Like us on Facebook
Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Wins Two National Planning Awards
Zaheen Hussain, Christine Mondor, Lisa Seel, and Anna Rosenblum represented the Millvale Ecodistrict team at the Planning Awards Ceremony in New York The annual conference of the American Planing Association (APA) takes place in New York City this week and includes awards ceremonies to honor the best planning projects in the United States. The Borough of Millvale, located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh, is being recognized with a Silver 2017 National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning. In addition, the APA’s Sustainable Communities Division... 
Posted by admin on May 09, 2017
People Power: Millvale Residents Driving Ecodistrict Development
Recently the Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan was honored with two national awards from the American Planning Association—a 2017 Silver Achievement Award for Environmental Planning, and an APA Sustainable Communities Division Award. Firmly established as a regional leader in sustainable planning and redevelopment, Millvale’s national reputation has been growing since the Borough’s participation in the EcoDistricts.org Incubator program in 2015. A visit to Millvale and a few casual conversations with the locals will bring to light its quirky, unique character, which... 
Posted by Daniel Klein on May 08, 2017
Millvale Ecodistrict Pivot Plan Selected for Planning Excellence Award
The annual conference of the Pennsylvania chapter of the American Planing Association (APA) took place in Allentown this week and included an awards ceremony to honor the best planning projects in the state. One of five projects to receive a Planning Excellence Award this year was the Ecodistrict Pivot Plan for the Borough of Millvale, located just across the Allegheny River from Pittsburgh. evolveEA led the planning team in partnership with the Millvale Community Development Corporation, Millvale Community Library, Millvale Borough, New Sun Rising, Sisters of Saint Francis... 
Posted by admin on October 20, 2016
Creating Resiliency Through Community Engagement
Just and resilient cities rely on empowered communities—we believe that design is key to that process. Our work as designers can help a community establish relationships, gain knowledge, and be better prepared to face dynamic challenges. Successful projects depend on community partners who provide knowledge and motivation and build a tribe of people who carry forth the efforts long after the design team is gone. We believe that engaging communities in design thinking is an important way to create a successful project from planning and design through implementation. To help... 
Posted by Christine Mondor on July 05, 2016
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
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 markpanza.com 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
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
Christine Mondor Selected to Join Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee
Christine Mondor, Principal of evolveEA, has been selected as one of eighty international experts, practitioners and leaders to be part of the Ecodistricts Global Protocol Advisory Committee. Ecodistricts creatively synthesize ecology, economics and placemaking to create strong communities and the concept has successfully been used in community based planning projects across the country. evolveEA has successfully worked with communities in Western Pennsylvania to incorporate innovative energy, water and food systems into the design of neighborhoods, planned developments and... 
Posted by admin on July 21, 2014
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
Pivot Millvale
   The Borough of Millvale is a classic western Pennsylvania milltown with a compact residential and commercial district woven into a dramatic landscape of hillsides and waterfront. Similar to many of the riverfront industrial communities, Millvale suffered a loss of business and population as the steel industry declined in the region. To further complicate matters, Millvale sits at the bottom of the Girty’s Run watershed where upstream development has repeatedly caused flooding in its business district and residential areas. Over the years, Millvale officials... 
Posted by admin on August 02, 2013
Ecodistrict Planning Symposium Brings A Diverse Group of Community Leaders Together
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... 
Posted by admin on May 23, 2013
Top-Down/Bottom-Up
Every year in Pittsburgh, the SoArch Lectures Series, organized by Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture, hosts lectures by well-established architects from the US and beyond who are leaders in design and sustainability. The last SoArch lecture recently took place at the Carnegie Museum of Art, where the presenting architect was Peter Busby, the Principal Managing Director of Perkins+Will in San Francisco. After the merger of his firm with Perkins+Will in 2004, he became leader of the firm’s Sustainable Design Initiative. His work emphasizes regenerative planning... 
Posted by Eleni Katrini on May 01, 2013
TEDx Talk: Creating A Living City
Video [21 min]  How can an existing community with limited resources create a shared vision of a sustainable neighborhood? Ecodistrict planning builds community capacity for the development and implementation of closed-loop systems for Energy, Water, Nutrients and Waste. In her TEDx talk, Christine Mondor outlines evolveEA’s community-based approach to designing sustainable neighborhoods, highlighting the story of two neighboring Pittsburgh communities engaged through our project Living Cities Masterplan.  
Posted by Christine Mondor on April 08, 2013
At Greenbuild and BECC Conferences, evolveEA Highlights Pittsburgh’s Advancement in Sustainability
Pittsburgh’s achievements in green building and neighborhood planning is increasingly gaining national attention, and evolveEA is proud of our leading roles in some of the city’s most impressive projects. Last month members of our team and some of our local partners traveled to the USGBC’s Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in San Francisco, and the Behavior, Energy & Climate Change (BECC) Conference in Sacramento. Greenbuild 2012 was attended by over 35,000 sustainability enthusiasts, making it the largest event in the international conference and expo’s... 
