The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Thursday announced that the City of Chattanooga is among 43 communities in 27 states that will receive technical assistance to pursue sustainable growth that encourages local economic development while safeguarding health and the environment. EPA staff and national experts will conduct one to two-day workshops that focus on the Neighborhood Planning for Healthy Aging tool. The Department of Neighborhood Services and Community Development (DNSCD), Choose Chattanooga, and Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability (SEDEV) requested assistance to explore the role of supportive neighborhood design in creating great places for aging residents.
This tool helps communities understand the inter-related nature of the built environment related to creating neighborhoods where residents can comfortably age in place. This is accomplished by considering housing, accessibility, transportation, and safety and security. Communities receiving this assistance will explore these concepts through a GIS analysis of location conditions and a community assessment. Using this input, the EPA team will develop a series of strategies and next steps that each community can consider to improve local conditions to support aging.
“This technical assistance is an opportunity for Chattanooga to evaluate our current neighborhoods and take assessment of what is needed in our neighborhoods to have residents successfully age in place,” said the Department of Neighborhood Services and Community Development’s Administrator Beverly P. Johnson.
During the workshop with EPA-funded, private-sector experts, participants will explore the selected tool, as well as other ways to make progress toward community goals for environmentally responsible, economically healthy development.
“We are excited to be partnering with Choose Chattanooga and Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability on this project,” said Ms. Johnson, “We hope to see positive and tangible results from this study.”
To date, EPA’s assistance through the Building Blocks program has reached 141 communities. EPA selected this year’s recipients from 121 applicants through a competitive process in consultation with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT). Together, the three agencies form the federal Partnership for Sustainable Communities, which coordinate investments in housing, transportation, and environmental protection to get better results for communities and use taxpayer money more efficiently.
In addition to Chattanooga, the selected communities for the Neighborhood Planning for Aging Tool are Inyo County, Ca.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; and Seneca Nation, N.Y.