EPA and HUD Make Big Investments in Sustainable Development

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are making significant progress
on their joint effort, with the U.S. DOT, to connect cleaner transportation options with affordable  housing and denser urban development.

future commuter rail station along Boston’s Fairmount Line, one of five
areas selected for EPA sustainable development aid. (Photo: Globe)

The latest moves came as Obama administration officials gathered in Seattle for the annual New Partners for Smart Growth conference,
where HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan officially tapped Shelley Poticha and
Ron Sims as leaders of his agency’s sustainable communities office.

On the HUD website, Donovan’s aides are seeking input
and suggestions from local planners as they prepare to award an initial
$100 million in grants to cities with plans for transportation and land
use reform.

Not to be outdone, EPA took the opportunity
to launch two pilot grant programs aimed at using clean water funds to
boost community development and rebuilding brownfield communities
around transit access.

The water-funding pilot will focus on New York, California, and Maryland, while the brownfields
— former industrial sites where hazardous materials may impede
environmental cleanup — selected for transit-oriented development aid
are located in Indianapolis, Iowa City, Denver, Boston, and the San
Diego area.

The three federal agencies involved in green
development work are also beefing up their message, connecting a number
of recent policy shifts on their respective fronts into a larger
narrative of progress towards a more harmonious approach to
transportation and housing. For a recap of the recent steps taken by
the EPA, HUD, and U.S. DOT — many of which were covered by Streetsblog
Capitol Hill, and syndicated here — check out the agencies’ January bulletin [PDF].



Feds to Start Scoring Transportation Potential of Housing Grant Applicants

Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan said late Friday that his agency will soon start gauging the "location efficiency" of its grant applicants, determining each project’s potential for connecting residents to surrounding neighborhoods — and mirroring the recommendations of a recent report that found a correlation between homeowners’ foreclosure risk and their dependence […]

Obama Previews His New Budget’s Urban Policy Moves

When it comes to re-centering the Washington bureaucracy to better accommodate cities’ needs, the first year of the Obama administration has brought its share of progress (a three-agency partnership set to spend $150 million on sustainable development) and hiccups (a White House urban affairs office with lots of talk but little action). (Photo: whitehouse via […]

Livability and the GOP: A Conversation With HUD’s Mariia Zimmerman

Perhaps the Obama administration’s greatest contribution to building more livable, less traffic-choked communities has been the new partnership between three agencies — DOT, EPA, and HUD — which are helping towns and cities grow more sustainably, using strategies from brownfield redevelopment to the provision of affordable housing along transit corridors. The agencies have collaborated to […]

LaHood Answers GOP Critic, Soothes Dem Skeptic of Sustainability Budget

As Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood tangled with a senior GOP senator today over the White House’s $500 million-plus request for its inter-agency office of sustainable communities — a new project aimed at channeling federal energy towards local transit-oriented and smart growth plans — an influential Democrat joined her fellow senator in raising questions about diverting […]