Revitalizing Urban Parks to Uplift a Rust Belt City: HUL Applied to Pittsburgh, PA, USA

  • Patricia M. O’DonnellEmail author
Part of the Creativity, Heritage and the City book series (CHC, volume 2)


In this paper, the key overarching ingredient of sound, visionary civic leadership from an NGO, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC), in partnership with city government, philanthropic foundations and citizens, is shown to continuously engage, plan, regulate and finance a series of interrelated initiatives, collaborations and projects to uplift the regional public parks and thereby neighbourhoods and the city as a whole. Following an introductory public spaces and Pittsburgh history, the narrative organization is framed around the four HUL tool groups: community engagement, knowledge and planning, regulatory systems and finance to present a summary of the tools applied and the outcomes. The final section places this work within the context of the UNESCO Recommendation on the Historic Urban Landscape, 2011, and the more recent UN Sustainable Development Goals 2030 Agenda (UN SDGs), 2015, and the New Urban Agenda, Habitat III (NUA) 2016, making important cultural heritage linkages with the social environmental and economic aspects of sustainability. The author, Patricia O’Donnell, preservation landscape architect and planner, worked with the PPC from 1999 to 2014, bringing the concepts of community participation, innovative planning, regulatory tools and finance into the work of park renewal.


Public space Parks Inclusivity Diversity Democratic Resilient Community HUL UN SDGs NUA Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Heritage Landscapes LLC, Preservation Landscape Architects and PlannersCharlotte and NorwalkUSA
  2. 2.LANDSCAPES Landscape Architecture-Planning-Historic PreservationCharlotte and NorwalkUSA
  3. 3.LANDSCAPES Landscape Architecture-Planning-Historic PreservationNorwalkUSA

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