Nine Mile Run stream emerges in Frick Park, flows through
the slag dump and empties into the Monongahela River.
The undeveloped space could connect the already popular
Frick Park to the riverfront.
here for a downloadable map.
"Perhaps the most striking opportunity
noted for a large park, is the valley of Nine Mile Run. Its long
meadows of varying width would Make ideal playfields; the stream,
when it is freed from sewage, will be an attractive and interesting
element in the landscape; the wooded slopes on either side give
ample opportunity for enjoyment of the forest, for shaded walks
and cool resting Places."
-Frederick Law Olmsted Jr., 1910
Nine Mile Run is a
historic stream valley, identified for its beauty as well as its
wastewater problems. By 1923, the valley was selected by influential
Pittsburghers for a city park but was subsequently purchased by
a steel industry slag disposal firm. Between 1922 and 1970 it
was used as a a dumping ground for industrial slag from Pittsburgh
area Steel Mills. The Nine Nile Run watershed is a natural drainage
basin of the Monongahela River. Approximately 34% of the entire
watershed is classified as undeveloped land. In 1995, the City
of Pittsburgh commissioned a master planning study of the 230
acre site, now owned by the Urban Redevelopment Authority. The
project will result in 100 acres of open space to become the "Frick
Park Extension" and the new housing development known as "Sommerset
at Frick Park".
Nine Mile Run stream is the last flowing surface water within
the contiguous land mass of the historic city of Pittsburgh. With
the development of "Sommerset at Frick Park" the stream will be
surrounded by a contiguous public space from Frick Park to the
Monongahela River. While the houses are built on the top of the
slag plateau, Pittsburgh City Planning will be vegetating the
lower slopes, and developing the Frick Park Extension.
STUDIO for Creative Inquiry has been working with Pittsburgh City
Planning and citizen of the region, to develop a concensus based
master planning process as well as a new ecosystem based design
approach to the Frick Park Extension. The project team, is working
off the original Frick Park intent of a wooded interior dedicated
to wildlife and nature experiences, while recognizing the challenges
of sustainable and affordable open space.
the summer of 1999, The project team will conduct a number of
vegetation experiments on the lower slag slopes, as the development
team begins grading on the upper plateaus and slopes. The Frick
Park extension and the restoration of the Nine Mile Run stream
will provide a potential aesthetic and economic model of the benefits
of open space development and ecological reclamation on brownfield
properties occuring along streams and rivers.
STUDIO for Creative Inquiry's involvement in the Nine Mile Run
project is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
slag heap rises steeply to the edge of the current development
and overlooks the stream and path to the right. Although
the water is polluted, the stream is surrounded by plants
Nine Mile Run Project team has conducted three years of
analysis and community dialogue on the issues of public
space, art and ecology in the context of the controversial
Sommerset development in the slag-filled hills of Pittsburgh's
East End. Realizing the greenway project in the development
would fulfill famous park designer Frederick Law Olmsted
Jr.'s vision for an extension of Frick Park and East End
access to the Monongahela River.
by artists Bob Bingham, Tim Collins and
Reiko Goto, and attorney John Stephen, the
Nine Mile Run Greenway Project's interdisciplinary team
includes a wide range of practitioners, including academics,
Pittsburgh city officials and members of the community.
Pittsburgh city planners Joan Blaustein and
John Rahaim have provided access, overview and guidance
as the team worked to develop its innovative plan and
process. Sue Thompson and John Rawlins of
the Carnegie Museum of Natural History have studied and
inventoried land biodiversity, while Pennsylvania State
University scientists, geomorphologist Peggy Johnson
and wetland scientist Andrew Cole have analyzed
the aquatic systems. David Dzombak, a civil engineer
at Carnegie Mellon University, has tested the stream and
analyzed various outfalls to pinpoint failures in adjacent
sewage systems. Pennsylvania State University landscape
architect Ken Tamminga has analyzed landscape ecology
and restoration practices as they relate to the design
on the team's unique creative practice, Collins says,
"We approach Nine Mile Run as a post-industrial landscape,
an interconnected system of opportunities often constrained
by industrial policies and practices. Our work is a systems
intervention that addresses perception, communication
and education. We engage our colleagues in the sciences
to help us understand the issues, then we take specific
action to affect the decision-making process."
Mile Run Team Project Goals
artists as a creative source for environmental
and community change;
dialogue about complex post-industrial issues
utilizing contemporary technologies;
and model sustainable approaches to urban open
bio-diversity and managed succession standards
for brownfields reclamation.
|The project maintains
a Community Resource and Research
Center located off Commercial Avenue in the proposed public
greenway. Staff at the Center monitors current usage and habitat
of the area.
The Center is open every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
and every Sunday from 12 noon to 4 p.m. For more
information on the Nine Mile Run Greenway Project, stop by the
The STUDIO for Creative Inquiry was founded in 1989 to support
experimental and cross-disciplinary work in the arts. It
carries out this mission by:
artist residencies with stipends, commissions and facilities.
a work environment populated by a broad range of practitioners,
including resident fellows, Carnegie Mellon faculty and
students, and other associates.
access to human and technical resources at Carnegie Mellon
and throughout the Pittsburgh community.
public venues for presenting innovative work.