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“Completing the Loop” Wins AIA National Award for Urban Design

By February 23, 2023March 8th, 2023Blog, Press Releases

evolve environment :: architecture and Riverlife were honored by the American Institute of Architects(AIA) for the plan, which outlines a 10-year vision to connect, enhance, and expand Pittsburgh’s network of riverfront public spaces.

Riverlife is thrilled to announce the Completing the Loop plan for Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, developed by Riverlife and evolveEA, received a 2023 National American Institute of Architects (AIA) Regional and Urban Design Award. The award recognizes the best in urban design, regional and city planning, and community development. The five-member jury evaluates each submission based on how well the design addresses environmental, social, and economic issues through sustainable strategies, including enhancing quality of life and promoting social equity.

Completing the Loop (2022) outlines a ten-year vision to complete, enhance, and expand the 15-mile, 1,050-acre network of riverfront trails and green space centered on Downtown Pittsburgh and adjacent neighborhoods. 

“Twenty years after creating the first public vision for the redevelopment of the riverfronts, Riverlife has taken stock of what has been done, what needs to be done to address the remaining gaps, and how to improve the experience so that it is enjoyed by all,” says Matthew Galluzzo, President and CEO for Riverlife. “Completing the Loop is a uniquely Pittsburgh approach that hinges on the broad-based partnerships that we cultivate, especially with community members, property owners, and our governmental partners.”

The plan prioritizes access for neighborhoods disconnected from the river by highways and railroads and proposes a system of equitably located facilities, services, and amenities. “As cities are reimagining waterfronts as public spaces, Completing the Loop as a process and a report exemplify inventive, data-driven placemaking concepts centered around environmental and social justice” says LaShawn Burton-Faulk, Executive Director for Manchester Citizens Corporation and board member for Riverlife.

Completing the Loop’s Technical Assessment outlines key steps for the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Confluence “River Rooms” and identifies projects critical to completion with in-depth analysis of the loop’s Connectivity, Places, Maintenance, Ecology, and Experience across 25 segments.

Completing the Loop was also honored last year with an American Planning Association (APA) Sustainable Communities Award, as well as an APA-Pennsylvania Planning Excellence Award. While AIA typically focuses on buildings, this prestigious national recognition underscores the design opportunities that infrastructure and green space represent for contemporary US cities. 

The Plan is publicly available here.

Completing the Loop is made possible with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.