Smart growth project extended
- By Brian Robinson
- Jul 01, 2002
EPA's Smart Growth Index
The Environmental Protection Agency, after a successful first phase, this
summer will extend a pilot program through which it is trying to expand
use of its geographic information systems-based Smart Growth Index (SGI)
software as an aid to communities' local planning process.
SGI can be used to model alternative land use and transportation scenarios
and to evaluate their outcomes using indicators that show what the environmental
impact of each scenario is likely to be.
It has proven to be a particularly useful tool in getting local support
for smart growth programs, said Eric Sprague, an environment protection
specialist with the EPA's Office of Policy, Economics and Innovation. It's
easy to install on computers and can be used at such events as public meetings
to quickly sketch development alternatives and stimulate discussion and
The SGI program "provides a tool that most communities just wouldn't
have available to them without it," Sprague said.
Twenty communities in 17 states were chosen as pilot sites in the first
phase, which began in June 2000. The EPA provided the SGI software and initial
The next phase is due to begin in the next few weeks, involving another
20 communities, which EPA will name early this month after an evaluation
The program — which EPA has moved beyond the pilot phase to a full-fledged
"partnership" status — has already proven such a success that it will almost
certainly be continued next year, Sprague said.
Robinson is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Ore. He can be
reached at email@example.com.
Brian Robinson is a freelance writer based in Portland, Ore.