EPA Recognizes Sustainable Communities with Smart Growth Awards

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 12/01/2010 - 11:25.

2010 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

2010 Awards cover

"Well-conceived, effectively implemented environmental protection is good for economic growth… A clean, green, healthy community is a better place to buy a home and raise a family; it’s more competitive in the race to attract new businesses; and it has the foundations it needs for prosperity." – EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, March 8, 2010

2010 Award Winners:

  • Overall Excellence -->
    Smart.Growth@NYC: Policies and Programs for Improving Livability in New York City
    New York, New York
    New York City Department of Transportation with the Departments of Health, Design and Construction, and City Planning
  • Smart Growth and Green Building -->
    Miller's Court
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, Seawall Development Company, Hamel Builders, and Marks, Thomas Architects
  • Programs, Policies, and Regulations -->
    Making the Greatest Place: Metro’s Strategic Implementation of the 2040 Growth Concept
    Portland, Oregon
  • Rural Smart Growth -->
    Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan
    Gateway 1 Communities and Maine Department of Transportation
  • Civic Places -->
    Mint Plaza
    San Francisco, California
    City and County of San Francisco, Martin Building Company, CMG Landscape Architects, and Sherwood Design Engineers

This publication is also available as a PDF (20 pp, 1.65 MB, about PDF). Hard copies available by emailing nscep [at] bps-lmit [dot] com or calling (800) 490-9198 and requesting EPA 231-K-10-001.

A Message from EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson

Lisa P. Jackson, EPA Administrator
National Award for Smart Growth Achievement logo

On behalf of everyone at EPA, I’m happy to congratulate the 2010 winners of the National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement. Through your work, people across the nation have access to housing and transportation choices that are better for the environment and easier on their wallets; natural and cultural treasures are better protected; and communities are growing vibrant downtowns that nurture local businesses. These efforts are models for communities looking to grow more environmentally and economically sustainable and improve the quality of life for their residents.

Smart growth achievements also serve to improve the work of the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, a federal interagency alliance of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Partnership is bringing together expertise and resources to ensure that development strategies meet the housing, transportation, and environmental needs essential to the success of every community.

I’m proud to recognize the work you are doing and the advances you have made in this important field. Thank you for helping to create a sustainable future.

Lisa P. Jackson
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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How Smart Growth Protects The Environment

In June 2009, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Transportation (DOT) joined together to form the Partnership for Sustainable Communities. The partnership is guided by six livability principles that emphasize protecting the environment while also improving access to affordable housing, increasing transportation options, and lowering transportation costs. This coordinated, integrated approach aims to foster healthy, accessible, safe communities that support a thriving natural environment.

The following examples, drawn from previous award winners, highlight the benefits of adopting an integrated approach where community development based on smart growth principles supports a healthy social and natural environment.


Lakewood is currently constructing seven rail stations in its "Transit Mixed-Use District" to provide additional transit options to residents and to promote transit-oriented development.

2005 Winner, Built Projects—City of Lakewood, Colorado for Belmar: When completed in 2007, the Belmar neighborhood helped give Lakewood residents more transportation options by creating a walkable downtown with 1 million square feet of shops and restaurants as well as 1,300 new homes. Encouraging walking and bicycling helps reduce air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Mission Creek Senior Community

The Mission Creek Senior Community fosters active aging through scheduled physical activities and improved accessibility to local parks and walking paths.

2008 Winner, Equitable Development—Mercy Housing California and San Francisco Housing Authority, San Francisco, California for Mission Creek Senior Community: Mercy Housing's environmentally friendly, affordable housing for seniors includes several innovative, emission-reducing components, including solar panels and materials made from rapidly renewable resources and recycled-product content.


Lancaster County’s growth management and nationally recognized farmland preservation programs help preserve the agricultural economy, rural character, and distinctive culture of the area.

2009 Winner, Overall Excellence in Smart Growth—Lancaster County, Pennsylvania for Envision Lancaster County Comprehensive Plan and Implementation: Lancaster County developed a comprehensive, countywide plan to manage growth and maintain the county's distinctive sense of place over the next 25 years. Under this plan, more than 62 projects have been completed that will improve quality of life in the county and, ultimately, reduce pressure to develop on the area's rural lands.

