Lawrence is the FIRST community in Kansas to receive a 4-STAR rating for national excellence in sustainability. The STAR Communities framework evaluates local governments on economic, environmental and social factors to measure sustainability and rates communities out of 5 STARs. Lawrence received a 4-STAR rating with a combined point total of 460.
What is STAR?
The STAR Community Rating System (STAR) is the first national certification program to recognize sustainable communities. STAR was built by and for local governments. The STAR framework integrates economic, environmental, and social aspects of sustainability. There are 7 goal areas, and 44 objectives by which cities are evaluated. These include both actions of the city government and the community at-large. Since the launch of the certification system in 2012, 56 communities have achieved STAR Certification, including regional and peer cities such as Wichita, Kansas City (MO), Columbia, Iowa City, Dubuque, Des Moines, St. Louis, Indianapolis, and Fort Collins.
Our City of Lawrence score:
The city received a 4-STAR rating (out of 5). This makes us the highest rated community in Kansas. The graphic below shows areas where the city excelled and areas for improvement.
Why does this matter?
A 4-STAR Community Rating puts Lawrence in a prestigious tier in the STAR certification system. Of the 51 certified communities, only 20 have achieved a 4-STAR rating. Only four have achieved the 5-STAR rating. National leaders in sustainability such as Portland, OR and Austin, TX are in this 4-STAR tier with us.
Where do we go from here?
We undertook the STAR certification not only to assess our progress towards sustainability, but also to set targets for moving forward. The STAR framework provides a nationally-recognized set of best practices for sustainability, and we look forward to continuing to improve! The STAR Community Rating System supports best practices that have been to move the needle on community-level conditions and outcomes. The city will work toward re-certification every three years to continue to build on our 4-STAR Community Rating and measure progress.
The chart below shows the STAR goals and objectives. Every city department and division within the city, along with our community partners, will be working to use the STAR objectives in defining our policies and through service delivery of our programs. We’ll use the STAR framework to enhance the quality city services we provide and continue to build on our sustainable practices.
The city plans to use the STAR framework as part of their Strategic Plan, which is currently in development and will help to set community priorities and goals for the foreseeable future. For more information about the score and the STAR certification process, check out the City’s STAR website: www.lawrenceks.org/sustainability/STAR.