Monongahela Conference

Friday, October 24, 2003





Tim  Laurie you were talking' idealized visions in tension with instrumental engagement. What does it mean to have a networked relationship?  These relationships make possible of bringing the idealized visions out of the studio book exhibition etc ..


How do you make the decision to move into that kind of relationship is this where there is the potential for impact?

-If you network how does it really operate? what is the efficacy of it?

             -Efficacy of the vision and desire ' from in here and plant it like a seed like a tool changes per situation in order for it to work it has to


Newton Put aside the term instrumentality right now

Tim'   we need a metaphor ' tool you poke and there is a cause and effect relationship


tim wants cause and effect relationship


Newton why not Talking about deep humanity and trust network happens when people are in constant transaction learn shorthands and talk in language of their own

Using a tool on someone is manipulative.

Co-workers in a common cause don't operate as instruments but with mutuality.


Erica Should work for something that inspires the vision out of everyones mind and becomes a common.

Suzi Catalytic converter


Dan  Did you want to inspire them?

The azerb. Pipeling

Providing new info that wasn't available before ' strategic knowledge ' info feeds into the bloodstream enables a larger campaign to become effective.

Jane Intervention ' not a campaign report but a book ' a narrative that people can read and feel about the book's aesthetic

Dan Campaigners on the ground were highly effective had already stopped a dam on the ground Put these things together not one alone, choice of partners crucial


Helen Likes word partners idea has to morph and grow as a result of the group interaction ' may develop in terms of depth, attractiveness, less good ideas fall away

Tim Seeds tools vision catalytic converter morphing partner

                Pool of water ' by the artist action emotion creates energy that ripple out and      effect things

Newton ' nothing comes out of isolation neativess and positive  in a discourse and you join it maybe by choice ' joining has pre requsites people need to see you work

Tim Is it importrant that this way of working is clarified with clear metaphors and continuum

Laurie we do not want 100 platforms  Want a method may be responsiveness

Brett don't' want metaphors to describe what we do

Questions need to be more basic  and responsive to the realities of daily life

Efficacy we can offer one another and what we can offer each other and not seek this homogenizing thing to bring everyone together


Suzi Morphic resonance creating a field for something ' create a nucleus and by resonance it will replicate and spread itself through culture over time. Embody and enact the ideal don't' need to advertise it as such

Malcolm Looking fro the metaphor for people is the same power structure ' mediating the world for people does not encourage them to do them selves. It is Not pedagogical to make metaphors

Christine On putting a label on something is doing a disservice ' branding and packaging confining and limiting

Jane The excitement is a pedagogy of possibility  -- multiple wasy to interact with the issues ' different modalities. Multiple ways that are about change from big to tiny

Tight definitions of worthwile change kill creativity ' make lots of models and charts

Not a political movement or it is doomed to failure

Dan Agree ' keep diverse practice but become better -= get better at writing up projects and share what we are doing ' reinventing the wheel not learning for. Publish with more'humility and desire for interchange ' as many practices as possible and get better at sharing what we have learned

Jackie If words will emerge that are descriptive they will emerge ' things that have resonance will be used ' to

_____ Platform's writing on failure critical to

Tim ' this is a tiny discussion with this little group of elite people

Looking fro the places in any community where can we go to have a community that…

Wanting directional intent

Laurie Teach respect antiracism how to have discussions and discourse ' that doesn't have to translate into instrumental structures ' the how to analyze and figuring out  will be going on

Erica Listening is the most important when people come that is the most critical skill

Helen No way any of us can go into a community and get them to listen ' incredibly arrogant  -- listening interacting morphing responding thinking

Newton What is an artist role in the culture ' take risks of certain kinds ' give permission to create because we give ourselves permission to create ' it's not bad to be different from one another ' it's ok to play ' go back to a different ground than we

All doing art that is barely acceptable in the regular art world ' as artist wht are we doing' We don't'  have a unified practice and shouldn't expect ourselves to


Activist artist

Give up expectionation of normal success

Worried about what ethical action is in the real work

Self critical

Aware of limitations of ourlselves

Make images that are critical


Stacey We are a group of individuals  -- when you throw an artist into a community ' artist as dialysis commentary

