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Kaid Benfield’s Blog

Great short video on greening smart growth with living nature

Kaid Benfield

Posted August 17, 2009

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I want to do a new series of occasional posts on greening the urban density that we need for sustainable growth.  And I can think of no better way to kick it off than with this 5-minute video featuring my friend and NRDC trustee, Jonathan Rose.  Jonathan is a developer who participates in the real world of building and selling things, navigating permitting and approval processes, and managing the dollars and cents necessary to stay in business.  And he does it the right way.  Enjoy: 


This is a topic we have visited before, for example in my open letter to the smart growth community last year expressing concern that much of what was being built in the name of smart growth wasn't good enough to refelct our values; in my colleague Rachel Sohmer's guest post on biophilia; and in Rachel's terrific slide show on green infrastructure.  In all three of those we featured Jonathan's signature affordable housing project in the Bronx, Via Verde, featured also in the video (go here for a slideshow on the project).  It's a terrific example of what we should be doing and advocating.   Let's have more like it, please.

Kaid Benfield writes (almost) daily about community, development, and the environment.  For more posts, see his blog's home page. 


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Dan StaleyAug 17 2009 12:57 PM

I want to do a new series of occasional posts on greening the urban density that we need for sustainable growth.

'Sustainable growth' is an oxymoron. Surely you mean 'sustainable development', Kaid. Nonetheless, keep up the good work.



Kaid @ NRDCAug 17 2009 01:02 PM

That would be a fun, nuanced conversation to have, and thanks for the kind word. My position is that growth is going to occur, and we need to make it as sustainable as possible.

Dan StaleyAug 17 2009 07:07 PM

Still an oxymoron, Kaid, any way you cut it.

I encourage you to reflect upon the framing and the messaging - sustainable growth is not possible so why use it?

Sustainable development is much more descriptive, accurate, and truthful.



Kaid @ NRDCAug 18 2009 08:05 AM

I doubt that we are far apart on this, Dan. For example, Vision 2020 for Castle Rock, Colorado, which I believe you may have had a hand in, sets among its goals to "accommodate future growth through logical infill development" and to "seek a balanced mix of commercial and residential growth." Is that not sustainability planning? To me, it is planning to use the tool of sustainable development to achieve the goal of sustainable growth.

Dan StaleyAug 19 2009 01:29 PM

Well, that's not my phrase in an attempt at a progressive document in a very conservative area.

Yet the key is the 'infill', where there is an attempt to acknowledge that sprawl is detrimental (sprawl being the traditional current optic for 'growth').

But yes, I'm sure we're not that far apart - I'm just putting a finer point on the messaging and what it signals.



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