West meets East: Which cities are the Greenest and the Smartest ?

Posted on July 6, 2011


Fujisawa (Japan) : A Blueprint for a Green Future (source: Panasonic)

As the saying normally goes, “East meets West” throughout history. Yet for the leading Green Cities in the U.S., the West will need to meet the East.

San Francisco has been recently ranked at the top of the Siemens-sponsored Green Cities Survey for sustainability practices and policies (conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit). To get the cream of the crop,  it’s also useful to compare how the 22 U.S. cities in the study fared for being among the Smartest Cities.  According to the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a Smarter City is ranked among those who invest in green power, energy efficiency measures and conservation.

Only six cities qualified for being a Green City and a Smarter City so these are the best of the best for the USA: San Francisco, New York City, Seattle, Boston, Chicago and Dallas. What can we learn from the six stellar cities who were acknowledged as being both Green Cities and Smarter Cities? They all have implemented:

  •  One or more policies on Distributed Power Generation,
  •  A systematic way of tracking Greenhouse Gas Inventory,
  • Incentives for Energy Conservation and
  • Three or more Energy Service options.

Yet all these Western cities will ultimately need to learn from an upcoming benchmark in the East: Fujisawa, a Sustainable Smart Town in Japan with a blueprint for a green future. Fujisawa will be a leaf-shaped city that can be a global model for Green Cities around the world.

Each house will have:

  • Solar power generators and home fuel cells,
  • Energy storage devices and heat-pump hot water systems,
  • Energy-saving air conditioners and sensor-controlled lighting.

Every living and business location will be interconnected via a smart grid. Every living abode and every personal device will also be networked with medical and healthcare facilities to help their aging population live a comfortable life.

With corporate sponsors including Panasonic as the premier EcoLeader, utility firms, consultants, banks, construction companies, architects and real estate developers, this consortium is working on creating a pilot that can serve as a building block for the world. Fujisawa is now under construction and will officially be opening its doors by 2013. If it meets its goal to cut average carbon dioxide emissions by 70%, it will be a green masterpiece and the gold standard for future Green Cities around the world.

Is there a city in the West that will even compare to Fujisawa? Your comments are welcome.


© 2011 by Ed Valdez. All rights reserved.

Posted in: Eco Leader