Greenprint Projects

Village in the Woods: A Greenprint for the Hill District


Overlook into a forested mountainous terrain in autumn.
Pennsylvania West Branch Wilderness in Pennsylvania. © George C. Gress

The report's title, The Hill: A Village in the Woods, reflects the neighborhood's goals of relinking its urban and natural areas. This conceptual plan was born out of community driven initiatives such as Find the Rivers, among others.

The project recognizes three zones - woods, village, and conveyance zones - to define the ecological framework of the local-scale study area. The team was focused on creating an urban landscape, which from their perspective meant the incorporation of housing, development, and transportation with other community assets, including open space, the arts, and other services.

Through a partnership with Hood Design, the team was able to publish highly detailed plans for the improvements and projects outlined in the greenprint soon after the original report. The proposed community landscape was based primarily on specific input from residents and community members rather than more abstract goals grounded in spatial data.

Year Published:  2009

State:  Pennsylvania

Landscape Context:  Inland

Housing Density:  Urban

Funding Type:  Both (Public and Private)

Habitat Focus:  Forest, Developed

Organizations Involved:

Hood Design, ARUP, Studio for Spatial Practice, Find the Rivers Partners (Pittsburgh Park Conservancy, Hill House Association, Hill District Consensus Group, and the Community Partners Institute)


Water Quality, Open Space/Habitat, Recreation, Sustainability, Viewshed, Biodiversity

Stakeholder Involvement:

Stakeholders were fully integrated; Find the Rivers is a partnership between a diverse group of community groups, and therefore the project already represents a diverse group of community leaders. In addition, the core team formed an advisory team, conducted surveys, and held various community events to garner input and participation from community members.

Planning Process:

Find the Rivers formed a core project team that worked alongside the Hood design team. Find the Rivers convened sessions of the Hill Consensus Group and the Greenprint Advisory Group.

Desired Outcomes:

Create urban beauty, identify parks and projects for improvement as well as the community members best fit to lead them, balance urban life with the surrounding natural area.

What It Accomplished:

A year after publication, specific project proposals defined by the greenprint were planned in detail and published. Two years after publication, the greenprint was integrated into the Hill District Master Plan. The design for a renovated Cliffside Park was completed, fundraised, and completed within five years following the report's publication.

Additional Information and Reports