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Renovating American Infrastructure
by: Adam M. Bright

America has seen its faults and where it can save and be more resourceful in our cities for everyday life.

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Green Cities Florida Conference

In the run up to this week’s Green Cities Florida Conference in Orlando, Eric Corey Freed, urban sustainability activist and principal of organic ARCHITECT, was interviewed on WELE-AM’s Wake Up Daytona. As a speaker at the conference, Freed will address Re:Vision Dallas and draw from the most advanced research in Green Building to offer up a roadmap of the next 50 years for our buildings. Here, Freed talks with Doug Kosarek about his work and the significance of greener buildings.
  10 Of The Greenest Cities
10.) Boston
Boston doesn't get a whole lot of green love from the environmental movement, but it should—it's quietly made its way to the top of greenest city lists with good public transit, an eye on energy efficiency, mandated green building standards, and even a bike share on the way. Sure, it'll be one of the colder locales to ring in Earth Day, but don't let that get you down—there's so much environmentally friendly stuff to do in Boston you'll barely notice. Boston.com has this slideshow featuring a bunch of great Earth Day events going on in the city.

9.) Asheville
Home to some of the greenest communities in the country, Asheville is a cool green town nestled in mountainous, western North Carolina. It's not nearly the size of most of the other cities on this list, but it edges its way in out of sheer greenness—in addition to those celebrated eco communities, Asheville was named "most vegetarian friendly" small city by PETA, and is surrounded by beautiful nature on all sides. So if you're there on Earth Day, soak in the good green vibes at the Asheville Earth Day all-day concert or the Earth Day Celebration Concert later on—there will be live music, green eats, and Find out how else to be a part of Asheville's Earth Day celebration from Planet Green—there's plenty to do.

8.) Chicago
The Windy City has leaned pretty green in recent years—with good public transit, a tax on bottled water, an ambitious bike plan, and an even more ambitious plan to curb carbon emissions by 75%, the city is making good green progress. So it's fitting that there are tons of Earth Day events in Chicago worth looking into--from green tea parties to Nature Conservancy events, you can celebrate the environment in great, varied ways. A bunch of parks are hosting events too, so you can lend a green helping hand.

7.) Los Angeles
LA probably isn't among the greenest cities on anyone's list—the urban sprawl, the abundance of cars, the ubiquitous blanket of smog that's as recognizable a trademark of Los Angeles as the Hollywood sign. All pretty ungreen. But, it's also perhaps the city that best understands the weight of its carbon footprint, and is making some of the most laudable strides to go greener. The mayor is trumpeting green jobs and working on a massive solar power project, and resident celebrities have helped usher in a boom of hybrid cars. And for Earth Day, the city has a calendar packed with green events, volunteer opportunities, and goings on. In other words, it's one of the best cities to be in if you want to help make a difference.

6.) Austin
Over the last few years, Austin has emerged as one of the indisputable leading green cities in the US. Having a progressive, green mayor in Will Wynn, the city has seen a veritable revolution in biodiesel, plug-in hybrid infrastructure, and solar and wind power. Great farmers' markets, organic restaurants, and bike-friendly streets cement Austin's reputation as a green metropolis—all of which make it a prime Earth Day destination. Check out Austin Earth Day to get the scoop on how to celebrate around town.

5.) Seattle
Seattle is yet another fast-rising green destination--the mayor has booted out bottled water and taxes plastic bags, has great plans for biking paths, a controversially named trolley for public transit and even a biodiesel gas station. Suffice to say, there's a strong green vibe emanating from Seattle--which should make its Earth Day one of the best in the country. Head out for volunteer projects in parks across the city, or check out the Post Intelligencer's list of Earth Day events, which range from green festivals to habitat restoration projects to kids' fairs.

4.) Portland
Oregon's biggest city is widely recognized as one of the greenest cities in the US--and as such, it's a prime city to celebrate Earth Day in. Perhaps the most bike-friendly city in the country, you can celebrate this Wednesday by biking to work and beyond. Working out on Earth Day? Help generate clean electricity while you do at Portland's greenest gym. Portland City Repair will host Earth Day events, and Oregon Live has a list of some intriguing options as well.

3.) San Francisco
The city's mayor Gavin Newsom got TreeHugger's seal of green approval as the best local politician in 2009's Best of Green aswards. So it's no surprise that his city is one of the best places you can spend Earth Day. Celebrate San Francisco ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, advancing solar power initiatives, ditching the plastic bag, and getting ready to promote electric cars—there are events all over the city, from Earth Strolls to the San Francisco Zoo Party, there's plenty to do in ol' SF. Check the SF Examiner's Earth Day list for even more green activities like tree planting and cruises on hybrid ferries.

2.) Washington DC
Celebrating Earth Day in our nation's capitol this year has a symbolic power behind it—regardless of how you gauge our current president's performance on the economy or foreign policy, it's pretty clear that he's helping change things for the greener. His EPA has just announced that greenhouse gases are a dangerous pollutant—one of the biggest steps ever taken in government environmental policy. There's been a slew of other green changes in Washington, with encouraging climate and energy bills, plans to clean up the capitol power plant, and progress on just about every green front. So if you're in DC, you'll have plenty to celebrate—and plenty to do.

1.) New York City
The biggest city in the US is also a front runner for the greenest—with arguably the best public transit system in the nation, centralized apartment-based living, easy access to farmer's markets and CSAs, and a walking-friendly urban layout, New York is green without really even trying to be. So even though people think grey, not green, when they picture the Big Apple, it's one of the hands-down best places to celebrate Earth Day. With a ton of events and happenings in New York, if you find yourself in the city on Wednesday, the question won't be what to do--it'll be what not to do.
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