Last week I participated in a terrific conference called From Main Street to Eco-Districts: Greening Our Communities, hosted by a chapter of the American Institute for Architects in Corning, New York.  Held a block off of Corning’s own, magnificent...continued

Older buildings, continuity of place, and the human experience

Posted May 19, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  I have been trying trying to understand what makes historic places special to so many of us.  Part of it is that they are relatively rare in the United States, I guess.  For several decades our newer everyday architecture...continued

How reinventing university-city relationships can boost communities' sustainability (guest post by Lee Epstein)

Posted May 12, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably

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  Nearly from time immemorial, a scholar’s relationship with the place where his or her learning occurred was a fraught thing.  From the Middle Ages when universities were invented, the recipe inherently made it so: take a young person, plop...continued

The very embodiment of sustainability, in a small city

Posted May 9, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Green Enterprise, Living Sustainably, Solving Global Warming

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  A sustainable built environment isn’t one thing.  It is many things, functioning best when assembled together in the right places with the right ingredients.  Context is everything:  a so-called “green” building won’t be green in its performance if it’s...continued

Meet your new neighbor - carefully

Posted May 7, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Living Sustainably, Saving Wildlife and Wild Places

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  Having spent much of my life in and around the Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains, I’ve seen my share of black bears up close and personal.  But in city environments, not so much, with perhaps one startling and ultimately...continued

The many benefits of street trees and urban greenery (excerpted from People Habitat)

Posted April 23, 2014 by Kaid Benfield in Health and the Environment, Living Sustainably

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  We humans have an intrinsic emotional need to connect with nature.  The eminent biologist E. O. Wilson first called this need “biophilia,” and the term has stuck.  Yet cities also, and fundamentally, need the structure of hardscape urbanism –...continued

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

About

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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