The City of Pittsburgh, a regional and national leader in sustainability, earned Platinum in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification. While Pittsburgh is involved in several large planning and strategic initiatives to improve the city’s resiliency and sustainability, such as the OnePGH plan and the p4 initiative, it is often the day to day operations, practices, and policies that are the true hallmarks of sustainability.
Several simple fixes to service provisions have occurred recently that aim to save money, reduce pollution and conserve resources. Following are examples of these sustainability-driving initiatives:
- The City piloted a new recycling bin program in a few Northside neighborhoods, with generous support from Legacy Alcoa Foundation. Increased recycling rates and material quality, and subsequently increased revenue, resulted from the pilot.
- Pittsburgh’s Planning Department created the Vacant Property Tool Kit, which includes the Adopt-a-Lot program. This program allows residents to use vacant lots for the benefit of the community which lowers maintenance costs, improves property values and increases available green space.
- The Department of Public Works is actively working with the Department of Innovation and Performance and partner organizations to improve paving project coordination and realize savings.
- The Department of Permits, Licenses, and Inspections has shown it is up to the task in part by integrating all its work into ”buildingeye”, an online tool that dramatically increases its ability to rapidly assess and manage building and zoning permits and their enforcement.
- The City recently adopted a ‘Complete Streets’ policy directing the Planning Department to consider all modes of transport when implementing transportation related projects.
Improving Pittsburgh’s built environment by making it greener, more equitable, and profitable, is a continual process that requires good policy, oversight, and management. Many of these changes in the day to day operations of the City, and others too numerous to mention here, are the direct results of effective planning and comprehensive policy reviews designed to increase sustainability. It is these processes that have helped the City achieve one of the highest Platinum scores recorded in the Sustainable Pennsylvania Community Certification. Pittsburgh continues to rise in the post-industrial era and flourish with an increased focus on sustainability by seeking to empower its residents, improve the environment, and increase prosperity.