2016 Sessions


Tuesday, May 17th

10:00 – 11:15 AM – Session 1

PEOPLE: Urban Education and the Future of Community Development

ROOM – Three Rivers
There are many rewards and challenges in the preparation of a new generation of learners! Pittsburgh’s urban students will be our 21st century citizens and leaders, ready to give back to our region. Access to high-performing schools is necessary for all students and families, as we expand, evolve and refine education to best suit the needs of our students.

“Who is teaching our children?” Propel believes that it is the people that make the difference. This belief drives Propel’s commitment to recruit, train and employ a diverse teaching workforce who are passionate about urban education and who embrace Propel’s belief that every child can succeed. There are many challenges in recruiting a diverse group of teachers, but through the Pittsburgh Urban Teaching Corps Propel is changing our region’s educational landscape by inviting new, more diverse voices into the classroom and providing a career pathway for those community members who share Propel’s belief in educational equity and social justice.

“Impressions and Expressions of Students” While many schools are cutting back the arts, our fully-integrated arts program is a model to show that students need art – not simply for academic enrichment, but for the freedom to express emotion, dig deeper into the ‘self’ and liberate their creative minds.

“Where are the kids after school?” After school time can be tenuous for urban families. A strong after school program is vital for students to have the place, time and catalyst to keep the learning growing and going in a safe and enriching environment. This environment can, should and will assist students to achieve — not just academically, but by making enrichment activities a major piece of the ‘out of school’ time. By giving students skills, tools and experiences that they may not access in any other way, we give a glimpse into their future.


  • Dr. Tina Chekan: Superintendent/CEO, Propel Schools
  • Kimberly Roberts: Director of Talent, Propel Schools
  • Lauren Hinish: Director of Arts, Propel Schools
  • Rosemary Anderson: Director of Afterschool Programs, Propel Schools
  • Erika Gold Kestenberg: Associate Director for Community Partnerships and Practice, University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban Education

PLACE: Planning Multimodal Communities

ROOM – Allegheny
One component of a place’s power is the ease of movement to, from, and within it. It is a vital, yet often unaddressed community development issue. Access, equity, and mobility are greatly enhanced by multimodal communities where people can take transit, walk, or bike. How do we make and connect such places? What partnerships help make it happen?

This session dives into how, why, where, and for whom multimodal communities can be created. Port Authority of Allegheny County will discuss ways to catalyze ridership and transit-oriented development throughout its system, taking a best-practice, region-specific approach that will help communities and the agency alike approach multimodal development. Pittsburgh Bike Share will discuss its station location approach and how it supports multimodal travel, including the vital first/last mile connection. PBS will also discuss its efforts to ensure equitable access across its network and how easy-to-use, affordable active transportation is changing the connections within and between communities.


  • Breen Masciotra: Transit-Oriented Development Manager, Port Authority of Allegheny County
  • David White: Executive Director, Pittsburgh Bike Share

POWER: How Neighbors Joined Together to Create a Vision for an Abandoned School

ROOM – Monongahela

The Hazelwood Community has recently transformed how the Power of People can change how Places are developed. The Hazelwood Initiative and Center of Life, Hazelwood community organizations, in partnership with Make It Right Organization and PCRG, engaged the Hazelwood community residents to create a process for the redevelopment of the Historic Gladstone School Building. The Hazelwood Initiative, local CDC and Center of Life, local social service organization is purchasing the school building from the Pittsburgh Public School Board for use by the Hazelwood community. The Hazelwood community is an urban neighborhood which was experienced decline since the community steel mill closed in the late 1990’s. This brownfield site has been purchased by four foundations. The ALMONO site has been the focus of redevelopment and revitalization in Hazelwood. This Gladstone School Project transforms the discussion to focus on the heart of the neighborhood of Hazelwood by inviting the residents to create the vision and play an active part in the entire process.


