P1120468, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from wyliepoon’s photostream

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) is the regional planning agency serving the Pittsburgh area (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Fayette, Greene, Indiana, Lawrence, Washington, and Westmoreland counties). Its responsibilities include planning and prioritizing the use of all state and federal transportation funds allocated to this region. Federal mandates include the publication of a 20-year plan, establishment of a 4-year improvement plan and development of a “unified” planning program which identifies all transportation planning activities currently underway. SPC offers the public an active role in the development of these plans and programs. To that end, they have a Public Participation Plan which outlines how they foster proactive participation in their process. They’ve recently updated their Public Participation Plan to “reflect the enhanced use of technology.” There’s a 45-day open comment period for the draft plan which began on February 28th and which will close on Friday, April 15, 2011 at 4pm (you can view the official notice here).

A presentation of the updated plan will be held at a meeting which is open to the public:

Thursday, March 24, 2011
5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Xplorion Lobby
Regional Enterprise Tower
425 Sixth Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

They will accept comments there. If you cannot make this meeting, written comments can also be made:

Via Email: comments@spcregion.org

Via Mial: SPC Comments, 425 Sixth Avenue, Suite 2500, Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Via FAX: 412-391-9160

You can view the actual draft Public Participation Plan here (.PDF).


VO!CE of the Region

Here’s another way to voice your opinion. VO!CE of the Region is an online community of residents in our tri-state area who participate in polls, surveys and forums on local, regional and national topics of interest. Recent topics have included “Allegheny Riverfront & Mellon Arena site development; pros and cons of a City/County merger; Marcellus Shale: drilling, regulating, and educating the public on the facts and their rights; public transportation shortcomings and alternatives, and options for balancing the state’s budget. ” Participants include regional government, businesses and organizations. You can sign up to get started here.


INTA Communities of Competences

Lastly, INTA is a global effort to open up conversation. It’s an “association of public and private policy-makers and urban practitioners to share knowledge, experience and tools for integrated urban development.” The ultimate goal is to ensure that urban areas in the future will be more sustainable and more cohesive. The following Communities are currently active:

Urban Development in the New Economy: Workspace urbanism – co-animated by Larry Barth (Architectural Association, London), Charles Lin (NCTU, Taiwan), Rémi Feredj (RATP, Paris).

Innovative Metropolitan Development – co-animated by Paul Gerretsen (Deltametropolis, The Netherlands) and Abel Enguita (CEIM, Madrid).

Innovation, Services and Territories with sub groups on Tourism and Heritage, Health, Retail – co-animated by Pascal Carré (group ING), Christine Lor, Marc Bechet (Rhône Alpes Tourism) and Joseph Tossavi (OGOLD, Benin). [In French]

Innovative Habitat – co-animated by Maurice Charrier (International Laboratory for Popular Habitat), Marek Bryx (Warsaw School of Economics), Mohamed Mbarki (Agency for the Eastern Provinces) and Marc Brabant (Logistransport).