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 progress towards community sustainability.
Since the launch of the certification system in 2012, 51 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.
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. For more information, see the STAR website.
The STAR Community Rating System is organized around 7 Goal Areas:
- Built Environment
- Climate & Energy
- Economy & Jobs
- Education, Arts & Community
- Equity & Empowerment
- Health & Safety
- Natural Systems
An 8th category, Innovation & Process, allows communities to get extra credit in areas where they excel and propose new credits to support the evolution of sustainability practice.
STAR Goal Areas and % of Available Points Received:
Education, Arts & Community
Health & Safety
Climate & Energy
Economy & Jobs
Equity & Empowerment
Innovation & Process: Supports the evolution of sustainability practice by recognizing best practices and processes, exemplary performance, and innovation. Equals 30-points.
The 7 Objectives in the Built Environment Goal Area evaluate community development patterns, livability, and design characteristics, with emphasis on access and choice for all residents regardless of income.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Built Environment Objectives:
Ambient Noise & Light
Community Water Systems
Compact & Complete Communities
Infill & Redevelopment
The 7 Objectives in STAR’s Climate & Energy Goal Area aim to reduce climate impacts and increase resource efficiency in order to create safer and healthier communities.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Climate & Energy Objectives:
Greenhouse Gas Mitigation
Greening the Energy Supply
Industrial Sector Resource Efficiency
Resource Efficient Buildings
Resource Efficient Public Infrastructure
The 6 Objectives of STAR’s Economy & Jobs Goal Area work together to promote equitably shared prosperity and access to quality jobs.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Economy & Jobs Objectives:
Business Retention & Development
Green Market Development
Quality Jobs & Living Wages
Targeted Industry Development
The 5 Objectives of STAR’s Education, Arts & Community Goal Area promote an educated, cohesive, and socially connected community.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Education, Arts & Community Objectives:
Arts & Culture
Educational Opportunity & Attainment
Social & Cultural Diversity
The 6 Objectives in STAR’s Equity & Empowerment Goal Area promote equity, inclusion, and access to opportunity for all residents.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Equity & Empowerment Objectives:
Civil & Human Rights
Equitable Services & Access
Poverty Prevention & Alleviation
The 7 Objectives in STAR’s Health & Safety Goal Area recognize that the development of healthy, safe, and resilient communities requires proactive efforts to prevent disease, injury, and premature death by fortifying protective factors and reducing risk factors that undermine healthy outcomes.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Health & Safety Objectives:
Community Health & Health System
Emergency Prevention & Response
Food Access & Nutrition
Indoor Air Quality
Natural & Human Hazards
The 6 Objectives in the Natural Systems Goal Area help communities protect and restore the places that provide resources to support life. The Goal Area takes an ecosystem services approach and recognizes the wide range of benefits natural systems provide, such as food, water, and natural regulating processes affecting climate and floods.
Here’s how we scored in each of the Natural Systems Objectives:
Natural Resource Protection
Outdoor Air Quality
Water in the Environment
Resource Efficient Public Infrastructure
The Innovation & Process category is an avenue for discovering emerging and leading edge practices that communities are implementing to improve sustainability outcomes. There are 4 sections in this category: Best Practices & Processes; Exemplary Performance; Local Innovation; and Regional Priorities.
The City of Lawrence received 30 additional points on our total score for innovations in this area.
Our STAR rating also provides a roadmap for the city and community to continue to demonstrate leadership in sustainability.
Our goal is to integrate the STAR sustainability best practices into our community plans and programs, including the revision of the comprehensive plan, and the city’s strategic plan.
Want to learn more about STAR?
Invite us to come present to your class, neighborhood association, community group, or church! We are happy to come share the STAR results with community members, and want to learn from you what you think is important for the City to keep working on.
To schedule a presentation, contact Eileen Horn, Sustainability Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 785-330-3121
Want to help shape Lawrence’s sustainable future?
Join one of our citizen advisory boards! Many of them are directly related to our sustainability initiatives. Learn more and sign up here: https://lawrenceks.org/boards/
A special thanks to:
- City of Lawrence
- City Attorney’s Office
- City Manager’s Office
- Parks & Recreation
- Planning & Development Services
- Public Works Department
- Utilities Department
- Douglas County:
- County Clerk’s Office
- Emergency Management
- Treasurer’s Office
- Partner Organizations:
- Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence
- Douglas County Conservation District
- Elizabeth Wesley, GIS volunteer
- Head Start
- Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department
- Lawrence-Douglas County Housing Authority
- Peaslee Tech
- Tenants to Homeowners
- United Way of Douglas County
- USD 497