STAR Community Index, Like LEED But For Cities and Local Governments

Portland Cityscape

Keep your eyes out for the newest tool designed to rate cities in their efforts to push environmental stewardship.  The STAR Community Index is like LEED, but it’s designed to rate local governments.  With myriad green city rankings and websites trying to calculate the sustainability of local governments,* it’s high time for a highly respected, standardized formula for measuring a community’s sustainability.  According to ICLEI, the STAR Program will create a process, not unlike LEED, to bring in leaders in the field toward the goal of establishing shared measures and processes for greening communities.  STAR will have tiered levels, with the aim to accomplish the following:


  • Offer a globally recognized green standard system for local governments
  • Drive integrity and rigor in local governmental actions meant to reduce climate impacts
  • Increase accountability in data and actions
  • Facilitate prioritized and informed decision making
  • Create a roadmap for communities to track and achieve environmental goals
  • Enable peer-to-peer learning among communities
  • Engage the public in supporting and advancing their city as a STAR community

STAR is being developed by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability in partnership with the USGBC and the Center for American Progress

*Up until this point, various websites and media publishers have tried to rank cities based on various sustainability and environmental factors.  Some rankings include Popular Science’s 50 Greenest Cities, CountryHome’s Best Green Places, SustainLane’s US City Rankings, Move’s Top 10 Greenest Cities, and MSN CityGuide’s 10 Greenest Cities in America

Image via Infinite Wilderness, tip via elaine.

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  • Elaine

    Yes, pretty exciting stuff! Thanks for posting, Preston!

    More points to note about this community sustainability assesment framework:
    – Jan 2010 will be the official pilot (it got pushed out)
    – 3rd party verification with periodic re-certification and tiers of recognition
    – policy and performance-based metrics (core issues will be prereqs)
    – developed by local gov’ts and key organizations
    – recognition platform and info-sharing platform
    – inclusive and accessible design around the built environment, natural environment, and social equity!

    Will keep you posted about the progress, but I’m happy that my hometown (Oakland, CA) is one of the cities on the Steering Committee!

    • Preston

      Thanks for keeping us updated, Elaine, I’m always following your twitter stream for the most interesting tidbits of green news. :)

      2010 is still a long way away, but it’ll be cool to see metrics for cities to use. Maybe we can find a way to get SLC on the Steering Committee or some committee, too!

      • Elaine

        I don’t have the full list of cities on the Steering Committee list (I didn’t get a say in the list), but there will be opportunities for cities to volunteer for Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) once the framework is developed by the Steering Committee…


    that’s a very interesting attempt. have you ever heard about the ‘green city index’? by the way: siemens has just launched a new project called ‘sustainable cities’ in the US could be interesting for you as well as sustainability becomes more and more important.

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