NEXT Up: Bringing new life to vacant lots with Evaine K. Sing

She’s 11 weeks in as GTECH’s first Executive Director (after previously serving as COO). Born in South Africa to a Scottish mother and Chinese father, Evaine grew up in the rural town of Keedysville, MD and moved to Pittsburgh after college. A resident of East Allegheny—sandwiched between historic sites like Teutonia Männerchor and Penn Brewery—Evaine loves being able to walk to the North Shore attractions, Downtown and the Strip. On April 21, GTECH is celebrating 10 years of transforming vacant, underutilized spaces into…

GTECH Strategies: Tackling Blight, One Urban Lot At A Time

They say good things come in small packages, and as a nonprofit social enterprise, GTECH Strategies is no exception. Through a multi-faceted approach, the 14-member team tackles Pittsburgh’s sizable challenges by transforming vacant lots into productive spaces and improving community health. With a sense of duty and plenty of heart, GTECH has forged a mission over the last 10 years to breathe new life into Pittsburgh’s vulnerable neighborhoods, and it all began with a group of college grads, a dream…

Community Play-Creation

Outdoor play is good for children and teens, but it’s even better when they and other members of their community participate in creating the spaces where healthy play happens. At GTECH, that reinvention means building with reused materials, from rocks and sticks that once littered an empty lot to sourcing materials at a reuse store. At ALEC, yellow plastic piping became the slide. At other sites, utility line spools have become tables. Additionally, the process of designing and contributing to…

GTECH releases Northside Neighborhood Connections trail maps

The project, Northside Neighborhoods Connections, is a collaboration between One Northside and GTECH. Each neighborhood has an individual map and trail that connects to the surrounding neighborhoods, and the trail map guides feature a number of cultural, historic, and environmental destinations that were curated by members of each community. The designated trails run along already existing streets and pathways that can be traveled by bicycle or foot, and range from 1.5 to 3.5 miles in length.

Sharpsburg Land Could Transform into Playground

GTECH Strategies is searching for blighted or vacant property in Sharpsburg to transform into an environmental educational playground designed for and by kids, in a project dubbed Green Playces. Ian Brown, a project manager for policy and evaluation at GTECH, of Larimer, presented the idea at Sharpsburg Council's regular meeting on Oct. 4.

Blight Working Group Brings Residents Resources to Revitalize Empty Lots

The Pittsburgh Blight Working Group is a collaboration between the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the city, Neighborhood Allies, Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, the Design Center and GTECH Strategies. The group is hosting a boot camp on Friday and Saturday to empower residents with resources to identify and revitalize blight in their neighborhoods.

‘Ambassadors’ reclaiming vacant property in the Hilltop

This year, Growth Through Energy and Community Health (GTECH) Strategies has launched ReClaim South: Sustaining Momentum, a continuation of its 2014 program aimed at giving South Pittsburgh residents, also known as neighborhood ambassadors, the ability and support to lead individual green space development projects. GTECH's ambassador-driven development model has led to more than 80 volunteers and 328 hours of community service invested in South Pittsburgh neighborhoods including Beltzhoover, Allentown, Mount Oliver, Knoxville, and St. Clair.

If I Knew Then: Andrew Butcher

Andrew Butcher of GTECH Strategies breaks down some of the stumbling blocks encountered while founding and ramping up GTECH.

Residents across W.Pa. working to improve communities’ appearance, safety

For years, Ayanna Lee-Davis felt a pang of melancholy almost every time she passed by the weed-ridden, garbage-strewn swath of abandoned land blighting the curve of road that leads to the heart of Perry South in Pittsburgh's North Side. It had pained the lifelong North Sider, 42, to watch her community “go from a place where families united and upkeep of property was important,” to an increasingly disjointed neighborhood plagued by unmaintained, empty lots. So Lee-Davis, a real estate attorney,…

Meet the Man Making the Most Out of Pittsburgh’s Vacant Lots

GTECH's roots go all the way back to 2006, when Andrew Butcher, Chris Koch, Matthew Ciccone and Nathaniel Doyno planted sunflowers on a vacant lot to beautify empty space, encourage neighborhood revitalization and even use sunflower oil as biofuel. Since 2007, GTECH has helped to clean up more than 2 million square feet in 60 communities and employs 16 people. Learn more about GTECH's philosophy, history and current projects.

In Pittsburgh, Pretty Public Spaces Also Mean Jobs

“Mount Washington is a microcosm of the story of Pittsburgh,” says Ilyssa Manspeizer, executive director of the brand-new Pittsburgh Conservation Corps (PCC). The organization plans to forge a route back into the workforce for people who have been unemployed for one reason or another, by hiring and training them to improve public land throughout the region. Manspeizer spun off PCC from the Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), where she was formerly executive director. She got the idea back in…