Sustainability Experts from Global Green USA to Visit Towns Across the Country in 2014
Los Angeles, CA (January 21, 2014) - Eight American communities will receive free sustainable neighborhood design consultation in 2014 from Global Green USA with the help of a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program. Over the next ten months, four sustainability experts will conduct three-day visits to communities and provide comprehensive recommendations for infrastructure and policy changes aimed at helping the communities build a future that is more resource-efficient, livable, healthy, and environmentally responsible.
Santa Monica, CA; Los Angeles, CA; Long Beach, CA; Dubuque, IA; Oak Forest, IL; Chippewa-Cree Tribe, MT; Long Beach, NY; and Westerly, RI were competitively selected for the free consultations based on several criteria, including need for assistance, urgency, substantial upcoming projects and community engagement.
“Cities are the earth’s fastest growing ecology, thus making the creation of sustainable urban systems one of the 21st Century’s most crucial challenges,” said Walker Wells, Director of Global Green USA’s Green Urbanism Program. “In response to this, these Sustainable Neighborhood Assessments focus on identifying small-to-medium scale catalytic interventions that can be implemented in urbanized locations to connect people with natural processes, which, in aggregate, can lead to an overall shift towards sustainable neighborhoods, districts, and regions. Our work in 16 cities over the past two years of this grant has demonstrated that neighborhoods present myriad opportunities to stem climate change and make impactful interventions in achievable timelines, and we’re excited to apply what we’ve learned to this new set of communities.”
Starting in February, the Global Green sustainability team will visit each of the communities with other planning and sustainability experts from around the country -- including Raimi+Associates, Farr Associates, and Agora Group. During the 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. Westerly, Rhode Island and Long Beach, New York will receive special attention focused on rebuilding efforts in the wake of 2012’s Hurricane Sandy to create more resilient communities better equipped to withstand future extreme weather events.
At the conclusion of the visit, the team will present recommendations for both physical and policy changes that may include streetscape improvements, ecological restoration to reduce storm surge, integrated energy production, green infrastructure for stormwater management, new standards for in-fill and transit-oriented development, and/or zoning code revisions to allow for urban agriculture or mixed-use development.
The sustainability experts evaluating the communities will use the LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) standard, a nationally recognized method for creating neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable, resource-efficient, and equitable. Benefits of LEED-ND neighborhoods can include lower municipal operations costs, reduced infrastructure costs, increased use of alternate transportation, improvements to public health, and environmental protection. LEED-ND was developed by the US Green Building Council(USGBC), the Congress for the New Urbanism, and the Natural Resources Defense Council.
The assistance to the eight communities is made possible by a grant to Global Green USA from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.
In the first two years of the grant, Global Green USA visited sixteen cities across the country. Previous cities receiving assistance in 2012 and 2013 were: Montgomery, AL; Oakland, CA; Lakewood, CO; Lafayette, IN; Louisville, KY; Dearborn, MI; Eden Prairie, MN; Camden, NJ; Hoboken, NJ; Staten Island, NY; Cary, NC; Greensboro, NC; Toledo, OH; Philadelphia, PA; Burlington, VT; and Milwaukee, WI.
Recommendation reports for these cities can be found here.
View more information about LEED-ND here.
A guide for how LEED-ND can be used by local governments is available here.
More about US EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program is available here.
GGUSA Contact: Walker Wells, Director, Green Urbanism Program:[email protected]