The environment is an ever-increasing consideration for travellers. And that got us thinking. Which U.S. cities boast the best eco-credentials?
Here we run down America’s cities that score highest in each category of Treehugger.com’s 10 Things That Make a Great Green City.
(In the eyes of many, San Francisco is the overall greenest city in the U.S. Featured image by David Paul Ohmer)
1) Plentiful parks
As the old adage goes, parks are the “Lungs of the City”.
2) Efficient and comprehensive public transport
Per passenger journey, mass transit systems are proven to be less damaging to the environment than cars.
3) Quality public space
Outside places providing safe hangouts away from roads not only encourage folk to travel on foot, but also reduce the need for energy-hungry large enclosed communal spaces.
4) Bike lanes
More bike riding equals less traffic. The most bike-friendly cities look after their cyclists with dedicated lanes, parking and bike sharing programmes.
With its “120 miles of on and off-street bicycle facilities, plus indoor bike parking and other cycling-friendly facilities”, Minneapolis (Minnesota) comes top of Bicycling Magazine’s list of America’s Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities.
Eco-conscious developments and renovations are a highly visible symbol of a city’s commitment to going green.
The District of Columbia, home to the capital Washington D.C., has the highest environmentally friendly designed building space per resident of all U.S. States.
6) Comprehensive recycling and composting programmes
Recycling is the quintessential individual eco-act. The greenest cities facilitate and support their citizens’ efforts with large-scale programmes.
7) Mixed-Use and Infill Development
Recycling of existing space reduces sprawl and enhances people’s experience of the land that’s already in use. Planning for mixed use space and developing (or “filling”) otherwise unused spaces are key components of that recycling process.
8) Green leadership
Whether it’s a grand scheme directed from a mayor’s office, or a grass roots initiative, making a city greener requires innovative and strong-willed leadership.
9) Renewable energy use and efficiency measures
Drawing from renewable energy sources and aggressively reducing energy use are two ways a city can vastly reduce its own environmental impact.
10) Green lifestyle
Access to products and services such as farmer’s markets, organic restaurant food, eco-conscious music festivals and ecologically-oriented art all put the fun into going green.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…