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About The Award

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to recognize exceptional approaches to development that respect the environment, foster economic vitality, and enhance quality of life. Over the past nine years, EPA has received 695 applications from 47 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. This year, EPA received 71 applications from 25 states.

The winning entries were selected based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; creating a robust public involvement process; generating partnerships among public, private, and non-profit stakeholders; and serving as national models.

Award winners were selected by two separate panels. The first consisted of experts from the planning and design professions, non-profits, academia, and federal agencies. The second was an internal EPA panel that provided additional comments. EPA’s Associate Administrator of Policy, Lisa Heinzerling, made the final award determinations.

Smart Growth Principles

  • Mix land uses.
  • Take advantage of compact building design.
  • Create a range of housing opportunities and choices.
  • Create walkable neighborhoods.
  • Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
  • Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas.
  • Strengthen and direct development toward existing communities.
  • Provide a variety of transportation choices.
  • Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective.
  • Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.

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National Award for Smart Growth Achievement Winners


Overall Excellence
Smart.Growth@NYC: Policies and Programs for Improving Livability in New York City
New York, New York
New York City Department of Transportation with the Departments of Health, Design and Construction, and City Planning

Smart Growth and Green Building
Miller’s Court
Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, Seawall Development Company, Hamel Builders, and Marks, Thomas Architects

Programs, Policies, and Regulations
Making the Greatest Place: Metro’s Strategic Implementation of the 2040 Growth Concept
Portland, Oregon

Rural Smart Growth
Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan
Gateway 1 Communities and Maine Department of Transportation

Civic Places
Mint Plaza
San Francisco, California
City and County of San Francisco, Martin Building Company, CMG Landscape Architects, and Sherwood Design Engineers

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Overall Excellence in Smart Growth

Smart.Growth@NYC: Policies and Programs for Improving Livability in New York City

New York City Department of Transportation with the Departments of Health, Design and Construction, and City Planning, New York, New York

FRESH program

The FRESH program brings healthy food choices to underserved areas around the city.

As the largest city in the United States, New York City faces a constant challenge with maintaining and expanding its existing infrastructure to support an ever-growing population. PlaNYC 2030, Mayor Bloomberg’s 2007 blueprint for responsibly growing New York City, provided the inspiration for multi-agency coordination on innovative smart growth policies and projects.

For More Information:
frey [at] co [dot] lancaster [dot] pa [dot] us
(wfeuer [at] dot [dot] nyc [dot] gov)
Assistant Commissioner,
Urban Design and Art
New York City Department of
Tel: (212) 839-6680

bike lane

The protected bike lane on 9th Avenue was installed in fall 2007. In its first year, crashes involving all street users were down 56 percent, while bicycle ridership along the avenue increased 50 percent.

Times Square

The redesigned Times Square includes new pedestrian areas as a result of the “Green Lights for Midtown” project, a major initiative in the city’s efforts to improve mobility and safety, which was implemented in April 2009.

In 2005, New York City’s carbon emissions were less than 1 percent of total U.S. emissions, while the city was home to 2.7 percent of the country’s population. New York City has achieved a relatively small carbon footprint, given its size, through its commitment to creating compact and walkable neighborhoods.

On Earth Day 2007, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg launched PlaNYC 2030, an innovative and ambitious initiative to help the city continue thriving while absorbing an expected 1 million additional residents by 2030. PlaNYC tackles New York City’s environmental and health challenges of today. PlaNYC includes 127 policy goals to create a greener, greater New York—a city with more affordable housing and open space, reduced traffic congestion, and improved air and water quality. Smart.Growth@NYC refers to four initiatives that grew out of PlaNYC: the Street Design Manual (SDM), the Active Design Guidelines (ADG), the Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) program, and the Bicycle Parking Amendment.

The SDM is a comprehensive resource for implementing world-class street designs that support multimodal transportation and help achieve environmental and other community goals. All city agencies working on streetscape projects use guidance from the SDM when implementing new ways of accessing transit, promoting bicycling, and providing or enhancing public spaces in New York’s diverse neighborhoods. The New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) used these guidelines to test a protected bike lane along 9th Avenue, which, following analysis and positive community response, led to 20 additional miles of protected bike lanes throughout the city. Successful projects have encouraged other city agencies to implement policies that achieve multiple environmental and community goals. For example, the emphasis on bicycle facilities in NYCDOT’s Bicycle Network Master Plan created demand for safe bike parking, which led to a change in zoning legislation to require indoor bicycle parking in new multifamily residences. These initiatives have proved effective, as commuter bicycling increased a staggering 220 percent from 2000 to 2009.

