STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating) Communities is a nonprofit organization that works to evaluate, improve, and certify sustainable communities. STAR Community’s Rating SystemTM is the nation’s leading framework and certification program for local sustainability. Cities and counties use STAR to measure their progress across social, economic, and environmental performance areas. Built by and for local governments, STAR is a catalyst for local action and is transforming the way that communities address sustainability progress.
By integrating sustainability into a comprehensive plan, a community can transition from talking about sustainability in the abstract to identifying concrete practices, implementing solutions, and measuring impact. The STAR Community Rating System is a valuable tool that helps cities and counties to become healthier, stronger, and more resilient.
One of the top reasons that cities and counties come to STAR Communities is because they are looking for ways to strengthen and support local planning efforts. STAR provides a robust, data-driven framework that allows communities to first define sustainability for themselves and then evaluate and improve economic, environmental, and social performance.
This planning guide designed for local government staff and planners provides guidance on how to use STAR to integrate sustainability into comprehensive, strategic, and sustainability plans. It provides strategies on how to set benchmarks and targets, communicate sustainability, conduct a baseline sustainability assessment, and track plan implementation and progress. Case studies from STAR Member Communities are also included.
The report was published in May 2016 and was written by Lacey Shaver and David Abell.