EPA Smart Growth: Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities

EPA's Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities seeks to provide targeted technical assistance to communities to protect the environment, promote equitable development and help address the challenges of climate change using a variety of tools that have demonstrated results and widespread application. This technical assistance is designed to help selected local and/or tribal governments to implement development approaches that improve public health, create jobs, expand economic opportunity, and improve overall quality of life. Assistance will be provided through direct assistance by EPA staff and private sector experts and through cooperative agreements.

22 communities were selected to receive Building Blocks assistance in 2015. The EPA offers technical assistance to each selected community, which consists of public engagement through a one- to two-day workshop, direct consultation with relevant decision-makers, and a memo outlining specific steps the community could take to implement the ideas generated during the workshop. 

In addition to the EPA staff and EPA-hired consultant team assistance, this program provides their communities a variety of tools with demonstrated results and widespread application, including:

  • The Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities tool helps communities adapt to climate change and plan for disaster resilience by auditing local plans, policies, and development regulations
  • The Green Building Toolkit helps local governments identify policies that support compact development that features sustainably built homes and other buildings
  • The Smart Growth Guidelines for Sustainable Design and Development helps the community understand key principles and decisions at the location, site, and building levels that can result in a more sustainable plan or development proposal. 

The tools offered for the 2015 round were: Bikeshare Planning; Infill Development in Distressed Communities; Flood Resilience for Riverine and Coastal Communities; Sustainable Strategies for Small Cities and Rural Areas; and Supporting Equitable Development.


If you have any trouble accessing the website link above, please find here an archived page. You may find this has limited use. https://web.archive.org/web/20170126004612/https://www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/building-blocks-sustainable-communities 


Publication Date: 2011

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  • Tool (general)


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