Building on the guidelines included in the SDM, the ADG are part of New York City’s effort to counter rising obesity rates by encouraging physical activity and healthier living. The ADG includes the FRESH program, which identifies underserved areas and uses zoning and financial incentives to make it easier for grocery stores to locate in those areas, giving residents easier access to healthy food choices. The program is targeted toward densely populated communities with low rates of car ownership and high rates of poverty and diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes. Other municipalities are already drawing from New York City’s experience with FRESH.

With these and other forward-thinking PlaNYC-inspired initiatives, New York City will continue to be a model for sustainable communities.

"Over the past five years, the greatest improvement to New York City has been the focus on reclaiming and repurposing outdoor space for the public’s use. From bike lanes to pedestrian plazas to new parks, the ability to safely experience the city on two wheels or two feet is remarkable."
– Jonathan Prosnit, Brooklyn resident

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"Smart growth in Lancaster County thrives due to citizens' dedication to maintain its unique sense of place."

– Harry Loshnowsky, East Hempfield Township resident


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Smart Growth and Green Building

Miller's Court

Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, Seawall Development Company, Hamel Builders, and Marks, Thomas Architects, Baltimore, Maryland


Miller’s Court residents relax in the courtyard during the day.

Baltimore City Department of Housing and Community Development, Seawall Development Company, Hamel Builders, and Marks, Thomas Architects

Baltimore, Maryland


Miller’s Court offers new development and business opportunities in the center of a neighborhood that is transitioning into a thriving, convenient community. The project has spurred new developments from a small boutique bakery to a 200,000-square-foot mixed-use development.

For More Information:
tmanekin [at] seawalldevelopment [dot] com
(tmanekin [at] seawalldevelopment [dot] com)
Seawall Development Company
Tel: (443) 602-7516


Miller’s Court residents can enjoy the courtyard during the day and at night.

view from a Miller’s Court apartment

A view from a Miller’s Court apartment with its large windows for daylighting.

Miller’s Court is a model of integrating mixed-use redevelopment with preservation of a landmark historic building and sustainable design principles to help revitalize an entire community.

Located in Baltimore’s historic Charles Village neighborhood, the renovated Miller’s Court is a model for adaptive reuse of historic structures in urban neighborhoods. In a transitioning area of the city, this project directed development towards the existing neighborhood and revitalized a long-abandoned property to create new office and residential spaces. The project has also been a catalyst for surrounding neighborhood development by creating a sense of stability and demonstrating long-term commitment to the community.

Miller’s Court was planned and designed to intentionally build community. The development was the first to take advantage of Baltimore’s inclusionary housing ordinance. Under the program, the developer received financial support in exchange for ensuring that a percentage of the apartments would be affordable to moderate-income residents. Miller’s Court’s mixed-use program consists of office and conference space targeted to local non-profit organizations—particularly ones that support the school system and Baltimore youth—coupled with 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom apartments. These apartments are marketed to teachers new to Baltimore, such as those in Teach for America. The city hopes that if these teachers and new city residents enjoy their two years there, they will opt to continue to live and teach in the city after their initial commitment period ends.

Miller’s Court’s success comes in part because it offers convenient, environmentally friendly housing options. Tenants are close to many amenities, including a dry cleaner, supermarket, pharmacy, banks, and restaurants. Miller’s Court is pursuing Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) New Construction Gold certification and has a brochure that explains its innovative features. These features include large windows for natural daylighting, enhanced air ventilation filters for improved air quality, low volatile organic compound (VOC) adhesives and paints to reduce pollutants in the air, and a greenhouse on the premises. Commercial and residential tenants share a central courtyard that fosters interaction with a mixture of plantings, open space, an outdoor fireplace, and a bocce court. The surrounding neighborhood has several nearby bus lines that give residents access to the wider Baltimore region. Furthermore, most of the residents teach in the same schools, which makes carpooling easier. The location, sustainable materials, water and energy efficiency, natural lighting, indoor air quality, and innovative design process make Miller’s Court an attractive place to live and contribute to the project’s success.

