Governors' Institute on Community Design
- About the Governors’ Institute on Community Design
- Examples of Past Workshops
- Why is EPA Involved?
- How to Apply
- More Information and Resources
About the Governors’ Institute on Community Design
The Governors’ Institute on Community Design helps governors and their staff make informed decisions about investments and policy decisions that influence the economic health and physical development of their states.
By harnessing the expertise of leading practitioners and academicians in public policy, economic development, community design, real estate development, and regional economics, the Governors’ Institute helps state executive teams shape the future of communities throughout their states.
The Governors’ Institute recognizes that each state faces its own challenges. Working with a governor’s staff and cabinet, the institute provides tailored technical assistance, typically through one- to two-day workshops that bring together the governor and his or her staff with nationally renowned experts to address issues the governor has identified. This assistance is designed to provide state leaders with practical strategies for creating vibrant, economically competitive communities. Assistance often includes:
- exploring the connections among economic development, transportation, land use, housing, energy, and the environment;
- stimulating coordinated action among state agencies; and
- encouraging increased cooperation among state and local governments.
The Governors’ Institute is led by a council of former governors who have a long history of promoting smart growth approaches to development. The council includes Parris Glendening (former governor of Maryland), Christine Todd Whitman (former governor of New Jersey and a former EPA Administrator), Tom Ridge (former governor of Pennsylvania), Chet Culver (former governor of Iowa), and James Lee Witt (former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency). The institute is an initiative of the HUD-DOT-EPA Partnership for Sustainable Communities and is administered by Smart Growth America.
While the assistance the Governors’ Institute provides differs from state to state, there are common elements.
- Technical assistance is developed individually for one governor and his or her cabinet and staff and held at a convenient location in the host state.
- The host governor identifies the challenge; the institute provides national experts who can offer potential solutions by sharing knowledge or supporting implementation.
- The institute covers most costs of the assistance, though the host state might be asked to make in-kind contributions, such as providing the venue for an event.
Examples of Past Workshops
The Governors’ Institute conducts three to four workshops a year. Some examples include:
- New Jersey: In 2011, Governor Chris Christie invited the Governors’ Institute on Community Design to advise the state on its statewide strategic planning process linking economic development and land use. After a two-day workshop, the Governors’ Institute produced policy options that the state incorporated into its strategic plan. The institute suggested that the state focus on creating communities that are attractive to businesses and employees, align state government agencies with the state plan, and direct investment to priority areas and existing infrastructure.
- North Carolina: Following a July 2010 Governors’ Institute workshop requested by Governor Bev Perdue, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation establishing a Sustainable Communities Task Force to promote regional partnerships and sustainable planning. The Governors’ Institute helped the task force develop a Community Practices Assessment. This scorecard helps local governments and regional bodies evaluate their current practices and identify opportunity to improve economic, environmental, and public health outcomes. The institute also helped develop a grant program that helped communities better position themselves to meet the needs of North Carolina’s growing population by improving their regional planning efforts to connect land use, housing, and transportation issues.
Why Is EPA Involved?
Decisions about how and where to grow are the prerogative of states and localities. State policies have a profound impact on growth patterns and, ultimately, on environmental quality and human health. EPA provides financial and technical support to the Governors’ Institute because air quality, water quality and supply, and public health all are linked to how and where we grow. EPA’s support for the institute helps states better understand how growth affects their environment and human health and provides tools for them to plan for economic growth while protecting the environment and public health.
How to Apply
To request assistance, contact the Governors’ Institute at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-207-3355 x120. The Governors’ Institute is an ongoing project, so requests for assistance can be made at any time. There is no application deadline.
More Information and Resources
For more information on the Governors’ Institute, please visit the Governors’ Institute website .
If you have questions about EPA’s role in supporting the Governors’ Institute, please contact Stephanie Bertaina (202-566-0157, email@example.com).
Policies that Work: A Governors' Guide to Growth and Development is a publication for governors, staff, and cabinet secretaries that outlines policies, administrative actions, and spending decisions that have led to smarter growth in states.