smart growth

EPA Invites Communities to Apply for Smart Growth Assistance

Feb. 13, 2013

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) today is inviting applications from communities interested in exploring barriers to smart growth and testing innovative strategies that can create healthier, more sustainable places to live, work, and play.

EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program provides technical assistance to help communities grow in ways that improve the local economy, the environment, and people’s health. The program aims to help applicants develop solutions to local challenges, such as managing storm water  increasing transit-oriented development, and adapting to climate change, and to share those solutions with other communities.

EPA will be accepting applications from tribal, local, regional, and state governments and nonprofit organizations that have partnered with a governmental entity for their request for assistance. Applications will be accepted until March 1, 2013. EPA will provide assistance to three to four communities selected from this round of applications.

EPA is seeking applications in the following four categories:

1.    Community Resilience to Disasters and Climate Change – Projects should aim to develop planning principles and building design guidelines that ensure future development provides communities with better protection against storms, floods, and other natural disasters.

2.    Redevelopment for Job Creation – Projects should aim to support growing industries that provide quality jobs for existing residents using land use policies that direct development to existing neighborhoods, are pedestrian-friendly, allow for transit connections, and are close to businesses and public services.

3.    Manufactured and Modular Homes in Sustainable Neighborhood Design – Projects should help communities that are using manufactured and modular homes to address sudden population and economic growth. These communities should provide a mix of uses and maximize existing streets and other infrastructure investments, community gathering spaces, and water and energy efficiency.

4.    Medical and Social Service Facilities Siting – Projects should aim to explore planning for high-quality community service facilities, including health care centers and social services centers, in ways that support neighborhood economic development and healthy communities.

Since 2005, the SGIA program has helped an array of communities from across the country on issues such as stormwater management, code revision, transit-oriented development, affordable housing, infill development, corridor planning, green building, and climate change. In 2009, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) became involved with the SGIA program through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. In many cases, HUD and DOT serve on the SGIA technical assistance teams, and help identify how SGIA projects can complement and build on past and future federal investments.

More information on the SGIA program and applications:

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities:

Latisha Petteway (News Media Only)

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Valley Receives $4 million Regional Planning Grant

A regional effort led by the California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley has landed a $4 million Sustainable Communities federal grant to develop smart-growth principles in the eight-county region.

The Partnership worked with representatives of all eight San Joaquin Valley counties to apply for a Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant from Housing and Urban Development. The Valley's proposal, called Smart Valley Places, was one of 45 applications totaling nearly $100 million approved nationwide - and was one of only two awarded in California. It also was the largest award in California.

Fourteen cities within the eight counties cooperated with California State University, Fresno; the Regional Policy Council (which consists of councils of government for all eight counties); and several non-profit organizations to develop a regional plan for smart growth in the Valley.

The HUD Sustainable Communities program will support regional efforts across the country that connect housing with good jobs, high-quality schools and transportation.

"Regions that embrace sustainable housing communities will have a built-in competitive edge in attracting jobs and private investment," said Shaun Donovan, secretary of HUD. "Rather than sticking to the old Washington playback of dictating how communities can invest their grants, HUD's application process encouraged creative, locally focused thinking."

The grants are part of a President Obama plan that brings together several federal agencies to help local communities create better housing, more efficient and reliable transportation and reinforce existing investment, according to this press release from HUD.

The Valley plan was approved despite strong competition. "The response to this program was huge. We were inundated with applications from every state and two territories - from central cities to rural areas and tribal governments," said Shelley Poticha, director of HUD's new office of Sustainable Housing and Communities.

The other award in California was $1.5 million to Sacramento Area Council of Governments.