Smart Growth Implementation Assistance
From 2005 to 2015, EPA provided assistance to 40 communities through the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) program. EPA partnered with state, local , regional, Tribal governments, and nonprofits that wanted to plan for sustainable development in their communities.
Through the SGIA program, EPA worked to:
- Support communities interested in implementing smart growth policies;
- Identify common barriers and opportunities for smart growth development;
- Create replicable examples that could serve as a model for other communities and catalyze similar projects; and
- Creating tools that other communities could use.
The projects dealt with a wide variety of topics, including equitable development, flood resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, transportation planning, transit-oriented development, rural smart growth, corridor revitalization, and economic development.
Project summaries and final reports can be found below. These reports might be useful to other communities facing similar issues.
This page also includes reports from the 2006 Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities (SGIA-CC) projects, where the National Sea Grant College Program and NOAA's Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research offered small grants to Sea Grant programs and EPA provided smart growth implementation assistance to the selected programs and community partners, which included Tribal, local, regional, or state governments, and nonprofit organizations that had a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity. EPA and NOAA organized multidisciplinary teams to provide direct technical assistance as requested by Sea Grant and the community.
Find SGIA Project by State
- Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, and Utah
- New Hampshire
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- Rhode Island
- Washington, D.C.
Valley Metro Transit and the cities of Phoenix and Mesa
The Phoenix metropolitan area is a rapidly growing metropolitan area, and in response, the city was seeking to expand transit service and enact local ordinances promoting more compact, mixed-use, and transit-oriented development (TOD). With light rail set to open in December 2008 to alleviate congestion on heavily traveled commuter corridors, Phoenix and Mesa requested SGIA to explore options to encourage TOD along the light rail and future extensions under Arizona law.
In April 2008, EPA and a team of national experts helped the local team from Phoenix and Mesa identify and analyze tools and incentives that they could implement. The project illustrated the financial impact of implementing these tools in metropolitan Phoenix.
- Report: Transit Oriented Development and Proposition 207 in Metropolitan Phoenix Search EPA Archive
- Video: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance in Phoenix and Mesa, Arizona describes this technical assistance project.
In 2014 and 2015, at the Mississippi County leaders and the East Arkansas Planning and Development District (EAPDD), EPA and its consultant team worked with community members, businesses, and local government representatives to expand housing options and address the related challenge of encouraging young people to stay in Mississippi County. The work under this project built on EAPDD’s regional planning efforts through a 2011 grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
With a new steel mill planned in Osceola, located in northeastern in Mississippi County on the Mississippi River, EAPDD and partners had a renewed interest in developing well-located, affordable, and desirable housing options. Community representatives were especially interested in how infill and redevelopment of property could capitalize on existing infrastructure and revitalize traditional neighborhoods.
Association of Bay Area Governments
In 2014, the Association of Bay Area Governments (ABAG) requested assistance to help incorporate resilience to natural hazards and climate change into regional and local land use planning, decision-making, and implementation.
EPA and its consultant team conducted two site visits to:
- Provide input on a region-wide vulnerability assessment for high-growth areas in the San Francisco Bay area;
- Develop strategies to reduce vulnerabilities to sea level rise and earthquakes in planned high-growth areas; and
- Compile the process into a guidance document ABAG is using to help communities throughout the bay area.
- Report: Creating Safe Growth Strategies for the San Francisco Bay Area
California Department of Transportation
The California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) requested SGIA to help develop a scorecard to evaluate the transportation options available to urban, suburban, and rural residents. The assistance was provided in 2008 and 2009. The resulting 2010 guidebook offered a planning framework to help guide and assess how well plans, programs, and projects meet a definition of "smart mobility," based on principles such as location efficiency, reliable mobility, health and safety, environmental stewardship, social equity, and a robust economy.
California Strategic Growth Council
The state of California's landmark AB 32 legislation created ambitious greenhouse gas emission reduction targets that affect both public and private sectors. The state requested SGIA in 2010 to create a framework that will help local governments determine which combination of greenhouse gas reduction strategies, smart growth practices, and sustainability policies are best for their type of community.
