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2006 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement

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Stephen L. Johnson, EPA Administrator National Award for Smart Growth Achievement logo

Congratulations to the winners of the Environmental Protection Agency's 2006 National Awards for Smart Growth Achievement!

President Bush and I see smart growth as smart for our environment, smart for our economy, and smart for our quality of life. So it is a pleasure to recognize the innovative efforts of communities that are responsibly building toward a healthier, brighter future.

Promoting stewardship of our built environment is a way to protect our natural environment. EPA is committed to working in partnership with states, tribes, businesses, preservationists, and community leaders to support smarter growth across America - allowing us to continue to accelerate the pace of environmental protection while maintaining the nation's economic competitiveness. Through the smart use of existing infrastructure and the redevelopment of abandoned brownfield sites, EPA and our partners are improving our environment and economy by turning community eyesores into community assets.

The 2006 award recipients are leaders in the field of smart growth and represent the future of environmental innovation and stewardship. EPA is proud to congratulate them for serving as examples to communities around the country as we work together to encourage a healthier, more prosperous, and more sustainable nation.

Stephen L. Johnson
Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Farmland with cattle

Preserving farmland and natural space contributes to the health of the environment while maintaining rural character.

Across the nation, smart growth strategies are being used by communities to support environmental goals. These strategies protect the environment by preserving open space and parks, protecting critical habitat, reducing automobile emissions, cleaning up and revitalizing brownfields, and reducing polluted runoff into waterways1. The following examples - drawn from previous award winners - highlight these benefits.

  • The Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor, in Arlington, Virginia, places dense, mixed-use infill development at five Metro stations. The transit success and corresponding environmental performance are impressive. Nearly 50 percent of corridor residents use transit to commute, contributing to significant reductions in emissions from single occupancy vehicles. Development within the Rosslyn-Ballston Metro corridor occupies roughly two square miles. Replicating this development at typical suburban densities could consume over 14 square miles of open space.
  • The city of Orlando transformed the 1,125-acre Naval Training Center into Baldwin Park, a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood. Before construction began, painstaking care was taken to recycle everything that was salvageable. For example, 256 buildings, 200 miles of underground utilities, and 25 miles of roads were dismantled, yielding 600,000 tons of concrete, 80,000 tons of asphalt, and 240,000 tons of limerock. The community created 16 extra acres of parkland by using innovative underground stormwater management systems. As an infill redevelopment project, Baldwin Park takes advantage of existing infrastructure and puts people close to transit options.
  • The town of Davidson, North Carolina, is setting the standard for creating healthy and livable neighborhoods. Davidson uses pedestrian, bicycle, and street circulation plans for all new development. Streets are designed to make it easy for town residents to walk and bicycle. The town's narrow, tree-lined streets have on-street parking and sidewalks on both sides of the road. This attractive environment makes it more pleasant and convenient for people to walk or bicycle instead of driving, which in turn can reduce air pollution.

For more information about the environmental benefits of smart growth, please see: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth.

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Market Common, Arlington, Virginia

EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to recognize outstanding approaches to development that benefit the economy, the community, public health, and the environment. Over the past five years, EPA has received 425 applications from 44 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

Each award winner has successfully used the principles of smart growth to improve existing communities or to build new communities that expand economic development opportunities, enhance quality of life, and preserve the natural environment. Through innovative ideas and collaboration, the winners crafted policies and projects that foster healthy, vibrant, and diverse communities.

This year's rotating category recognizes achievements in equitable development. This category highlights the fact that smart growth approaches can and must meet the needs of underserved communities or vulnerable groups. When put into practice, smart growth principles expand opportunities by increasing community stewardship and civic engagement, improving transit and community services, eliminating barriers to affordable housing production, and encouraging heritage preservation. The winner in this category provides a model for fairness in planning and development practices to ensure everyone has a safe and healthy environment in which to live, work, and play.

