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Sustainable Community Development Network of Southwestern Pennsylvania | For Leaders Advancing High Performing Communities

Featured Event


SCDN Webinar: Urban Agriculture – From Vacant Properties to Green Space

November 15 @ 1:00 – 2:00 pm
Register Here

As municipal leaders seek ways to improve the quality of life for their neighborhoods, community gardens have shown to cultivate resident engagement and productive community partnerships. Utilizing vacant lots as green space in some communities has also revealed an improvement in air and water quality, helping with stormwater issues and even calming local traffic.

Join Local Government Academy in partnership with Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Sustainable Community Development Network (SCDN) as we host speaker Rayden Sorock, Director of Community Projects at Grow Pittsburgh, for a webinar describing best practices for starting an urban agricultural project. Learn which policies municipalities can adopt to facilitate growing food, and then hear from Rebecca Bradley, Manager of Wilkins Township, about a real community garden project.


October Events Roundup

October was an exciting month for Sustainable Pittsburgh, full of opportunities to learn and connect with leaders, experts, and motivated community members! Below are some of the events in which SP engaged:

PML Summit
October 5-6, 2018

The 119th annual summit of the Pennsylvania Municipal League (PML) gathered officials from across the state to attend educational sessions, discuss issues facing PA’s municipalities, share resources and best practices, establish legislative policy, and elect officers and members of the board. Sustainable Pittsburgh’s Jim Price held a workshop on the Sustainable PA Community Certification and presented a session with planners from the City of Pittsburgh on using the EcoDistricts protocol for community development.

North American Passive House Network Conference
October 17-21, 2018

The 2018 annual conference and expo for the North American Passive House Network was in Pittsburgh, where sessions included topics such as policy and zoning, social equity, health and wellness, and technological innovations. Passive House principles can play a pivotal role in increasing sustainability for projects and communities through energy use, air quality, safety, and more.

Rail~Volution Conference
October 21-24, 2018

Rail~Volution’s annual conference, this year in Pittsburgh, explored the link between land use, transit, and development through four days of sessions and mobile workshops, highlighting the transit infrastructure and development that currently exists, the work being done to advance both technology and equity, and inspiring stories of successes across North America.


ICYMI: Sustainable Pittsburgh names dynamic visionary as new Executive Director

The Sustainable Pittsburgh Board of Directors recently announced the hiring of its new Executive Director, Joylette Portlock! Following a national search, Joylette replaces Sustainable Pittsburgh’s founding executive director, Court Gould, who served in the role for 20 years. Court accepted a position at The Erie Community Foundation earlier this year.

Joylette, who studied biology and anthropology at MIT and completed her Ph.D. in genetics from Stanford University, has most recently served as Associate Director of Science and Research at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History and executive director of Communitopia. Communitopia is a nonprofit based in Pittsburgh that focuses on climate change communication and building healthier communities.

Read the full press release here. Please stay tuned as we welcome Joylette to her position in December 2018!

Read more

News, Research, and Innovations


Former NYC mayor Bloomberg announces $2.5 million award to help Pittsburgh’s environment
Pittsburgh is a winner in the Bloomberg American Cities Climate Challenge, a $70 million initiative expected to accelerate the city’s efforts to tackle climate change and promote a sustainable future for residents.

Firm plans hydroelectric plant below Highland Park Bridge
Plans are moving ahead for a hydroelectric power plant at Locks and Dam No. 2 on the Allegheny River, just below the Highland Park Bridge. The $40 - $60 million project could produce up to 11 MW, enough to provide power for 5,000 to 8,000 homes.

Public transit expert Jarrett Walker loves Pittsburgh’s busways
"You have so much going for you in Pittsburgh," says Walker. "If you are going to build high density, put it in places that people can get to with transit."

HRC Releases 2018 Municipal Equality Index Rating Cities on LGBTQ Inclusion
HRC announced that a record-setting 78 cities across the nation earned perfect scores in the seventh annual Municipal Equality Index (MEI), meeting the most demanding and pioneering criteria since the report’s debut in 2012. The MEI is the only nationwide rating system of LGBTQ inclusion in municipal law, policy and services.

Purchasing Powerfully: Cooperative Procurement Drives Innovation and Efficiencies
Ask any government office, "what do you think of your purchasing processes? and the answers can vary from "slow and cumbersome" to "hard to navigate and understand." Cooperative procurement's primary benefit is that it combines multiple agency requirements on a single contract to aggregate spend volumes, thus raising the purchasing power of each participating entity.