For the second year in a row, Denver placed fourth on a list of the top sustainable cities in the U.S., according to a list compiled by a Massachusetts-based non-profit organization and released Wednesday.
Portland (Ore.), San Francisco and Seattle all tied for first with 35 points while Denver stood alone at fourth with 33 points. Albuquerque (NM), Charlotte (NC) and Oakland Chicago, Columbus (OH), Minneapolis, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Sacramento were all next and tied with 31 points.
The cities were ranked according to “smart growth activities” (including eco-industrial park development and brownfield redevelopment), land-use programs, planning and zoning, transportation planning and programs, pollution prevention, reduction and remediation and efficiency (including green building programs and renewable energy use by city government), among other criteria.
Mayor Michael Hancock said he was honored by the recognition and cited the city’s “Greenprint Denver” program, which includes water conservation, emission reduction and recycling efforts, as a big part of the ranking.
“The ranking is well-deserved,” said Hancock, “as our Greenprint Office and other city agencies work tirelessly everyday to assist city government, residents and businesses to make our great city greener and more sustainable.”
Greenprint Denver Director Michele Weingarden added that Denver’s sustainability efforts are part of an evolving process.
“From our Better Buildings Challenge to our Mile High Million Tree Initiative, we are always working to implement innovative sustainability programs, practices and policies for the city,” said Weingarden. “For the City and County of Denver, sustainability is more than just a statement, it’s a value.”
Our Green Cities said the rankings are based on the efforts cities are making, rather than the actual results “which could take years to achieve”
In addition to Denver, another Colorado city also received recognition for its sustainable efforts when Boulder Mayor Matthew Applebaum was named one of the top 11 mayors in the nation for promoting their city’s sustainability efforts.
The Our Green Cities program is led by Dr. Kent Portnoy, PhD, of Tufts University who specializes in sustainability and environmental politics.