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What is a sustainable downtown?

What is a sustainable downtown?

Cities are tremendously consumptive places, but they can be places of exciting innovation, competition, collaboration, and opportunity. They can be both the source of and the solution to their own sustainability challenges. This is especially important because of demographic trends that show a resurgence of city centers and a preference for walkable urbanism.

With that in mind, 1000 Friends of Wisconsin’s Green Downtown program seeks to understand what makes a dense urban area work and not work when it comes to sustainability. We hope to show how density of people and good ideas can build off each other to create healthier, more sustainable, and more prosperous communities.

We will be posting updates from the inaugural Green Downtown research effort on sustainability in Downtown Madison, leading up to the release of the Green Downtown Report at the end of May. We hope to generate thoughtful discussion about what makes a city sustainable!

At first glance, this map seems to implicate denser areas in greenhouse gas production.

At first glance, this map seems to implicate denser areas in greenhouse gas production.

However, this second map shows that dense urban areas have a clear advantage when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions per person, taking into account population density.

However, this second map shows that dense urban areas have a clear advantage when it comes to greenhouse gas emissions per person, taking into account population density.