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In Living

Another good ranking for Milwaukee.

Milwaukee gets high marks for sustainability, water

According to a story today from, Milwaukee is the 12th most sustainable city in the country. It is first in a ranking of "water supply" and second in one of "natural disaster risk."

The health and sustainable living Web site says, "America's 50 biggest cities are thinking green and the 2008 SustainLane U.S. City Rankings-topped by Portland, Ore.-reveal which cities are increasingly self-sufficient, prepared for the unexpected and taking steps toward preserving and enhancing their quality of life." said this about Milwaukee, "Since Milwaukee inaugurated its first office of sustainability in 2006, green momentum in the Midwestern city has picked up steam. Located on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee has invested in New Urbanist redevelopment, consciously folding sustainability into it's planning and design (one green public housing development nabbed a Sierra Club honor in 2005). It has also taken great care to manage storm water and reduce runoff into the lake and area rivers. And that's not all: In 2006, five percent of its fleet vehicles ran on alternative energy. A year later, more than 40 percent of the city's fleet are powered by alternative fuel. A 2006 energy audit of the City Hall complex led to power-saving measures that reduced energy use there by nine percent and saved the city $35,000 in one year. The city also has public outreach campaigns for recycling, composting, and water conservation. The city's updated bike plan may help get the near-75 percent of car commuters heading out to work...riding their bikes instead!"

The site also offered six "hot trends" for the coming year.

1) Green Building: LEED and other green rating programs in places like Boston, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Chicago, NYC and San Francisco are expanding to every type of built environment, some controversial: parking lots, airports, zoos, museums and others.

2) Forestation of Cities: Planting trees to increase urban canopies on streets or as part of green roofs decreases urban heat, cleans up air and water, sequesters CO2 emissions, raises property values and improves quality of life. You'll find this in Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, New York, Tulsa and Atlanta.

3) Re-use of Rail Infrastructure: Atlanta, Detroit, Chicago, San Francisco and San Diego are taking old rail lines and installing light rails and / or green belts (recreational paths, parks).

4) Preparing for Climate Change: Planning for sea level rise, "climate refugees," less snowpack and water supply issues and more is occurring in Austin, Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Boston and Portland.

5) Waste is Good: Boston moving composting indoors to take advantage of gas is the perfect example of city use of anaerobic digesters, landfill methane gas.

6) Car-Free Streets on Weekends: Hit the road in San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and NYC, and enjoy car-free space to walk, run, bicycle and take part in community activities.

The 2008 SustainLane U.S. city rankings is a peer-reviewed benchmark study measuring cumulative performance based on 16 economic and quality-of-life categories in the 50 largest U.S. cities by population (2004 U.S. census).

The index integrates nearly 2,000 data points from public and non-governmental organizations including U.S. EPA, U.S. Census, Environmental Working Group, Smart Growth America, Trust for Public Land, Risk Management Solutions, The Texas Transportation Institute, Texas A&M and the Public Policy Institute of California.

The study also includes primary research conducted with more than 100 city officials and experts.


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