National Planning Achievement Award for Environmental Planning — Silver
evolve | environment :: architecture
Like many riverfront mill towns, Millvale, Pennsylvania, lost business and population as industry declined in the region. The town was further challenged by a history of flooding, poor air quality, and its reputation as a food desert — all factors that threatened the well-being of its residents. Through meetings, focus groups, and games, residents shared ideas and provided feedback about Millvale’s future. Their comments were incorporated into the Ecodistrict Pivot Plan, which is designed to integrate placemaking and sustainability initiatives and make the Ecodistrict part of Millvale’s identity and culture.
The plan addresses six categories — energy, water, food, mobility, air, and equity. It has been instrumental in improving residents’ quality of life and changing the perception of water from a liability to an asset — spurring construction of rain gardens and plans for green infrastructure for roads.
The Millvale Community Development Corporation received over $1 million in funding to construct a food hub to address the town’s food desert status, and the town also received funding to improve air quality.
The Ecodistrict Pivot Plan demonstrates how sustainability can contribute to a vibrant, affordable, functional, and equitable community. Projects throughout Millvale’s Town Center and River District improve mobility, access to fresh food, and economic vitality.