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EPA Recognizes Two Universities for Building Healthier Communities for the Aging

Release Date: 04/14/2009
Contact Information: Enesta Jones, 202-564-7873 / 4355 /

(Washington, D.C. – April 14, 2009) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced that two universities are being recognized for improving the quality of life of older residents through community planning and strategies that support active aging and smart growth. The University of Maine’s Center on Aging and Portland University will each receive $100,000 as the recipients of the 2009 Building Healthy Communities for Active Aging: Training and Demonstration Projects.

The University of Maine’s Center on Aging plans to develop a statewide summit for older adults who would like to learn more about smart growth and influence smart growth development activities within their own communities. The Senior Environmental Leadership Corps, the first of its kind in Maine, will provide leadership and civic engagement training with a special focus on environmental stewardship and smart growth planning to older adults.

Portland State University plans to demonstrate the benefits of Green Streets for Active Aging. The project builds upon their groundbreaking work in the area of green streets and active living. It demonstrates how green streets or sustainable streets contribute to the well-being of a community, including the physical and mental health of older and younger adults, as well as helping the environment and the economy.

The benefits of building healthy communities for active aging are being realized in communities across the country. By adopting smart growth principles, communities can design places that improve health and quality of life for older adults by increasing opportunities for walking and biking as part of everyday life. At the same time, older adults who choose these healthy options improve the environment be reducing emissions associated with driving.

EPA’s Aging Initiative program spearheads the multi-agency effort, which was developed in partnership with the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Council on Aging’s Center for Healthy Aging, the National Blueprint Office and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, through its Active for Life program.

More information on the award winners: