Projects with Downtown Partners

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy partners with other organizations to implement additional greening projects in Downtown Pittsburgh. To learn more about WPC’s Downtown Greening projects, please see below, or contact Arthur DeMeo at 412-586-2346 or ademeo@paconserve.org.

Green Wall and Greener Parking Lot
Katz Plaza and Theater Square
The Water Cube Parklet
The Mobile Parklet
Strawberry Way & Smithfield Street Bus Stop
Market Square
Convention Center
PARK(ing) Day

Downtown Pittsburgh Community Flower Gardens
Downtown Pittsburgh Community Forestry

Green Wall and Greener Parking Lot
In 2012, the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy installed the city’s first trellis-style green wall at 7th Street and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard. In the heart of Pittsburgh’s Cultural District, this 40-foot by 54-foot permanent wall trellis was designed with native vines, including Dutchman’s pipe, American bittersweet, Virgin’s bower clematis and two types of native honeysuckle. WPC staff and Duquesne Light volunteers planted these vines at the bottom of the trellis with the expectation that they could reach a height of up to 50 feet. This new green wall was meant not only to enhance the urban landscape by providing long-lasting greenery and blooms, but also to save energy by protecting the building from wind and sun.
 Parking lot at 8th Street and Ft. Duquesne Blvd owned by Alco prior to adding a green wall and garden beds  Parking lot construction to add greening in action
Greener Lot and green wall at 7th Street and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard, Downtown Pittsburgh
Following the success of the green wall, and in partnership with ALCO Parking, WPC added an abundance of greenery to the parking lot below the wall. Perennial garden beds and mature trees were added along the perimeter and center of the lot to add diverse vegetation and to create a greener and far more attractive parking site without removing any parking spots.
 
Katz Plaza and Theater Square
WPC partners with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust to maintain the natural elements of the Agnes R. Katz Plaza, a popular Downtown parklet at the corner of 7th Street and Penn Avenue as well as the adjacent Theater Square. Katz Plaza is well known for the 25-foot bronze fountain and public art installation created by sculptor Louise Bourgeois. 
 Katz Plaza in Downtown Pittsburgh
 
The Water Cube Parklet
Also in partnership with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, WPC helped to facilitate the installation of the “Water Cube” Parklet on the 8th Street block of Penn Avenue. WPC planted and maintains a contoured perennial bed to complement the fountain, a vertical bike corral and “Fix It” station for bicyclists, and benches for the general public.
 
Designed through a collaboration with the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust and GBBN Architects with generous support by Colcom Foundation, the Water Cube addresses the environmental concern of non-recyclable drinking containers. 
The Water Cube also offers residents and visitors still and sparkling water, while reducing the consumption of bottled water and beautifying the streetscape. 
 Planting at the Water Cube parklet along Penn Avenue near 8th Street in Downtown Pittsburgh
 
The Mobile Parklet 
In partnership with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, WPC helped to convert an ordinary roll-off dumpster into a mobile garden. The 21-foot-long dumpster became a city park bench enhanced with native perennials, grasses and trees offering fall, holiday and winter displays. It instantly became known as a unique downtown destination that receives a lot of attention by visitors. 
 
Summer display of the Downtown Pittsburgh mobile parklet.
 
Fall display of the Downtown Pittsburgh Mobile Parklet Winter display of the Downtown Pittsburgh Mobile Parklet
 
Strawberry Way & Smithfield Street Bus Stop
Thanks to the foresight of Envision Downtown and a strong collaborative effort between the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Public Works, the Office of Public Art, PPG Paints, Colcom Foundation and WPC, Strawberry Way became a work of art. During the summer of 2016, a section of the Strawberry Way alley, stretching between Grant and Smithfield Streets, became a revitalized pedestrian path.  
 
Strawberry Way installation art with special WPC planters
 
The transformation began with local artist Deanna Mance, who painted colorful designs across the asphalt surface. Decorative bollard posts, café tables and WPC flower planters were added to create a comfortable pedestrian walkway. This space received Streetsblog USA’s People’s Choice Award for “Best Street Transformation” of the summer. Envision Downtown also worked with WPC to provide street planters at the newly renovated Smithfield Street Bus Stop creating a link of green to the transformed alley across the way.
 
