How Green is Your City?

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New Society Publishers, 2007 - Architecture - 205 pages
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In our carbon-challenged, post-Katrina world, how do America's largest cities stack up in terms of sustainability? Which cities are more self-sufficient and better-prepared for our uncertain future, and which cities are operating business-as-usual?

How Green is Your City? examines the outcome of a sustainability study of the 50 largest U.S. cities. How Green is Your City? employed 15 categories by which to measure each city's performance and ranked them overall according to category and cumulative results. Among those standards: Public transit use Walkability and bikability Air and tap water quality Planning/land use City innovation Affordability Energy/climate change policy Renewable energy Local food/agriculture Green economy Sustainability management

Leading the pack is Portland, Oregon, with its high quality of life and commitment to green building, local food, alternative fuels and renewable energy, while Columbus, Ohio, with its dependence on the automobile, coal-generated power and poor public transit ridership, ranks at the bottom.

How Green is Your City? offers an in-depth analysis of each city's management policies, strengths and challenges, as well as the emerging job and tax base expansion opportunities with the growth of clean technologies.

How Green is Your City? will appeal to city planners, economic development professionals, legislators, green businesses, as well as anyone interested in their quality of life and making their city a more sustainable place.

About the Author

Warren Karlenzig is President of Common Current (, a sustainability consultancy in San Anselmo, CA. He was Chief Strategy Officer and Research Director for SustainLane. He has worked as a strategic consultant with federal agencies, major cities and the world's largest corporations for 20 years. Formerly, he was Editor-in-Chief of Knowledge Management magazine, and Lead Strategist for Dimension Data/ Proxicom. His areas of expertise include planning complex information and data systems, and communications. In sustainability, Warren has been a leading consultant with clients including the U.S. Department of State, White House Office of Science and Technology, the US EPA Futures Group, the State of California and the US Dept. of Energy, as well as the European Union and the nation of Korea. His previous book, A Blueprint for Greening Affordable Housing was the first substantial work on the subject (Global Green USA, 1999) and he was involved with San Francisco's influential Sustainability Plan, formally adopted by the City's Board of Supervisors in 1997. He coordinated and co-authored the "Economy and Economic Development" section of the plan, which was directly cited in San Francisco's 1999 and 2003 green municipal building ordinances.

Editorial Reviews

How Green is Your City? is the first systematic report card measuring city quality of life combined with resource impacts....I believe the methodology will become international, and none too soon. --Paul Hawken, author of Ecology of Commerce and Blessed Unrest

How Green is Your City? provides the first benchmark quantifying and qualifying management innovation and the performance of American cities as they seek to define what sustainability is" --Hunter Lovins, Founder, Natural Capitalism, Inc.; co-author of Natural Capitalism

How Green is Your City? has the most rigorous methodology going to separate the bright greens from the pale greens, yellows and reds. Green cities are the future, read this book!--Randy Hayes, Founder, Rainforest Action Network and Former Director of Sustainability, City of Oakland, CA

Sustainability is more than an environmental issue. It's about our economic and personal security, as well as the health and well-being of our families and neighbors. How Green is Your City? is a powerful indicator of how prepared cities are to address both the challenges and opportunities ahead. It is destined to play a critical role in leading local governments to help their economies and communities survive and thrive in uncertain times. --Joel Makower, Founder,, and Co-founder and Principal, Clean Edge, Inc.

Warren is the creator and lead author of the SustainLane US City Rankings. I've been in the sustainability business for 15 or 20 years now. And these types of rankings have been tried dozens and dozens of times and this in my opinion is the best one in terms of its rigor and how much care they've given to apples-to-apples comparisons. A lot of that comes from Warren's commitment. --Steve Nicholas, Seattle Sustainability Director

How Green is Your City? is the first national ranking of 50 US cities evaluating how well cities are doing in implementing sustainable practices based on a comprehensive set of indicators, ranging from air quality to use of renewable energy. This is a must read for city officials and citizens who are interested in how cities are responding to the integrated global challenges of environmental and economic sustainability. --Prof. Susan M. Wachter, Co-director, Institute for Urban Research, and Director, Wharton GeoSpatial Initiative, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

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Introduction xv
How We Did It The Methodology
The Rankings

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About the author (2007) was designed as an online community-driven site devoted to green businesses, government, products,and services. Writers Warren Karlenzig, Frank Marquandt, Paula White, Rachel Yaseen, and Richard Young of contributed to this project.

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