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May « 2012 « leadingleed.com
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Archive for May, 2012

Urban Sustainability Projects You Should Know About

A guest post by Ashley Halligan, an analyst at Software Advice, a Web-based resource.

Cities across the global are gaining international recognition for their sustainability efforts. Some have been long-recognized for their environmental innovations (Curitiba, Brazil for example), while others are just beginning to make some pretty recognizable ecological strides–some of which are quite surprising, or at least, lesser known initiatives. Today, we’ll provide four examples of worldwide cities doing magnanimous things.

Naples, Italy: Long-known for its trash crisis and street crime, its citizens have taken the initiative to be the change they wish to see. By organizing groups who are tackling trash-lined streets, city parks and squares, and even the area surrounding Mount Vesuvius, Naples’ citizens are slowly but surely taking the trash crisis into their own hands. Some creative initiatives include flash-mob clean-ups and guerrilla gardening groups.

Songdo, South Korea: Representing an entirely different approach to sustainability, Songdo is a brand new city built from scratch atop South Korean swampland–just 40 miles outside of Seoul. Being the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Neighborhood in South Korea, all of its buildings either meet or exceed LEED requirements. The state-of-the-art city also boasts 40-percent green space with a 100-acre Central Park rivaling the likes of NYC’s.

Medellin, Colombia: Also known as a drug mecca and incredibly dangerous city (the most dangerous in the world for some time), it’s now been awarded the 2012 Sustainable Transport Award next to (the expected) San Francisco, awarded by the Institute of Transportation and Development Policy. Now developing into a world leader with its innovative transit options–like a multi-series escalator connecting Medellin’s historically poorest neighborhood to its city center–the city has demonstrated that environmental sustainability can also lead to social change, having demonstrated a 90-percent drop in crime rate since its current mayor took over.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: An American city not widely known for its environmental consciousness may surprise some by its most recent goal established by Mayor Mike Nutter in his 2008 inaugural speech–to become the country’s “greenest city.”  The U.S. Department of Energy declared Philadelphia a “Solar America City,” observing “both a compelling need and an important opportunity to accelerate solar application” in the city–in 2008. Nutter has since put the city on a six-year plan with 14 initiatives for ecological improvements.


courtesy of Ashley M. Halligan

Read the original story with more information on each city here.