Near-Port Community and Port Capacity Building Pilots

Location: Nationwide| Client: EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality | Project Date: November 2017 – August 2019

Project Images

Links and Resources

Near-Ports Community Initiative Toolkit

Development of the Capacity Building Toolkit

Project Description


Building on the completion of EPA Office of Transportation and Air Quality’s Capacity Building Toolkit for ports and near-port communities, Skeo facilitated four technical assistance pilot projects in 2017-2018 to build capacity between Ports and Near-port Communities for equitable policies and decision-making. The four pilot communities include New Orleans, Savannah, Seattle and Providence. The projects were intended to educate ports and near-port communities about each other’s concerns and common interests while piloting the Capacity Building Toolkit and identifying additional tools and best practices to share nationally.


Skeo began the process by conducting a needs assessment to identify community goals and capacity building needs at each pilot location. This process informed a collaboratively-developed work plan to guide the pilot technical assistance based on community priorities. The technical assistance centered on a series of cross-sector workshops facilitated by Skeo to identify revitalization strategies for near-port communities.  EPA is now working with Skeo to compile case studies, tools and lessons learned from the pilots to share with other near-ports communities. As a result, these communities have built stronger relationships with the ports decision-makers and have a set of shared priorities to pursue to improve the quality of life for their communities.


Pilot outcomes include: (1) introducing community leaders to Port decision-makers, which developed new relationships and opened up direct lines of communication about issues that impact community residents; (2) completed improvements at two properties affecting the near-port communities; (3) increased shared understanding about past air quality levels, current air quality trends and opportunities for continued improvement; (4) development of an Air Quality Improvement Action Plan; and (5) Stronger relationships, increased trust and expanded partnerships between community leaders, the city staff and elected officials, and the varied port-related, industry and agency implementation partners.

Lastly, Skeo is compiling and documenting lessons learned through a series of tools, including (1) Consensus-based Decision Guidance, (2) Locally-relevant Resource Guidance, (3) Equitable Development Training resources and (4) Guidance on Developing a Community Benefits Agreement.