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Thread: Hillside development

  1. #1
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    Hillside development

    I am looking for good examples of hillside housing development for an urban design project in Pittsburgh. The site is the slopes of a certain section of Mt. Washington, the hillside directly overlooking the Three Rivers Basin and the downtown. Because of the dramatic views out from the site it is a very desireable location for new housing in a city that desparately needs to expand its tax base. There is considerable local opposition on aesthetic and ecological grounds, however. The site is hardly pristine since it was extensively mined for coal in the 19th century. The proposed uses are both detached and attached single family houses within an open space system.

    I would appreciate it if any of the participants could point me to specific examples (with illustrations if possible) of successful development of steep hillsides that integrate environmental concerns, visual compatibility and real estate imperatives. I am looking for these examples to use at a public design charrette as part of the educational process for the participants.

    Thank you.

  2. #2
    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    You may want to check out the Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources' rules on development under the Wisconsin River Commission. (I think that's the name.) You could also contact Steve Born at the UW-Madison Planning Department, who has done some work on the topic.
    Anyone want to adopt a dog?

  3. #3
    Quote Originally posted by mastern
    I am looking for good examples of hillside housing development for an urban design project in Pittsburgh. The site is the slopes of a certain section of Mt. Washington, the hillside directly overlooking the Three Rivers Basin and the downtown. Because of the dramatic views out from the site it is a very desireable location for new housing in a city that desparately needs to expand its tax base. There is considerable local opposition on aesthetic and ecological grounds, however. The site is hardly pristine since it was extensively mined for coal in the 19th century. The proposed uses are both detached and attached single family houses within an open space system.

    I would appreciate it if any of the participants could point me to specific examples (with illustrations if possible) of successful development of steep hillsides that integrate environmental concerns, visual compatibility and real estate imperatives. I am looking for these examples to use at a public design charrette as part of the educational process for the participants.

    Thank you.
    Mastern, let me start by saying that I agree that Pgh desperately needs to improve its tax base, and has alot of what you would call underutilized land, consistent with a city having a population about half what it was 50 years ago. Having said that, let me state unequivocally that even if I knew the answer to your question, I wouldn't lift a finger to help you. I know exactly the location you're talking about, and I would no more recommend building housing there than I would suggest building condos in the middle of Point Park. The latter site, like the site you speak of, is certainly not "pristine" as it was the site of a major battle in the 18th century before the United States existed. Later, through the 19th and first half of the 20th century, it became much more fully utilized for housing, industry, and a variety of other uses. However, it is only in its modern day version as a park that it has become a symbolic part of the city, the first thing people see when they come thru the tunnel from the airport. Similarly the slopes of Mt. Washington should remain as something that the natives can proudly show to visitors from out of town, looking across the river from downtown or from Heinz field, a vast expanse of green in its natural state, standing in stark contrast to the city on the other side of the Mon and in the surrounding valleys. The fact that there was some coal mining there in the days before my grandparents were born is completely irrelevant IMHO.

  4. #4
    I'm sorry that I can't provide links, but we have slopes here in excess of 14% grade (and everybody thinks of Indiana as flat ). The main issue is geotechnical engineering and the suitability of the slopes to sustain development. Here, we are located atop New Providence shale and it is prohibitively expensive to nail the soil so that the slopes don't go anywhere. Has any geotech been done on your site?
    Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.
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  5. #5
    Cyburbian The One's avatar
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    Hillsides....

    Check out the Loudon County regulations for development on MOD & RSCOD areas at:

    http://inetdocs.loudoun.gov/b&d/docs...k/office2k.htm

    http://inetdocs.loudoun.gov/b&d/docs...k/office2k.htm

    you can find the specific development requirements of both of these districts at their web site.
    “The way of acquiescence leads to moral and spiritual suicide. The way of violence leads to bitterness in the survivors and brutality in the destroyers. But, the way of non-violence leads to redemption and the creation of the beloved community.”
    Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
    - See more at: http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-ph....r7W02j3S.dpuf

  6. #6
    Cyburbian
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    Mastern, you may want to look at some development projects in Milwaukee that are being built into the steep hills/bluffs along the Milwaukee River.

    Here are some relevant links to check out, with info, photos, renderings of those projects:

    Park Terrace Bluff Homes and Row Houses

    RiverCrest Condominiums

    Milwaukee Department of City Development - Beer Line Master Plan and Redevelopment Code

  7. #7
    Cyburbian biscuit's avatar
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    I'm not sure what specific location on Mt. Washington you're referencing, but chances are that it falls under the city’s Hillside zoning designation. That means that, if the environmental and geological conditions are considered appropriate for development, you may only be able to construct single family structures.

    PM me if you’d like any more detailed information ..... And welcome to Cyburbia.

  8. #8
    Cyburbian SideshowBob's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Markitect
    I looked at this one, and I love the "auto court." I guess that shows the negative connotation people have with alleys.
    Fighting congestion by widening roads is like fighting obesity by buying larger clothes.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian Rem's avatar
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    mastern, we have lots of slope issues. Have a look at our 'Development Control Plan' (yes, "you Australian have funny name"). Look at Part 2, download A for views and download B for sloping land and soils. Also look at Part 4 download C, Nth Buttaba Hills Estate which is a particularly problematic site from a slopes point of view in our city.

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