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This chapter is about improving the systems that nourish the neighborhood. The content of this chapter uses infrastructure to create a more healthy, sustainable, and equitable community.

Specifically, you'll find proposals about:

  • How to manage rainwater to reduce basement flooding and river pollution;
  • Create new and better open spaces in parks and hillsides;
  • Establish energy systems that are low in carbon and low in cost for users;
  • Build up a healthy tree canopy that reduces heat island affect and provides habitat; and
  • Support healthier living through growing food and clean air.

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.

I1. Stormwater management

  • I1.A Manage stormwater effectively to mitigate downstream impacts. Encourage innovative and site-specific stormwater management techniques to mitigate flooding, ease the burden on sewer systems, reduce landslide and erosion risk, restore habitat, and improve the urban landscape.
  • I1.B Integrated infrastructure planning. Above- and below-ground infrastructure projects are coordinated far in advance of implementation to improve efficiency, functionality, and predictability of investments while addressing community needs.

I2. Open space

  • I2.A View hillsides as open space. Make use of hillsides as open space amenities that also manage invasive species and reduce landslide risk.
  • I2.B Open space network. Parks and other open spaces are located throughout Oakland and provide enriching experiences. Together open spaces form a network that create connections between parts of the neighborhood and to surrounding areas.

I3. Energy system planning

  • I3.A Reduce energy burden. Reduce energy burden today to fight displacement, while making investments in structures to permanently reduce energy demand.
  • I3.B Expand access to renewables. Transition energy use for all structures to renewable sources including those generating on sites in Oakland and district energy systems.

I4. Waste management and recycling

  • I4.A Zero waste community. Become a zero waste community by pursuing responsible waste practices, reducing overall waste production, and investing in innovative waste management and upcycling.

I5. Tree canopy

  • I5.A Community building through neighborhood greening. Oakland's institutions, non-profit organizations, businesses, students and residents work together to build up community initiatives that connect people while making the neighborhood more sustainable, healthy, and equitable.
  • I5.B Innovate around urban tree science. Oakland is a living laboratory for urban tree science and practices.
  • I5.C Value trees as infrastructure. Preserve existing trees and plant new trees to bring their benefits to all parts of Oakland. Collaborate on tree maintenance to support their continued health and function.
  • I5.D Access to trees. Expand access to urban trees and their benefits for all Oakland residents.

I6. Habitat restoration

  • I6.A Biophilic design. Nature and natural spaces are integrated throughout Oakland to improve people’s physical and mental health, fitness, and wellbeing.
  • I6.B Diversify landscapes. The public sector, institutions, developers, and property owners collaborate to improve the permeability of landscapes and increase biodiversity.

I7. Digital network

  • I7.A Meet all technology needs. Students and other residents have access to the technology and internet they need to succeed.

I8. Urban agriculture

  • I8.A Grow food in the neighborhood. Consistent with Oakland’s immigrant history, food gardens are integrated into residential areas to improve access to healthy food options as well as the fitness benefits of gardening.
  • I8.B Local food networks. Regionally grown food is served in Oakland’s restaurants and used to make food-based products through innovative collaborations and partnerships.

I9. Air

  • I9.A Air policy advocacy. Institutions, non-profits, and residents, including students, work together to advocate for better air quality both as a quality of life issue and as one that impacts the economic development of Oakland and Pittsburgh.
  • I9.B Improve air quality. Trees, open spaces, and other greening efforts measurably improve neighborhood air quality, with species chosen in part based on their ability to remove pollutants from the air.

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.

I1. Stormwater management

  • Depave Oakland. Eliminate paved surfaces throughout Oakland to support stormwater management goals, reduce heat island, and create more green space.
  • Construction coordination. Coordinate all major infrastructure products to reduce impacts and make more efficient use of resources.
  • Rainwater education. Educate developers and residents about stormwater management goals, best practices, and regulations.

I2. Open space

  • Functional open spaces. Assess open space needs of nearby residents, employees, and visitors, and make investments to parks and other open spaces to meet these needs.
  • Integrate green. Integrate plantings into all investments to improve access and experiences with nature and serve important environmental functions.