"[Miller's Court is] a vision of collaboration and neighborhood revitalization realized in the cooperation of the non-profit organizations with offices on site and the residential tenants within the Baltimore community at large."
– Omari Todd, Teach for America participant

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Programs, Policies, & Regulations

Making the Greatest Place: Metro's Strategic Implementation of the 2040 Growth Concept

Metro, Portland, Oregon

Portland residents

Portland residents and visitors wait for the light rail, one of the city’s many transportation options.

Portland, Oregon


Metro, the elected regional government of the Portland area, is encouraging sustainable land use for future population growth through its Making the Greatest Place effort, which builds on the 2040 Growth Concept.

For More Information
tom [dot] kloster [at] oregonmetro [dot] gov
(tom [dot] kloster [at] oregonmetro [dot] gov)
Transportation Planning Manager
Tel: (503) 797-1832

compact development

By building compact development projects, the region has relieved pressure on the urban growth boundary.

Springwater Corridor

The Springwater Corridor is a popular multi-use trail for both recreation and commuting.

Community vitality, human and environmental health, and social equity are key motivations behind the Making the Greatest Place effort. They shape the major goals of every project, program, and plan included in it—from providing access to transportation choices to investing in compact communities to preserving farms and forests.

In 2005, Metro forecast that the Portland metropolitan region would grow by 600,000 people by 2030. To prepare for this growth, Metro initiated a comprehensive policy and investment effort, Making the Greatest Place, to direct growth toward central development and employment areas and transportation corridors while protecting farms and forestland. Metro was able to implement this effort because its Metro Council has the ability to make land use and transportation decisions for the region.

Making the Greatest Place builds on the 2040 Growth Concept, the Portland metropolitan region’s long-range plan, developed through active participation from thousands of Oregonians and adopted by the Metro Council in 1995. This blueprint acknowledges population growth as inevitable while simultaneously expressing the region’s intent to incorporate growth within existing urban areas as much as possible and expand the urban growth boundary only when necessary. It calls for maintaining connections with nature, preserving existing neighborhoods, strengthening employment and industrial areas, and concentrating growth in designated centers. Since 1995, local governments have amended their comprehensive plans and targeted public infrastructure to designated growth areas.

Metro addressed the growth forecasts through a comprehensive, coordinated approach, embarking on a set of policy and investment initiatives in 2009 that were ultimately combined into Making the Greatest Place. The three primary actions comprising this effort included:

  1. Adoption of the 2035 Regional Transportation Plan, which outlines multimodal transportation investments;
  2. Adoption of urban and rural reserves designations indicating which areas will be included in or excluded from growth over the next 40 to 50 years; and
  3. Local policy and investment commitments to help the region better accommodate growth over the next 20 years.

Comprehensive transportation and land use and development components support Making the Greatest Place. Transportation components include multimodal plans for regional transportation and Metro’s Active Transportation partnership. Land use and development elements include identifying urban and rural reserves for future development or preservation and Metro’s transit-oriented development program. Among other outcomes, this approach has helped facilitate increased travel choices. In fact, over 90 percent of the region’s residents live within half a mile of transit. The average Portland resident drives four fewer miles per day than residents of other comparable U.S cities. Together, the programs and policies created by Making the Greatest Place are helping Portland’s compact neighborhoods thrive and reducing the need to expand the region’s urban growth boundary.


"Since I moved to downtown Portland 16 months ago, I have rarely used my car. I get to most of the places I want to go via foot or bicycle and only occasionally need to combine transit into my trips. The bicycle and pedestrian facilities that Portland is establishing downtown and in other core area neighborhoods enable me to live the kind of lifestyle that contributes not only to my health but that of the planet."
– Mary Vogel, Portland resident

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Rural Smart Growth

Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan

Gateway 1 Communities and Maine Department of Transportation, Maine

city center of Bath

The city center of Bath has retained its small-town feel due to the Gateway 1 effort.

Gateway 1 Communities and Maine Department of Transportation


The Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan covers a 100-mile stretch along U.S. Route 1 from Brunswick in southern Maine to Stockton Springs, framing Maine’s central coast area. This collective effort by 20 towns is a noteworthy initiative to preserve the economy, environment, and quality of life along this regionally significant corridor.

