Monday, May 22, 2006

Green Chicago

Most people who are Chicago residents greatly enjoy the city they in which they live. What makes Chicago today so great? Many have argued the renaissance began with the movement to make it a 'green' city. Mainstream media has begun to hold Chicago up as an example of what modern cities should and could do to be on the forefront of the 'green' movement. Even its Latin motto — Urbs in Horto (City in a Garden) — evokes these images. Has Chicago earned the title of America's Green Thumb?
To give you an idea of what Chicago has done, since 1989, 500,000 trees have been planted in the city. Mayor Daley, since coming to office, has ordered that the heads of all city departments make their operations environmentally friendly. Chicago is now one of the largest users of green energy in the country. I have previously mentioned the movement in the city to convert many rooftops to 'green.' Time magazine says,
The city has been decorated with fancy planters, park space has increased and the lakefront, while still soiled with pollution, is being cleaned and preserved at a level never before seen.
Mayor Daley's continued goal is to make Chicago the most environmentally friendly city in the country. Says Chicago's environmental commissioner, Sadhu Johnston,
This is about quality of life. What we're talking about is creating a city that exists in harmony with the world, a place that can be a model. Cities have long been hurtful to the environment. Raw materials came in and waste went out. We're trying to redefine that relationship, and cities can be models.
All this work to create a 'green' city has made it an ever more attractive city. That in turn has served to revitalize many of its neighborhoods and helped sparked the urban population growth in areas of the city where much of the investment has been made. The New York Times says,
Chicago [has] attracted more than 100,000 new residents, added tens of thousands of downtown jobs, prompted a high-rise housing boom, reduced poverty rates, built thousands of affordable homes, spurred a $9-billion-a-year visitor and convention industry, and transformed itself into one of the most beautiful cities in America.
As a resident, all I can say is, "Keep it up!"


Jamble said...

I was interested to read the Time article, especially as I had published an article on greening Chicago a couple of weeks before at

Mayor Daley has put in place some great initiatives, I just hope other US cities follow his lead.

Westy said...

Hey, thanks for the comment, Jamble.
Good article.