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2007 Fast Cities

CHICAGO, Illinois

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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