I3. Energy system planning

  • Efficient and resilient systems. Upgrade and manage shared energy systems in Oakland to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, costs for users, and system failures.
  • Energy burden. Reduce the costs of heating and cooling homes for low-income residents to improve public health outcomes and avoid displacement.
  • Bury lines. Replace above ground infrastructure like power and data lines with below-ground solutions as part of infrastructure and development investments.
  • Convert to renewables. Support the transition of all users to purchasing renewable electricity.
  • Update infrastructure during development. Ensure development projects update relevant infrastructure and minimize disruptions.

I4. Waste management and recycling

  • Prioritize reuse. Preserve historic buildings to retain character and history of areas, sustainably reuse buildings, and create attractive, unique places.
  • Material reuse. Reduce the carbon footprint of redevelopment that involves demolition by reusing as much of the building materials on-site or through resale to third parties.
  • Circular economy. Collaboratively establish systems of production and use that ensure by-products and wastes are productively utilized.

I5. Tree canopy

  • All hands on deck to grow the tree canopy. Go beyond regulatory requirements through programs and advocacy around planting new trees and retaining existing mature trees on private and public property.
  • Measure canopy. Ensure inventories, tree plantings, and retention efforts consider the value of tree canopy.
  • Diverse native tree populations. Plant trees to increase the number and variety of trees to improve habitat function and increase survivability.
  • Engagement around trees. Improve civic engagement around tree canopy and development by leveraging partnerships with local organizations and providing volunteer opportunities.
  • Shade parks. Respond to climate change by moving from a model of sunny, grassy parklands to open spaces that are shaded by trees to provide functional spaces enjoyable during longer summers and to provide more habitat function.

I6. Habitat restoration

  • Hillside management. Remove existing buildings and proactively replant steeply sloped hillsides with natives as a way to avoid high cost landslide remediation and restore significant tracts of habitat.
  • Understory plantings. Augment tree plantings with the planting of native understory plants to improve habitat function and beautify areas.
  • Value and enjoy habitat. Encourage educational programming and community development activities that expand who cares for and supports habitat restoration efforts.
  • Bird friendly design. Design all buildings and infrastructure projects to reduce impacts to birds and other non-human species through best practices such as bird safe glazing and Dark Skies compliant lighting.

I7. Digital network

  • Expand free internet. Provide free wifi in open spaces and through infrastructure investments to expand access to the internet throughout the neighborhood.
  • Knowledge and comfort with technology. Ensure all Oakland residents receive trainings and support that gives them the basic knowledge of technology they need to access jobs and services.

I8. Urban agriculture

  • Growing food. Provide opportunities for residents and employees to spend time growing food as a means of increasing mental and public health while building community.

I9. Air

  • Integrate air quality in decisions. Ensure that impacts to air quality are part of decisions made about transportation investments, development activities, and plantings.
  • Innovative technology. Test innovative new technologies in Oakland that can improve air quality and reduce atmospheric greenhouse gases.

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.


I-1. Comprehensive electric vehicle strategy -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Convene the institutions, Pittsburgh Parking Authority, cultural attractions, community organizations, and utilities to establish an Oakland-wide electric vehicle (EV) strategy that includes on- and off-street opportunities for adding EV chargers.

  • When to start: 0-2 years -- Part of the Oakland Plan Zoning Proposals
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): DOMI, PPA, DLC, institutions, cultural attractions, OTMA, OPDC, OBID
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget

I-2. Comprehensive sustainable policy table

Create a table that establishes a policy basis for expectations for sustainability goals for development at different scales. Needs to align with Zoning and Building Code categories.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, GBA, AIA
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): GBA, grants

I-3. Data at community service hubs

Provide high speed internet access at community service hubs and build on workforce development programs such as Rec 2 Tech that can be offered there.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DPW, Department of Innovation and Performance
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget, grants

I-4. Develop strict hillside development code

Consider amending Zoning Code limits on redevelopment on areas that are steeply sloped and landslide prone to add restoration requirements for hillside disturbances and landscaping requirements that ensure habitat restoration occurs.

