Foundations for Smart Growth

Each year over the life of the EPA Building Blocks program, Smart Growth America offered a limited number of free Foundations for Smart Growth workshops to help local leaders and residents make their communities more livable, sustainable, and vibrant. During its seven years, our free technical assistance program helped 90 communities grow in ways that benefit residents and businesses while protecting the environment and preserving a sense of place.

This program has now ended in its current form. Looking for other opportunities for technical assistance? Watch our free workshops page for opportunities to apply for free assistance or contact us for information about fee for service opportunities.

Read our final report where we talk about the lessons learned over seven years of the EPA Building Blocks and share updates from many of the communities we worked with.

Year 6 communities

On November 22, 2016, we announced the recipient communities for our 2017 workshop series, which have now been completed:

The Complete Streets Consortium workshop series (Tennessee and Colorado) is also administered under this EPA Building Blocks grant.

Missed this program? Smart Growth America offers fee for service technical assistance year round.

About the workshops

For Year 6 of the free technical assistance, applicants applied for one of these nine available tools, all of which remain available on a fee for service basis.

  1. Implementing smart growth 101 >>
    This workshop provides best practices to local leaders in urban, suburban and rural communities working to create housing and transportation choices near jobs, shops and schools. Our technical assistance will provide the resources to refine and implement local priorities with smart growth strategies that make sense for your community. The one-day workshop will help the community become familiar with the ten principles of smart growth.
  2. Planning for economic and fiscal health >>
    Smart growth policy can help communities save money now, reduce their liabilities for the future and use targeted investment to spur economic development. The “planning for economic and fiscal health” workshop draws on successful private and public sector lessons to help local leaders foster smart growth communities that cost their taxpayers less to build, run and maintain.
  3. Fiscal impact analysis >>
    This workshop provides education about the opportunities and costs related to differing development patterns through use of a fiscal analysis model that accounts for increased cost efficiencies associated with denser development patterns.
  4. Sustainable land use code audit >>
    Audits of local land use codes are being undertaken by an increasing number of communities that recognize their zoning and subdivision regulations are an important key to long-term sustainable development patterns and practices and economic growth.
  5. Complete Streets >>
    Complete Streets policies ensure that all future street projects respond to the needs of everyone using the roadway. These workshops help communities set new priorities for transportation investments, write a policy and tackle implementation challenges.
  6. Parking audits >>
    Parking audits provide a neutral setting where an impartial parking expert can evaluate local policies and practices and offer advice based on the state of the practice, with an emphasis on what works well and what should be avoided. The audit can be community-wide or can focus on a specific district.
  7. Cool planning: local strategies to slow climate change >>
    This workshop seeks to actively involve communities in the process of finding solutions that can be implemented at the local level to slow climate change. Specific community development, land use, and transportation planning techniques can enable communities to reduce their carbon footprints and will be covered in depth in this workshop.
  8. Using LEED-ND to accelerate the development of sustainable communities >>
    The LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND) rating system combines the principles of smart growth, new urbanism, social equity, and green construction into the nation’s first integrated system for certifying sustainable neighborhood development. This workshop focuses on the power of LEED-ND to accelerate green economic development.
  9. (Re)Building downtown >>
    This workshop helps communities create walkable development quickly and efficiently. We help local public officials clarify local challenges and identify strategies to do this; including improving regulations for land use, establishing clear public investment practices, and reforming administrative processes.

Any unit or subdivision of local government, Indian tribe, or regional government was eligible to apply for these free standard workshops. Communities could apply for more than one workshop.