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The Rating System

STAR CoverThe STAR Community Rating System (STAR) was built by and for local governments. Local leaders use STAR to assess their sustainability, set targets for moving forward, and measure progress along the way.

Download the FREE rating system HERE.

Released in October 2012, STAR represents a milestone in the national movement to create more livable communities for all. The rating system’s evaluation measures collectively define community-scale sustainability, and present a vision of how communities can become more healthy, inclusive, and prosperous across seven goal areas. The system’s goals and objectives provide a much-needed vocabulary that local governments and their communities can use to more effectively strategize and define their sustainability planning efforts.

The intent of the rating system is to help communities identify, validate, and support implementation of best practices to improve sustainable community conditions. Built on the guiding principle of continuous improvement, STAR will evolve to remain the leading framework for local sustainability. There is recognition that the content of the rating system may change over time to embrace innovation, apply new research, or adapt to changing conditions in the field of community sustainability. All updates to the rating system will strive to create a consistent system that is both rigorous and accessible to local government applicants and their partners.

In 2015, the rating system’s governance and technical committees recommended the first major 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 culmination of this year and a half effort, Version 2.0 of the STAR Community Rating System, was released in October 2016 to the public.

Over time, the program will build a research model that includes spatial, temporal, and level of effort details to expand the evidence base about the degree to which various actions advance sustainability conditions community-wide. This rigor and differentiation will allow STAR to expand national learning and drive ongoing improvements to sustainable community governance.

To learn more about the process of system change and evolution, review the Rating System’s adopted Evolution Policy.