Our people

Eve Picker’s expertise in inner city redevelopment and regeneration has earned her broad recognition both in the Pittsburgh community at large and nationally. She has even been called a local ‘folk hero’. Committed to good design, her work consistently aims to make a positive contribution to the public realm with every project. 

Eve has a background as an architect, city planner, urban designer, real estate developer, economic development strategist, publisher (founding publisher of Pop City), and co-founder of a provocative public forum for urban issues. All of these have provided her with a rich understanding of how cities work, how urban neighborhoods can be revitalized, what policies are needed to do so, and the unique marketing that creates the buzz necessary for regeneration. With cityLAB, her first non-profit venture, Eve is turning her passion for cities to broader, city-wide revitalization issues. Read more about Eve at evepicker.com, and get in touch by emailing eve (at) citylabpgh.org or calling 412-434-7080.

Sara Blumenstein manages cityLAB's experiments and designs cityLAB's programming, graphics, and web projects. She moved to Pittsburgh four years ago after living in a series of flat places (in order: mid-Michigan, Chicago, Bologna, Ann Arbor, Beijing, and Chandigarh) and has been delighted and perplexed by Pittsburgh's topography ever since. Sara graduated with honors from The University of Chicago with an A.B. in English literature and graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan with a Master of Architecture. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at the 2009 Architecture Biennale Beijing, at Shenzhen University, and as part of an international exhibition of Ai Wei Wei's architectural work. In 2010, Sara was the George G. Booth Traveling Fellow in Architecture and she documented mosques that had been converted into churches after the Reconquista in Spain and Portugal. See more of her work here. Get in touch with Sara by emailing sara (at) citylabpgh.org or calling 412-434-7080.

Past Interns

Alex Ritscher is an Urban Studies major with a concentration in urban planning at the University of Pittsburgh. As a child his favorite video game was Sim City and that aspiration to become a city planner still continues today. Amazed by the unique neighborhoods of Pittsburgh and how the city has reinvented itself Alex is excited to work with CityLAB and their experiments. He is looking forward to seeing the city from another perspective while gaining knowledge in the process.

Mollie Naber is passing through Pittsburgh en route from Germany to New England, but wishes she could stay for good! After graduating from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, she worked for governments, corporations and foundations in Qatar, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Germany on economic and education development initiatives. She’s inspired by grassroots urban redevelopment efforts in the Steel City and hopes to apply what she’s learning in Pittsburgh to whatever community she lands in next.

Albert Cisneros is a second-year architecture student at Carnegie Mellon University.  He is originally from Southern California, but has come to love Pittsburgh with all of his heart.  He has become fond of the Pittsburgh landscape and sees much potential for urban growth and design in Pittsburgh’s surrounding neighborhoods. Albert is also obsessed with Brazilian culture and Disney.  He hopes one day to study Brazilian life and architecture In Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.  When at home in Southern California Albert makes sure to go to Disneyland as many times as his wallet can handle.  His favorite ride is Pirates of the Caribbean.

Connor O' Doherty is a Business and Computer Science student at Carnegie Mellon University, currently in his sophomore year. Prior to working with cityLAB, Connor worked on SEO development and marketing at STACK Media. Connor recently co-founded "Project Flow," an early-stage crowdsourcing start-up. Outside of work, he tries his best to travel to every music festival he can, and will take every opportunity to eat odd foodstuffs (calf heart for the win).

Melissa Mak is currently a Communication Design major with a minor in photography at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. From a small town not too far away from Boston, MA, she is inspired by the natural designs, patterns, and colors in urban and natural settings. In her spare time, she loves taking photographs, cooking with friends, and exploring the city. She is happy to have the opportunity to further develop her design skills and gain experience in a new environment such as cityLAB.

Cristina Shin is currently an Industrial Design major at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Design. Residing permanently in New York City, she quickly became drawn to urban and community design. She loves to surround herself around various, aesthetically pleasing, and well-formed designs. Cristina is grateful to have this opportunity to utilize her design skills, assisting with cityLAB’s experiments. She is eager to see how the various projects she will be working on will help grow and shape an urban city like Pittsburgh.

Jennifer Sung is a northern metropolitan Virginian native studying towards an Industrial Design major, photography minor at Carnegie Mellon University School of Design. She is inspired by nature and how things work naturally in the world. She loves to learn about new things and gain from the people around her. Jennifer is excited to help make a change in Pittsburgh through cityLAB's experiments. She hopes to expand her knowledge with her experiences with cityLAB.

