Smart Growth

Greening America's Communities

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Greening America's Communities is an EPA program to help cities and towns develop an implementable vision of environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green infrastructure and other sustainable design strategies. EPA provides design assistance to help support sustainable communities that protect the environment, economy, and public health and to inspire local and state leaders to expand this work elsewhere.

EPA funds a team of designers to visit each community to produce schematic designs and exciting illustrations intended to catalyze or complement a larger planning process for the pilot neighborhood. Additionally, these pilots are often the testing ground for citywide actions, such as changes to local codes and ordinances to better support environmentally sustainable growth and green infrastructure. The design team and EPA, along with partners from other federal agencies, also help city staff develop specific implementation strategies.

Formerly known as Greening America's Capitals, Greening America's Communities assistance is being offered in 2016 to cities that are participating in EPA's Making a Visible Difference in Communities initiative or the Obama Administration's Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative. 

Please contact Clark Wilson (202-566-2880, if you have any questions.

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2016 Partner Communities

Greening America's Communities will work with six partner communities in 2016:

  • Columbia, South Carolina, will create designs to protect an urban stream and create a greenway that will minimize flooding and establish a walkable connection through the Capital City Mill District. 
  • Brownsville, Texas, will add green infrastructure to the International Greenway along the U.S.-Mexico border to manage stormwater, create a more walkable street, and add shade and plants to cool an area experiencing higher temperatures due to climate change.  
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, will use green infrastructure to minimize flooding from a local stream and make improvements to streets in four neighborhoods that will increase safety and improve quality of life for residents. 
  • Muscatine, Iowa, will receive assistance to redesign a former state highway that now serves as a city street to help it become a safer gateway into downtown for both cars and bicycles. 
  • Honolulu, Hawaii, will receive assistance to design street improvements and green infrastructure to better support walking and economic development around two planned rail stations.
  • Multnomah County, Oregon, will create designs for streets and public spaces in the Jade District to address heat island and air quality issues, manage stormwater, bolster infill development, and support the character and concerns of the surrounding community.

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Past Partner Communities

Under the former Greening America's Capitals Program, EPA helped 23 state capital cities and the District of Columbia with sustainable design strategies:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Baton Rouge, Louisiana
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Carson City, Nevada
  • Charleston, West Virginia
  • Columbus, Ohio
  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Frankfort, Kentucky
  • Hartford, Connecticut
  • Helena, Montana
  • Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Jackson, Mississippi
  • Jefferson City, Missouri
  • Lansing, Michigan
  • Lincoln, Nebraska
  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Montgomery, Alabama
  • Montpelier, Vermont
  • Olympia, Washington
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Pierre, South Dakota
  • Richmond, Virginia
  • Washington, D.C.

    The reports from these projects offer detailed ideas for communities that are looking for environmentally friendly ways to revitalize neighborhoods, spur economic development, offer transportation options, improve public health, and protect natural resources.

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