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tedx talk: creating a living city
Watch Christine Mondor's TEDx Talk about Ecodistrict Planning
evolve's 2015 in review
Check out our timeline of highlights from last year!
visualizing air quality
Four ways to “see” Pittsburgh air pollution, even if you can’t smell it
Cultivating Community
In light of the buzz surrounding Pittsburgh’s food scene, we have been thinking about the role of food in creating vibrant and resilient communities across our city. The 2015 Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Annual Report notes: “Pittsburgh simultaneously tops lists for most livable city and best food town, as well as the food insecurity lists for cities of similar size. Nearly half of Pittsburghers live in communities that meet criteria for food deserts.” In many of the projects we’ve worked on, food is used to not only to sustain and nurture us but to bring... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on April 14, 2016
Bringing Sustainability to the Trucking Industry
The ubiquitous trucks we see on the highways are an integral part of our way of life. While not always pleasant to be around (or drive around), the $750 billion trucking industry provides the conveyance from one place to another of nearly everything we rely upon. evolveEA was recently asked to speak at the American Trucking Association’s Technology and Maintenance Council’s (TMC) semi-annual conference about sustainability in trucking. The Conference celebrated 60 years of influence as the trucking industry’s primary trade group.As with other industry trade group conferences... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on March 07, 2016
The Millvale Ecodistrict Pivots
We’re proud to feature a guest post by Zaheen Hussain, reflecting on the Millvale Ecodistrict planning and implementation and what lies ahead (above) photo of millvale by In 2012, with the development of the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, the community had selected three key issue areas to tackle—Food, Water, and Energy. Without knowing the community, one might wonder why these three topics were what community members thought of first when evolveEA first started to help walk the community through its sustainable planning process. To those who live... 
Posted by Zaheen Hussain on November 05, 2015
Common-sense, Low-cost, Short-term Strategies for Safer Urban Streets
I’ve been getting around primarily on a bicycle for over 15 years in different cities. Last year I moved from Pittsburgh’s East Liberty area to Uptown, aka Soho/the Bluff, which connects Downtown to Oakland, the city’s education and medical center, and points east. I now have a longer ride to work, which I do not mind—more time on my bike makes me happy. The downside is that Oakland’s main avenues are some of the very last in the city to receive any attention in terms of bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The problem is complex, and planning initiatives have produced... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on October 26, 2015
Visualizing Air Quality
“I don’t smell anything.” “Trust me, it’s better than it used to be.” These are the two most common retorts from Pittsburghers when I remark on the heavy odors associated with the city’s air quality. Both statements are true (I take their word on the first one), so both deserve a thoughtful response. A smokey and smog covered Pittsburgh in the 1970s   It’s true that Pittsburgh no longer needs street lamps at noon to help commuters navigate city streets shrouded in black smog. The city has made strides in creating livable spaces... 
Posted by Chris Guignon on September 16, 2015
Inspiring a Materials Revolution
The idea of a “Living Building” has been around for several years now, and as projects are built we’re able to experience these inspiring places first-hand. We’ve been able to be involved in a few of these transformational projects, such as the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes or the Frick Environmental Center, and see how they are shifting the design and construction market and with a ripple-effect in many other sectors. We are excited to be involved in one of the cutting edge efforts to amplify the ripple effect through an upcoming gathering of product... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on September 09, 2015
The Greening of Sports to Save the Planet?
The Green Sports Alliance meshes the power of sports and competition as a unifying force with the need to show leadership towards a sustainable economy that works toward zero carbon emissions.  While I enjoy spectator sports and appreciate what sports signify to popular culture, I am often struck by the waste and frivolity that accompanies the zeal.  evolveEA recently performed a Waste Audit at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Field as part of our ongoing work with the Pittsburgh Steelers, and the sheer volume of waste generated during a typical home football game was truly striking. ... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on August 27, 2015
Time for LEED V4: A Better Rating System
Good brands must evolve. The USGBC’s LEED Rating System is the dominant global green building standard, with 1.6 million square feet of real estate certified every day and over 3.6 billion square feet already certified globally. LEED has been a large factor in today’s green building industry and charts a bold course towards future market transformation, no small feat in this very fast-moving industry. The advent of LEED V4 has arguably been underway ever since LEED 2009 was launched, where every one of the various LEED certifications was simultaneously released as one rating... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on May 15, 2015
What is a Boulevard?
