Smart Growth Technical Assistance Opportunities

Local governments are confronted daily by growth pressures and the challenge to develop in ways that improve the tax base, provide housing and transportation choices, and minimize environmental impacts. Community demand for tools and assistance to address these issues has increased dramatically.

In response EPA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association (NOAA, and American Institute of Architects (AIA) have developed technical assistance programs to assist communities in meeting their individual development-related challenges and to help create examples that can serve as models for others. These programs further the goals of EPA’s Memorandum of Agreement with NOAA (PDF, 10 pp., 30Kb, about PDF) and Memorandum of Understanding with AIA (PDF, 3 pp., 366Kb, about PDF). Both call for each organization to collaborate in offering assistance to communities pursuing environmentally-friendly development.

To streamline the process for local communities, AIA, EPA, and NOAA are releasing their requests for applications (RFA) together, with the same deadlines. All three requests are posted here. Applicants are welcome to apply to one or all three of these programs, depending on their ability to meet the requirements for each program. Please note that each program has a specific application that must be completed. All applications are due to the sponsoring organization on Friday, January 6, 2006.

To determine which program is right for you, please read the following descriptions:

  • Smart Growth Implementation Assistance: Environmental Protection Agency
  • Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program and Environmental Protection Agency
  • Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT): American Institute of Architects

Smart Growth Implementation Assistance: Environmental Protection Agency
The Development, Community and Environment Division (DCED) in U.S. EPA’s Office of Policy Economics and Innovation is seeking applications from communities that want to develop in ways that meet environmental and other community goals. EPA is soliciting applications from communities that want assistance with implementing smart growth either through policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, alternatives analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). Selected communities will receive assistance in the form of a multi-day visit from a team of experts organized by EPA and other national partners to work with local leaders. EPA will provide this assistance through an Agency contract vehicle, not a grant. Team members will be nationally known experts in disciplines to be determined by the community’s unique needs. After the visit, the team will work with the community to deliver a final report. Although the 

assistance is free to the community, priority will be given to those places that can demonstrate commitments of local staff time, support from local businesses, and other local resources.

Eligible entities are tribal, local, regional, and state governments and nonprofit organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity.

Smart Growth Implementation Assistance for Coastal Communities:
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program and Environmental Protection Agency

NOAA’s National Sea Grant College Program is a network of university-based programs located throughout the coastal United States, working with communities to support strong economies and healthy coasts, via extension services and targeted research. The Coastal Community Development Program assists the public, coastal planners and local leaders to understand the linkages among well-designed communities, strong economies and healthy habitats, and to recognize the importance and value of thoughtfully modifying the way their communities grow. NOAA is soliciting applications from Sea Grant Programs who partner with coastal communities that want assistance with either policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, alternatives analysis, build-out analysis, etc.).

NOAA will provide up to $17,000 in grant assistance (funding will go to the Sea Grant University partner) and EPA will provide up to a $17,000 match in contract support for each project.

Eligible entities: Sea Grant Programs partnering with tribal, local, regional, or state governments, or with nonprofit organizations that have a demonstrated partnership with a governmental entity.

Sustainable Design Assessment Teams (SDAT): American Institute of Architects
The SDAT is a community assistance program that focuses on assessing the sustainability of communities and creating a framework for becoming more sustainable at the community and regional levels. SDATs bring a team of volunteer 

professionals (such as architects, urban designers, planners, hydrologists, economists, attorneys, and others) to work with community decision-makers and stakeholders to help them develop a vision and framework for a sustainable future. The SDAT process will help communities:

  • understand their structure at various scales and contexts
  • explore interactions between ecological, sociological, economic, and physical systems
  • visualize potential futures
  • articulate the qualities of a place
  • advance the principles of sustainable communities
  • support the role of stakeholders and players in both the public and private sectors.

For 2006, the AIA will provide a grant of $15,000 to seven communities; communities are required to provide a $5,000 match as well as cover any additional costs above $20,000 that may be incurred.

Eligible entities include all communities in the United States; participation of the local government and support of the local AIA component are required.