Kaid Benfield

Kaid Benfield is the Director of Sustainable Communities and Smart Growth, at the Natural Resources Defense Council. He is the co-founder of the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system, and the Smart Growth America coalition; and author of 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). He was 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.

Bringing a dead public plaza to life in Dallas

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Although it sometimes makes “ugliest building in the world” lists, I rather like I.M. Pei’s iconic Dallas City Hall, featuring his trademark architectural triangles. Photo: Chris Zúniga But I’ll grant that it is …

11 U.S. cities honored as ‘walk-friendly’: Seattle ranks first

Seattle got the “platinum” ranking for its efforts to make the city more walkable.Photo: chrissudermanCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. After evaluating applicant communities in several categories related to walking — including safety, mobility, access, and comfort — the …

The EPA chooses sprawl over urban sustainability

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. In defiance of the environmental values it supposedly stands for, the federal Environmental Protection Agency is moving its regional headquarters from a walkable, transit-rich, downtown Kansas City (Kan.) neighborhood to one of the …


Are ‘smart cities’ not as smart as they think they are?

Smart cities like Masdar, in Abu Dhabi, are all the rage. But are they intelligent in the right way?Photo: Trevor PattCross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. “Intelligent cities” and “smart cities” are all the rage right now, especially in …

Salt of rebirth

An arts district brings life to Syracuse — and it’s green, too

Photo: SALT District Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Coauthored by Aaron Welch. Take one part Paducah (arts-driven revitalization), one part Old North Saint Louis (incremental restoration of abandoned historic properties), mix in some serious winter weather, and you …

Residents of award-winning transit-oriented development say no to transit

Cross-posted from the Natural Resources Defense Council. Photo: thecourtyard So much for the widely-touted concept of “transit-ready” development. The residents of an acclaimed New Urbanist village built around planned light rail (or bus rapid transit) stops have decided that they …

Ten affordable neighborhoods-in-progress will design to LEED-ND standards under grant program

A series of grant winners are leading efforts to strengthen surrounding neighborhoods.

U.S. homes are right-sizing and greening

Are McMansions going the way of the Hummer? Not entirely, Kaid Benfield suspects, but he does think demand for them is dropping.

'Cities' may not matter as much as we think

When we talk about "cities" strictly limited to a fraction of a place's total area and population, we're being arbitrary and missing important points.