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Smart(ish) Cities: On unexpected urban progress

In This Series

  • Smart-growth advocates offer tips for changing your neck of the woods

    This week we’ve profiled several cities that are changing the way their residents live, work, and get around — all with an eye toward fighting climate change and building a more sustainable future. So what can you do if your community hasn’t seen the light? We asked our sources for advice, and here’s what they […]

  • Smart(ish) Cities series ends, sustainability efforts march on

    By now, you may have forgotten that Portland was ever crowned the Miss Universe of Sustainability, and have started packing up your bicycles and solar panels for the big move to Syracuse or Tampa. OK, maybe you’re not thinking of uprooting yourself and your family. More likely, you’re evaluating your own city to figure out […]

  • How three Rust Belt cities are changing

    For more on Rust Belt cities, see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Cleveland. It may not be intuitive to link an area historically associated with steel mills, coal mining, and automobile assembly lines to sustainable development. But green growth is catching on in the Rust Belt, long an economically unendowed area of […]

  • Can Cleveland bring itself back from the brink?

    Still known for smokestacks and football, Cleveland is turning its ship around.Photo: Craig Hatfield“Most people know Cleveland by the Browns or The Flats,” says Marc Lefkowitz. From the roof of his office building, which is dotted with native wildflowers and grasses, he gestures to the downtown skyline — marked by the iconic Mittal Steel smokestacks […]

  • Sprawling Atlanta seeks new routes to the future

    The City in the Forest hopes to get back to its roots.Despite its reputation as a city of wall-to-wall subdivisions, office complexes, and shopping centers, Atlanta’s not a complete stranger to matters of green. At the time of its mid-19th century founding, in the woods at the end of a railroad line, it was called […]

  • How three Southeast cities are changing

    For more on Southeast cities, see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Atlanta. With rapid population growth and increased climate vulnerability, the Southeastern U.S. would seem a prime place for sustainability initiatives. But the area has been slow to cotton on to the greening trend. We chalk it up to the South’s shade-shifting […]

  • How three Southwestern cities are changing

    For more on Southwest cities see our full feature on sustainability initiatives underway in Phoenix. Scan any list of “green U.S. cities” for winners from the Southwest, and you’ll find a geographical void. Sure, a liberal-leaning place like Austin or Santa Fe or Boulder might sneak onto the list, but in general, there’s a dearth […]

  • What Phoenix, the poster child for environmental ills, is doing right

    Can Phoenix remake its desert-gobbling ways?In order for Phoenix to truly be a green city, it would have to be brown. Or not brown, exactly, but the sandy shade of the mountains that surround it: the jagged peaks and parched hills that enclose the Valley of the Sun. These days, though, Phoenix is a less-natural […]

  • Fast facts about cities, climate change, and sustainability

    Less than 1: Percent of the earth’s surface covered by cities (1) 75: Percent of global energy consumed by cities (2) 80: Percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions contributed by cities (1) 6.7 billion: World population in 2007 (3) 50: Percent of world population expected to live in urban areas by the end of 2008 (3) […]