Cities around the country are building more parks and using alternative energy to power their downtowns.
Some American cities simply try harder to do the right thing regarding the environment.
Travel+Leisure magazine likes to congratulate those cities that go the extra mile to do the right thing, and has issued its 2015 Greenest Cities in America list to tell its readers where the environment gets the most appreciation.
Including its own information with information culled from readers, T+L looked at 38 cities in the United States and selected its top 20 Greenest cities. The criteria for this list were the percentage of area set aside as parks, the quality and quantity of mass transit, its restaurants that get ingredients from local sources and the availability of recycled clothing in the form of vintage store shops and frequent or regular flea markets.
There were many changes from the previous year’s list, including a couple of newcomers to the list, and the list starts with:
No. 1: Portland, Ore. – It’s seemingly endless collection of parks combines with its top-ranked mass transit to make Portland the Greenest City in the United States.
No. 2: Minneapolis-St. Paul – A city known for its appreciation of walking rather than driving, the city has also implemented the Nice Ride program, in which visitors can rent a bicycle for 24 hours for just $6. Also, the Mall of America has no central heating system, using solar energy to warm it during the “occasional” cold day.
No. 3: Charleston, S.C. – One of the most entertaining walking towns in the country, Charleston offers multiple tours to enjoy on foot.
No. 4: Kansas City – Next year, Kansas City will get a new public transportation system downtown. For now, K.C. is noteworthy for its more than 200 fountains using and reusing water from natural springs.
No. 5: Providence, R.I. – Historic the way Boston is, but smaller, all of the city is reachable by walking or public transit.
No. 6: Seattle – More than 10 percent of the city’s land is parkland. Many of the city’s best restaurants use locally grown or gathered goods, including the seafood.
No. 7: Nashville – The Gulch, a neighborhood near the city’s famed Music Row, is LEED-certified for mass transit and LED traffic lights.
No. 8: Chicago – The new Maggie Daley Plaza has increased the interest in Chicago’s landmark downtown Grant Park.
No. 9: Cleveland – The city on the Erie continues to clean up its act and is converting a lot of vacated land into parks.
No. 10: Washington, D.C. - The nation’s capital got points for 230,000 acres of park, and its extensive and well-maintained public transit system.
Noteworthy in the second 10 is No. 17 Albuquerque, which has a hotel that has its own organic farm which visitors can select vegetables from; and list newcomer Louisville, which has built a new downtown park from a former vacant lot.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.