Boston, Massachusetts, Jefferson City, Missouri, Hartford, Connecticut, Charleston, West Virginia, and Little Rock, Arkansas: what do all these cities have in common? If you answered that they’re all state capitals, you’re correct. Now these cities will have something else in common: their participation in a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) program called Greening America’s Capitals.
The program will help participating cities pursue green development projects, including the clean up and recycling of vacant lands, the provision of greater housing and transportation choices, and reduction of infrastructure and energy costs. Through it, the EPA will fund teams of private sector experts such as urban planners and landscape architects to provide direct, customized technical assistance as requested by each community; the cities, in turn, will demonstrate to the rest of the nation how to develop sustainable projects that create interesting, unique neighborhoods with multiple social, economic, environmental and public health benefits.
While Greening America’s Capitals doesn’t provide moneys for these projects directly, it does provide direct technical assistance to communities by working with private sector experts and helping participating communities to leverage partnerships–such as with HUD and DOT–to help them make best use of their development options. The five state capitals were selected from a total of 38 cities that responded to a solicitation of interest by EPA in June 2010.
“America’s cities can be the engines of green innovation, leading the way in new technologies, energy efficiency and sustainable development,” said EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson, in a statement. “EPA and our colleagues in the Partnership for Sustainable Communities are working with capital cities throughout the country to spark the sustainable, green innovations that can meet the needs of multiple communities, and keep our cities on the cutting edge of the global green economy.”