Riverlife Shares Completing the Loop Vision at the 2022 Greater & Greener Conference
Last week, Riverlife joined leaders from over 200 cities across the globe for the 2022 Greater & Greener Conference hosted by City Parks Alliance in Philadelphia, PA. The international conference featured conversations, presentations, and events hosted by leading urban parks professionals from around the world, including Riverlife’s President and CEO Matthew Galluzzo.
Matt was joined by colleagues from Boston Waterfront Initiative, City of Detroit, San Francisco Parks Alliance, and New York Trust for Public Land for a panel discussion to highlight greenways and water trails that have the potential to create new, climate-friendly ways for cities to provide viable transportation, recreational options, and improved access to waterfronts through interconnected systems. Their discussion explored replicable, scalable models for climate-friendly modes of urban infrastructure that address legacies of pollution, blight, and other challenges through resident-led economic development plans. Other topics included:
- The importance of collaborating with local businesses communities
- Best practices for leading and managing large-scale planning studies that require engagement of public/private stakeholders
- Multi-channel community engagement strategies in the COVID era
- Strategies for maximizing the climate, social, and equity benefits of greenways.
The objectives were central to the development of Riverlife’s Completing the Loop plan, the vision for 15 miles and 1,055 acres of Pittsburgh’s riverfronts between the West End, Hot Metal, and 31st Street Bridges. Completing the Loop is a model that calls for improved access to thriving waterfront parks, trails, and green spaces that can be enjoyed by all Pittsburgh residents, workers, and visitors.
After presenting, Matt had the chance to join the rest of the conference with two Riverlife team members, Gavin White, Director of Planning and Projects, and Maria Riley, Riverfront Projects Manager.
Staff enjoyed a boat tour and trail walk with representatives of the Delaware River Waterfront Corporation where they learned about Philadelphia’s efforts to revitalize its historic waterfronts. Staff also attended presentations, many of which addressed current issues facing urban parks, including social justice and the COVID-19 pandemic. Presentations highlighted the importance of public parks as gathering spaces and the healing impact of green spaces.
As a highlight of the conference, attendants heard from inspiring speakers like President Biden’s Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Coordinator, Mitch Landrieu, and the US Secretary of the Interior, Deb Haaland, who each spoke about the important role green spaces play in the lives of people of all backgrounds.
Riverlife is grateful for the opportunity to share the Completing the Loop vision plan with colleagues from around the world and were thrilled to participate in conversations with other cities and organizations doing great work on a global scale to create, and enhance open space for the use of all.