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How Green Is Memphis?

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According to Warren Karlenzig, author of How Green Is Your City? (New Society Publishers, $22.95), the lower the better when it comes to ranking environmentally friendly U.S. cities.

The friendliest U.S. city? Portland, Oregon, which finished #1 in a study conducted by SustainLane, an organization that measures the greening of America. In the case of cities, it looks at urban planning and land-use policies, air and tap-water quality, public transit and housing affordability, and a host of other indicators.

Memphis came in at #43, which ties it with Detroit but ahead of Columbus, Ohio, which finished dead-last out of 50 cities.

But here's a closer look: Memphis' water and housing? Great! Air quality? Pretty good. Commute time, public transit, land use, and risk for natural disaster? So-so. But in the category of local foods and "green" building? Ugh. And as for "city innovation," "energy/climate change policy," "green economy," and "knowledge base," Memphis is immeasurable. How Green Is Your City? says the info for our city in those categories is N/A. Unavailable or nonexistent?

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