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$150 Million for Sustainable Communities Planning This Year

by Art von Lehe, ICLEI USA Policy Analyst Feb 01, 2010

Kids Planting a Tree

This year’s approved FY2010 federal budget (See our post on next year’s proposed FY2011 budget) includes $150 million to integrate transportation and housing planning decisions. The money is allocated to HUD, which is working with DOT to distribute as part of the Sustainable Communities Initiative, Obama’s innovative partnership between HUD, DOT, and EPA aimed at “breaking down the silos” that separate decisions between land use and transportation.

The Sustainable Communities Initiative, aimed at location efficiency, has devised six principles that reflect the smartest thinking around community design:

  • Provide more transportation choices. 
  • Promote equitable, affordable housing. 
  • Enhance economic competitiveness. 
  • Support existing communities. 
  • Coordinate and leverage federal policies and investment. 
  • Value communities and neighborhoods. 

This year’s $150 million set aside under the Community Development Block Grants Program will be used to implement some of the best thinking emerging from the HUD, DOT, and EPA partnership. Currently, HUD is moving toward a Notice of Funding Availability to be released this month with a 60 day comment period.

  • $100 Million for Regional Planning Efforts
    • HUD and DOT will entertain joint applications between MPOs and local recipients for HUD block grant assistance to support the development of integrated state of the art regional development plans that use the latest data and most sophisticated analytic modeling and mapping tools available
    • The goal is to overcome the fragmentation caused from the patchwork of federal planning requirements between HUD and DOT
  • $40M in Community Challenge Grants
    • To entice metropolitan and local leaders to make market shifting changes in local zoning and land use rules as well as building codes.
  • $10M for Research and Development
    • Administered by HUD to engage on joint data development, information platforms, analytic tools and research.

ICLEI continues to work with the Sustainable Communities Initiative and will be supplying our members more information as details develop on this $150 million opportunity.

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Nashville Creates a Green Street

by Eli Yewdall, ICLEI Program Officer Oct 15, 2009

Nashville Green Street

The AchievementSuccess Stories Icon

Nashville transformed Deaderick Street, a prominent thoroughfare, with a comprehensive set of green features:

  • 100 shade trees, which can reduce ground temperature of the surrounding area by 35% and 4000 shrubs
  • Rain gardens to capture, filter, and infiltrate rainwater
  • LED pedestrian streetlights
  • Solar-powered parking meters
  • On-street recycling
  • Educational signage/kiosk describing the "green features"

Green principles were also used during construction to minimize negative environmental impacts.  Local steel fabricators were used, and there is a high percent of recycling content in the light poles, tree grates, and other on-street amenities.

The Benefits

  • A 700 percent increase in pervious area means approximately 1.2 million gallons of stormwater per year will be diverted from the Cumberland River.
  • Shading and evapo-transpiration from the trees and shrubs reduces the urban heat island.
  • Other benefits include improved aesthetics and a more attractive walking experience for pedestrians.
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