For The Holidays: These Are a Few of My Favorite…Places

a favorite neighborhood placeHerewith, some of my very favorite smart, livable places that are contributing positively to the environment, as I’ve written about them on my NRDC blog over the past year.

When my colleague Ian Wilker first approached me about blogging, I’m sure that neither he nor I anticipated that it would lead to so much writing on my part. But there are so many stories out there that I want to tell, so many good people whose work deserves to be known. My favorites are the neighborhood success stories, the ones where I’m privileged to observe something and, say, “look — THIS is what it can be like, if we follow these great examples.”

We environmentalists, as a breed, are still way too negative, in my opinion. (I could say the same about us policy wonks, though of course both categories have a lot of material to work with.) I fully understand why, but if more of us don’t take the next step and present the positive alternative, we won’t make the progress we need to make. Here is my top 10 (OK, 11) from my blog in 2008:

  • Old North, in St. Louis, Mo.
  • Project Row Houses (Houston) and Watts House Project (Los Angeles)
  • Greensburg, Kansas
  • The Atlanta Beltline
  • Seattle’s High Point
  • Asheville, N.C. — my original home town
  • The real Washington, D.C., my home town for 39 (!) years and counting
  • Berlin’s Hackesche Hofe
  • Station Park Green, San Mateo, Calif.
  • Arlington, Va.
  • Mixson, in North Charleston, S.C.

For details, photos, and links, see my NRDC blog. And happy holidays!

Kaid Benfield is director for sustainable communities and smart growth at The Natural Resources Defense Council in Washington, DC. He has his own blog on land development and community issues and enjoys contributing here, too, since there is so much common ground.


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