Green is in. As homeowners continue to prioritize eco-conscious details and design in their homes, we are seeing that where you live matters just as much as how you live. In partnership with sustainability expert Jhánneu Roberts, we’ve rounded up a list of what we call Eco-Forward Cities that are making a concerted effort – from biking, EV charging and transit to recycling and secondhand stores – toward making eco-minded practices and solutions the norm.
2023 Eco-Forward Cities:
1. Somerville, MA
2. Emeryville, CA
3. Jersey City, NJ
4. Boulder, CO
5. Arlington, VA
6. Portland, OR
7. West Hempstead, NY
8. Carrboro, NC
9. Salt Lake City, UT
10. Santa Monica, CA
11. Temple Terrace, FL
12. Fort Collins, CO
13. Dearborn, MI
14. Phoenix, AZ
15. San Diego, CA
The (green) standard
From coast to coast, our list of Eco-Forward Cities offers a glimpse into what homeowners consider as must-haves when moving into the next stage of their lives, such as having a mindful recycling program or access to a comprehensive transit system that makes it easy to move around. Programs across the country stand-out, such as The Circular Boulder Vision which aims to curb Boulder’s collective consumption through reuse and repair, and Emervyille’s free transit service Emery-Go-Round, which provides easy connections to major transit hubs.
As Jhánneu says, “From promoting clean energy sources, reducing waste, and preserving natural resources, these cities are prioritizing eco-friendly initiatives. They have strong public transportation systems and support environmentally responsible behavior among residents. And most of these cities are in regions known for their natural beauty and scenic landscapes — that may contribute to a greater appreciation for the environment and a desire to protect it.”
Bikes, EVs, and buses – oh my!
It’s no surprise that the cities and towns on our list have extensive and thoughtful transportation options. Between carpooling, biking, EVs, and public transit, these cities are making eco-minded transportation options a priority.
In fact, The League of American Bicyclists named a majority of the states on our list to their 2022 Bicycle Friendly States Report, with Massachusetts at #1, followed by Oregon (#2), California (#4), Colorado (#6), and Virginia (#7). Many cities on our list have implemented protected bike lanes for safer riding, including Jersey City (#3), which recently added a protected lane from Jersey City to Hoboken for safer riding. Most Portlanders live within a quarter mile of the city’s 400+ miles of bikeways.
The City of Phoenix’s Transportation 2050 Plan aims to break its car dependency with a 35-year plan to improve access for those that bike, drive, walk and ride transit services. Phoenix is also implementing a plan to prepare for 280,000 electric vehicles in the city by 2030.
Eco-minded habits at home
Our 2023 Home Decor Report shows that homebuyers are also eco-minded when they tackle home projects indoors and out. Indoors, they save money and materials by refinishing floors and cabinets, updating fixtures and furniture instead of buying new, and investing in energy-saving dimmers. Outdoors, they want solar-powered lights and native and drought-resistant landscaping.
Making a habit of being eco-forward at home is easier than you think. Consider installing energy-efficient light bulbs, and introducing design elements like live greenery that improve air quality. Reduce the impact of new furniture purchases on the environment by shopping at online marketplaces, thrift stores, and yard sales.
Our New Construction Home Buyer ‘Splurge or Save’ Survey also finds that eco-minded amenities are top-of-mind: energy-efficient features and appliances lead on the “very important” list, above a home office or landscaping. More than half of new construction buyers are most likely to spend more on energy-efficient features or appliances than other features like countertops.
If you’re looking for an eco-forward dwelling in one of these cities or towns, Opendoor can help you every step of the way. Get started at Opendoor.com.
The eco-forward cities are identified by analyzing and averaging the number of OpenStreetMap eco-forward tags that are within 3 miles of all addresses in a city where Opendoor Brokerage operates. These tags include: bicycle parking; bicycle rental; bicycle (shop); charging station; recycling; transit-related tags such as platform, station, and stop position; and second hand shop. In addition to these tags, Opendoor compared the resulting list to each city’s sustainability efforts.