Wednesday, September 19, 2012

EPA Invites Communities to Engage Technical Experts

EPA announced today an open invitation to communities to solicit the EPA for technical assistance in sustainable growth in their area. According to the EPA, communities that adopt sustainable growth strategies have been shown to expand economic opportunity; but the goal of sustainable growth is as much about protecting the health and environment of the people as it is about growing economies.

Under the EPA’s Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, activists can engage the EPA on their expertise applicable to rural, suburban, and urban areas. The expertise area include:

• Smart growth and economic development to help communities get better financial results from public and private investments
• Green street strategies for managing polluted stormwater
• Land use strategies to protect water quality
• Parking audits to make the best use of parking for existing and planned land uses
• Bikeshare system planning to create alternative commuting options
• Community design for aging populations to ensure residents can live at home as long as possible
• Green building toolkit to overcome common barriers
• Strategies to help small cities and rural areas develop in ways that retain unique community characteristics 

EPA is asking communities to apply for assistance with one of the specific tools mentioned above. If the request is selected, the community will work with an EPA-supported team of experts on applying those tools during a two-day workshop.

Participants in this program are expected to learn about the policies and practices in these areas as well as how to leverage smart growth development strategies. EPA will select 44 communities for this program. Selection of participants will be a joint effort between the EPA and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities program.

The Partnership program integrates agency collaborations and coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to improve efficiency and effectiveness.

The open invitation period extends one month, from September 26 to October 26. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the program and the application process on September 21 from 1:00 to 2:30 Eastern time.

EPA is working to make all the Building Blocks tools available online. For more information and application instructions for the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program, please see: EPA's Building Blocks site.

For more information on the webinar, please visit the EPA website here.

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, please visit the EPA's site on the Partnership program.

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