  • When to start: 5-10 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

I-5. Energy strategy -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish a long-range energy plan that meets the needs of Oakland’s major energy users, reduces energy burden for residents and businesses, and decarbonizes buildings and energy sources.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): GBA, DCP
  • Project partner(s): Institutions, UPMC, DLC
  • Potential funding source(s): Institutions

I-6. Energy study requirement

Amend Zoning Code to require large projects to conduct an energy study that identifies feasible solutions for more efficient energy, water, and other resource use.

  • 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

I-7. Green alleys

Establish green alleys program to manage stormwater and work better for pedestrians. Consider improvements that can improve Euler and Iroquois Ways.

  • When to start: 5-10 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): OBID, PWSA
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-8. Green street network -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Identify and make improvements on high-capture streets and alleys that can safely convey stormwater, improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, and add tree canopy through coordinated and intentional infrastructure. Projects should be in alignment with current stormwater code updates and include above ground green infrastructure where technically feasible.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DOMI, PWSA, DPW, DCP
  • Project partner(s): TreePGH, PAAC, OPDC, OBID, institutions, neighborhood organizations, property owners and developers
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget, grants, Shade Tree Commission, PWSA, Parking Enhancement District

I-9. Greening underutilized areas

Identify and improve underutilized and vacant land such as parking lots and areas in the right of way that can provide environmental benefit such as native plant gardens (e.g., Craft Avenue and Boulevard of the Allies). This strategy should precede the Community Gardens to have a comprehensive greening strategy.

  • When to start: 5-10 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, DCP
  • Project partner(s): OBID, DOMI, DPW, Phipps
  • Potential funding source(s): Open Space Trust Fund, Stormwater Trust Fund, grants

I-10. Greenway expansion

Prioritize projects such as the Lawn Street Greenway that incorporate tree retention, hillside stabilization, habitat, but allows for some view points, and programming opportunities.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): City Council
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): City Capital Budget

I-11. Oakland green space inventory and optimization

Starting with the open space inventory in the Existing Conditions Report, start to maintain an inventory of open spaces, their functions, and identified resident needs. This can be used to advocate for specific functions and design features with pubilc and private investments in open space.

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

I-12. Open space expansion

Establish open space requirement in the Zoning Code that increases access to functional park-like spaces throughout Central 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

I-13. Plan for on-site renewables

Consider amending Zoning Code to address scale issues for smaller buildings and homes adjacent to new larger structures that protects access to light and air needed for on-site renewables such as solar photovoltaics and wind turbines.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, GBA, AIA
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

I-14. Reimagine Robinson Street (Stormwater) -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Incorporate green infrastructure into projects that rebuild Robinson Street as well as new structures along Robinson Street to capture and slow the conveyance of rainwater.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DOMI, DCP, PWSA
  • Project partner(s): Institutions, West Oakland Neighborhood Council, property owners and developers
  • Potential funding source(s): City, PWSA, grants

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.


I-15. Air quality coalition -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish targeted and collaborative effort between Oakland institutions and government partners to advocate for and prioritize air quality improvements.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): City of Pittsburgh, institutions, Breathe Collaborative
  • Project partner(s): OPDC, OBID, Student Governments, GASP, neighborhood associations
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

I-16. Bates basin sustainable revitalization -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Augment transportation efforts on the street with large-scale hillside stabilization, stormwater management, habitat restoration, and new trails in the surrounding basin to create a green gateway into Oakland.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, City Council
  • Project partner(s): DOMI, PennDOT, URA, PWSA, UPMC, DLC, Friends of the Riverfront, Landforce
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants, PWSA, PennDOT

I-17. Climate corps -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish a university student "climate corps" that builds on student investments in the community like Pittserves, but focuses on climate adaptation and mitigation efforts (e.g., tree planting, recycling, habitat restoration, stormwater management, etc.).

