In conjunction with this week’s Annual PCRG Summit, evolveEA led a symposium at the Kingsley Association that built upon a number of sustainable planning initiatives we have been working on with Pittsburgh neighborhoods. Our partners in these efforts, the Kingsley Association from Larimer and the Borough of Millvale co-facilitated the event, providing background on their progress and specific challenges for their communities.
This symposium was the culmination of an Environmental Education grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection that evolveEA received in cooperation with Three Rivers Waterkeeper, Calos Gasca, the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Kingsley Association and community partners in Millvale. With both communities having established a foundation for sustainable neighborhood planning, an important step toward implementation is to build community capacity for innovation around urban sustainability issues.
Ecodistrict planning offers a way for communities to incorporate innovative energy, water or food systems into the design of their neighborhoods while creating new types of community ties. Ecodistricts in existing communities are especially challenging as they must integrate innovative systems into existing fabric while raising community capacity to imagine, implement and steward the systems. Our research and experience suggests that deep community resiliency can be created when urban improvements are coupled with civic engagement to develop community strength in decision-making, knowledge development, legal structure and financial resources.
With nearly 40 attendees putting our heads together to strategize on some of the biggest challenges for Larimer and Millvale, those who joined us from other neighborhoods around Pittsburgh were able to learn a great deal from one another and take these ideas back to their communities for further development. Our next step includes publishing a report that will organize these ideas and look back at the process of engagement with community stakeholders that led us to this stage. Check this space for updates, and for now enjoy these photos!