Building from the overarching strategy of OnePGH - and utilizing the comprehensive framework for community empowerment employed through the One Northside Initiative the following approach was developed to hone and prioritize places and the postal facilities therein.  


Identifying underserved areas for potential postal facility adaptation requires an in-depth look at various data of the multiple neighborhoods of the city of Pittsburgh. While the initial analysis of these neighborhoods focused more on socio-economic indicators such as educational attainment, employment status, poverty margin, and single-parent households, the identification of environmental, crime and transportation hotspots would have to be done to further identify underserved areas through adaptation of postal facilities. Some of these indicators include:


  1. Rapid shifts in neighborhood population

  2. Historic environmental vulnerabilities, such as flooding and air pollution

  3. Proximity to transit-oriented development (TOD)

  4. Proximity to food sources, thereby identifying food deserts

  5. Opioid hotspots,

  6. Frequency of crime in neighborhoods

  7. Access to high speed Internet / Broadband coverage

Utilizing the mapping methodology outlined above - the following conveys the multi-layered approach to honing priority postal locations in the City of Pittsburgh.

The above heat map shows the intensity of households that are living under the federal poverty line, broken down by block group, in the City of Pittsburgh. Areas that have a darker shade represent block groups with more households living below the federal poverty line. It can be seen that many of the Priority Postal Locations on the map do fall into or around high poverty areas, showing a strong link between vulnerable locations and Priority Postal Locations.

The above heat map shows the intensity of block groups where residents have less than high school education, in the City of Pittsburgh.It can be seen that in contrast to having high poverty levels there are rather low amounts of people with less than a high school education, that are over the age of 25, in the City of Pittsburgh. There are block groups that are close to the California-Kirkbride Branch and the Uptown branch that do have high levels of people without a high school education.

The above heat map shows the intensity of unemployment for each block group in the City of Pittsburgh.  As the color goes darker it means that more people age 16 and above or unemployed in the block group. Branches like the California-Kirkbride branch and the Corliss Branch are in and near block groups that have high unemployment.

The above heat map shows the intensity of police incidents since the start of 2018 across the city of Pittsburgh. It can be observed that Pittsburgh’s North Side and the Central Business District have some of the greatest intensity of crime activity, as well as portions of Homewood and the South Side.

The consolidated 4 maps help determine the most vulnerable locations, broken down to block groups, in the city of Pittsburgh. Through this map we can determine the more underserved areas, thereby determining areas of opportunity in neighborhoods where postal facilities could be adapted to serve the communities they are situated in (highlighted in red).


When viewed through the lens of proximity to leased postal facilities (identified as black dots) and even further suspended or discontinued facilities ideal locations for interventions are revealed. In particular the former Homewood Station office (noted with an asterix) is a suspended leased facility that occupies approximately 32,000 sq. ft of internal space on an acre and a half of land. The facility was suspended in 2013 and is owned by Nationwide Postal Management (the largest private owner of postal real estate in the country.)  The block groups surrounding the Homewood Brushton Station have high levels of poverty, high unemployment, and notable population loss over the last 30 years reflected through vacancy and abandonment rates. As a positive, the areas surrounding the branch do indicate that many people have received a high school level education.


Through an assessment of all primary postal facility types as well as various strategies through the overarching theme of community resilience (how to enable residents in vulnerable areas to have access to the resources that allow them to thrive in challenging conditions) a multi-criteria decision making matrix was developed in an attempt to determine the most viable strategy for each postal facility type incorporating the ease of different strategies and the potential impact. To understand the feasibility assessment, please click here.