  • Kristina DiPietro: Board Member, Hazelwood Initiative
  • Tim Duggan: Community Planner and Landscape Architect, Make it Right Foundation
  • Tim Smith: Executive Director, Center of Life
  • Alyssa Lyon: Community Coordinator, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

12:45 – 2:00 PM – Session 2

PEOPLE: Beyond the Visitor: Sinking Down Roots of Cultural Identity through Placemaking

ROOM – Allegheny

Through examples of the two-week Lunar New Year festivities in Squirrel Hill celebrating Asian American heritage and traditions; the intentional building of experiences that engage Latinos using art, food, digital media and innovative marketing to build authentic relationships with Latinos; and the empowerment of sharing the Bhutanese and other refugee experiences through storytelling through blogging and video presentations; the Asian, Latino, and Bhutanese communities are creating “public spaces” to grow their identities in region that is not used to having their presence. Denied the traditional cultural and historical resources that usually enable a group to make its mark of belonging, Chinese, Bhutanese, and Latino Americans are creatively procuring resources via other ways and means. By doing so, both groups are incubating their true identities (a hybrid of their ethnic heritage, as Americans, and as Pittsburghers!). By creating what is familiar and what is ethnically true, pride overtakes fear, and confidence over anxiety.



  • Britt Reints, Moderator: Coordinator, Uncover Squirrel Hill
  • Marian Lien: Executive Director, Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition
  • Tara Sherry-Torres: Founder and Creative Director, Café Con Leche
  • Diwas Timsina: Founder and President, Children of Shangri-Lost

PLACE: Hungry for Change: Food as a Catalyst for Community Development

ROOM – Three Rivers

Through visual presentation and engaging conversation, this session is designed to bring food into focus as a catalyst for community development that reverberates out positive impacts on family life, community health and well-being, job training and creation, placemaking, and culture. The session will kicked off with an introduction to this concept and the collective work of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council, its members and the cross-cutting collaborations that are working to bring about a more just, equitable and sustainable local food system. Learn about both established and emerging food projects throughout Pittsburgh and surrounding municipalities, particularly in low-income neighborhoods. Learn about how innovative food business models, community-based food access and urban agriculture initiatives, planning processes and policy change are allowing us to re-imagine our local food system and build healthy communities. Provide a case study of the collaboration of three community organizations — Operation Better Block, Homewood Children’s Village and the Bible Center Church–to create an innovative food infrastructure as an essential part of their comprehensive neighborhood revitalization strategy. As PFPC affiliated organizations, they have drawn a broad cross section of partnerships at the neighborhood and city level to create a plan for community gardens, urban agriculture, aquaponics, local food-related business development, food-related workforce development, youth leadership and nutrition/health education, and equitable access to healthy food as core components of their strategy.


  • Dawn Plummer: Director, Pittsburgh Food Policy Council
  • Heather Manzo: Extension Educator in Agricultural Entrepreneurship and Community Economic Development, Penn State Extension
  • Stephanie Boddie: Post-Doctoral Fellow, Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy
  • Kahlil Morris: Community Development Coordinator, Operation Better Block

POWER: Resident-First Community Building

ROOM – Monongahela

If we know what a community is, we know how members connect to communities; and we know that higher levels of connectedness are likely to increase an individual’s level of participation in the maintenance and upkeep of that community, why do we not apply this to community development efforts? This is the central question of work in the Hilltop neighborhoods of South Pittsburgh.

This session explores the applied research strategy of The UrbanKind Institute and their focus on specific community building efforts that research suggests will likely increase members’ sense of community connectedness. High “Sense of Community” scores yield increased levels of social capital and community engagement. These increases in social capital work to galvanize residents from displacement when eventual investments in infrastructure and housing stock occur. The relationships formed between members with high social capital allotments and their sense of community ownership and empowerment become the building blocks of communities where residents are likely to stay and participate in community revitalization efforts.

The UrbanKind Institute presents this model of resident driven community building as an alternative to common models of community development processes driven by the recycling of taxable properties and short-term financial returns on investments.


  • Jamil Bey: Founder and Director, The UrbanKind Institute
  • LaShawna Russ: Community Coordinator, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
  • Terry Matuszak: Resident
  • Mary Taylor: Real Estate and Placemaking Fellow, Neighborhood Allies

2:15 – 3:30 PM – Session 3

PEOPLE: Placemaking, Equity, and the Affordable Housing Crisis: a Practical Policy Toolkit

ROOM – Monongahela

Facing stagnant incomes, rising housing costs, and shrinking public resources, cities across the country are struggling to provide affordable housing for their residents. As a result, many low-income households find themselves increasingly marginalized in their own communities. Constrained housing choices for low-income residents’ limit their access to opportunity, increase their risk of displacement, and reduce the potential for truly inclusive places. An affordable housing crisis often affects minorities, seniors, and other disadvantaged groups more strongly. As a result, many communities face both a housing crisis and an equity crisis.