The final product, Strategies for Sustainable Communities: A Guidebook Based on California Community Types, offered potential strategies, indicators to track progress, and resources for 10 community types ranging from major cities to rural communities.
In 2013, the city of San Francisco requested assistance to develop a city-wide district energy plan with near-term pilot projects, with near-term pilot projects within the Central SoMa and the Transit Center district. EPA and its team team helped San Francisco explore how their public sector could facilitate and provide incentives to establish district-scale energy systems that meet local goals.
The final report presents a four-phase process to help communities understand the options for, and benefits of, establishing district-scale energy systems in compact, mixed-use areas.
- Report: District-Scale Energy Planning: Smart Growth Implementation Assistance to the City of San Francisco Search EPA Archive
The city of Denver launched the Living Streets Initiative to transform arterials in the city into vibrant, active, pedestrian- and transit-friendly places. Living streets are designed to accommodate a range of transportation options‐driving, walking, bicycling, and transit and emphasis is on moving people, not just cars. The city asked for assistance to better understand how the concept of living streets could apply to their commercial corridors. It also sought to identify policies and actions that would help it better coordinate land use transportation planning and investments and implement the living streets effort.
In 2008, the EPA team delivered a report that identifies policy options that could support living streets in Denver. The report presents three principles and design strategies to implement living streets along commercial corridors in the city and region: reduce the number of lanes dedicated to cars; create a pedestrian- and transit-friendly streetscape; and relate development to the street.
- Report: Implementing Living Streets: Ideas and Opportunities for the City and County of Denver Search EPA Archive
Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Utah
Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development
Transit-oriented development (TOD) is development within a quarter- to half-mile radius of a transit station that offers a mix of housing, employment, shopping, and transportation choices. In 2010, four applicants — Wheat Ridge, Colorado; Cobb County and the Cumberland Community Improvement District in Georgia; the South Suburban Mayors and Managers Association in Illinois; and the Utah Transit Authority, Salt Lake City, and Sandy City in Utah — requested assistance with funding and financing infrastructure to support TOD.
Potential TOD sites were identified in each community. Each site had different assets and challenges; however, the issues identified had many commonalities. To help meet the communities' needs and the needs of many other communities across the country that are considering options for funding and financing infrastructure to support TOD, this project worked to:
- Develop model financing strategies for infrastructure investments located around transit-oriented development, land assemblage, parking garages, stormwater management, streets and sidewalks, facade improvements, infrastructure phasing, energy efficiency, and other necessary infrastructure components.
- Create an infrastructure financing toolkit around these strategies that addresses likely sources of funding, funding structures, and mechanisms for infrastructure investment that could be applied nationally.
- Report: Infrastructure Financing Options for Transit-Oriented Development
Capitol Region Council of Governments
In 2008, Connecticut's Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) recognized an opportunity to leverage state efforts to increase affordable housing with additional guidance to ensure that those investments result in sustainable, green development in the region's municipalities. Building on the state's Home Connecticut incentive housing program, CRCOG requested assistance to develop guidance for communities to site, plan, and develop housing that incorporates smart growth approaches and green building techniques.
As part of the assistance project, EPA and its consultant team held a community workshop in 2009 to apply the guidelines to four model sites in urban, suburban, and rural contexts. This effort resulted in concept plans for mixed-use, mixed-income developments on a vacant shopping center site, an undeveloped rural parcel, and two other underperforming sites that both add affordable housing and show the benefits of incorporating a more sustainable, green approach to growth and development.
- Report: Together We Can Grow Better: Smart Growth for a Sustainable Connecticut Capitol Region Search EPA Archive
- Guidelines: Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development. Developed as part of this assistance and intended to be relevant to communities across the country, the guidelines provide specific approaches that can be incorporated at each step of the housing development process from site selection to building design.
- EPA Region 1 worked with Manchester, one of the four target communities, to provide greater detail on how to integrate green infrastructure approaches into concept plans. The publication, From Grey to Green: Sustainable Practices for Redeveloping a Vacant Shopping Center, walks users through incorporating green roofs, stormwater detention systems, street trees, constructed wetlands, and parks into mixed-use, mixed-income housing development.
In 2007, Sussex County and the Sea Grant program at the University of Delaware requested SGIA-CC assistance to help find development options that better protect water quality. The county saw tremendous population growth, which could threaten both tourism and agriculture (both major economic drivers), if it is not planned well.
