Pittsburgh P4 Initiative and Performance Measures Project

In 2015 the City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania launched the P4 Initiative - based on a central unifying framework of: People, Planet, Place, and Performance. The initiative was established to create a set of performance measures to help guide new development through the City’s Urban Redevelopment Authority. P4 aims to establish Pittsburgh as a “city of the future,” with a new model of urban growth and development that is innovative, inclusive and sustainable. This model and the related performance metrics represent a comprehensive planning approach for climate adaptation and resilience - that other cities could find useful to adopt also.

These performance metrics provide a model for how communities can encourage real estate development projects to include both adaptation goals and equity goals. For example, a project could receive up to:

  • 4 points for developing a community outreach strategy in collaboration with a community-based organization, seeking early input on the design and implementation of the project in open public meetings, receiving endorsement from a community-based organization, and aligning the project with an accepted community plan. 
  • 6 points for providing job opportunities for the local community, developing a community equity investment partnership with a community-based organization, and entering into a community benefits agreement. 
  • 6 points for creating 25 or more units of affordable housing.
  • 2 points for creating public open space above the baseline zoning requirements.  
  • 4 points for installing green infrastructure that reduce climate risks. 


The p4 Performance Measures for Sustainable Development project has been the primary focus of the initiative over its first year. The Measures were created to provide an evaluation tool for public investment, and for multiple parties engaged in real estate development in the city of Pittsburgh. The newly established Performance Measures Committee, in consultation with over 100 experts and community leaders, developed and prioritized 12 priority focus areas for improvement - the 12 Performance Measures.  Each Measure contains a set of metrics that together, provide a comprehensive evaluation tool for the consistent assessment of real estate development projects in Pittsburgh, to advance sustainable and equitable development practices.

The 12 p4 Performance Measures are:

  • Community
  • Opportunity
  • Economy
  • Housing
  • Land
  • Public
  • Connect
  • Rainwater
  • Air
  • Energy
  • Innovation
  • Design

The ability of the Pittsburgh region to become more resilient and adaptive is addressed through the Measures that directly reduce systemic stresses, these include: Community, Opportunity, Housing, and Air. Measures that reduce the impacts of sudden shocks and improve the ability of an impacted community to to recover more quickly include: Energy, Rainwater, Connect, and Public.Each Measure is detailed in the report - and is composed of several components designed to inform users about the purpose, benefits, and metrics. The Measures employ sets of metrics to create a scoring system that assigns points based on level of complexity and/or priority. The more qualitative metrics provide specific methods for achieving points. None of the Measures are intended to be individually required – they are all optional - therefore a project may submit an application with multiple Measures not addressed or score low in some Measures. 

In March 2017, the City of Pittsburgh released a Resilience Strategy organized around the “P4” community-centered framework. See that report here.


Publication Date: October 2016

Related Organizations:

  • City of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Related Resources:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Indicators

States Affected:


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