EPA Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program

The Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program, run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), helps communities explore opportunities for and barriers to smart growth and pilot innovative ideas that create more sustainable communities.

EPA defines smart growth development practices as those which:

  • Support national environmental goals by preserving open spaces and parkland and protecting critical habitat
  • Improve transportation choices, including walking, bicycling, and transit, which reduces emissions from automobiles
  • Promote brownfield redevelopment
  • Reduce impervious surfaces, which improves water quality

Once selected, communities receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). The assistance is tailored to the community's unique situation and priorities. 

Rather than funding, the EPA provides the assistance through a contractor team. Through a multiple-day site visit and a detailed final report, the multi-disciplinary teams provide information to help the community achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

As an example of an EPA smart growth project that supports climate adaptation, in 2015 assistance went to the development of a new riverfront park in Newark, New Jersey. Built on a formerly contaminated site, the park now reconnects Newark to its river for the first time in decades. The park area is attracting economic development in the adjacent downtown, and gives the working-class neighborhood a beautiful and much-needed place to play and relax, while preserving open space along the river that can protect neighborhoods from flooding.


If you have any trouble accessing the website link above, please find here an archived page. You may find this has limited use. 

Publication Date: 2005

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  • Engagement
  • Planning guides

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