This project gave county stakeholders a context for considering smart growth development in Sussex County. The report provided design concepts that incorporate smart growth and sustainable stormwater management approaches at the watershed, neighborhood, and site scales that the county can consider as it decides how to implement its plan for growth.
- Report: Protecting Water Quality With Smart Growth Strategies and Natural Stormwater Management in Sussex County, Delaware Search EPA Archive
With growing concern about Miami's expansion into areas adjacent to Everglades National Park, Miami-Dade County sought to direct growth to already-developed areas. In 2009, the county requested assistance with management and oversight of its Urban Development Boundary, especially on how to use it more effectively to guide development toward existing areas and protect sensitive environmental areas.
Through meetings with stakeholders and municipal staff in 2009 and 2010, the SGIA team presented options for growth management. The report focuses on Miami but is applicable to any community grappling with growth management.
- Report: Growing for a Sustainable Future: Miami-Dade County Urban Development Boundary Assessment Search EPA Archive
Atlanta Regional Commission
Older adults were becoming an ever-increasing segment of Atlanta's population. The Atlanta Regional Commission (ARC), a local organization working on growth and development issues, requested assistance in 2009 to devise a housing-focused land use strategy to provide additional opportunities for older adults. The city of Fayetteville and Fayetteville Senior Services were the local model for this process. The report from the project is no longer available, but ARC has many resources on its Lifelong Communities page.
Driggs and Victor
The cities of Driggs and Victor, two small communities in Idaho's Teton County, partnered with Valley Advocates for Responsible Development, a local nonprofit organization concerned about growth issues, to request an analysis of the barriers and opportunities for infill redevelopment.
In 2006, EPA and its consultant team conducted a market overview for Teton County and the two cities to ground the discussion of the regulatory barriers to infill development. The also analyzed the existing policies, codes, ordinances, and design guidelines that provide the structure for new development and redevelopment, as well as the pedestrian environment, parking, and other transportation issues that influence land development patterns. Last, the group also conducted a visioning exercise for development in downtown Victor.
- Report: Growing Our Own Communities Search EPA Archive
Concerned with growth pressures and challenges along McCall's new East-West Loop Road, the city requested assistance in 2005 to create a vision for attractive and functional development that could serve the surrounding neighborhoods. EPA and its consultant team worked with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to create a vision and concept plans for the development at two sites along the road. Community leaders decided to adopt designs from this workshop in their comprehensive plan.
- Report: Connecting McCall: Concept Plans for Lardo and West Valley Search EPA Archive
In 2006, Porter County worked to approve a Unified Development Ordinance to be the single point of reference for land development in the county. To help ensure developers, planners, and residents would know what to expect from development, the Plan Commission sought SGIA-CC assistance with a traditional neighborhood development design guideline to supplement the Unified Development Ordinance's text and information.
The EPA team worked with local stakeholders, developers, staff, and the public to develop the design guideline. The team produced renderings of a sample traditional neighborhood development site plan that could be built nearly anywhere in the county and developed a full description of what is expected from a developer. The report was submitted to the community as a set of elements to consider as elected officials approve the Unified Development Ordinance.
- Report: Building the Comprehensive Community: Traditional Neighborhood Development for Porter County, Indiana Search EPA Archive
In 2000, the Louisville-Jefferson County adopted Cornerstone 2020, a comprehensive plan focused on growth patterns to encourage mixed-use centers that create walkable, compact development while connecting new projects to existing development. In 2009, Louisville Metro requested assistance to develop a public education campaign around its model for creating centers, the Centers Concept.
Along with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Department of Transportation, EPA and its consultant team worked with the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Division of Planning and Design Services and the municipal planning organization in 2009 and 2010. The team led a public workshop about the Centers Concept to illustrate how the centers could benefit the community and improve access for residents and businesses. The workshop explored tools, techniques, and implementation strategies that dealt with smart growth, town centers, affordable housing, transportation, and balancing the demands of growth with rural and scenic character in this growing exurban area.
