Population > 9.5 million
Leading indicator > Since 1999, the city has planted 2.5 million square feet of heat-reducing rooftop gardens, more than all other U.S. cities combined
Fast companies > CDW; W.W. Grainger; Chicago Board of Trade
Second to whom? Mayor Richard Daley has overseen a downtown renaissance and the planting of 500,000 new trees. In the wake of a deadly 1995 heat wave, he has also launched a raft of aggressive initiatives to cool the city while conserving energy--and beat New York to an environmental action plan by two years.
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