The award winners were chosen through a multi-step process. A panel of experts representing a broad range of constituencies with interest and expertise in the built environment and the principles of smart growth assessed the entries. An internal EPA review panel provided additional comments. EPA's Associate Administrator for Policy, Economics, and Innovation made the final award determinations.

Smart Growth Principles

  1. Mix land uses.
  2. Take advantage of compact building design.
  3. Create housing opportunities and choices for a range of household types, family sizes, and incomes.
  4. Create walkable neighborhoods.
  5. Foster distinctive, attractive communities with a strong sense of place.
  6. Preserve open space, farmland, natural beauty, and critical environmental areas.
  7. Strengthen and direct development towards existing communities.
  8. Provide a variety of transportation choices.
  9. Make development decisions predictable, fair, and cost-effective.
  10. Encourage community and stakeholder collaboration in development decisions.

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Wichita neighborhood

Highlands' Garden Village, 2005 Winner for Overall Excellence in Smart Growth.

Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Old Town Wichita
City of Wichita, Kansas

Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

Winooski Downtown Redevelopment Project
City of Winooski, Vermont

Bethel Center
Chicago Department of Planning and Development
Chicago, Illinois

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Massachusetts Office of Commonwealth Development
Commonwealth of Massachusetts

The Office for Commonwealth Development (OCD) brings together state agencies responsible for environmental, transportation, and housing policies in a single office to promote growth that meets a wide range of goals. Through a combination of incentives and outreach, OCD is changing the way both the state and localities make growth decisions.

"The benefits of having an OCD in place to coordinate the Commonwealth's land use, transportation, housing, environmental and energy policies and programs is a success story that we surely need to celebrate as we strive to build a better future."
- Tim Brennan
Secretary/Treasurer, Massachusetts Association of Regional Planning Agencies

For More Information:
Robert Garrity (Robert.Garrity@state.ma.us)
Chief of Staff
Massachusetts Office for Commonwealth Development
Tel: 617-573-1379

Norwood Street
With funding from OCD, Norwood, a town outside of Boston, added pedestrian amenities to downtown sidewalks.

Train on track
Communities like Concord are using the Commonwealth Capital program to secure funding for mixed-use development along existing transit lines.

Massachusetts created the Office for Commonwealth Development in 2003 to better coordinate state spending and policy decisions, encourage innovative development locally, and make private investment in good projects easier. OCD brings offices responsible for the state's environmental, transportation, and housing policies under one manager, ensuring that OCD's $5 billion in annual spending improves daily life, the economy, and the environment.

OCD uses financial incentives and outreach tools to ensure wise use of state tax dollars and to promote sound growth policies in the state's 351 communities. For example, the Commonwealth Capital Policy provides financial incentives to communities that apply smart growth principles. To date, nearly 300 communities have participated. The Transit-Oriented Development (TOD) Bond Program fosters mixed-use, walkable development near transit stations through grants for pedestrian improvements, bicycle facilities, and housing projects. Approximately 100 TOD sites are planned or completed. The "Fix-it-First" policy ensures that state spending focuses investments on existing water, sewer, road, transit, and park infrastructure. In Boston, the state invested $23 million to upgrade the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority's Blue Line Airport Station. The upgrade helped reinvigorate and enhance the local transit system. Massachusetts has also created funding incentives for cities and towns that establish special districts for dense residential development in town centers, downtowns, near transit, and on brownfields.

These policies are having large-scale results. Production of multi-family housing units, crucial in a state with the nation's third least affordable housing market, has grown from 3,800 to more than 7,000 units annually. State support for TOD will result in 37 million square feet of new development near transit stations, relieving growth pressure in greenfields. OCD has also helped protect approximately 35,000 acres of land. OCD's success demonstrates that states can play a leadership role on development issues while leaving decisions in the hands of local communities.

East Boston Neighborhood
Funding from OCD is helping to increase affordable housing in urban centers such as East Boston.

Four of the state's largest TOD projects will collectively produce approximately 9,000 new housing units, 9 million square feet of commercial development, and 14,500 jobs.

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Old Town Wichita
City of Wichita
Wichita, Kansas

The use of innovative tax districts and incentives spurred the city of Wichita's largest environmental cleanup effort and removed barriers that limited reinvestment in the warehouse district. Renamed "Old Town," the district now features a mix of housing, shopping, and entertainment options while preserving its historic feel.

"I reside in a third-floor condo of a redeveloped brick and concrete warehouse. My office is on the first floor of the same building so my commute takes two minutes and costs nothing. Living in the center of downtown is exciting, convenient, and satisfying. I love it."
- Joan B. Cole
Owner, Cole Consultants

For More Information
Terry Cassady (tcassady@wichita.gov)
Development Assistance
City of Wichita
Tel: 316-268-4371

Old Town Wichita
Prior to redevelopment, Old Town was a collection of underutilized buildings and surface parking in the center of Wichita.

New Neighborhood in Wichita
Through innovative strategies, collaborative problem solving, and a vision to foster great places, the city of Wichita has created a new neighborhood, near downtown.

Old Town, a 40-acre district near downtown Wichita, Kansas, once consisted of half-empty and abandoned warehouse buildings, deteriorated dirt and gravel parking lots, and dilapidated railroad tracks. By establishing a public-private partnership and remediating chlorine solvent contamination, the city created a lively, pedestrian-friendly community. Among brick-lined streets, historic lampposts, and a collection of converted brick warehouses (circa 1870-1930) are approximately 100 businesses, most locally owned, and 315 homes.

The city faced significant challenges in reviving the old warehouse district. The discovery of polluted groundwater in 1990 nearly brought local ambitions for redevelopment to a standstill. Banks, fearful of being held liable for the groundwater cleanup, discontinued real estate loans in the contaminated area. To stimulate redevelopment, the city took the lead in cleaning up the site, relieving property owners of the responsibility.

Wichita formed a partnership with MarketPlace Properties to restore the old warehouse district to productive use. Through the partnership, the city leveraged public funds to encourage private investment for redevelopment. As a result, the project has added over 690,000 square feet of retail and office space, rehabilitated eight historic buildings for residential use, and seen over $111 million in private investment. Old Town is a great place to live for people of all income levels. Of the 315 housing units, 84 are income-restricted apartments.

Old Town's stores, recreational amenities, and homes capitalize on its walkable design, mix of uses, and historic beauty. Residents and visitors have access to parks, public transportation, and several entertainment options, including a movie theater, three museums, numerous shops, and several restaurants. Old Town residents can learn about the groundwater cleanup at the Wichita Area Treatment, Education, and Remediation (WATER) Center. The WATER Center houses the groundwater treatment system and doubles as an educational center on environmental stewardship.

Old Town is a testament to the effective use of public-private partnerships. Despite challenges, the partnership improved the environment and established Old Town as a charming community that capitalizes on the historic beauty of downtown Wichita.

Store fronts in Old Town
Inviting storefronts open to the street while businesses and residences are located on the upper levels of Old Town's historic buildings.

Old Town has added more than 900 jobs because of the addition of on-site retail and office space. The city estimates development within the district has generated more than $40 million in increased property values.

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Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative
Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania

The Pennsylvania Fresh Food Financing Initiative, a public-private partnership between the state and three non-profit organizations, has provided over $7.3 million in grants and loans to help supermarkets locate in underserved communities. The program lets people shop for nutritious food in their neighborhoods instead of having to drive to distant grocery stores and brings economic development to lower-income communities.

"Through the Fresh Food Financing Initiative, we can begin to give communities in lower-income areas across Pennsylvania the choice of more nutritionally balanced diets at affordable costs. Additionally, this initiative will help create jobs and revitalize these neighborhoods."
- Dwight Evans
State Representative

For More Information
David Adler (dadler@thefoodtrust.org)
Communications Coordinator
The Food Trust
Tel: 215-568-0830 x120

Woman in Grocery Store
In Philadelphia, the First Oriental Market received a $500,000 loan from FFFI to help its owners purchase the property they had previously leased.

Residents in neighborhoods underserved by grocery stores either make long trips to distant stores outside their neighborhoods, or they shop in stores with a smaller selection of nutritious foods. The Food Trust, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organization, explored this trend in its 2006 report, Philadelphia's New Markets: Ripe Opportunities for Retailers. The study concluded lower-income areas possess a great concentration of buying power that is largely untapped. To give lower-income people easier access to healthy foods and to spur new development in neighborhoods that desperately need it, the public-private partnership of the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development, The Food Trust, The Reinvestment Fund, and the Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition established the Fresh Food Financing Initiative (FFFI).

One key principle of smart growth is to direct investment toward existing communities, and FFFI is designed to complement revitalization efforts in existing communities. For example, of the 22 supermarkets receiving funding from FFFI, 20 will create no new impervious cover because they will be constructed on existing sites or expand capacity at existing stores. Further, vehicular trips are reduced and transportation costs are lower for consumers when supermarket operators build stores closer to the people that need them.

FFFI was launched in 2004 with $10 million in funding from the commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Two years later, the initiative has generated an $80 million pool, created by leveraging funds through several public and private sources. FFFI has approved $21.9 million in grants and loans to 22 projects across the state. The Food Trust's estimates suggest that the more than 220,000 residents served by the new supermarkets will spend over $65 million annually on fresh fruits and vegetables.

By attracting supermarkets to existing neighborhoods, FFFI restores vital market opportunities and services to existing communities. As a result, the program reduces the pressure to develop farms, wildlife habitat, and open space; increases local farm income; and enhances the vitality of urban and rural communities.

The Island Avenue ShopRite boasts not only fresh and affordable foods, but a strong connection to the Eastwick community.

The Island Avenue ShopRite boasts not only fresh and affordable foods, but a strong connection to the Eastwick community.

The Island Avenue ShopRite, the first store to receive FFFI funding, provides 250 jobs and 57,000 square feet of retail in Eastwick, a previously underserved Southwest Philadelphia neighborhood. Most employees are neighborhood residents.

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Winooski Downtown Redevelopment Project
City of Winooski
Winooski, Vermont

The Winooski Downtown Redevelopment Project revitalized this small town with new development that respects the city's character and history. The town preserved or restored nearly 100 acres of natural habitat, returned vacant properties to productive use, created several neighborhood parks, and built the pedestrian-friendly RiverWalk.

"Our downtown revitalization involved multiple public sector partners, along with private developers, banks, consultants and local contractors. We could always agree that our common goal was a livable downtown that would assure economic and civic success."
- Clement Bissonnette
Mayor of Winooski

For More Information
J. Ladd (jladd@onioncity.com)
Community Development Department
City of Winooski
Tel: 802-655-6410 x20

Winooski River
The RiverWalk provides public access to the Winooski River and adjoining parks.

New building construction
These liner buildings will contain ground-level shops when completed. A 900-space parking garage is just behind them, hidden from the street.

A city of 7,000 residents in the Burlington metropolitan area, Winooski, Vermont, revitalized its downtown by using smart growth principles and building on the town's rich history. The Winooski Downtown Redevelopment project created a thriving, attractive center with much-needed housing, stores, offices, and public spaces.

In 1999, the city began a public process to mobilize residents for redevelopment of their hometown. Extensive public dialogue produced the plan to revitalize downtown. The city secured more than $38 million in public funding, which leveraged $169 million in private investment. Construction started in 2004.

Showing its commitment to the project, the city took the critical step of reestablishing the street grid that had been demolished in the 1970s and added wider sidewalks and on-street parking. Development includes about 500 new homes, with another 400 units planned; a new transit center; approximately 300,000 square feet of offices, shops, and restaurants; and several neighborhood parks and other attractive public gathering places. Encouraged by the success of the downtown redevelopment, developers are rehabilitating several historic mill buildings along Main Street. For example, the Woolen Mill, the Champlain Mill, and the Winooski Block are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and form a prominent part of the new Winooski Falls downtown development.

