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Urban Design Consultants

The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh requests qualifications from urban design consultants in support of City of Pittsburgh neighborhood plans.

Friday, November 1, 2019
Monday, December 9, 2019 at 2 p.m. ET


The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (“URA”) requests qualifications from firms to conduct research and make policy and regulatory recommendations related to urban design as part of future neighborhood plans. These services will be contracted through the URA, and will receive project guidance from staff at the City of Pittsburgh leading neighborhood planning processes. The Urban Design Consultant will work collaboratively with other neighborhood planning consultants contracted for other topics (e.g., economic development, transportation) to provide technical support to DCP and partner agencies.

The URA plans to select one or more respondents to be a part of an approved list of contractors to provide urban design services on an as-needed basis. The firms selected for this list will be eligible to provide bids to the URA as work opportunities arise. Once firms are approved by the URA Board of Directors, they will remain on the list through December, 2021.

For each neighborhood planning process, URA staff will invite the approved list of contractors to an event in Pittsburgh where they can meet and potentially form teams with approved contractors for other topic areas related to neighborhood planning process (e.g., economic development). The purpose of the event will be to introduce approved contractors for different topics required by specific planning processes. A Request for Quotes or Request for Proposals for professional services will then follow to solicit proposals from project teams consisting of approved firms showing their approach to meeting the specific requirements identified for the planning process (e.g., urban design and economic development).


The URA seeks to establish a pool of qualified, eligible contractors to provide as-needed urban design services. This will enable the URA to support City of Pittsburgh neighborhood planning processes.

To effectively accomplish its objective, the URA is soliciting information from qualified firms that have experience in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, and other related fields. Separate Requests for Qualifications will be issued for other topics related to neighborhood planning and applicants are welcome to submit for any and all requests for which they are qualified.

Submission Requirements:
Due Date: Monday, December 9th, 2019 by 5:00 p.m. ET
Delivery: Nick Fedorek, Senior Project Development Specialist
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh
200 Ross Street, 12th Floor Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Please note that the URA is now using Public Purchase as its bid notification and RFQ submission platform. In addition to following the Submission Requirements (see Page 1), respondents must also register at: to submit their proposals. See Addendum A – Instructions for Registering on Public Purchase.

Questions and Answers
All questions regarding this Request for Qualifications should be submitted, and will be answered, through the Public Purchase platform. Both the question and corresponding answer will be visible and available to anyone registered on the site who reviews this opportunity.

Pre-proposal Meeting
A pre-proposal meeting for all contractors who wish to submit qualifications for consideration will be held on Friday, November 22nd, 2019 at 11:00 A. M. ET at the URA, 200 Ross Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15219 in the 1st floor conference room.


The URA is the City of Pittsburgh’s (“the City”) economic development agency, committed to creating jobs, expanding the City’s tax base, and improving the vitality of businesses and neighborhoods. The URA was established in 1946 under the Pennsylvania Urban Redevelopment Law, 35 P.S. §§ 1701, et seq. The URA acquires and clears blighted property; initiates rebuilding with the private sector; negotiates with federal, state, county, and local governments for public funds and facilities; and works to maintain and improve Pittsburgh neighborhood and business districts through business loan programs, multi- and single-family loan programs, and home improvement loan programs.

Due to the URA’s mandate and a citywide push to expand economic opportunity throughout the City, the URA is expanding its work with small- and medium-sized businesses to provide opportunities to as many firms as possible.

The URA is a legal entity separate and distinct from the City and works closely with the City in fulfilling its redevelopment mission.

Additional Information
Additional information regarding the URA may be found on the URA’s website at


Respondents should have experience and expertise in urban design, architecture, landscape architecture, resilient communities, and other related fields.

For the Urban Design Consultant, the following research questions are expected to be part of project scopes and should be considered relevant examples of research questions Urban Design Consultants will be requested to address in future neighborhood plans. Generally, this work will guide discussions about each area’s distinct subdistricts and their associated urban forms and building types. The work will also help to inform potential zoning code changes and land use regulations that implement the plan. The resulting product should answer questions such as:

  • What is the historic and current urban character of the study area and its distinct subdistricts?
  • How do recent and planned building projects contribute to this character?
  • What is the design vernacular of the study area and how can new development introduce materials and design aesthetics that complement this built heritage?
  • How can future development enhance characteristics recognized nationally and internationally as supportive of healthy, walkable, and sustainable communities?
  • How can new infrastructure and buildings help to improve accessibility and walkability, particularly in highly sloped areas?
    How can the public realm (e.g., parks, plazas, sidewalks, streets, and alleys) be designed to contribute to City goals for sustainability, livability, and equity?

