Opportunities on Vacant Land in Winter

As the leaves fall and the wind blows, many of us choose to retreat into the warmth of our homes. However, as winter approaches, there are still many opportunities for you to get outside and show some care for vacant land within your community. In early to mid-fall, it's a wonderful time to plant perennials on a vacant parcel. This can be as involved as planting balled-and-burlapped trees, or as simple as scattering a few of your favorite perennial plant…

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Making Authentic Nature a Priority

It can be hard to find refuge in nature when you are living in an urban environment. According to the United Nations, over half of all the world’s population (55%) lives in urban areas, a statistic that is expected to rise to 68% by 2050. As the world continues to urbanize, it is more important than ever to design sustainable and intentionally authentic greenspaces that invite active involvement in one’s natural amenities. This is especially true for children. A recent…

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Incorporating the Natural Landscape in Greenspace Design

Incorporating the natural landscape into the design of a project is a key element for us here at Grounded Strategies. A popular trend in natural landscape design that has evolved over the past decade is to adapt the slope of an existing hill or embankment into a surface intended for a slide. Author Jeff Link outlines the benefits of integrating the natural environment into a landscape design in his article Hill and Embankment Slides Mark a Golden Age for Playground Slides.…

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Following a rain drop at Park Hill Drive

Grounded continues its Green Stormwater Infrastructure work in the Park Hill Drive community in East Hills. Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GSI) design and implementation are just one of the services we offer here at Grounded Strategies. As we plan each such project, we consider the fate of rainwater as it encounters the built environment. Let's follow a raindrop through one of our GSI facilities in the Park Hill Drive community! The first thing that a raindrop is likely to encounter in…

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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…

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Grounded #StormwaterStories – A Workday in Homewood

"You all better get some food before we get started!" Zinna raised her voice slightly to be heard over the sizzle of hotdogs on the nearby grill. Volunteers put their gloves down and picked up a plate. They had been patiently waiting under the Grounded Strategies tent to get started with the planting of a newly excavated rain garden. The garden sits on the corner of Rosedale and Hill and is the newest addition of its kind to the Homewood neighborhood. Before…

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Grounded & Propel Andrew Street High School: Bringing Green Playces to Life.

This Spring, Grounded Strategies had the chance to revisit one of our Green Playces: Student Ambassador projects at a vacant lot owned by Propel Andrew Street High School in Homestead. Last fall, the Green Playces: Student Ambassador project worked weekly with Propel students to learn environmental justice principles and apply them to the vacant lot project.   On April 13, 3 Propel staff, 17 students, 6 alumni, and 2 Grounded staff picked up paint brushes, wheelbarrows and went to work. We…

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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,…

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Featured Partner: Pitt Engineers without Borders

For this month’s Featured Partner, we are highlighting a new and exciting partnership with the University of Pittsburgh’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. We could not be more excited to work with them as they contribute their engineering skills toward our fight to transform vacant and under-loved land throughout Allegheny County. For our first project together, we challenged them to design and build a water collection cistern as part of our Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GTECH GSI) project in Observatory Hill. Tucked…

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Volunteer Day with FedEx Ground

On Friday, June 2, we kicked off our second demonstration project for the GTECH Green Stormwater Infrastructure (GTECH GSI) initiative in the high-priority O-27 sewershed. The goal of the demonstration projects for GTECH GSI is to capture stormwater before it reaches our overworked combined sewer system, while also providing a welcoming green space that meets community needs. For this particular project, we are partnering with Riverview Manor, a senior living facility in the Brighton Heights neighborhood of the Northside. The…

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Roots of Steel

Last Friday, we kicked off a new phase of our ReClaim Clairton Ambassador program, project implementation. Just as in past Ambassador programs, each participant receives access to a $3,000 micro-fund to assist in the implementation of a greenspace project they have spent the last 8 months creating with support from their neighbors, friends, and communities. Leading the pack was Sue Viglioti, who was motivated to participate in the ReClaim Clairton program by the love of her home town and the people…

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Announcing, the PGH Mobile Toolbox!

  We have been working hard to prepare our latest resource for vacant lot cleaning and greening efforts. Introducing the PGH Mobile Toolbox, a tool library on wheels, ready for your next workday or cleanup! This resource is brought to you through our partnership with Neighborhood Allies and is intended to fill the resource gap between project inspiration and its implementation. Through our experience, we found no shortage of good ideas and residents who are motivated to execute them. However,…

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