Cambridge, Mass., Awarded Prestigious 5-Star Community Rating

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Posted: Monday, April 25, 2016 9:18 pm

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- The city of Cambridge, Mass., has won national recognition by achieving a 5-STAR Community Rating from STAR Communities, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit. STAR Communities administers the STAR Community Rating System, the nation’s leading framework and certification program for evaluating local sustainability, encompassing environmental, social, and economic performance measures. Cambridge received high marks for its work on a range of issues, including transportation choices, energy efficiency, arts and culture, and innovative programs for youth engagement and community policing.

Cambridge distinguished itself by receiving the highest STAR score to date and joins Seattle Wash., Baltimore Md., and Northampton Mass., as the only communities that have received the Certified 5-STAR Community Rating, the top certification level. In all, 50 communities and counties across the country have received STAR certifications, and hundreds of others are actively using the rating system to measure sustainability progress.

"Our strong performance in the STAR certification program serves as affirmation of many years of work by city departments to build a better city for future generations" said City Manager Richard C. Rossi. "For decades, the city has incorporated innovative principles into our planning and programing to create a city that provides a high quality of life. As a result of the city, our residents, businesses and institutions working together, Cambridge has been able to achieve not only the 5-STAR rating but also the highest point total STAR Communities has ever awarded."

In March 2015, Cambridge joined STAR Communities’ Leadership Program, conducted a baseline assessment and compared best practices with other communities nationwide. Assistant City Manager for Community Development Iram Farooq added that "achieving a 5-STAR rating reflects a shared philosophy about the importance of a sustainable community that cuts across city government. Over 20 departments, boards and commissions contributed time, expertise and information to the STAR Communities certification effort, one that showcases Cambridge’s commitment to healthy, resilient and sustainable environmental, economic, and social policies."

STAR includes seven goal areas: the built environment; climate and energy; economy and jobs; education; arts and community; health and safety; and natural systems. Cambridge attained 90 percent or more of possible points in four of these areas. The city also received credit for exemplary performance in affordable housing preservation, superior fire protection, supporting sustainable transportation choices, and proximity to public parks.

"Sustainable cities provide a healthy environment, support a strong economy, and continually improve the well-being of the community," said Hilari Varnadore, Executive Director of STAR Communities. "Cambridge’s 5-STAR Community Rating clearly demonstrates their national leadership in sustainability. We look forward to sharing Cambridge’s success stories with other cities around the country and working with city leaders as they continue to make improvements that benefit the whole community."

SOURCE: STAR Communities

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