A Few Smart Ideas to Clean Up and Re-energize Cities

Huffington Post February 7, 2012

Susanna Murley, Web Editor, Planet Forward

More people live in cities now than in any other time in human history — nearly half the world’s population. They are the economic engines of our society, but they are also the source of 80% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

We all have a choice in where we live, and a lot of us are moving to places where we can enjoy parks, clean air and healthy waterways. Smart cities are attracting residents — and talent — by making investments in infrastructure that save money, clean up and integrate sustainability into city functions (think sports arenas).

We have found a few ideas about innovative cities on Planet Forward that have potential to change the game in our urban environments. Will these ideas work? Let us know in the comments below. Learn more about smart cities on Planet Forward’s new interactive map!

Pecan Street Project — Austin, Texas

One area where much innovation is needed in urban environments is energy. The Pecan Street project in Austin, Texas is becoming a living laboratory of sustainability and energy efficiency. Launched by a $10.4 million smart grid demonstration grant from the Department of Energy, the Pecan Street project integrates green building practices and renewable energy with a community-based smart grid that will provide researchers with real data on how a green community of the future might look like.