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A Plea to Developers: Build Smarter!

In a piece for the New York Times, Allison Arieff, former Dwell Editor-in-Chief and current IDEO'er, has some advice for the homebuilding industry: get your head out of your ass and stop producing architectural junkfood that's quickly turning our neighborhoods "into indiscernible swaths of cookie-cutter sameness." To get them started off right, Ms. Arieff offers builders and developers a few tips on quality over quantity.

· Community — Not Commuting: Stop designing homes around garages! And while you're at it, build some markets, parks, and cafes within walking distance from communities. Walking instead of driving reduces carbon emissions and helps the environment, so viva le sidewalk!
· Make Green The Rule, Not the Exception: High up-front costs and lack of interest are the reasons homebuilders usually cite for their failure to adopt green measures, but those excuses are becoming increasingly tired. Costs are down, interest is up, and the United States Green Building Council is making their LEED program more accessible to developers. Good thing, because there are currently only 540 LEED certified homes in the country!
· Label Homes Like Cereal Boxes: This possibility is seriously under consideration by the American Institute of Architects, but would knowing a house is "green" make a difference to home buyers? We know Special K is good for us, but we still buy Lucky Charms.

Despite the recent decrease in home sales, the U.S. will need 427 billion square feet of built space to to accommodate the national population of 2030. Why not make it a little friendlier? Developers, get to work.
· Is Your House Making You Look Fat? [NY Times]

[Image via the New York Times]