Sierra Club celebrates eco-friendly building projects in new report

The Sierra Club has often gone to court to stop bad development schemes, but now the venerable green group is trying the carrot instead of the stick. The group has released its first “Guide to America’s Best New Development Projects,” which gives kudos to builders putting up environmentally sound mixed-use projects around the country. Most of the developments singled out for praise, like the Pearl District in Portland, Ore., have been built on the sites of old or abandoned stores, factories, or other properties instead of undeveloped land. The Sierra Club is “recognizing that you can’t just be against things all the time,” says Eric Olson, who directs the group’s Healthy Communities Campaign. “You have to be for things.” Some developers welcome the club’s effort: “I think someone at the Sierra Club has taken a reality pill, and I’m glad,” says San Francisco-area building industry spokesflack Keith Woods.