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SustainLane Announces Annual U.S. City Rankings

Submitted by: SustainLaneMedia.com

Categories: Community Development, Corporate Social Responsibility

Posted: Sep 22, 2008 – 03:00 AM EST


How America's Largest 50 Cities Measure Up, from Portland to Mesa

Sep. 22 /CSRwire/ - SAN FRANCISCO, CA. - September 22, 2008 - Forget red and blue; America's 50 biggest cities are thinking green, according to the definitive ranking of city sustainability released today by sustainlane.com, the largest online community dedicated to healthy, sustainable living. The 2008 SustainLane U.S. City Rankings—topped by Portland, Ore.—reveal which cities are increasingly self-sufficient, prepared for the unexpected and taking steps toward preserving and enhancing their quality of life. Visit sustainlane.com for the detailed report, city best practices and sustainability tools.

Based on 16 economic, environmental and green/clean tech categories, the SustainLane U.S. City Rankings factor in each city’s ability to maintain healthy air, drinking water, parks and public transit systems, as well as a robust, sustainable local economy with green building, farmers markets, renewable energy and alternative fuels. Introduced in 2005, the City Rankings have been a catalyst for change. In fact, both the median and average scores have increased significantly across all cities surveyed since 2005.

"The SustainLane U.S. City Rankings speak, first and foremost, to the local leadership found across America and how mayors, city councils and their offices of sustainability are preparing their cities for resource deficits due to high gas and energy prices, drought, rising food prices and other issues," says SustainLane Media CEO James Elsen. "It has been proven that good, strong local leadership can directly improve residents’ quality of life. During an election year especially, it's important that Americans applaud the steps taken in their municipalities while asking for even bolder forward steps to improve their communities."

Is Your City Keeping Up? The 2008 City Ranking "Mega-Trends"

  1. More Bicycling: There are 12.3% more cyclists across the US year-over-year (2004-2005 per U.S. City Rankings data). The cities racing ahead: Portland, NYC, Oakland, D.C., Minneapolis, Columbus.

  2. Revitalizing downtowns: Cities across the country like Columbus, Oakland and Philadelphia are livening up downtowns and creating areas with high density, mixed use space, infill redevelopment and transit. This marks a "Back to the Future" historic shift from suburbs back to cities.

  3. Trains making a comeback: New light rail and other public transit infrastructure investments lead to more dense, energy efficient and livable cities. Phoenix, Charlotte, N.C., Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, NYC, Detroit (announced 7/08), Houston, Albuquerque, Denver, Dallas and Austin are paving the way.

  4. Mainstreaming of green movement: More city governments are getting up to speed on high level sustainability officer appointments, climate change plans, adaptation studies, biodiesel, green building and more. Houston, Atlanta and Columbus are among those on the move.

  5. Alternative/Renewable Energy: Wind and solar energy production and energy conservation are priorities in Boston, San Francisco, Portland, Houston, Austin and Sacramento, and are being looked at as possibilities across nearly every city interviewed

  6. More Neighborhood/Community Groups: Citizens are joining together to solve problems caused by rising fuel prices (300% price increase over the last five years) and climate change. The result: community gardens, creating livable spaces, anaerobic digesters, etc. are found in Seattle, Minneapolis, Denver, San Francisco, Chicago and Detroit.
"We're beginning to see the top- and bottom-ranked cities move farther apart, with the cities taking sustainability seriously increasing in desirability nationwide and enjoying better odds of long-term economic prosperity," said Elsen. "Specifically, the top 15 cities are creating more vibrant city centers and offer higher quality air, water, food and transportation choices that yield smaller carbon footprints per resident than those at the bottom of the list. We predict that the lower-ranking cities will increasingly struggle to sustain their resident and business populations and local economies."

The 2008 SustainLane U.S. City Rankings (2006 Rankings in Parentheses):

