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Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities

Smart Growth Buildingblock

This video describes how a walkability audit -- one of the Building Blocks tools -- was conducted in Blue Springs, Missouri.

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

 

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 local and/or tribal governments 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:

Assistance from EPA

Each technical assistance project in a community will include:

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

EPA selects communities from responses to Requests for Letters of Interest that are issued roughly once a year. The most recent request closed on October 26, 2012, but is available here for reference Request for Letters of Interest (PDF) (13 pp, 457K, About PDF).

View the presentations from two webinars, held on Sept. 21 and Oct. 4, 2012, that explained the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program and application process.

Read Frequently Asked Questions.

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Tools Offered

EPA offers 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, we work to refine it to create a product that any community can use with limited outside assistance. Once a tool "graduates" to this form, it is placed online.

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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.

In 2012, the Building Blocks grantees assisted 54 communities. In 2013, they assisted 39 communities. In 2014, they are assisting 26 communities.

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 2012, Smart Growth America assisted 15 communities:

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

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

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

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Communities Selected in 2013

In February 2013, EPA selected 43 communities in 27 states to receive Building Blocks assistance. Nine tools are being 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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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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