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This chapter is about supporting Oakland's residents including students, employees, and visitors. The content of this chapter focuses on better meeting basic needs as well as creating opportunities for people to thrive.

Specifically, you'll find proposals about:

  • How to create a more livable neighborhood for all;
  • How to express and preserve Oakland's unique history and heritage;
  • How to create an Oakland where there is art and expression around every corner;
  • How to make the neighborhood a more welcoming, safe, and supportive place, particularly for African-Americans and other marginalized parts of the community; and
  • How to make Oakland a healthier place.

All of the Oakland Plan was created through an iterative process of input, research, and strategy development. Input from the first 6 months of Steering Committee meetings informed the Summer 2020 online open house, the results of which informed the work of the Steering Committee to create the vision statement and goals and the four Action Teams to create strategies. Research and best practices, including insights from local expert Technical Advisory Groups, were woven into all of this work to present draft strategies to the public online and in-person throughout the Fall of 2021. The final content is the culmination of 2.5 years of work. We hope you see your words and ideas reflected in the content below.

30-Day Public Comment Period

We hope you will read the plan and provide comments that can improve this draft before it's formally adopted. You can comment on every aspect of the plan on this website, join us for Zoom events on March 19 and 23, or give us a call by dialing 3-1-1.

Planning Commission Hearing and Action

After the 30 day public comment period, the City's Planning Commission will hold a hearing on April 19th where it will receive testimony on the plan and take action to adopt the plan and recommend the associated zoning proposals on to City Council and the Mayor to become law.

City Council and Mayoral Action

A second set of hearings and meetings will take plan on the zoning proposals. For both Planning Commission and City Council, all property owners in and adjacent to the areas to be rezoned will receive notices. After all the testimony has been heard, City Council will take action to approve the zoning proposals and send them to the Mayor to sign into law.

What are goals?

Goals are long-term outcomes that organizations and the City of Pittsburgh will work towards by taking action on policies, projects, and programs. Goals are aspirational in nature and express the neighborhood's collective desires and values for various topics in the plan. Compared to the policies in the section below, goals can encompass many different ideas and desires whereas policies focus on one specific topic. The goals below are organized as specified in the City's Neighborhood Plan Guide.

C1. Community programs and livability

  • C1.A Representation in decision-making. Civic mindedness is fostered through resident engagement in decision-making processes, and by serving on boards and committees.
  • C1.B Twenty-minute neighborhood. Ensure residents in every part of Oakland can have access to resources to meet their basic needs within a 20-minute walk or roll from their home.
  • C1.C Neighborhood of choice. Excellent access to healthcare, educational opportunities, entertainment, and cultural resources make Oakland uniquely desirable for people at all stages of life.
  • C1.D Vital riverfront areas. Oakland’s riverfront has public amenities that create a unique place for the community to enjoy the Monongahela River. Multiple options exist to safely and comfortably travel from inland areas to the riverfront.

C2. Cultural heritage and preservation

  • C2.A Preservation supports housing goals. Existing structures are part of the strategy to provide affordable housing and different living opportunities in Oakland.
  • C2.B Celebrate Oakland’s diversity. Valuing heritage and overcoming institutional racism today are viewed as complementary and not in conflict.

C3. Public art

  • C3.A Public art around every corner. Public art of all forms is found throughout Oakland to enhance the experience of living in, working in, and visiting Oakland. Art and design should be integrated into all private and public investments.
  • C3.B Art expresses diversity. Oakland is a place where the diversity of its artists and modes of artistic expression is valued.

C4. Public safety

  • C4.A Public safety as community well-being. Public safety decisions consider and address potential impacts on community well-being, racial equity, and gender equity.
  • C4.B Open dialogue on community health. Programs and projects that seek to improve community health and safety involve individuals and organizations representing diverse perspectives and identities.

C5. Public facilities and services

  • C5.A Design places for children. All spaces should take into consideration the needs of Oakland’s children and their caretakers.
  • C5.B Recreation and community facilities. Facilities that support community gatherings and recreation are present throughout Oakland.