John Helen and Newton ' when you go to a place you listen but you have a set of tools and opinions about what you want to happen

When you go in ' the listening and the interaction refines the opinion but that

Nicola The common ground Not sure one exists --- celebrate the creation the differences the common ground is the creativity as labor and

Tim is looking for the separate place where do we teach people about this stuff

Merriman Artists can say things that people who are beholden to scientific approach cannot


Autonomy from methodology is powerful ' critical ethical


Helen Apprenticehip is perhaps the most effective way of teaching what we have ' work with us and the problem ' can learn and poick and come up with there own way

Jackie How did we learn?

Tim Mentorship or apprenticehip?

Jackie Difference btw common ground and finding a methodology

Reductivist to try and find a singular methodology

As with natural system there are redundancies

Invent own methodoliges and they are always growing and changing

How can we do this better reach more people because there is urgency

_____ To reduce to a word or threes steps or a metaphor

Mark Lots of toolboxes ' if the metaphor is not just an oak tree but the forest community around it the ide\a is to realize what the networked relational space and time is ' as opposed to absolute way of

_____ To connect the student interests with the most relevant place for them and connect them there

_____ These ideas are in many fields ' if you have the relational point of view ' connect students with practitioners and there are different types of realtionships that people work well

_____Negotiate connection btw the

Suzi Ongoing systems of discursive platforms to educate each other etc etc is the major tool Create a platform next about the issue of the toolbox ' what is it ' since it is your major concern ' what do yo have in there.

Marc Lots of different presentations and perspectives yesterday

There is no shortcut ' you have to do the work hearing a bunch of different things reading different stuff and then get saturated and cobble it all together

There is no simplified way of getting at the richness without losing all in the process

Erica Speak to the students directly ' listening is still the most critical ' level of trust has to be developed among people who are very different from each other listening is the number one tool with humility don't' bring advice don't say yes but don't think of own agenda while you are talking ' ask continual evocative questions to find  out more

Trying to find the nuggets or gold in this community ' bring that out by listening

People don't listen they tell ' listens releases peoples minds are released and they become peers through this process and they can become more creative

Reiko We all know everyone is different and respect that no doubt but here

We are all different how can we work together for three days is that difficult' instead of saying all differently which part we can take


Tom We are working together right now 'before we can help them make connections ' we need to help them develop their sense of id and who they want to be connected to

Helen Listening information vision

You have to have visions about what is a better world ' which will change and morph but you have to have it and care  and that shows in the way you do your work and the way you listen to people

Newton Formation of how you do it

Ucsd ' brought together a bunch people who had been very inventive in their own areas ' inventers of fields

Ann There are skills or tools but they are not the same kind of tools as sculpture and paint ' it is more about context attitudes and models ' how do you collaborate with people how do you resolve conflict how do you work across disciplines

Organize your own thinking and other people there is no formula

Erica Include all those traditional  tools of visual and sensory representation


Patience and perserverence to find the person who can lead to another who is the one you need to find


Back to Presentations

Connie and Tom Merriman

Culture of the mill towns was very feudalistic when the lord skipped town ' towns had a hard time figuring out how to govern themselves


How innocent people are victimized by global


First hand into the world if you want to make statements about thewse issues 'not use media info


Hydro electric dam in Quebec ' turn an ecosystem into a machine to produce electricity

Efffecting a huge scale on the river ' ship the power southe to Quebec and NY


Contacted the stakeholders to get their story what was there position ' culminated in going to ther region to meet people and talk further


Effected weather patterns to Greenland '


Water contaminated with mercury creeks flow backwards 'effect


Perceptions of Power

Conflicting perceptions of what was there ' Cree saw the area as their garden ' power company saw it as barren and empty


Inuit and Cree had fundamental respect for life that wasn't present in the thinking of HydroQuebec


Tribal meeting that year was how to respond


HQ engineers were proud of their contribution ' priests to catherdral of tech they had created ' were greanted fullaccess to HQ



