Preservation Pittsburgh is a non-profit advocacy group dedicated to preserving our region's historic, architectural, cultural, and environmental heritage. Its purpose is to assist individuals and organizations in preserving the integrity of the architecture and physical surroundings they value.
Members, who include both professional preservationists and interested citizens, are united by their concern that the future of Pittsburgh's irreplaceable architectural and landscape treasures is in jeopardy.
Preservation Pittsburgh's primary goal is to promote the importance of preservation issues in the deliberations and decisions of public officials, private groups, developers and the general public.
Preservation Pittsburgh advocates for the protection of Pittsburgh’s historic architecture, culture and landscape. We fulfill our mission by:
- identifying resources and collaborative opportunities for preservation in our region’s neighborhoods and with partner organizations;
- developing innovative ideas and incentives for stewardship of our region’s unique sense of place and heritage; and
- advancing sound public planning and development policies that recognize preservation as an integral part of healthy sustainable communities.
Preservation Pittsburgh's history began with the tearing down of a City landmark--the Syria Mosque. The loss of this acoustically perfect and much-loved concert hall (the location is still a parking lot for UPMC) convinced a group of concerned citizens that there needed to be a grass-roots, activist preservation organization in town to take on looming historic preservation battles in the city. Our Board of Directors consists of interested citizens willing to advocate for sensitivity to preservation and sustainability issues in public policy decisions. The board meets quarterly. As you can imagine, the fight to keep this city's heritage and beauty intact is never-ending.
Pittsburgh's fortunes were sliding in the 70's and 80's when the rest of America was dancing to the call of urban development projects that tore down historic, often intact buildings, and replaced them with interior-oriented malls, large-scale and non-descript office buildings filled with out of town chainstores. Although this period of economic downturn was an extremely difficult time for many Pittsburghers due to the closing of steel mills, the city still managed to keep a large percentage of its beautiful period architecture, pedestrian-scaled neighborhoods, and locally-owned businesses intact.
Unfortunately, as the City's fortunes began to rise, development interests increased too and civic projects that hoped to guaranteethis economic growth were often done at the expense of Pittsburgh's history and traditions. A surprising number of people--from CEO's to students--comment on the "feel" of Pittsburgh and speak warmly of the beautifully detailed architecture, traditional pedestrian-friendly neighborhoods and locally owned stores. To be able to move through significant historic buildings, to work and enjoy cultural refreshment in and around them, is a value Preservation Pittsburgh stands for. Such quality of life issues, unfortunately, haven't been easy to demonstrate on balance sheets, even though here in Pittsburgh, they are enjoyed by all.
Our unique heritage, beginning with the sacred confluence of two rivers to form a third, moving through the creation of the glass and steel industries which brought immigrant families into the region and created neighborhoods that still retain their ethnic traditions, through the development of world-class museums and cultural treasures makes us feel that Pittsburgh is a city "Alive with Tradition." We invite you to come join us to keep these traditions alive.
Preservation Pittsburgh will consider itself successful when Pittsburgh communities embrace their unique character and sustain their future through careful stewardship of their historic resources.
We are proponents of sustainable development, and preservation is a basic tenet. It is preferable and more sustainable to “fix-it-first” whenever possible. Pittsburgh’s lively and diverse communities continue to be a key component of our city’s economic vitality and its ability to attract and maintain its residents. We endeavor to work with community groups and developers during project planning stages to ensure good design, neighborhood sensitivity, and respect for our shared heritage. This is a model for innovation and efficiency in economic development. We strive to protect and improve our region’s communities by focusing on four main projects:
- Community Preservation Collaborative
- Redo The Arena: Civic Arena Preservation & Adaptive Reuse
- Route 28/St. Nicholas Church
- Preservation policy advocacy with local and state government