C6. Public health

  • C6.A Social determinants of health. Public health efforts are seen in the context of social determinants of health to maximum the impact of each intervention, especially as it relates to access to affordable, quality food, childcare, and healthcare.
  • C6.B Healthy spaces. Private and public investments in commercial and residential areas are leveraged to make the neighborhood more healthy, enjoyable, and sustainable. Open spaces and pedestrian connections should be designed to host exercise activities, sanitary facilities, and community programming.
  • C6.C Challenge institutional racism. Institutional racism is recognized and addressed to reduce inequality and the wealth gap between white people, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), and other marginalized communities.
  • C6.D Access to local food hubs. Provide a diversity of local, affordable, accessible food options, including grocery stores, particularly as a part of transit-oriented developments and as part of development on publicly owned property or where public investments are utilized.

C7. Community uses in the right-of-way

  • C7.A Programming that builds community. Establish new and grow existing programs to support community-building events in the streets such as block parties, street festivals, farmers markets, and street vendors as well as the provision of commercial and community services that spill into the public realm.

C8. Nuisance and enforcement issues

  • C8.A Reduce public nuisances. The City, institutions, and community members collaborate to reduce the many public nuisances that are in or viewable from the right-of-way through code enforcement, education, community programs, and service provision.
  • C8.B Improve standards for renters. Renters, and particularly student renters, have safe, healthy living conditions and are given access to resources to help them determine the livability of a space prior to signing a lease.

What are policies?

Policies set a preferred direction and describe what must be done to achieve the goals in the section above. Where goals can have many elements that relate to a central theme, policies should have one clear focus. They are specific enough that future projects can be assessed to determine if they would advance the values in the plan or run counter to them. Along with the vision statement, and goals, policies are formally adopted by the City's Planning Commission. The policies below are organized as specified in the City's Neighborhood Plan Guide.

C1. Community programs and livability

  • Strengthen civic engagement. Ensure a broad variety of groups including residents, students, and identity groups, are engaged in decision-making processes where they are impacted through meaningful engagement opportunities
  • Increase access to daily needs. Housing is close to facilities that offer access to daily essentials such as shopping, education, and recreation.
  • Prioritize people of diverse ages and abilities. All right-of-way improvements prioritize the needs of seniors, children and their caretakers, and the disability community.

C2. Cultural heritage and preservation

  • Center equity in preservation. Ensure affordability and economic inclusion throughout historic preservation processes.
  • Preserve Oakland’s distinct character. Thoroughly study and preserve existing art outside and inside historic buildings in Oakland. This could be traditional historic preservation of buildings, but also the reuse and repurposing of building elements and artistic features.
  • Blend historic and new development. Development projects reuse existing buildings whenever possible including building onto and around structures as part of larger-scale developments. Resulting structures maintain Oakland's existing character and fabric while allowing development that meets modern needs.

C3. Public art

  • Increase art installations throughout Oakland. Public and private investments incorporate art into public spaces, buildings, and infrastructure.
  • Support diverse local artists. Ensure communities of color and immigrants are included in the creation of art within the neighborhood.

C4. Public safety

  • Improve nighttime safety. Infrastructure, mobility, and development projects incorporate elements that collectively improve safety outcomes for those traveling while it is dark outside through better lighting, mobility options, and emergency services. Women and people of color are involved in the design of these facilities.
  • Increase engagement around public safety. Include stakeholders with diverse perspectives in discussions with public safety officials.

C5. Public facilities and services

  • Invest in community and recreational facilities. Increase the number of public facilities, including open spaces, recreation centers, policy and fire stations, in ensure adequate services are provided to the neighborhood.
  • Design public facilities for diverse ages and abilities. Ensure open spaces, and sport and recreational facilities are nearby and accessible for all residents of Oakland, particularly seniors, children and their caretakers, and the disability community.

C6. Public health

  • Center universal design. Ensure design is friendly to all ages and supports a universally designed, age-in-place neighborhood. Reinforce this built experience with health and supportive services such as case management support, mental health resources, health programming and education.
  • Increase food access. Reduce food insecurity among all Oakland residents, particularly students, people experiencing homelessness, families, and people of color, by prioritizing access to quality, healthy, diverse food options at locations such as food pantries, farmers markets, corner stores, and grocery stores of all scales.

C7. Community uses in the right-of-way

  • Enliven public streets. Public streets in Oakland incorporate temporary and/or permanent functions that support community activities that take precedence over their transportation function.

C8. Nuisance and enforcement issues

  • Enforce the Rental Registry Program. Ensure rental units meet all applicable building, existing structures, fire, health, safety, and zoning codes.
  • Manage occupancy issues. Occupancy issues are appropriately, consistently, and equitably managed.

