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The Role of the Report

In order to understand and create the vision that will be laid out the in the ForgingPGH Comprehensive Plan, we need to understand what brought us to where we stand today. That is the role of the Conditions and Trends Report. The Condition and Trends Report focuses on the past, with an eye toward the future. The data in the Report serves as a resource for the creation of the Plan that will follow.

p4 Framework

The Conditions and Trends Report was developed using p4. p4 is a model based around a central, unifying framework—People, Planet, Place, and Performance—that was launched at an international summit in Pittsburgh in 2015. The City of Pittsburgh and The Heinz Endowments have collaborated on this effort to forge a new model of urban growth and development that is innovative, inclusive, and sustainable. The Conditions and Trends Report was developed using the p4 framework.

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Pittsburgh: Past, present, and Future

People: Advancing the Just and Sustainable City

Planet: Creating a Green and Healthy Environment

Place:Promoting Innovation Through Urban Design

Performance: Measuring Success for an Inclusive Economy

A map of Pittsburgh, with the four p4 icons encircled.
The Conditions and Trends Report was developed using the p4 model, based on a unifying framework of People, Planet, Place, and Performance.


Past, Present, and Future

We are no longer a city in decline, but the benefits of growth are not shared by all. The same forces that built Pittsburgh into an economic dynamo in the 20th century are at the root of the inequality we see now. The vision for our future, in the form of our the ForgingPGH citywide comprehensive plan, must come from all Pittsburghers and benefit all Pittsburghers. The first step in preparing for the development of the comprehensive plan was the creation of the Conditions and Trends Report, which shows where we stand today and how we got here.

Key takeaways

  • Planning has helped shape Pittsburgh’s progress for the last hundred years, but the plans and policies created have also hurt some neighborhoods and people.
  • Pittsburgh is one of the most segregated large cities, due to decades of redlining and other institutionalized oppression.
  • New planning efforts must be focused on continuing to build equity, sustainability, and resilience at the City level and in individual neighborhoods.
  • The ForgingPGH Comprehensive Plan will be our community’s mission statement. The Conditions and Trends Report will be used as a resource to develop a comprehensive plan.
  • Scenario planning workshops and open houses, open to anyone who lives or works in the City, are the next step in creating a comprehensive plan. The output from the workshops and open houses will drive the roadmap the City creates for its future.
  • In addition to the p4 Framework, the comprehensive plan will be guided by the Displacement Vulnerability Index, which measures risk of residential displacement in neighborhoods.

“The three worst mistakes of the Pittsburgh Renaissance were the misguided efforts that badly affected the Hill, the North Side, and East Liberty.”

–Franklin Tokar
View of downtown Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington
The p4 framework will help forge urban growth that is innovative, inclusive, and sustainable.


Advancing the Just and Sustainable City

Pittsburgh is emerging from a long period of decline, but we must ensure our growth benefits all residents. Looking at local and neighborhood-specific measures relating to the human condition in Pittsburgh—life expectancy, employment, wages, job skills, housing affordability, etc—helps us understand how best to promote equitable development. 

Key takeaways

  • Pittsburgh is getting younger and more diverse.
  • Pittsburgh’s population is stabilizing, but its labor force has gotten larger.
  • Pittsburgh is experiencing an economic rebirth, but growth is not benefiting all residents equally.
  • Residents of majority-black Pittsburgh neighborhoods have a significantly lower life expectancy than residents of majority-white Pittsburgh neighborhoods.
  • Pittsburgh has positioned itself as a welcoming place for immigrants, particularly refugees.
  • Half of all Black renters in Pittsburgh are cost burdened; and more than a quarter of Black renters are severely cost burdened, meaning more than 50% of income is spent on rent.

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everyone.” 

–Jane Jacobs, Author and Urban Planner
Pittsburghers listening to someone speaking
The City must ensure growth benefits all residents. (Community Feedback, image: Annia Aleman)


Creating a Green and Healthy Environment

Pittsburgh is already experiencing the effects of climate change and is facing a water- and air-quality crisis. These challenges must be addressed if we are to ensure Pittsburgh continues to grow and our citizens thrive. Moreover, the challenges must be addressed in a way that is equitable, given that low-income and non-white Pittsburghers have historically shared more of the burden of unhealthy environments. The Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan (CAP), originally released in 2008 and updated regularly, calls for coordinated, concentrated, and comprehensive efforts to address our environment.

