Atlanta selected for Beta phase of Star Communities Index

The City of Atlanta has been selected as one of only eight U.S. cities to participate in the Beta phase of the STAR Communities Index program in development by ICLEI USA.

As a participant in the Beta program, Atlanta has the unique opportunity to receive technical support for its sustainability efforts while serving as a demonstration market in the creation of a national standard that cities throughout the United States will one day be able to use in creating more sustainable communities.

In October, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed announced his goal of elevating Atlanta into the top ten most sustainable cities in the U.S. Partnerships with groups such as the Turner Foundation, Sustainable Atlanta and ICLEI USA among many others, are critical to realizing this goal which is backed by the City’s newly launched Sustainability Plan.

"The City of Atlanta is honored to be chosen as a part of the Star Beta Communities Program," Mayor Kasim Reed said. "As we make strides toward becoming a top 10 city for sustainability, measuring our progress and achievements is just as important as reaching our end goal. Having the expertise of ICLEI USA is invaluable and we are proud to be among such great peer cities."

The Turner Foundation will make a financial contribution of $25,000 to the cover costs of a customized sustainability dashboard that will be built specifically for Atlanta as part of the program. Sustainable Atlanta, through its partnership with the City of Atlanta Office of Sustainability, will provide project management resources to manage the effort on behalf of the City. Townsend Bailey of Sustainable Atlanta also serves as a proxy for the City of Atlanta on the STAR Community Index Steering Committee.

“We are thrilled to have the City of Atlanta among our nine leading STAR Beta Communities and as a committed partner in our mission to build healthier and more prosperous communities,” said Martin Chávez, Executive Director ICLEI USA and three-term mayor of Albuquerque, N.M. “Atlanta has been a leader in the development of sustainability and energy efficiency programs among local governments and those efforts will play a crucial role in guiding the direction and success of STAR.”

The STAR Community Index is being developed by ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability USA (ICLEI USA) in partnership with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), National League of Cities (NLC), and Center for American Progress. Atlanta was one of 19 cities that submitted an application to become part of the program. Other cities chosen to serve as Beta Communities for the STAR Index include Boulder, Colo.; Chattanooga, Tenn.; Cranberry, Pa.; District of Columbia; King County, Wash.; New York City, N.Y. and St. Louis, Mo.

Program candidates were evaluated on six criteria which included status of climate and sustainability initiatives; commitment for using sustainability indicators for management and reporting; use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology; support from elected officials; availability of staff resources; and ability to meet the financial requirements of the program.

Sustainable Atlanta’s Measuring the Movement program builds on the success of Atlanta’s first sustainability report and will further enable the city to measure its progress and plan for the city’s economic vitality and environmental health. Measuring the Movement provides a platform to engage a broad network of stakeholders and organizations in building a shared vision for a sustainable Atlanta and identifying key, meaningful sustainability indicators and metrics.

“Sustainable Atlanta is proud to partner with the City of Atlanta in serving as a Beta Community for the STAR Community Index, which will provide Atlanta with a great opportunity to highlight its leadership on sustainability,” said Sustainable Atlanta Co-Interim Director, Townsend Bailey. “The process of developing the STAR Community Index will also help Sustainable Atlanta further drive progress for making Atlanta an even better place to live, work, and play.”

The efforts of the City of Atlanta and Sustainable Atlanta coincide with the goals of the STAR Community Index and have prepared Atlanta to be a Beta Community for the STAR Index. As an early adopter, Atlanta will continue its efforts to measure and report on the city’s sustainable progress and serve as a valuable resource in the development of the STAR online platform.

For more information on City of Atlanta sustainability efforts please visit the Office of Sustainability website, http://www.atlantaga.gov/mayor/sustainability.aspx. To learn more about the ICLEI Star Community Index program please visit, http://www.icleiusa.org/programs/sustainability/star-community-index/star-goals-and-guiding-principles.