Earlier this year, Global Green was awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program to help local leaders across the country implement green projects to make their communities more resource-efficient, livable, healthy, and environmentally responsible.
We accepted applications from local governments this fall and have selected eight towns across the country to receive free assistance. Lafayette, Indiana; Dearborn, Michigan; Eden Prairie, Minnesota; Greensboro, North Carolina; Lakewood, Colorado; Oakland, California; Louisville, Kentucky; and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, were selected for the free consultations based on several criteria, including need for assistance, urgency, substantial upcoming projects and community engagement.
"Cities are responsible for up to 70% of global warming pollution, but they can also be the laboratories for climate-friendly solutions that save money, improve health and quality of life," said Walker Wells, Director of Global Green USA’s Green Urbanism Program. "We are excited to get started with these communities."
Over the next six months, Wells and our other sustainability experts on staff will visit the communities and provide comprehensive recommendations for infrastructure and policy changes. We will be evaluating the communities using the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard, a nationally recognized method for creating neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient, and equitable.
Our experts will visit each of the communities with other planning and sustainability experts from around the country, including Rami+Associates, Farr Associates, the Agora Group, and the United States Green Building Council. During each site assessment, the team will identify a neighborhood's positive qualities, consult with community stakeholders in meetings and public workshops, and identify major opportunities to improve the sustainability of each neighborhood. Then the team will present recommendations for both physical and policy changes that may include street width reductions, ecological restoration, integrated energy and water infrastructure, new standards for in-fill and transit-oriented development, or zoning code revisions to allow for urban agriculture or mixed-use development. We will provide updates with each visit. Stay tuned...