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

I-18. Commercial stakeholder education

Educate Oakland area organizations and developers about C-PACE and how this can be integrated into commercial and multi-family projects. Also discuss "dark skies" efforts.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): GBA, City of Pittsburgh
  • Project partner(s): Not specified
  • Potential funding source(s): Foundations, Institutions

I-19. Comprehensive tree strategy -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Build on work of citywide and Oakland non-profits as well as institutions to create a cohesive neighborhood-wide tree canopy strategy that recognizes trees as vital and cost-effective infrastructure. Includes preservation of existing trees, funding and planting of new trees, and maintenance of trees along streets, on private property, and in open spaces.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): TreePGH, DCP
  • Project partner(s): WPC, DPW, OPDC, OBID, institutions, DLC
  • Potential funding source(s): TreePGH, WPC, City of Pittsburgh

I-20. Encourage more community gardens -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish a system of community gardens throughout the neighborhood that provide social benefits and increase food access. These could be established on public or institutional land or in open spaces created by new development. Partner with community groups and non-profit to startup new community gardens.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): OPDC, Phipps, institutions
  • Project partner(s): Student governments, neighborhood associations, DPW
  • Potential funding source(s): Grow Pittsburgh, Allegheny Land Trust, grants

I-21. Establish pollinator conversion programs -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Work with Oakland institutions and student organizations to establish and implement a de-lawning campaign that converts campus and public lands into more habitat welcoming spaces.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, DPW, Phipps, CMP
  • Project partner(s): OPDC, OBID, institutions, neighborhood associations
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-22. Hillside stabilization and protection -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Establish a comprehensive land use and environmental management approach to hillsides, especially in landslide prone areas, that focuses on invasive species management, stabilization, restoration, and long-term maintenance.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, DPW, City Council
  • Project partner(s): Technical experts including ecologists, arborists, and horticultural specialists, implementing nonprofits, and hillside maintenance providers
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-23. Incentives for green stormwater infrastructure

Amend Oakland's zoning districts to include existing incentives for storwmater management through green infrastructure. Support excellence in projects with additional resources and grants.

  • When to start: 0-2 years -- Part of the Oakland Plan Zoning Proposals
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): GBA, PWSA
  • Potential funding source(s): None needed

I-24. Reduce impervious areas

Use the plan's inventory of all impervious areas as the basis for a program that proactively eliminates paved areas on private property and maintains landscaped areas required by code (e.g., parking lots). This could be a combination of enforcement of illegal parking, grants to concrete removal and native plantings, among other options.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP
  • Project partner(s): PWSA, PLI, City Law
  • Potential funding source(s): Capital budget, WPC, DCNR

I-25. Reduce landfill waste

Pilot weekly recycling in Oakland and hard to recycle events in Oakland. Work with businesses to eliminate styrofoam and single use plastics.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): Environmental Services
  • Project partner(s): OBID, PRDC
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-26. Reduce student landfill waste -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Student waste during move out presents many nuisance and accessibility issues and universities have started to create solutions to address it. These programs need to be scaled up and supplemented to meet the needs.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): Institutions
  • Project partner(s): Free Store, VVA, Goodwill, DPW, Construction Junction
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-27. Resident energy education -- CLICK TO LEARN MORE

Work with local universities to establish a citizen-oriented program around climate actions that individuals can take. Pilot with Oakland residents, but plan to make the program available to all Pittsburgh residents.

  • When to start: 0-2 years
  • Project lead(s): DCP, institutions, GBA
  • Project partner(s): Student Government, student organizations, ReBuilding Together, UrbanKind Institute, Carnegie Library, Phipps, CMP, neighborhood associations
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants

I-28. Support and expand compost efforts

Pilot more regular yard waste pick up or allow for composting start up business opportunities to keep catch basins clear and yard waste out of landfills.

  • When to start: 3-5 years
  • Project lead(s): Environmental Services, OPDC
  • Project partner(s): Tree Pittsburgh
  • Potential funding source(s): Grants