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Top 10 Green Cities

Ami Voeltz
Do It Green! Minnesota

We wanted to present the Top 10 Green Cities in the U.S., but that would have become a whole project in itself. We’ll put that in our future projects file. In the meantime, here’s what Cy Yaokam of Urban Quality Communications in Michigan found for us. You might want to consider traveling to these cities to learn and bring back new green, sustainable and healthy ways to improve the Twin Cities.

Top 10: America’s Most Environmentally Friendly Cities

From Environmental News Network. September 2000, www.enn.com

Of all American cities, ENN has found that some stand out for their unique qualities – their gifts of nature as well as the spirit of their inhabitants. Here, we list their top 10 in alphabetical order:

  • Austin, Texas
  • Burlington, Vermont
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Madison, Wisconsin
  • Portland, Maine
  • Portland, Oregon
  • San Francisco, California
  • San Diego, California
  • Seattle, Washington

America’s 10 Most Enlightened Towns

Utne Reader, 1997, www.utne.com

We’re looking for something deeper here than the usual “Best Places” tabulation of hot job markets, low taxes, booming real estate, temperate climate, and the absence of freeway congestion. Cities can rank quite high in these categories and can still be dreary, soulless places. We set out to find towns that are making a special effort to foster connectedness and contentment among all the people who live in them. We chose communities that we think are dealing creatively with the challenges they face, places that can provide inspiration and practical ideas about how to improve life in your own hometown. See the web site for discussion groups and the top 50 cities.

  1. Ithaca, NY – A Gritty Upstate City where the Grassroots are Green
  2. Portland, OR – Sprawlbusters
  3. Durham, NC – Bullish on the Future
  4. Burlington, VT – The People’s Republic of Vermont
  5. Madison, WI – The Heartland’s Progressive Hotbed
  6. Arcata, CA – Green Town in the Redwoods
  7. Portland, ME – Beyond the Waterfront
  8. Iowa City, IA – American Eclectic
  9. Providence, RI – Bright Lights, Bright City
  10. Chattanooga, TN – The Sustainable Blue-collar Town
  11. Bonus: Toronto – A Big City that Works

America’s Healthiest Cities

Natural Health, April 2001

Some cities are healthier – and more desirable – than others. So, for the second year in a row we’ve separated the stars from the duds. We rated the 50 largest urban areas according to a list of 37 criteria in the following categories: Amenities, Physical Health, Environment, Happiness. Here are the top 10:

  1. Honolulu, Hawaii
  2. Minneapolis, Minnesota
  3. San Francisco, California
  4. Colorado Springs, Colorado
  5. San Diego, California
  6. Denver, Colorado
  7. Baltimore, Maryland
  8. Seattle, Washington
  9. Boston, Massachusets
  10. Tucson, Arizona

Green Map System Charting Sustainable Living

www.greenmap.org, 10/01

This local-global collaborative has produced Green Maps charting the natural and cultural environment in hometown communities all over the world. Here are ten, arranged east to west, that focus particularly well on sustainable living in the U.S.

  1. Rhode Island’s Greenways Map – See the state without a car
  2. Stop Fronting – discover Brooklyn’s real waterfront
  3. LoMap, Lower Manhattan’s Youth Green Map, www.greenmap.org/lomap
  4. Pittsburgh Regional Green Map, www.greenpittsburgh.net
  5. Mid Michigan Green Map – A five-county collaboration
  6. Milwaukee Green Map, www.wisconline.com/greenmap/milwaukee/
  7. Sustainable Woodbury MN Green Map, www.sowashco.com/lwv/sustain/
  8. Portland OR’s Sabin Neighborhood Green Map, www.portlandgreenmap.org
  9. Berkeley Green Map – (Out of print, but 100 green businesses!)
  10. Santa Monica/Ballona Wetlands Green Map, www.lagreenmap.org
Read Up

Environmentally Healthy Metro Areas, Robert S. Weinhold

Metropolitics: A Regional Agenda for Community and Stability, Myron Orfield 1997

Small Town periodical: A wealth of ideas on keeping small towns vital, Small Town Institute

Act Locally
Congress for the New Urbanism
706 Sacramento St.
Box 148
San Francisco, CA
Green Cities

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