'In the Know' Articles



In the Know: Identifying tips and practices for a more sustainable future


Pennsylvania city is rated a sustainable community

Reading, PA – In May, the City of Reading announced that it received a three-star rating under the STAR (Sustainability Tools for Assessing & Rating Communities) Community Rating System – the first city in Pennsylvania to receive such recognition for its sustainability leadership.

“Receiving STAR Communities certification is a very big deal for the City of Reading, especially being first in the state,” said Mayor Vaughn Spencer. “Finally, we have a national standard and very rigorous and objective third party verification program that proves our city is moving in the right direction, using best practices when possible.”

The STAR framework helps cities, towns, and counties evaluate themselves in seven areas related to sustainability: built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education, arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. Measuring everything from emergency response times and workforce readiness to housing affordability and civic engagement, the framework is comprehensive.

Reading's notable achievements included:
  • meeting standards for drinking water quality, safe wastewater management, and safe stormwater management
  • concentrated development in compact, walkable neighborhoods that connect to transit and provide housing options for families of all income levels
  • a 12.76% reduction in total solid waste generated within the jurisdiction since 2010
  • increases in workforce training outcomes, including increased employment retention and higher numbers of youth degrees/certificate of attainment
  • youth development programs such as the Reading Youth Violence Prevention Program, the “ImmaBe” Mentoring Program, the YouthBuild Life Skills Readiness Program and the Helping Hands Food Pantry
Prior to receiving its STAR rating, Reading was among a select group of high performing municipalities to become certified through the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification program in 2014. The program, administered by the Pennsylvania Municipal League, tracks 131 policies and practices that define a sustainable community. Recognized at the gold level, Reading demonstrated progress in addressing such areas as community design and land use, energy efficiency, health and wellness, mitigating blight, intergovernmental cooperation, recycling and waste reduction, fiscal controls, and internal management and operations.





For additional information:
Eron Lloyd
Special Assistant to the Mayor