|New York City, NY
New York City might not come to mind as the epitome of a green city, but with 1.6 million of its more than 8 million people crammed onto the island of Manhattan, NYC has been forced to develop sustainably. With so many New Yorkers taking the subway to work, the city has one of the lowest levels of emission per capita. New York is also one of the most walkable cities in the country. Anticipating the city’s continued growth, Mayor Michael Bloomberg released PlaNYC in 2007 and launched 97 percent of its initiatives — many of which dealt with improving sustainability and mitigating the effects of climate change — within one year. The updated PlaNYC, released in 2011, set new goals: Reduce greenhouse gas emissions by more than 30 percent, achieve the cleanest air quality of any big U.S. city, divert 75 percent of solid waste from landfills, improve green building codes, prepare coastal areas for climate change, and ensure all New Yorkers live within a ten-minute walk of a park. When Hurricane Sandy hit New York in October, it underscored the importance of planning for a warming climate in a city where 4 of its 5 boroughs are islands.