Jeanette Street Project – Community Facilitation
and Visioning  

In the spring of 2009, the Wilkinsburg community and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation (PHLF) contracted GTECH to initiate and facilitate a community visioning event at 502 Jeannette Street; a recently-demolished now vacant lot located near the center of the vibrant, historic community of Hamnett Place. 
The Jeannette Street lot is at the end of a street bordered by two alleys, making it an ideal community focal point in an area with little open green space. GTECH convened a community-wide planning session to address the needs and vision of the community. 

The GTECH team spent an entire day with over 40 members of the Jeanette Street community, along with representatives of the PHLF and the Wilkinsburg CDC.


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GTECH facilitated the process of gathering individuals, sharing concerns, and teasing out tangible solutions for Jeanette Street. The community was surveyed, provided examples of green strategies, and together, landed on a collection of viable, sustainable options for the vacant space including: an interactive children’s green space; a public art space; and a quiet, creative green space for free roaming and discovery of the natural world. Although specific plans for the space are still being determined by the community, the sometimes difficult first steps of having a dialogue and than taking action had been accomplished.
That same afternoon, GTECH and community members began planting sunflowers on the site to serve as a placeholder for future redevelopment. Using sunflower bioenergy gardens as a transitional strategy, allows the community to actively participate in the beginning stages of converting once blighted vacant properties into clean, safe areas ready for redevelopment. It also serves as a placeholder that reduces blight and improves environmental conditions, giving the community time to develop and implement plans for a more productive long-term strategy for the site. It adds value to the land, the visioning process as a whole, and supports the rich collaborative efforts of the community to reimage and rediscover their neighborhood spaces.