By OWEN MORRIS
SustainLane.com, the self-proclaimed "Web's largest people-powered guide to sustainable living," has released its 2008 study ranking cities according to (what else?) sustainable living. It looked at the 50 most populated cities and measured each city's performance in 16 areas of urban sustainability.
So how did Kansas City do? Not as bad as I expected. Coming in at number 20 puts us in the top half. Here's the group's chart for Kansas City:
The closer the black triangle is to the center of the circle, the better the city ranks. KC ranks in the top 10 in four categories, including number one in water quality. For some reason, I'm really proud of that and feel lucky that the city does have great water.
Whenever my aunt from Washington, D.C., visits, she always comments on how delicious the water is. (D.C. ranks 40th in water quality.) I wouldn't go that far, but it is great not to have boil alerts. The city also did well in housing affordability and metro congestion.
Kansas City didn't rank last in any categories, but when it comes to city transportation, it's certainly not winning any awards. Kansas City did most poorly in planning and land use, which is a nice way of saying sprawl. Frankly, I'm surprised we weren't last. (That title goes to Oklahoma City.) Unfortunately, with no natural barriers and no end in sight to just how far suburbanites will go south, I don't see us improving in this category.
This was the third-annual survey done by SustainLane.com, and for the second year in a row, Portland, Oregon, ranked first. Mesa, Arizona, was dead last.