The city also opened RiverWalk, a promenade along the Winooski River that connects the downtown to the adjacent 100-acre natural preserve. Residents and visitors alike flock to this waterfront area to take a casual stroll, enjoy lunch, or admire the river.

The revitalization has given Winooski a big economic boost. The redevelopment capitalized on the city's historic charm and once again made Winooski a place people and businesses want to be. The citizens of Winooski now have an attractive downtown with mixed-income housing, stores, restaurants, and other services within easy, comfortable walking distance. Finally, RiverWalk gives the town a beautiful new connection to its beloved river.

Bus outside of newly contructed housing
New apartments and condos are being built with easy transit access.

The Winooski Downtown Redevelopment Project has created approximately 1,400 construction jobs and will generate an estimated 2,100 permanent jobs upon completion.

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Bethel Center
Chicago Department of Planning and Development
Chicago, Illinois

Threatened with the loss of its transit station, the West Garfield Park neighborhood catalyzed transit-oriented redevelopment with Bethel Center as the anchor and kept the station open. Bethel Center provides employment services, child care, and banking in a "green" building erected on a former brownfield.

"Transit-oriented development, green technology, and focused affordable housing combined with strong community participation prove that these concepts can work in low-income communities across the country."
- Steven McCullough
President and CEO, Bethel New Life

For More Information
Steven McCullough (smccullough@bethelnewlife.org)
President and CEO
Bethel New Life, Inc.
Tel: 773-473-7870

Children climbing stairs
Childcare services offered at the Bethel Center provide a safe and enriching environment for local children.

Bethel Center's green roof
Bethel Center's green roof reduces stormwater runoff, and photovoltaic cells provide clean energy. The center also provides direct access to the Green Line "El" stop through a connecting bridge.

Ten years ago, the 23,000 residents of Chicago's West Garfield Park neighborhood faced the proposed closure of their Green Line transit station. Because the neighborhood was struggling economically, the station represented an important community resource that residents couldn't afford to lose.

In response, Bethel New Life, Inc., a local faith-based non-profit organization that has served the community for 27 years, led the creation of a Transit Village Plan. Bethel collaborated with residents, churches, public officials, public school principals, the Garfield Park Conservatory, and local organizations to develop the plan. The plan focused on improving quality of life by addressing residents' needs for a walkable neighborhood and better community services. At the heart of the plan was a two-story, 23,000-square-foot, environmentally friendly facility dubbed "Bethel Center."

Bethel Center opened its doors in May 2005. Developed with grant funding from the Chicago Department of Planning and Development, the center provides the community with amenities such as employment counseling, commercial services, a technology center, child care, and retail space. Neighborhood residents helped determine what services would be offered at Bethel Center.

Bethel Center is a model of environmentally friendly design. The center was built on a former brownfield, and its transit-accessible, walkable location gives people transportation options. The development incorporates green building technology and features a green roof, photovoltaic cells, and recycled and non-toxic building materials.

Bethel Center is a first step to revitalizing the area. Bethel New Life has also built 50 affordable homes within walking distance of Bethel Center and the train station.

Employment opportunities are important for residents in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. Bethel Center provides employment counseling, job training, and placement services. Approximately 600 visitors seek help each month, and retail tenants at Bethel Center hire from the employment training program.

Community Saving Center Storefront
The Community Savings Center (CSC) occupies one of the six storefront properties at Bethel Center. CSC is a full-service bank that offers free financial counseling to members.

Using green construction techniques and smart growth principles, Bethel Center has increased access to community services while reducing environmental impacts. Bethel has applied for Gold certification under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

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Baldwin Park
When the city of Orlando transformed a closed Naval Training Center into an exciting new community, 16 extra acres of parkland were created using innovative underground stormwater management systems.

2005 Award Winners

Denver Urban Renewal Authority
Overall Excellence in Smart Growth

City of Lakewood, Colorado, and Lakewood Development Department
Built Projects

City of Pasadena, California, Planning and Development Department
Policies and Regulations

Town of Redding, Connecticut
Small Communities

City of Orlando, Florida
Military Base Redevelopment


Tsigo Bugeh Village
In San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico, the design for Tsigo Bugeh Village is inspired by traditional pueblos, with buildings clustered around two plazas.

