On October 20, The Urban Land Institute held the 4th Annual Placemaking Awards for Excellence to honor outstanding projects, achievements, and leaders in the Pittsburgh area. Dead Man’s Hollow Conservation Area, which is managed by Allegheny Land Trust, won the award for 2016 “Healthy Place of the Year.”
Dead Man’s Hollow is comprised of 400 acres of forest and streams in Allegheny County. It offers a wealth of opportunities for hiking, fishing, and outdoor education, and provides habitat to over 50 bird species. The area was once an industrial center, home to a quarry and a sewer pipe factory that supplied cities across the east coast. When manufacturing ceased, the area was abandoned and the forest slowly grew back. In 1994 a study identified the Hollow as one of the most significant unprotected natural areas in the county. By 1998, most of the acreage had been purchased and permanently protected by Allegheny Land Trust. The acquisitions were funded by Allegheny County, the Keystone Fund, and other public and private sources.
“Placemaking,” according to the Urban Land Institute, embraces the creation of spaces that promote people’s health, happiness, and well-being through planning, design, and management. Established in 1936, the Institute is an international nonprofit with nearly 40,000 members representing the entire spectrum of land use and development disciplines. The Building Healthy Places Initiative began in 2014 to explore how urban design and development can contribute to living environments that are conducive to active lifestyles, social interaction, and prosperity.