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A History of Extraction

In Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, extractive industries and segregative planning have long shaped the uneven effects of socio-environmental toxicity. These are acutely felt in frontline communities like Braddock and North Braddock, where residents live with ongoing contamination from the obsolescent Edgar Thomson Steel Works, while resisting possible petrochemical buildout. This video documents this history, its effects on the landscape, and the social and political networks that promote and resist these extractive processes. 


Located adjacent to the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, residents of Braddock, North Braddock, East Pittsburgh, and North Versailles have long lived with industrial pollution and its detrimental health effects. This timeline traces the urban and industrial development of the region, situating it within wider currents in regional and national policy, as well as a local history of community stewardship and action against environmental and social injustices.

Black and white topographic map of Braddock, PA

Anti-fracking campaign poster produced by the North Braddock Residents For Our Futures

Campaign Against Fracking at the Grandview Golf Course

North Braddock Residents For Our Future was formed in 2014 when well pads were proposed on the Grandview Golf Course in North Braddock. We document the story of this campaign and the efforts to work with local authorities to pass a new zoning ordinance and fight the fracking proposal.

Campaign Against Fracking at the US Steel Edgar Thomson Steel Works

Starting in 2017 North Braddock Residents For Our Future led the fight to prevent the construction of fracking wells at the US Steel Edgar Thomson Steel Works—a proposal which would have increased ongoing environmental contamination in the area. Here we document NBRFOF’s organizing efforts and their success!

Anti-fracking campaign poster produced by the North Braddock Residents For Our Futures

Plan of proposed fracking site in North Braddock


This digital archive records, preserves, centralizes, and makes accessible the efforts to fight for environmental justice and health through various documents, photographs, campaign posters, and other materials. It is intended as a resource for activists, organizations, designers, residents, and the general public. All files are downloadable.

Our Futures

This section features design vignettes developed by students in the CMU School of Architecture based on dialogue with community members. Each of the vignettes represent different “desires” for rejuvenative and just urban futures as voiced by residents.

Conceptual community plan for North Braddock