Lawrence Recognized as a National Leader in Sustainability

City, community partners work together to achieve 4 STAR ranking.

| 2016 Q4 | by Megan Gilliland, City of Lawrence Communications Manager

Star Community Rating

With a total evaluation score of 460 points, 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 sustainability, and rates communities out of 5 STARs.

What is STAR?

The STAR Community Rating System (STAR) is the first national certification program to recognize sustainable communities. STAR was built by and for local governments.

The STAR framework integrates economic, environmental and social aspects of sustainability. There are seven goal areas and 44 objectives by which cities are evaluated. These include both actions of the city government and the community at-large.

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, Columbia and St. Louis, Missouri, Iowa City, Dubuque and Des Moines, Iowa, Indianapolis, Indiana, and Fort Collins, Colorado.


STAR Goals

Our City of Lawrence Score

The city received a 4-STAR rating (out of five). This makes us the highest-rated community in Kansas. The graphic to the right shows areas where the city excelled and areas for improvement.

Why Does This Matter?

A 4-STAR rating puts Lawrence in a prestigious tier in the STAR certification system. Of the 51 certified communities, only 20 have achieved a 4-STAR rating. Only four have achieved the 5-STAR rating. National leaders in sustainability, such as Portland, Oregon, and Austin, Texas, are also in this 4-STAR tier.

Where Do We Go From Here?

We undertook the STAR certification not only to assess our progress toward sustainability but also to set targets for moving forward. The STAR framework provides a nationally recognized set of best practices for sustainability, and we look forward to continuing to improve.


Star Goal Areas

The STAR Community Rating System supports best practices aimed to move the needle on community-level conditions and outcomes.

The chart to the right shows the STAR goals and objectives. Every city department and division within the city, along with our community partners, will be working to use the STAR objectives in defining our policies and through service delivery of our programs. We’ll use the STAR framework to enhance the quality city services we provide and continue to build on our sustainable practices.

The city plans to use the STAR framework as part of its Strategic Plan, which is currently in development and will help set community priorities and goals for the foreseeable future.

For more information about the score and the STAR certification process, visit the City’s STAR website at

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