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[ Green Cities Lead the Way ]

Green Cities Lead the Way

Some of the best green ideas are coming not from leaders at
the national or international level, but from the people right in our own
communities who know the region best. Working with government, nonprofit and
private sector supporters, people around the country are transforming their
towns for the better. EarthShare’s many national and local members
are involved in a great number of these projects.

We gathered some inspiring stories of work being done at the
local level on building a more sustainable society. What is your community
doing? Let us know in the comments section!


Denver, CO


SeaDour / Flickr


Denver is the first municipality to be recognized as a Solar
Friendly Community under an innovative new program designed to help bring down
the costs of solar energy.  “Denver
provides a great model on how a large city can make it easy for solar
installers to do business,” said Rebecca Cantwell, senior program director for
Solar Friendly Communities. “The streamlined permitting, inspection and
educational practices translate into lower costs for consumers and a more
welcoming climate for solar energy.” – American
Solar Energy Society


Baltimore, MD


A.Currell / Flickr


In Baltimore, the frequency of crime decreased as the number
of trees increased. Overall, a ten percent increase in tree canopy was
associated with a 12 percent drop in crime… Baltimore officials and the study’s
authors have speculated that the shading effect of a robust tree canopy both
encourages neighbors to spend more time outside and offers the impression of a
community where people take care of their surrounding and each other. – Arbor
Day Foundation


Philadelphia, PA


Philly Painting


Volunteers with Philly Painting are bringing beauty to
neglected parts of the city with a fresh coat of paint. “I love the spirit of
innovation in Philadelphia right now, from the city’s leadership
in green stormwater infrastructure
to the reclamation
of vacant lots for neighborhood green space
, from the new “front
porch” at the train station
to the city’s overall
sustainability plan
.  Philly Painting can be seen as an extension of
these efforts, and a highly creative one.” – Kaid
Benfield, NRDC 


New Orleans, LA


Editor B / Flickr


The Lafitte Corridor is a largely
derelict strip of land along the old Norfolk Southern corridor connecting the
French Quarter to the Bayou. Residents in the surrounding neighborhoods have
been working to preserve this open space by creating a multi-use linear
greenway…  Rails-to-Trails Conservancy
and the Friends of the Lafitte Corridor (FOLC) developed a Greenway Ambassadors
program to train local residents on the history and greenway planning process
of the corridor, so that they could share their knowledge with friends, family,
and neighbors at community meetings and events. – Rails-to-Trails


Chicago, IL




Chicago's sprawling south side, once
thrumming with steel mills and factories, is now covered by large swaths of
weedy land strewn with the rubble of faded industries. But last year, a 40-acre
patch not far from what was once home to the famous Pullman rail car factory
sprouted a crop of 32,000 solar panels. The photovoltaic arrays move
automatically to follow the sun, a glistening aberration in an otherwise drab
and decrepit landscape. – On Earth, NRDC


New York, NY


City Farmer


Across New York City, gardens and miniature farms — whether
on rooftops or at ground level — are joining smart boards and digital darkrooms
as must-have teaching tools. They are being used in subjects as varied as
science, art, mathematics and social studies. In the past two years, the number
of school-based gardens registered with the city jumped to 232, from 40,
according to GreenThumb, a division of the parks department that provides
schools with technical support.  – City
Farmer News


Toledo, OH

ES Rain Garden 2009 001

Toledo Metropolitan Area Council of Governments


In Northwest Ohio, American Rivers has been working with the
Toledo government to incorporate low impact development practices like rain
gardens and bioretention into the existing zoning code. They’ve also helped remove
barriers to using permeable pavement in parking lots. – American


Davis, CA


UC Davis


The California city, located 11 miles west of Sacramento,
has more bikes than cars, operates two bicycle advisory committees and employs
two full-time bike coordinators, and has bike lanes on 95-percent of its major
streets. It’s innovative approach and long-term commitment to creating and
maintaining bicycle-friendly infrastructure and policy has led many to hail the
city as the number one bike friendly communities in the United States. - Wired

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