Asked cree ' what can we as amercans do '

When you leave the room turn out the lights go home and solve your own problems


Resindency in the coke region east of pgh working with high school students


Develolp respect for their culiutal heritage and develop creative responses to an expoited area owned by usx


West virgina ' compromised communities devastated landscapes ' due to flooding assoc with mountatin top removal mining coal


Community activism growing ' made connections with people there trying to make change


Hard to see what was going on from the ground ' sites on mountain top and the roads in the valleys ' took flyover of site with a dvocacy group


500 miles impacted ' sites over 10 000 acres each


have removed 1000 miles of waterways by pushing the overburden into valleys '


coal slurry ponds ' on top of mountainn clean the coal before shipping '

90 miles of waterway includeing 20 miles of the Ohio '

bulldozed the sludge onto the bank and covered over with dirt



people felt had been dismissed by rest of country ' news of these disasters did not get out of west va ' had been written off as a meaningful part of country


screen of tracing paper with all the species that have been impacted slides of affected areas light out


reseeding of barren areas with quilts ' seeking some small way of having something actually change on the basis of the work done



laurie palmer

work split btw personal work and work in haha


political work separate from art practice to some degree

eco systems involved in work ' personal activism also in housing and queer politics



Hydropoinic garden in storefront in Chicago


Initial idea ' interconnection btw plants and the roots grow together

Also ' to offer veggies to aids service agencies from  a dirtless situation


Harvdested every 6 weeks or so


Meals every week, lemonade video nighrs AIDS and gardening information

Very oopen ended situation full of potential

Herbs for experimental aids treatment


Gardens outside as well


The sterility of the intereior garden suggested medical sterility and isolation of the disease


After the initial sponsorhip of the garden was over


Officialnees of what we do ' where the sponsorship comes from ' the institutional relationships created


With sculpture Chicago it had

Unofficial time the interactions at the open are what made the project 'street level non aerial view scale ' eating meals getting condoms, getting connected to services, personal relationships tending the garden


Openness to the possibility of relations are the most relevant to this discussion


Park proposal project '

Meadow to be turned into a parking lot ' response to that situation


Dedicated to a black explorer ' first non indigienous resident of the Chicago area ' dedicated by city gov ' but never developed into a park

Also contaminated by radi0oactive


Also of dubious ownership ' nobody really owned it ' clauses linked it to the developer down the way that had the right to repurchase in 2007 ' technically controlled by the park service


Rich site of contradiction of social, economic location


Independent call for proposals without prize or possibility of enacting


Multiplicity of private desires within a larger public


Stipulation that it maintain its dedication to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable


Coaltion of people who were interested in developing as a park ' connected do going through traditional  activist channels


Held charettes ' got 65 proposasl ' 50% from Chicago


Relation of this project to effect '

Coalition to utilize the energy and publicity that the art project generated and the art project did not have to reduce its desires for the multiplicities represented into political infrastructure


Janie Johnson

Open Lands ' documented appropriation of vacant lands for public use

Maps of the places people were doing this ' info as to where it is

Benches in the shape of the land pieces that could be moved around to butt up against each other to show reserve of potential


Visiting sites of extraction from the ground writing about them





Education of self about this writing essays




Friday 2 11:10  Robin



History of Ann's art-making and roots of practice:


1995 attended UN 4th world conference on women in Bejing

Inspired to return to school to get an MFA in 1999 in hopes of using art practice to make a difference in the world

Conference brought together a community of 30,000 activitists from all over the world

Life changing experience


One important question was 'what are the roots of our environmental crisis''

On the surface level people were addressing issues of the environment, but Ann wanted to trace it way back

Searching for form and most effective media for communiciation of ideas


Eco-social interpretation of place

Systems and thinking analysis

Interdisciplinary perspectives

Diverse cultural insights

Embodied experience


Drawing on cultural attitudes towared the environment, stories, etc.


