Tucson has made a commitment to environmental sustainability, including the use of solar panels on some government buildings and requiring businesses to utilize rainwater-harventing systems as a condition of the business being allowed to operate.
Sustainability has become a 21st-century concern for many metropolitan areas, and a group affiliated with the United Nations did a survey recently to determine overall sustainability for a sampling of large cities in the United States.
Based on the results of the most recent survey of the 100 most-populated metro areas in America, Tucson placed below average in its sustainability score, according to Sustainable Development Solutions Network, which contracts through the U.S. secretary general’s office.
According to the survey, which looks at economic, social and environmental factors comprising 48 scoring categories, Tucson earned a sustainability score of 43.36 on a 100-point scale, listing 57th among the top-100 cities by population.
The city scored lower in some areas and higher in others. For example, the city ranked high in environmental factors such as lower rates of toxic chemical releases in air and water, (ranked in the top-10), as well as public health, the amount of open space and the percenage of commuters who walk or use bicycles to work.
On the economic front, Tucson scored well in the amount of low-income housing and the percentage of families that spend more than 30 percent of income on rent or mortgage payments.
Tucson scored lower in three key areas: crime, child-poverty rates, overall poverty and education.
The overall rating for Tucson was 18th among 21 southwestern U.S. metro areas, beating only El Paso, Texas, and the metro areas around Riverside and Bakersfield, Calif. A “sister” city, Albuquerque, N.M., which is often used as comparison to Tucson due to similar population and climate, ranked 53rd. The Phoenix area, by the way, was 43rd, as the entire southwestern region of the U.S. owned the worst poverty rates according to the report.
Click here to view the full report.