WorldChanging friends SustainLane today announced the initial results of a study of the fifty largest cities in the United States, ranked on the basis of readiness to respond to an extended oil crisis. SustainLane revealed the top ten cities today, and will provide the full ranking next month. In June, they will present a longer study of overall sustainability rankings of the same set of cities (we covered their list of most sustainable cities last year).
The top ten cities are: New York; Boston; San Francisco; Chicago; Philadelphia; Portland; Honolulu; Seattle; Baltimore; and Oakland. SustainLane relied on a mix of criteria, including some less-than-obvious elements:
City commute-to-work data
Regional public transportation ridership Sprawl
City freeway/surface street congestion Local food (farmers markets and community gardens per capita)
Wireless network availability
Some commonalities are immediately apparent. All of the cities in the top ten are relatively dense port cities, and are among the oldest cities in their respective states. Most have strong, centralized downtown areas. Not noted by SustainLane is the "Blue State" location of all of the top ten cities; this doesn't necessarily mean any cause-and-effect correlation, but is worth noting.
It's interesting to compare this list to the set of rankings assembled in the "Greening of the Creative Class?" post last year. Of the ten cities best prepared for an oil crisis, three are also among the top fifteen cities on the "creative index," "most hybrids" and "most LEED Certified buildings" lists; four more appear on two of the three lists; one -- Philadelphia -- appears only on the top hybrid car cities list. Honolulu and Oakland are absent from the other three lists.
This is the first time anyone has assembled this data, and undoubtedly SustainLane will refine their analysis in the years to come. What would you add to the list of criteria?