Collaboration in Wilkinsburg began through a series of community meetings and a participatory design process affiliated with Carnegie Mellon University's Urban Laboratory Studio. Multiple urban frameworks were developed with local residents, stakeholders, and politicians before the Institute for Ecological Innovation (IEI) presented itself as a community-based client for a tangible catalytic project informed by urban-scale analysis. The adaptive re-use project and growth strategy feature classrooms, a community greenhouse, a residential component, value added kitchens, retail space, and future urban agriculture.
With the generous support of the Heinz Endowments and a Carnegie Mellon University Alumnus gift, the IEI and UDBS were able to realize the first phase of the project: the HHSLC Community Porch/Pavilion. A culmination of a year-long effort, the pavilion reinforces a rich porch culture that still exists in Western Pennsylvania by providing a public space for community residents to gather and engage on another informally - or formally through programmed activities. In August 2009, the UDBS completed construction off-site and flat-packed all the components for future permanent installation.
Institute for Ecological Innovation
Borough of Wilkinsburg Residents
Carnegie Mellon University Urban Laboratory Studio
Three Rivers Center for Independent Living
Garden Dreams Urban Farm & Nursery
The Heinz Endowments
Carnegie Mellon University Alumnus Ben Chigier
Jim Watson, P.E.
John Folan, UDBS Director
Ubolsiri (Ja) Racharaks
Sadik Hurcan Yurtoglu