New Economy, sustainability

Can Detroit Be Sustainable?


By Daniel Cherrin

Detroit is resilient and has proven to the world that when it is down it always bounces back. Things are good in the city, but a recent report by the United Nations proves we have to do better. This is a warning not just for the city of Detroit, but for the entire region.

The Sustainable Development Solutions Network, a group affiliated with The United Nations, issued a report, Achieving a Sustainable Urban America, ranked the 100 most populous US metropolitan areas according to metrics laid out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – Finding Detroit in the bottom five.

San Jose followed by Provo (Utah) Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego rounded out the top four spots. San Jose ranked highest in part due to its work in waste management, water reuse and clean energy.

The least sustainable cities are Baton Rouge, Cleveland, Detroit, Augusta (GA) and New Orleans.

The Detroit-area ranks at the bottom primarily due to high unemployment and high emissions rates, due to excess car use. The study includes the areas around Detroit, not just the city.

The good news is that while Detroit may rank at the bottom of this survey it should know that the entire country needs to work harder to keep up with the rest of the world. when it comes to sustainability.

The US Cities SDG Index provides a snapshot of sustainable development across America. It uses predetermined factors to survey each city and highlights the best and worst performing regions. Cities out west by far are far ahead of my industrial cities like Detroit. Nonetheless, as a region, we have our work cut for us and as a region we should work together for more sustainable development.

For more information, visit the Sustainable Solutions Development Network.

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