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

By Zach Mortice

Landscape architects are rooted systems thinkers and experts on how to balance infrastructure and the ecological imperatives of climate change, while improving the public transportation networks that unite people. Significant portions of the more than $1 trillion infrastructure bill that became law late last year will be passed on to communities, and landscape architects bring their experience and expertise to these types of projects, including including freeway removal, streetscape design, greenway planning, and especially projects that seek to address the impacts of public transit infrastructure exacerbating existing economic and demographic inequalities.

As part of his Reconnecting Communities Discretionary Grant Pilot Program, the US Department of Transportation (DOT) will distribute $1 billion over the next five years, including $195 million this year alone, for planning and building projects that equitably advance community connectivity. This work, at the heart of what landscape architects have been doing for decades, will be done through the modernization, retirement or replacement of public 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, DOT will host a webinar, “Preparing for the Reconnecting Communities Discretionary Grant Pilot Program,” to inform potential grant applicants about how the program works and the application process. Registration is free and open to the public.

Eligible project types could include analysis of road networks, alternative road designs and transit network capacity, as well as analyzes of how these changes will affect local economies and the environment. States, local governments, federally recognized tribal governments, metropolitan planning organizations, and nonprofit organizations are eligible for this grant program. Technical assistance will be a priority for economically disadvantaged communities. For more information about the program and the role landscape architects can play, read “Landscape Architects Are Ready to Lead the New Age of Infrastructure,” by Roxanne Blackwell, Hon. ASLA.

Webinar registration and more information can be found here.

“Preparing for the Reconnecting Communities Discretionary Grant Pilot Program”

May 19, 1:30 p.m. EST

US Department of Transportation

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