Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning and Development Plan Receives “Great Places” Planning Award

May 27, 2015

The Environmental Design Research Association (EDRA), in partnership with Project for Public Spaces (PPS), has recognized evolveEA’s work in Upper Lawrenceville, also known as Pittsburgh’s 10th Ward, with a Great Places Award. The Upper Lawrenceville Targeted Development Strategy was developed through a series of charrettes led by evolveEA in which we helped the community craft a neighborhood identity and a series of principles guiding future development to achieve the community’s long-term livability goals. The principles built upon the existing physical and cultural legacy of Upper Lawrenceville but also were aspirational, seeding a vision for a future yet to come focused on economic, cultural and environmental issues.

Upper Lawrenceville Plaza

EDRA is presenting the award at its annual conference in Los Angeles, California, being held May 27-30. Christine Mondor, evolveEA’s principal for the project, said, “The Upper Lawrenceville plan strongly emphasized growth from a sense of place and culture that is unique to the 10th Ward and to Pittsburgh. We are honored that EDRA and PPS, both influential organizations in placemaking and design, recognized the validity of this approach and the community’s vision.”

Many Lawrenceville residents participated in the community workshops, and some were inspired to action almost immediately. Two neighbors were opened a local grocery, attracting crowdfunding and grants to launch it. As other food-based projects and businesses started, a campaign was designed to promote access to fresh foods and gardening. One of the central corridor’s biggest vacant properties is being redeveloped as mixed-income housing, and a large green infrastructure demonstration project was installed at one of the neighborhood’s commercial facilities. Other projects currently underway include a new park, organic orchard and stormwater retention pool, and there has been a sharp increase in renovation activity throughout Upper Lawrenceville.

The project also received Urban Design Honor Awards from the American Institute of Architects at both the city and state levels last year. The Great Places Award brings international attention to this distinctive Pittsburgh community and the project team, whose members are all based in the Pittsburgh region.


Matthew Galluzzo, Executive Director of the Lawrenceville Corporation, said:

Together with our sister organization, Lawrenceville United, we’re very proud to count evolveEA and the Design Center as partners in creating the Upper Lawrenceville Community Visioning Plan. It was a remarkable planning process, bringing together a broad and dynamic swath of community stakeholders. The process yielded a powerful and utilitarian vision for the neighborhood. The report has already served as a roadmap, enabling us to create demonstrable progress in our shared pursuit a 21st century neighborhood.

And Chris Koch, Executive Director of The Design Center, said:

The Design Center provided technical assistance and funding to this project to ensure the 10th Ward of Pittsburgh had a road map to support its redevelopment efforts. We were thrilled that evolveEA was selected through our Design Fund process as they were uniquely qualified to deliver an innovative, community-driven planning process that has already led to successfully implemented projects.

EDRA is an international organization founded in 1968 to advance and disseminate environmental design research, thereby improving understanding of the inter-relationships of people with their built and natural surroundings toward creation and curation of environments responsive to human needs.

Project for Public Spaces is a nonprofit planning, design and educational organization dedicated to helping people create and sustain public spaces that build stronger communities.

evolveEA collaborated on the project with Lawrenceville Corporation and Lawrenceville United, two community development organizations that have for years fostered neighborhood improvement throughout Lawrenceville’s three districts — Lower, Central, and Upper Lawrenceville. The project was supported by a grant from The Design Center of Pittsburgh. The project team also included Fourth Economy Consulting, who provided an economic analysis for the development strategy.

Evolve EA