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City ranks No. 20 in overall sustainability, No. 1 in water quality

The City of Kansas City, Mo., recently ranked No. 20 in overall sustainability among the 50 largest cities in SustainLane’s 2008 U.S. City Rankings. According to SustainLane, the rankings cover quality-of-life indicators such as local food availability, tap water quality, air quality, walkability, park space and roadway congestion.

“I’m very pleased that Kansas City ranks highly among the largest U.S. cities in many categories," Mayor Mark Funkhouser said.

"I also am not surprised to see that the rankings demonstrate the critical need to develop a viable light rail system to serve our city and the metropolitan area,” Funkhouser said in response to a SustainLane comment that the City’s large land area and low population density continue to present challenges in moving into the overall top 10.

The City repeated its 2006 ranking as the No. 1 city in the Tap Water Quality category, while also finishing in the top 10 in the Energy and Climate Change Policy (No. 7) and Housing Affordability (No. 10) categories. The City also ranked in the cluster of “advanced” cities in several other categories, including Metro Street Congestion, Air Quality, Local Food/Agriculture, Green Buildings and Water Supply.

“The rankings demonstrate that policies enacted by the mayor and City Council and implemented by City staff are having a significant impact on promoting environmental quality, social equity and economic vitality,” City Manager Wayne A. Cauthen said. “Continued efforts to integrate sustainability into City operations and develop a climate protection plan are making the City a better place to live and positioning the City as a sustainability leader among local governments.”

SustainLane is a non-profit organization that ranks cities based on information provided by the cities and independent third-party sources, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the U.S. Green Building Council, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Census Bureau. The full text of the SustainLane 2008 U.S. City Rankings is available at

For more information, contact Dennis Murphey, chief environmental officer, at (816) 513-3459 or

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