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Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities

Smart Growth Buildingblock

This video from Housing & Community Solutions, Inc. (HCSI) describes how community members in the 26th Ward of St. Louis, MO worked with HCSI to apply for technical assistance through EPA's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program. A walkability audit was conducted in the 26th Ward as part of this technical assistance. Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

 

On October 23, 2014, EPA announced a Request for Letters of Interest (RFLI) inviting communities to apply for assistance. Apply by Nov. 20, 2014. Please see Assistance from EPA for details.

On Nov. 11, 2014, EPA grantee Project for Public Spaces called for applications for technical assistance. Apply by Jan. 9, 2015. Learn more: http://www.pps.org/livability-solutions/epa/ Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

Background

Many communities around the country are asking for tools to help them achieve their desired development goals, improve quality of life, and become more economically and environmentally sustainable. In response to this demand, EPA developed the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities provides quick, targeted technical assistance to selected communities using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. The purpose of delivering these tools is to stimulate a discussion about growth and development and strengthen local capacity to implement sustainable approaches.

A tool includes:

In addition to the EPA Building Blocks assistance described on this page, EPA provides grants to nonprofit organizations to provide similar assistance to communities. Learn more about the grantees' programs.

Assistance from EPA

Each technical assistance project in a community will involve a team of EPA-led experts and will include:

Technical assistance will be delivered by EPA staff and EPA-hired consultant teams.

On October 23, 2014, EPA announced a Request for Letters of Interest (PDF) (9 pp, 158K, About PDF) inviting communities to apply for technical assistance on one or more of the following topics:

Please see the RFLI for application details. Applications are due by 5 p.m. Eastern, November 20, 2014.

On October 30, 2014, 3:00-4:00 Eastern, EPA will host a free webinar to explain the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program and the application process.

Learn more about the Building Blocks program on our Frequently Asked Questions page.

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Tools Offered

EPA has offered a variety of tools through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. Not every tool is offered in every round. Once EPA has used a tool in several communities, the tool will be refined to create a product that any community can use with limited outside assistance.

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Communities Selected in 2013

In February 2013, EPA selected 42 communities in 27 states to receive Building Blocks assistance. Nine tools were offered:

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Communities Selected in 2012

In 2012, EPA selected 56 communities in 26 states to receive technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program.

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Communities Selected in 2011

In 2011, EPA selected 32 communities from two sources to receive Building Blocks assistance.

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Assistance from Grantees

EPA has awarded Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities grants to four nonprofit organizations, each with extensive expertise in community sustainability. Under these EPA grants, each grantee offers a community assistance program that capitalizes on tools the grantee has chosen or developed. Communities are selected for assistance annually through competitive processes administered independently by the grantees.

The Building Blocks grantees assisted 54 communities in 2012, 39 communities in 2013, and 26 communities in 2014.

FORTERRA

In 2012, Forterra and the organizations it partnered with assisted 21 communities:

2012 is the only year in which Forterra provided assistance. Visit here for further information on Forterra's program.Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

GLOBAL GREEN, USA

In 2012, Global Green assisted eight communities:

In 2013, Global Green assisted the following eight communities, which included targeted assistance to two communities recovering from Hurricane Sandy:

In 2014, Global Green is assisting the following eight communities:

Visit here for further information on Global Green's program. Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

PROJECT FOR PUBLIC SPACES

In 2012, Project for Public Spaces and the nonprofit organizations they partnered with assisted 10 communities:

In 2013, Project for Public Spaces and their partners assisted the following nine communities:

Visit here for further information on Project for Public Spaces' program.Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

SMART GROWTH AMERICA

In 2013, Smart Growth America assisted the following 22 communities:

In 2014, Smart Growth America is assisting the following 18 communities:

In 2015, Smart Growth America will assist the following 14 communities:

Visit here for further information on Smart Growth America's program.Link to EPA's External Link Disclaimer

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Other Tools and Technical Assistance Programs

Please see our Making Smart Growth Happen page for links to more tools and technical assistance programs.

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