What are the projects and programs?

The projects and programs are a shared "To Do" list where the community and government identify the projects they want to undertake over the next 10 years to make the vision a reality. Many of the ideas you see below are the result of ideas from people in Oakland, supported by research and case studies, and now ready for your review and inclusion in the final plan.


Dig into the details

In the lists below, you'll get a title, brief description, and information about how the project or program could be realized including when it should start, by whom, and potential funding sources. For many of the ideas below there is "Learn More" button that takes you to a page full of details, drawings, illustrations, and specific ways to provide comments on that strategy. We highly recommend you dig into the details to see what your fellow Oaklanders came up with.


C-1. Free access to cultural institutions -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Ensure cultural institutions are accessible to everyone and free to access for Oakland residents.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): CMP, Arts and design committee
  • Project partner(s): Carnegie Library, Carnegie Hall, OPA, institutions, OPDC
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

C-2. Support protests and public assembly activities

Create and share a protest and public assembly guide to support those advocating for various causes and reduce incidences of police and community violence. Identify institutional resources for those seeking more information about how to assemble legally.

  • When to start: 5-10 years
  • Project lead(s): City of Pittsburgh
  • Project partner(s): Institutions, OBID, OTMA
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

C-3. Zoning for child care services

Amend the Zoning Code to allow child care services in all parts of Oakland.

  • When to start: 0-2 years -- Part of the Oakland Plan Zoning Proposals
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

What are the projects and programs?

The projects and programs are a shared "To Do" list where the community and government identify the projects they want to undertake over the next 10 years to make the vision a reality. Many of the ideas you see below are the result of ideas from people in Oakland, supported by research and case studies, and now ready for your review and inclusion in the final plan.


Dig into the details

In the lists below, you'll get a title, brief description, and information about how the project or program could be realized including when it should start, by whom, and potential funding sources. For many of the ideas below there is "Learn More" button that takes you to a page full of details, drawings, illustrations, and specific ways to provide comments on that strategy. We highly recommend you dig into the details to see what your fellow Oaklanders came up with.


C-4. Access to cultural resources

Coordinate events throughout the year where the public has access to art, architecture, and historic artifacts in Oakland similar to Doors Open Pittsburgh events. Events could also allow the public to learn more about innovation activities taking place in Oakland including research facility tours.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): Institutions, CMP, Carnegie Library, OPDC, OBID
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Institutions, OPA, City funds, grants

C-5. Arts and design committee -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish a committee that regularly brings together Oakland's cultural institutions, non-profit organizations, resident leaders, and institutions to collaborate on arts and cultural initiatives as well as the review of various types of projects including development and public art.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): CMP, OBID, OPDC, neighborhood leaders, DCP, Carnegie Library, OPA, art and design faculty at the University of Pittsburgh and CMU, CMU Masters of Arts Management program faculty/students, local artists and designers
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

C-6. Community building events

Build on the success of University of Pittsburgh's block parties with additional events throughout the year that involve institutions, non-profit, and resident organizations. An important goal of this program is to build relationships between long-term residents, students, business owners, and employees.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): University of Pittsburgh, OBID, OPDC
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Institutions, organization budgets, City funds

C-7. Community service hubs -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Combine community centers, daycares, career services, educational programming, and free wifi in a single location.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, DPW, City Council
  • Project partner(s): Citiparks, OPDC, institutions, neighborhood associations
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget, institutions, grants

C-8. Connect students to supportive programs

Ensure universities and Oakland non-profits work together to connect students with organizations like PUMP and the Pittsburgh Passport that help them to feel more a part of the City with the goal of retaining them after graduation and reducing the brain drain. This could result in the creation of a unique passport program for students managed by an Oakland organization.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, institutions
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

C-9. Emergency care equipment

Install emergency care equipment such as automatic external defribulators and hemorrhage control kits in public spaces throughout Oakland to support critical care while emergency medical services are en route. Discuss opportunities for these devices and kits to be located within businesses along commercial corridors as well.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): City of Pittsburgh
  • Project partner(s): OBID, OPDC, institutions
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget, institutions, grants

C-10. Homeowner rehab program

Develop a program for existing resident homeowners to support their efforts to maintain and improve their homes. The program could be structured in a way to improve the health and sustainability of homes, and for older homes, could involve preservation of important architectural details.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, GBA, ReBuilding Together
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