Market Square
In 2007, WPC partnered with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership to add green accents to Market Square. As part of its strategy to enliven downtown Pittsburgh and make Market Square a key to the revitalization of the Golden Triangle, the Partnership asked WPC to add flower planters and special spring and summer plantings in the Square. 
 Market Square planters
 
Along with hanging flower baskets, large planters were used to delineate experimental outdoor seating for the Square’s restaurants. The Partnership found that the greening of Market Square helped to increase the function of its outdoor space. Local businesses mentioned the planters and greenery when they thanked the Partnership for its efforts downtown. WPC continues to work with the Partnership to enhance Market Square with greening for all to enjoy.
 
Convention Center
With the announcement that Pittsburgh would be the site of the September 2009 G-20 Summit, the opportunity arose to improve the facade and landscape of Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center. During our Downtown Greening Survey conducted as part of the 2007 Downtown Greening Report, this site was identified as the most visited point in the Golden Triangle; the Convention center itself is one of the world’s largest green buildings—yet its handsome and efficient design lacked a complementary green landscape.
 
David L. Lawrence Convention Center with WPC planters and other plantings on its Downtown Pittsburgh side.
 
With the support of Colcom Foundation and Astorino Architects, the downtown side of the Convention Center was transformed from almost entirely concrete and asphalt paving to a welcoming “green carpet” entrance. The plantings included 24 mature Zelkova trees, 180 shrubs and hundreds of perennials. In addition, 50 large planters were added to complete the setting. The plantings can provide the following benefits:
  • shade
  • air temperature reduction
  • traffic noise reduction
  • air quality improvement by intercepting dust, ash and exhaust
  • prevention of approximately 7,400 gallons of water from entering the municipal water treatment system each year
  • approximately 3,400 pounds of carbon offset annually
PARK(ing) Day
Each year WPC participates in PARK(ing) Day—an international event meant to re-envision public spaces for natural and pedestrian use in the urban environment. Since 2010, WPC has partnered with organizations such as the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, BikePittsburgh and others to transform asphalt into public spaces to be enjoyed by all. WPC believes that showcasing creative examples of different urban greening techniques can provide funders and practitioners the impetus to make densely built downtown landscapes more green and environmental.
 
WPC's PARK(ing) Day display along Gateway Plaza in 2016
 
Downtown Pittsburgh Flower Gardens
Three of WPC’s community flower gardens reside in Downtown Pittsburgh. These gardens, located along Grant Street and First Avenue, along Penn Avenue near Stanwix Street near the Gateway Center Station and at Liberty Avenue and Commonwealth Place at the entrance to Point State Park, all provide welcoming landscapes throughout downtown. These locations are cared for by WPC’s field staff and generous volunteers, and supported by generous donors who understand the value of beautiful natural sceneries in the midst of an often harsh landscape. Please visit our community flower gardens page for more information.
   
Faith's Memorial Garden near Gateway Center The Point Garden in Downtown Pittsburgh 
Community flower garden at Grant Avenue at First Avenue
 
Downtown Pittsburgh Community Forestry
The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy has played a significant role in the reforestation of downtown Pittsburgh. Since 2010, working with the TreeVitalize Pittsburgh Partnership and downtown stakeholders, WPC has planted more than 750 trees to make downtown a more attractive and vibrant place for residents, workers and visitors. In addition, WPC has partnered to implement other tree planting and stormwater management projects in Downtown Pittsburgh.  Please visit our community forestry page for more information on this program.
Redbud Project tree planting in Point State Park, Downtown Pittsburgh
 
Our Downtown Pittsburgh Greening work is meant to be replicated to enhance and improve commercial corridors and other town centers. Contact us at ademeo@paconserve.org or 412-586-2346 with comments and questions.

 

The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy is a nonprofit, tax-exempt charitable organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and 100% of your donation is tax-deductable as allowed by law.