Last week, EPA announced the winners of the 2011 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement. This annual award recognizes American communities that employ innovative approaches to development that use resources efficiently, create new economic opportunities, and make neighborhoods healthier and cleaner.
The 2011 winners are:
St. Louis, Missouri: Overall Excellence Award - With the Old North St. Louis Revitalization Initiative, community leaders redefined and rebuilt a historic neighborhood to attract new residents, economic growth, and much-needed amenities such as a grocery store.
Preservation and reuse of historic buildings helped protect the Old North neighborhood's distinctive character.
Albuquerque, New Mexico: Smart Growth and Green Building Award - Silver Gardens Apartments is the first LEED Platinum-certified affordable housing project in the Southwest. Close to downtown, it is also near a variety of transportation options, making it easy for residents to reach jobs.
El Paso, Texas: Programs, Policies and Regulations Award - Plan El Paso 2010 is a comprehensive, transit-oriented development plan that will help link neighborhoods to greater economic opportunity and to one another. It provides a blueprint for investment in new homes and jobs.
Howard, South Dakota: Rural Smart Growth Award - This town, smaller than many city high schools, revitalized its downtown and created new jobs and economic opportunities by building Maroney Commons. This green building houses a rural learning center that offers training for green energy and rural healthcare jobs, a hotel, a restaurant, and other amenities.
Normal, Illinois: Civic Places Award - The Uptown Normal Roundabout, originally designed to manage traffic, has evolved into a civic gathering place that draws people to nearby businesses. Its pleasant green space and water features keep polluted runoff out of the local creek.
These five communities have thought creatively about how to make better use of their existing assets and how to achieve multiple environmental, economic, and social goals with new investments. They can be models for other communities around the country, demonstrating creative solutions to development-related challenges.
Click to learn more about these five award winners the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement, and EPA's smart growth work. You can also see videos highlighting each of the five winning communities-St. Louis, MO; Normal, IL; El Paso, TX; Albuquerque, NM; and Howard, SD.
Bob Perciasepe is the Deputy Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency