Zoning and Development Review Division
About the Contextual Design Advisory Panel

What is CDAP?

The Contextual Design Advisory Panel (CDAP) is comprised of 8 members with expertise in the physical development of the City. The panel's mission is "promoting quality of life in the City of Pittsburgh. CDAP achieves its mission through professional, voluntary design assistance to maximize the economic, civic, contextual, and aesthetic value of new development projects impacting the public realm." To fulfill this mission, CDAP advises the Department of City Planning by reviewing and providing design guidance on selected, higher profile projects throughout the City.

CDAP is an advisory panel, not a commission. Together with staff design review, the panel works to resolve design issues through professional peer critique before the Planning Commission conducts its review. This frees the Planning Commission to focus on its responsibility of assuring that new developments are consistent with the overall planning objectives of the City. Some examples of these core considerations are:

  • The extent to which each development proposal addresses successful design, public space enhancement, context sensitivity, and sustainable urbanism.
  • Ensuring that projects feature well designed buildings and landscapes that engage both users and the streetscape. Buildings should also make appropriate connections to adjacent sites and to the larger neighborhood.
  • The use of green building materials and designs which consider the longer-term impact and use of a single project.

Projects Reviewed by CDAP

Projects CDAP may review range from building additions and high wall signs, to multi-parcel developments and master plans. Staff evaluates each project and its surrounding context and determines whether CDAP review would be beneficial. This determination will be made early in the review process. The criteria considered include the size of the project, complexity of the design context, and impact on the public realm. Generally, CDAP reviews: 

  • Project Development Plans
  • Preliminary Land Development Plans
  • Final Land Development Plans
  • Master Plans
  • High Wall Signs
  • Larger projects undergoing Site Plan Review


  • Eric Booth, AIA
  • Anne Chen, AIA, LEED AP
  • Jen Gallagher
  • Greg LaForest, AIA, LEED AP
  • Vivien Li
  • Karen Loysen, AIA
  • Kate Tunney, AICP, LEED AP
  • Page Thomas

CDAP Handouts

City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning
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