November 24th, 2009 – 11:02 am Posted by Jaclyn Abergas

Tagged as: Environment

Portland, Oregon, and San Francisco, California, top the list of the greenest cities in the US. But how is that ranking determined? Which factors are considered to be placed in the list of green cities?

Air Quality

Top green cities all have less polluted air and more public smoking bans. Anchorage, Alaska, has the best Air Quality Index median at 19 and St. Louis, Missouri, has the worst at 79.

Electricity Use and Production

Green cities are highly encouraged to use solar or wind power, instead of those with unfriendly emissions. Rebates and property tax exemptions are given as rewards for the people’s efforts.

Environmental Perspective

The government’s environmental concerns also were considered. Committing to environment care as a top priority results in achievable and good results. Among the top green cities, environment care was always in the top five of their priorities.

Environmental Policy

The city’s environmental policy is taken into consideration. The presence of this policy is enough for a city to be considered as part of the green city list.

Green Design

Green designs are encouraged in these cities and even have their own city policies to accommodate it.

Green Space

Green spaces include parks, athletic fields, public gardens and waterfronts, among others. The overall city area percentage it occupies also affects a city’s ranking in the Green City List.


When a city recycles more than seven categories, they rank high on the Green City List.

Socioeconomic Factors

When a city manages to keep its national average of families above minimum wage and the poverty line, they score high on the list.


Cities which make an effort to get people to stop using their cars and instead use other means of transportation (including walking, biking, bus/rail/subway) rank high on the list.

Water Quality

Based on the Safe Water Drinking Act, hefty fines are charged on cities with serious health violations.

This is all very technical, but it’s important to know the factors. It makes us aware of what we can do to help keep our cities part of the Green City List or to introduce it there.

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