For More Information
kat [dot] beaudoin [at] maine [dot] gov (kat [dot] beaudoin [at] maine [dot] gov)
Chief of Planning,
Maine Department of Transportation
Tel: (207) 624-3300

Route 1

This scenic view along Route 1 as it passes through Lincolnville shows the rural landscape that is being preserved through the CCC pattern of development.

Steering Committee

The Gateway 1 Steering Committee met to discuss the best approach for the Corridor Action Plan, which was adopted in July 2009.

The collaboration among 20 independent towns along the Gateway 1 corridor is a model for other communities that want to preserve rural and scenic resources, particularly along state highways. In partnership with the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT), the towns created an action plan to direct growth toward designated core areas to protect the corridor’s “Main Street” feel and rural landscapes.

In 2005, representatives from the 20 towns formed a steering committee and began collaborative planning efforts for preserving the scenic and rural character along Route 1, a state highway critical to each town’s economy. The towns’ mutual dependence on Route 1 provided incentives for collaboration and resource allocation (both financial and technical) to help achieve common goals. Through workshops and town meetings, the committee created the Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan, a model for rural smart growth.


A Community-Centered Corridor (CCC) pattern of development is the action plan’s guiding element. Along the heavily traveled corridor, which functions as a main street for many communities, a conduit for tourists in the summer, a heavy-haul truck network, and a link to several of Maine’s major employers, this CCC approach is projected to reduce traffic congestion. The approach will also, for the first time, establish public transportation as a viable option along the corridor, which is of particular interest to the area’s older population. Further, the plan is projected to reduce commercial strip development and traffic on residential roads. The CCC will cut the loss of rural lands and habitat by a quarter over 30 years as well as conserve almost all of the priority scenic views. It also lays the foundation for a projected 30 percent increase in local jobs—many of which are seasonal and low income—and prioritizes the need to enable workers to live near their jobs.

To implement the CCC pattern of development, MaineDOT and the communities agreed to a set of programmatic and financial commitments. Sixteen communities have agreed to implement the action plan by amending their local plans and ordinances, supported by $500,000 from MaineDOT. If the communities institutionalize this agreement through a Corridor Coalition, then the state will provide another $1.3 million in project funding. The Corridor Coalition also creates a process to recommend priority transportation investments to MaineDOT and provides a coordinated voice for regionally significant land development proposals. In addition, MaineDOT will provide the coalition with a biennial allocation to support the highest priority regional transportation needs.

The project innovations are particularly relevant for rural-but-suburbanizing corridors where towns have limited data, resources, and staff, and where state agencies could provide more sophisticated planning, data gathering, and outreach than would otherwise occur. The action plan offers a model for sustaining the economy, environment, and quality of life in small-town, scenic, rural corridors around the country.

"Route 1 is a public resource. The Gateway 1 process links the planning of transportation improvements and the planning of land use together in order to preserve this resource. We need only look at Route 1 [outside of the Action Plan’s range] in York County to see what the highway will look like in 25 years if we are not successful."
– Jim Upham, AICP, Steering Committee Member representing Bath

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Civic Places

Mint Plaza

City and County of San Francisco, Martin Building Company, CMG Landscape Architects, and Sherwood Design Engineers, San Francisco, California

Mint Plaza's outdoor walkway allows residents to leisurely enjoy the surrounding neighborhood.

Mint Plaza's outdoor walkway allows residents to leisurely enjoy the surrounding neighborhood.

City and County of San Francisco, Martin Building Company, CMG Landscape Architects, and Sherwood Design Engineers

San Francisco, California


Mint Plaza, in downtown San Francisco, is a formerly derelict, city-owned alley converted into a lively public plaza and festival space with an innovative stormwater system. The project’s contemporary design respects its historic context while also providing a flexible public place that brings the surrounding community together.

For More Information
michael [dot] yarne [at] sfgov [dot] org
(michael [dot] yarne [at] sfgov [dot] org)
Development Advisor,
Mayor’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development
City of Tempe
Tel: (415) 554-6969


A lunchtime concert is one of many events contributing to the “public living room” of Mint Plaza.

