US EPA: Creating Equitable, Healthy & Sustainable Communities
(www.epa.gov/environmentaljustice) – Communities across the country are integrating smart growth, environmental justice and equitable development approaches to design and build healthy, sustainable and inclusive neighborhoods. Overburdened communities are using smart growth strategies to address longstanding environmental and health challenges and to create new opportunities where they live. Regional and local planners are engaging low-income, minority and tribal residents in decision-making and producing more enduring development that is better for people and the environment. Community groups, government agencies and private and nonprofit partners are cleaning-up and investing in existing neighborhoods, providing affordable housing and transportation options, and improving access to critical services and amenities.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency publication Creating Equitable, Healthy and Sustainable Communities: Strategies for Advancing Smart Growth, Environmental Justice and Equitable Development builds on past successes and offers other low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened communities approaches to shape development that responds to their needs and reflects their values. It identifies strategies that bring together smart growth, environmental justice and equitable development principles. Community-based organizations, local and regional decision-makers, developers and others can use this information to build healthy, sustainable and inclusive communities. Such places provide clean air, water and land; affordable and healthy homes; safe, reliable and economical transportation options; and convenient access to jobs, schools, parks, shopping and other daily necessities.
Strategies are grouped under seven common elements or shared goals and principles that connect environmental justice, smart growth and equitable development. The fundamental overlap between these concepts is around how to plan and build neighborhoods to address environmental, health and economic disparities and provide opportunities for low-income, minority, tribal and overburdened residents. Therefore, all approaches described relate to land use and community design. This document provides a brief introduction to each strategy with a description of what it is, how it supports equitable and environmentally sustainable development and examples of how it has been used. Local governments and community-based organizations can choose approaches that best suit their needs and goals. Each of the seven common elements is illustrated by an in-depth case study highlighting a community’s experiences with these strategies.