Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chicago - the Windy (Farm) City

Time Magazine covers Chicago's green building initiatives:

Sadhu Johnston, Mayor Richard M. Daley' s environmental commissioner...is working to turn Chicago into what he claims will be the most environmentally friendly city in the U.S. — as well as the nation's center for environmental design and the manufacturing of components for the production of alternative energy.

In much the same way that cities like Austin and San Francisco latched onto the boom in the Internet or biotech industry to propel their economies, Chicago is working hard to rev up its manufacturing and capitalize on the growth in green construction and wind and solar energies.

Interesting (and yet seemingly contradictory) statements here - a city is using "green" technology and concepts to encourage growth and industry. If it works, its another example of eco-friendliness becoming a revenue generator. The comparison between environmental sustainability and the Internet and biotech industries requires further thougth at a later date...are they similar? The "product" seems pretty different...

Among the examples cited in the article:

- the city has planted or negotiated the construction of over 2 million square feet of rooftop gardens, more than all other U.S. cities combined.

- Chicago is now among the largest users of green energy in the country, with a goal of using renewable energy for roughly a quarter of city operations. To help reach that goal, it has already attracted two solar panel manufacturers to set up shop in the area.

- Since Daley [deleting scandal mention due to word count]...took office in 1989, some 500,000 trees have been planted, 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.

Nicely done Chicago.

No comments: