Magazine article Government Finance Review

EPA Recognizes Smart Growth Communities

Magazine article Government Finance Review

EPA Recognizes Smart Growth Communities

Article excerpt

The Environmental Protection Agency recently announced the winners of its 2013 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement. The awards were established in 2002 to recognize exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, enhance quality of life, and provide new opportunities for disadvantaged communities. The winning entries are selected based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; showing innovative smart growth planning and implementation; establishing a robust public involvement process; generating partnerships among public, private, and non-profit stakeholders; and serving as national models.

Local and state governments have been working on climate change issues for many years, discovering innovative ways to reduce emissions and plan for climate impacts while also bringing other environmental, social, health, and economic benefits. Many places have found that smart growth strategies can help them both mitigate and adapt to climate change by providing transportation and housing options that use less energy, encouraging compact neighborhoods where daily needs are within easy reach, and using green infrastructure that mimics natural processes to capture, filter, and absorb stormwater runoff.

This year's National Award for Smart Growth Achievement winners illustrate some of the climate change mitigation and adaptation measures communities can implement that give multiple benefits for every dollar spent. The award for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth went to the Atlanta BeltLine Eastside Trail and Historic Fourth Ward Park, in Atlanta, Georgia. This redevelopment of a formerly contaminated rail corridor into a multi-use trail and connected park system is sparking economic development, community engagement, and new affordable housing options in 45 city neighborhoods. …

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