What Makes Somerville So Sustainable?


Let’s talk about what cities are doing to activate people and places for a more sustainable future. Somerville, Massachusetts, under the leadership of Mayor Joseph Curtatone, has been hard at work for over a decade on dozens of initiatives that make the city and its neighborhoods a great place to live.

Somerville has implemented a wide range of reforms and new programs that have earned it widespread recognition. Boston Globe Magazine declared Somerville “the best-run city in Massachusetts.” The national Arbor Day Foundation has designated Somerville a “Tree City” for 20 years even though 77% of the city’s surface is impermeable. America’s Promise Alliance ranked it among its “100 Best Communities for Youth.” An “Initiative on Cities” survey of mayors found Somerville to be one of the 15 most influential cities in the country — and the only one with a population under 100,000. The National Civic League named it an “All-America City” in 2009 and again in 2015. Somerville consistently tops lists of the “Most Walkable” and “Most Bikeable” cities in the United States.

Mayor Curtatone has become a national leader in the system of better management through measurement. Delegations from other Massachusetts communities – and from cities as far away as Ireland and Korea – regularly visit Somerville for briefings on the city’s SomerStat program, a data-driven performance management system modeled on Baltimore’s CitiSTAT initiative.

Somerville has also earned national recognition for its successful joint effort with Tufts University to implement “Shape Up Somerville,” an effective program to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity among the city’s elementary school children, which was lauded by First Lady Michelle Obama during the launch of her “Let’s Move” initiative.

Join us in May to learn more about Somerville’s progress and what’s in store for the sustainable future.