While proactive affordable housing policy can be used to redefine places and expand opportunity, it is often difficult to find examples. This presentation will showcase best practices for assessing affordable housing need, translating the results into implementable policy solutions, and tailoring these efforts to the goals and objectives of each unique community. The presentation will also cover how to utilize affordable housing policy to expand opportunities for marginalized groups. Original case studies from a wide cross-section of areas, including the City of Colorado Springs, Wake County, NC, the State of Washington, and the City of Pittsburgh, will be presented. Emphasis will be placed on the real-world policy implications and final outcomes of each initiative. This presentation will provide a practical toolkit for communities to assess and address housing, from grassroots neighborhood strategies to statewide policy development. Special attention will be paid to how national best practices can be applied to Pittsburgh.


  • Nick Fedorek: Housing and Community Development Specialist, Mullin & Lonergan Associates
  • Councilman Daniel Lavelle: City Councilman, City of Pittsburgh Council District 6
  • Ira Mabel: Housing and Community Development Specialist, Mullin & Lonergan Associates

PEOPLE: In Our Backyard: Integrated Housing Projects for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

ROOM – Three Rivers

Today communities are faced with the challenge of supporting individuals and their families impacted by an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). The most current prevalence rate of Autism is reaching epidemic proportions. The cost of providing care for each person with Autism is $1.4 – $2.4 million over the life span. Individuals on the spectrum are 7 times more likely to come in contact with the law. Less than 17% of individuals are gainfully employed and only 17% have lived away from their primary caregivers at some point in adulthood. And yet most families and communities do not have dedicated resources to support these individuals throughout their life.

Many states have behavioral and educational supports built for individuals with ASD, including commercial insurance, but it ends when they reach 21. There are individuals with ASD that possess the capability of living independently and having gainful employment, but due to the lack of minimal support they remain in the care of others and are typically unemployed or underemployed. There also remains the stigma in employing an individual with an ASD. When focus on the needs of individuals over the age of 21 comes the shift in development of this innovative housing concept integrating housing for individuals with an ASD and their typical developing peers. Providing voluntary support for all tenants for education, peer engagement, resume writing, employment identification, budgeting and identification of natural supports is a necessity for success. Another key component is a tenant council to support the development of an environment where all residents can socialize in a safe and supportive environment. Services for individuals with an ASD diagnosis cannot be delivered in system silos, when supportive services are available at all. The key to impactful, long-term success is integration of home and community resources. 


  • Elliot Frank: Founder and President, Autism Housing Development Corporation of Pittsburgh
  • Karen Markle: Executive Vice President of Education and Autism Services, NHS Human Services
  • David Noss: Principal, RSH Architects

PLACE: Asset-based Micro Planning and Neighborhood Action Plans

ROOM – Allegheny

Struggling to put your neighborhood plans into action? The City of Youngstown, Ohio and the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation (YNDC) have created a simple, yet innovative approach to neighborhood revitalization through asset-based micro planning and the development of action plans. Using a data-driven approach to identify and prioritize housing, infrastructure, and crime issues affecting the neighborhood, plans are developed and neighborhood action teams are established to advance implementation efforts. Comprised of residents, institutional partners, city officials, and YNDC staff, these action teams are focused on achieving a real impact and creating mutual accountability and transparency among all partners. Learn how this place-based strategy is bringing new resources to distressed communities that would otherwise not receive such assistance, and how residents are becoming empowered to have a meaningful role in planning, implementation, and decision-making to secure the future of their neighborhoods.


  • Ian Beniston: Executive Director, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Tom Hetrick: Neighborhood Planner, Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corporation
  • Deb Flora: Executive Director, Mahoning County Land Bank
  • Sharon Woodberry: Director of Community Planning and Economic Development, City of Youngstown
  • Marguerite Douglas: Financial Secretary, Lincoln Knolls Community Watch

Wednesday, May 18th

10:15 – 11:30 AM – Session 4

PEOPLE: Land Banks and Land Trusts: The Tools of Today

ROOM – Monongahela

In 2014, the Trumbull County Land Bank, a nonprofit CDC serving Warren, Ohio, was awarded demolition funding through the federal Hardest Hit Fund. This funding stream was earmarked for residential demolition, but unlike past demolition funding NIP allocated funds for green space and vacant lot reuse projects post demolition, an activity that was vital to the revival of Warren’s neighborhoods. TNP saw the need for these funds and turned to Warren’s residents to develop ideas and implement their plans with the technical assistance of TNP. This was the birth of Lots to Love, a grassroots resident driven vacant lot reuse program.