Howard Russell (cityLAB intern 2011)  is currently working toward a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Cornell University.  His most recent academic work includes a collaborative studio to design an affordable housing community in Takoradi, Ghana and a semester studying architecture, urbanism, and socio-politics in South America.  In addition to architecture, his interests include historic preservation, community design, and downtown redevelopment.  Some of his most fulfilling work has been with a student-run organization called DesignConnect where he has led various teams of students working on community-based design projects in Upstate New York.  Howard is delighted to be working with cityLAB at this very exciting time for the City of Pittsburgh.

Andrew Macurak is a Pittsburgh native with experience ranging from the foundation sector to the tech start-up community. Andrew's work has focused on the intersection of real estate, finance, economic development, and community capacity-building. Andrew is particularly interested in how public-private partnerships and entrepreneurship can seed self-sustaining urban economies. He believes that Pittsburgh's unique sense of place is one of its greatest and most untapped economic assets. Andrew will graduate in May 2011 with an M.S. in Public Policy & Management from Carnegie Mellon University's Heinz College. He completed his bachelor's degree in Urban Studies, History, and Public Service summa cum laude at the University of Pittsburgh. You can view his portfolio at www.andrewmacurak.com.

Jennifer Nielsen (cityLAB intern, 2011) is committed to building and sustaining relationships with community organizations and has experience supporting non-profit institutions in a variety of community outreach, volunteer management and program development roles. She received her B.A. in Fine Art and Psychology from West Virginia University and is currently enrolled in the Master’s of Adult and Community Education program at Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a specific interest in community education programming.  She currently works with Office of External Affairs at the RAND Corporation’s Pittsburgh office.

Gabriel McMorland (cityLAB intern, 2011) is an Urban Studies major at the University of Pittsburgh. He is a non-traditional student that brings non-traditional ideas to cityLAB. Fundamentally, Gabe believes in bringing people to the streets and in the power of multi-layered thinking. Gabe is honored to be working on cityLAB and hope's his efforts invigorate Pittsburgh’s creative and entrepreneurial spirit. When he’s not wandering through the riverbanks and hollows of our city’s secret geography, Gabe is looking for new ways to reimagine how people can connect with each other and urban space.

Anthony E. Harbour (cityLAB intern, 2010) earned his B.A. in Political Science and African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. Transitioning from Southern California, by way of Washington, D.C., he is serving as a Coro Fellow in Public Affairs where he is committed to economic development in underserved communities. He plans to attend business school where he can focus on socially innovative approaches to develop wealth and leverage the human capital that exist in these communities. Anthony has a peculiar fascination with experiential learning and experiences. He was very excited during his internship to help cityLAB push the envelope of what can be accomplished from a grassroots level. 

Zachary Morris (cityLAB intern, 2009 & 2010) felt very fortunate to have been part of the cityLAB team where he was able to freely explore his odd infatuation with all things Pittsburgh. A Florida native, Zach graduated summa cum laude from the honors college of the University of Pittsburgh, with degrees in both Urban Studies and Politics and Philosophy. He studied urban policy in Brazil, South Africa, and New Zealand, and researched rural-to-urban migration in Mongolia as a David Lawrence Scholar. A Coro Fellow in Public Affairs in 2009 - 2010, Zach is currently  attending the University of Oxford in England, as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar, working on an MSc in Comparative Social Policy.  He hopes to come back to Pittsburgh.

our experiments

Tiny House Journal

Follow along as cityLAB builds a Tiny House in Garfield, the first of its kind, and shares the lessons we learn along the way.

Tiny Houses

An exploration of living small as a potential driver of economic development, Tiny Houses are part of our 6% Place experiment.

Cure for the
Common City

cityLAB's Eve Picker describes the economic development impact of bottom-up thinking—thinking small writ large—at 2013's TedxCMU.

Garfield Night Market

A brand new market to bring more people to Garfield, support local entrepreneurs, and create a great place for everyone to spend a Friday night.

6% Place
Tracking Tools

The 6% Place Tracking Tools are a series of maps and charts that visualize development in Garfield and on Penn Avenue.

The Garfield Freelancers Database

Looking for an artist, an architect, a coder, a chef or an urban farmer? Look no further. Find local talent in our growing database of creative freelancers.

6% Place

6% is the number, the tipping point. If a neighborhood can get that many creative workers, it becomes an attraction in its own right.

Lessons from the
6% Place

A series of free business education workshops for freelancers and creative entrepreneurs centered in Garfield to support the neighborhood's creative economy.

6% Place book

cityLAB's 6% Place book and ebook, available for purchase (and as a free downloadable PDF), examines how people, and not just physical investment, can drive economic development.

The Garfield
Creative Census

The 2012 Creative Census counted and connected the people engaged in the creative economy of Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood.

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