Friday, November 9, 2018

Allegheny Land Trust, Partners Make Urban Greenprint Property Information Tool Available To Public, Groups

The Allegheny Land Trust and the University of Pittsburgh's Western PA Regional Data Center this week made available to the public and groups in the City Of Pittsburgh a new interactive Urban Greenprint property information tool to help plan and collaborate on green space projects.
"The tool was developed because the Trust was getting requests to help community, nonprofit and local government groups plan green space projects in the City," said Tom Dougherty, Vice President of Development and External Affairs for the Trust. "Whether it was developing a local recreation area, a community garden, protecting areas prone to landslides or natural hazards, or building a rain garden, people needed more information about particular pieces of property."
The Urban Greenprint assembles data layers starting with basic property information on a property like ownership and tax status.
It adds environmental characteristics, and whether another group or government agency is interested in the site for redevelopment, whether it is in a designated "food desert" where urban farming might be encouraged, an area that might be protected for open space or recreation opportunities or for developing green stormwater infrastructure.
"The idea is to create opportunities for collaboration and to head off conflicts between groups who may be looking at the same property for different kinds of conservation or development uses," said Dougherty. "Having the information in one place saves a lot of time and increases the chances for successful projects, and avoids situations where the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing."
As an example, a neighborhood group may want to develop a parcel of land in their community for recreation.  
Checking the Urban Greenprint, they could find out another group is looking to use open space in the area to develop community gardens or an agency is looking to develop green projects that store or slow stormwater runoff.
Using that information, the neighborhood group can collaborate with the others interested in the property and come up with a stronger, more functional project with several different benefits for their community.
"How we collectively manage our open spaces in the next 5 to 10 years will determine whether we exacerbate regional issues like flooding, landslides, combined sewer overflow, food insecurity, blight, and shortages of outdoor recreational places -- or effectively mitigate them for the improvement of quality of life in the region," said Dougherty.  "This tool helps groups collaborate and maximize their opportunities for community benefits in ways they may not have thought about before."
The Urban Greenprint project was started about a year ago by the Allegheny Land Trust, with technical support contributed by the Western PA Regional Data Center and funding by the Heinz Endowments.
Dougherty said the Trust is open to adding additional data sets from other organizations who may want to contribute to the efficacy of the tool, and is hoping to expand the data tool beyond the City of Pittsburgh to cover Allegheny County in the future.
            Click Here to explore the Urban Greenprint tool. Questions should be directed to Alyson Fearon at Allegheny Land Trust by calling 412-741-2750 or send an email to:  
For more information on programs, initiatives, upcoming educational programs and other events, visit the Allegheny Land Trust website.  Click Here to read the Trust’s most recent newsletter.  Click Here to add your email to their mailing list.  Click Here to support their work.

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