Mission: The Department of City Planning works to create and maintain an orderly, timely, environmentally-sustainable, and consistent approach to land use and development within the City. To achieve this end, Planning works with communities, civic organizations, and public entities to develop long-term plans to sustain and revitalize a thriving city of neighborhoods for the people who live, work, learn, and visit here.
The Department of City Planning is comprised of five divisions:
Community Development – This division administers all federal funds received by the City in compliance with federal regulations. This includes mandatory financial oversight for the following programs: 1) Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)—Provide annual grants on a formula basis to entitled cities and counties to develop viable urban communities by providing decent housing and a suitable living environment, and by expanding economic opportunities, principally for low and moderate income persons living within the City of Pittsburgh; 2) Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG)—Provide grants to support essential services related to emergency shelter and street outreach, emergency shelter operation and renovation, short and medium-term rental assistance, housing relocation and stabilization for individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness, and homeless management information systems (HMIS); 3) Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA)—Provide grants to local communities, States, and nonprofit organizations for projects that benefit low and moderate-income persons living with HIV/AIDS and their families.
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – This division provides mapping and informational services along with analytical support to all City Departments and Authorities. Through collaboration with outside agencies it delivers accurate spatial and attribute data to city applications. The Division also creates and maintains interactive web maps that provide internal and external user access to GIS data in a clear and easy-to-use interface.
Public Art – This division promotes and ensures quality design of city-owned architecture, infrastructure, and landscape; in order to create and enhance place-making by the inclusion of art and arts programming that reflect the city's history, diversity, and culture. The Public Art Division performs three main functions: staffing of the city's Art Commission, conservation and maintenance of the city's collection of public artwork and memorials, and planning and implementation of new commissions of public art and arts programs on city property, citywide.
Strategic Planning – This division initiates and guides planning processes to enhance quality of life and to assure the orderly and efficient development of real property within the City of Pittsburgh. This Division conducts project development reviews related to Americans with Disabilities Act compliance, traffic impacts, storm water management, geotechnical, and other environmental concerns. Strategic Planning also represents the City on regional and citywide transportation planning panels, manages the Residential Parking Permit Program designation, and both plans and implements bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure within the City. Neighborhood Planners serve to empower neighborhoods to plan for their future, providing a key link to city government and resources. This division developed and maintains SNAP (Sector Neighborhood Asset Profiles)—a database to assess resource availability, socio-economic conditions, demographics, physical conditions, empowerment, and development capacity. Strategic Planning is also charged with coordinating and developing the City’s Comprehensive Plan, a resource combining analysis of neighborhood and system-wide challenges with opportunities.
Zoning and Development Review – This division initiates and reviews all building permits—from fences to stadiums—for compliance with the City's Zoning Code. It manages and staffs most of the department’s commissions, boards, and panels: Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Adjustment, Contextual Design Advisory Panel, and Historic Review Commission. Functions of the Zoning Office include proposing Zoning Code text amendments and map changes in order to adopt best management practices and regulations to promote high quality planning and development; as well as reviewing for and providing consultation to developers, residents, and City Council Offices on proposed text amendments, map changes, special planning districts, signage, and other land use and development activity. In addition, the division processes lot subdivisions and consolidations, revaluates and processes Zoning Certificates for real estate closings and refinanced, and reviews historic review applications, serving walk-in and telephone customers.