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Green City Remix: Pittsburgh's Smoke Control Campaign

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Civics +1 Age Levels Middle School (13 to 15 years old), High School (16 to 18 years old)

Green City Remix was a collaborative project of the Green Building Alliance and the Senator John Heinz History Center to create exhibits developed and designed by local high school students. In the 1940s efforts were made to combat Pittsburgh’s reputation as the nation’s smoky city, changing both air quality and the city’s image. Using the Allegheny Conference on Community Development collection in the Detre Library and Archives, students researched the Smoke Control campaign, which included legislation passed by city government in 1941 that significantly improved Pittsburgh’s air quality by regulating factors such as fuel sources and the equipment used in industry and in homes.

Through a visit to the Green Building Alliance and conversations with local activists, the students explored ways in which Pittsburgh can continue to improve on its legacy as a smoky city. Students examined art installations at The Mattress Factory and with the help of local artist, Danny Bracken, designed art installations remixing the story of Smoke Control in a way that demonstrates its relevance to today.

This collection includes primary source materials used by the students to explore Pittsburgh's response to air quality challenges. How might these resources inspire your own students to explore the ways changes is made in their city?

Introduction

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Background Text

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

The Basics of Air Quality

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Mattress Factory Talk

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Primary Sources

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Pittsburgh Victory Over Smoke

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

More Sunshine Cleaner Living

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

GASP Dirty Girty Recipe

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

GASP Public Service Announcement

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

GASP Public Service Announcement (2)

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Smoke Prevention Anniversary Letter 1942

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Smoke Control Pamphlet

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Additional Resources

HeinzHistoryCenterEducation

Air Quality "Acceptable"

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

"Freedom to Breathe" Environmental Poster

National Museum of American History

Poster, "Give a Hoot! Don't Pollute"

National Museum of American History

Isn't it time we went on a diet?

Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum