Urban Environmental Program
About the Urban Environmental Program
The environmental conditions in urban areas throughout New England and across the country expose residents to significant public health hazards every day from toxics, heavy metals, poor ambient and indoor air quality, and a lack of open and green space. These conditions create cumulative, disproportionate and inequitable health risks to urban residents, especially high risk populations such as children and the elderly.
The Urban Environmental Program (UEP) was formalized in 2002 after the success of the Urban Environmental Initiative pilot program that worked since 1995 to improve the quality of life for urban residents in Boston, MA; Providence, RI; and Hartford, CT. The UEP has expanded the targeted city effort to now address environmental and public health concerns in urban areas throughout Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island.
The Urban Environmental Program is dedicated to specifically addressing the magnitude and complexity of urban environmental problems in a way that engages, informs, and responds to local resident needs. The UEP takes an active role in listening to community needs and concerns, identifying projects, and providing resources to implement projects that make measurable improvements in public health and the quality of the urban environment. The UEP Program Managers work with external partners to identify the most critical issues to target resources, and the priority will reflect community need and will likely vary between states. The following are issues of concern for many urban communities:
- Environmental Health: Asthma/Indoor Air Quality, Children's Health, Environmental Justice, Sensitive Receptors.
- Urban Toxics (Air, Water & Soil): Chromium VI, Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs)/Bacteria, Dioxin, Lead, Mercury, Ozone, Particulate Matter, PCBs, Petroleum, Source Pollution.
- Urban Development/Redevelopment: Brownfields, Open Space/Green Space, School Siting, Smart Growth, Transportation, Urban Agriculture, Vacant Lots
These environmental and public health issues and topics are cross-checked with internal and external partners to ensure that UEP's work reflects the concerns, priorities, and needs of our target communities. The EPA New England programs that have a linkage with UEP work (i.e., Environmental Justice, Lead, Pesticides, Indoor Air Quality/Asthma, Brownfields, Smart Growth, Children's Health, etc.) are engaged as needed to develop coordinated work objectives and implementation strategies, provide program expertise, technical assistance and other critical resources to support target community based projects and efforts.