To answer these questions, the consultant will need to undertake the following research:

  1. What portions of blocks are built (covered by buildings) or unbuilt and how does this compare to other areas of the city. Characterize the unbuilt areas (e.g., permeable, vegetated, parking, etc.);
  2. Identify distinct design sub-districts based on characteristics identified by the project team (e.g., common construction eras, building typologies, etc.) and also identify buildings with designs that are important architecturally due to the architect, style, era, or other historic reason;
  3. Study how building form, height, age, and massing relate to current uses;
  4. Characterize existing open spaces including vacant lots, how development engages and activates these spaces (or not), and review recommendations from prior neighborhood plans and the City’s Open Space PGH Plan (2012) to propose future open space opportunities of varying sizes and types; and
  5. Characterize approximately 10 streets in the study area (as requested by agency staff) in terms of their street mix (sidewalk, furnishing zone, lane widths, access points for loading, parking, or other transportation uses, etc.), street width-to-building height ratios, ground floor character/uses, and streetscape amenities (trees, furniture, bike racks, bus shelters, bikeshare, etc.);
  6. Make recommendations for regulations, incentives, and other programs that will enable future development to enhance characteristics that are nationally and internationally recognized as being supportive of healthy, walkable, and sustainable communities;
  7. Recommend best practices in managing interfaces between buildings and the public realm and interfaces between different users of the public realm (e.g., sidewalk cafes, pedestrians, bicyclists, cars, etc.). Also recommend strategies for integrating design features and materials that are either innovative or represent the neighborhood’s distinct identity/heritage.



Request for Qualifications Issue Date Friday, November 1, 2019
Pre-proposal Meeting * Friday, November 22, 2019
Due Date for Qualifications Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.
URA Board Approval of Shortlisted Firms and Notification of Firms January 9, 2020


Prior to each planning process, a Consultant introductory Event will be held followed by a Request for Quotes or Request for Proposals from consultant teams and selection of teams for awarding of contracts.

* Interested parties should attend the pre-proposal meeting; private appointments will not be scheduled. The meeting location for the pre-proposal conference will be at the URA offices:

200 Ross Street, 1st floor conference room
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

RSVP your attendance to Nick Fedorek at No phone calls please.



The URA Board of Directors will select firm(s) after reviewing the recommendations of the URA’s staff. The URA reserves the right to reject any or all qualifications submitted. The URA reserves the right to reject any proposal for failure to comply with the requirements of this RFQ. The URA further reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to waive any such defect(s) or failure(s). Submission of a response indicates acceptance by the firm of the conditions contained in this RFQ, unless clearly and specifically noted in the response submitted and confirmed in the contract between the URA and the firm selected. The URA will not reimburse firms for any expenses incurred in preparing responses to this RFQ.


Qualifications will be evaluated using the criteria below:

  1. Mandatory Elements
    1. The respondent, including any and all team members, must have no conflict of interest with regards to any other work performed for the URA or related entity.
    2. The respondent must adhere to the instructions contained in this RFQ in preparing the submitted proposal.
  2. Technical Qualifications
    1. Experience and Expertise
      1. The firm’s past experience on comparable issues
      2. The qualifications of the firm’s professional personnel to be assigned to engage with the URA
    2. Fee information
    3. Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) participation


Each submission should include the following:

  1. Title Page – include the contractor’s name, contact person and contact information
  2. Table of Contents
  3. Qualifications – Provide a brief narrative that explains why your firm is well qualified to perform this work, including prior relevant experience
    1. References – Provide three (3) references from other entities or clients that you have performed similar work for. Include the reference’s name, title, direct telephone number, and email address.
  4. Firm Profile - Provide a brief profile of your firm
  5. MWBE Narrative – State as succinctly as possible how your firm will incorporate Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise participation on the contract. The URA requires that all applicants demonstrate a good faith effort to obtain minority and women-owned business participation in work performed in connection with URA initiatives. The URA acknowledges and adheres to the city’s goal of 18% minority and 7% women participation.
    MWBE participation can be satisfied by:
    Ownership/partnership of firm
    Use of minorities and/or women as part of consultant team
    Subcontracting with firms owned and controlled by minorities and/or women.
  6. Pricing Methodology – Describe your preferred fee structure and current rates
  7. Other Information – Please provide any other information which you believe is pertinent to the URA’s consideration of your firm. Please limit your response to this question to no more than one (1) page.


All questions regarding this RFQ should be submitted through the Public Purchase platform. See instructions on registering for and accessing Public Purchase in Addendum A.

Any questions about MWBE requirements should be directed Lisa Moses at

For Additional Assistance
If you need additional assistance with this process, please contact Public Purchase at or use the Public Purchase Live Chat during business hours. It can be found in the upper left corner of the web site.


The submission deadline for this RFQ is Monday, December 9, 2019 at 5:00 p.m. ET.

The applicant should submit one (1) electronic copy delivered in PDF format via email. All submissions are to be submitted to

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