Yes, along with most bikable, most healthy and all the other "most" rankings, we can now include most sustainable. The analysis of large cities in the United States and Canada was conducted by by the Economist Intelligence Unit,  for the global corporate giant Siemens.

Minneapolis, not the Twin Cities, was ranked number 10.  The overall ratings are based on scores derived from ratings for carbon dioxide, energy, land use, buildings, transport, water, waste, air, and environmental governance.





The view from Lake Calhoun. Star Tribune photo.

But today, on the environmental web site Grist,  Kaid Benfield Director of Sustainable Communities & Smart Growth at the Natural Resources Defense Council, provides some deep thinking on how the analysis was conducted.


"Such ratings and rankings are fun, because they start conversations about what is important. And they can be useful, especially if the authors spend some time describing the particular characteristics that cause a place to be evaluated favorably or unfavorably."



Minneapolis was ranked number two in the land use category. Here's the top five in that list: 

  New York City

Benfield says that  Minneapolis earned its high ranking because it has a high proportion of protected space within the city limits. Those would be our parks. He wonders, for instance, about whether the area covered by the actual lakes were included. And our home town ranked high in two other subjective measures.But its population density is below the median, and, he says, "I would have given more weight to density."  He adds:

"Couldn't one say that CO2, energy, and buildings all look at the same thing, more or less? Where are health and fitness? Don't parks deserve their own category (instead of being lumped into land use)? Looking at a report where Charlotte ranks in the top 10 for land use while Pittsburgh is 19th, for example, makes one question the criteria."



He says he will take a deeper look at the rest of the report in future blog posts. You can read the full rankings report at



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