Sanitation District No. 1
Faced with rapid growth pressures and a burdened combined sewer system that frequently overflows, the Sanitation District No. 1 in Kentucky identified solutions that allow sustained economic growth without exacerbating overflows or harming water quality. In 2008, the district requested assistance to create a green infrastructure handbook to help Northern Kentucky communities manage and reduce their stormwater runoff while still allowing the region to grow and prosper. The handbook includes land use policies and strategies that both manage stormwater and create attractive, walkable neighborhoods. The handbook also illustrates innovative site-level design strategies that reduce runoff from development and how they could be applied in Northern Kentucky.
Funding partner: Sanitation District No. 1
- Report: Stormwater Management Handbook: Implementing Green Infrastructure in Northern Kentucky Communities
Maine Sea Grant worked with the town of Wells to implement a community-supported initiative to protect the ecological integrity of a local trout stream, Depot Brook, while allowing growth and development in a proposed gateway area. in 2006, the town requested SGIA-CC assistance to find options for developing and redeveloping the Route 109 Gateway Corridor, which includes a portion of the Depot Brook riparian corridor.
The consultant team led a workshop that gathered input from Wells' residents to develop potential redevelopment designs. The team explored:
- Stormwater management strategies that could be incorporated into different building types and land uses.
- Transportation and parking strategies that could help improve traffic flow and provide more transportation options.
- Possible building and land use designs for the Route 109 corridor and Wells Corner central area.
- Report: How Can Wells Grow and Protect Depot Brook? Search EPA Archive
In 2006, the city of College Park requested assistance to understand and remedy the disconnect between its vision for a walkable, bikeable, functional U.S. Route 1 corridor and the development that was actually being built. Drawing on best practices from around the country, EPA and the consultant team worked with local partners to develop options for the city and county to help move the Route 1 corridor toward the vision. The team's report was approved by the City Council. Subsequently, the city implemented two of the options in the report: preparing a form-based code and undertaking a transportation demand management study to identify measures to reduce traffic congestion.
- Report: Achieving the Vision: Options for the College Park U.S. Route 1 Corridor Search EPA Archive
Montgomery County has been a leader among local governments in implementing land use policies that support compact, transit-oriented development in suburban cores while protecting rural agricultural areas. These approaches mitigate climate change by reducing vehicle miles travelled, preserving natural areas that sequester carbon, and creating more compact and energy-efficient buildings. Yet the lack of a coordinated methodological approach has prevented the county from measuring how these approaches help meet its climate protection goals.
The county requested assistance to develop an approach to estimate the greenhouse gas reduction impacts of various land use alternatives, thereby supporting local decision-makers' ability to approve projects that contribute to the community's climate protection goals.
In 2006, Michigan Sea Grant and the city of Marquette requested SGIA-CC assistance to help with a form-based zoning code for Marquette's Downtown Waterfront District. A form-based code is a land development regulation that fosters predictable and high-quality built results by using physical form (rather than the separation of uses) as the organizing principle for the code. The community wants to attract and support vibrant, mixed-use development. The final report included a draft form-based code to help Marquette decide how to develop in the Downtown Waterfront District. Using the elements in the report, the city has developed and approved a form-based code for the district.
- Report: Downtown Waterfront Form-Based Code Workshop Search EPA Archive
In 2011, Saginaw city and county officials requested assistance to develop a land use and infrastructure strategy to stabilize neighborhoods through the sustainable reuse of abandoned properties, support redevelopment of abandoned properties as green infrastructure, and create opportunities for long-term economic growth.
This assistance identified policy options to help Saginaw — and other cities and regions that are experiencing population loss and property abandonment — develop in sustainable and economically resilient ways.
In 2013, the city of Billings, Big Sky Economic Development Authority, and the Billings School District 2 requested assistance to develop a model for collaborative planning that would incorporate school siting policies with planning for infill and revitalization, affordable housing, and increased transportation choice. The assistance was intended to help the city align its infill redevelopment efforts with school facility siting policies that support the revitalization of core neighborhoods.
A booming tourism industry and a strong market for vacation and retirement homes put substantial growth pressures on the city of Laconia. At the same time, three existing neighborhood centers needed reinvestment and rejuvenation. In response, the city engaged the public in adopting a new master plan designed to protect water resources, create walkable neighborhoods, and strengthen the neighborhood centers.
