Four Communities Measure Up on Smart Growth

The 2008 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement goes to the Silver Spring Regional Center in Montgomery County, Md.; the Atlanta Regional Commission; the Urban Edge Housing Corporation in Roxbury, Mass.; and Mercy Housing California and the San Francisco Housing Authority, according to a Nov. 19 press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

"By adopting smart growth approaches, the recipients … are helping improve the quality of life and the quality of the environment for their residents," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "This year's award winners are responsibly building toward a healthier, brighter future, and I encourage other communities to follow their fine example."

Smart growth strategies include cleaning and reusing previously developed land, providing more housing and transportation choices, preserving critical natural areas, and using a variety of green building techniques. In addition to developing vibrant places to live, work, shop and play, these smart growth strategies also protect the quality of our air, water and land.

This year's competition was open to public and private sector entities. Winners were selected based on how effectively they used smart growth strategies to improve their communities and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships.

EPA created the award in 2002 to recognize outstanding approaches to development that benefit the economy, the community, public health, and the environment. Since 2002, EPA has recognized 32 smart growth leaders from among 523 applications representing 46 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

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The award categories and winners are:

•Overall Excellence: Silver Spring Regional Center in Montgomery County, Md. for the Downtown Silver Spring Redevelopment Project that united public and private organizations in revitalizing their historic downtown.

•Policies and Regulations: Atlanta Regional Commission for the Livable Centers Initiative that helps communities meet air quality goals by planning transportation improvements in concert with revitalization of existing development centers and corridors.

•Built Projects: Urban Edge Housing Corporation for the Egleston Crossing project, which helped renew a neglected corridor in Boston's Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods with two new buildings that used green building techniques and provided new amenities and much-needed affordable housing.

•Equitable Development: Mercy Housing California and the San Francisco Housing Authority for the Mission Creek Senior Community project, which transformed a brownfield site into an attractive, mixed-use, low-income senior community.