Combatting Air Pollution with Green Cities

It was recently announced that the city of Shanghai plans to emphasize green manufacturing in order to combat its heavy air pollution. Specifically, the city intends to open, refurbish or renovate upwards of 100 green factories, 20 green industrial parks and 10 entirely green supply chains by 2020. The deadline of less than two years is an ambitious one, but the city is taking it a step further by holding citywide educational activities to encourage its citizens and businesses to consume less fossil fuels.

Shanghai’s new commitments might have readers wondering which cities in the U.S. are doing their part to promote green living and green business. In no particular order, here are five, many of which are heavily detailed in a Siemens report on green cities.

Atlanta, GA – The city has worked hard to develop training initiatives for its city employees regarding energy consumption and smart usage practices. They’ve also put together city ordinance measure so every new city-funded building is silver LEED-certified as soon as it’s finished.

Phoenix, AZ – Phoenix partnered with Arizona State University and Arizona Public Service to use their Energize Phoenix grant to redesign the infrastructure and neighborhoods surrounding a key stretch of their light rail system. The result is better education and public awareness about energy consumption, an energy-efficient means of transportation, and new green jobs for trades and traditional businesses.

Los Angeles, CA – The City of Angels owns its local power and water utilities, and the city plans to eliminate its use of coal (currently 40% of power generation) by 2020 while allocating 40% of power to renewables. The city has invested in hydro, wind and geothermal systems to find ways to replace dependence on fossil fuels and create thousands of new green jobs as a result.

Seattle, WA – The Emerald City emphasizes smart, sustainable energy consumption in commercial and residential buildings through its Community Power Works program. The program retrofits old buildings around the city to save energy costs and reduce carbon emissions, which has inevitably led to the need for more green jobs associated with all of the retrofitting projects and ongoing education.

Denver, CO – From renovating existing highway corridors to reduce rush hour congestion to nearly doubling the existing tracks of their light rail system, Denver has put a huge emphasis on greener transportation. The city’s investments have continued today with even more light rail and accessible pathways for pedestrians around all of their stations.

Shanghai’s dedication to revamping their manufacturing industry through environmental means will undoubtedly have a direct hand in other green initiatives springing up around the city, many of which can act as a barometer for other cities looking to invest in green jobs and technology. Is your city focusing on green initiatives, whether business or recreation? Let us know in the comments below.

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