Healing Our Highways Grant Application FAQ

What is the Healing Our Highways grant program?

Smart Growth America, with support from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Kresge Foundation, is launching our new grant program: Healing Our Highways. This initiative aims to generate creative ideas and activities that build knowledge, connections, and power within disadvantaged communities most harmed by transportation systems and climate change. Smart Growth America will provide $10,000 in funding to each of the three selected project teams, as well as an additional $1,500 stipend for community engagement. All funds will be disbursed in one payment.

What is the program timeline?

Applications are due by Thursday, February 22, 2024 at 11:59 PM EST. The program period is April to October 2024, with public-facing activities taking place from June to August 2024.

What activities does the program entail?

Smart Growth America will provide project guidance and management support through check-ins with staff and program consultants, as well as a photographer to document each selected project. Once the proposed project is complete, project teams will be asked to complete a brief final report form, including a survey about the grant process and our technical assistance.

Who can apply for the program?

The application process and project must be led by artists, culture workers, and culture bearers working as individuals, teams, or collectives who are deeply connected to the community in which the project is based. Applicant teams must clearly demonstrate personal history and connections to the community, for example through affiliation with local, community-based organizations. Entities including non-profits, universities, for and non-profit organizations, public agencies, and tribes may be involved in the project but cannot apply on behalf of the groups listed above.

Where can the projects take place?

Projects must take place along or call attention to state-owned or -managed streets with the characteristics described in Smart Growth America’s Dangerous By Design report. These roads must be located in the top 20 most dangerous states or metros named in the report, listed below. To find out whether a street is state-owned or -managed, you can contact your state’s transportation agency, which you can find here. Below are the two images to keep in mind when submitting an application.

A gray map labeled The top most dangerous states for pedestrians 2016-2020 shows in red each of the 20 states, all in the southern or western part of the country.

A gray map shows the 20 most dangerous metros in the United States in red.

Do you have to reside in the city where your proposed project would take place to apply?

Applicant teams must demonstrate personal history and connections to the community, for example through affiliation with local, community-based organizations. Residency along one of the dangerous state highways or “dangerous by design” arterials located in one of the “most dangerous” metro areas or states would constitute meaningful personal history and connections to the community, but would not be enough to fully demonstrate personal history and connections on its own.

What types of projects does the program support?

The grant can be used for new projects and new phases of existing projects including but not limited to:

  • Art exhibitions calling attention to unsafe transportation systems, climate impacts, and cultural displacement
  • Storytelling, poster, or social media campaigns celebrating unique community practices and traditions relating to transportation or climate resilience
  • Temporary activation or installation showcasing sustainable, people-centered land use that is specific to the community
  • Cultural performances or festivals that promote community stories, histories, and traditions of resilience, resistance, and reclamation, in particular relating to present, proposed, or impending transit/transportation changes or climate impacts
  • Artist-facilitated community workshops or conversations around transportation or climate issues
  • Culturally significant resilience hub prototypes

Do I need political support for my project?

It depends on the type and scale of the project you are pursuing. ​​If it’s something that would need governmental approvals then yes, political support would likely be necessary.

If you have more questions, please contact [email protected].

Climate Change Technical assistance Transportation