The demolition of Pittsburgh’s civic arena has made way for the renewal of the Lower Hill district that will connect Pittsburgh’s Hill District with Downtown. The 28-acre site, historically a vibrant neighborhood, will be redeveloped to include a mix of uses, including housing, retail, restaurant, office, and entertainment, and to re-establish the street grid. The project is following the guidance of LEED for Neighborhood Development to ensure the neighborhood supports a healthy environment using green building and green infrastructure techniques, and addresses social issues through open space, walkable streets, and gathering spaces.
Nitsch Engineering is providing consulting services to the design team related to sustainable site design and water management. We performed an annual water budget analysis and preliminary water reuse analysis for the District to quantify and establish a series of goals and metrics for sustainable stormwater management and water conservation. Nitsch Engineering worked closely with the landscape architect to identify an array of green infrastructure techniques that could be implemented to meet the established goals and targets for stormwater management and rainwater/greywater reuse.
The proposed strategies include a three-tiered approach integrating sustainable elements in public infrastructure, public open space, and private development parcels. The combined strategies are intended to demonstrate a high level of sustainability and address local environmental issues, including combined sewer overflows (CSOs) resulting from urban stormwater runoff. The proposed green infrastructure techniques include “Portland-style” rain gardens, porous sidewalks, and modular storage reservoirs integrated with tree root systems within the right-of-way; sub-surface infiltration or regional rainwater harvesting tanks beneath areas of public open space; and green roofs, rainwater reuse, porous pavements, and biofiltration for development parcels.
Nitsch Engineering presented our preliminary findings to the “water” focus group that includes an array of stakeholders from various regulatory agencies, City departments, watershed groups, non-profit organizations, etc. The goals and recommendations will be included in the Preliminary Land Development Plan.