Innovation & Performance
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This year the City of Pittsburgh's Department of Innovation & Performance is taking strides to help our city become more resilient by addressing the stresses we face today and preparing for potential future shocks, ranging from a lack of affordable housing to poor air quality and severe storms to hazardous materials incidents. As one of the 100 Resilient Cities - Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation, Pittsburgh strives to ensure that all residents have the have the same opportunities to live well and succeed. To keep our residents updated and informed on the work that the Resilient Pittsburgh Team is doing, we have released a monthly newsletter, “A Resilient Pittsburgh.”

The monthly newsletter will give updates on the process as we develop Pittsburgh's Resilience Strategy, share opportunities to get involved, and will also feature some of the projects that are already improving resilience in the region. Please sign up to receive the monthly Newsletter via email here.

Featured in April’s newsletter is the Executive Summary of our Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PRA), which is available now by clicking here! The PRA summarizes the risks Pittsburgh faces and the opportunities to strengthen resilience. The PRA will guide the next phase of resilience strategy development and subsequent project implementation. The full PRA will be ready for public comment later in April. Please share your concerns, revisions, and comments with us via this Google survey for the Executive Summary. 

posted 3/31/16 @ 2:26 pm

Pittsburgh’s popularity is on the rise and while some areas are benefiting, many of our neighborhoods suffer abandonment and violence, our population and infrastructure are aging, and climate change will bring new challenges. How can we create a resilient city that is safe and livable for everyone?

What does a Resilient Pittsburgh look like? 

We know strengthening education, addressing neighborhood violence and investing in infrastructure are things that make the city a better place for everyone who calls it home. Tell us how we can improve the daily reality of living in Pittsburgh and help communities prepare for the future and reduce the risks of disasters.

The Resilient Pittsburgh Deliberative Forums are meant to give Pittsburgh residents a space to learn in more detail about what local government and partners are already doing and to discuss possible solutions with other residents. We’ll talk about the chronic stresses that weaken Pittsburgh and the acute shocks that threaten the city. The goal of the meetings is to identify strategies that can empower residents and invest in our future as a city. 

Join us for one of the following events: 

Southside Market Place on Tuesday, November 17 from 6-8:30pm

East Liberty Presbyterian Church on Thursday, November 19 from 6-8:30pm

Food will be provided.

Register for the forum on-line at:


posted 11/09/15 @ 10:58 am

"Pittsburgh is pleased to be part of the country’s first Resilience AmeriCorps, which will build on existing efforts within the city to fortify our communities against environmental threats and other challenges,” said Mayor Peduto. “We are excited to have these new resources to contend with increasingly global issues.”

Pittsburgh was one of ten cities nationwide selected to join the Resilience AmeriCorps program, which will add two AmeriCorps VISTA fellows to our project team and bring $25,000 to the resilience effort.

The program is a collaboration between the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS), the Department of Energy (DOE), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with The Rockefeller Foundation and Cities of Service.

Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin said "We are really excited to be selected by the Resilience AmeriCorps program. Selection helps the city build on its efforts with the Rockefeller Foundation's 100 Resilient Cities Program to create a stronger, more resilient city. The fellows program will help to supply staff capacity and support resilience education and outreach by connecting city services with neighborhood volunteer led efforts. The program will help build resilience from the ground up. The program also offers a great opportunity to bring young people into public service and make a positive contribution to the city and our neighborhoods."

We anticipate that the Resilience AmeriCorps fellows will join the Resilient Pittsburgh team in February 2016.

Read more

posted 10/28/15 @ 7:41 am
Strategizing for Resilience

On August 19th and 20th, the Resilient Pittsburgh working team sat down to outline our process towards a resilience strategy.

The team includes:

  • Grant Ervin, Chief Resilience Officer, City of Pittsburgh

  • Rebecca Kiernan, Senior Resilience Coordinator, City of Pittsburgh

  • Ari Lattanzi, Resilience Analyst, City of Pittsburgh

  • Anita Chandra, Director, RAND Justice, Infrastructure, and Environment, The RAND Corporation

  • Jordan Fischbach, Codirector, RAND Water and Climate Resilience Center, The RAND Corporation

  • Linnea Warren May, Project Associate, The RAND Corporation

  • Katya Sienkiewicz, Associate Director, City Relationships, 100 Resilient Cities -- Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation

Over the course of several hours, the team outlined what was already known about resilience in Pittsburgh and sketched out the next steps in the process.

This meeting was the launch of Phase 1, which will culminate in January 2016 with the publication of Pittsburgh’s Preliminary Resilience Assessment (PRA).

The PRA will provide an overview of the current state of resilience in Pittsburgh, summarize inputs from stakeholders of all communities and sectors, identify opportunities to build resilience and create co-benefits, and guide the development and implementation of Pittsburgh’s resilience strategy.

