Nolli Map of Downtown Pittsburgh

Envision Downtown 2015 - Sarah Kontos 

Envision Downtown 2015 - Sarah Kontos 

What is this?

A Nolli Map shows the relationship between built and unbuilt space. It delineates voids or open space in white while representing occupied or publicly inaccessible spaces in black.  Above is the Nolli Map for Downtown Pittsburgh showing all of the Golden Triangle's public space including the street grid, parks and plazas (both public and privately owned). 

Combined the street grid and open space account for 44% of the total area of the Golden Triangle. The street grid alone makes up 26.5% of total square footage where open space accounts for 17.5%. If Point State Park is excluded from the open space number the value drops to 10%.

What can we learn?

The Nolli Map shows us not only how space Downtown is generally divided between the built and unbuilt environment but also the relationship and connections that exist between its open spaces. Visualization of this is key for future planning and lets us start to think about new projects that could add to and/or leverage the current context.

The map also highlights how City streets are one of our most underutilized public assets. They command 26.5% of space Downtown and are the key connective network that holds together our great public and private spaces. Future conversations must take into consideration how we want our streets to support and enhance public life in the Golden Triangle.