When you hear the word boulevard what picture comes to mind? In some cities where I have lived, the word is associated with a wider-than usual street that accommodates not only motor vehicles but includes bike lanes, walkways and communal green spaces as well. Some of Washington DC’s avenues, with their circles, squares and triangular parklets enhancing major intersections, exhibit the European-style streetscape of a boulevard. Cities like Vienna or Paris also come to mind as places where the term invokes a people-friendly street scene, and not a noisy dangerous highway. Here... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on April 01, 2015
Creating Community: Review of Sustainable Cities Collective’s Webinar on Urban Architecture
David Thorpe This post recaps a webinar in which evolveEA Principal Christine Mondor was one of three panelists discussing the role of architecture in creating healthy and livable communities. The webinar, hosted by Sustainable Cities Collective and moderated by David Thorpe, took place on February 25th, 2015.  The Sustainable Cities Collective #SustainableChat Webinar: Urban Architecture and Building Better Communities held last Wednesday was very successful. Our panel of experts covered the design, economics, sustainability and community related issues of the topic. If... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on March 02, 2015
Shop Local for the Holidays
My favorite thing to do everywhere I go is to visit local artist markets or farmers markets and chat up the vendors, learn about what they are creating, and support them! Why? Because it just FEELS GOOD to support a local artisan, buying from a person, face to face, and getting unique information on how something has been made. I like to know where materials come from; I like to know the reason someone got into wood-working or ceramics, or where they source ideas for their screen prints. I just like it. Besides the good vibes, the reasons to shop local rather than at a big box... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on November 24, 2014
Equity, Health, and Climate Themes at the Forefront of Green Building Movement
I’ve just returned from my fourth Greenbuild, the annual green building conference and expo hosted by the US Green Building Council. This year, the event was held in New Orleans, adding to the experience elements of culture, music, food, awesome weather, and—perhaps most importantly—a powerful demonstration of urban resiliency concepts. In the past, Greenbuild has always included sessions focusing on how the building community can prepare for our changing climate, but as we set up for a week in the city that is undeniably a poster child for this issue, it felt even more... 
Posted by Elena Goldstein on November 10, 2014
Celebrating Our 50th LEED Certification
evolveEA has worked to coach projects towards sustainability goals since our founding in 2004. Since then we have moved into teaching, ecodistricts, existing buildings, 2030 commitment, facilitation, Living Buildings, communications and organizational strategy, but one mainstay of our work has always been LEED management for buildings and interiors, helping projects to set goals and achieve USGBC LEED certification. Since our first LEED certification, indeed since leafing through the very coarse LEED 1.0 in 1998, LEED has developed into a global standard.  Originally designed... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on October 15, 2014
Greenbuild 2014 Charrette: Powering Community
This year’s Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the US Green Building Council’s premier event for sustainable building, is just around the corner!  We are excited to share some details about a special, interactive session at this year’s conference that members of evolve and our local partners are facilitating. If you’re attending, we hope you will join us Wednesday, October 22 at 8:00 am in Meeting Room 338 at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Christine Mondor and Anna Rosenblum from evolveEA have teamed-up with Fred... 
Posted by Anna Rosenblum on October 14, 2014
Summer Adventure on the Ohio River
One of the perks of working at evolve is our annual summer office gatherings. Over the years we have enjoyed spending time together, outside of our normal office setting in such places as Pirates games at PNC Park, picnics, and even white water rafting. This summer’s outing was no less exciting, with our entire office plus family and friends enjoying a special dinner cruise aboard one of the Gateway Clipper Fleet’s famous river boats. Traveling on our rivers was more than just a fun activity; our ecodistrict projects with riverfront communities as well as the water-related... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on August 14, 2014
Triple Bottom Line Sustainable Business
The importance of business in our lives is hard to overstate. Every aspect of our lives is touched by organizations that make products or services with which we can choose to engage. The smart phones, movies, restaurants, furniture, search engines and cars that we love are brought to us by companies actively participating in the capitalistic enterprise, in which the primary motive in a corporate charter is the creation of wealth—making money doing what the business is created to do. Conventionally, the manner in which a company is deemed successful is its profitability. If... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on March 03, 2014
Highlights From Our 2013 Review
Each year we like to take a look back and remember some of the milestones we’ve achieved with our partners, clients, and team along the way. We hope you enjoy our 2013 Highlights infographic! 
