St. Paul, Minnesota

Score of 7.805 and population of 287,151.

With a quarter of its area given over to green space, St. Paul almost seamlessly integrates urban life with the natural environment. And this will improve as the city charter not only ensures the protection of parkland but requires expanding public access to the Mississippi River which winds through the city. Working to reduce global warming, St. Paul has passed its 1997 goals in CO2 emissions-reduction goals and now plans to reach a 20 percent reduction of 1988 C02 levels by 2020.

To achieve this, Rick Person, program administrator for St. Paul’s Department of Public Works, says the city will need to complete its central corridor light-rail system and adopt a 20 percent renewable energy portfolio. To assist residents in installing renewable energy, the state provides property tax exemptions for the value of the system, and St. Paul’s Neighborhood Energy Consortium (NEC) provides assistance and expertise in obtaining Energy Efficient Mortgages. Helping reduce congestion and smog, NEC’s Hourcar program provides hybrid and energy-efficient cars at neighborhood level for shared use.

Lastly, St. Paul’s requirement that 20 percent of all new housing units be affordable by those with incomes less than half of the area median ensures that these environmental benefits will remain available to all.