Archive | Green Infrastructure

Consequences—and Potential Solutions—of Urban Heat Islands

Urban areas tend to have higher air temperatures than their rural surroundings as a result of gradual surface modifications that include the replacement of natural vegetation with buildings and roads.  The term “Urban Heat Island” describes this phenomenon.  Building surfaces and pavements absorb solar radiation and become extremely hot, and then, in turn, warm the […]

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Transit-Oriented Development

Pittsburgh has an established transit system that is one of the nation’s busiest and most effective, serving 21% of Pittsburgh city commuters.  Because, however, it serves a somewhat stagnant urban area, there are worrisome trends for regional transit ridership and revenues.  Port Authority Transit’s recent funding crisis, temporarily averted by Governor Ed Rendell’s bailout, is […]

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Green Spotlight on Sustainability Indicators

Cornerstone speaks with Court Gould Q:  What new tool has been developed to measure sustainability in the Pittsburgh area? A:  Sustainable Pittsburgh (SP) recently completed the first on-line Sustainability Indicators report for our region.  The Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Indicators Report was created through a public process to develop long-term goals and corresponding indicators of success.  It provides feedback […]

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Regionalizing the Sewage Collection System

The deteriorated state of our region’s sewage infrastructure is creating unsafe and unhealthy conditions in local streams and rivers.  Within the ALCOSAN service area, the sewage collection system is an integrated network of systems that have evolved over the past 100 years.  Today’s elected officials are tackling the issue of how to efficiently and cost-effectively […]

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Speaking Out on Light Rail Transit

We’ve got trouble right here in River City.  Decades of poor transportation stewardship have left Pittsburgh with a fragmented and segregated transit system and, despite a declining population, traffic congestion has increased due to suburban sprawl and urban flight. While cities like San Francisco are revitalizing their urban neighborhoods by replacing highways with clean and […]

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Is Green Affordable Housing an Oxymoron?

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the goal of sustainable community development is “to advance the creation of livable and vibrant communities through comprehensive approaches that coordinate economic, physical, environmental, community and human development.” In affordable housing developments, the implementation of sustainable design principles can have multiple beneficial effects on communities, their economy and […]

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Green Spotlight on Livable Communities

Cornerstone speaks with Judy Corbett Q:  How would you define a “livable” community? A:  In general, a livable community is one where residents are not dependent on a car to satisfy their daily needs.  This is accomplished through a compact, mixed-use urban design connected by pedestrian and bike paths, and with good access to transit. It […]

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Bringing Sprawl to a Crawl

“Opposing sprawl does not mean opposing economic development…  It means guiding development in a manner that maximizes the economic benefits to a community.” How Superstore Sprawl Can Harm Communities A recent report indicated that over the past ten years, 4.3 million acres of prime and unique farmland were lost, amounting to nearly 50 acres every […]

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Power to Make a Difference

“Mercury is one of the most toxic substances on earth.  Only 1/70th of a teaspoon falling into a 25-acre lake could contaminate its fish to the point that they are unsafe to eat.”  Clean Air Council You come home after a hard day’s work, flip on the lights, and turn on some music or the news.  […]

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