Evanston Mayor Stephen Hagerty has announced that Evanston was recertified as a 4-STAR Community by the STAR Community Rating System (STAR), the nation’s leading framework and certification program measuring local sustainability.
Evanston is the first city in the nation to be recertified under STAR's newest evaluation framework, and is one of only 28 communities nationwide with a 4-STAR rating overall. Other cities with a 4-STAR rating include Austin, Texas; Portland, Oregon; and Washington, DC.
STAR stands for "Sustainability Tools for Assessing and Rating" Communities. Sustainable cities are defined as those that contribute to a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community.
Mayor Hagerty announced Evanston's recertification at his State of the City Address on March 9 at the Holiday Inn Chicago North-Evanston.
“It's an incredible accomplishment for Evanston to be the first city in the nation to achieve recertification as a 4-STAR Community under the new STAR framework,” said Mayor Hagerty. “In order for Evanston to be the most livable community for all residents, we must continue to advance equitable, sustainable and innovative practices, while setting targets for improvement and measuring our success.”
The STAR certification is valid for four years. In 2014, Evanston was one of only three communities to earn four out of five STARs. STAR has since developed a new framework, Version 2.0, which fills gaps in urban sustainability that were not covered in the first certification process.
City staff leveraged strong relationships with dozens of community groups to gather the data necessary to complete the year-long, quantitative assessment. Evanston far exceeded the 450 points necessary to achieve the 4-STAR rating, earning 511 points across seven categories: Built Environment; Climate and Energy; Education, Arts and Community; Economy and Jobs; Equity and Empowerment; Health and Safety; and Natural Systems.
Although the City earned points for hundreds of actions and practices, notable achievements included:
- Transportation Choices. Due to the many service options, 96.71 percent of Evanston households are located within walking distance of public transportation.
- Climate and Energy. Since 2005, Evanston has decreased communitywide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 17.6 percent and local government GHG emissions by 66 percent.
- Human Services. The City implemented a cloud-based case management system that is used across various City departments to centralize client intake and improve documentation and case management.
- Food Access & Nutrition. The Evanston Food Exchange acts in an advisory capacity to the City to reduce hunger and poverty in Evanston
- Safe Communities. The City’s violent crime rate for the past three years is below all targets set by the multi-agency federal Healthy People 2020 initiative, as well as the national rate of property crime.
- Green Infrastructure. Evanston has invested in 19 porous pavement programs since 2014, including alleys, parking lots, streets, parks and facilities.
- Equity & Empowerment. In 2017, Evanston hired an Equity & Empowerment Coordinator and established the Equity & Empowerment Commission.
“STAR Communities recognizes communities for promoting a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents, now and for future generations,” said Hilari Varnadore, executive director of STAR Communities. “We commend Evanston for its commitment to sustainability and emphasis on a data-driven process to measure performance.”
Evanston’s full report is posted at starcommunities.org/certification/certified-star-communities/evanston-illinois.
For more information, please call/text 847-448-4311. For convenience, you may dial 311 directly while in Evanston.