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Greening Pittsburgh's Rivers
Greening our RiversContact: Kelly Rabenstein, +1 412.258.6636 ext, 105, email@example.com
Pittsburgh Rehabilitates Industrial Riverbanks by Reversing Environmental Damage: Local Not-for-Profit (Riverlife) Partners with International Environmental Experts
Pittsburgh is well known for reversing access challenges on formerly industrial riverbanks, through decades of innovative Brownfield revitalization. Now Riverlife is exploring the use of integrated storm water management and enhanced water quality as the galvanizing ideals for new park projects, in partnership with Atelier Dreiseitl. By looking at geographical and watershed conditions across site boundaries, numerous riverfront parcels can be tied together with a plan that creates both a public landscape amenity and a storm water management and treatment solution. This approach could become the basis of a new benchmark for sustainable water management in publicly accessible urban settings around the world.
In Pittsburgh, environmental and ecological restoration of the riverbanks is an important component of the development of the park system. Most of Pittsburgh's riverbanks were formerly put to industrial use, with negative impact to the river system. Hard surfaces and retaining walls created environments inhospitable to native birds, fish, and mammals, while industrial processes contaminated the water and soil. Structural embankments increased the damage caused by major cyclical flooding events. In several of the new projects within Three Rivers Park, Riverlife is bringing in experts to repair the damages of the past with projects that will restore the natural condition of the riverbanks to the maximum extent possible within an urban setting.
Among these experts, Riverlife is partnering with Atelier Dreiseitl, based in Germany. The following is a description taken from Atelier Dreiseitl's website on July 9, 2009:
Atelier Dreiseitl has over 25 years experience of integrating water into urban landscapes. They are leaders in the field and innovators in landscape architecture and urban hydrology, with an international reputation for creative storm water management and sustainable design. They champion a profoundly inspiring and intriguing use of water, which results in projects of a high aesthetic and social value.
Riverlife is now thinking as comprehensively as possible -- within public planning processes as well as with partners -- to ensure that riverbanks are developed in a way that reinstitutes riparian ecology/ increases habitat, etc., while continuing to encourage recreation and commerce.