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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Pittsburgh educator creates online map to track city's development

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 1:13 PM

If you haven’t noticed, Pittsburgh has been going through a bit of development and construction boom. For decades, landscapes of the city featured run-down structures and dilapidating buildings, and while there is still plenty of that, there are also now dozens of streets filled with scaffolding and recently completed modern-looking buildings.

How can Pittsburghers keep track? Well a local journalist and educator might have the answer.

click to enlarge Development shown in pins across Pittsburgh - IMAGE COURTESY OF PGHPAPERSTREETS.COM
  • Image courtesy of pghpaperstreets.com
  • Development shown in pins across Pittsburgh
Patrick Doyle, a public radio reporter and adjunct professor at the University of Pittsburgh, created an independent project to map as many city developments as he can. It is called PGH Paper Streets, and is named after the Pittsburgh streets that exist on maps, but are not publicly maintained roads (like some city staircases).

“When I moved in 2013 to Pittsburgh, the city was going through development boom, but it was hard to find out what is really going on,” says Doyle.

He was inspired by a blog in Denver, where he used to live, that tracked all the development projects of the city. Doyle says his map shows what many have already expected about development in the city: the neighborhoods with the highest concentration of development projects are Downtown, the Strip District, Lawrenceville and the East End.

However, Doyle says that Uptown was a surprise with a few development projects happening along its Fifth/Forbes avenues corridor. (City Paper wrote about Uptown’s potential in addressing the ‘two Pittsburghs’ problem last winter.)

Doyle gathers information from news reports and development plans to fill out his map. He emphasizes that the project is still in beta mode, since there are some development projects that have not made it onto the map and because the projects are constantly changing. He also only includes projects started January 2015 and that are over 20,000 square feet.

He says he hopes to build the website out a bit and provide links to articles, community meetings and site plans that are associated with each project.

“I really want it to be a research tool for the average Pittsburgher,” says Doyle.

To read CP’s feature this week on the potential development in Beechview, and how the Latino community is contributing to it.

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