Sustainable living has become an integral part of American city life over the past decade. Across the U.S., urban communities have made great strides in promoting green living and a handful of these areas have shown extra dedication to the environment, earning a place on America’s greenest cities list.
Austin consistently ranks on greenest cities lists. The birthplace of Whole Foods maintains eco-friendly building codes and is the home of the first LEED platinum hospital. The city’s Lance Armstrong Bikeway Project is a six-mile pathway that enables bicyclists to ride through downtown, creating an easy option to make a carbon-free commute.
As one of the largest hubs in New England, Boston provides commuter options for those in and out of the city. City planners have promised that all taxicabs will be hybrid vehicles by 2015. And Hubway, the city’s bike-sharing program, allows commuters to hop on city-owned bikes to ride from place to place, keeping cars off the road.
Chicago is another pioneer of green living and was one of the first to lead the trend of rooftop gardens. Today there are over millions of square feet of rooftop gardens in the city. Rooftop gardens insulate buildings, conserve energy, and provide sustainable nutrition for residents. Chicago is also the home of the Chicago Center for Green Technology (CCGT), which originates ideas for sustainable building in the city.
On the West Coast, Seattle is well-known for its commitment to the planet and energy consumption. The city has developed waterways that are tapped for hydroelectricity, generating electricity directly from water pressure. The city’s global warming initiative, Seattle Climate Action Now, brings together the community to raise awareness of reducing natural gas consumption in your home.
From taking public transportation, to participating in community gardens, cities can take small steps to earn their place as one of America’s greenest cities.