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Earlier in the week, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) selected five projects in cities around the country, highlighting their efforts to make communities safer, more accessible, healthy and sustainable. To find out more about the winners, visit the EPA website here.

Here are the winners:

Overall Excellence: Smart.Growth@NYC, New York, New York
EPA says: “PlaNYC 2030, New York City’s 2007 blueprint for planning future growth, provided the inspiration for multi-agency coordination on innovative policies and projects to improve the quality of life in the city. PlaNYC prepares for more population while adding small public spaces throughout the City, improving air and water quality, and improving public health with better access to fresh food and more options for walking and biking.”


Smart Growth and Green Building: Miller’s Court, Baltimore, Maryland
EPA says:Miller’s Court, a renovated tin can factory, offers new housing and commercial space in the center of a neighborhood that is gaining new life as a thriving, convenient urban setting. The project has spurred new economic activity nearby, from a small boutique bakery to a 200,000-square-foot retail and office development.


Policies, Programs, and Regulations: 2040 Growth Concept, Portland metro, Oregon
EPA says:Metro, the elected regional government of the Portland, Oregon, area, is making sure that future population growth can be accommodated through its “Making the Greatest Place” effort.  Building on the 2040 Growth Concept, this effort helps protect current and future residents’ quality of life by providing access to transportation choices, investing in compact communities, and preserving farms and forests.


Rural Smart Growth: The Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan, Maine
EPA says:The Gateway 1 Corridor Action Plan covers a 100-mile stretch of Maine’s central coast along U.S. Route 1, from Brunswick in the south to Stockton Springs. This collective effort by 20 towns to protect rural and scenic resources is a noteworthy achievement to not only preserve the environment, but also strengthen the economy along this regionally significant corridor.


Civic Places:  Mint Plaza, San Francisco, California
EPA says:Mint Plaza, in downtown San Francisco, is a formerly derelict city-owned alley converted into a lively public plaza and festival space with an innovative stormwater system. The project’s contemporary design respects its historic context while also providing a flexible public space for the surrounding neighborhood that brings people together.