As Pittsburgh undergoes yet another renaissance, concerns arise over how the movement will affect certain communities, especially people of color and low-income populations. The Pittsburgh nonprofit organization Green Building Alliance (GBA) will address the issue with their latest Inspire Speaker Series, Driving Systemic Change In Communities.

Presented by GBA, and sponsored by Fourth Economy Consulting, the fifth season of the series explores how to approach community development and neighborhood revitalization in a healthy, sustainable way.

“The goal of the series has always been to challenge our own community to think bigger and dream about what’s possible for our region,” says Andrew Ellsworth, vice president of Health & Learning with GBA.

For the series launch, visiting speaker Naomi Davis, founder and CEO of the Chicago organization Blacks in Green, and Diana Bucco, president of Pittsburgh’s Buhl Foundation, will discuss environmental aspects of building a sustainable community, such as improving air and water quality and creating access to greenspace. The two women will also cover other issues plaguing neighborhoods throughout Pittsburgh and around the country, including the lack of transportation, healthy food options, affordable housing and high-performing schools.

“It’s about looking comprehensively across the community and seeing this as an integrated system,” says Ellsworth.

He adds that Davis, whose organization focuses on creating self-sustaining black communities, exemplifies the kind of big, outside ideas that can make Pittsburgh a more livable city for everyone.

“There are really amazing things happening around the country and around the world that can change the way people think about what’s possible for their community,” says Ellsworth.

Bucco, whose work at the Buhl Foundation includes a new strategy focused on community-driven neighborhood revitalization, will provide a local perspective and demonstrate what leaders are already doing in Pittsburgh.

GBA also works with several partners – among them Chatham University, Urban Innovation21 and Environmental Charter School – to elevate the series and ensure speakers are connecting with different communities.

The Inspire Speaker Series: Driving Systemic Change In Communities takes place on November 17 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Hill House Kaufmann Center’s Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium. Majestic Lane, deputy chief of Neighborhood Empowerment in the office of Mayor William Peduto, will serve as emcee. The event includes a networking event with refreshments at 4:30 p.m. Admission is $20 for GBA and non-GBA members, $10 for students. Free child care is available with advance registration.

Amanda Waltz is a freelance journalist and film critic whose work has appeared locally in numerous publications. She writes for The Film Stage and is the founder and editor of Steel Cinema, a blog dedicated to covering Pittsburgh film culture. She currently lives in Pittsburgh with her husband and oversized house cat.