US Green Building Council - Ohio Chapter - Southwest Ohio Region

Pure” LEED Neighborhood Development Posted by admin on 11/11/15 in LEED, Neighborhood Development


“Pure” LEED Neighborhood Development

Written by: Judith A. Lewis, LEED AP, BD+C; Principal, City Lands Development Company;
Author, “The Arbors” LEED Neighborhood Development Stage 1 Certified Plan, Pilot;
Chair, LEED Neighborhood Development, USGBC SW Ohio Regional;
Chair, Lots of Tiny Expo, September 19-20, 2015 in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati


USGBC introduced its pilot LEED Neighborhood Development metrics in 2007.  ND became its 5th portfolio standard, joining BD+C, ID+C, O&M, and Homes.  Any registered or certified LEED project falls into one of these latter 4 rating systems.  ND is a different cut of cloth.   

LEED Neighborhood Development is a platform for every type of LEED building as well as non-LEED structure, its concern being sustainable communities, promoting green infrastructure and engaging public spaces as particular hallmarks.  This scope of vision, so compelling, largely remains absent ‘in the flesh.’  LEED ND is hardly a blip on the USGBC portfolio screen. 

  • ND projects, planned or built to date, comprise one-half of 1% of all LEED presence worldwide (391 ND of all 82,954 LEED) as of October 30, 2015.
  • Ohio’s ND showing is 2.3% of all ND accomplishment (9 ND of all 391 ND).
  • Certified Ohio ND projects originated as ND pilot ventures – a 9 year vintage.

LEED Neighborhood Development got rear-ended by the 2008 national economic implosion.  ND tackled highly territorial entitlement agencies.  Its scale confronted capital challenges.  And, its urban centric preference often made for in-fill limitations at odds with its ambitious scale. 

Cincinnati’s Northside Neighborhood turned up the LEED ND dial by its selection as 1 of 6 US communities to experience a ND ‘diagnostic’ by Global Green USA.  This program is in its 4th award year through the US EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments

Global Green USA

Focus of the Work

“Global Green USA was awarded a 5-year grant by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)’s Office of Sustainable Communities under the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program to assist 30 communities across the US with sustainable neighborhood planning. The Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments are conducted using a tool built around the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard.“ Source: Global Green USA

Local USGBC salutes Northside achievement, symbolizing too its renaissance by dedicated, talented residential and business energies.  Northside bootstrapped its way to its present and that didn’t happen overnight. Local urban core neighborhoods have waxed and waned 20-30+ years.  They offer an existing asset base with add-on capability to reach ND certification. 

  • This long maturation process serves up a built-in critical mass for LEED ND leverage.
  • A LEED ND driver, such as Northside’s planned Metro hub, can be ND transformative. 

As a first “Sustainable Neighborhood Assessment,” Cincinnati regains LEED ND traction that surfaced with “The Arbors” in Pleasant Ridge, a LEED ND certified plan that got mothballed.  How the LEED ND project checklist is now applied is a game changer; it has moved from project specific documentation to neighborhood feasibility analysis.  The “pure” ND model could not exist in urban cores simply because urban cores are already established-not newly minted.

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LOTS of Tiny Expo Posted by admin on 09/9/15 in Events, Neighborhood Development

Lots of Tiny Expo (The LOT) introduced new horizons for property blight reclamation in a two tier event staged on September 19-20 in the Findlay Market area of Over-the-Rhine.
LOT sponsors – ICON Solar, KZF Design, MKSK Studios, and Rookwood Pottery Company, hosted USGBC Cincinnati Regional’s look at vacant lot  turnarounds through the LEED Neighborhood Development program lens.
Public fascination with tiny living, coupled with empty lot problems, brought together local entrepreneurs and thought leaders to determine inventive approaches to sustainable, practical, and resourceful vacant lot impacts.
The LOT outdoor exhibits transformed an inner city playground by a shelter home assembly, small scale and large scale green walls, solar canopies, pervious parking pads, mini chick coop, and retro fit 1950’s Airstream.
On-site designers and ‘green’ diagnostics team sought out marginal property candidates for redevelopment proposals while nearby LOT forums convened community experts for drilldowns on realistic property blight solutions.
This inaugural LOT Expo event was strategically structured to promote future spinoffs, tailored to particular neighborhood aspirations and  connected to its collaborators – Niehoff Urban Studio and Keep Cincinnati Beautiful. Stay tuned.

Lot Expo Panel 3 Lots of Tiny exhihitor 1

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Photos by Shirley Blair
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LOT Expo 2015 Forum Panels Posted by admin on 09/9/15 in Building, Neighborhood Development


Convening at Rookwood Pottery Company

1920 Race Street, 45202 OTR


Our moderator for Saturday Forum Panels is Frank Russell, Director of the University of Cincinnati Community Design Center and the Niehoff Urban Studio. A registered Architect, Urban Designer, and instructor of Urban Design, Frank’s work with community-based urban designs has been fundamental and developmental for UC’s program for the past 25 years – 13 of which has featured the Niehoff. A dedicated writer and presenter, Mr. Russell has graciously offered to guide our conversations today, so without further ado I’ll hand the mike over to him and we’ll get started.

FORUM ONE – NOT SO TINY ISSUES Saturday September 19 11:00 AM

 John Yung is the Lead Project Executive of Urban Fast Forward- Cincinnati’s go-to urban real estate development and retail district revitalization specialists. A Cincinnati convert- his hometown is Chicago – John’s Masters of Community Planning from University of Cincinnati wasn’t even finished before he’d established himself as a contributor and writer for UrbanCincy, where he’s published multiple articles about public transportation, pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods, and Cincinnati’s (slowly) changing zoning code.  

