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Smart Growth

Smart Growth Implementation Assistance

This video describes technical assistance from EPA’s Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Program to help the city of Phoenix, the city of Mesa, and the Valley Metro Transit Authority plan transit-oriented development (TOD) around light rail. TOD is thriving in the corridor, partially as a result of financial incentives identified during the technical assistance.


Many communities want to foster economic growth, protect environmental resources, enhance public health, and plan for development, but might lack the tools, resources, and information to achieve their goals. In response to this demand, EPA developed the Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) Program in 2005.

The SGIA program started with annual, competitive solicitations open to state, local, regional, and tribal governments (and nonprofits that partnered with a governmental entity) that wanted to incorporate smart growth techniques into their future development. Beginning in 2015, EPA worked with regional staff to identify and select communities rather than issue a Request for Letters of Interest.

Once selected, communities receive direct technical assistance from a team of national experts in one of two areas: policy analysis (e.g., reviewing state and local codes, school siting guidelines, transportation policies, etc.) or public participatory processes (e.g., visioning, design workshops, alternative analysis, build-out analysis, etc.). The assistance is tailored to the community's individual situation and priorities.

EPA provided the assistance through a contractor team – not a grant. Through a multiple-day site visit and a detailed final report, the multidisciplinary teams provided options the community could consider implementing to achieve its goal of encouraging growth that fosters economic progress and environmental protection.

EPA's goals for the SGIA program included:

  • Supporting communities interested in implementing smart growth policies.
  • Creating regional examples of smart growth that can catalyze similar projects in the area.
  • Identifying common barriers and opportunities for smart growth development.
  • Creating tools other communities can use.

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Communities that have received assistance

Summaries and the final reports for the communities that received assistance through the competitive solicitation are available on our Smart Growth Implementation Assistance Project Summaries page. These reports might be useful to other communities facing similar issues. The projects dealt with a wide variety of topics, including equitable development, flood resilience, climate change adaptation and mitigation, transportation planning, transit-oriented development, rural smart growth, corridor revitalization, and economic development.

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