Interactive Planning Tool for Sustainable Urban Planning in a Built, Urban Community

EPA Grant Number: SU833193
Title: Interactive Planning Tool for Sustainable Urban Planning in a Built, Urban Community
Investigators: Irwin, Michael D
Current Investigators: Irwin, Michael D , Stephens, Lauren A. , Sherman, Alexander J. , Weigle, Melissa J. , Garrett, Brittany L. , Dortenzo, Erica L. , Urbanowicz, Tabatha L. , Ulmer, Allison M. , Craver, Christina M. , Nazir, Mark M. , Miller, Rebecca S. , Vogel, Bryan T. , Becker, Jacob
Institution: Duquesne University
EPA Project Officer: Page, Angela
Phase: I
Project Period: September 1, 2006 through August 31, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Technical Challenge to Sustainability: The primary goal for this project is to initiate a unique process to begin the task of redesigning the municipal zoning ordinances for the Borough of Dormont, Pennsylvania. This process will utilize conventional planning practices as well as some innovated practices that integrate landscape, social capital, and sustainability concepts for redefining zoning ordinances associated with urbanized areas. The project will utilize the existing zoning groundwork set by the Borough to promote sustainability and development by encouraging the use of “green building”, increasing community connections, civic involvement, maintaining historic preservation, and eliminating such zoning restrictions to better suit the needs of a built urban environment.


The research team will develop an initial process concerning how to transform the existing zoning ordinances into a more understandable, streamlined, defensible and effective plan implementation tool. The research team will compile background data including historic structures, demographics, economics, cultural, social capital, and physical resources for making recommendations to the current zoning ordinances. The research team will then identify aspects of the current zoning and construction ordinances that would deter sustainable development or revitalization. The research team will then provide effective principles for revising and updating city zoning ordinances. The team will prepare solutions for specific ordinance problems as well as evaluate and provide recommendations with specific reference to Dormont’s social capital as it relates to physical locations.

Expected Results:

Based on the gathered technical data the research team will create a planned process for initiating the task of redesigning the Borough of Dormont’s zoning ordinances. This process will create social capital maps, identification of stakeholders, instruments for obtaining citizen input (paper and electronic surveys), and preliminary zoning recommendations for public review. These zoning changes may influence the nearly 9,000 residents of Dormont, PA.

Supplemental Keywords:

watersheds, groundwater, land, soil, population, ecosystem, indicators, restoration, sustainable development, clean technologies, innovative technology, renewable, public policy, decisionmaking, community-based, observation, nonmarket valuation, preferences, public good, socioeconomic, conservation, environmental assets, sociological, social science, analytic, surveys, measurement methods, northeast, Pennsylvania, PA, EPA Region 3,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Urban and Regional Planning, sustainable development, decision making, environmental conscious construction, green building design, community based, sustainable urban environment, collaborative urban planning, pollution prevention

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report