Cleveland sits at No. 4 on this list, behind Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, which is heading toward becoming the world's most sustainable urban center, and Tallinn, Estonia, where government has declared free Internet access a birthright. Travel + Leisure, citing Gardens Under Glass, declares that where our businesses have failed and our storefronts are empty, our ingenuity is taking root.
When we interviewed Vicky for our May 2010 issue, Gardens Under Glass comprised a few garden mall carts. Now it's closing in on achieving its goal of becoming Cleveland's center for green technology and a hub for the city's environmental awareness efforts. The urban greenhouse is now home to 17 sustainability-minded vendors and has launched a program called "Lunch and Learn," which offers hourlong seminars on Wednesdays that cover topics from composting and rain barrel building to harvesting and gift ideas.
Vicky Poole says she hopes that, through her efforts at Gardens Under Glass, she may show that there is enough space in Greater Cleveland to grow enough vegetables for the entire city. She could be right, but for now, she's shown us something of equal importance: Cleveland, for once, has something that nobody else can top.