Final Comments on LEED-ND: Can you really promote walkable communities and remain silent on public restroom availability?

Final Comments on LEED-ND: Can you really promote walkable communities while remaining silent on public restroom availability? 
The process of developing the LEED-Neighborhood Development rating system is now coming to a close with a final call for comments by June 14, 2009.  
This joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is a powerful and practical tool for environmental sustainability. Where LEED looks at buildings, LEED-ND http://www.nrdc.org/cities/smartgrowth/leed.asp considers how they are integrated into  compact, mixed-use neighborhoods and walkable, transit-oriented communities.  
Buildings generate more than a third of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.    However, people moving themselves and goods among buildings are responsible for another third.  LEED-ND is a comprehensive set of guidelines – with a rating system rating system the offers points for alternatives to sprawl and rewards points for development that reduces the need to drive.  
But has LEED-ND looked at what else needs to be done to get people out of their cars and onto their feet and public transit? 
Portland public restroom advocacy organization PHLUSH http://phlush.org/demonstrates how public restrooms are a vital part of mixed-use neighborhoods.   http://phlush.org/?page_id=696
People are comfortable strolling in downtown when there are public facilities.
Public restrooms get people out of cars and onto their feet, bicycles and mass transit.  Commuters need restrooms along their route.  
Public restrooms promote fitness by allowing people to exercise in open space and in so doing provide natural surveillance. 
Public restrooms contribute to public health. Involuntary urinary retention is detrimental to physical health.  Mental health suffers when people want to be out with their families and friends but restrooms are not available.
Public restrooms serve the “restroom challenged”, http://www.americanrestroom.org/pr/who.htm  people with both normal conditions – pregnancy, young age, old age etc – and a range of medical conditions, many of which are invisible.
Fundamental to historical urban development was recognition of the need of all human beings to urinate and defecate.  In fact, a hallmark of a great city was its ability to deal with this reality.  
Could it simply be that old-fashioned reluctance to consider these basic, albeit unappealing, circumstances of human existence have blinded the world most talented planners and environmentalists?  
Or is it me who is missing something?   

The process of developing the LEED-Neighborhood Development rating system is now coming to a close with a final call for comments by June 14, 2009.  

threelogos_0This joint venture of the Congress for the New Urbanism, the US Green Building Council, and the Natural Resources Defense Council is a powerful and practical tool for environmental sustainability. Where LEED looks at buildings, LEED-ND  considers how they are integrated into  compact, mixed-use neighborhoods and walkable, transit-oriented communities.  

Buildings generate more than a third of greenhouse gases and other environmental impacts.    However, people moving themselves and goods among buildings are responsible for another third.  The latest draft of LEED-ND is a comprehensive set of guidelines, with a rating system rating system the offers points for alternatives to sprawl and development that activates open spaces and reduces the need to drive. But has LEED-ND looked at what else needs to be done to get people out of their cars?

Portland public restroom advocacy organization PHLUSH demonstrates how public restrooms are a vital part of mixed-use neighborhoods.   People are comfortable strolling in downtown when there are public facilities.

  • Public restrooms get people out of cars and onto their feet, bicycles and mass transit.  Commuters want restrooms along their routes.  
  • Public restrooms promote fitness by allowing people to exercise in open space and in so doing provide natural surveillance. 
  • Public restrooms contribute to public health. Involuntary urinary retention is detrimental to physical health.  Mental health suffers when people cannot be out with their families and friends because restrooms are not available.
  • Public restrooms also serve the “restroom challenged”,  people with both normal conditions – pregnancy, young age, old age etc – and a range of medical conditions, many of which are invisible.

Fundamental to historical urban development was recognition of the need of all human beings to urinate and defecate.  In fact, a hallmark of a great city was its ability to deal with this reality.  

Could it be that old-fashioned reluctance to consider these basic, albeit unappealing, circumstances of human existence have blinded some of the world’s most talented, architects,  planners and environmentalists?  

Or is it me who is missing something?

Advertisements

4 responses to “Final Comments on LEED-ND: Can you really promote walkable communities and remain silent on public restroom availability?

  1. Certainly concur with the above. My spouse and I hesitate to walk in areas if we think finding a restroom could be a problem.

  2. There are great options for clean and safe public restrooms. Good public places ensure that everyone can stay, not have to rush away in an hour. Good facilities ensure that people can stay, play and spend time and money. If you have to rush away for nature, you take your greenbacks with you.

  3. “Toilet-Less In Portland”

    Progressive cities and states dedicate a percentage of new development costs for the arts.

    Why not a percentage for truly public restrooms?

    If indeed the need-necessity to use restrooms is universal human equalizer, why is access in most cities so unequal even discriminatory?

    What if commercial space and public space zoning required funding of public restrooms and their maintenance.

    We have the Benson Drinking Fountains (water input). Why not naming rights for public restrooms (water output)?

  4. You have to ‘go’ when you ‘have to go’. Withot having a place ‘to go’, many people will not attend or visit the area, or will have a negative opinion if they have to ‘hold it’ in pain, rather than enjoy the day. They may never be there again or take friends or recommend friends because of the ability to use a restroom. How about using some of the advertising dollars to put ads in there or make them artistic centers of interest?
    Please do not neglect this basic human need. Your project or event or place will be more enjoyable and be inclusive of most individuals.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s