Green Spaces as Nature’s Medicine

Today's blog is by GTECH's Policy & Research Intern, Lilli Kashef Hamadani. Over the past two years, GTECH has been working with the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) to maintain vacant lots in Pittsburgh by contracting small business and nonprofits through the LandCare Program. Programs such as LandCare have been popping up all over the nation, and have been found to be largely beneficial to the residents, participants, and the city itself. Since programs like these impact thousands of residents nationally…

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Get The Election Choices Here!

People have been talking a lot about politics recently. Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe you’ve wanted to do something about it. Maybe you’ve been struggling to find a way to make a difference. Sometimes government seems big, opaque, and far away, but next week we have a chance to vote in an election that will undoubtedly have real, tangible, local results.  At GTECH, we work regularly with fantastic public officials (and aspiring public officials) throughout the county, from Mayors, to council people, to…

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Pittsburgh Land Bank: Resources & Final Public Meeting

What is a land bank exactly? This may be a question you’ve never thought about. But for folks like me, who look at the vacant property in our neighborhoods as an opportunity to enrich communities, I was keen on attending the first Pittsburgh Land Bank public meeting, which happened to be on the West End (also my side of town). The Pittsburgh Land Bank’s role will be to aid in the recycling and repurposing of land, stabilization of standing structures,…

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Vacant Lot Garfield Kincaid

The stress of living with vacant land

There are over 45,000 vacant lots in Allegheny County. If you live here, it's likely you see vacant lots near your home or on your route to the grocery store, work, or school. Have you ever thought about how those vacant lots affect you and your neighbors? Does one lot really make a difference? Well, the research says "yes". One lot really does make a difference. The places that we live in are ingrained in us. When a vacant lot disrupts the…

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Using Community Input and Data to Make Informed Decisions

Some of the many things we love here at GTECH include community input, innovative solutions, working with great people to improve our region's community and environmental health, data, and transforming liabilities into assets. For these reasons and many more, we were very excited to partner recently with Economic Development South (EDS) and the Saw Mill Run Watershed Association (SMRWA) to conduct a Green Boulevard Property Acquisition Study along Route 51 and Library Road. The long-term vision for the Green Boulevard…

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What Prompted AE Works to B the Change & Become a B Corp?

Pittsburgh is home to four B Corps, businesses that have taken social and environmental factors into their business plans. With a traditional business, shareholders can challenge management decisions to maximize profits. When a business becomes a B Corp, shareholders no longer have that legal authority. This is a fascinating way to structure a corporation and often attracts shareholders despite the diminished power they wield. The GTECH Social Capital Council is a cadre of energetic and socially-conscious professionals who actively support and…

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Green Schools and Beyond

GTECH was able to attend the Green Schools Conference and Expo at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center from March 31 through April 1. Some would ask, why is GTECH at a Green Schools Conference and how does it apply to their work to date? While we don't work in a school setting, our Green Playces Initiative hopes to work with educators and students to help explore our natural settings and think about local environmental issues. Eco-literacy and environmental justice are issues…

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Community Benefit in Vacant Lot Maintenance

RSVP here! GTECH is partnering with UrbanKind Institute (Dr. Jamil Bey), Fourth Economy Consulting, Pitt’s University Center on Social Urban Research (UCSUR), A. Phillip Randolph Institute, City Source Associaties, KRJ Contracting, Landforce, the Hilltop Men’s Group, and YouthPlaces to help redesign the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) vacant land maintenance process. While the URA only owns less than 10% of the publicly owned vacant land in Pittsburgh, we want your input to help ensure more awareness, transparency, and ultimately community benefit. To begin…

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Building Blocks for Green Infrastructure

On March 7, 2016, over 60 people attended our Livability Solutions Green Infrastructure Workshop, co-hosted with One Northside. Attendees spanned a variety of sectors, including representatives of non-profits and public agencies, academics, citizens and more. Workshop topics included some of the Center for Neighborhood Technology's  green infrastructure tools, including: Green Valuation Guide: a tool to help quantify the co-benefits of green infrastructure, including improved air quality, reduced cost of water treatment, reduced energy use and more. Green Portfolio Standard: a planning tool to…

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GTECH’s Policy Framework

GTECH is at a pivotal point in our young history, this April, GTECH will celebrate our 9th Birthday.  We can no longer claim we are a young, scrappy startup organization and need to think about how and what contributions GTECH will make 5, 10, or 20 years from now to the Pittsburgh Region. Later this month, GTECH will officially roll out our Policy Framework document which will be used to to clarify our strategic relationship to key regional policy issues.…

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Incorporating Resilience Activities at the Community Development Level

"Urban resilience is the capacity of a community to anticipate, plan for, and mitigate the risks—and seize the opportunities—associated with environmental and social change." - The Kresge Foundation You may have noticed that we've been talking a lot about resilience from a variety of perspectives and scales. First, we talked about defining resilience and how it relates to community health. Second, we explored resilience from a national perspective, gaining insight into how cities across the country are developing strategies to…

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Analyzing Cost and Energy Saving from the HHIP Program

“The connection between health and dwelling is one of the most important that exists.” -Florence Nightingale As we enter the new year and get ready for winter, homeowners start to see their energy bills rise.  When we use more electricity and gas to heat our homes, it's important to think about how to reduce our energy costs and our carbon footprint. GTECH has been running the Healthy Homes Incentive Program (HHIP) for a year and the results are worth sharing. To…

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