In 2006, the city requested assistance to generate a vision and supporting policy ideas for each of the three neighborhood centers. Laconia's goal was to encourage reinvestment in these neighborhoods while maintaining its small-town charm and keeping the new growth consistent with the goals of its master plan.
- Report: Laconia, New Hampshire - Three Neighborhoods, One Vision Search EPA Archive
In 2010, the city of Las Cruces requested assistance to develop strategies for community engagement, especially with ethnically diverse, low-income populations that have had limited or no previous involvement in community planning and design. The city expressed its commitment to developing a robust public participation model that included deliberative planning and visioning processes.
Creative outreach and participation strategies that focused more on pictures than words were tested in two visioning workshops for the El Paseo corridor, a 1.7-mile corridor that extends southeast from Main Street in downtown Las Cruces to the New Mexico State University campus.
The resulting Public Involvement Plan and Toolkit included many of the outreach and participation tools the project used to begin developing a vision for the El Paseo corridor. City staff in any community seeking to increase community participation could use these materials.
In 2005, the town of Taos requested assistance to help make development along New Mexico State Highway 68, the Paseo del Pueblo Sur commercial corridor, economically stronger and more attractive. Through meetings with residents, town staff and officials, property owners, and others, a vision for the corridor emerged. Residents were particularly concerned about preserving Taos' distinctive character and making it easier to get around town.
Based on the community's goals, the consultant team developed several steps the town could take to transform the feel and the function of the corridor, including strategies to better manage traffic and establish a distinctive character. The town planned to use the report to work with the New Mexico Department of Transportation on its scheduled redesign of part of the Paseo and to educate the community about growth and development issues.
- Report: Taos Smart Growth Implementation Assistance: Concepts for the Paseo del Pueblo Sur Corridor Search EPA Archive
Madison County is a rural area in upstate New York with a mix of small towns, large areas of farmland, two major colleges, and the small city of Oneida. INN 2013, the Madison County Department of Health, Planning Department, and other local partners requested assistance to develop a smart growth self-assessment tool specifically geared for a rural setting to help evaluate a community's codes, zoning regulations, programs, and policies in support of smart growth development.
Using Madison County as a pilot, local officials and an EPA team implemented the self-assessment in three communities—the small city of Oneida, the town of Brookfield, and the village of Chittenango. Through this effort, Madison County helped EPA further refine the tool and identify gaps in the local communities' plans, policies, and initiatives, allowing the county to better help each community reach its goals for future growth and development.
- Report: Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities: Madison County, New York
- Tool: Smart Growth Self-Assessment for Rural Communities
New York City
New York City's vision for urban sustainability, PLANYC, created a framework for advancing comprehensive green development in communities throughout the city. While the plan provided general guidelines for accomplishing smart growth and green building, the city wanted to develop specific criteria and guiding principles to help residents, city staff, and entrepreneurs address the intersection between environmentally conscious and economically sound building principles.
The city requested assistance in 2009 to identify ways to implement the sustainability strategies outlined in PLANYC in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bedford-Stuyvesant. The project examined neighborhood-based, innovative practices and policy strategies that support green building techniques and smart growth approaches to affordable housing and community revitalization.
In 2008, Greensboro requested assistance to engage local colleges and universities in a collaborative effort to improve economic and community development. Presidents, chancellors, and deans from all seven institutions, along with representatives of economic development agencies, neighborhood groups, historic preservationists, and local government officials, participated in a University Roundtable, led by the mayor, to begin the collaboration.
The participants came to consensus around five approaches for Greensboro to better leverage its colleges and universities, including better collaboration, enhancing the colleges and universities' role in neighborhood stability, and becoming more environmentally sustainable.
- Report: Collaborating on Greensboro's Future: The University Roundtable and Next Steps Search EPA Archive
Pamlico County is a rural, estuarine, coastal county in eastern North Carolina with environmentally sensitive habitats. The county's economy is heavily agricultural and water-resource based. In 2006, Pamlico County requested SGIA-CC assistance to develop a community vision for managing the Highway 55 corridor, which was being widened, while protecting the county's character.
