Portland, Oregon ranks number one on SustainLane’s sustainable U.S. cities list . While life in Portland may not be perfectly green, the city’s water and air quality, environmental policies and urban density take it to the top of the list.
This is the third U.S. city ranking that SustainLane has published; the first one was in 2005. The company bases its rankings on 50 major cities and how each performs in terms of water and air quality, access to public transit, energy use and housing affordability.
A good surprise is Houston, Texas , coming in at number 36, which is significant for a city whose local economy is based mainly on fossil fuel energy. Changes emerging in Houston include plans to increase public transportation, including electricity-powered light rail trains, and reliance on even more wind power. The city still has room for improvement, though: citywide recycling, responsible land use and access to local foods could help Houston go greener.
Rounding out the list was Mesa, Arizona . Pollution levels and lack of fresh produce contributed to Mesa’s bottom ranking.
More about eco-friendly cities
• Natural Home goes to Kansas City! See our picks for green lodging, dining and entertainment.
• Austin, Texas, sets an example for sustainable living.
• Find out where to eat, explore and relax in progressively green Portland, Oregon.
• Tornado-stricken Greensburg, Kansas rebuilds green.