Exchange with art schoool and sounthern Germany

Did installations in a former NATO base

Former Firing range, Ann worked with machinery that raised and lowered targets

There were bullets, shards of pottery, shells, wheat, etc

Spatial collage, interaction between elements already in the space

Tension between militarization and domesticity


Eco-confessional ' another project

Work had formerly been deadly serious, this was a stretch, ironic and playful

Booth set up using plastic bags, recycled items, playing with ideas of the commidification of nature

Asked people to talk to them and confess their environmental sins

They thought it would just be a sort of funny project

But they found that it was really effective

People wanted to confess, they wanted to be environmentally responsible, but didn't know how

So they passed out cards with little tips: easy things to do to acknowledge your relationship to the environment


Conference at Chatham

Women Addressing the State of the Environment

Saw it as a great opportunity to interject art into the community of people addressing these issues

Collaboration piece ' Toxic Vernacular

Addressed Social construction of nature, layered history, personalized politices, ply and irony

Soaked cloth in streams and left them there so that they were stained by the toxins and residues in the streams

Took photos that became cards for give-away

One shows an apple tree and country house, with industrial plants in the background

They selected towns that had very industrial and provocative names

The card back had historical info about the place

Then they also constructed narratives to be written on the cards which people thought were real



River Vernacular

Built upon Toxic Vernacular ' post card project

For a Hudson River Museum show ' Visioning the River

Process: went through post card collection and pick cards that were particularly attractive for various reasons.  Interviewed local environmentalists and environmental activists.  These people had a really strong response to the post cards. 

They decided to focus on the river running through Yonkers; Saw Mill River

Developed a website

They used the original postcard as stamp images

Then the re-shot the location of the post card to show the same site current day

They soaked cloth

They ran all their materials past local historians, environmentalists, etc, to make sure they weren't using misinformation

Had to negotiate with these people because of the realization of the difference in their approach and intentions for the info

Installed the piece with the painted map on the wall

Intention was to revision the land scape and help the community do so ' see potential and posiblilty in your landscape

Factory building, - becoming studios for artists, try to suggest the possibility of more transformations, this could go further


Flexible process and form that is site specific but not site dependent is important

Involving community and students

Connecting people in knowledge systems into the community


Common Ground

Shared values ' land ethic, acknowledging interdependent community that includes not only humans, but land, animals, etc

Design to meet needs of present without destroying potential for future to meet their needs

Right to clean environment

Collaboration ' bridging barriers, respecting what each contributor has to bring


Bell Hooks ' inspiration ' going to the roots

Aim to change minds and habits


Temporary Services

Public Sculpture Opinion Poll

Work in many capacities ' so covering one project in depth


Idea ' from noticeing appearance of a new public sculpture in the neighborhood ' kind of like it fell from the sky into an intersection


No information from where it came from  --

At the site also difficult to find out


Create more drive-by sculptural situations ' from the head of public art in Chicago


Had conversations about a creative way to dedal with situation ' not to respond with equal type of violence aka ' just pull it over


Publications for almost every project they do to take responsibility for the ideas we do ' and ti share information of what doing


Share feedback


Strategizing how to respond to the sculpture ' what do people think about this thing ' people we don't usually talk to ' figure a means how people understood the sculpture without a physical confrontation of going door to door '

Way people could respond anonymously


Clipboards mounted on traffic polls at the intersection

What is your opinion of this scultprue why do you think it was placed in this neighborhood


Thanks for responding ' your comments may be forwarded to the Chicago dept of public art


About 130 responses ' a lot were lost based on the way things were hung


Some sort of authority came from the fact that someone behind this cared a lot about the situation


Some people felt it was an invasion ' a mechanism of gentrification others thought it was pretty and beuatifyin the neighborhhod


Many of the most thoughtful responses were from children


Individually they are short but together

Rich assessment of the object and the situation of what came with it

When taken all together


Mike Lash

Rats have a healthier life when they live in colored environments





Ginger Steve and Lorraine with Mon Valley Initiative


Lorrain, Outreach Director,

Steve, homestead main street manager


Works with CDCs  -- Homettead ' Charelevois


MVI caoaltion of 12 CDC s

Housing workforce development

Economic development: jobs increase property value, bringing new industry


Things they do:

