Final Design Boards

We believe that the process of urban ecological restoration offers a natural context, for the reconsideration of the form and function of the post-industrial public realm. The application and value of our practice in the area of art and restoration ecology is not found in a renewed landscape or an expanded body of knowledge. We have a broader intellectual agenda, a generalists critical engagement targeting human values and relationship to nature.

Beyond this platform of eco-art, we are committed to a cultural dialogue. We focus on the discursive public realm, by which individuals, communities and societies begin to rethink the perception and values of nature within the legacy of post-industrial society. With our production of images and symbols we endeavor to create a discourse of curiosity, care and involvement in the changing meaning, form and function of nature within the public realm of cities. We have worked to create a cultural platform. We choose to create a dialogue rather than a design, It has been the intent of the STUDIO for Creative Inquiry and its partners to develop a program which enables citizen choice. For each site (node) along the greenway, you will find the current conditions and alternatives as presented at the Wood Street Galleries in July/August. The boards with the brown edges in the lower row, are the final designs as developed in our community workshop. The boards have been fine-tuned with input from the NMR Steering Committee.

The slag filled valley and the remaining natural soil hills are an important link between Frick Park (upper Nine Mile Run) and the Monongahela River corridor. Once reconnected, these land areas promote a trail connection to diverse human communities and provide an important biological link (a source of natural diversity and aesthetic benefit for park users!) allowing a variety of plants, wildlife; fish, reptiles aquatic mammals, and water-birds to fly, swim, wander, walk and flow to and through the expanded park area.

These boards represent the options chosen during the charette workshop.

Click on each board for an interactive version.

Braddock Avenue

Braddock Ave. Node

Cultural Restoration, images of a new relationship to stormwater and lost streams

Water flow is a safety concern - Invitation for more people to view a natural phenomenon, means we have to address the safety concerns.


  • Celebrate the water
  • Create cultural connections
  • Increase/expand access to the park
  • Encourage community education through pro-active signage and icons


  • Culvert steps should be designed for sitting and watching and access for maintenance vehicles
  • Establish a warning system for storm surge, provide points of egress
  • Public art opportunity where bells or other devices can be activated by storm outflows
  • Establish a "stream mark" beginning at Braddock Ave. which can be used to outline the culverted stream in the upper watershed communities
  • Create community ed center/info at foodland entrance
  • Target homeowner retrofit education to benefit the stream
  • Connect to the community explore corporate sponsorship of homeowner retrofit
  • Municipal partnerships should be highlighted here


  • Address difficult storm events
  • Constrain access to the culvert
  • Floatables control - collect debris, allowing for the flow of water
  • Traffic at the entrance is a problem
  • Action: Focus on the design as a local PEDESTRIAN access point.
  • Should allow maint sequipment, and cleanout access to the stilling pond
  • Maintain parking for business

Frick Park

Frick Park Node


  • Ecological restoration which seperates the stream ecosystem from sewer infrastructure. Restore the floodplain, stabilizes waterflow and minimizes sewage impact.
  • Restoration model for region
  • CSO management model for country


  • Transform the lower Frick Experience
  • Create a better ballfield in a new location
  • Add stream meanders and flood plain
  • Use natural materials and minimize concrete wherever possible
  • Design, plan and institutionalize sustainability


  • Interpret, information, education and establishing signage
  • Trail design for mountainn bikers
  • Create limited walkways in sensitive areas for ADA access and education


  • Reconsider parking- Fern Hollow Creek relationship
  • Make sure peak parking use is accommodated
  • Design with permeable surface or other appropriate stormwater applications

Commercial Avenue

Commercial Avenue Node

A meadow restoration would provide the best possible design solution given the greenway goal of restored and supported healthy diverse ecosystem.

Conflict and Resolution:
While the preference is for a meadow restoration the community planners recognize the value of diverse human uses and recognize the need for ballfields in Pittsburgh. If there is to be a ballfield at this site it must consider the following goals and guidelines.

An integrated design including a ballfield, a meadow restoration and an interpretive center on this singular site. Each element should embrace multi-benefit solutions and a green design program targeting innovative structure, utilities and systems.


  • Construct a Commercial Avenue pedestrian crossway just south of the parkway bridge with user activated traffic control
  • Use the Summerset entrance and its periphery for vehicular access and parking
  • Create a sidewalk on the URA (slag) side of the road
  • Put the interpretive center close to the stream but visible from the pedestrian crossing
  • If the Commercial Avenue bridge is reconstructed, refurbish the underpass in such a way as to be wildlife friendly
  • Design the playing field to mitigate stormwater flow
  • Preserve as much meadow as possible
  • Develop the interpretive center with an onsite steward and integrate the ecological reality of the site into the body of the architecture
  • Explore the possibility of removing the concrete fill, and dropping the entire field to its historic floodplain
  • Use no pesticides or herbicides in the management of the site
  • No ballfield lighting, no sound sytem


  • Design the site for multi-benefit use, realize diverse human needs and create a threshold for the diverse audience to access an ecosystem based experience
  • Explore the potential for the existing field to be lowered, allowing for dual function as playing field and ecologically designed flood plain
  • Design the ballfield and its meadow environ in such a way that stormwater runoff from the Parkway and Commercial Avenue can be detained, cleaned and infiltrated into the groundwater


  • Pedestrian crossing the road is a problem
  • Parking and vehicular entry onto Commercial is an issue
  • Anything that adds to the traffic will negatively affect the wildlife
  • The playing field will interrupt the ecosystem, and minimize biological connectivity at a key point in the greenway -- this is counter to the greenway-plans stated vision and goals

Slag & Stream Crossing

Mid Slag Node

Restore the site through a mix of ecological and cultural processes. Target education, art and revegetation.

Maintaining silence in the quietest point in the greenway.


  • Renovate the existing bridge for pedestrians
  • Provide public access to the stream
  • Revegetate steep slopes using natural succession processes
  • Celebrate the heart of the greenway with ecological art


  • The stream (clean and ecologically restored!)
  • Existing bridge and its downstream area
  • Two areas of existing floodplain: shale cliffs, natural soils and Trillium on the north-facing bank


  • Equitable handicap access
  • Integrating the Summerset bridge into the intent of the greenway

Duck Hollow

Duck Hollow Node

Restored riparian ecosystem, minimal effort maximum benefit.


  • Safe pedestrian connectivity between the slag entry and Duck Hollow.
  • Bus service to residents and recreational users.


  • Celebrate the entry to the slag site/trail
  • Enable public access to the stream and river


  • Army Corp of Engineers project to improve the aquatic habitat in the NMR embayment
  • Duck Hollow/flood plain wildlife sanctuary (complimenting the above)
  • Celebrate the Greenway entry with a butterfly-habitat garden
  • Simple kiosk with water, toilets, fishermans sink, info board, locking bike rack



  • Mon-Fayette Expressway (Potential public trail investment opportunity)
  • Pedestrian safety under the existing railroad bridge
  • Property ownership

Board content developed by Nine Mile Run team with:

Ken Tamminga, landscape architect, Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture, Pennsylvania State University; urban greenways and ecological public design.
Andy Cole, Research Associate, Cooperative Wetlands Center; comparison of natural and constructed wetlands, cumulative effects of development on wetlands.
Peggy Johnson, Geomorphologist, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Pennsylvania State University; water resources, including river hydraulics and watershed modeling.
David Dzombak, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University. Research includes water and soil chemistry, wastewater treatment.
Sue Thompson, Botanist, Assistant Curator, Carnegie Museum of Natural history; plant insect interactions, documentation of plant biodiversity.

The graphic design and final content of the boards was developed by Suzy Meyer of Image Earth.

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