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Thursday, May 20
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

Fee: $5.00

This lecture will be held via Zoom Conference. Click here to purchase a ticket and RSVP.

(You will receive an e-mail with a link to Zoom at on the day of the lecture. Don’t see the e-mail? Please be sure to check your spam or junk folders. Log in at 5:45 pm to allow us enough time to let you in to the lecture.)

Beyond the Porch

The story of the public realm is not just of streets and sidewalks and parks. It is also about the buildings that border public space, from shops and offices to homes and restaurants. Before air conditioning and the rise of the automobile, the structures that lined public spaces opened to the street in multiple ways, from covered second-story porches so familiar to many Pittsburgh neighborhoods to the fronts of workshops and wide-doored storefronts.

As we reopen our business districts and neighborhoods, yet at the same time design for a new normal, the places where the private realm opens up to the public are more important than ever. They have been and may continue to be seen as a kind of “safer” space for social interaction and exchange. The practice of earlier generations can contribute to designing future urbanism that opens up buildings to the public realm in new and historic ways, from industrial legacy structures to neighborhood main streets and beyond.

About the presenter: Ray Gastil is the Director of the Remaking Cities Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, where he holds the David Lewis/Heinz Endowments Directorship of Urban Design and Regional Engagement. A former Director of Planning for the City of Pittsburgh, Gastil led neighborhood planning, resilient community, affordable housing, waterfront, preservation, and mobility initiatives. He previously served as a director in the planning departments of Seattle and New York City and was also a founding director of the Van Alen Institute.