San Francisco is one of America’s least wasteful cities, as determined by Nalgene, and one of the top progressive and livable urban cities. It has become a Zero Waste city by sending nothing to landfills or incineration.
The city’s goal is to be 100% renewable energy efficient, cleaner, healthier, and more secure. They also hope to boast titles such as the Electric Vehicle Capital of the nation by increasing public charging infrastructure, and facilitating home and workplace charging.
Here we outline for you San Francisco’s sustainability profile making them a leader in The Urban Lifestyle. From green buildings, to government policies and incentive programs, to the preservation of biodiversity and urban agriculture. San Francisco is showing the rest of North America what it takes to plan for the future and keep its residents happy and healthy.
Lifestyle And Community
San Francisco is a hub for those who want the amenities of a buzzing megacity without the waste that typically results from urban living. With green transit, bike lanes, rideshare programs, and an 85% walkability score, San Francisco has transportation options that meet your needs. Not to mention their impressive public charging infrastructure for electric vehicles.
San Francisco is also known for community events and programs like shared garden plots, urban food festivals, and world-class outdoor music festivals and events.
Urban Planning and Green Design
San Francisco has made huge strides in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in following through with zero-waste initiatives, conserving water and other natural resources, as well as repurposing green building materials. They constantly strive to be the most livable city for the future of its residents.
In the United States alone, buildings account for 70 percent of the electricity consumption while in San Francisco, 56 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions are attributable to buildings.
The city also strives to protect ecological surroundings, local biodiversity, and natural heritage. Community-stewardship programs help the city get its residents on board with preserving the local environment.
Bay Area Green Tours offers private and public tours and events to local green buildings, sustainable agriculture plots, renewable energy sites and loads more educational opportunities. You can check out their events at bayareagreentours.org .
The word leaders in design and operation of sustainable buildings live and work in San Francisco. These leaders are busy preserving our ecological surroundings while finding ways to fill the needs of our future cities. These leaders care about history and culture. For a great example of this take a look at the Organic Architect. For nearly two decades, they’ve been designing deep green, sustainable projects around the country and are based in San Francisco.
Another leader, Rana Creek is a design firm specializing in ecological preservation, environmental planning, and landscape architecture. On the topic of San Francisco hosting the 11th Annual Cities Alive Green Roof and Wall Conference, the CEO of Rana Creek, Paul Kephart said:
“[T]he conference presents an opportunity for the leaders of the green roof and wall industry to ignite the San Francisco Bay Area to becoming a global leader in green roof and wall technology and development.”
In fact, San Francisco is said to have America’s greenest building code, CALGreen, which mandates include water conservation and recycling of construction waste all leading to the reduction on pollutants in homes, schools and commercial facilities. This code has put the health and safety of residents first.
There are green buildings located all around the City of San Francisco. Some are architecturally significant buildings while others serve as community gathering places for the residence and guest of San Francisco.
San Francisco also has many opportunities for urban agriculture as the City encourages and supports local food production. Residents can apply for urban agriculture permits, benefit from local urban orchards, or take advantage of any number of projects including school and community gardens.
A great local resource for urban gardening is Flora Grubb, an expert gardener offering design services as well as her world-renowned nursery.
Here are five creative San Francisco based organizations focused on environmental leadership. This round-up was brought to us by Ekua Impraim of the Matador Network.
Building Resources – Building Resources accepts donations of reusable items and diverts about 1,000 tons of materials from landfills each year, including tumbled glass.
Grind for the Green – A green program involving youth of color through hip hop music and culture. It promotes the environmental movement in low-income families and neighborhoods. Grind for the Green also hosts several local music festivals, concerts, career fairs, and awareness events.
Literacy for Environmental Justice or LEJ – LEJ’s mission is to instill in youth the principles of environmental justice as well as the important of sustainable urban design in the overall health of the community.
Earth Island Institute – This environmental leadership program has contributed to many important projects from ocean protection, to wildlife conservation, to child and youth empowerment programs.
Garden for the Environment – Created 20 years ago on a vacant lot, Garden for the Environment now has a one-acre demonstration garden where they provide educational programs teaching residents about local food production, urban gardening, and sustainability.. Now, it’s an acre of urban garden used as a model for urban farming.[sdonations]2[/sdonations]