Green Economy

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How We Rated Cities

Categories of analysis were based on SustainLane primary research except where noted.

  • Green, or LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment) buildings per capita
  • Farmers' markets per capita
  • Presence of a city or public-private incubator for clean technology industries, including renewable energy, advanced transportation, advanced water treatment, alternative fuels, green building, and energy efficiency
  • Presence within the city of a green business directory, either public or private

2008 Rankings

2008 Rankings

Green Economy does not include environmental services such as hazardous waste cleanup services. Many elements of the green economy have value-added benefits for a city's local economy while reducing stress on local resources and the local ecosystem. Green building, for example, saves businesses and residents money in operating costs while reducing environmental impacts during manufacture, use, and disposal.

Atop the Green Economy category is Portland, with its high rate of farmers' markets and green buildings per capita, and numerous local green business directories. The city recently stopped providing financial incentives to kickstart local biodiesel programs and infrastructure. Portland no doubt had reached its goals, and perhaps felt uneasy about rising food prices. The Pacific Northwest city's mobile PDX Lounge, an "open-source marketing and economic development platform for both emerging and established sustainable industry leaders in Oregon", is worth a visit if you are in the greening business. And these days, who isn't?

Seattle and Denver are second and third respectively, with slighter fewer farmers' markets and green buildings per capita. Make sure to pick up a copy of Seattle-based magazine Sustainable Industries, to keep abreast of current trends. Cleveland (number four) picked up the pace with a higher number of farmers' markets per capita. San Francisco earns fifth place again with respectable marks across the board and both a clean tech czar, and a clean tech business attraction strategy in place.

Economic development directors and residents alike are encouraged to read SustainLane Government's 2007 report, Top 5 Cities for Clean Tech.

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Latest Comments
Yeves P.
Yeves P. says

I happen to deeply agree with the wisdom of Tom Friedman (that we cannot consume of way out of this mess and “Have you ever been to a revolution where nobody gets hurt?”). The fact... more »

It’s pretty dire over here. There’s high crime, and there’s really not a lot of change of scenery. Holly Jennings, Nashville


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