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STAR Communities is pleased to announce the opportunity for U.S. cities and counties to measure progress towards community sustainability through participation in the 2014 Leadership STAR Community Program. The Leadership Program is based on the success of the STAR Community Rating System’s pilot program. For the past 10 months, more than 30 cities and counties from across the US and Canada have been tracking their sustainability progress using the STAR Community Rating System (STAR) – the first national framework and certification program for community sustainability.

 

The Rating System, which is available for FREE online, provides a much-needed vocabulary for communities to more effectively strategize and define local sustainability planning efforts. STAR’s goals and objectives present a vision of how their communities could become more healthy, resilient, and prosperous across seven specific categories encompassing the economic, social, and environmental dimensions of sustainability.

 

Working through the rating system with other communities helped participants reflect on their existing programs and learn from one another. Dylan Siegler, Sustainability Manager at the City of Austin Office of Sustainability says, “The City of Austin has supported the STAR rating system from its inception . . . STAR allows us to fairly evaluate Austin’s strengths as well as understand our challenges. At the same time, STAR [Communities] will provide the resources to learn from peer cities across North America about their successful sustainability programs and strategies.”

 

As the pilot program wraps up, and the pilot communities begin to submit their data for certification, STAR Communities is now looking to the future and to the next group of leadership communities. With extensive support from STAR Communities staff, the selected Leadership STAR Communities will work through the STAR Community Rating System together with the goal of becoming certified sustainable communities. Local governments that achieve a certified STAR Community Rating are recognized as leaders in sustainability and gain a deep understanding of their community’s strengths and needs to support current and future generations.

 

In partnership with the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities (TFN), STAR Communities will offer financial assistance to a limited number of communities that demonstrate need and the ability to leverage local philanthropic support for their participation in the Leadership STAR Community Program. The full program application and guidelines for financial assistance are available at www.STARcommunities.org. The deadline for submission is October 15, 2013.

 

Lacey Shaver, Outreach & Program Coordinator

 

Guest Post by Lacey Shaver,  Outreach & Program Coordinator, STAR Communities

 

The STAR Community Rating System was initiated and supported by founding partners ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA, the U.S. Green Building Council, National League of Cities and the Center for American Progress.