Integration of biz and industry development

Reducing blight

Low income housing development

Getting people ready for employment and  makensg sure that employers have training programs


Community outreach team

Work with Consensus organizing model trying to link people with resources ' CDCs utilize MVI

Loan fund for biz and member orgs to do projects

CDCs have volunteer reps that sit on the board that steers MVI


Steven ' HERC (Homestead economic redovelopment corporation)

Only staff person lf that CDC ' housed in MVI offices


Main Street program ' national program being used in about 1600 towns

Job is to use this program to get new life in the biz district ' many factors that led to current situation


Decline of steel industry ' not much contingency planning for life without steel so the decline was harder to deal with as a community


There was no planning of what to do next with the works site until the mill torn down physically


The Waterfront

Economic engine that homestead didn't have before it was built ' replacing to some extent the engine of the steel mill


2001 7.5 mil people passed thru there


driving other econ dev resources to focus on homestead ' housing on 13th st


goal is to turn some of those people up from the waterfront and onto 8th ' by making it look nicer less blight more attractive more goings on art seems to be one way that people think this is accomplished


pop base of PGH in a  circle ' homestead is in the center


contains certain shopping opps that don't exist elsewhere

but not targeted to homestead people ' more to the circle and to sq. hill as upper mid class neghborhood


1600 mainsteet programs in effect

4pt approach ' to redeveloopment


econ restructuring





design = facades and planning

promotion ' singing praising biz community

organizing ' telling people about main street program hearing from residents and biz people on a regular basis ' is mostly volunteer based


role of art


Steel Valley Arts Council

Space partly staffed mostly volunteers


Bring young folks into the community ' art seems to be the way to do that


Having this space fised up encouraged neighbors also to do that and perhaps increase equity in buildings



Dilemma for this group to understand


Waterfront is a Disaster -- mall turns its back on the main street and the river


MVI regional approach to econ develop

What are the issues ' how are you gettiing a voice and getting some power'


Code enforcement


Building inspector has been not doing job well and codes are unclear -- getting written codes with Munhall and West Homestedad in order


Get all the Established bizes on 8th ave at one table to see what they want to happen here


Other amenities


Putting together info on the actual Buildings story 'what is available, sq footage etc


Organizing the very basic info is tracked so that you can build on them


Development driven by the county well intenetioned but little community participation ' the government representation from local areas very small on the large scale dev projects like the waterfront


Community organizing is the basis of what MVI does because  civic organization and participation is key to people conintuing to agitate over time


How do you generate that participation'


Advocacy with the CDCs

Meetings around plans

Make sure community groups are at the larger table when issues come up


Mon Fayette xpressway


Crisis issue that you put out there and try to generate response from community


Have been talking about building it for maybe 50 yrs ' has affected how people made decisions to buy property bc they didn't know where it was coming

Affected equity of builidngs or houses


Also there are plans to raise the water level of the pool btw the dams which will place some areas of towns under h2o


Could you Characterize the communities'


60 % population decrease

Braddock 2500 once was 30, 000 double that amount coming to shop and work


High unemployment rates ,  higher poverty lower median family income

Still have some pockets of wealth and opportunity


What can we do to take advantage of the Waterfront'

Job structure ' not just get pople entry level jobs but develop traiing programs to build a ladder up from that point ' work with employers there to do that


Owning home is one of the only ways to build wealth ' particularly with low income people ' and allows communities to fund schools etc ' not collapse from lack of tax base


Peoples experience with using the river ' access to the river has been blocked for so long

That have to go back a generation or two to talk about leisure activities to do with the water ' direct commerce on the water etc


Braddock ' national park talking about going in


Part of steel industry heritage corporation '

Park that replicates on small scale what a steel mill looked like

There are plams to enovate another hot metal bridge at the park site


Funding for the MVI comes from what sources'

 A little government


Thru development fee ' small amount ' 5% of the 12 '15% of realtors fee


How do your CDCs function in relation to gentrification projects'

Job training and low income houseing usually get dropped as the CDC begins to succeed --

