EPA, HUD, DOT partner to fund Governors’ Institute on Community Design, help states drive economic development, make better use of taxpayer dollars

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 24, 2012

EPA, HUD, DOT partner to fund Governors’ Institute 
on Community Design, help states drive economic
development, make better use of taxpayer dollars

Former and current governors to address economic, housing and
transportation issues at National Press Club next week

CONTACT: Thomas Madrecki, 202-215-2258, tmadrecki@smartgrowthamerica.org

Former and current governors from across the country will look to address states’ most pressing economic, housing and transportation issues at a roundtable kickoff to the Governors’ Institute on Community Design next week in Washington DC.

The Institute, established in 2005 and administered by Smart Growth America, will now receive support from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in a new, collaborative effort as part of the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities.

Funding for the Institute enhances the Partnership’s ability to provide thought leadership and policy-development assistance in states looking to promote economic development and make a better use of taxpayer dollars.

Among those participating in the Institute’s panel discussion will be former Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening; former New Jersey Gov. Christine Todd Whitman; former Iowa Governor Chet Culver; former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge; current Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley; current North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue; James Lee Witt, former Administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency; and Greg Bialecki, current Secretary of Massachusetts’ Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. The session will be held at the National Press Club’s Zenger Room from 9 to 11 a.m.

“The Institute is a vital tool for our states’ leaders as they look for ways to trigger economic development and create strong, resilient communities,” says Glendening, who co-chairs the Institute alongside Whitman. “Governors and their administrations who reach out to us and receive assistance have access to the leading practitioners and academics in government, design and regional economics. Together we are able to map out the unique, state-specific strategies that will lead to long-term success.”

EPA, HUD and DOT’s role in funding the Governors’ Institute is a landmark step for the Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which works to provide communities with faster, more streamlined access to federal programs. The Institute is one of the first programs to receive joint support from all three participating agencies in the three years since the Partnership was established.

“We are deeply appreciative that the Partnership is investing in this program,” Glendening says. “We urge interested states to use this resource as a way to drive economic development and to create the kinds of great neighborhoods people want to live, work and play in nationwide.”

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For more information about the Governors’ Institute on Community Design,
visit www.govinstitute.org

For more information about the Partnership for Sustainable Communities,
visit www.sustainablecommunities.gov

Governor Whitman: Great places are created by good design and smart policy

Policy plays an important role in building great places. That’s the message Governor Christine Todd Whitman delivered to leading civic leaders, policymakers, urban designers, and entrepreneurs participating in the Ford Foundation’s 75th anniversary forum on July 14, 2011.

Gov. Whitman, a key member of the GICD’s Governors’ Council, spoke about the importance of design in creating great places. Stating that “one of things we found early on is that part of what defines neighborhoods is their physical aspects – what they look like,” she discussed how elements such as front stoops allow for the the development of community. She recounted how, as Governor of New Jersey, she saw first-hand how many well-intentioned rules and regulations prevented such design elements and planning strategies from creating great places.

Governor Whitman also addressed the role of governors in creating vibrant, livable cities. Stating that “governors can do a lot to help create an atmosphere that allows for cities to grow,” she stressed the importance of coordinating the efforts of state government and breaking down silos. Governor Whitman mentioned the Governors’ Institute on Community Design workshop she had recently attended and how such efforts to align state administrations and policies are critical to the success of cites — and how without such alignment the best of intentions and investments can be for naught.

The panel, which was moderated by E.J. Dionne Jr., columnist for The Washington Post, included Isabel Wilkerson, journalist and author; Jean Quan, mayor of Oakland, Calif.; and the Governor of Massachusetts Deval Patrick; as well as Governor Whitman.