2004 Award Winners

Town of Davidson, North Carolina
Overall Excellence in Smart Growth

City of Greensboro, North Carolina
Built Projects

City of Santa Cruz, California
Policies and Regulations

Sacramento Area, California, Council of Governments
Community Outreach and Education

San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico
Small Communities


Naval housing
The Department of the Navy provides a variety of types and sizes of homes to meet the different needs of military families.

2003 Award Winners

Metropolitan Council, Minnesota
Overall Excellence in Smart Growth

Department of the Navy
Built Projects

Georgia Office of Quality Growth
Community Outreach and Education

Cuyahoga County, Ohio, Treasurer's Office
Policies and Regulations

City of Raleigh and Wake County, North Carolina, Public School System
Public Schools


Rosslyn-Ballston corridor
In Arlington County, Virginia, higher-density development is clustered around the Metro stations along the Rosslyn-Ballston corridor.

2002 Award Winners

Arlington County, Virginia
Overall Excellence in Smart Growth

Town of Breckenridge, Colorado, Planning Department
Built Projects

City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County, California
Policies and Regulations

Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Community Outreach and Education


For more information on the past winners, please go to: www.epa.gov/smartgrowth/awards.htm.

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Philadelphia streetThanks to our Review Panel
Martin Harris, National Association of Counties
Jennifer Leonard, Smart Growth America
Lisa Nisenson, Nisenson Consulting
Michael Pawlukiewicz, The Urban Land Institute
Lee Quill, Cunningham Quill Architects
Harrison Rue, Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission
Sue Schwartz, City of Greensboro, North Carolina
Rhonda Sincavage, National Trust for Historic Preservation
Scot Spencer, The Annie E. Casey Foundation

Photo Credits
Front cover: Fruitvale Transit Village, Oakland, CA. Photo used with permission of John Beutler.
How Smart Growth Protects the Environment: Wisconsin farm. Scenics of America/PhotoLink.
About the Award: Market Common, Arlington, VA. U.S. EPA, Development, Community, and Environment Division.
Winners page: Highlands' Garden Village, Denver, CO. U.S. EPA, Development, Community, and Environment Division.
Case study photos courtesy of award winners, except Wichita storefronts photo, courtesy of Carlton Eley; First Oriental Market photo, courtesy of The Reinvestment Fund; and Winooski photos, courtesy of Liisa Ecola.
2005 and 2004 Award Winners: Baldwin Park, Orlando, FL. Photo courtesy of Baldwin Park Development Company. San Juan Pueblo, NM. Photo courtesy of Jamie Blosser.
2003 and 2002 Award Winners: Gateway Village, San Diego, CA. Photo courtesy of the Department of the Navy. Arlington, VA. Photo courtesy of Arlington County.
Opposite Acknowledgements page: Harlem, NY. Photo courtesy of Carlton Eley.
Acknowledgements: Philadelphia, PA. Photo courtesy of Carlton Eley.
Back cover: Fall Creek Place, Indianapolis, IN. Photo courtesy of Mansur Real Estate Services, Inc.

National Building Museum
The 2006 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement ceremony was held at the National Building Museum in Washington, DC, on November 15. The National Building Museum, created by an act of Congress in 1980, is America's premier cultural institution dedicated to exploring and celebrating architecture, design, engineering, construction, and urban planning. Since opening its doors in 1985, the museum has become a vital forum for exchanging ideas and information about such topical issues as managing suburban growth, preserving landmarks and communities, and revitalizing urban centers. Its engaging exhibitions and education programs, including innovative curricula for school children and stimulating programs for adults, annually attract nearly 400,000 people, making the museum the most-visited institution of its kind in the world.

Fallbrook House
For more information about the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement and EPA's other smart growth activities, visit the EPA's smart growth home page.

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