plts-logo1This Earth Day, Project for Public Spaces and our partners at Livability Solutions are pleased to announce the 9 communities selected to receive free technical assistance in 2013, thanks to a grant from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program.

These governments and organizations represent a diverse group of communities from across the United States, from large cities to rural communities. All have a strong commitment to sustainability and smart growth and are poised to implement positive change by making use of the assistance we are offering. Each community will receive a one- or two-day training session with a livability expert from Project for Public Spaces or one of our Livability Solutions partners on an issue of their choice.

Livability Solutions is a coalition of professionals from 10 leading nonprofit organizations with deep experience in sustainable development. Our common purpose is to work with communities on transportation, land use, Placemaking, environmental issues, and public involvement, with the goal of achieving livability, smart growth, and sustainability.

The communities selected for free technical assistance in 2013 are:

  • City of Omaha, NE, which will work with Project for Public Spaces (PPS) on efforts to improve their planning process to create more vibrant, attractive, and livable neighborhoods.
  • City of Seattle Department of Planning & Development, Seattle, WA, which will work with Reconnecting America (RA) and the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT) to train in Transit Oriented Development data and implementation tools in order to help promote walkable, vibrant, and affordable neighborhoods around major public transportation hubs in the region.
  • City of Twinsburg, OH, will work with the Congress for the New Urbanism  (CNU) to train the community on the benefits of walkable urban thoroughfares.  This training will help create a town center that improves connections and creates a safe healthy downtown destination.
  • Lee County, FL, where the Local Government Commission (LGC) will work with the community on how to evaluate and improve neighborhood walkability, as well as solicit feedback on local citizens’ walking and bicycling needs, in order to inform the County’s Bicycle and Pedestrian plan.
  • Valley Metro, Phoenix, AZ, where RA and CNT will train local officials in the use of Transit Oriented Development data and implementation tools to track indicators and build capacity in the region for more efficient, vibrant neighborhoods around public transportation.
  • Upstate Forever, Spartansburg, SC, where PPS will facilitate workshops focused on training local citizens and government staff in the creation, implementation, and enforcement of Form-Based Codes in order to help create a more attractive and livable Duncan, SC.
  • Village of Hyde Park, VT, where PPS has already begun training local stakeholders in the use of the Power of 10 and Place Audit tools to strengthen the village’s Main Street as a destination by building on local assets, as well as improving the area’s walkability and connectivity.
  • Vanguard Community Development Corp., Detroit, MI, which will work with PPS to  envision a more vibrant public realm and destinations in the North End neighborhood, identifying site-specific improvements to serve as pilots for Placemaking in the neighborhood.
  • Working in Neighborhoods (WIN), Cincinnati, OH, which will work with the Walkable and Livable Communities Institute (WALC) to identify opportunities to transform streets for improved safety for all modes, and to better support economic development.

The EPA’s Building Blocks program funds quick, targeted assistance to communities that face common development problems. Two other nonprofit organizations—Global Green USA and  Smart Growth America—also received competitively awarded grants under this program to help communities achieve their sustainable development goals.

We encourage interested communities to continue to check the Livability Solutions website for additional opportunities for technical assistance. We also welcome interested foundations, organizations, and individuals to contact us if they are interested in supporting assistance to one of the many other qualified applications we received.

Click here for information on other opportunities to work with Livability Solutions or here for training and technical assistance offered by Project for Public Spaces or our partners.