What structures do you have in place to leverage against the power structure


The members are nominally CDCs ' not precise term ' they are really neighborhood groups


Successful proves that what you are doing is worthwile as is ' and that is some leverage against large scale outside influence


Want to have larger impact in the area --  trying to increase credibility thru success as defined by the local groups


Gentrification is driven by market demand influx of people ' mon valley doesn't have that iinflux pressure


How does a citizen idea or grassroots idea comes up thru the cdcs and mvi up into fruition'


Community wanted a project that would start new biz, create jobs and keep people there ' brought the idea to the org ' MVI develops the budget proposal etc ' then it goes to the _____fund and then the money given to build ' now overseen by the local group that started it off.


Over the ten years ' advent of personal computer ' project not  quite so relevant ' small entrepreneurs can do



Do you feel you have power in this community ' who is making decisions in this place

Do you feel you have power to affect decisions made in the community ' if you don't feel that ' where is located' Are there economic forces that make you feel like pawns'


David ' proud of living in democracy for all of its faults eesence of that is that its power is spread In this community the power is spread there are certain things that council can do that affect what we do ' but they are elected and they are all people that we know ' and the CDC ' and the board ' I am on cdc board ' and the planning commission of next borough I am on '


Distributed power not centralized ' can't think of  central power that controls our lives in the borough


David Lewis

I came to pgh to be chair of urban design at CIT

Program built on a different structure -- Choose a problem in the city and then would service it ' urban laboratory in which to take any urban problem and bring to it the intellectual servicing to open it up'


In 1984 the mills went down '17.5 thousand jobs lost ' primarily male jobs over 90%

Over 15, 000 men out of work ' not just here but all the way thru north of England and Ruhrgebiet '


International conference to deal with the decline of heavy industry ' to make proposals for brownfield sites ' use those to make a conferene of which the prince of wales was chairman

1986'remaking cities


created eupohoria ideas publicity  -- but all those people were unemployed ' and when conference was over the energy and resources of the conference were gone again




I moved here to homestead in 1987 ' didn't know anyone ' but wanted to be here long term to work for the stabilization of the place

10000 steel workers thru retraining at the community college


mills were bought and sold for scrap ' but the community wanted to have heavy


develop a master plan for the three boroughs ' didn't interact ' each had own tax base


steel valley council governance ' a local revitalization committee ' elected reps and citizens

working together that is still the only one that has this rep system


within master plan two detailed action plans ' still being carried out


meanwhile the mills came down ' except


pinkerton landing chimneys pump house


succeeded at getting on national register of historic churches ' 12 churches built by steel mill workers up the homestead hill


and how do you recycle the buildings '

personally bought some of them


establish a consortium of building owners

source of equity to go to the banks with


drug company and local developer ' cvs

supposedly bought buildings ' developed plan to knock builidings down ' sought planning approval from city council '

supposedly had bought them

but I had an option on one and two other owners had not sold but cvs claimed they had control of site


challenged in council meeting ' got stopped  -- they sued for 7 mil

went to federal court ' finally thrown out on all counts


I want to fight against the destruction of the only thing that this community has  to capitlize upon --

community spirit and awareness and understanding of its history


fight against disconnect and forgeting of history




We are only beginning to have power ' don't currently have what would like to become ' community members are only beginning to understand their own power ' community volunteers were also part of the law suit to stand up  to that development plan and felt the success of having suit thrown out


Is there evidence of power ' or of increased power'


Power over what'  --- Decision making


In some communities ' volunteers ran for council and now sit on council


When coaltion was formed there was fear that it would be combatitve with council ' has mitigated ' now more support rather than opposition


The people who are active on the street are not African American ' there is very little access for those people to be involved in the re dev of street


Meaningful enfranchisement of disenfranchised people '

Council is largely AA


In banks or redev ' people are white

Chief lender ' and head of Fannie Mae


Property values have not changed ' gentrification is a two way street ' if you succumb to market driven forces ' can drive out low income family ' but it is also important for the cirulation of wealth ' need owner ccupied biz on street ' keep the money in an internal circulation