In April and May, we asked over 100 issue experts to discuss resilience in relation to 11 subject areas, such as water, food, energy and waste management. In the June 5 workshop, over 160 stakeholders shared their perception of the state of resilience in Pittsburgh.

Moving forward, we will engage sector leaders to ask what they are already doing to improve resilience, and what opportunities they see to create co-benefits for the whole community.

We will also hold two community events on November 17 & 19 (check back for details!) to ask Pittsburgh residents: what are the biggest challenges to resilience in your neighborhood? What are your ideas to improve resilience in your community?

All of these inputs will help shape our Preliminary Resilience Assessment, and after the PRA is published, we will spend around six months developing concrete, on-the-ground actions to improve resilience in the indicated areas and communities.

We plan to launch Pittsburgh’s Resilience Strategy in summer 2016.

To see an example of a Preliminary Resilience Assessment, follow this link to read New Orleans’ PRA:


To read New Orleans’ Resilience Strategy, follow this link:

posted 10/27/15 @ 11:34 am
What We Learned from the June 5 Community Stakeholder Workshop

Following the June 5 Resilient Pittsburgh Workshop, the RAND Corporation generated a brief report by analyzing content generated by participants in four facilitated exercises. Note the themes below represent workshop perspectives only, and will be combined with other analyses over the next few months to inform the city’s Preliminary Resilience Assessment and ultimate Resilience Strategy.

Some Workshop Themes:

  • Workshop participants defined resilience for Pittsburgh in many ways. The definitions centered around two themes: 1) equitable and fair access for all city residents to economic, educational, and environmental opportunities and 2) robust infrastructure systems, including water, energy, and transportation networks, capable of overcoming today’s challenges and performing well when faced with future shocks.

  • Among workshop participants, leadership and strategy was identified as the strongest core function of the city using the 100 RC City Resilience Framework (CRF), while both “economy and society” and “infrastructure and environment” were noted by participants as lagging behind.

  • Based on workshop discussion, Pittsburgh’s resilience priorities appear to lie at the intersection of social equity, environment, and infrastructure planning. Results from nearly all exercises pointed to a strong need for inclusive and equitable future investments in these areas that take into account the needs of underserved neighborhoods and communities. This is in addition to a necessary focus on economic, social, racial, and geographic equity apart from infrastructure.

  • Regional coordination is critical, especially when addressing air quality, water quality, and transportation infrastructure challenges. For many topic areas, including air quality, water quality and “wet weather” planning, safe fossil fuel extraction and transport, and transportation infrastructure, regional participation and cooperation will be central to a successful resilience strategy. An important tradeoff for the City of Pittsburgh and 100RC to resolve will be how to include regional planners and stakeholders in a thoughtful and targeted approach.

  • The resilience strategy development process should help to ensure that other Pittsburgh planning efforts underway are not duplicative. One key step will be capitalizing on widespread understanding and excitement about working across sectors or on solutions that have a “resilience dividend,” by finding or forging the cross-connections between these efforts. Finally, caution is warranted against taking on too much, so prioritization and focus should be on what can be accomplished reasonably in a short-term period.
posted 10/27/15 @ 10:33 am
Progress towards a Resilient Pittsburgh

June 5, 2015, nearly 160 stakeholders from a diverse range of sectors attended the first Resilient Pittsburgh community outreach event (with many more to come) and laid the foundation forPittsburgh’s resilience strategy. 100 Resilient Cities -- Pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation (100RC) kicked off the day-long workshop with an introduction to the global network of cities collaboratively striving for resilience, with support from 100RC and a robust platform of strategy partners. Pittsburgh joins 66 other cities around the world who face similar challenges and threats, from inequality to water issues to climate change. The RAND Corporation, Pittsburgh's strategy partner, organized four facilitated exercises which yielded an impressive amount of information, including a hierarchy of the most significant acute shocks and chronic stresses that threaten and challenge Pittsburgh; a diagnosis of the current state of resilience in Pittsburgh; and a stakeholder map of which organizations are contributing to specific aspects of urban resilience. Mayor Peduto spoke about Pittsburgh's inherent resilience as the city has overcome adversity throughout its history, and announced Sustainability Manager Grant Ervin as the Chief Resilience Officer.

Press Conference with Mayor William Peduto, Bryna Lipper of 100 Resilient Cities, and newly-announced Pittsburgh Chief Resilience Officer Grant Ervin

posted 9/18/15 @ 8:40 am
Innovation & Performance

I&P aims to transform Pittsburgh into a world-class city through the intersections of technology, sustainability, and performance. While separate, like rotating wheel cogs, the three areas will only move forward when working together.

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