ReClaim Northside Ambassador Program 2014-2015

Program Area: Ambassador Project, ReClaim

Topic: Community Engagement, Education & Training, Vacant Land

Year: 2014, 2015, Current

Neighborhood: Northside

The Program

Fourteen Northside residents have become part of the ReClaim Northside program to transform vacant lots in their neighborhoods into better places. We call these individuals “Ambassadors”. They are people who care deeply about their community and want to learn how to become leaders and put their ideas into action. From the fall of 2014 to the spring of 2015, they will meet for classes and workshops to learn about Pittsburgh’s vacant land issue and think about recreating a vacant lot in ways that benefit their communities. Throughout the spring and summer of 2015, each Ambassador will make their ideas come to life on a vacant lot in their neighborhood.

We initiated ReClaim Northside only after working with Northside residents to survey each and every one of the Northside’s 5000 vacant lots. This survey helped us to understand the state of blight in the Northside and to learn what work is already being done. You can check out the map of our data by clicking this link. 

Ultimately, what we learned is that Northside residents have a need for more spaces to gather as a community, better food security, safe places for kids to play, and open areas to capture storm-water. Put two and two together, and these are just a few of the issues that a reclaimed vacant lot can help solve. Vacant lots are a wasted resource if left to become overgrown with weeds and strewn with litter. When waste is used, the issue becomes the solution.

Meet the Ambassadors

Check out our awesome ReClaim Northside Ambassadors here…

Screen Shot 2015-01-05 at 10.17.28 AM

Learn about their projects…

Allegheny Mountains Lot – Matthew Yurkovich

Asylum Parklet – Riley Baker, Linda Wallen

Baytree Street Community Garden – Doug Deckert

Biggs Hillside Garden – Nicole Flaherty

Mary Cassatt Garden – Bridget Little

Perry Hilltop Gateway Beautification Project – Ayanna Lee-Davis

A Place for Moms: Welcome Corner – Cynthia Lee-Davis

Star Meditation Garden – Angela Williams

Terraced Sidelot Bioswale – Mark Rawlings

“I think everyone deserves access to information. Knowledge is power and there are not enough people in our neighborhood who understand and realize that information and the application of information is powerful.”

— Cynthia Levy-Mendoza, ReClaim Northside Ambassador for Observatory Hill