    1) Portland (1)
    2) San Francisco (2)
    3) Seattle (3)
    4) Chicago (4)
    5) New York (6)
    6) Boston (7)
    7) Minneapolis (10)
    8) Philadelphia (8)
    9) Oakland (5)
    10) Baltimore (11)
    11) Denver (9)
    12) Milwaukee (16)
    13) Austin (14)
    14) Sacramento (13)
    15) Washington (12)
    16) Cleveland (28)
    17) Honolulu (15)
    18) Albuquerque (19)
    19) Atlanta (38)
    20) Kansas City (18)
    21) San Jose (23)
    22) Tucson (20)
    23) Jacksonville (36)
    24) Dallas (24)
    25) Omaha (37)
    26) San Diego (17)
    27) New Orleans (32)
    28) Los Angeles (25)
    29) Louisville (35)
    30) Columbus (50)
    31) Detroit (43)
    32) Phoenix (22)
    33) San Antonio (21)
    34) Miami (29)
    35) Charlotte (34)
    36) Houston (39)
    37) Fresno (37)
    38) El Paso (31)
    39) Fort Worth (46)
    40) Nashville (42)
    41) Arlington (41)
    42) Long Beach (30)
    43) Colorado Springs (26)
    44) Indianapolis (45)
    45) Virginia Beach (48)
    46) Memphis (43)
    47) Las Vegas (27)
    48) Tulsa (40)
    49) Oklahoma City (49)
    50) Mesa (47)
What's New/Hot in Sustainability
  1. Green Building: LEED and other green rating programs in places like Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC and San Francisco are expanding to every type of built environment, some controversial: parking lots, airports, zoos, museums and others.

  2. Forestation of Cities: Planting trees to increase urban canopies on streets or as part of green roofs decreases urban heat, cleans up air and water, sequesters CO2 emissions, raises property values and improves quality of life. You’ll find this in Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, NYC, Tulsa and Atlanta.

  3. Re-use of Rail Infrastructure: Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego are taking old rail lines and installing light rails and/or green belts (recreational paths, parks).

  4. Preparing for Climate Change: Planning for sea level rise, "climate refugees," less snowpack and water supply issues and more is occurring in Austin, Chicago, NYC, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Portland.

  5. Waste is Good: Boston moving composting indoors to take advantage of gas is the perfect example of city use of anaerobic digesters, landfill methane gas.

  6. Car-Free Streets on Weekends: Hit the road in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and NYC, and enjoy car-free space to walk, run, bicycle and take part in community activities.
The 2008 SustainLane U.S. City Rankings is a peer-reviewed benchmark study measuring cumulative performance based on 16 economic and quality-of-life categories in the 50 largest U.S. cities by population (2004 U.S. Census). The index integrates almost 2,000 data points from public and non-governmental organizations including U.S. EPA, U.S. Census, Environmental Working Group, Smart Growth America, Trust for Public Land, Risk Management Solutions, The Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M and the Public Policy Institute of California. The study also includes primary research conducted with more than 100 city officials and experts.

Categories of data and information analysis used for ranking purposes include:

    Air Quality
    City Innovation
    Commute to Work
    Green (LEED) Building
    Green Economy
    Housing Affordability
    Local Food and Agriculture
    Metro Congestion
    Metro Transportation
    Natural Disaster Risk
    Planning/Land Use
    Tap Water Quality
    Water Supply
SustainLane Media's 2008 City Ranking will be featured at the world's first green cities and communities conference in Geneva, on October 1, 2008. The SustainLane US City Rankings methodology is now being adopted internationally; Japan is working with SustainLane to rank their own cities' sustainable practices in a special report to be released in July 2009 at Japans Green Festival in Tokyo.

About sustainlane.com
The largest user-generated Web guide to healthy, sustainable living, sustainlane.com invites visitors to share their success stories, special insights and tested tips to drive debate and inform fellow consumers on the best ways to lead environmentally conscious lives. Published by SustainLane Media, sustainlane.com has a dedicated and growing following of like-minded users who turn to the Web site for community, advice, news, product reviews and the nation's largest local green living directory, with 17K small, local business listings.

sustainlane.com was founded in 2004 and is home to the SustainLane U.S. City Rankings, the most comprehensive and credible benchmarking of the state of sustainability in America.

About SustainLane Media
SustainLane Media is the largest and fastest growing media network for companies, individuals and families interested in healthy, more sustainable living. Reaching 15 million+ unique monthly visitors, SustainLane Media's Green Ad Network is a comprehensive vertical network of top-tier green-focused Web properties, including hub sustainlane.com. The Network encompasses ten green channels, including food & nutrition, health & beauty and home & environment, and connects premium advertisers such as GM, Bank of America and Procter & Gamble with an elusive group of values-driven consumers. SustainLane Media is on track to double its reach by the end of 2008 and more than triple it in 2009, helping generate profit for rapidly-expanding green Web sites and blogs, providing valuable, original content to consumers and connecting leading advertisers to this affluent, active demographic.

For more information, please contact:

Julie Monti Rosen Group
Phone: 212.255.8455 x214


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