By Jillian Eugenios, Steve Hargreaves and Aimee Rawlins @CNNMoney October 10, 2014: 5:55 PM ET
Mayor Michael Nutter set out to make Philadelphia the greenest city in America by 2015. While the title is likely to be hotly contested, the city has made some serious strides, including improving air quality, diverting waste from landfills, and increasing access to farmer's markets.
On top of that, the "Green City, Clean Waters" initiative is a 25-year plan to reduce stormwater pollution and sewer overflows through stormwater fees, retrofits, new street designs and green infrastructure. It will ultimately improve efficiency (and save money).
Philadelphia also created a land bank in 2013 that will be up and running next year. This aims to clean up blighted neighborhoods by acquiring, maintaining and selling the city's 40,000 vacant and derelict lots. By streamlining the process, the city will be able to make sure the property is responsibly developed for things like affordable housing, community space and local businesses. (Photo: Garen M./Flickr) --A.R.