Oakland (score 7.3675, pop. 399,484) has taken a progressive stance on renewable energy, adopting a plan to achieve 50 percent renewable energy by 2017. Now it’s turning its attention to food, with the Oakland Food Council setting a goal for 30 percent of the city’s food production to occur within a 100 mile radius. Bringing those goods into the city are six farmer’s markets, while seven community gardens help production right at home.
With multi-family housing making up most of Oakland’s new building, the city’s Green Building Ordinance passed in 2005 will encourage them to achieve LEED Silver rating with rebates and permit fast-tracking. To create a denser downtown and reduce pollution from traffic, Oakland is encouraging 10,000 new residents to move into the downtown area where they’ll have access to the city’s subway, bus and bicycle path systems. The proof is in the pudding, with 20 percent of Oakland residents commuting by bicycle or public transport.