Key takeaways

  • Pittsburgh is already experiencing and preparing for the effects of climate change.
  • Pittsburgh’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) lays out strategies through which Pittsburgh can reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including leading into a clean economy to achieve its goals.
  • While the number of unhealthy air quality inventory days for particulate matter has been falling, Pittsburgh’s air quality still receives a failing grade from the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report.
  • A substantial increase in lead concentration has led to a crisis in Pittsburgh’s water supply.
  • Low-income and non-white Pittsburghers have had to bear a disproportionate burden of adverse environmental impacts.

“After a generation of soot-filled skies, we as a city recognized that the quality of our environment impacts not only the economic prosperity of our neighborhoods, but the health of those that call Pittsburgh home.” 

–Pittsburgh State of Sustainability Report, 2017-2018
Phipps Conservatory glass-domed roof
Pittsburgh is facing a water and air-quality crisis. (Phipps Conservatory, image: Jeremy Cooper)


Promoting Innovation Through Urban Design

Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods are impacted by numerous factors including the composition of the people who live there, the number and type of jobs nearby, and the decisions made regarding housing development and transportation. Understanding how that those factors have shaped our neighborhoods in the past is key to making good decisions in the future.

Key takeaways

  • Population turnover has affected most neighborhoods, with some neighborhoods getting a disproportionate share of increases and decreases.
  • Pittsburgh is less segregated than it used to be, with more non-white populations spread throughout the City.
  • Investment in the form of new development has happened in some neighborhoods at a far greater value than others.
  • Pittsburgh is targeting a 28% decrease in single occupancy vehicle commuter trips by 2030.
  • Commuter times, even in neighborhoods close to Downtown, are not necessarily low, signaling poor public transportation options or lack of jobs.
  • The City of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy have made a commitment to achieve equity and excellence in every park in Pittsburgh, and prioritize spending on park repairs in communities that need it most.

“Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own rites and rituals. A patchwork of cultures that took shape over a century ago.” 

–Anthony Bourdain, Food & Culture Writer
A view of Pittsburgh from an airplane.
Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. (Image: Menghan Zhang on Unsplash)


Measuring Success for an Inclusive Economy

A successful citywide comprehensive plan must be built on the goals and desires of the people who live and work in that city. To that end, the City of Pittsburgh will be holding an online scenario planning workshop as well as open houses throughout the City over the next year. In the workshop and open houses, participants will provide their vision of where their neighborhoods and the City as a whole should grow and develop. Other tools will be used by participants and planners to help shape that vision.

Key takeaways

  • A good comprehensive plan must be implementable, meaning it can be done, and accountable, meaning its implementation must be measured and evaluated against its goals.
  • The ForgingPGH Comprehensive Plan will rely on three evaluation tools:
    1.  A measure that identifies neighborhoods vulnerable to displacement through gentrification. 
    2.  A data and community-driven scenario planning process in which residents play a significant role
    3.  A data visualization tool, which can be used by planners and community members.
  • Feedback received from people in scenario planning workshops and open houses scheduled throughout the City over the next year will help shape the City’s comprehensive plan for the future.
  • Participation in scenario planning, open to anyone, is a once-in-a-generation opportunity in Pittsburgh.

“Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood… Make big plans; aim high in hope and work.” 

–Daniel Burnham, Architect & Urban Designer
Pittsburghers mingling at an Inclusive Innovation Meetup.
Pittsburghers will offer their vision for the future at scenario planning workshops and open houses. (Meet New People!, image: Annia Aleman)

In Summary

The Conditions and Trends Report serves as an important resource for the work that will be done on the ForgingPGH Comprehensive Plan. It helps us understand how Pittsburgh got to where it is today. The comprehensive plan, when it’s completed in 2021, will be the roadmap for Pittsburgh’s future. This vision will come from the people who live and work in the City. Participate in creating that vision by attending one of the many scenario planning workshops and open houses the City will be holding over the next year. Go to Get Involved to find out more and sign up on Engage PGH receive further updates and information.

Looking down the street near Immaculate Heart of Mary Church on Polish Hill in Pittsburgh, Pa.
Each neighborhood has different factors that shape and impact the Pittsburgh community, as well as drive its growth in the future.

See the factors impacting your neighborhood

The Data Viz Tool, is an easy-to-use interactive tool that enables you to drill down into vital information about every neighborhood in the City. Use the Data Viz Tool to toggle on/off various factors, such as population, jobs, and debt burden, which are strongly related to the City’s ability to drive growth in the future and to create a more equitable community.

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