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EPA invites communities to apply for assistance to build resilience, pursue revitalization

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) invited communities to apply for technical assistance to implement smart growth development approaches. EPA is offering this technical assistance through the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program to help communities across the country, including underserved communities, coastal communities, small cities and rural areas, adopt sustainable growth strategies.

The program aims to increase resilience to natural disasters and strengthen the economy while protecting human health and the environment. The Building Blocks program provides quick, targeted technical assistance to communities using tools with demonstrated results and widespread application.

Communities may apply for assistance on one or more of the following topics:

  • Bikeshare planning
  • Equitable development
  • Infill development for distressed cities
  • Sustainable strategies for small cities and rural areas
  • Flood resilience for riverine and coastal communities

If selected, a community will work with an EPA-supported team of experts during a one- to two-day workshop, where participants will learn about relevant strategies, policies, and practices.

EPA will select up to 25 communities through a competitive process. Selections will be made in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation through the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. This interagency collaboration coordinates federal investments in infrastructure, facilities, and services to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.

Applications will be accepted between October 23and November 20, 2014. EPA will host a webinar to discuss the program and the application process on Thursday, October 30, 2014, from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. EDT.

Since the Building Blocks program launched in 2010, EPA has provided assistance to 131 communities. In 2013 in Denver, EPA worked with the local community, stakeholder groups, and the city to help develop a plan to expand the existing bikeshare program to serve lower income neighborhoods around the Denver metro region. In 2013, EPA also worked with Beaverton, Ore., to identify how to incorporate green infrastructure techniques into Beaverton’s urban renewal plan. Beaverton subsequently received a $1 million HUD Sustainable Communities Planning Grant, which is enabling implementation of recommendations made during the Building Blocks workshop.

More information on the Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities program: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/buildingblocks.htm

More information on the webinar: www.epa.gov/dced/webinars/index.html

More information on the Partnership for Sustainable Communities: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/partnership/index.html