Pittsburgh’s Water, Rivers, and the Smart City Challenge

The Pittsburgh 2030 District June Partner Meeting took Partners on a stroll through the lush exhibits of Phipps Conservatory and onto the green roof of the Center for Sustainable Landscapes. Nearly 60 Partners gathered to hear about the hopeful solutions, and challenges, to sustainable development at Phipps, along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, and throughout the city’s transportation system.

Pittsburgh 2030 District Meeting and Phipps Tour

What We Learned

  • Phipps Conservatory has taken innovative measures in water treatment and reuse, and has even greater plans for their rain and sanitary system water. Water used in sinks, fountains, and the sanitary system is collected and treated onsite using natural processes, and then reused for future toilet flushes. Certified under the Living Building Challenge program, the Center for Sustainable Landscapes building is already achieving great results.
  • Jason Wirick, Director of Facilities and Sustainability Management at Phipps, encouraged attendees to advocate for changes in regulations regarding graywater reuse. Twenty states currently allow graywater reuse, but Pennsylvania is not one of them. Phipps and other locations with onsite water treatment, like Chatham’s Eden Hall Campus, are carefully tracking their data and making their cases to the Pennsylvania DEP, asking for revisions to the regulations in response to new technology.
  • The Strip District Riverfront is planned to get a makeover with public spaces, improved trails, and accessible streets. Vivien Li, CEO of Riverlife, shared conceptual development plans that will bring new life to the riverfront between 11th Street and the 31st Street Bridge. Riverlife hopes to work with land owners in the Strip District to establish public waterfront access by developing a network of public spaces connected by an improved trail with street access.
  • The City of Pittsburgh will revamp zoning regulations to advance sustainable development along Pittsburgh’s riverfronts. Andrew Dash, Assistant Director of Strategic Planning, described plans for a new policy that will speed sustainable, human-scale development in waterfront areas. The new code will incorporate criteria of green infrastructure, mobility, and building performance. Although it will take several years to write the new code, the Interim Planning Overlay District (IPOD) has been created to move development forward in the meantime.
  • Pittsburgh was recently selected as one of seven finalists in the Smart City Challenge. The competition, held by the US Department of Transportation, included $50 million in funding to redesign the City’s transportation system. Grant Ervin, Chief Resiliency Officer for the City of Pittsburgh, shared some details of the plan, which include a network of sensors in vehicles and traffic lights to ease congestion and reduce vehicle emissions. Just hours after the Partner Meeting, it was announced that Columbus is the winning city. Although winning would have accelerated the planned projects, City officials intend to pursue other sources of funding and hope to implement the designed plans.

Each month, the Pittsburgh 2030 District holds a Partner Meeting convening Property Partners, Community and Resource Partners, sponsors and other stakeholders to discuss the latest relevant happenings and information for the city. Meetings are held in a different location within the District’s two boundaries, Downtown and Oakland, giving building owners and facility managers the opportunity to share their successes and challenges. Additional speakers present industry information and updates on a variety of critical topics. It’s a closed-door, monthly forum where partners learn from each other with peer-to-peer dialogue and plan collaboratively for a sustainable and efficient future.

The Pittsburgh 2030 District’s goal is to have 100% property participation in the District’s Downtown and Oakland boundaries. Join us! Visit our FAQs for more program information and our contact page to get a hold of us.

, , , ,

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply