Federal Program Develops Innovative Greening Strategies, But Is Anyone Paying Attention?

Kaid Benfield spotlights an innovative federal program that is "not very well known but deserves to be." The "Greening America’s Capitals" program aims to make America's state capitals showpieces for green infrastructure and green building practices.

Launched in 2010 by the EPA with their cohorts in the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, Greening America’s Capitals awards funding and design assistance to three to five state capitals every year in order to "develop an implementable vision of distinctive, environmentally friendly neighborhoods that incorporate innovative green building and green infrastructure strategies," and to "inspire state leaders to expand this work elsewhere."

Benfield reports from Hartford, one of the five initial cities selected for the Greening America’s Capitals program, where a team led by Nelson Byrd Woltz created a strong vision [PDF] for infusing the city with green infrastructure. The only problem is that Benfield had a hard time finding anyone in Hartford who'd heard of the promising plan, or were engaged in its development. This seems to be a serious problem for a program that is intended to focus on implementability and catalyzing wider change.   

"Someone at the [EPA] needs to take a closer look [at the program]," says Benfield, "because this could be the case in other cities involved in the program, too:  these are terrific designs and recommendations, but it's not enough to have terrific designs and recommendations if you want the program to make a real difference."

"Put more positively," he continues, "this is a truly excellent report that deserves to be publicized, discussed, supported by leaders and the public and, to the greatest degree possible, implemented."

Full Story: Greening America's capital cities

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