Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto reveals plan for building projects
October 12, 2016 8:35 AM
The Almono site in Hazelwood.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday unveiled a plan under which the city’s real estate projects would be measured against a set of metrics designed to ensure they are environmentally sustainable, inclusive and accessible to a wide population.
By Joyce Gannon / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Saying the era of public and private development driven mainly by political interests is over, Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Tuesday unveiled a plan under which the city’s real estate projects would be measured against a set of metrics designed to ensure they are environmentally sustainable, inclusive and accessible to a wide population.
“A seismic change is happening now for the first time in 50 years,” said Mr. Peduto. “We are not simply looking for projects to make money and jobs.”
The so-called p4 Performance Measures were unveiled at a press briefing, where the mayor and the Heinz Endowments provided a preview of the second annual p4 summit to be held Oct. 18-19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.
The p4 initiative focuses on how people, planet, place and performance all need to be significant components of plans to chart the city’s future development. The initiative was spearheaded by Andre Heinz, incoming chair of the endowments and the son of current board chair Teresa Heinz Kerry and the late U.S. Sen. H. John Heinz III.
He and Mr. Peduto will co-host the summit, which organizers expect to attract 500-plus people.
The 12 performance metrics provide a way to quantify and evaluate the effect of proposed development in categories such as air quality, use of renewable energy sources, benefits to low-income individuals and businesses, and access to transportation.
After last year’s inaugural p4 summit, Mr. Peduto asked an advisory committee to draft the metrics “to build inclusion and the importance of the planet into development,” he said.
The advisory committee included city administrators, private developers, architects and other community representatives who reached out to focus groups and 100 local experts for input, said Andrew McElwaine, the endowments’ vice president for sustainability and senior program director.
New metrics could inform future high-profile development projects targeted for the Strip District, Hill District, and the Almono site in Hazelwood, “where we want to see the highest level of standards” implemented, Mr. McElwaine said.
The endowments has an ownership stake in the Almono project along with the Benedum and Richard King Mellon foundations.
The metrics will be submitted to the city’s Urban Redevelopment Authority for review. A possible vote to adopt them could come early next year, the mayor said.
He said that will give the URA a tool and a transparent model to measure proposed developments so public dollars can be invested “in the best return for shareholders.”
While last year’s summit focused on how Pittsburgh perceives future development, said Grant Oliphant, president of the endowments, the second conference will focus largely on issues of equity including race, gender and poverty.
“We have to make sure we’re lifting up the people … at the same time we lift up the market,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Neighborhood Allies, a Downtown-based nonprofit that works to revitalize neighborhoods.
During the second day of the conference, Mr. Gillespie will moderate a panel on equitable development.
Other scheduled participants at the summit include Angela Glover Blackwell, president and chief executive of PolicyLink, an Oakland, California-based agency that conducts research and analysis on how to achieve inclusive public policy; Bruce Katz, centennial scholar at the Brookings Institution, Washington, D.C.; and Angela Blanchard, president and chief executive of Neighborhood Centers Inc., a Houston, Texas-based community development agency.
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