Featured Partner: Pitt Engineers without Borders

For this month’s Featured Partner, we are highlighting a new and exciting partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. We could not be more excited to work with them as they contribute their engineering skills toward our fight to transform vacant and under-loved land throughout Allegheny County. For our first project together, we challenged them to design and build a water collection cistern as part of our Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GTECH GSI) project in Observatory Hill. Tucked…

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Volunteer Day with FedEx Ground

On Friday, June 2, we kicked off our second demonstration project for the GTECH Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GTECH GSI) initiative in the high-priority O-27 sewershed. The goal of the demonstration projects for GTECH GSI is to capture stormwater before it reaches our overworked combined sewer system, while also providing a welcoming green space that meets community needs. For this particular project, we are partnering with Riverview Manor, a senior living facility in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of the Northside. The…

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Roots of Steel

Last Friday, we kicked off a new phase of our ReClaim Clairton Ambassador program, project implementation. Just as in past Ambassador programs, each participant receives access to a $3,000 micro-fund to assist in the implementation of a greenspace project they have spent the last 8 months creating with support from their neighbors, friends, and communities. Leading the pack was Sue Viglioti, who was motivated to participate in the ReClaim Clairton program by the love of her home town and the people…

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Announcing, the PGH Mobile Toolbox!

  We have been working hard to prepare our latest resource for vacant lot cleaning and greening efforts. Introducing the PGH Mobile Toolbox, a tool library on wheels, ready for your next workday or cleanup! This resource is brought to you through our partnership with Neighborhood Allies and is intended to fill the resource gap between project inspiration and its implementation. Through our experience, we found no shortage of good ideas and residents who are motivated to execute them. However,…

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Ambassadors Get Creative In Clairton

With pens and trace paper in hand, 8 designers, landscape architects and architects descended into Clairton to help our Ambassador cohort make their project ideas come to life. As part of ReClaim Clairton, each Ambassador participates in a design workshop where they a paired with a professional designer who helps them think realistically about what is feasible to accomplish on their site with the manpower and money they have available. This also helps each Ambassador visualize their project and gives them…

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Volunteer

GTECH Super-Volunteer: Scott!

Building out projects like our Green Playces takes a lot of hard work.  If we had to it all ourselves, they'd never get done.  We love working with the users and neighbors of these spaces, but we also welcome volunteers from around Allegheny County (and beyond, if you like). One of these volunteers really stepped up for the build out of our Hill District Green Playce. He attended every one of our five build days and played a huge role in developing…

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Homewood Greening Projects Update

Our projects in Homewood have been taking off this spring! We are excited to show off our hard work and to give a big thank you to all who have volunteered thus far. As a recap, Operation Better Block (OBB) is working on a Neighborhood Partnership Program called the Homewood Cluster Plan. We're working with OBB to help with the transformation of five vacant lots in key locations to become green gateways to the community. There has been a lot of activity…

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Co-Designing with Hilltop Residents

Urban environments are continuously transitioning. As a result, the narrative of permanence in these areas is lost due to shrinkage caused by vacancy (Burkholder 2012). Vacancy is a huge problem facing U.S. cities that once relied heavily on the revenue from industrial production. The moniker "Rustbelt" is one that describes such cities spanning the upper Midwest and parts of some Northeastern states. Many of these cities struggle with turning the corner, and while some have successfully navigated the changing landscape, many continually work…

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An inclusive design is the best design

It's Sunday afternoon, and the sun is pleasantly streaming through the autumn leaves on a vacant lot in Brighton Heights. Kids amble around the lot, playing with sticks and pine cones. Neighbors are chatting over cups of hot cider, looking on towards the woods around them. They talk about what this place was, and what it could be. The lot they stand on was once home to the St. John's Hospital, but the hospital was abandoned and demolished two decades ago. Now it's…

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It’s a Family Affair! Northside Ambassador and Family ReClaim Vacant Lot

ReClaiming vacant land is tough work. This is a job for the whole family! A Place for Moms: Welcome Corner is becoming more beautiful by the day. Cynthia Mendoza, a ReClaim Ambassador and resident of Observatory Hill, has overwhelming support for her project (Just check out her feature in Next Pittsburgh from last month). Whether it is grateful neighbors giving kind words as they drive by, volunteers showing up for workdays or donors contributing to her crowdfunding campaign, the Welcome Corner has…

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ReClaim Ambassadors vacant lot designs come to life

As Ambassadors design, there are two ways to approach vacant land projects. Haven't met our Ambassadors yet? Check out the Northsiders and McKeesporters who are participating in the ReClaim program year! ReClaiming a vacant lot takes a lot of imagination, time, and careful thought before you even break ground. That's why our Ambassadors have been attending classes since last October. They’ve learned about how to transform vacant land into activated, green community spaces, the processes that come before and the partnerships that need to be…

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Preserving a Piece of Pittsburgh’s Incline History

Pittsburgh is the only city in the United States that still has two operational inclines — you know them as the Duquesne and the Monongahela. Back in the heyday of steel milling and coal mining along the three rivers' shores, dozens of inclines connected downtown with the housing on the hills. Not only did they serve as people carriers, they also hauled freight, horses and buggies and, later, cars. One such incline that is no longer in use is the Knoxville…

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