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APHA officially commences grant program that will create cooler, healthier cities

Date: Oct 24 2023

Contact: Media Relations

APHA’s Center for Climate, Health and Equity is thrilled to announce the awarding of $75,000 grants to six state Affiliates to support at-risk communities and the transition towards Smart Surfaces. As a proud founding partner of the Smart Surfaces Coalition, an alliance of more than 40 organizations dedicated to reshaping urban landscapes for a cooler and more sustainable future, APHA is working closely with its Affiliates. The goal is to combat climate change, bolster public health, unite forward-thinking local governments and drive urban resilience through the implementation of innovative Smart Surface solutions throughout major metropolitan areas across the nation. The Louisiana Public Health Association, South Carolina Public Health Association, Florida Public Health Association, Georgia Public Health Association, Oregon Public Health Association and North Carolina Public Health Association will utilize these grants over the course of two-and-a-half years to build capacity, mobilize members and community partners, and advance health equity. 

Smart Surfaces encompass a suite of cutting-edge technologies, including reflective (cool) roofs and pavements, green roofs, trees, solar photovoltaics (PV) and rain gardens. Designed to mitigate urban heat, enhance air quality and improve public health, the addition of these transformative urban features can make cities more resilient and vibrant. Smart Surfaces can cool cities by 5°F, deliver large reductions in flooding and provide economic benefits to cities. They also have the potential to address structural, racial inequalities and advance environmental justice.

"Anyone can see how the infrastructure choices in American cities are affecting its citizens negatively. Low-income neighborhoods can be more than 10 degrees warmer in the summer than other neighborhoods that have benefited from more investments in green space,” Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of APHA, remarked. "Smart Surfaces are the integrated solution our cities need to secure a safe and healthy future for all. These solutions combat climate change and improve health while advancing equity. It's a win-win for all."

Working together, APHA, the National League of Cities, Metropolitan AME Church and other members of the Smart Surfaces Coalition, will ensure that Smart Surfaces are implemented in major metropolitan cities across the nation. Building on our longstanding commitment to climate change, over the next two and a half years, APHA will work closely with our Affiliates and assist Atlanta, Georgia; Charlotte, North Carolina; Columbia, South Carolina; Jacksonville, Florida; New Orleans, Louisiana and Portland, Oregon in creating a brighter, cooler, and healthier future for all. 

For more information about APHA’s involvement in the Smart Surfaces Coalition, please contact

The American Public Health Association champions the health of all people and all communities. We are the only organization that combines a 150-year perspective, a broad-based member community and the ability to influence federal policy to improve the public’s health. Learn more at