Kaid Benfield's Profile
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Member Since:
15 Jul 2010

Last Activity:
4 years, 4 months ago

Kaid Benfield @user22 ?

Posts: 25 Comments: 0

Director, Smart Growth Program, NRDC; co-founder, LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system; co-founder, Smart Growth America coalition; author, Once There Were Greenfields (NRDC 1999), Solving Sprawl (Island Press 2001), Smart Growth In a Changing World (APA Planners Press 2007), Green Community (APA Planners Press 2009); voted one of the "top urban thinkers" in 2009 poll on Planetizen.com and named one of "the most influential people in sustainable planning and development" in 2010 by the Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Attorney, recovering litigator, cyclist, blogger, dreamer.

Follow Kaid on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Kaid_at_NRDC.

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: If you’re out on your bike tonight, consider trying this   1 year, 11 months ago · View


    For pedestrians and cyclists, visibility is a very big issue.  Especially at night.  Every time I see someone jaywalking or riding across a busy street at night while wearing dark clothing, I cringe.  It’s a fatal accident waiting to happen. Fortunately, only a few turn out that way.  But it makes sense to do everything [...]
  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Tools to help cities and towns guide green development   2 years, 8 months ago · View

    Thumbnail It’s one thing for advocates and pundits like yours truly to advocate the greening of cities, towns and suburbs through environmentally responsible revitalization and land development.  But it’s quite another for local governments to develop and implement policy instruments that can make that goal easier, rather than harder, to achieve.  In many places, as I’ve [...]

  • Thumbnail The Ohkay Owingeh Tribe and Pueblo in New Mexico has returned to its roots with an award-winning, mixed-income housing project based on traditional Native forms.  It’s an exciting and inspiring project. Built by the Ohkay Owingeh Housing Authority explicitly as an alternative to sprawl-type housing, Tsigo Bugeh Village is a $5.3 million residential community that [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Reconciling cities with water scarcity   2 years, 10 months ago · View

    Thumbnail When you look at the official US drought monitor map, you immediately see that many American cities may be in the wrong places for long-term water sustainability.  In particullar, note the presence of “long-term,” severe-to-extreme drought conditions across most of Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Arizona. It’s a very sobering set of facts, especially [...]

  • Thumbnail New research from Southern California has found that residents of neighborhoods with a central core of shops and services – a pattern typically found in older, traditional communities – walk nearly three times more often than do residents of neighborhoods whose nearest shops and services lie along a major arterial roadway – a pattern typically [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Land conservation, smart growth and the environment   2 years, 11 months ago · View

    Thumbnail Years ago, I was motivated to participate in what became the cause of smart growth, and now for many of us has evolved into the cause of sustainable communities, because of the devastating effect of suburban sprawl on the American landscape.  For decades, the amount of developed land in our country has grown much faster than [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Green   3 years, 2 months ago · View

    Thumbnail My favorite feature of NRDC’s new Washington office is the “living wall” that faces the common space where our kitchen is (and stands adjacent to the exit to what will eventually be our terrace, overlooking 15th Street). You can see it, just above, along with my pensive and photogenic colleague Marissa. Here’s another view. I’ve written about exterior [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Let’s Play Urbanology!   3 years, 2 months ago · View

    Thumbnail OK, this is really fun, if not to be taken too seriously.  Last month, the BMW Guggenheim Lab launched Urbanology online , a quick and fun game that forces users to make choices about urban issues, producing some quick findings based on the choices. I have long been interested in using online gaming to teach users about [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: 10 Emerging City Neighborhoods   3 years, 2 months ago · View

    Thumbnail Richard Florida , author, analyst, champion of great cities – and a fellow writer for The Atlantic – has picked 10 great city neighborhoods on the rise for USA Today .  These were mostly a bit gritty not long ago, but are now adding vitality practically by the day and embodying the rebirth of US cities. As reported in an article by Larry [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Is This the World’s Greenest Neighborhood?   3 years, 3 months ago · View

