Lansing, Mich., and Madison, Wis., are among a growing roster of U.S. capitals seeking to cultivate greener neighborhoods with assistance from EPA's Greening America's Capitals (GAC), a program intended to sow seeds of sustainability near seats of state government.

Lansing will receive design assistance in converting a 14-acre parking lot to a public park intended to reduce combined sewer overflows, prevent flooding, reduce heat island effect and connect pedestrian walkways and transit to community and state institutions.

Madison plans to add greenery and execute pedestrian and bicycle improvements in its Triangle neighborhood. Plans also call for easing access to transit, open spaces and Monona Bay, in addition to improving water quality in the bay.

Lansing and Madison were selected for assistance following a national competition, as were previous capitals selected for the program, currently in its fourth year.

Other Midwest capitals selected to date include:

Indianapolis, which received assistance to enhance public plazas in Market Square, a short distance from the Indiana Statehouse and an emerging transportation hub.

Des Moines, where green infrastructure elements were developed for a proposed streetscape along a one-mile segment of 6th Avenue, a northern gateway to downtown and the Des Moines River.

Lincoln, Neb., whose South Capitol neighborhood is adding rain gardens to manage and treat stormwater runoff, and infrastructure to improve bicycle and pedestrian safety.

According to EPA, all neighborhoods seeking assistance “had issues with barriers both physical and psychological. The design options created helped overcome these barriers and reconnect the area with the large community.”

Click here to read more about the program and other capital cities that have received assistance.