Pittsburgh has reinvented itself with one of the most dramatic environmental transformations in the world. Over the past half-century, this one-time poster child for industrial pollution has emerged a clean and green city. In fact, this former "Smoky City" now ranks among the top 10 cities in the United States for certified green building space.
Pittsburgh has eliminated its infamous smoke problem and has invested in restoring our rivers and trails. We helped nurse our beloved rivers back to health and have created some of the most popular outdoor recreational areas in the eastern United States. For example, Western Pennsylvania has become one of the nation's best examples of rails-to-trails conversion, with hundreds of miles of rail trails, including the Great Allegheny Passage. This trail links Pittsburgh with Washington, D.C., and stands out as one of the country's great trail systems.
It's fitting that Pittsburgh, the birthplace of renowned environmentalist Rachel Carson, is today a national leader in the environmental movement and a green model for cities all over the globe. Pittsburgh is proud to be home to more than 30 certified green buildings, including the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, the world's first and still one of the largest green convention centers. The facility has earned LEED Gold Certification from the U.S. Green Building Council for leadership in energy and environmental design.
Pittsburgh also is home to Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, which is pursuing a net-zero energy and water designation as a "Living Building."
In addition, Downtown Pittsburgh's Cultural District is part of the city's inspiring story of renewal. Once a blighted part of the city, the Cultural District now includes several theaters, numerous galleries and scores of eateries. Its successful renaissance has spurred development in other parts of the city as well.