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Penn State helps blaze trails on Pittsburgh’s North Side

Mexican War Streets, Central Northside neighborhood on Pittsburgh's North Side.
July 9, 2015

Students explore ways to link communities, historical sites

Penn State students are collaborating with students from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Chatham University to map trails that will connect community assets in 18 neighborhoods on the North Side of Pittsburgh.

The Penn State Center: Engaging Pittsburgh received a $25,000 grant from The Buhl Foundation for two Penn State summer interns to participate in the One Northside Asset Inventory Mapping (AIM) project. They are working with nine other students from CMU and Chatham to map out a potential trail system that will connect community assets and historic locations in Allegheny Center, Allegheny West, Brighton Heights, California-Kirkbride, Central Northside, Chateau, East Allegheny, Fineview, Manchester, Marshall-Shadeland, North Shore, Northview Heights, Perry North, Perry South, Spring Garden, Spring Hill-City View, Summer Hill and Troy Hill.

Emily Paskewicz graduated from Penn State in May with a degree in landscape architecture. She applied to be a part of this project to gain experience working with students from different schools and disciplines.

“We all bring something a little different to the table from sustainability and landscape architecture to urban design, food studies and public policy,” Paskewicz said. “Our ability to bounce ideas off of each other will really help the project in the long run.”

Frederick Thieman, president of The Buhl Foundation, said the foundation backed this project to not only support student engagement but to develop quality of place for the individual North Side neighborhoods.

“It is a win-win for both the students and the community,” said Thieman. “The team building approach to this project creates a cross-pollination of skills and combines it with the opportunity for students to be entrenched in neighborhoods to develop space that will appeal to future generations.”

One Northside AIM is being managed by GTECH Strategies — a nonprofit dedicated to improving the social, economic and environmental health of communities — and will be completed in three phases through Aug. 21: research, community survey and data analysis. Jeffrey Holzer, a fifth-year senior in landscape architecture at Penn State, said he will then use the data this fall in a design studio course to further develop themes for the trails.

“People who are coming to visit Pittsburgh, as well as locals, will be able to see all the amazing landmarks, a taste of the local culture and plan to see some really spectacular stuff,” said Holzer.

For more information about the project, go to One Northside AIM or for more information about Penn State in Pittsburgh, go to The Penn State Center: Engaging Pittsburgh online.

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