By Sarah Dale
Do you know a community that has made its downtown more walkable, bikable, and accessible to public transit? Used policy initiatives and regulations to improve the local environment? Turned its public parks into a driver for economic development? Then you might know a community that could apply for the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. If so, please pass this blog post along!
Communities across the country are making choices about how to grow and develop while improving environmentally, socially, and economically. Through this award, EPA recognizes and supports communities that use innovative policies and strategies to strengthen their economies, provide housing and transportation choices, develop in ways that bring benefits to a wide range of residents, and protect the environment. This year, EPA is
recognizing communities in four categories:
- Built Projects
- Corridor and Neighborhood Revitalization
- Plazas, Parks, and Public Places
- Policies, Programs, and Plans
Additionally, the review panel will choose one Overall Excellence winner.
Past winners are enthusiastic about the award: here’s what a few of the 2012 winners had to say:
- “We’ve received an outstanding response from winning this award, and our project has received attention from throughout the state, across the nation, and even internationally.” Marvin Crist, Vice Mayor, Lancaster, CA
- “Receiving the award increased awareness about what the Denver Housing Authority is doing among many different policy makers and stakeholders.” Kimball Crangle, Denver Housing Authority, Denver, CO
- “I think the Smart Growth Award is a part of what solidified our position to the point where partners decided they wanted to be a part of this.” Scott Strawbridge, Housing Authority of the City of Fort Lauderdale, Lauderdale, FL
If you know a community that is doing amazing things, encourage them to apply today! The competition is open to both public- and private-sector entities that have successfully used smart growth principles to improve communities. The application process is outlined here; the application deadline is April 12, 2013.
About the author: Sarah Dale is a special assistant with the Office of Sustainable Communities, which manages EPA’s Smart Growth Program. This is her third year managing the awards.