C-11. Honor Oakland's heritage

Conduct annual studies to understand the architectural and cultural heritage of different areas of Oakland and/or topics that lead to more formalized preservation activities by non-profit partners.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, PreservationPGH, DCP
  • Project partner(s): OBID
  • Potential funding source(s): State grants, foundations, institutions

C-12. Improve after school opportunities -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Increase out of school support for youth in Oakland through community based organizations and programs.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC
  • Project partner(s): Carnegie Library, CMP, institutions, City of Pittsburgh
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants, foundations, institutions, UPMC

C-13. Live-work spaces for artists

Work with non-profit organizations, institutions, developers, and property owners to create studio and/or live-work artist spaces throughout Oakland. Locations in highly visible locations on major corridors should be prioritized.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): Arts and design committee, OBID, OPDC, institutions
  • Project partner(s): Developers, property owners, OPA
  • Potential funding source(s): Allegheny Regional Asset District, OPA

C-14. Oakland as civic laboratory -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Create a grant program that identifies micro-level community-led projects to realize Oakland as a laboratory for an innovative, inclusive, resident-serving urban experience.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, OTF
  • Project partner(s): Equitable Development Committee, OnePGH, institutions, neighborhood associations
  • Potential funding source(s): OnePGH, Community Reinvestment Fund, institutions, foundations

C-15. Organize around food access

Create a shared action committee focused on bringing more grocery options into Oakland including at least one large grocery store and many smaller, locally-owned corner stores within walking distance of residential areas that offer some affordable, fresh produce options. This committee should also support the growth of community gardens.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OBID, OPDC
  • Project partner(s): Institutions
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

C-16. Partnership for health and safety

Convene annual meetings between Oakland institutions, non-profits, resident organizations, and City of Pittsburgh departments to identify major health and safety issues and establish a collective strategy to address them over the course of the year.

  • When to start: Ongoing
  • Project lead(s): City of Pittsburgh
  • Project partner(s): Institutions, OPDC, OBID, OTMA, City of Pittsburgh
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

C-17. Public art walks

Create a regular public art walk in Oakland that helps visitors and residents explore their neighborhood, with temporary and provocative artwork by young, diverse artists added as community programming.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OBID, CMP, OPA, Art and Design Committee
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): CMP, Allegheny Regional Asset District, OPA

C-18. Resident representatives -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish funded positions that proactively engage the resident communities, including student residents, and identity groups. These positions can help ensure resident needs are integrated into decision-making processes, directly connected to services, take special focus on seniors and other community segments, connect with and facilitate community organizing, and be tailored to expressed community needs.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, DCP
  • Project partner(s): Foundations, institutions
  • Potential funding source(s): Community Reinvestment Fund, institutions, foundations

C-19. Scale up childcare services -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish program with institutions and other major employers to scale up the provision of child care throughout Oakland as a talent attraction and retention tool that benefits residents. Solutions should consider after school tutoring and activities to support children of all ages in Oakland and supplement academic programs.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): Trying Together, OPDC, UPMC
  • Project partner(s): University of Pittsburgh, CMU, Carlow University, OBID
  • Potential funding source(s): Federal infrastructure bill, institutions

C-20. Senior services

Create a program that identifies needs among Oakland's seniors and others in need of community services and matches them with trained/screened volunteers.

  • When to start: 5-10 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, People's Oakland, institutions
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

C-21. Support diversity in the artist community -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Support ever greater diversity in the artist community by highlighting and incorporating diverse artists into existing initiatives and developing additional opportunities.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OBID, OPDC, institutions, DCP, OPA
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Allegheny Regional Asset District, OPA

C-22. Support resident access to resources

Increase staffing at non-profits and institutions involved in helping residents access resources for legal advice, food access, home ownership assistance, home repair programs, volunteer opportunities, and translation services, among others.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, OBID, institutions
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Foundations, grants, Community Reinvestment Fund

C-23. Targeted anti-displacement program

Create new grants, loans, and other programs that support existing residents who want to stay in their homes. This work should include a deeper study of other related needs that would cause residents to leave the neighborhood. Efforts should be targeted to West and South Oakland.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, OPDC, URA
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): URA, institutions, OPDC

Community Chapter - What do you think? (Open Ended)

Please let us know what you think of the goals, policies, projects, and programs above. If you have comments on a project or program that has a separate page, please go to that page to share your feedback.
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