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Category Archives: Case Study

Just Released! STAR Resilience Guide

Resilience: it’s a hot topic on the minds of local leaders these days. Whether it’s a rust belt city dealing with economic shocks from changing industries, a west coast town battling droughts and wildfires, or a coastal county responding to rising sea levels, cities and counties across the United States are increasingly aware of the... Read More

Case Study: Integrating Sustainability Targets into Strategic Plans

When most people think of city plans, they think of comprehensive or long-range plans, which provide broad guidance for community-wide development and decision making on a ten to twenty year horizon. These types of plans are often criticized as documents that “just live on the shelf,” meaning they were developed but never implemented. Comprehensive plans... Read More

Case Study: Communicating Results Through Open Data Dashboards

In recent years, the push for greater transparency in government operations from citizens and groups such as the Sunlight Foundation has led local governments to assess how to best share the wealth of data that they collect. Elected officials and city and county managers acknowledge that it is important to track how tax dollars are... Read More

Case Study: Including Sustainability in Requests for Proposals

FEATURING IOWA CITY, IA AND LAS VEGAS, NV A Request For Proposal (RFP) is a contracting tool used by local governments to solicit ideas and bids for projects that will be completed either exclusively by a vendor or in collaboration with staff. These projects tend to have a limited duration with clearly articulated deliverables. They... Read More

Case Study: Capturing Community Perception Through Surveys

FEATURING FAYETTEVILLE, AR Understanding how residents perceive their communities—the good and the bad—is crucial to helping local decision makers adapt strategies and policies to meet community needs. Because perceptions of sustainability can vary widely within a community, a community perception survey can be a useful way to gauge overall satisfaction within a jurisdiction and may... Read More

Case Study: Bringing Equity into the Sustainability Conversation

Featuring Dubuque, Iowa STAR certification provides a clear, data-driven approach to assessing a community’s sustainability efforts. The baseline assessment achieved through certification is an important first step to advancing community-wide sustainability, as it often reveals areas for improvement. Certified STAR communities are digging into their certification results and finding the tools to engage partners and... Read More

Using STAR to shape a new sustainability program: Reno, NV

  When Lynne Barker started as the first sustainability director for the City of Reno in 2015, one of her first tasks was to get a sense of where Reno stood in regards to sustainability. To conduct a comprehensive baseline of community conditions, she turned to the STAR Community Rating System and its certification program.... Read More

A New Milestone in Urban Sustainability…

50 Certified Communities! The release of the STAR Community Rating System (STAR) in 2012 marked an important milestone in the urban sustainability movement. Hundreds of stakeholders worked together by consensus to deliver a common framework for sustainability with nationally accepted standards for measuring the depth and breadth of the social, economic, and environmental issues that... Read More

Case Study: Measuring Environmental Justice with STAR

The STAR Community Rating System provides a sound methodology and resources to help cities and counties that want to take a deliberate approach to environmental justice. This case study highlights how Houston, TX and Burlington, VT dealt with environmental justice issues in their communities. In Houston, we explore how citizens organized to address the air pollution and public health... Read More

Case Study: Partnerships to Advance Community Priorities with STAR

It’s an issue that trips up many local sustainability offices – staff, elected officials, and community members have lots of worthwhile project ideas, but with limited capacity, which ones should be prioritized? And with limited resources, how can those priorities get funded? Quantitative measurement of sustainability conditions and trends is a key feature of the... Read More