Silvia Ascarelli | MarketWatch

Terrence Horan/MarketWatch
Terrence Horan/MarketWatch

10. Jersey City

Score: 55

“Maybe it’s a surprise to some people,” Mayor Fulop says about being his city being on the list. “But it’s not a surprise to us. Our goal is to move up the list.” It seems to be on the right track.

Jersey City has changed dramatically since the days of that burning landfill, now being cleaned up to become the site of at least 4,000 residential units and an extension of the city’s light-rail system. Another contaminated site, next to then PPG Superfund site in the heart of the city, is expected to reopen as a 17-acre park by the end of this year, increasing the city’s green space by 10% in one stroke.

Gentrification has turned parts of the city into what some call New York’s sixth borough. The city has aggressively changed zoning rules to allow for greater density and require fewer parking spaces; a 70-story tower is now going up in Journal Square, above a transit line. Among Jersey City’s many other environmental initiatives is a planned bike-share system of 350-400 bikes that would be linked to New York’s Citibike program. Read more