The EPA team identified strategies that the county could consider to facilitate development along the highway corridor while protecting the cultural and environmental resources that residents cherish and that contribute to the county's sense of place. The assistance presented development scenarios for the corridor and smart growth techniques that could be applied at the county and site levels to capture the benefits of development while protecting the county's rural heritage.
- Report: Retaining Our Sense of Place by Managing Our Highway Search EPA Archive
In 2005, the Aquidneck Island Planning Commission (AIPC) released the Aquidneck Island West Side Master Plan. The plan was produced by a broad stakeholder coalition and was meant to support important, common interests in shaping the future of the West Side. As one of the first steps to implement the plan's vision, AIPC and Rhode Island Sea Grant applied for assistance to help develop options and tools.
Following site visits in 2005 and 2006, EPA and the consultant team developed approaches for mixed-use zoning standards, design guidelines, and review processes in three communities, including options for growth in specific sites in each community. The team also developed strategies to improve the West Main Road corridor, shared by all three communities. For each site, and for development review in general, the team emphasized how good design and a mix of uses could create the lively, compact village centers envisioned in the master plan.
- Report: Implementing the Aquidneck Island West Side Master Plan Search EPA Archive
Rhode Island Division of Planning
The state of Rhode Island asked for assistance in developing a framework to analyze major climate-related impacts on economic activity and bringing together stakeholders to identify actions to build resilience.
In 20014 and 2015, EPA and the consultant team developed a framework, which the town of North Kingstown helped test and refine, that can help communities ask the right questions to recognize their economic vulnerabilities and identify ways to be more climate resilient. The framework focused on helping the business community prepare for and adapt to projected changes and think creatively about ways to prosper in a changing climate.
Rhode Island Housing
Rhode Island's KeepSpace Advisory Committee is the coordinating body for several of the state's government agencies and statewide nonprofits engaged in smart growth implementation. The KeepSpace partners requested assistance to develop a statewide approach to project funding. KeepSpace wanted a set of metrics for use in funding decisions to ensure that state dollars leverage investments across transportation, housing, and infrastructure and achieve statewide planning goals.
In 2011 and 2012, EPA and the consultant team analyzed statewide funding sources and tools from across the country. The team solicited feedback throughout the process from KeepSpace partners, other state agencies and nonprofits, and KeepSpace pilot communities through interviews and a workshop. The project selection tool was intended to help funding agencies review different aspects of a proposed project across six categories that contribute to its sustainability and cost-effectiveness.
- Report: A Project Selection Tool for the State of Rhode Island: Leveraging State Transportation, Housing, and Infrastructure Investments Search EPA Archive
To help Midtown Houston envision how to take advantage of demand for homes around its transit stations, the Gulf Coast Institute, Main Street Coalition, and Texas A&M partnered to apply for SGIA-CC assistance. The local team wanted to create more riders for the light rail system, create housing options for young professionals, and build strong neighborhoods. The Ensemble/HCC station area was selected as a prototype of Midtown development opportunities.
In 2006, EPA and the consultant team held a workshop to examine transit-oriented development market opportunities in Midtown and around the Ensemble/HCC station. The team suggested a conceptual development plan for transit-oriented development around the Ensemble/HCC station and discussed challenges and strategies to implement transit-oriented development in Midtown.
- Report: Building Houston's Competitive Edge: Transit-Oriented Development for the Ensemble/HCC Station Search EPA Archive
State of Vermont
The state of Vermont experienced major damage to roads, houses, and businesses due to flood impacts from Hurricane Irene in fall 2011. In 2012, Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development, along with the Agency of Natural Resources, Agency of Transportation, and the Mad River Valley Planning District, requested assistance with recovering from flood impacts and planning for long-term resilience to future disasters.
This project focused on how to coordinate recovery across several small villages in the Mad River Valley and helped state agencies review their program structure and state policies to improve floodplain management and plan for more responsible future growth.
- Report: Planning for Flood Recovery and Long-Term Resilience in Vermont: Smart Growth Approaches for Disaster-Resilient Communities
- Tool: Flood Resilience Checklist
In 2014, the Cowlitz-Wahkiakum Council of Governments requested assistance to develop a policy toolkit addressing land use, transportation, health, and economic and workforce development policies that will help steer infill development and redevelopment to existing communities, creating a diversified economic base.