The weekly farmers' market attracts a variety of vendors to the plaza.

The weekly farmers' market attracts a variety of vendors to the plaza.

As many municipalities struggle with limited resources to improve and maintain the public realm, a local developer, working with the city and county of San Francisco, successfully transformed Jessie Street, a neglected city-owned alleyway, into Mint Plaza, a neighborhood public space.

Since its completion in 2008, Mint Plaza has become a model of adaptive public space design and a successful example of converting an automobile-focused and previously unsafe alleyway into pedestrian-only civic space. As a result, Mint Plaza now supports various public gatherings–from a weekly farmers’ market to a seasonal “People in Plazas” event with free music and dance performances–and enhances the neighborhood’s public image.


Several nationally registered historic warehouses and a decommissioned U.S. Mint building frame the 18,000-square-foot plaza, creating an intimately scaled outdoor “public living room.” The transformation of Jessie Street has attracted substantial new private investment into the surrounding neighborhood, including four locally owned restaurants and cafes as well as the renovation of the nearby San Francisco Chronicle newspaper’s former headquarters. Three regional public transportation systems, including two rail systems, are a two-minute walk from the plaza, which has helped attract residents and businesses.

The project also exemplifies a successful private-public partnership that required minimal public investment–city funds comprised only $150,000 of the project’s $3.2 million capital budget. The developer, Martin Building Company, created a Community Facilities District that levied a 30-year special property tax on certain properties to provide the up-front funds for the design and construction of the project through tax-exempt bonds. The developer also formed a non-profit organization, Friends of Mint Plaza, to raise funds to manage ongoing maintenance and programming on the plaza.

The plaza is a model for using sustainable design principles in dense urban areas that require substantial amounts of paved surfaces. The plaza’s shifting planes direct rainwater into treatment gardens and an underground infiltration basin, reducing runoff and helping to protect San Francisco Bay. This system is a low-tech, easily reproducible design and is the first instance of fully integrating an environmentally responsible design of this scale in a San Francisco public open space. The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission now uses this system as a model for other projects.

The plaza has been a catalyst for improvements in the neighborhood and greater city. As the surrounding neighborhood adds more residences and businesses, the design’s simplicity will ensure that the plaza can adapt to new activities and a changing downtown.

"As a resident, Mint Plaza functions as our urban ‘front yard’ and provides a safe and nurturing environment for my son and his friends. As such, the plaza has already created a unique sense of public space ownership in a sometimes impersonal downtown. Residents view the plaza as a place for living rather than merely a public park or a conduit to get from here to there."
– William Duncanson, Mint Plaza neighborhood resident; Principal, Salazar Duncanson, Birchall Architects

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Continuing Achievements of Past Award Winners

Pasadena, California
2005 – Policies and Regulations

Art Center

The Art Center College of Design’s South Campus building, originally a 1940s-era aircraft testing facility, has been renovated as a LEED-certified green building featuring a roof-top garden with drought-resistant plants to reduce stormwater runoff.

Since 2005, the Pasadena City Council has continued to improve quality of life while protecting the environment. In 2008, the council approved stricter amendments to previous green building standards, including requiring LEED Silver certification for new municipal buildings and requiring all new projects to register with the U.S. Green Building Council. The city also offers LEED-accredited professional experts to guide new projects through the LEED process at no cost to the applicant, and $1,000 rebates are offered for every affordable housing unit provided in a green building.

Old Town, Wichita, Kansas
2006 – Built Projects


Downtown Wichita’s historic streets are home to abandoned warehouses that have now been converted into new businesses and homes.

Old Town received the award in 2006 for revitalizing warehouses and a light industrial district into a successful mixed-use neighborhood. The warehouses were originally used for retail and storage along the old train lines but were abandoned when the freight industry shifted away from rail. Since 2006, the revitalization of Old Town has continued its success. In 2008, the American Planning Association named Old Town one of the 10 Great Neighborhoods of that year. It is now home to more than 130 businesses, and Amtrak service may be extended between Wichita and Oklahoma City, which would bring Wichita’s history full circle with the train once again part of the city’s identity.