McKeesport Visit   Siobhan

Cheryl Sears

Mon Valley trail Council ' Hannah

Laura ' City Council




McK went from thriving steel town to what it is now ' but we are looking for ways to revitalize in non industrial ways


I have passion for involving youth ' really important to get young people involved and empowered ' to be involved and stay here


As far as greenspace  -- we work to use spaces that are vacant from where houses and such used to be -- Where jungles have appeared


We are working there to try to make green spaces 'not necessarily flower garden ' often plain grass -- Commitment is there in the commnity to plant and establish but not to maintain

We are working hard on the maintenance part


Laura, Council member

Encourage community people to improve self mental image and physical image


Working with young people

Work with the united way


Get the entrances and roadways nice to present clean image of the town

Make it seem like you want to be here ' that this is a place that cares and is woking

Networking and collaborating with people in the community


RIDC ' business complex down by the river on old mill site

That is also a brownfield area


It is a goal for us to enunciate what we need so that people who could help can  offer resources or  know what is needed so as to know where to focus assistance


Encouraging people as well to take a risk and step out on a limb ' try and lay out opinions about where difficulties will be had to help people ' in some sense ' on entering the river there are rocks to trip over (story about the minister') we try to help people learn where the rocks are



Not from msckeesport came here thru job '

Rail trails and water and river trails recreation is job focus

Making connections on river and water

Attracting people to mon valley thru dev of recreational amenities

Connectors to next town and next state


Development of water trails and rail trails


Mckport is an intersection point ' nexus of all the trails that follow rivers and rail


The River dialogue in McKport focus was :

Looking at access points and challenges

If you can dev official water trail on Mon it can be done anywhere --

Access and environmental changes and degradation so severe ' kind of a worst case scenario


The dialogue got people thinking about creative ideas ' like a roving barge with amenities that could dock at multpple places along river ' shared btween towns


The rail trail ' the Steel valley trail

Has volunteer board

Partner with other orgs ' other orgs that work on different sections of the trail across PA

In order to build the trail ' need to cross active rail lines and yards ' 10 lines deep plus active mills and industry and brownfields and industrial remnants like the coke gas pipe


RIDC park in McK and Duquesne


Difficult for these small orgs to go to USX and request removal of a coke gas pipe

Price of land is 100 000 ' cost of land clean up to 1 mil


Regional trails

Great Allegheny passage

Run thru to dc

Most of the trail complete ' other groups have been able to purchase large paths from an individual rail company


This section needs to work with multiple companies plus all the hazards and built obstacles


Newton asks How many people use the trail ' In NY it is very heavily used


A ' a lot on Yach trail ' no counted #


Cheryl and Laura  -- Can you talk about the trails  and rivers?


Laura --Water therapy good ' access renewed for people who haven;'t been able to contact the river for a long time


The landscapes and boat trips ' st to do more than look at TV ' interact with the outside world and the environment ' people use the area by the river and enjoy the atmosphere ' bring people from the hospital down too to see



The Marina has been great 'also for people doing other things besides boating ' it's an access point to the river and the water


We made a utterfly garden for poeople in the nursing home as well as boaters and people coming up from the river


I walk the trail with Mckeesporters ' good excerise for local folk ' easy to get to don't need a vehicle and it's free


We are also keeping an eye on how the trails will affect McK ' working toward dev of trail in area

There will be a small trail group in McK to interface with the larger steel valley


History and Environmental day description


Built the Butterfly garden ' wanted people to attract people of all ages ' making and planting ' enjoying and maintaining


History of environment in the afternoon ' people pull and display their history that had in their own possession ' looking for ways for youth and aged to establish contacts ' get youth talking to people who had personal understandings  of times past ' people brought their pictures and things set up tables and we went around and looked and listened


The Wolf Finally Came ' breakdown

What leaders came out of the city in response



The History and Environment day is an annual event '

Planning meeting full of all different people ' including mayor, children, jouranlists


There is no budget

Supported by group who organizes


Friends of the Riverfront 'has offered a lot of support ' mulch , trees,

Lots and lots of donations


Kids plant trees ' for them to track the growth and feel connection to the tree and nature ' the tree they planted has their name on it



