Climate Action Summit

2018p4 Conference#p4pgh18

Pittsburgh’s third p4 Summit will be held on April 25-26, 2018, at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in the city's Downtown.


Pittsburgh’s third p4 Summit will be held on April 25-26, 2018. 

Sponsored by the City of Pittsburgh and The Heinz Endowments, the two-day, invitational conference will include discussions among local leaders and national experts about the p4 framework that was introduced to the public in 2015 as an innovative and inclusive approach to transforming Pittsburgh into a model sustainable city. While updates and strategies will be considered for all of the p4 themes — People, Planet, Place and Performance — there will be a particular focus on the future of cities in an economy defined by innovation and automation.

PEOPLE - Healthy, prosperous, and creative people are the foundation of a successful 21st century city. The people section of this year’s p4 conference will highlight investments in social sustainability as a core principle for future growth. We will explore strategies to raise the wage floor for the lowest-paid workers, identify and celebrate human capital and creativity – even in the most economically challenged neighborhoods, create welcoming communities to draw new residents from around the world, and put people at the center of design and planning processes.

PLANET - The cities that truly emerge as leaders in the 21st century will be those that recalibrate the balance between ecological function and economic growth and recast themselves as drivers of regenerative economies rather than extractive ones. The planet section of this year’s p4 conference will highlight environmental struggles at the local, regional, and international levels and lift up leaders who are inspiring us all to imagine a truly sustainable future. Speakers will explore movements to center the health and wellbeing of children, reimagining prosperity in the heart of coal country, using cutting-edge technology to reveal environmental challenges and opportunities, and creating a worldwide movement for a healthy climate. 

PLACE - The re-urbanization of populations in the United States and around the world is only accelerating and cities are re-emerging as the epicenters of our economy and culture. The place section of this year’s p4 conference will investigate new approaches to fostering vibrant, equitable, and accessible places. Speakers will challenge us to rethink old norms and assumptions about how people move around and use their cities and the public places within them, reimagine underutilized assets through creative expression while building community, and build new models for ensuring public voice in shaping our public realm.

PERFORMANCE - Using data and technology to set goals, track outcomes, and support long-term strategies has emerged as a key trait of cities poised to succeed in the 21st century. The performance section of this year’s p4 conference will explore how data science, robotics, artificial intelligence, and biomedical industries are fueling the growth of key urban centers and how this growth can be harnessed to benefit everyone. Speakers will investigate how to shape technology to benefit people, how robotics could dramatically shift how we think about work, and how regional economies can capitalize on tech investments.

As the innovation economy expands, Pittsburgh is in a leading role. “The thing about Pittsburgh is that it’s becoming a playground, a sandbox for innovation there,” says Bruce Katz of the Brookings Institution. One New York real estate investor told Philadelphia magazine, “…everybody wants to invest in Pittsburgh. In my mind, out there there’s like cars in the sky driving themselves.”

The conference is highlighting these issues because the local challenges are significant. Pittsburgh’s high-tech talent pool grew 31.4 percent during 2015 and 2016, behind only San Francisco (39.4 percent) and Charlotte (31.6 percent), according to CB Richard Ellis (CBRE). But even so it may not be enough. The Allegheny Conference estimates that as many as 80,000 skilled jobs may go unfilled in this region by 2025 for lack of workers. At the same time, Pittsburgh’s university-based research and development spending is two and a half times the national average. But according to the Brookings Institution the region is not capturing the value of that work; if it did, there would be 9,000 more technology workers and 5,000 more science jobs than exist today. Much of Pittsburgh’s intellectual capital is being commercialized elsewhere, according to Brookings.

Yet future success as an innovation hub will not be without consequences. Pittsburgh is becoming less affordable and the prospect for a yawning “digital divide” between those in the technology and sciences sectors and those in the service sector causes concern, especially for vulnerable populations. Income disparities among races are sharp and persistent. This is particularly the case for African Americans, and some of the most glaring examples are the lingering structural barriers standing between African American men and economic opportunity in Pittsburgh. According to a 2015 Urban Institute study commissioned by The Heinz Endowments, such obstacles include social and geographic isolation, restrictive hiring and lending practices, and low homeownership rates.

In light of these conditions and other disparities, Endowments President Grant Oliphant coined the term “Just Pittsburgh” which was featured at the 2016 p4 Conference and will be part of this year’s p4 conference as part of the discussion on equity.

“Only by making this a city for everyone can Pittsburgh truly deliver on the promise of lasting transformation,” Mr. Oliphant said. “We need to think through how Pittsburgh can embrace equity as core to its ongoing rebirth. A Just Pittsburgh will have to be our reality for this city to thrive.”

Day 1

Day one will feature a keynote speech by Mustafa Santiago Ali,  Senior Vice President of Climate, Environmental Justice & Community Revitalization, Hip Hop Caucus, followed by a reception.

Day 2

Day two will focus on issues of economic opportunity, community redevelopment, quality of life and public health. We will feature speakers on People, Planet, Place and Performance with TED-style talks by leading experts in the field.


The speakers for the 2018 p4 conference include local leaders and national experts on community and economic development, environmental health and green infrastructure, and social and economic justice.

Opening the two-day event will be Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, current Heinz Endowments Board Chairman André Heinz, and Endowments President Grant Oliphant.  The keynote speaker on day one is Mustafa Santiago Ali.  Keynotes for day two are Julián Castro and Henry Timms.


​David L. Lawrence Convention Center​

Convention center web2

Riverlife Pittsburgh

David L Lawrence Convention Center

The David L. Lawrence Convention Center is Pittsburgh’s premier convention, conference and exhibition center. Located in the city’s Downtown, it was one of the first “green” convention centers in the world, and has received the U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification for environmentally sustainable new construction and the organization’s Platinum LEED certification for existing buildings. The 1.5 million-square-foot center sits adjacent to the Allegheny River and features 313,000 square feet of exhibit space, 53 meeting rooms and a 31,000-square-foot ballroom.

Register for p4

Attendance to the p4 summit is by invitation. 

You should have received an invitation with instructions on how to register for this special event. If you have lost your invitation, please direct questions to p4 Registration at:  conference@p4Pittsburgh.org.