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Category Archives: Featured Community

Cedar Rapids: Certified 4-STAR Community

After almost a year of work, Cedar Rapids has achieved a Certified 4-STAR Community Rating from STAR Communities. This is a significant accomplishment recognizing years of commitment from city leaders and staff. Sustainability is more than a buzz word — it is a fundamental component of strong communities that endure and thrive. Sustainability is woven into... Read More

Q&A Series: Durham’s Sustainability Roadmap Outlines a Path to Becoming a World-Class Sustainability City

In 2017, Durham, NC developed an interdepartmental sustainability team with the goal of making Durham a world-class sustainability city. In June of 2017 the City published its first Sustainability Report and in November received a 4-STAR Community Rating. These efforts have led the City to develop a Sustainability Roadmap, which outlines goals and strategies to... 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

STAR Leads Resilience Workshop in Goleta, CA

Situated within Santa Barbara County in the California South Coast region, the City of Goleta is a relatively new city. Since its incorporation in 2002, the City has prioritized environmental stewardship and sustainability in planning, programs, and decision-making. To take this work to the next level, Goleta joined the Fall 2016 STAR Leadership Program in order to identify and convey the City’s... Read More

Peoria, AZ: Certified 3-STAR Community

Lisa Estrada, Economic Efficiency and Sustainability Manager for Peoria, AZ shares their STAR story. The City of Peoria decided to pursue STAR certification to gain clarity around its sustainability efforts. Although we knew we were taking steps in the right direction, we did not fully understand what kind of impact we were having. We needed a widely recognized tool... 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

Bellevue, WA: Certified 4-STAR Community

Jennifer Ewing, Environmental Stewardship Program Manager for Bellevue, WA shares their STAR story. The City of Bellevue, WA received a 4-STAR Community Rating earlier this spring. The City decided to pursue STAR certification for multiple reasons – to benchmark the City’s progress and identify opportunities for improvement in our environmental sustainability programs, along with our other projects. Through the... 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

Tracking Sustainability Progress in Pinellas County, FL

County kicks off certification process with STAR workshop Pinellas County, Florida has a long-standing commitment to tracking and documenting local sustainability progress. In 2006, the County became the first local government in Florida to be certified at the silver level under the Florida Green Building Coalition’s Green Local Government Program, and in 2013 became the first... Read More