“Completing the Loop” Plan Wins National Award for Excellence in Sustainability

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Riverlife and evolve environment :: architecture were honored by the American Planning Association (APA) for the plan, which outlines a 10-year vision to connect, enhance, and expand Pittsburgh’s network of riverfront parks, trails, and public green spaces. 

MAY 3, 2022 (SAN DIEGO, CA) – The Completing the Loop plan for Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, developed by Riverlife and evolve environment :: architecture, received an American Planning Association (APA) award through the Sustainable Communities Division at its annual National Planning Conference. The Sustainable Communities Division Awards for Excellence in Sustainability is an annual program that honors projects, plans, policies, individuals, and organizations dedicated to supporting sustainable communities. Each year, the award winners are announced during the annual National Planning Conference. The Completing the Loop plan outlines a ten-year vision to complete, enhance, and expand the 15-mile, 1,050-acre network of riverfront trails and green space centered on Downtown Pittsburgh and adjacent neighborhoods.

Riverlife envisions a Pittsburgh where thriving, world-class riverfronts are essential to the region and belong to everyone. “Twenty years after creating the first public vision for the redevelopment of the riverfronts, Riverlife has taken stock of what has been done, what needs to be done to address the remaining gaps, and how to improve the experience so that it is enjoyed by all,” says Matthew Galluzzo, President and CEO for Riverlife, “Completing the Loop is a uniquely Pittsburgh approach that hinges on the broad-based partnerships that we cultivate, especially with community members and property owners.”

The plan prioritizes access for neighborhoods that have been disconnected by infrastructure such as highways and railroads and proposes a system of equitably located facilities, services, and amenities. “As cities are reimagining waterfronts as public spaces, Completing the Loop as a process and a report exemplify inventive, data-driven placemaking concepts centered around environmental and social justice” says LaShawn Burton-Faulk, Executive Director for Manchester Citizens Corporation and board member for Riverlife.

Completing the Loop’s Technical Assessment outlines key steps for the Allegheny, Monongahela, and Confluence “River Rooms” and identifies partners, projects, timelines, and issues critical to completion. A customized scorecard rates progress for the Loop’s 25 segments and recommends how to improve each segment’s score, which rates connectivity, place, maintenance, ecology, and experience.

The Plan is publicly available at the Loop is made possible with funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources (DCNR) and the Henry L. Hillman Foundation.


Riverlife is a nonprofit organization that works to create, activate, and celebrate Pittsburgh’s riverfronts, connecting people through exceptional places and experiences. Since 1999, Riverlife has been a leader in building a community vision for over 15 miles and 1,055 acres of Downtown riverfront parks, trails, and public open space. Learn more at

evolve environment :: architecture (evolveEA) is a multidisciplinary practice situated at the intersection of sustainability and the built environment. The firm’s nationally recognized planning work exemplifies its approach to helping communities and organizations pursue triple-bottom-line goals through design and strategic action.

The American Planning Association (APAis an independent, not-for-profit educational organization that provides leadership in the development of vital communities. APA includes a professional institute for certified planners, 47 chapters, 21 divisions, and special memberships for students.

Image Credit: VisitPittsburgh

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