Posted by Daniel Klein on March 02, 2014
A Green Vision for Post-Sandy Brighton Beach
Living Building design and construction projects are extremely ambitious endeavors. This is why only a handful of projects have been completed and certified to date. And it’s also why the sharing of information and storytelling among those of us involved in such projects can be particularly valuable. With this in mind, members of evolveEA decided to visit the Bright ‘n Green project in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach while on a recent visit to New York City. While evolveEA has been involved in the design of several net zero and Living Building Challenge projects, most notably... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on January 20, 2014
Green Building Infographic: What is the Integrated Design Process?
Designing and constructing green buildings that meet ambitious performance goals can be a challenging endeavor for project teams. LEED certified buildings and revolutionary projects such as the Phipps Center for Sustainable Landscapes, a Living Building, require a special approach by the team of professionals conceiving of and implementing the project. Conventional processes do not facilitate the type of interdisciplinary collaboration and stakeholder engagement that is necessary to address all of the economic, social, and environmental aspects of a truly green and sustainable... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on December 12, 2013
Pittsburgh’s Quilted Communities Highlighted at Ecodistricts Summit
Recently in Boston, evolveEA and our community partners from Millvale and Larimer joined hundreds of sustainability thought leaders at the 2013 Ecodistricts Summit, the premier conference dedicated to promoting sustainable neighborhood development. The Pittsburgh team led a workshop called Ecodistricts in Quilted Communities, which focused on the complex challenges and opportunities for rust-belt communities like Larimer and Millvale as they plan and implement neighborhood-scale improvements in energy, water and food systems. Innovative urban scale systems depend on the community’s... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on November 13, 2013
How Do You Want to Change the World?
As a special collaboration, we proudly feature thoughts by Nikole Brugnoli Sheaffer, Director of Innovation & Development at The Environmental Charter School at Frick Park  I’m a curriculum geek. To the non-educator world, this translates into a passion for the framework, resources, and instructional practices associated with teaching and learning. I dig into authentic ways of engaging kids, I get excited about new ways to inspire creativity, and I am the kind of person that loves to get in the “mess” of learning with kids (not at them). Couple this affinity with... 
Posted by Nikole Sheaffer on October 23, 2013
Neighbors Collaborate on a Neighborhood Identity
  Recently evolveEA led the final community meeting in a three-part Identity and Visioning project for Pittsburgh’s Brookline neighborhood. Residents, local business owners, and community leaders came together to build on the work of past meetings and further develop a vision for a future Brookline. Drawing from a variety of ideas generated at the community meetings, as well as from the online community at, we presented three potential identities for Brookline: International Marketplace, Fun & Fit, and Friendly & Accessible. These three identities... 
Posted by Chris Guignon on September 24, 2013
evolveEA Features Phipps Conservatory at UK Green Vision Conference
A real highlight of our July Green Vision conference was hearing from evolveEA, live from the US, describe their work at the recently completed Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes. The audience in Leeds UK, along with many more tuned in on-line, listened to Christine and Mark Mondor present the inspiring background to the design and construction challenges overcome to address the Living Building Standard. Of particular interest and real ‘take-aways’  for the audience was understanding how evolveEA addressed the Standard’s more demanding... 
Posted by Martin Brown on August 05, 2013
Artists and Neighborhood Change
Last month I took a bus trip from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, Maryland to attend a conference called Artists and Neighborhood Change. The topic of community outreach and engagement through the arts has captivated me over the past several years, as a practicing artist, an urban dweller who has lived in three global cities over the past decade, as a politically conscious citizen, and as part of evolveEA, where our own Urban Strategies and Social Engagement projects often intersect with the arts. Use of the term “Neighborhood Change” is an entrée to discussion about issues... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on July 12, 2013
Organizational Strategy: Essential Ingredients for Success
As our name evolve suggests, we believe it is important to periodically examine where we are, how we got here, and where we’re going. Communities, governments, corporations, and most other entities need strategies to work toward whatever vision drives their existence and ensure sustainability. Because success is often a moving target, strategies need to be reviewed and adjusted on a regular basis. evolveEA recently spent a day examining our mission, identity, and potential plans for our future as a multidisciplinary consulting and design firm. We held a retreat to facilitate... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on June 13, 2013