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The New Green Architecture: It's About More Than the Environment
For the past decade, architects and developers—and even lawyers, policymakers, and product manufacturers—have lined up for the LEED(Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) credential, proudly adding it to their names and business cards. A lengthy, points-based checklist earns buildings a similar certification, complete with fancy placards boasting Platinum, Gold, or Silver certification as LEED buildings and developments. Although it has its critics, LEED is unequivocally the standard for green building. Along with the sustainability movement, LEED has transformed the relationship between environmental concerns and the built environment.
For the past few years, a small group of grassroots design professionals has been developing similar criteria to represent and measure not just the environmental side of design, but also social and economic factors. The group first hatched its plan during a meeting in the ivory tower of ivory towers, Harvard University, at the Graduate School of Design.SEED, as its called, is a blatant play on LEED. The term was coined by a young African-American architect named Kimberly Dowdell, and SEED has since been championed by a community designer named Bryan Bell.