Lots to Love started with grassroots organizing to get residents thinking about vacant lots as potential assets to the community and how these lots could address needs in their neighborhoods. This gave residents the reigns to drive projects in their neighborhoods and use TNP and the Land Bank to give the monetary and technical support needed to move these projects forward. Residents were required to submit a plan for the site, a petition signed by surrounding property owners, a long term maintenance plan, and how the project would positively impact the community. It gives the residents a sense of ownership in their neighborhood and started a trend to make their communities more livable spaces. Whether it is the development of a community garden to combat the availability of fresh produce or a basketball court to offer youth the opportunity for recreation and relaxation, all of these projects are meant to better the quality of life for Warren residents.

Now starting its second year, Lots to Love has been a highly successful program come learn more about the collaboration between a nonprofit CDC, a land bank, and grassroots resident driven efforts that Warren’s vacant lots can be transformed into community assets.


  • Shawn Carvin: Trumbull County Land Bank Program Manager, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership
  • Lou Tisler: Executive Director, Neighborhood Housing Services of Greater Cleveland
  • Lisa Ramsey: Assistant Director, Trumbull Neighborhood Partnership

PLACE: Transit-oriented Development: It’s a Housing Issue, and It’s Not Just for Big Cities

ROOM – Allegheny

Big cities are cashing in on the resurgent interest in walkable, compact communities, but how can smaller municipalities and towns capitalize on these trends? How do we identify opportunity zones and improve quality of life– especially for the elderly and poor? What roles do mass transit and other non-car forms of transportation play? Most importantly, how do we pay for it and how do smaller communities build these partnerships?

Municipal and community leaders will learn about what role transit and walkability principles can play in the revitalization of long-disinvested communities with similar urban form to large central cities. The latest resources to bring housing, commerce, and transit together, including online assessment tools, zoning and planning approaches and equitable TOD will be discussed, as will funding opportunities like PA’s Multimodal funds, Transit Revitalization Investment Districts, Federal transportation funding sources, and others. Finally, how these projects can come together in smaller locales will be explored.


  • Chris Sandvig: Policy Director, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group
  • Lynn Colosi: Vice President ,Transit Services; Delta Development Group
  • Barb Ciampini: Director of Planning, City of Greensburg (PA)

POWER: Preparing Your Community for the Third Industrial Revolution

ROOM – Three Rivers

The Third Industrial Revolution, as described by internationally recognized economist Jeremy Rifkin, will bring a new era of economic growth through a communications-energy-transportation internet convergence. We can already see the burgeoning effects on our economy through media’s ongoing democratization and buzz around smart buildings, grids, and transportation. Community-empowering trend exploitation, however, requires thoughtful land use, workforce development, and social infrastructure planning if we hope to fix the problems of the First and Second Revolutions rather than exacerbate them with new tech. How can communities prepare to take advantage of the shifts so that they do not get left behind?

This session will discuss the need for workforce, infrastructure, and entrepreneurship and provide real-world examples of how communities are planning for or implementing programs to position themselves accordingly. This session will be relevant to participants from any community, working at any scale (neighborhood to regional), and to participants across a diverse spectrum of issues, including environmental, workforce and training, land use planning, and community building.


  • Aurora Sharrard: Executive Director, Green Building Alliance
  • Grant Ervin: Chief Resiliency Officer, City of Pittsburgh
  • Zaheen Hussain: Sustainability Coordinator, Millvale Community Library
  • Chelsea Burket: Sustainability Communities Director, Fourth Economy Consulting

POWER: Leveraging Funds for the Long Haul

ROOM Riverboat

Stable, long-term financing is essential to sustain community development for the long haul.  The terms and requirements of permanent funding sources greatly influence the economics of real estate development and the mission objectives it can achieve.  Hear from industry professionals who provide long-term debt financing and operating subsidy to community development projects like yours.   Topics will include:

  • Patient capital, including foundation program related investments (PRIs)
  • Permanent debt financing for rent-restricted rental housing, including Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) projects
  • Long-term sources of operating subsidy, including project-based vouchers administered by local Housing Authorities

The panel will discuss the benefits of incorporating these sources into a real estate project and share insights on how lenders, investors and public agencies underwrite projects from both a mission and economic perspective.


