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America’s Greenest Neighborhoods

by Jay Walljasper - August 6, 2008

Neighborhoods are often overlooked as a valuable tool for the greening of the America. 
We are much more likely to protect the places we call home than we are to protect faraway forests, coral reefs or polar ice caps. That's human nature. But instead of decrying people's parochialism and apathy, let's tap into that local power.

Add together everything that can be accomplished by people working hard in their own communities around the country and you've got an enormous force for positive change. Moreover, when folks are drawn into environmental causes in their own backyards, they become more likely to get involved in wider green issues such as global warming, rainforest destruction and marine pollution.

So I am happy to report that the editors at Natural Home magazine searched across America for the 10 greenest neighborhoods. Last year they focused on the top 10 existing green urban neighborhoods that enjoy the "eco-conscious good life." The winners (listed alphabetically by city) were:
Asheville, N.C.--West Asheville
Austin, Texas--South Congress
Bozeman, Mont.--Downtown
Brooklyn, N.Y.--Park Slope
Chicago, Ill.--Andersonville
Denver, Colo.--Highland
Indianapolis, Ind.--Fall Creek Place
Minneapolis, Minn.--Marcy-Holmes
Philadelphia, Pa.--Mount Airy
Seattle, Wash.--Ballard

This year they shifted the focus to the top 10 new housing developments, many of which bring the latest in green architecture and pedestrian-friendly urban planning to what were once industrial sites, airports, military bases or public housing projects (listed alphabetically by city):
Austin, Texas--Mueller
Chapel Hill, N.C.--Greenbridge
Denver, Colo.--Stapleton
Grayslake, Ill.--Prairie Crossing
Issaquah, Wash.--Issaquah Highlands
North Charleston, S.C.--Navy Yard at Noisette
Portland, Ore.--Helensview
Salem, Ore.--Pringle Creek Community
Seattle, Wash.--High Point
Staten Island, N.Y.--Markham Gardens

Let this be an inspiration to look around your own neighborhood for ways to save the planet one block at a time.