Attention to Detail

The quality of your environment is one of the greatest and most overlooked sources of happiness. CommunityCare stewards carry around butter knives so that they can clean the cracks in the sidewalks. LandCare contractors compare techniques because they take pride in their work. These examples illustrate the importance of community members playing a central role in greening their communities. When residents are the actors, greenspace maintenance takes on new meaning. It's not just about getting a job done, it's about making…

Read More

Grounded in East Hills

As part of our investigative process, Grounded Strategies is exploring East Hills for further intervention. Having recently installed rain gardens in the Park Hill Drive Community, we're now working with the East Hills Consensus Group (EHCG) to help them advocate for improvements in the entire East Hills neighborhood. The main focus points for EHCG in terms of community strategy are Stormwater, Public Safety, and Community Beautification.     During our tour of the neighborhood, it became apparent just how important…

Read More

Grounded in Clairton

Grounded Strategies continues to support the Clairton Community as part of our ReClaim Ambassador program. Recently, we’ve been working with our Ambassadors Toni and Felix on sprucing up their sites. After a winter with lots of temperature fluctuations, Felix’s doorways at Communications Park had shifted, so we gave them a little love, squaring up their sashes and priming the ground for his sunflower walls. Just down the street at Clairton CommUnity Garden, Toni has been hustling and bustling getting the…

Read More

VOLUNTEER FEATURE: U. S. STEEL

We Love Volunteers! Through the month of June, Grounded had the pleasure of hosting U. S. Steel volunteers in Braddock to support our work at Free Store 15104. Steelworkers from Edgar Thomson Works in North Braddock and employees from the U. S. Steel procurement office came out in full force for three full workdays. Our U. S. Steel volunteers blew us away with their commitment to the project, their creative problem-solving, and their ability to keep a smile on their…

Read More

Ambassador Highlight – Natalie Thomas

Natalie Thomas joined the Grounded network as a ReClaim South Ambassador in the 2013-2014 year and was involved again in the ReClaim South 2.0 Sustaining Momentum program in 2015-2016. Through the Ambassador program, Ms. Natalie created a community garden on a vacant lot in Beltzhoover to share with the community and engage children living in Beltzhoover. Recently, the Grounded staff visited Natalie's site for a workday to spruce it up and get it ready for the summer. The entire staff,…

Read More

Commodification of Kindness

We recently came across a BBC News video that shares the story of a UK-based concept of digital currency created in the city of Hull. The digital currency rewards people for doing good, or for doing volunteer work in their community. The rewards are non-monetary payments that allow volunteers to shop at participating stores and businesses for a discounted price. People who volunteer don’t usually get rewarded in this way. The creator of this digital currency in Hull calls this a commodification…

Read More

What IS a Green Playce? …Fast Facts on this exciting program

The Green Playces Initiative is Grounded Strategies' youth-based programming and placemaking program.  Our origins  The Green Playces Initiative was formed out of research we conducted in 2014 that examined the prevalence of environmental education opportunities for youth in neighborhoods with high levels of vacancy, which yielded the Youth in Green report. Why Green Playces matter There is a growing body of evidence that tells us how important it is for youth to connect with their outdoor environment. Improvements in behavior,…

Read More

Jump start your Spring with Land Lab!

Following up on our work in Larimer last year, Land Lab is back just in time for the 2018 growing season. Reinforcing our commitment to reinvigorating vacant lots throughout the city, Grounded will be hosting “Blight Doctors” for 1-on-1 discussions on vacant land issues, as well as offering participant selected content geared toward educating attendees on a variety of solutions to vacant land issues. Our expanded list of modules includes: Sustainable Planning 101: Designing Within a Realistic Scope - Content…

Read More

LandCare Women Making a Difference in Hazelwood

Strengthening communities through vacant lot maintenance Have you ever wondered who maintains all of the vacant lots in Pittsburgh? With over 27,000 vacant lots in just the city alone, it takes a coordinated effort to care for this vast amount of vacant land. The City of Pittsburgh owns approximately 26% of Pittsburgh’s vacant lots and the URA owns another 5.2%, or around 1,400 vacant lots. If you haven’t really noticed a vacant lot in your community, chances are that it…

Read More

Grab a seat at the roundtable.

What are the building blocks of community change? Peter Block argues that the answer is small-scale, informal, and personal resident engagement: the roundtable. The Grounded Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) Liaisons have been putting this idea to the test while reading Block's work Community: The Structure of Belonging. Each month, we meet to discuss project activities as well as to take part in a group discussion about the best ways to increase resident involvement and buy-in, essential ingredients for community health and sustainability. Last month,…

Read More

Black History. American History. History.

Grounder Rebecca Mizikar recently sat down with three former residents of Lincoln Way in Clairton to understand the vibrant black community that thrived there. Before the bulldozers demolished the last of the vacant houses along the dead-end street, before the city and developers started to talk about new visions for this blank slate of land at the edge of the town, before the Bigfoot and alien legends came to explain the decline and vacancy of an entire street, Lincoln Way…

Read More

We’re Back! ReClaim Clairton 2.0 is Almost Here!

Gearing up for ReClaim Clairton 2.0 It is hard to believe that the first year of our ReClaim Clairton Ambassador program has come to a close. We are so excited and proud of the accomplishments that our Ambassadors have achieved over the past 12 months. ReClaim Clairton 2016 - 2017 The ReClaim Ambassador model builds the knowledge and capacity of residents to design, organize and lead vacant lot revitalization efforts. The 2016-2017 Clairton ReClaim Ambassador Program has engaged, equipped, and…

Read More