Mr. Yung joined Urban Fast Forward in the place of our next panelist, Matthew Shad. An expert in Regional Economic Development, urban planning and zoning, Matt’s two decades of experience with Urban Planning in Ohio includes time spent as President of the Mid-Ohio Development Exchange and leadership of their Columbus 2020 initiative.  He’s now the Deputy Director of Zoning Administration for Cincinnati and we’re very grateful to have him here.

Finally, we have an expert of another perspective: a young man who looked at all the challenges faced by tiny house design and said “yeah, I think I’ll do that.” Bradley Cooper is a University of Michigan and UC alumnus and People’s Liberty Haile Fellow who’s designing and building two tiny homes on Peete Street only a few blocks from here. His hands-on insight and design focus on tiny living homes have made him a very popular presenter in the Cincinnati area, and we’re very happy to have him here today.

            FORUM TWO – SIZING UP THE TINY Saturday September 19 12:30 PM

Our first panelist is Joe Nickol, an internationally-active urbanist and designer for MKSK  Studios in the Cincinnati area. Focusing on the regeneration of towns, cities, and neighborhoods to develop adaptable and resilient communities, his work has been syndicated and published in Planning Magazine, the Congress for New Urbanism, Better! Cities and Towns, and other forums around the world. One of those platforms is of his own creation-, where cities and developers can learn to adapt, grow, and prosper their communities.

Our next panelist is Kevin Wright, Executive Director of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation- an non-profit organization specializing in comprehensive community development here in Cincinnati. Since becoming director, Mr. Wright’s work with the foundation has been celebrated in local and national media, including the Huffington Post. Mr. Wright also serves on the Board of the Community Development Corporations Association of Greater Cincinnati and is a member of the Urban Land Institute.

Our next panelist is Thea Munchel, Director of Development of the Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation- a non-profit organization specializing in comprehensive community development here in Cincinnati. Thea’s background includes work with the Enright Ridge Urban Eco-Village, Clifton Heights Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, and nearly three years as Project manager for Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. Now, her work focuses on the economic development and financial elements of development in venerable Walnut Hills.

Our final panelist comes with a legal perspective: Sean Suder is a partner with Graydon Head & Ritchey, LLP. and runs Graydon Land Use Strategies, LLC.  With an undergrad degree in Urban and Environmental Planning and a Law Degree from the University of Virginia, Sean was the lead counsel for the Cincinnati Form-Based Code, the Historic Preservation ordinance, and for the Cincinnati Land Development Code. A Cincinnati native, Sean writes zoning and historic preservation codes for cities all across the United States, and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses- preparing the next generation of policy shapers.

Our moderator for Sunday Forum Panels is John Yung who already blazed his trail on Saturday’s Forum Panel “Not So Tiny Issues”

            FORUM THREE – WHO OWNS WHAT, WHERE & WHEN Sunday September 20    11:00 AM

Our first panelist is Andrew Goebel, the Vacant Lot Stabilization Program Manager at Keep Cincinnati Beautiful- one of the most prolific non-profit organizations in town, known for their efforts and awards for promoting sustainability, community, and education in Cincinnati – particularly in neighborhoods plagued with underdevelopment and blight. With degrees in biology from both Cincinnati State and the University of Cincinnati, Drew has worked with both the Great Parks of Hamilton County and Cincinnati Parks to facilitate development of their properties and repair damaged landscapes.

Our next panelist is Meghan Grabill, a Ph.D. Fellow at the University of Cincinnati, studying Regional Development Planning. Working with the Cincinnati Area Geographic Information System (or Cagis), Meghan was invited by the Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority to improve the data surrounding vacant lots; Megan’s research reveals the relationships between property abandonment and other community vital signs – developing equations to diagnose and predict property deterioration.

Our final panelist, Susan Thomas, comes from a financial background. As Vice President of Public Finance at Port of Greater Cincinnati Development Authority, Susan Thomas specializes in the financing of development, using her Yale education and experience as VP of Leverage and Acquisition Finance at Morgan Stanley to facilitate economic development in Hamilton County. Susan has also worked in the public sector as assistant to former mayor of Cincinnati, Roxanne Qualls.

            FORUM FOUR – FRUGAL INNOVATION – Sunday, September 20 12:30 PM 

Our first guest is Brent Duersh, Flow Ideation & Incubation Strategy Leader and former Frugal Innovation Program Leader for a small company you might have heard of: Proctor & Gamble. His background in prototyping and product reinvention with P&G led him to launch the Frugal Innovation Program in 2012, and it has since generated millions of dollars in cost savings across their many operations.

Our next panelist, Katie Austing, is a professional Business Consultant with Ernst & Young Global, an international resource for businesses seeking financial, managerial, and strategic leadership. Currently working with Cintrifuse as an executive on loan, Mrs. Austing connects start-ups and entrepreneurs with resources and support to make their dreams a reality- all with an eye on “innovation on a dime.”

Finally, we have Allen Woods: Branding, Marketing, and Social Media Management Director at MORTAR Cincinnati and founder of The Allen Imagery Design Group- where he remains as Lead Designer. A specialist in branding, graphic design, and photography, Allen’s experience as a business entrepreneur, twice over, gives him special insight to the challenges of starting and growing creative small businesses through visual and logistical innovation. He reports his recent trip to Africa as a game changer in his view of entrepreneurial skills.


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Lots of Tiny Expo – September 19 and 20 – Findlay Market Posted by Seth Pirie on 08/8/15 in Building, Chapter, Events, Green Living, Neighborhood Development

LOT (www.Lots of Expo — an open air event tied to ‘tiny living’ — is FREE and open to all!

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