Pittsburgh, Pa. City Planning Commission

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The Pittsburgh City Planning Commission is responsible for the City of Pittsburgh's development, through policy and development review and through administration of the zoning ordinance. The Department of City Planning is responsible for community development by facilitating community planning processes and supporting community based and technical assistance programs. The department was created in 1927, but it was not until the Second World War that it received the initiative to alter the appearance of Pittsburgh. On February 4, 1942, Mayor Cornelius D. Scully gave the City Planning Commission the authority to take the lead in planning for post-war construction and renewal. During that time many considered the city to be in a dilapidated state because of the lack of enforcement of city codes and ordinances during the depression. The Commission devoted its energy to the redevelopment of areas that had been full of vacant or sub-standard housing and factory buildings, and the improvement and construction of major thoroughfares. Information about their current activities can be found at http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/cp/. Some of the other agencies that the City Planning Commission worked with included: the Department of Public Works, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Better Traffic Committee, the Civic Club of Allegheny County, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, and the Pittsburgh Housing Association (ACTION-Housing, Inc.). Records from these last two organizations form a significant part of this collection. Jesse Paul Watson was an active member of the City Planning Commission throughout the 1940s and 1950s, and replaced Frederick Bigger as chairman in 1954. Watson worked in the Bureau of Business Research at the University of Pittsburgh since the 1930s and was involved in several other initiatives to revitalize Pittsburgh, most notably the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, beginning in 1943; and the Pittsburgh Housing Association (now ACTION-Housing, Inc.), throughout the 1950s. The Allegheny Conference on Post-War Community Planning was formed during World War II by prominent citizens of Allegheny County. These included Richard King Mellon, President of the Pittsburgh Regional Planning Association, and Robert Doherty, President of Carnegie Institute of Technology. Their aim was to coordinate local efforts to improve transportation and industry. In 1944 it was incorporated as the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. More information can be found at http://www.alleghenyconference.org. The Pittsburgh Housing Association was active by 1928, and is still operating under the name of ACTION-Housing, Inc., which it adopted in 1957. It maintains a website at http://www.actionhousing.org/. The purpose of the Association was to promote the development of good quality, affordable housing for people living in Pittsburgh.

From the description of Records of Pittsburgh (Pa.) City Planning Commission, 1928-1962. (University of Pittsburgh). WorldCat record id: 30660111

Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Action-Housing, Inc. corporateBody
associatedWith Allegheny Conference on Community Development (Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Allegheny Conference on Post-War Community Planning (Pa.) corporateBody
associatedWith Bigger, Frederick Thomas, 1881-1963. person
associatedWith Buente, Willard F. person
associatedWith Hovde, Brynjolf Jakob, 1896-1954. person
associatedWith Lawrence, David Leo, 1889-1966. person
associatedWith Pittsburgh Housing Association. corporateBody
associatedWith Preservation Pittsburgh. corporateBody
associatedWith Watson, J. P. person
associatedWith Woods, C. Ronal. person
Place Name Admin Code Country
Pittsburgh (Pa.)
traffic engineering
City planning
Urban Renewal

Corporate Body

Active 1928

Active 1962


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