image credit: Omar Omar
I found a very cool site while trawling around this week: OurGreenCities.com.
They are devoted, as their mission statement says:
To help local city leaders understand how their governments can make significant progress toward becoming more sustainable
OK, next question: how does one qualify a sustainable city?
In short, a sustainable city seeks to protect, improve, and take responsibility for its bio-physical environment.
OurGreenCities.com features a couple of very interesting lists. Note that each has a little more to understand before being taken at face-value:
The top 12 most sustainable cities* - rank followed by city:
1. Seattle, WA
2. Denver, CO
3. Albuquerque, NM
3. Los Angeles, CA
3. Minneapolis, MN
7. Oakland, CA
7. Boulder, CO
7. San Jose, CA
7. Chicago, IL
10. Portland, OR
10. Santa Monica, CA
10. Scottsdale, AZ
10. San Diego, CA
* due to the number of ties, you’ll see that the list actually includes 13
The Conversely, here are the 12 least sustainable cities** :
1. Boston, MA
2. Brookline, MA
3. Cleveland, OH
4. Atlanta, GA
5. Pittsburgh, PA
6. St. Louis, MO
7. Orlando, FL
8. Santa Barbara, CA
9. Indianapolis, IN
10. Milwaukee, WI
11. New Haven, CT
12. Lansing/East Lansing, MI
** from the site: “These are not the cities doing the least among all cities in the US – there are many cities doing less than these bottom 12. These are the cities that say they want to become more sustainable but aren’t doing much about it.”
All of the listings are based on an index, which includes scoring on the following questions/points:
- Does the city have Smart Growth Activities (Eco-industrial park development, etc.)?
- Land Use Planning Programs, Policies, and Zoning
- Transportation Planning Programs and Policies
- Pollution Prevention, Reduction, and Remediation
- Energy and Resource Conservation/Efficiency
For the full list of criteria, click here for the PDF.
I’m heavily encouraged to see so many California cities on the top 12 list. Especially the Northern California ones, as they’re so close.
All in all, the site is worth a visit for its wealth of resources alone. There is a lot more to cover, so check it out OR wait a day or two until I can do an additional post on ourgreencities.com.