Travel + Leisure: Savannah is 2nd “greenest” city in America . . . huh?

I guess it all depends on what we mean by green.

The main page of the T+L’s America’s Greenest Cities first makes it sound like we’re talking about “eco-friendly” policies, but the actual methodology combines other readers’ polls:

To determine the greenest cities, we tallied the results from three survey categories: cleanliness, pedestrian-friendliness and public transit, and great public parks, which offset that urban asphalt and improve air quality.

Savannah has some amazing parks, and is pedestrian-friendly in neighborhoods built created before @1920, but that’s hardly enough to warrant the second slot here. If the magazine is going to throw around words like “green”, they’re pretty much obligated to take a look at energy sources, recycling efficiency, pollution, building standards, and the like.

From the Savannah description for its 2nd place finish:

The winner in the parks category is old-school green, famous for its quaint, walkable streets and its 22 tree-lined squares, which date back to 1733. That relaxed, healthy atmosphere has apparently rubbed off on everyone else, too: the locals ranked near the top of the survey for being friendly, and the city won the category for romance.

“Old-school green” — I like that.

Of course, we all know that polls like this are basically meant to drive internet traffic and sell magazines, but that doesn’t make it completely irrelevant that Savannah performs so consistently well in them — even ones that make little sense.