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

Birthday Giving

Grounded staffer, Shequaya, had the opportunity to correspond with Sarah Roberson who recently decided to dedicate her birthday to us on Facebook and that campaign raised a whopping $540. People like Sarah who are willing to donate time and/or money truly help to sustain the work we do. How did you first come to contact with Grounded Strategies? I found Grounded back in 2015 when I was looking for local Pittsburgh nonprofit groups to organize volunteer groups for my employer. How…

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

Investing in People

Engaging community members in our programs is essential to Grounded Strategies.  Doing so gives residents of communities across Allegheny County an active hand in addressing vacant land challenges and improving their neighborhood. Grounded provides training, equips residents, and gives them tools to transform community greenspace into thriving spaces for everyone to enjoy. This improves the residents' sense of pride in their communities and in the work that they have accomplished. It would be simple for nonprofit organizations to recruit volunteers from…

Read More

Introducing Land Lab!

Spinning off from the successful city-wide Blight Bootcamp Conferences of the last two years in partnership with the Blight Working Group, GTECH is launching a series of Land Labs that will target the specific vacant land issues of a particular neighborhood. The first of the series will be hosted in Larimer! The first Land Lab is taking place on Saturday, November 4, in Larimer at St. James AME Church. The neighborhood is seeing significant development but is still dealing with high numbers of…

Read More

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…

Read More

Trees with Meaning

How a ReClaim Clairton Ambassador is adding a personal touch to the Montour Trail Meet Sue, one of the ReClaim Clairton Ambassadors participating in the 2016-2017 cohort. Sue loves her home in Clairton and was excited to have an opportunity to give back. Our partnership with Sue began last fall when GTECH was recruiting for the Ambassador Cohort. During her interview, we immediately appreciated Sue's passion for Clairton. She has a bubbly and outgoing personality with an infectious excitement for the…

Read More

In the Zone

How lovely. Vibrant colors, unique shapes, and the urban landscape all coming together to form a beautifully intricate design. But no, the imaginative image seen here is not an artist's rendition of Pittsburgh from above. Rather, it is a snapshot of Pittsburgh's Zoning Map: a legal document establishing how land inside the City boundaries can be used. In this masterpiece, each color represents not a feeling or emotion, but a distinct element of urban existence. Cities are buzzing hubs of activity…

Read More

Volunteer with GTECH

It’s that time of year again. The ground is soft and defrosted, the sun is shining (more or less,) and GTECH is back outside, putting shovels in the ground to transform land-use liabilities into community assets. As our projects enter their implementation phase, the GTECH calendar is filling up with opportunities for you to grab a dig bar, spade, or screwdriver and join us to reclaim land for the benefit of the community. As part of our systems-based approach, we…

Read More

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,…

Read More

Welcome Lauren – GTECH GSI Community Liaison

We are very excited to welcome Lauren Bivins as a Community Liaison in Marshall-Shadeland! A couple months ago we highlighted our Community Liaisons that are supporting our GTECH GSI project in Woods Run. We've got a new addition to the team and are excited to introduce her. Lauren Bivins Neighborhood: Marshall-Shadeland What is your favorite thing about your neighborhood? I enjoy the diversity and caring neighbors that keep the community growing with each generation. Why are you excited about this project? When…

Read More