These friendly towns and cities get high marks for livability and a shared sense of civic pride.
Each year, MOTHER EARTH NEWS enlists the help of readers, friends and our Facebook community to create our annual Great Places list. The decidedly unscientific results shine a spotlight on under-the-radar communities that we think may be among the best in America. These livable cities are selected based on a variety of factors. The fitness-driven residents of Golden, Colo., one of our 2012 picks, enjoy 29 miles of bicycle/pedestrian trails and 28 regional parks in their county. College towns (such as 2006 honoree Ithaca, N.Y.) have become Great Places mainstays over the years for their progressive populations as well as access to arts and culture. Perhaps most importantly, many of our selections boast reputations as some of the most eco-friendly cities in the U.S.— 2009 pick Rock Port, Mo., claims to be the first town fully powered by wind energy.
If you’d like to nominate one of your favorite places for our list, email Letters@MotherEarthNews.com.