The South Kelso neighborhood wanted to redevelop and revitalize infill areas in ways that offer economic opportunity to the city’s ethnically diverse population. The neighborhood had experienced widespread poverty and disinvestment, and residents faced challenging conditions that affect their educational attainment, economic security, housing stability, and health. These challenges included a high concentration of vacant and boarded-up homes; high volumes of rail and truck traffic; industrial pollution; and high crime rates.
The toolkit offered strategies that could translate these policies into initiatives that could be implemented in a cohesive fashion.
- Report: Using Smart Growth Strategies to Foster Economic Development: A Kelso, Washington, Case Study
The city of Spokane adopted the University District Master Plan in August 2005. The plan focused on creating greater bicycle and pedestrian opportunities, encouraging infill development, restoring the Spokane River, and improving accessibility within the district and to adjacent neighborhoods and downtown. In 2007, the city requested assistance to identify market opportunities for smart growth development in the district and policy options that could implement the master plan.
EPA assembled a team to complete a market analysis of the University District and work with city officials, local leaders, community representatives, and others to explore development opportunities for the Riverpoint campus, a key development opportunity site in the University District. The team's analysis revealed significant market potential to develop the Riverpoint campus as a pedestrian-friendly place. The report presented the market analysis and identified policy options for a vibrant and pedestrian-friendly Riverpoint campus.
- Report: Spokane's University District: Policy Options for a New Urban Center Search EPA Archive
Spokane Tribe of Indians
In 2012, the Spokane Tribe of Indians in eastern Washington requested assistance to create a comprehensive water infrastructure plan for sewer, waste, and drinking water. The project focused on water and sewer system challenges in the community of Wellpinit, including water shortages in summer, drinking water delivery, recurring pipe and pump failures, and design and maintenance of sewage management systems.
EPA's assistance linked to a HUD Community Challenge Planning Grant the tribe received in 2010. The water plan formed the foundation for future housing, transportation, and economic development planning.
- Report: Long-term Planning for Sustainable Water and Wastewater Infrastructure in Wellpinit, Washington, for the Spokane Tribe of Indians Search EPA Archive
Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments
The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) is the regional planning agency for the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, which includes 5 million people living in 21 jurisdictions in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia. As part of implementing its regional vision, MWCOG requested assistance to assess climate change risks to the region, identify smart growth strategies to improve the region's capacity to adapt to climate change, and disseminate those strategies to local decision-makers.
With input from MWCOG’s stakeholders, including site visit in 2011 and 2012, EPA and the consultant team developed a guidebook of policy options local governments could consider when preparing for future climate risks while also meeting other environmental, economic, and social goals. The guidebook describes smart growth approaches that can help communities prepare for current and projected risks to the land use, transportation, water, and buildings sectors. These approaches are relevant to other communities around the country facing similar climate-related impacts.
- Report: Using Smart Growth Strategies to Create More Resilient Communities in the Washington, D.C., Region Search EPA Archive
- In July 2013, MWCOG released a complementary report, Summary of Potential Climate Change Impacts, Vulnerabilities, and Adaptation Strategies, that is based on lessons it learned from its work on climate adaptation, which included the EPA technical assistance. For more information on MWCOG’s climate adaptation efforts, see its Climate Resilience page.
Cheyenne residents worked together to create PlanCheyenne, a comprehensive plan for the region that encouraged growth in existing neighborhoods and downtown and promoted new neighborhoods that are built according to smart growth principles. The city requested assistance to identify policy options that would implement PlanCheyenne and illustrate development that would achieve the community's goals.
In 2006, EPA and the consultant team held a public design workshop to help formulate a development plan consistent with PlanCheyenne and identify policy options. The development plan envisioned a new neighborhood with more housing and transportation choices, a main street district, and parks and neighborhood schools. Workshop participants identified possible changes to the city's development and transportation rules and processes that could make it easier and more economically viable for developers to build the neighborhoods that residents desire.
- Report: Implementing PlanCheyenne: Strategies and Opportunities for Smarter Growth in Cheyenne Search EPA Archive