Restoring Pittsburgh’s Urban Forest

A rendering of Tree Pittsburgh's new Education Center
Courtesy of Tree Pittsburgh

Responding to decline in Pittsburgh’s urban canopy, Tree Pittsburgh expands its Heritage Nursery, sets goal to distribute and plant 4,000 trees in 2018

New LEED Platinum, Net-zero Education Center to be built at former steel mill site

While Pittsburgh’s three rivers have improved in quality to support both aquatic life and wildlife along its shores and riverbanks, research indicates that the City of Pittsburgh and surrounding Allegeheny County are experiencing a dramatic decline in tree canopy.

According to a report released by the nonprofit Tree Pittsburgh in early 2018, the county experienced a canopy loss of 10,148 acres from 2010 through 2015.  Such loss impacts the region’s efforts to address stormwater flooding, as well as air quality and landslide management. While insects such as the emerald ash borer and diseases such as oak wilt have contributed to canopy loss, the survey found that the greatest impact came from housing, road, utility and rail expansion, and gas drilling and pipeline development.

In response, Tree Pittsburgh will expand its reach and increase its capacity to deliver more trees by growing its Heritage Nursery to accommodate up to 100,000 seedlings, and by building a new Education Center. The new center will be located on a five-acre vacant area along the Allegheny River, directly under the 62nd Street Bridge. The location is the former site of Tippins, Inc., steel mill.

Tree Pittsburgh has also set a goal to distribute and plant 4,000 trees across the community in 2018.

The new Education Center building is designed to achieve LEED Platinum and Net-zero Energy certifications.  It will house Tree Pittsburgh’s staff offices, but will also serve as a space for the community to engage in volunteer and educational activities, and to learn about the importance of trees.  The building was designed by GBBN Architects and the construction team is being led by Jendoco Construction.


Media Contact:

Danielle Crumrine, Executive Director, Tree Pittsburgh, / 412.781. 8733


GBBN is working with Tree Pittsburgh to develop the design for its new riverfront campus and Education Center above the Allegheny River, on the site of a former steel mill.