Shariq M. Shah 

شارق م. شاہ


︎ Hill District, Pittsburgh, PA 
︎ Ongoing

Hill District

Pittsburgh, PA

Layered sets of analysis revealed relationships between ecologies, economies, and users, where vacancies, overgrown lots, and lack of treecover spoke to community issues resulting from years of divestment and unsuccessful urban renewal strategies.

Issues of ecological injustice pervade the fabric of the Hill District, a neighborhood facing food insecurity, lack of access to usable green space, and adequate green infrastructure. Lack of urban tree cover has long been cited as a leading cause of urban heat islands, which are pockets of urban spaces that are significantly warmer than their surroundings. The effects of urban heat islands include increased energy consumption, increased concentration of air pollutants, impacts on human comfort, and compromised water quality.

The effects of urban heat islands were tested on sites of interest through Direct Sun Hour simulations (right). Prior research showed that around 40% urban tree cover is a standard threshold for mitigating urban heat islands, however we found that the percentage within the urban boundary of the Hill District was close to 18% urban treecover

Ecology, resource, and climate studies through GIS and simulation were coupled with user research and contextual inquiry through interviews, site visits, and documentation of existing conditions.

Community Scale Ecosystem

Spatial analysis and user research of community resources crafted a rigorous understanding of the community networks and key stakeholders in the Hill District. It was important to set up a design framework that prioritized an integration within the existing ecosystem of users and stakeholders. This invokes an exciting set of community partnerships, based on both data-driven assessments of successful interactions and community led pop up initiatives. 

Urban Scale Analysis

Regenerative Material Ecosystems