Today, many are opting for sustainable choices to minimize their impact on the environment, ecosystem, and the planet. A study by reveals that 78% of people consider sustainability important, and 68% have adopted greener buying habits.

However, eco-friendly practices at an individual level are not enough. Governments must commit, too, to achieve impactful change.

Some cities are already deploying sustainable urban planning techniques to create livable spaces for their residents, not just for today but for years into the future.

Why Is Sustainability Important for Urban Planners?

The upsides of green cities are multifaceted and can benefit all stakeholders involved—from governments, businesses, and residents to even wildlife.

Critical advantages of building eco-friendly urban spaces include:

Creating Cities-of-Choice

More green spaces, better air quality, and similar perks of sustainable cities will make them highly attractive to urban settlers.

It could also be a boon for eco-tourism—a largely unexplored area that could provide a significant advantage for a metropolis.

Spurring Economic Growth

A city’s economy could benefit from an eco-friendly approach both directly and indirectly.

For example, sustainability projects, programs, and activities can create new types of green jobs. Eco-tourism will further produce job opportunities while generating revenue for the city and its businesses.

And by becoming a preferred place to live, these urban areas are in a better position to attract highly skilled talent.

Reduced Expenses

Sustainable choices can lead to significant cost savings for a city and its residents.

Renewable energy, for instance, can dramatically cut down electricity costs for individuals and businesses. By preserving and improving the efficiency of resources used, you can expect to achieve similar savings.


Lower healthcare expenses are another important outcome when residents of a city get to enjoy a cleaner environment with less pollution.

Minimizing Climatic Impact

From droughts and heat waves to storms and floods, climate-related catastrophes have created unexpected devastation in many cities in the past decade.

Proactive climate action with a holistic approach can enable cities to better protect their residents and infrastructure from these threats.

5 Eco-Friendly Cities in the US

Several studies have been conducted to identify and recognize city-level action to minimize the carbon footprint and create sustainable urban spaces that protect the ecosystem.

We have used rankings by LawnStarter to bring you the most eco-friendly destinations to live in the USA.

  1. San Francisco

This commercial center in Northern California tops the chart for Sustainable Development.

But why is San Francisco considered one of the greenest cities not just in the United States but also in the world?

To begin with, the city is committed to recycling the waste it produces and claims one of the first large-scale food-waste compost systems in the US.

It promotes green commuting, particularly with bikes and electric cars. Even its public transportation system uses a large number of emission-free vehicles.

The city also encourages businesses to adopt sustainable practices. For instance, many of San Francisco’s restaurants and cafés now use organic produce and operate free from single-use plastics.

  1. Boston

Under Climate Ready Boston, the city has implemented a series of initiatives to prepare itself and its residents for a resilient future.

Some of these include building green infrastructure, urban forest planning, and wetland protection.

The city’s efforts to ensure food security are equally impressive. LawnStarter ranks Boston ahead of all others for sustainable food development.

  1. New York

New York tops the sustainable policy and transportation rankings of LawnStarter with an overall score of 70.684.

Over the years, the city has taken a variety of steps to minimize its eco-footprint. These include,

  • Creating a robust public transportation system to reduce emissions.
  • Designing energy-efficient infrastructure.
  • Implementing city-wide waste recycling and composting programs.


This vibrant city takes a progressive stance in creating an eco-friendly urban environment for its residents and businesses to thrive.

Some of the initiatives it has implemented together with Oaklanders include,

  • Urban farming to maximize limited space through community gardening.
  • Promoting an extensive network of public transportation to reduce congestion and emissions.
  • Discouraging the use of single-use plastics through policy initiatives and awareness campaigns.

San Diego

This Southern California city comes second in the Sustainable Development rankings while scoring 66.56 points to become the fifth-most sustainable city in the US.

Under San Diego’s Climate Action Plan, the city is on its way to decarbonizing its built environment. It is also generating more renewable energy, switching to zero-emission vehicles, building resilient infrastructure, creating recycling facilities to minimize the waste going into landfills, and taking a range of other actions to reduce its climatic impact.

Choosing a Livable Neighborhood

When you are concerned about your carbon footprint, selecting an eco-friendly city that can help create positive change is important.

However, keep in mind that such urban neighborhoods are increasingly drawing attention due to their green initiatives. And as demand surges, property prices are bound to go up if they have not already.

Therefore, do your homework without delay to identify upcoming green cities if you intend to live in one. Learn more about specific sustainability initiatives and opportunities for you to lead a greener lifestyle.

Don’t forget to check the city’s amenities, living costs, and crime rates, too.

Once you shortlist a few areas, speak to a real estate agent or check real estate marketplaces online.

You can also take a stroll down their neighborhoods to identify a few houses you like. After that, find the contact details of the relevant homeowners with a reverse address search on Nuwber. Then, reach out to them to check whether they are interested in selling or renting their properties.

Key Takeaways

With sustainable living becoming a priority, more Americans are looking for urban communities that could help them minimize their eco-footprint.

Certain cities in the US have far outpaced others when it comes to climate action. San Francisco, Boston, New York, Oakland, and San Diego, in particular, lead the way, regularly topping sustainability rankings.


Their urban neighborhoods are designed, built, and governed using a variety of green initiatives and policies to create resilient living spaces for future generations.

Such timely action not only bodes well for the environment—it has the potential to spur economic growth, reduce critical costs, and create thriving environments for residents while helping cities become preferred places to live and visit.