In this article we take a look at the 50 Most Beautiful Cities in the US. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 10 Most Beautiful Cities in the US.
What else can be more pleasant pastime in these pandemic-stricken times than read about the 50 most beautiful cities in the US? In order to enjoy this trip you don’t need to take even one step, as this virtual tour will fly you across America. So nestle into your favorite armchair with a glass of wine in hand and check out these gorgeous, emerald-necklaced cities.
At first let’s make clear what beauty is. It’s an attribute of an entity that is in balance with nature and harmony, which results emotional well-being and attraction. Undoubtedly, a beautiful city is attractive. But how did it begin? There was a famous campaign, called the City Beautiful Movement. It was not only a social, but an architectural reform, too, which started in the America of 1890s and flourished in the 1900s. The purpose was to introduce that beauty didn’t only stand for itself, didn’t only exist for its own sake but to combine beauty with architecture would create something new, something moral and would show the civic virtue of the modern urban residents. Initially, the movement could be linked to four cities: Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Washington D.C. (Obviously, you can find all of them on this list. Actually, Cleveland is on the 30th, Detroit is on the 15th, Chicago is on the 8th and Washington D.C. is on the 3rd spot.) It’s not surprising, since as you can see in our former article, the 20 cities with the most skyscrapers in the world, Chicago was home to the first modern skyscraper, the recently demolished Home Insurance Building that was built in 1885. Thus, we can see how progressive Chicago was as early as in the late 19th century. However, the movement was a response to urbanization, increased immigration and number of births. The movement was widely introduced to public during the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago in 1893, and the popularization continued on the Louisiana Purchase Exposition 1904. From this time the beautification movement spread unstoppably across America. Lots of cities joined the movement, such as Des Moines, Baltimore, New York City, Philadelphia – just to name a few. All these cities will be familiar while reading through this compilation. Yes, descendants followed the examples of their ancestors. Supporters of this philosophy thought that the movement would result a more harmonious society with higher quality of life; while its critics opinionated the whole beautification was highly “overhyped”. We think the truth is somewhere in the middle. The futurity has come, and has made its verdict.
And what is the verdict? Not only does the modern man appreciate the efforts of the ancestors, but the architects directly went back to the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in order to use the brainwave of green roofings. What does this term mean? Green roof means a rooftop which is covered with vegetation in soil. Why is it important? According to a WHO study on Urban Green Spaces, green roofs have numerous positive results, such as decreasing air pollution and the “impacts of extreme weather”. Cities, like Washington D.C., Nashville, Deis Moines, and Houston, New York are well-known for creating large green spaces on rooftops of public buildings in order to enlarge the green areas within their boundaries. However, Washington D.C. holds the first place in green roofing, as in 2018 Green Roofs for Healthy Cities (GRHC) nominated Washington, D.C. “the greatest square footage of green roof installations of 2017 as the city registered over 1 million sq ft of green roofs“!
So what makes a city beautiful ? Above all, the size of the green area; the quantity of parks and old buildings; the colorful, vivid markets; clean streets and air and many other aspects. In order to compile this list of the 50 most beautiful cities in the US, we consulted Humanitarian Data Exchange and chose green area per capita as important data to rank these cities, but also collected some other arresting basic information about the cities, such as population, city area, number of National Historic Landmarks, and number of parks. We checked out the last two years in the source, and we couldn’t see any changes. Comparing this compilation to our former list of the 50 most forested cities in the US, we can observe that only 33 out of the 50 cities are present on both lists. This is because the latter article ranked the cities by the total land area per forested area; while we made rankings by green area per capita and we only used data of cities above the population of 100 000. What’s more, we can learn further arresting results, such as Seattle is the most forested city, but concerning to the green area per capita it lags behind on the 44th spot. New York, the city of skyscrapers is also the city of parks, as it is home to more than 1,000 parks, but concerning to green area per capita it stands only on the 33rd spot.
Cities often undertake beautification or “placemaking” to build the community spirit and celebrate and revive the cultural histories of the place. Placemaking is therefore, a term used for the process of cultural rebuilding to strengthen neighborhoods or places of livelihood. However, there are often other more important issues that are addressed in the guise of placemaking. For instance, the “Silent Lights” project in Brooklyn to illuminate a dark underpass actually served the purpose of making the alleys safer for school children. Similarly, placemaking also has a strong economic aspect. Think about it, when you think of moving to a new the beauty and of the place if often one of the major considerations, right? To attract skilled workers and in turn more companies that create more jobs, beautification plays a stronger role than what appears on the surface. It ultimately builds and benefits the economy. Often, real estate companies have a strong role to play in the building and redevelopment projects of the cities. And, with the recent awareness around sustainable buildings and projects, and shifting towards green energy reliance, sustainability is soon becoming one of the major aspects in placemaking projects. Real estate companies are also shifting focus towards promoting green energy. Recently, American company Prologis (NYSE:PLD)was named amongst the top 100 most sustainable companies, and the has been incorporating Green Building principles in its leased properties in several cities in the country with the ultimate goal of cleaner air and greener surroundings. The company also has a program for provision of solar energy solutions on lease.
If you consider moving to a new city, this list will also be a great help, but we also recommend to read through the 18 cities with the best air quality in the US as well as 9 states that banned plastic bags, if you are aware of your environmental footprint.
And now, without a further ado let’s open the virtual door to the sights of the 50 most beautiful cities in the US.
50. Sacramento, California
Population: 513 624
Area: 99.77 sq mi (258.41 km2)
Green area m² / capita: 126.22
Number of National Historic Landmarks: 45
223 parks make the city beautiful, so that you can feel home in Sacramento.