For most of the US Green Building Council's LEED for Homes award winners, the residences' green features will be offset by the damage caused by the sites' automobile dependence, and distance from jobs and services.
All in all, we had a mixture of good, disappointing, and great news for smart growth and sustainability in 2009. Taking a long view that considers where this issue was fifteen or even ten years ago, I remain very optimistic.
To reduce the country's excessive energy consumption, we need to make our new and existing suburbs more like cities. This means embracing the principles of smart growth and transit-oriented development.
Not playing by the rules is dicey in suburbia where children are raised in a culture of uniformity. I don't let my daughter go to birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese or eat cafeteria school food or watch television during the week. This makes her different. This makes us different.