Tim'What are some larger issues with the trail '


Lots of small municipalities with limited interest


Have bike rides down to Confluence

From kids to aged


Got check to put new houses in ' to sell the home ' selling point is availability of trails and marina

Selleing point for new and rehab homes


How did the trail get started and how did it get started locally' (Brian)


The regional system of trails ' there is no regional management but there is a loose coaltion of 7 trail groups along the alignment

Larger structure provides sytem for fundraising ' push for marketing advert of the availability of large secitions of trail


Each trail group responsible for development, maintenance etc of their section



How did the trails get linked up ' lots of smaller groups were working locallay and then put together


Laura -- With the Clean Air Act  people became more aware of their environment and the importance of working for it


Cheryl ' it's important to get people more involved with the creation and planning of the space ' can't guard them ' can only protect them by having lots of people feel a part of them --publicize them and aske people to take a look, but not much problem with destruction really ' only one event


Jackie ' maybe it's the word maintenance ' maybe it's caring and nurturing ' changing the words for how it's talked about ' don't talk about maintaining a baby ' you care for it



There is also a partnership developing with city ' city came and helped in September 10 trail day


Not my project ' when other people come to help it's everyone's project


Ann ' how to weave the history and environment together


How much pop lost ' used to be 13th largest city

9.3 % unemployed


What you need is industry of some kind ' Newton


There is already at RIDC '



mostly  skilled labor in those things


Ecostar ' cable company employs 4000 about

have day labor agencies ' so people can get temp work


Is there a coming mall? Small thing with only a couple stores


Edu opportuiniteis here:

Elem Middle and High School

Penn State extension


What about ferries ' used to have Amtrak but that was PAT commuter rail that went from Versailles down to PGH

got in way of freight trains ' not liked by train companies

had been good service ' cut service to inconvenient time ' then said not ridership to support the line and closed it


now there is a county jail on the rail station in pgh '


lock and dam slows down any ferry service


what mon Fayette do to McKport'

would go cross at Duquesne


final conclusions

Mck on the rise

High tech homes project in place ' with collab dept of aged

UPMC to work with seniors

Trail access and river access enjoyed by the older people especially '


Not just contact with river ' but also contact with other people ' relationships building on the trails for people who use them


Maybe more than aveage level of community caring' From Helen



Yes there is caring but social programs bring the funds in (YWCA, United Way etc) ' without that who would be paying the bills' They are critical to our position right now





G zero presentation

Presentation will cover GZ network's:





The network we haeve tried to create and how it works

Network of people ' who are creative and who do stuff there are also some shared values

Focus on Pgh built environment culture and arts community

Goal of connecting people and ideas and generating projects based on those connections


Three project types:


Arts ' encourage and spawn arts and creativity


Ecological regional susatainable thinking


Making connections btw people people and info and sometimes infrastructure


No offices no incorporated no board no money no bureauocracy


There is a core group who orgs projects

Membership of core changes over time

Some recruited

Some sucked in by an idea

Some have burnt out and gone away

Try not to have hierarchy in core ' tho some people are more vocal than others


Starting a project ' led by a core member(s) and then a large degree of autonomy

Project seeks independent funding

Rest of core may not always know what is going on in the other projects


Open network

People who get emails -- about 2000 people who get the happenings and events


Core made by project leaders ' get together and resource share'so try to overlap functions sometimes ' so that each project not totally replicating tasks and functions


Flexiible network designed to utilize existing resources



Funding structure



A web based network to

Connect people

Communicate info

Solicit ideas

Build project teams

advertise events


Based in the idea that everyone is an artist

Network attempts to tap creativity of all citizens and allow people of all disciplines to work creatilvely in a motivated way


Believe in building culture from the bottom ' not something that is given out but made but people working together --

Idea of social sculpture and beuys point of inspiration

To construct the meeting setting/structure ' use ideas from urban planning

Idea generation sessions ' based on participation model (Activate Pittsburgh)

What can we do ourselves ' what do we need someone to help us with


Siobhan had to leave