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Reader's Digest Clean Cities for 2006


by Ranger Kidwell-Ross

In March of 2006, Reader's Digest conducted an analysis of what makes for a clean city. Here's the criteria they used, followed by our own interviews with management representatives of the agencies handling sweeping. Perhaps this information can help your city make the list in the coming years!

Shown in red are excerpts from Reader's Digest's overview of how they chose their five winners.

"First, though, what is a clean city? Ideally, it's a place where the air quality is good, the water is safe to drink, and factories aren't dumping harmful chemical waste into the environment. It's also a place where you look up and down streets that are free of garbage, and stroll through parks without wading through litter.

"To gauge these things, we used several databases as yardsticks for measuring cleanliness. That data pertained not just to the cities themselves, but to their Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), which include the surrounding suburbs and counties.

"We also wanted to dig beneath the data to find out just what our highest-scoring cities were doing right. So we talked with policymakers, economists, activists and government workers in the top five cities. As you'll see, these places have earned their rankings -- and their success holds some lessons for the rest of us."

Here is a listing of the five top cities. The ones shown with links are interviews we've held with sweeping managers for those cities. We'll be adding the rest as time goes on.

• Portland, Oregon Read the story.

• San Jose, California Read the story.

• San Francisco, California Read the story.

• Cleveland, Ohio

• Buffalo, New York

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