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EPA Recognizes Destination Portsmouth for Smart Growth Achievement

Release Date: 12/06/2012
Contact Information: Donna Heron 215-814-5113 /

WASHINGTON – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Destination Portsmouth with the 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in the category of Programs and Policies.

The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement is given for creative, sustainable initiatives that help protect the health and the environment of our communities while also strengthening local economies. Seven projects were honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, DC.

“Each of this year’s Smart Growth Achievement winners demonstrates a unique approach to smart growth, and EPA is grateful for their leadership,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson. “Using traditional ideas, innovative technology and commonsense planning, the winners are improving local economies, creating jobs and fostering safer, healthier communities across the country.”

Portsmouth’s community leaders recently updated the city’s comprehensive plan to support development in targeted growth areas. However, implementing the plan required overhauling the city’s codes and ordinances. In 2009, the city began executing Destination Portsmouth, a package of actions and development policies to support the city’s vision. The new development policies—created with extensive community input—include more flexible zoning ordinances; required improvements to streets and infrastructure; and plans for transportation, floodplain management, historic preservation, and environmental protection. Today, new businesses are opening, buildings and homes are being redeveloped in the city’s core, and people are going downtown to enjoy Portsmouth’s restaurants, community events, and historic waterfront.

The 2012 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognized four winners and three honorable mentions in the following categories:

Programs and Policies—Winner
Destination Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Va.

Programs and PoliciesHonorable Mention
Bay Area Transit-Oriented Affordable Housing Fund, San Francisco, Calif.
Equitable Development—Winner
Mariposa District, Denver, Colo.

Equitable DevelopmentHonorable Mention
Northwest Gardens, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Main Street or Corridor Revitalization—Winner
The Cooperative Building, Brattleboro, Vt.

Main Street or Corridor RevitalizationHonorable Mention
Larkin District, Buffalo, N.Y.
Overall Excellence—Winner
BLVD Transformation Project, Lancaster, Calif.

Destination Portsmouth was selected from 47 applicants from 25 states. The winning entries were chosen based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; fostering equitable development among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models for environmentally and economically sustainable development.

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to recognize exceptional approaches to development that protect the environment, encourage economic vitality, and enhance quality of life. In the past 11 years, 54 winners from 26 states have shown a variety of approaches that states, regions, cities, suburbs, and rural communities can use to create economically strong, environmentally responsible development. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities manages the awards program.

More information on the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement: (

More information on Northwest Gardens: (