  • Tamara Dudukovich, Vice President and Senior Community Lending Officer BNY Mellon – Moderator
  • Mark Bibro, Executive Director of the Birmingham Foundation
  • Bob Rice, Senior Vice President, Debt for the Community Development Trust
  • David Weber, Chief Operations Officer of the Housing Authority of the City of Pittsburgh

1:45 – 3:00 PM – Session 5

PEOPLE: Futuremakers: Art as a Community Development Driver and Community Connector

ROOM – Three Rivers

This session, will discuss the dynamic and needed role of creative place-making across sectors as a way to create opportunities and new possibilities for populations that have traditionally been marginalized and left out of conversations about the importance and role of comprehensive community development.  The panel will examine and discuss the following questions:

  • What is the next step beyond creative placemaking?
  • Where can non-profit organizations and creative entrepreneurs collaborate with private development?
  • How do organizations & entrepreneurs adapt to an economically evolving neighborhood?
  • Who is represented in a “diverse audience”?
  • How does the velocity & aesthetic of change shape and affect neighbors?
  • Why & how does a neighborhood become a destination?


  • Janera Solomon, Executive Director – Kelly Strayhorn
  • S. Kinsel, Boom Concepts
  • Shey Rivera Rios, Artistic Director at AS220
  • Bonnie Young Laing, Community Organizer – Hill District Consensus Group

PLACE: Leveraging Community in Green Infrastructure Planning

ROOM – Monongahela

Our region will be investing billions of dollars to comply with the EPA’s Consent Decree for the Clean Water Act. This investment is meant to help keep our rivers clean but could be the way to rebuild our neighborhoods at the same time, challenging the ways we plan our communities. To meet our Consent Decree requirements will need to implement rainwater infrastructure to include both parcel-based green infrastructure as well as larger, shared infrastructure that functions as a hydrological system in our communities. This session presents three perspectives that describe upcoming system changes to rainwater and green infrastructure planning (large scale), how communities are crossing boundaries to work together in multi municipal efforts (medium scale), and how neighborhood implementation projects can spur investment that leverages system change (small scale).


  • Christine Mondor: Strategic Principal, EvolveEA
  • Lisa Brown: Director, Saw Mill Run Watershed Association
  • John Stephen: Principal, Ecosophic Strategies, LLC
  • Ian Lipsky: Senior Hydrologist, eDesign Dynamics
  • Megan Zeigler: Green Infrastructure Technical Coordinator, Pittsburgh Water Sewage Authority

POWER: Organizing Around Transit Equity in Place and in Motion

ROOM – Allegheny 

What’s the common denominator between a more equitable approach to transit service delivery and putting community priorities first in a transit-oriented development strategy? Sustained, on-the-ground organizing and evidence-based advocacy.

In 2014, a station-area study in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood almost died before starting because of historic distrust between the community and City development institutions. How did this not only get back on track, but embrace the community’s wishes and prioritize people-first public improvements? We will discuss the process, how it integrated grassroots land use planning, and spurred a neighborhood wide discussion on equitable policy and development principles. We will also explore the challenges of building relationships in disinvested communities and ways to gain authentic participation.

That same year, Pittsburghers for Public Transit successfully mobilized transit riders not only to get service restored, but also impact route planning policies and processes. In response, Port Authority created service guidelines that include a process for collecting requests from the public and the criteria for how they would be evaluated – weighing equity equally with efficiency and effectiveness. Current efforts to impact decision-making around transit, land use, housing, and development decisions will also be discussed.


