In the January issue of the Gotham Gazette, Community-Based Planning Task Force member Tom Angotti, of Hunter College, addresses the issue of sustainability in light of the fact that some NYC mega-projects are pilot programs for the new LEED for Neighborhood Development, which will set national standards for sustianabile communities.  “Is the attempt to develop a ‘green neighborhood’ stamp of approval,” he asks, “just an industry marketing gimmick?”

 He writes that, while some LEED ND pilot programs, such as Melrose Park in the Bronx, represent sustainable, community-based planning, other pilot projects, such as Atlantic Yards, Willets Point, and Columbia’s expansion in Manhattanville, are, “large-scale developments that displace local people and businesses. The communities surrounding these developments have raised serious questions about the proposals and challenge whether they should be built in the first place — not a question that the rating system addresses. None of the projects is a good example of a long-term community-supported strategy.”

He continues, “The missing element in these three pilot projects is community planning — engagement with residents and businesses to find ways to improve the quality of life, whether through new construction or preservation of the existing built environment.”

Read the full article here.