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Politics & Government

Pittsburgh Tackles Most Pressing Challenges With New Resilience Strategy

Bill Sikes
AP Photo
The Monongahela River lies to the south of Pittsburgh’s central business district. Before efforts to improve the city’s air and water, the skyline’s edges used to be blurred by pollution. ";s:3:

Pittsburgh is the only Pennsylvania city in 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative created by the Rockefeller Foundation to prepare urban areas to weather the shocks and stresses of the 21st century. Throughout more than a year-long process, Pittsburgh identified racial and socioeconomic inequity, aging infrastructure, public health, and severe weather events as the city’s greatest weaknesses.

On Wednesday, Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin and Mayor Bill Peduto unveiled ONEPGH, the city’s resilience strategy. It’s been a complex process, Ervin said, but ultimately, Pittsburgh’s priorities for the future come down to a pretty simple idea.

“When I asked my nine-year-old daughter, what Pittsburgh meant to her, she said ‘It’s about neighbors.’ And I said honey, what do neighbors do? And she said, they help each other.”

ONEPGH outlines goals from improving community-police relations, to addressing the opioid epidemic, and stimulating small business development. Though many people already work to address those problems, the difference is coordinating and amplifying those efforts, said Ervin.

The city must usher in a new era of partnership to do so, said Peduto.

“Whether it’s tackling affordable housing or pre-K education for all of our three- and four-year-olds, we can’t do it alone as a city government. It requires everyone, every company, every foundation, every institution, every organization to be a part of building Pittsburgh’s future.”

The Resilient Cities office worked with residents to identify goals and objectives for the city, as well as community stakeholders who will help move them forward. As the strategy rolls out, there are numerous events in the near future, though specific actions are still being identified.