A political ecology of the built environment: LEED certification for green buildings

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards of the non- profit US Green Building Council have become the accepted benchmark for designating "green buildings" in the USA and many other countries. Throughout their 10-year history, the standards have remained flexible, changing with input from designers, builders, environmentalists, and others to incorporate new types of buildings and modify the existing standards to make them more geographically, economically, and functionally sensitive. In this article, I examine through an urban political ecology lens how the LEED standards help to produce a particular kind of built environment. Political ecology has broadened from its origins in the cultural ecology of the developing world to include urban and industrialised environments. In recent years, work in this area has focused on hybridity and socio-nature to explore the ways that urban environments are constructed and maintained through biological, political, and economic processes. In this article, I show how the LEED standards and the green buildings and built environments they help to produce are hybrids of material objects and human practices.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)621-633
Number of pages13
JournalLocal Environment
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 2009


  • Built environment
  • Green buildings
  • Political ecology
  • Sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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