Development Principles

Greater Hill District Master Plan

Appendix A: Development Principles

The Hill District Planning Forum has adopted the following Development Principles which will serve as a foundation for the Master Plan and guide all land use, project approval and subsidy allocation decisions affecting the Greater Hill District. 

The 5 Main Principles:

  1. Address/Right Historical Wrongs
  2. Promote Economic Justice
  3. Reflect Neighborhood Driven Civic Design
  4. Promote a Green and Healthy Environment
  5. Utilize Neighborhood Strengths and Assets


1. Address/Right Historical Wrongs


1.1. The Mellon Arena and the Melody Tent sites sit on the Lower Hill District, thus these sites are part of the Greater Hill District. Going forward these sites will be referred to as

the Lower Hill District.


1.2. Any development plan for the Lower Hill District should aim to restore the pre-Arena street grid as part of creating a new mixed use neighborhood that is connected into adjacent Hill District neighborhoods.


1.3. Land use and development plans for the Lower Hill will preserve no physical remnant of Civic Arena/Mellon arena and the resulting displacement of 8,000+ Hill Residents and businesses.


1.4. New developments in the Lower Hill must include ‘right of return’ preferences for individuals, families, organizations and businesses displaced by urban renewal to the greatest extent possible.


1.5. New development in the Lower Hill must include space for Hill District businesses (see Non-Displacement Strategies) to the greatest extent possible.


1.6. New development in the Lower Hill must include affordable housing (see Non-Displacement Strategies) to the greatest extent possible.



2. Promote Economic Justice


2.1. All housing developments within the Hill District must minimize the displacement of residents and businesses.


2.2. All development plans must include first source hiring provisions within the project labor agreements for all stages of work at any development site.


2.3. All development contracts must require a minimum MBE participation rate of 30% and WBE participation rate of 15%. Compliance with this principle will monitored by a 5 person committee; 3 of the 5 committee members will be Hill District Residents/Stakeholders.


2.4. All development projects receiving a subsidy from or through the City, County or URA should provide coownership opportunities for Hill District Community-Based organizations and/or Hill District Faith-Based organizations (see Non-Displacement Strategies).


3. Reflect Neighborhood Driven Civic Design


Community residents should have ready access to all developing and finalized plans, proposals and studies regarding the Greater Hill District. Input from community residents must be included

in the development stages of any plan or study affecting the neighborhood and community residents must have seats on development/study committees whose products will influence

the Greater Hill District.


The design of redevelopment projects should consider the social, cultural, and historic characteristics of the Greater Hill District’s built and natural environment.


3.1. Ground level retail and street activating uses are encouraged as supported by market demand for all new development west of Crawford Street in the Lower Hill.


3.2. All traffic and parking plans must minimize negative impacts on existing and future neighborhood residents.


3.3. Traffic and parking plans must minimize noise and pollution, while also maximizing resident access to parking and the roadways leading to their homes.


3.4. The design of all new development should recognize that the Hill District is primarily a residential neighborhood with neighborhood business districts that are at the edge of the

Pittsburgh Central Business District (See the “Bedford Hill District Pattern Book”).


3.5. All development plans must be designed to benefit existing and future community residents and businesses, while allowing for future growth of retail, residential and commercial spaces.


4. Promote a Green and Healthy Environment


4.1. All plans for the Hill District must include provisions for green and sustainable development. This includes ample green space, trees, parks and playgrounds and LED certified building standards, as outlined in the Hill District Green Print and other plans.


4.2. The design review process for all new proposed projects should seek to preserve the views from the Hill District in all directions (as per Green Print). Development of the Lower Hill must not impair views of Downtown from Crawford Street to the greatest extent possible.


5. Utilize Neighborhood Strengths and Assets


5.1 Land use, public art and development plans must honor the historical and cultural legacy of the Hill District as a predominately African American neighborhood. Such plans should also abide by Historic Preservation standards set by the Historical Hill Institute or other neighborhood

preservation entities.


5.2 Community groups and service organizations based in the Hill District should have a priority to acquire vacant land and buildings as needed to improve the quality of educational, social service and recreational opportunities for Hill District residents.


5.3 All future development plans for the Hill District shall incorporate existing community plans (including the Green Print, Centre Avenue Design Guidelines, and the “Bedford Hill District Pattern Book”).

Read more about the Greater Hill District Master Plan

© Hill District Consensus Group
, 1835 Centre Avenue
Suite #130, Pittsburgh, PA 15219
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