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Top 10 Ways to Make Cities Greener

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The editors at Best Sociology Programs decided to research the topic of

Top 10 Ways to Make Our Cities Greener

City loyalty can be like a micro-form of patriotism. Many of us love the cities in which we were born, raised, or currently reside. But there's always room for improvement--and some cities need it much more than others. Taking these actions can improve any city.

10. Convert to Electric Cars

- Reduce footprint
- Battery performance rivals gasoline
- Electric cars may use 40-60% less petroleum than gas vehicles
- Less demanding production

9. Living Architecture

- Construct from biomaterials
- Reduces harvesting of trees
- Revolutionize the cityscape
- Currently, buildings in the US occupy:
- 65% of electricity consumption
- 30% of greenhouse gas emissions
- 30% of raw materials use
- 136 million tons of waste annually

8. Wireless Sensor Networks

- Area monitoring creates Smart Cities
- Detect temperature, pollution, radiation, water leaks, full garbage bins, traffic jams, etc.
- Improve research and information processing
- In Geneva, a cooling system monitored by WSN saved 2,100 MWh per year
- That's enough to power about 80 homes for a year

7. Convert from Heating Oil to Natural Gas

- Gas burns cleaner than oil
- NYC plans to eliminate its use by 2030
- Estimated to cut 85% of soot emissions
- The cost benefit is apparent:
- Winter Heating Prices in the Northeast

6. Urban Farming

- Dirt-beds can be put almost anywhere
- Foodprint makes up 21% of our carbon footprint
- The average meal travels 4,200 miles from farm to table--what if it traveled 10, 5, 1... or 0?

5. Green Roofs

- Build more dirt-beds for greenery
- They look good and reduce both pollution and temperature
- NYC's green roofs can:
- Hold up to 90% of rainfall for later use
- Reduce runoff 50-60%
- Reduce ambient temperatures 9 degrees Fahrenheit
- Save 15-45% on energy consumption

4. Grassroots Initiatives

- Start a farmer's market or local community-supported agriculture (CSA) pickup point
- There are nearly 7,200 farmer's markets in the US
- Community swap meets to trade unwanted items and make social connections
- Turn libraries into share centers, where more than just books are shared

3. Reduce Waste

- About 50 cities in the US have banned plastic bags
- We use over 1 million plastic bags per minute worldwide
- Encourage recycling
- 75% of solid waste is recyclable... but 70% is still thrown away
- Buy long-lasting quality products

2. Open Space and Natural Features

- Improve aesthetics and recreation
- Open space can also support other improvements like green materials
- Seattle has 75 miles of trails
- Jacksonville, FL has 103,000 acres of green space, including plenty of parks and activity centers

1. Improve Public Transportation

- 2011: 10.4 billion public transportation trips
- 2.3 increase from 201
- Ridership in towns under 100,000 people rose more: 5.4%
- Buses using alternative fuels in 2000: 1 in 10
- Buses using alternative fuels in 2009: 1 in 3