SAN FRANCISCO – Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognized Sacramento’s La Valentina building complex as the Built Projects winner of the 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement.
The National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognizes communities that use innovative policies and practices to develop in ways that protect the environment, provide housing and transportation choices, and strengthen their economies. Seven projects will be honored at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. on February 5.
“The winning projects show us that we can develop, grow local economies, and protect public health and the environment all at the same time,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “These projects also act as models for others, so they too can chart their own path toward healthier, more sustainable communities.”
Lying vacant for over 20 years, the area surrounding the Alkali Flat/La Valentina light-rail station in downtown Sacramento was known for crime, blight, and contamination. In 2007, a public-private partnership between the city of Sacramento and Domus Development brought together community groups to address neighborhood concerns and create a new vision for the area. From that vision came an affordable, mixed-use building complex—La Valentina and La Valentina North—that has cutting-edge energy-efficient features, bike parking, and is located next to a light-rail stop.
The La Valentina project achieves the goals of the Sacramento Region Blueprint, a 2004 EPA Smart Growth Award winner, to accommodate population growth while mitigating factors that contribute to climate change. California’s 2008 Sustainable Communities and Climate Protection Act, or SB 375, is the nation’s first legislation to link transportation and land use planning with climate change. SB 375 requires regions in California to develop Sustainable Communities Strategies like the Sacramento Region Blueprint and encourages projects like La Valentina throughout the state.
The 2013 National Award for Smart Growth Achievement recognized five winners and two honorable mentions in the following categories:
Overall Excellence – Winner
Atlanta Beltline Eastside Trail/Historic Fourth Ward Park, Atlanta BeltLine, Inc., Atlanta, Ga.
Corridor or Neighborhood Revitalization – Winner
Historic Millwork District and Washington Neighborhood, Dubuque, Iowa
Plazas, Parks, and Public Places – Winner
Charles City Riverfront Park, Charles City, Iowa
Policies, Programs, and Plans – Winner
GO TO 2040, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Metropolitan Chicago, Ill.
Built Projects – Winner
La Valentina, Sacramento, Calif.
Policies, Programs, and Plans – Honorable Mention
Lower Eastside Action Plan, Detroit City Planning Commission, Detroit, Mich.
Built Projects – Honorable Mention
Via Verde, New York City Department of Housing Preservation, The Bronx, N.Y.
La Valentina was selected from among 77 applicants in 31 states. The winning entries were chosen based on their effectiveness in creating sustainable communities; fostering equitable development among public, private, and nonprofit stakeholders; and serving as national models for environmentally and economically sustainable development.
EPA created the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement in 2002 to highlight exceptional approaches to development that protect the environment, encourage economic vitality, and enhance quality of life. In the past 12 years, 61 winners from 26 states have shown a variety of approaches that states, regions, cities, suburbs, and rural communities can use to create economically strong, environmentally responsible development. EPA’s Office of Sustainable Communities manages the awards program.
More information on the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement: (EPA Recognizes Sacramento’s La Valentina Building Complex for Smart Growth Achievement)