Coordinates: 45 32 N 122 37 W
Population: 538,180 (2007 est.)
Given that it’s Earth Day (and quite a pleasant one at that for those of us on the East Coast), I figured I would choose today’s place accordingly. Portland, a metropolis on the Columbia River in the Pacific Northwest, doesn’t even make it into the top twenty largest urban agglomerations in the United States when combined with greater Beaverton and Vancouver in neighboring Washington State. Yet, recent studies have regularly ranked it as the country’s greenest city; Grist magazine actually went so far as to dub it the second greenest place on the planet. With 35 examples of architecture certified by the U.S. Green Buildings Council, a successful recycling program, an already significant and steadily growing number of bicycling commuters, and the majority of its power sourced from renewable energy, the City of Roses would seem to be deserving of this premier position.
Ben Keene is the editor of Oxford Atlas of the World. Check out some of his previous places of the week.