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Smart Cities

Bay Area cities solving major civic headaches—one loose screw at a time. 


Cties have been dreaming up ways to improve themselves since the first ziggurat went up in Ur (the ur-ziggurat?): Rome introduced the apartment building, Cleveland the first electric traffic signal, and London the modern police force. As for San Francisco, our innovations may not be quite as world-changing, but any place that invented the cable car and the topless bar surely deserves some sort of medal.

In fact, many Bay Area burgs merit recognition, which is why we’re inaugurating the Smart City awards, honoring local enclaves that are making themselves better places to live. Not surprisingly in an era when people and businesses are flocking to bustling downtowns, a recurring theme is urbanism, but we’re not just rewarding creative density here. We’re also highlighting cities that practice sustainability, seek social justice, and promote the health and safety of their citizens. From Healdsburg to Richmond, San Francisco to San Leandro, Bay Area cities are brimming with towering solutions. You might even say that they’re the Urs of their day.


Richmond: The Most (Unlikely) Progressive Utopia on Eath

Alameda County: Cleaning up the Rap Sheet

San Francisco: Shepherding the Voiceless

Oakland: Who's Watching the Watchmen? We All Are

Dubliln: Smart Growth Means More Than Just Housing

Walnut Creek: Embracing the Downtown

Fairfield: The Young Blue Line

San Rafael: The Canal District Incubator

Healdsburg: Tobacco Gets the Booze Treatment

San Francisco: Got the Blues? Tell It to 855-845-7414

Napa: The End of Mouth-to-Mouth

San Jose: The Drought Savior

San Francisco: The Beauty of Bioswales

Santa Cruz: Traffic School for Water Hogs

Dublin: Wastewater Recycled

San Francisco: Green Acres Meets City Life

Santa Clara County: Solar Windfall

Berkeley: Goodbye to the Garage

San Leandro: No, You're Not Tripping. It's the Lights

San Mateo: The Horses Have Left the Barn

San Francisco: The Truvada Revolution

San Jose: Walking With a Purpose

San Ramon: Renzo Piano Designs the Burbs

San Francisco: Bayview Plans for Resilience

Redwood City: The Police Master Social Media

Fremont: Anything-Goes Urban Development

Novato Solves Its Housing Crisis With More Density


Originally published in the June issue of San Francisco

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