Get Ready to Respond

$1 billion in funding to reconnect divided communities is coming.

By Zach Mortice

Landscape architects are ingrained systems thinkers and experts on how to balance infrastructure and the ecological imperatives of climate change, all while improving transit networks that bind people together. Significant portions of the more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill that became law late last year will be filtering down to communities, and landscape architects bring experience and expertise to these types of projects, including the removal of highways, streetscape design, greenway planning, and especially those projects that seek to address incidences of transit infrastructure exacerbating existing economic and demographic inequalities.

As part of its Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) will distribute $1 billion over the next five years, including $195 million just this year, for the planning and construction of projects that equitably advance community connectivity. This work, central to what landscape architects have been doing for decades, will happen via the retrofit, removal, or replacement of transit infrastructure to reduce barriers to mobility, access, and economic development.

The 606, ASLA 2020 Professional Urban Design Honor Award, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Photo by Scott Shigley.

On Wednesday, May 19, the DOT will host a webinar, “Getting Ready for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program,” to brief potential grant applicants on how the program will work and the application process. Registration is free and open to the public.

The types of eligible projects could include the analysis of street networks, alternative roadway designs, and transit network capacity, as well as analyses of how such changes will affect local economies and the environment. States, local governments, federally recognized Tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and nonprofits are eligible for this grant program. Technical assistance will be prioritized for economically disadvantaged communities. For more information on the program and the role landscape architects can play, read “Landscape Architects Are Poised to Lead the New Era of Infrastructure,” by Roxanne Blackwell, Hon. ASLA.

Registration for the webinar and more information can be found here.

“Getting Ready for the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Discretionary Grant Program”

May 19, 1:30 p.m. EST

U.S. Department of Transportation

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