Posted by Marc Mondor on December 14, 2012
Stormwater + Art
Scandinavia is known around the world for good design; whether you’re into products, graphics, architecture, or urban spaces, a visit to the region can inspire creative thinking. Over the summer we visited the city of Malmö, Sweden, an industrial-era harbor city which has reinvented itself as a modern sustainable cultural center. In particular, Malmö’s Western Harbor is known for its innovative approach to water infrastructure, which made our visit especially relevant to our urban strategies work here in North America. During our stay, I surveyed the city’s Västra... 
Posted by Christine Mondor on December 11, 2012
The Scaling of Sustainable Development: Eco-districts
When it comes to making a difference, we’ve all been in a place that gets us feeling like what we are doing isn’t making that big of an impact. Research has shown that when the going gets tough, people change their attitudes, not their behaviors. That is to say: when the barriers to change are seen as too difficult to over come, people are more likely to stop caring as opposed to ramping up their efforts to brake down those obstacles. Yes, this is a bleak realization, but there is hope! While the research tells us that people do give up on things they care about, it also... 
Posted by Cole Williams on November 09, 2011
Low Carbon Neighborhood Improvement District
Communities that are pursuing sustainability face issues that take creativity, resources and support over a long period of time to be successful. The community planning process is an essential way to identify these issues and build the capacity to implement solutions. In 2009 evolveEA began working with community leaders to examine opportunities for greening the upcoming Friendship’s future Master Plan. Building on strengths of the existing community plan, evolveEA developed a green overlay strategy for the future of Friendship and helped to envision the potential for a... 
Posted by David Eskenazi on June 13, 2011
Urban Strategies: Design for Engagement
Have you ever seen a familiar place that has been transformed through the lens of a Hollywood film? A few years ago, a Bruce Willis production filmed some of my favorite urban places and reconstructed them in a way that changed how I saw relationships between the neighborhoods of my fair city. Once I looked past the painful dialogue and predictable action scenes, the movie presented a city where one could live and travel on the rivers. The movie sequences allowed me to imagine the city that had been designed to make our forgotten rivers into a fantastical outdoor room. Design... 
Posted by Christine Mondor on June 12, 2011
Urban Strategies: Involve the Community
Have you ever found an idea that was so interesting that you are compelled to action? What if your friends felt the same way and your singular action multiplied and had a much greater effect? How could we create and harness some of that energy for other causes, like environmentally friendly neighborhoods? Galvanizing a community around a common goal or action can be difficult in any situation. Ecodistricts present further challenges to traditional models of engagement, as the scale of planning and type of commitment that is required is outside of a single development cycle... 
Posted by Christine Mondor on June 05, 2011
Urban Strategies: Rethink Boundaries
Have you ever wondered how there came to be 67 counties in Pennsylvania? Back in the 1800s the counties were largely delineated by a day’s horse ride, which made a lot of sense 100 years ago. Now we get from county to county within an hour. Today, each county has a different governance structure and priority assessment. Similarly, we have another 130 municipalities within Allegheny County. Beyond that there are innumerable additional regional and local agencies, utilities, and legislative bodies throughout the state of Pennsylvania. As a result, we’ve created many boundaries... 
Posted by David Deal on May 20, 2011
Urban Strategies: Eco-Districts
For the first time in human history more than half the world’s population–3.3 billion humans– live in urban areas. This trend is expected to accelerate through 2030 when 5 billion will call cities home. While the sheer numbers are staggering; urban regions must prepare for such growth. How will they provide water, energy, waste and recreational services, ensure access to quality housing and transportation and do so in a cost effective and environmentally sound manner? At evolveEA, we believe effective urban planning will require the simultaneous consideration... 
Posted by David Deal on April 08, 2011
Living Cities Masterplan
Like many post-industrial communities, the Larimer neighborhood has seen massive amounts of disinvestment in its residents, organizations and infrastructure. In collaboration with the community, evolveEA articulated a “living cities” vision that examined ways that energy independence, net zero water use, and localized food economies could make the existing community more resilient and attract and sustain development. evolveEA identified environmental performance goals as well as economic performance goals, and found new opportunities for community engagement and for design... 
Posted by admin on March 25, 2011
The Low Carbon Neighborhood (a concept we really like!)
Imagine, for a minute, the future of our neighborhoods in a carbon constrained world. What will they look like and how will they function? Neighborhoods and regional leaders should be asking this question and search for solutions that take an integrated approach. Enter the low carbon zone, climate benefit district, or low carbon neighborhood. While we’re not the first to propose this concept–we like the idea. The tools we need for a low carbon future are at hand, but we’ve yet to develop the toolkit for implementation. Check out our proposal for a living city... 
Posted by David Deal on November 06, 2009