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U.S. EPA: San Francisco Selected to Receive Federal Assistance for Infrastructure Planning, Smart Growth

Release Date: 04/12/2012
Contact Information: EPA: Mary Simms,, (415) 947-4270 SF: Joanna Linsangan,, (415) 575-9119

Federal and private sector technical expertise will develop a citywide energy plan

— The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will offer technical assistance on cutting-edge development issues in five areas of the country, including San Francisco, Calif. The Agency plans to replicate that assistance to other places facing similar development challenges. EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance program helps communities address development in ways that improve the economy, the environment and public health.

“Communities around the country are facing a variety of challenges as they try to make the best use of their resources, improve the quality of life for their residents, and spur economic growth,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “EPA’s assistance can help these communities explore new options for growth that protects their environment while laying a foundation for prosperity.”

San Francisco was selected from more than 50 applications after requesting assistance from the EPA to develop community-scale low-carbon energy districts with near-term pilot projects. The EPA will help San Francisco determine how to integrate community-scale infrastructure systems into the urban development process, how to determine which sites are best suited for hosting energy generating facilities, and how to create supportive partnerships, financing, and policies.

“San Francisco will demonstrate how a City can incorporate sustainability goals and best-practices into an urban planning process,” said San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee. “The EPA assistance will help the City transform the Central Corridor and the Transit Center District into sustainable models that showcase cutting-edge technologies in energy efficiency, renewable energy and water and wastewaster recycling.”

San Francisco has chosen two locations in downtown—the Transit Center District and the Central Corridor area—as pilot projects as the city and its partners create a long-term strategy to include community-scale energy planning within future redevelopment projects.

“San Francisco continues to lead the country in finding innovative solutions to meet our most pressing environmental needs,” said John Rahaim, Planning Director. “Community-scale energy districts represent a new era in urban planning where infrastructure systems are an integral part of our planning efforts, allowing us to broadly consider long-term sustainability goals.”

In addition to San Francisco, the following applicants will receive technical assistance in 2012:

State of Vermont – EPA will help communities in the Mad River Valley recover from flood damage and become more resilient to future natural disasters.
Madison County, NY – EPA will help the county explore options for smart growth strategies that preserve the county’s rural way of life.
Spokane Indian Reservation, Eastern Wash. – EPA will help the Spokane Tribe of Indians develop a comprehensive water infrastructure plan.
Billings, Mont. – EPA will help Billings develop a model for collaborative planning that aligns school siting with community revitalization, affordable housing, and transportation plans.

In addition to helping the selected recipients with their development challenges, the program aims to create models that can catalyze similar projects across the country, identify common barriers to more environmentally and economically sustainable communities, and create new tools other communities can use.

Since 2005 EPA has supported 31 Smart Growth Implementation Assistance projects, serving dozens of communities. For example, in 2008, EPA worked with the City of Phoenix, City of Mesa and Valley Metro Transit to develop a menu of policies that support station area development in ways that enhance property values. As a direct result of this work, a $20 million dollar Sustainable Communities Fund was created to finance the construction of affordable housing, grocery stores, child care facilities, sidewalks and other essential elements of healthy and equitable neighborhoods.

The projects are coordinated through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a joint effort of EPA, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). The interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently. The Partnership is helping communities across the country create more housing choices, make transportation more efficient and reliable, reinforce existing investments and support vibrant neighborhoods that attract new business.

More information on the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program and the selected communities:

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: