W o o d - S t r e e t - G a l l e r i e s
Pittsburgh Pennsylvania

Conversations in the Rust Belt: Brownfields Into Greenways

In 1997, a group of artists and an attorney assembled a diverse group of academics and city-planners to enter into a three year dialogue with citizens in Pittsburgh's East End. The subject of the conversation was how to transform a slag heap and dirty stream into an ecologically restored city greenway.

In 1999, The Wood Street Galleries exhibition was the final dialogue in the three year series. The goal was to seek community consensus on the conceptual design of the new greenway. The product was a multimedia, two floor installation addressing the cultural and social issues of industrial/post-industrial era.

Project Philosophy
QTVR Footage of Wood Street Installation
"Changing Our Point of View" Video Tour
Wood Street Community Design Discussion


History/Industrial Floor
In the Wood Street Galleries, the natural and cultural history of Nine Mile run is revealed in an installation which includes large scale photographs, a series of quotes, a timeline and a historical video. Each subject addressed in the history floor has a corresponding presentation in the contemporary floor.

Slag: The history of industrial use
Water: Infrastructure replaces ecosystems
Community: The elite decision makers
Changing Landscape: The path to Steel-town

Historic Quotes and Timeline
History Video

History/Industrial Floor

Post-Industrial Floor
The contemporary art of the Nine Mile Run project is defined by a mix of images, sculptures and interactive technologies. These vary from a trailer as a site of public expression to pirate radio systems, websites and the re-cartography of historic/romantic maps. Wiith our production of images and symbols we endeavor to create a context and discourse of curiousity, care and involvement in the changing meaning form and function of nature within the public realm of cities.

Re-Cartography: An Interactive Map
Options Boards/Workshop Results

Final Boards

Slag: The Environmental Protection Agency provided a grant to the City of Pittsburgh and the project team to study the options for creating a bio-diverse habitat on the slag soils. Actual test beds, video for context and contemporary plant samples from the site were all part of this installation.

Water: The water systems of Nine Mile Run have a complicated history of institutional and regulatory neglect. This installation presents historic and contemporary texts, while a ball of NMR water moves up and down the wall, focusing our attention on the language of inaction.

Slag Gardens by Reiko Goto

Water Wall

Community: The community aspect of the installation illustrates the project teams intent to design new forms for critical discourse. Our goal is to create artworks which provide access and context for the community voice. We address issues of power, access and planning to create a local expample of citizen action which is rewarded by official results.

Changing Landscape: The artists have worked with experts and communities to develop diverse options for restoring the Nine Mile Run landscape. The philosophy of restoration ecology and democratic discourse is realized in the final designs.

Community Wall

Changing Landscape Wall

Nine Mile Run Greenway Project
STUDIO for Creative Inquiry
Carnegie Mellon University