A Comprehensive Plan is the City's game plan for making policy, attracting investment and determining the most effective use of tax payer dollars. A Comprehensive Plan is created through a process that allows residents to voice their opinions and make suggestions about how the City can grow gracefully over the next 25 years. It will help elected officials, decision makers and residents make Pittsburgh an even better place to live, work, learn, play and thrive.
A Comprehensive Plan allows the City to be proactive and seize opportunities instead of reacting to problems after they arise. It is a means for identifying, prioritizing, coordinating and funding projects that may involve many partners and funding from multiple sources.
Over the years, the factors that elected officials and other decision makers need to consider when making land use and investment decisions have grown increasingly complex. Adapting to challenges such as market fluctuation, environmental change, and a shifting population is never easy, and requires a great deal of coordination within the City and with other partners in the region. To decrease the impact of these challenges and to seize opportunities that arise from them, the City of Pittsburgh has begun an ambitious planning process that is designed to address life in a 21st century city.
The Comprehensive Plan process will be inclusive. It will consider the needs and the requests of the residents and other stakeholders. It will analyze existing conditions in the city, discuss future trends, look at how other cities are doing things, and choose which goals to pursue here in Pittsburgh.
The result of this mix of professional and public input is PLANPGH, an official Comprehensive Plan document that will encompass the City's vision and policy recommendations for future land use, infrastructure, and public services.
Creating and using a Comprehensive Plan will provide several advantages:
The Comprehensive Plan will be created through an inclusive process involving residents, government, business leaders, community groups and other stakeholders. In partnership with City government, stakeholders will share the responsibility for implementing the plan. Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning will serve as the primary organizer for the effort with assistance from other relevant departments and authorities.
A Comprehensive Plan is just that--comprehensive. It examines a whole host of issues in concert with one another so that we can see how decisions in one area might affect outcomes in another.
Local government is the backbone of Pennsylvania's government structure, so it is crucial that planning happens at the local level. All municipalities in the Commonwealth of PA are encouraged to have a Comprehensive Plan. The Municipalities Planning Code (MPC) outlines nine components that should be included in a Comprehensive Plan. However, as the state's two largest cities, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh are exempt from the provisions of the MPC and are, thus, afforded a certain level of flexibility in their approach.
The City of Pittsburgh will study twelve components in its Comprehensive Plan:
Some of these components may be combined or undertaken in a different sequence than listed here, as funding becomes available or new needs arise.
Typically, one team of professionals is hired to look at all components over the course of 18-to-24-month planning process. Sometimes this time period does not allow sufficient time to develop specific recommendations or detailed steps about how to implement them, resulting in a plan with worthy goals, but few results.
In order to assure a more useful level of detail, the City has elected to take more time with each component of the plan, hiring expert teams to work with residents, City departments and authorities, community groups, investors and other stakeholders to craft specific recommendations for the issues they care and know most about.
A Comprehensive Plan is much like a novel with each chapter leading into and influencing the next. The first components of PLANPGH to be examined will be Open Space, Parks and Recreation; Cultural Heritage; Transportation; Public Art and Urban Design.
These first four components were strategically chosen because they:
Later components will be addressed based on priority, availability of funding and with the help of partners who share responsibility for those components. For instance, the City of Pittsburgh is not directly responsible for the education system. However, the City does have influence over such things as transportation, urban design, and neighborhood development, all factors that impact the viability of schools.
The Plan will take approximately five years to complete.
This slower more methodical approach allows the city to:
By participating in the Comprehensive Plan process the residents and stakeholders will have a voice. Participating is a chance to express your opinion, ask questions, suggest possible solutions or simply get a better perspective on what is going on in Pittsburgh.
The twelve components of PLANPGH will be integrated by:
A Comprehensive Plan is a city-wide look at the many layers of the physical and social fabric of the city. Because neighborhoods are one of the city's most unique features, PLANPGH will incorporate feedback about and from neighborhoods in a variety of ways:
In general this process will determine common neighborhood issues, provide a foundation for future neighborhood plans, and physically, economically and socially connect the city's communities. Although a city-wide plan, key neighborhoods and districts within the City may emerge as priorities. PLANPGH will create an overall city-wide strategy upon which neighborhoods can base their own plans, assuring that neighborhood plans are compatible with each other without sacrificing each neighborhood's unique community character.
Municipal plans are required to be consistent with their neighbors' plans and with the county in which they reside. PLANPGH will build on the momentum and vision created by the Allegheny Places County Comprehensive Plan, while drilling into a finer level of detail about city resources and land use processes.
For more information about PLANGPH, the City of Pittsburgh's first-ever Comprehensive Plan, visit this website or contact Andrew Dash, Senior Planner, Department of City Planning at 412.255.0760 or 412.255.2200.