Abyssinian Neighborhood Project, Harlem, New York
2007 – Equitable Development

Abyssinian Development Corporation

Abyssinian Development Corporation remains committed to bringing affordable homeownership to Harlem residents and recently renovated two buildings into 32 condominium units.

The original community development initiative involved the building of 200 affordable housing units, planning for 200 additional units, new commercial space in renovated buildings, and job training resources for the community. In 2008, Abyssinian Development Corporation began renovations for Abyssinian Towers, a senior housing complex. The corporation has pledged to keep rents affordable for 40 years. All of the apartments are reserved for seniors aged 62 or older with incomes at or below 60 percent of New York City’s average median income. The corporation received loans from HUD and New York State’s Housing Finance Agency, federal Low-Income Housing Tax Credits, and a real estate tax exemption from the city. In light of their success, developers involved in the Abyssinian project have also been consulted in the redevelopment of other neighborhoods across the country.

City of Charlotte Urban Street Design Guidelines,
Charlotte, North Carolina

2009 – Policies and Regulations

Street improvements

Street improvements have enhanced pedestrian access to shops, retail, and housing throughout Charlotte.

Since 2009, the city of Charlotte has continued to use the Urban Street Design Guidelines (USDG) to create complete streets. Over the past year, 35 street, intersection, sidewalk, or streetscape projects have been completed, including the second phase of East Boulevard where a five-lane street was converted into a three-lane complete street. In a major step towards full implementation of the USDG, city staff are introducing amendments to the subdivision, zoning, and tree ordinances. These amendments require by-right land development projects to provide better and more complete streets. These efforts are intended to provide Charlotteans with more transportation options, healthier and more appealing neighborhoods, and the long-term benefits that great streets bring to a community.

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Credits and Acknowledgements

National Building Museum

National Building Museum logo

The 2010 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement ceremony was held at the National Building Museum Exit disclaimerin Washington, DC on December 1. The National Building Museum, created by an act of Congress in 1980, is America’s leading cultural institution dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning. Since opening its doors in 1985, the museum has become a vital forum for exchanging ideas and information about such topical issues as managing landmark preservation, urban revitalization, sustainable and affordable design, and suburban growth. Its engaging exhibitions and education programs, including innovative curricula for school children and stimulating programs for adults, annually attract nearly 400,000 people, making the museum the most-visited institution of its kind in the world.

Thanks to our Review Panel

Mike Bellamente, National Association of Development Organizations

Story Bellows, National Endowment for the Arts

Elizabeth Blazevich, American Architectural Foundation

Deeohn Ferris, Sustainable Development Group

Frank Giblin, General Services Administration

Liz Guthrie, American Society of Landscape Architects

Anita Hairston, PolicyLink

Scott Kratz, National Building Museum

Doug Loescher, National Trust for Historic Preservation

Dwayne S. Marsh, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

Joel Mills, American Institute of Architects

Cynthia Nikitin, Project for Public Spaces

Danilo Pelletiere, National Low Income Housing Coalition

Jeff Price, Federal Transit Administration

Chris Pyke, U.S. Green Building Council

Sharlene Reed, Federal Highway Administration

Richard Reinhard, Downtown DC Business Improvement District

Dru Schmidt-Perkins, 1000 Friends of Maryland

Sam Zimbabwe, Reconnecting America

Photo Credits

Front cover: Photo courtesy of EPA
How Smart Growth Protects the Environment:
Lakewood, CO: Photo courtesy of Denver Regional Transportation District
San Francisco, CA: Photo courtesy of Mercy Housing California and San Francisco Housing Authority
Lancaster, PA: Photo courtesy of Lancaster County Planning Commission
Award Winners:Photos courtesy of award winners unless otherwise noted
Smart Growth and Green Building, Baltimore, MD:Two left-hand photos courtesy of Marks, Thomas Architects; far right-hand photo courtesy of Seawall Development Company
Civic Places, San Francisco, CA: Photos courtesy of Martin Building Company
Continuing Achievements of Past Winners:
City of Charlotte Urban Street Design Guidelines: Photo courtesy of the City of Charlotte.
Abyssinian Neighborhood Project: Photo courtesy of Abyssinian Development Corporation
Old Town, Wichita, Kansas: Photo courtesy of Wichita Downtown Development Corporation
Pasadena, California: Photo courtesy of the City of Pasadena