Mayor Peduto unveils tool to ‘level the development playing field’

Categories: News

Pittsburgh Tribune Review
October 11, 2016
by Natasha Lindstrom


As swaths of Pittsburgh enjoy a building boom, Mayor Bill Peduto says he’s been posing an earnest question to newly arriving developers: “Why didn’t you invest before?”

“The response that I’ve gotten from several of them was Pittsburgh was always perceived to be a closed market,” said Peduto, who maintains that “for decades” city officials awarded government contracts and tax incentives based more on political clout than actual merit.

“That system of a city that’s for sale will forever be gone, and it will be a city that’s open for business,” Peduto said Tuesday as he unveiled a tool expected to “level the development playing field.”

Starting in early 2017, a 12-point set of criteria created with input from hundreds of regional stakeholders will guide decision-making on city contracts and investments, Peduto said. This tool assigns numerical values to gauge a project’s likely effects on areas such as housing, rainwater, air quality, energy, innovation and community.

“We’re not simply looking for what projects will make money,” said Peduto, “but what projects will enhance our environment, give everyone an opportunity to benefit from it, and to create a Pittsburgh that is true to its roots.”

The quantifier tool marks the first tangible product to emerge from a fledgling initiative dubbed “p4,” short for planet, people, place and performance.

“We intend to use it here at The Heinz Endowments for our investments and development,” said Andrew McElwaine, the foundation’s vice president for sustainability. “Anyone interested in prioritizing development to achieve maximum community benefit can do the same, and we hope they will.”


“This time, when Pittsburgh reinvents itself, it has to reinvent itself for everybody,” Oliphant says on a video promoting the two-day, midweek p4 event scheduled for Oct. 18-19 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center.

“We need to make sure that all neighborhoods are healthy communities of opportunity,” said Presley Gillespie, president of Downtown-based nonprofit Neighborhood Allies.

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You can download the p4 Performance Measures document below.