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Roxbury Group Measures Up on Smart Growth

Release Date: 11/20/2008
Contact Information: David Deegan, (617) 918-1017

(Boston, Mass. – Nov. 20, 2008) – A Roxbury housing group was among four organizations from across the nation recognized this week by EPA for an innovative approach to development that is good for the economy as well as for the public’s health and the environment.

Urban Edge Housing Corp. of Roxbury won the National Award for Smart Growth Achievement for its Egleston Crossing project, which helped renew a neglected corridor in Boston’s Roxbury and Jamaica Plain neighborhoods. The Egleston Crossing project developed two new buildings that used green building techniques and provided much-needed affordable housing. The award was presented this week at the National Building Museum by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson.

These projects were built on two underused parcels, one that hosted a garage with a history of toxic waste problems and the other the home of an abandoned theatre. The redevelopment of these buildings will create 64 units for low-income residents, almost a quarter of which are reserved for disabled and formerly homeless people.

Sitting above 8,300 square feet of street-level commercial space, the apartments have easy access to local services, including a coffee shop, a dental clinic and a nationally acclaimed youth writing problem. The site is a ten-minute walk from a subway and served by four bus routes. Less surface parking is needed, which reduces the amount of pavement and thus stormwater runoff.

Green building features in Egleston Crossing reduce energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and the costs for residents. Low-flow toilets and shower heads and drought-resistant landscaping reduce water use. Power for common areas is provided by solar panels. And a 30 percent energy savings is expected from the ENERGY STAR appliances, lights, advanced insulation, high-performance windows and improved heating systems. Local and recycled materials were used in building the apartments and 90 percent of the construction and demolition waste was recycled.

“We are proud to honor a local organization that has done so much to help the neighborhood economically at the same time it added to a greener, healthier, more sustainable community for this and future generations,” said Robert Varney, regional administrator of EPA’s New England office.

As communities around the country look for ways to grow that protect their natural environments, many are turning to smart growth strategies. They are cleaning and reusing previously developed land, providing more housing and transportation choices, preserving critical natural areas and using a variety of green building techniques. In addition to developing vibrant places to live, work, shop and play, these smart growth strategies also protect the quality of our air, water and land.

This year's competition was open to public and private entities. Winners were selected based on how effectively they used smart growth strategies to improve their communities and how well they engaged citizens and fostered partnerships. A panel of external national experts screened applicants and recommended winners that were approved by an EPA internal review panel.

In addition to presenting the annual awards, the Smart Growth program conducts research and policy analysis on growth issues, provides direct technical assistance to state and local governments, delivers outreach and public education, coordinates EPA’s green building efforts, and collaborates with partners in the Smart Growth Network, a coalition of more than 30 state and national organizations focused on development issues.

More information:

EPA's Smart Growth program: (

- National EPA
awards for Smart Growth Achievement: (

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