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Business Chief investigates the 10 most sustainable cities in the US, based on WalletHub’s rankings of 26 different ‘green indicators’.

10. Portland, Oregon

The largest city in Oregon, Portland is a modern cultural mecca, which translates into city planning initiatives that support its environmentally conscious populace. Known for its high number of cycle lanes and footpaths, the city boasts extensive public transportation investment and over 92,000 acres of green space. According to the Green City Times, the city generates a significant portion of its electricity from renewable energy (mostly hydroelectric), and is on track to reach 100% renewable sources by 2035.

9. Sacramento, California

As the seat of legislative power in California, Sacramento’s government has a strong hand in the sustainability of the city. The city has been working on its Climate Action Plan since 2012, pushing initiatives that encourage walking and biking, use of public transit, green building practices, use of solar energy systems, architectural design to reduce heat gain, recycled construction materials, and water conservation. Californian lawmakers are particularly concerned with climate impact, as the state has in recent years seen severe drought and devastating wildfires ravage the landscape.

8. Seattle, Washington

One of the nation’s largest technology hubs, Seattle is home to megalithic corporations like Microsoft and Amazon. As such, industry-driven smart planning forms a large part of the city’s sustainability initiatives. Microsoft, for example, recently announced that it will be investing $500mn to solve the city’s housing crisis – counteracting the rising house prices brought on by the tech boom. Nicknamed ‘the Emerald City’, Seattle ranks in the top 10 cities worldwide for tree cover, and the city has also reached a 90% mix of renewable power in the last few years.

7. Fremont, California

Located at the southern end of the San Francisco Bay, Fremont is a relatively small city that is dedicated to the concept of supporting “the ability of the current generation to meet its needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.” The city’s Carbon Neutrality resolution has laid out a roadmap to achieve a 55% greenhouse gas emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2030, and aims to achieve carbon neutrality by 2045. The portion of the bay around Fremont is also set aside as a national wildlife refuge, which provides shelter to populations of migrating birds.

6. Honolulu, Hawaii

As an island city, Honolulu’s government, commercial sector and populace are all dedicated to maintaining a sustainable approach to urban planning. Current initiatives from the city’s 2019 sustainability report include: transitioning the city’s public transportation fleet to 100% renewable energy by 2035, making all island ground transportation 100% renewable by 2045, and achieving 100% carbon neutrality for the island of Oahu by 2045. The city administration has also introduced a 70% waste reduction goal by 2030.

5. San Jose, California

Located just south of Fremont on the San Francisco Bay, San Jose sits near the heart of California’s technology industry. “Cities across the globe are stepping up to confront climate change and other environmental challenges with the kind of pragmatic, innovative leadership too often missing in the national and international dialogue,” said City Mayor Sam Liccardo. “Here in San José, we appreciate the grave cost of inaction and continue to embrace the opportunity to build a more sustainable community.” In 2018, the city launched its Clean Energy program that allows residents to opt into purchasing 100% renewable energy from the city.

4. Irvine, California

Situated to the south of the famously polluted Los Angeles, Irvine is a master-planned city in Orange County with a population of over 277,000 people. Built in the 1960s by the Irvine Company, the town is home to several large corporations and universities, including the prestigious UC Irvine. In 2018, the college was recognized as the nation’s number one sustainable campus by the Sierra Club, with the most energy-efficient campus and over 90% efficiency with regard to water usage.

3. Washington, DC

Ranked highest in the nation by WalletHub for lifestyle, the country’s capital frequently ranks highly in polls for both smart and sustainable city initiatives. Released in April 2019, the next stage of the city’s Sustainable DC plan involves over 200 actions and goals for the improvement of the city’s sustainability, including increasing renewable energy to make up 50% of the District’s energy supply, dedicating 20 additional acres, including public right of way and rooftops, to the cultivation of food, and reducing racial disparities in life expectancy by 50% by 2032. With the DC population expected to grow and change dramatically by 2032, the city is undergoing radical social experience change aimed at benefiting current and future generations.

2. San Francisco, California

A cultural, commercial and financial center, San Francisco has undergone a rapid reimagining over the past decade as the city has experienced a massive boom in technology jobs. Like in Seattle, this has created tensions in other areas, with house prices and homelessness creating new challenges for the sustainable city planners of today to overcome. The city sends less trash to landfills than any other major US city, according to a CNBC report, and has made significant investments in solar power for municipal buildings – including 60,000 sq. ft of solar paneling on the roof of the San Francisco Convention Center.

1. San Diego, California

Home to more than 1.4mn people, San Diego is the second most-populous city in California. The city is a multicultural hub of business, finance and scientific research – largely thanks to the prestigious UC San Diego campus. The city is committed to lowering its climate impact while remaining an economic powerhouse. In the city’s 2018 annual Climate Action report, it was revealed that, since 2010, San Diego’s GDP grew by 35%, while greenhouse gas emissions fell by 21%. A major investor in clean technology, investment in green jobs in 2017 rose by 27% in the transportation sector, 19% in zero waste, and 15% in energy and water-efficient buildings.

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Autor(en)/Author(s): Harry Menear

Quelle/Source: Business Chief, 09.09.2019

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