UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Sandy, late applications will be accepted through Tuesday, November 6th at 5pm EST.
Through a grant to Project for Public Spaces from the United States Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Sustainable Communities under their Building Blocks for Sustainable Communities Program, Livability Solutions will be offering free technical assistance workshops to 6 to 12 communities around the country, enabling local governments and communities to implement changes that will move them along the road towards smart growth and sustainability. This technical assistance will take the form of one- to two-day workshops, led by one or more of our experienced coalition members, focused on one or more of our unique suite of livability tools.
Workshops are intended to provide communities with strategies to enhance livability, to create lasting economic and environmental improvements, and to effect positive change for their residents. We will focus on helping communities reach a tipping point or overcome a significant hurdle to reaching a particular livability or sustainability goal. Coalition members will work with selected communities to identify the tool or palette of tools that will best help them achieve their livability and sustainability goals, building off of each community’s unique character, culture, creativity, and effort. A short report will be prepared for each community following the technical assistance, and communities receiving technical assistance will be asked to follow up one month and nine months after receiving technical assistance to report on their progress toward objectives set during the assistance.
Learn more about our tools and the application process
View a webinar recording or our webinar slides to learn more about the free tools and technical assistance available from Livability Solutions through this opportunity.
Who is eligible to apply for the assistance?
This technical assistance is designed to serve local and/or tribal governments. Any local, regional, state, or tribal government, or agency or subdivision thereof, or community-based organization working in close conjunction with any such division of government may apply.
The intention of this technical assistance is to work directly with local and/or tribal governments to increase their capacity to successfully implement smart growth and sustainable communities approaches that protect the environment, improve public health, facilitate job creation and economic opportunity, and improve overall quality of life. If the primary applicant is not a local government, then the applicant must indicate, through a signed letter from a local elected official or head of a local government agency, that the local government is committed to efforts described in the application and will be substantively involved in the technical assistance.
- In order to apply for this free technical assistance from Livability Solutions, candidates must complete and submit the application provided below by Friday, November 2nd 2012 at 8pm EST. UPDATE: Due to Hurricane Sandy, late applications will be accepted through Tuesday, November 6th at 5pm EST.
- Candidates will be evaluated by a selection committee on the basis of the criteria described below. Only complete applications will be reviewed. You will be notified if your application is incomplete.
- Those candidates best meeting the selection criteria described below will be selected to receive technical assistance.
- PPS and Livability Solutions reserve the right to reject any or all incomplete applications or applications not meeting the criteria.
- Selected candidates will be announced in January 2013.
- Candidates not selected for this round of assistance will be notified shortly thereafter, and will also be notified of future technical assistance offerings.
Primary selection criteria
Demonstrated interest or initiative in livability, smart growth, or sustainability (20%): We are looking for communities with a strong interest in and commitment to livability, smart growth, and sustainability principles that are facing a significant challenge or barrier to moving forward. Successful candidates will illustrate past and present activities working toward livability, smart growth, and sustainability that have hit some type of roadblock. Possible indicators of commitment and capability might include, but are not limited to: policies enabling or requiring smart growth considerations in both public and private sector projects; comprehensive plan language that recognizes the need for smart growth; draft bicycle or pedestrian plans; a political commitment to reducing vehicle miles traveled and greenhouse gas emissions; policies illustrating a commitment to transportation equity and environmental justice; use of growth boundaries; recent summits on growth, development, and/or transportation; or similar activities.
Clarity and capability to achieve candidate project or initiative (20%): Candidates are asked to identify a project or initiative that could reach the tipping point with this EPA-funded technical assistance. The candidate should identify one or more issues that they are currently facing in the development of a policy or project, and where the right technical assistance can lead to substantial and meaningful progress. The existence of a clear project or initiative to address and the candidate’s readiness and capability to act on the assistance provided will be considered.
Magnitude of need (20%): Candidates will be evaluated regarding the nature and magnitude of their expressed needs.
