Back in May, I blogged about what — in addition to David Byrne’s dazzling bike-centric slideshows, natch — was undoubtedly one of the highpoints of the 18th national conference of the Congress for the New Urbanism: The launch of The Home Depot Foundation’s Sustainable Cities Institute (SCI).
At the time, SCI was half realized with the website — described as a “dynamic online toolbox” for city leaders and sustainability professionals to “utilize for a holistic, long-term approach to sustainability planning and implementation of healthy communities" — up and running but the on-the-ground component of SCI, the City Program, still in the works. As I mentioned back in May, the City Program aims to bring the resources available on the SCI website to life through the greening of two pilot cities.
Although the battle plan of the SCI City Program was announced in May, it wasn’t until today that the specifics of the program, particularly which two cities would be awarded grants and become SCI pilot cities, were revealed.
Well, it looks the lucky residents of Charleston, S.C., and Fayetteville, Ark., will find their cities getting a whole lot greener as part of the SCI’s three-year, $1 million ($500,000 in funding is awarded to each city) program that through various "sticks and bricks" initiatives will “demonstrate the challenges and successes of implementing lasting sustainability programs at the local level.” Said challenges and successes will be shared on the SCI website.
The selection of Charleston and Fayetteville as pilot cities wasn’t exactly arbitrary. Each city — in all, 37 cities were invited to submit a letter of intent — went through an extensive selection process to “win” the honor of being a pilot city. Ann Arbor and Salt Lake City were two other finalists in the running for the grant.
Explains Kelly Caffarelli, president of The Home Depot Foundation, in a press release:
Charleston and Fayetteville presented impressive initiatives to save local resources and reduce costs while providing great benefits to local residents. We’re excited at the opportunity to work with them to implement those plans and to share the common successes and pitfalls with cities everywhere.
Congrats to both Charleston and Fayetteville on snagging this notable achievement. I can’t wait to see the successes in each of these green-thinking towns replicated in communities across the nation.
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