Date of Original Version

Spring 2005


Technical Report

Abstract or Table of Contents

For the past fifteen years the Urban Laboratory has used Pittsburgh as its laboratory. Students in the Urban Lab work directly with the people who live in the towns and neighborhoods of the Pittsburgh metropolitan region.

Through empowering the citizens to express their aspirations, the recommendations of the Urban Lab have become, year after year, a tangible and accountable force in the evolution of the urban communities in the region.

There are 380 communities in the Pittsburgh region divided by topography, economics, class, and ethnic and racial differences. This fragmentation and separation has been and is a major regional problem. Such diversity, however, presents opportunities as well as challenges. This year, students studied both the factors that divide communities and those that promote connections between them Building upon the experience of the Urban Lab in studying regional issues on the local neighborhood scale, we focused our efforts on three communities along the East Busway: Swissvale/Edgewood, Wilkinsburg, and the Baum/Centre corridor. By promoting connectivity,new transit concepts can reinforce the region's social, cultural and economic life.

The overall goal of the project for this year is to produce a set of design and policy recommendations that will help overcome the impediments to cooperation and promote those elements that would strengthen connections in light of present and future demands. This semester, our focus has been of the creation of specific recommendations within the urban frame works produced during the Fall of 2004. All together, the work presented in these two volumes represents how we understand the aspirations of the citizens of those communities that so kindly spend time working with us in the development of urban design visions and implementation strategies of physical and programmatic connections within and between their communities.