Demonstrated commitment to public engagement (20%): Community commitment and participation is critical to livability and sustainability success. Successful candidates will have demonstrated a track record and commitment to including a broad spectrum of the community in their planning and/ or development process including people of all ages, abilities, economic conditions, and ethnicities. This demonstration of commitment to public engagement could be expressed in the form of policies on public engagement; past examples; or stated commitments from a mayor, council members, or agency heads.
Demonstration of partnering capability and stakeholder interest (20%): Successful candidates will illustrate that they are willing to work across agencies or departments to improve capacity for smart growth and sustainable change. Working with community-based organizations, the business community, business improvement districts, local chambers of commerce, health professionals/medical community, public health practitioners, and other appropriate partners will be considered an asset.
Community diversity: In order to ensure that the communities selected represent a range of community scales and demographics, we will ensure that each of the following categories is represented among the selected communities:
- Rural/Small Town (less than 15,000 population)
- Suburban/Medium City (15,000 – 100,000 population)
- Large City / Metro (>100,000 population)
In addition, to ensure that this assistance successfully reaches communities that may not have the capacity to provide as thorough applications as communities with more resources, 30% of the assistance will be targeted to low resource communities with one or more of the following characteristics:
- There are high rates of poverty (more than 20% of households are at or below the federal poverty threshold, or the median household income is at 70% or less of the national average).
- There are high rates of unemployment (unemployment rates are greater than the national average).
- Residents face a disproportionate level of environmental degradation, social inequity, historic underrepresentation, economic stagnation, and/or recent economic disruption (e.g., closure of major plants or businesses, resulting in significant local job loss).
- A relatively high percentage of the population pays more than 45% of household income on combined housing and transportation costs.
- A high percentage (greater than 15%) of households are not food secure.
Geographic diversity: We also intend that this technical assistance reach communities of different sizes across the United States and we will strive to select a geographically diverse group of communities.
Potential for leveraging: The existence of additional commitment, funding, and/or in-kind support to the proposed project or initiative from a public or private sector partner or a local foundation, which can add value to the EPA-funded assistance by supporting follow-up plans or implementation, will be considered a plus.
Prior receipt of federal sustainable communities technical assistance: One intention of this technical assistance is to increase the reach and impact of livability and sustainability solutions. Past and current provision of assistance will be taken into account. That a community is receiving or has received additional technical assistance from the EPA, or other sources, does not mean that it is ineligible. It simply means that the community will need to illustrate how the technical assistance they are requesting from Livability Solutions will complement the other assistance they received before, currently have, or are applying for.
- September 24, 2012: Applications open
- October 10, 2012: Webinar on Tools and Application (3pm EST)
- November 2, 2012: Applications due (8pm EST)
- December 14, 2012: Selected communities notified
- January 10, 2013: Selected communities announced
- February – March 2013: Coordinate with selected communities to tailor technical assistance. Each awarded community will sign a Memorandum of Agreement with relevant Livability Solutions’ partners, which articulates roles, responsibilities, and a timeline for the technical assistance.
- April – September 2013: Technical assistance!
How to apply
To apply for free technical assistance, applicants must:
- Complete the online application
- Obtain signed letter(s) of commitment from a local elected official or head of local government agency (there is a spot in the application to upload the letter(s))
- Submit both of the items above through our online application form. If you are unable to submit your application through our online form, or have questions, you may contact us at livabilitysolutions [at] pps [dot] org, or at 212-620-5660×323.
- You will receive notification once we have received your application. You will be notified if your application is incomplete.
You will receive a confirmation email once your complete application has been received.
If you have any questions about this assistance, the selection criteria or application, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. In order to ensure that we can adequately respond to questions, please aim to submit any questions by October 15th. Questions received by this date will be compiled and the answers to these questions will be made available on the livabilitysolutions.org website by the end of that week. You can also check our FAQ’s page. We will be available after this date to answer questions, as well.