Do you find living in a city that encourages a healthy relationship with the environment important? Every city has a distinct personality, and some are greener than others. While a few U.S. cities are still working out some issues with their curbside recycling programs, others are setting new trends in eco-friendliness. Explore four of the nation’s best cities for green living.
Image via Flickr by Jonathan Miske
The Pacific Northwest is known for its green spaces, mountains, hiking, and outdoor sports, and Portland is a haven for people who love the outdoors. The city earns top honors in eco-friendliness for its parks and extensive mass transit system. Locals here are dedicated to clean eating, recycling, and locally produced goods.
The city has a penchant for the type of creativity that produces recycling on a major scale, such as the type Trucks Parts celebrates in a greenest cities infographic.
Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
The Twin Cities are leaders in green living. Minneapolis is one of the few cities away from the coasts where you can get around without a car using the Nice Ride bike-sharing program. Green spaces abound in and around the city.
The metro area’s commitment to the environment shows even in places such as the Mall of America, which uses more than a mile of skylights and solar power instead of central heat to keep the indoor shopping center warm and cozy. Even the city’s sports teams are on board with the mission of green living – Target Field collects and uses millions of gallons of rainwater every year.
San Francisco, California
The City by The Bay sits on a peninsula surrounded by water on three sides. Since the city can’t sprawl outward like other urban areas, extreme population density and infamously high real estate prices exist here.
However, the limited geography works in San Francisco’s favor when it comes to walkability. A full 10 percent of commuters walk to work in the city. San Franciscans are also committed to solar power. Historically, they’ve been adopting clean energy at more than double the rate of the rest of the nation, and a new ordinance requires all new buildings to have solar panels.
Perhaps the fresh ocean breezes keep Honolulu’s air quality index among the cleanest in the country. The city also offers plenty of green spaces and outdoor recreation. This island paradise is also the opposite of a food desert – the city hosts more than 17 farmers markets which provide city dwellers and tourists with a plethora of fresh vegetables and tropical fruits. The residents also make good use of the free-flowing Hawaiian sunshine by harnessing it as solar power at a high rate.
Sustainable living is a high priority in many U.S. cities. Besides the ones listed here, Washington, D.C.; Miami; New York; Boston; and Seattle consistently earn high marks for eco-friendliness. These cities are at the forefront of green living and will hopefully lead the way for the rest of the country.