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August 22, 2023 | Tom Ballard

Tennessee has two of nation’s most resilient cities

Memphis places #17, and Nashville ranks #30 among the top 50 in the country, according to Architectural Digest.

A new study from Architectural Digest ranked the top 50 cities in the U.S. in terms of climate resilience, and Tennessee placed two on the list. Memphis came in at #17, while Nashville placed #30.

Topping the list was Denver where homeowners face fewer threats of extreme weather damage, the community has above-average readiness, and city-level initiatives support clean energy such as solar. The authors write: “With the exception of a few droughts and tornadoes, Denver has been relatively unscathed by extreme weather destruction in the last 10 years. Denver has a substantial score advantage over our second-place city, Raleigh due to having a strong clean energy infrastructure supporting residential solar.”

As far as Raleigh, the study concluded: “Though Raleigh is located just a few hundred feet above sea level and ranks 44 out of 50 for clean energy infrastructure, Raleigh ranks third in the country for climate change readiness and adaptability, beaten only by Seattle and Minneapolis. This city also boasts 217 days of ‘good’ air quality, compared to Denver’s 84 days.”

By comparison, Miami is the least climate-resilient city out of the 50 major cities analyzed. It has the highest population exposure and infrastructure risk, which potentially hinders Miami’s ability to provide health care during extreme weather events. Two other Florida cities – Tampa and Jacksonville – placed just behind Miami in terms of least resilient.

To arrive at the rankings, Architectural Digest analyzed seven factors to quantify climate resilience. They included an area’s flood risk based on elevation and severe weather events, taxes on resources due to population, population readiness, and supporting city-level infrastructure. Climate resilience variables were weighted, with the highest weight applied to the University of Notre Dame’s risk and readiness score. The maximum overall score for any city was 136.3. The higher the score, the more climate-resilient a city is.


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