The sustainability of a city is defined by a number of factors which vary from one authority and/or regulatory body to the next. Texas Electricity Ratings will help you navigate those fluctuating sustainability guidelines and indicators.
For example, WalletHub, a personal finance website, defines the environment, transportation, energy sources, and lifestyle and policy, as the four major categories which cover the full spectrum of a sustainable city.
Perhaps the most universally acknowledged guidelines on the matter is considered to be Agenda 2030, a document that’s the joint effort of various world leaders, created in September 2015. It defines 17 Sustainable Development Goals that basically fall in the same categories as the ones, outlined by WalletHub, but represent more detailed and specific measures of and baselines for sustainability which cities should use as “accurate starting lines.”
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network then released a report that assesses the sustainability of US cities according to the goals, set by Agenda 2030.
Here are some of the most sustainable cities in the US, based on a well-rounded combination of all those sustainability goals and factors.
San Jose, CA
For starters, San Jose has had a “Green Vision” for over a decade, and more importantly, it actually sticks to it – its Environmental Sustainability Plan is a true testament to that.
Another sustainability agenda which instantly stands out as highly relevant and timely is the city’s plans for fixing the major drought problem in California. San Jose is exploring ways to recycle wastewater through filtration systems and technologies, generating potable water and refilling groundwater.
The city is also recognized for caring about the health of its residents and setting businesses up for success and environmental consciousness.
Something else worth noting is San Jose’s efforts to contain the sprawl which threatens to overtake its green hillsides.
San Francisco, CA
In case you are starting to think we have a preference for California, the only preference we have is for facts, and if this list focused on states rather than cities, the Golden State would be the undisputed winner.
One of the most admirable things about San Francisco is that it’s somewhat of a pioneer of sustainability and has been working toward this goal before it was cool, so to speak.
It was actually first on WalletHub’s 2017 list, and second in its 2018 list, and it’s easy to see why. With recycling being required by law and a sweeping commitment to solar energy which is highlighted by the San Francisco Convention Center’s giant solar panelled roof, the city is widely considered one of the greenest in the US.
San Francisco is also known for its green traffic and building practices, plus it’s working toward fixing its poverty issues.
In the spirit of Hawaiians’ signature appreciation for and oneness with nature, as well as its famous, heavenly abundance of beaches and scenic natural landscapes, Honolulu is considered one of the most sustainable US cities specifically because of locals’ attitude toward the environment.
According to reports, around two-thirds of commercial buildings are energy efficient.
Something else that goes to show the locals’ engagement is volunteers’ efforts to reduce storm water runoff through permaculture gardens.
DC has grand plans, or more specifically a grand plan – the Sustainable DC plan, according to which it should be the “healthiest, greenest, and most liveable city in the United States” by 2032. This goes through cutting greenhouse emissions and obesity in half and channelling a lot of efforts on children education on sustainability.
Right now, Washington is famous for its major role in sparking the bikeshare movement and the large number of citizens who commute to work with bicycles, which is close to 20,000.
Boston’s citizens are known for being healthy, and this might be attributed to the city’s famous walkability, as it is widely considered one of the best US cities for pedestrians. This is particularly plausible when you consider the fact that Boston has the oldest subway system in the US.
Another attribute this city is renowned for is the access to public spaces.
Portland has some of the most diverse sustainability initiatives which are simplistic, as far as those go, but effective and practical.
For example, “fix-it-fairs” educate people on making their homes sustainable in very achievable ways. Energy and potable water consumption are meant to have dropped by 10% by next year, the former being credited to attributes like the suitable mass-transit options.
Oregon is also renowned for its food programs, which aren’t some hipster gimmick, but thoughtful, actionable plans. There are many dining establishments that source ingredients locally, while vegetarian food trunks are making waves.
These are just a small, but diverse and representative sample of the most sustainable cities in the UC, diverse referring to both states and the actual approaches. However, there are a lot more cities doing the right steps toward sustainability which are worth following.