  • Jerome Jackson: Executive Director, Operation Better Block Inc.
  • Jonathan Kline: Principal, Studio for Spatial Practice
  • Molly Nichols: Director, Pittsburghers for Public Transit
  • Chris Sandvig: Policy Director, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group

3:30 – 4:45 PM – Session 6

PEOPLE: Neighborhood Change & Displacement: The Voices of the Community

ROOM – Monongahela

The session will address Change and Displacement, the impacts of gentrification on the community. The moderator and panelists will discuss the emotional, mental, spiritual and financial effects on children and families experiencing these changes. Families who have resided in a neighborhood for several years are being uprooted to unfamiliar neighborhoods. What are the stigmas attached to families who are displaced? What are some of the challenges faced when families are forced to find and choose a new home? How do the families adjust to a new community? How does the new community adjust to the families? How do youth adjust to transitioning to new schools? Does change and displacement perpetuate neighborhood violence? In this session we will explore the differences between embracing change and displacement.   At the end of the session, experienced helping professionals and real estate experts will share strategies for collaboration between community residents and community development agencies.


  • Sharise Hemby-Nance: Co-owner and Co-founder, Handinhand Counseling Services, LLC
  • Tess Kenney: Co-owner and Co-founder, Handinhand Counseling Services, LLC
  • Derrick Tillman: Founder and President, Bridging the Gap Development, LLC
  • Toinette Larkins: PA Licensed Real Estate Agent
  • Angel Gober, Action United

PLACE: Building Healthy Communities: New Partnerships in Public Health

ROOM – Allegheny

Allegheny County currently ranks 34th out of 67 Pennsylvania counties on health outcomes. In addition, throughout the County there are health inequalities related to race, economic status and geographic location.   Although the Allegheny County Health Department works daily to close these gaps, much of what determines population health lies outside the formal jurisdiction of health agencies. These social determinants are the circumstances in which people are born, grow up, live, work, and age, as well as the systems put in place to deal with illness. These circumstances in turn are shaped by a wider set of forces: economics, social policies, and politics.   For example, issues related to inadequate housing and lower educational attainment are highly correlated with poor health outcomes.

Isolated successes in improving specific health issues have been achieved over the past few decades, but until now, the County has not used a collective strategy to address longstanding community health problems. With guidance from a cross-sectoral stakeholder group, the Department’s Live Well Allegheny campaign seeks to catalyze healthy communities by encouraging private and public institutions to surround citizens with healthy options. Using a “health in all policies” approach LWA is transforming municipalities (130 in Allegheny County), schools (43 separate school districts), and businesses into healthy environments. Each is expected to meet evidence-based criteria to attain live well status. ACHD is simultaneously providing the data and messaging necessary to create public behavior change at the County level.

This discussion will highlight some of the municipal and multi-sector partnerships that have developed through the Department’s Live Well Allegheny campaign, including how partners have leveraged health in service of blight reduction, food access, and the community impacts of trauma and vice versa. Health Department Director Dr. Karen Hacker and her co-panelists will also address some of the barriers to health-oriented community transformation.


  • Abby Wilson: Deputy Director for Policy and Community Relations, Allegheny County Health Department
  • An Lewis: Executive Director, Steel Rivers Council of Governments
  • Karen Hacker: Director, Allegheny County Health Department
  • Presley Gillespie: President, Neighborhood Allies

POWER: Organizing to Preserve and Promote Hill District Art

ROOM – Three Rivers

The Greater Hill District Masterplan called for more than 19 initiatives to achieve the revitalization for the Hill District.   An arts plan for the community was one proposed projects. The purpose of the plan is to increase the quantity, quality and visibility of arts activity in the Hill District and in doing do strengthen, improve and reveal the culture (thought and behavior) of the Hill District, as well to mark this neighborhood as a place for Black people and to reward, and to strengthen the careers of artists already working in the neighborhood.

In 2014, the HDCG formed a Hill District Arts Plan Committee to create a community driven neighborhood level arts plan, composed of Hill District residents, artists from the Hill District, artists who have done significant work in the Hill District but live elsewhere, along with representatives of key Hill District institutions. Members of this all-volunteer committee developed a survey, gathered data from more than 280 community residents and external stakeholders, and held focus groups with more than 20 Hill District artists. Data from these sources has been compiled and preliminary findings have been developed to inform a final plan.

The workshop will discuss: 1) our process to develop a Hill District Arts Plan, 2) review key findings and 3) the early stage strategies that are under development to guide arts-based place-keeping efforts, along with 4) the associated promise and pitfalls of the effort.


  • Bonnie Young Laing: Assistant Professor, California University of Pennsylvania Department of Social Work
  • Justin Laing: Senior Program Officer, The Heinz Endowments
  • Kendra Ross: Award-winning vocalist and Doctoral Student in Community Engagement at Point Park University