The release of the STAR Community Rating System (STAR) in 2012 marked an important milestone in the urban sustainability movement. Since then, nearly 60 communities have been certified under STAR and hundreds of others have used the framework to guide local planning, decision-making, and investment.
Today, we mark a new milestone: the release of Version 2.0 of the STAR Community Rating System.
In order for STAR to continue to be relevant, it must evolve with the urban sustainability movement by informing current methodologies, incorporating new performance standards, and integrating best practices. While there have been two minor administrative updates to STAR since its release in 2012, this is the first major update based on feedback received from over 50 certified communities, subject experts, and data providers.
In 2015, the rating system’s governance and technical committees recommended an update to STAR in order to integrate data and best practices from the first 50 STAR Certifications and address on-going issues like alignment with external standards (e.g. ISO 37120 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals) and development of new content to address gaps such as biodiversity, good governance, and aging.
The process of updating the rating system’s framework began in July 2015 with a general review and discussion of high-level issues across the system. These topics included:
- Opportunities to align with other indicator-based reporting systems;
- Strengthening of performance thresholds and trend lines for outcome measures;
- Points distribution across goal areas and objectives and within objectives; and
- Review of the framework for gaps, omissions, and/or new ideas submitted through the Innovation & Process category.
Working groups of formal committee members and on call advisors were assembled and met weekly between July 2015 and January 2016 to review new research, data sets, and methodologies and recommend revisions to the framework. Over 60 subject experts participated in 26 Working Group sessions contributing nearly 400 volunteer hours.
In May 2016, their work was compiled into a working draft of Version 2.0 of the STAR Community Rating System. The working draft was presented during the STAR 2.0 Stakeholder Convening in Washington, DC; this in-person meeting convened 50 committee members and partners to address remaining issues, concerns, or omissions. Stakeholders approved the working draft at the meeting and put STAR Version 2.0 out for public comment on June 15, 2016.
Hundreds of public comments were received and analyzed by staff before presenting a final draft to committees in August 2016. The Technical Advisory Group and Steering Committee approved the final draft of the Rating System on August 23rd and August 25th, 2016 respectively.
It is with great excitement and pride that STAR Communities releases Version 2.0 of the STAR Community Rating System to the public.
Version 2.0 is available to download for free on the STAR Communities website. The updated Technical Guide is also available for all current STAR Member Communities and STAR Affiliates through the online reporting platform.