    Thumbnail As this post is published, I am on vacation in Victoria, British Columbia, a wonderful city that – among other good things – is home to Dockside Green , which some people are calling the greenest development in the world. At least with respect to new, highly urban developments-in-progress, they may have a case to make: for starters, when NRDC, the [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Barbie Gets a Green Roof   3 years, 3 months ago · View

    ThumbnailI vacationed in Prague not long ago and wandered into a museum full of Barbie dolls . Pretty impressive, in its way. Barbie has come a long way over the years, and her newest incarnation is as an architect with a green home. Bridgette Meinhold previewed Architect Barbie in Inhabitat:

    “Various people and organizations have long been vying to get Barbie [...]

  • ThumbnailWhen revitalization of our distressed neighborhoods is done well, it is almost unrivaled in its ability to advance simultaneously the “triple bottom line” of sustainability:  improving the environment, the economy, and social equity. Revitalization is good for the environment for the reasons I discussed in yesterday’s post ; it strengthens cities and allows them to absorb population and economic [...]

  • Thumbnail Detroit’s problems of urban distress, decay, and inner-city abandonment are all too well-known . Yet the city remains host to some amazing architecture, creativity and resilience. I have come across no more impressive example than artist Tyree Guyton’s amazing, two-block Heidelberg Project. Named for the east-side street on which it sits, the project was initiated in 1986 by Guyton and [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: The Role of the Arts in Thriving Communities   3 years, 3 months ago · View

    Thumbnail I believe one of the indicators of a healthy community – the kind of place that is likely to be loved and endure – is good evidence of creative expression.  Whether it’s painting, photography, music, dance, sculpture, performance or something else, people like being around artists who inspire not just our rational selves but also our [...]

  • Thumbnail Amazingly, the video below is the first time I have seen and heard the late Jane Jacobs speak. Everyone in my world knows her work and her wisdom, of course: she was voted number one in Planetizen’s 2009 poll of urban thinkers . Her 1961 book The Death and Life of Great American Cities was immensely influential to the field of urban planning.  [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: Video Week: A Curator’s Look at a Great City Neighborhood   3 years, 4 months ago · View

    Thumbnail At the bottom of this post is a terrific video tour of DC’s Dupont Circle neighborhood, featuring my friend Susan Piedmont-Palladino, architect, educator, curator at the National Building Museum, and Dupont Circle resident. But first some photos and thoughts: Like residents of most great cities, Washingtonians can be passionate about our neighborhoods, celebrating, say, the lively [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: The Original “High Line”: La Promenade Plantée in Paris   3 years, 4 months ago · View

    Thumbnail 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 to the elevated park in Paris that NYC planning director Amanda Burden acknowledges as the model for the High Line: la [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: The Importance of Place to Sustainability   3 years, 4 months ago · View

    Thumbnail I find that I am almost always thinking about the quality of places. Hanging out with the likes of David Dixon , Victor Dover , and Steve Mouzon will do that to you. And I am especially thinking about places – as a concept – this week, because on Friday I was told that a presentation on NRDC’s sustainable communities agenda is actually due [...]

  • Kaid Benfield wrote a new blog post: The Books I Keep Close at Hand   3 years, 4 months ago · View

    Thumbnail My office is in the process of moving from one downtown DC building to another.  This means a lot of things, not all of them good, and one of them is the physical act of moving.  When we show up at our new location next week, all my office belongings will be in boxes and [...]

  • Thumbnail Jamestown Mall, 16 miles north of downtown St. Louis, Missouri, is an environmental disaster. Built on farmland in an area rich with environmentally sensitive fields and floodplains, and completely automobile-dependent, it was built in 1973 – the heyday of shopping-mall speculation – as leapfrog sprawl, in anticipation of more leapfrog sprawl to come around it. Designed to house [...]

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