Gearing Up For Spring: An Interview with Ambassador Linda Piso

Next month, 7 projects in Hilltop neighborhoods will begin to see new life through ReClaim South: Sustaining Momentum. Enhancements planned over the next few months at Ambassadors' sites range from new gardening beds to community celebrations.  Before things get too crazy, we had a chance to sit down with Ambassador Linda Piso and talk about her plans for the 30/32 Grape Street Garden.   GTECH: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and what motivates you to make a…

Read More

Junior Green Corps’ Spring Training with GTECH

Operation Better Block's Junior Green Corps and GTECH are working together this Spring! This spring, we are kicking off a 4 part training program for the Junior Green Corps of Homewood.  The goal of these training sessions is to help the Junior Green Corps students understand the process of vacant land reclamation so they can share and practice such skills outside of the program. The bi-monthly educational sessions will extend from March through April and culminate in a final project on a vacant…

Read More

Lots to Love (About Neighborhoods)

Pittsburgh is a city of neighborhoods. There are 90 of them, after all. Each one has its own charms, and problems, and groups of people working to solve them. But, like individuals, these neighborhoods often focus on their own challenges, and sometimes forget that other neighborhoods are working on very similar problems. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. At GTECH we champion these neighborhood heroes. We call them Ambassadors. They are Ambassadors to their community, and they work hard to…

Read More

International Women’s Day

March 8th is International Women's day. Here at GTECH we have almost a 2:1 ratio (including Jasper) of women to men. Not that we're counting... I'd like to recognize International Women's Day by highlighting some of the amazing women we have on staff. In addition to their fabulous day jobs, these ladies spend a lot of time giving back to their communities, families and the world in general. In no particular order, meet some of our wonderful women and get a…

Read More

Unless

UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. South of Lake Erie, a businessman arrives in a pristine wilderness. He builds his first manufacturing plant and begins reining in enough profit on a product that “everyone needs” to allow him to open a second plant. And then a third. And a fourth. Soon the whole purpose of that once pristine natural environment seems to be the production of this good. The…

Read More

Who owns vacant land?

Have you ever wondered who actually owns all of the vacant land around Pittsburgh? If so, then we have some answers for you! First, take a look at the map below to get a visual sense of the magnitude of vacancy in the City. The map marks vacant lots by owner, including the two largest land owners in Pittsburgh - the City of Pittsburgh, and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and private owners. You can click on the map for a larger, zoom-able…

Read More

Maintenance

Chores. The grind. Tedium. Labor. Maintenance is rarely thought of fondly. And few people are inspired by sameness. We don’t wake up thinking, “Wow! My sidewalk remains unbroken!  The trees in my park are still standing!” Instead we prefer to imagine our creations as permanent, somehow set apart from time, and nature. But the only constant in nature is change: plants grow, spread, die, decay, become soil again; paint fades, chips, peels; wood rots; metal rusts; concrete cracks; even the…

Read More

Share the Love on Valentine’s Day

  Roses Are Red, Violets are Blue, The lot next door is vacant, What should I do?   After Groundhog's Day, the biggest thing to happen to February is Valentine's Day. While the mere thought of candy hearts and doilies may make you shudder, not everything about Valentine's Day has to be cheesy. This year, try something different and point cupid's arrow at a vacant lot.   Across the country, organizations and cities are incorporating vacancy into their celebrations on February 14th. Here…

Read More

ReClaim South Update: What to look forward to this spring!

Since last fall, our ReClaim South Ambassadors have been working hard planning their vacant lot project enhancements. A lot of good things are happening in South Pittsburgh and we are excited to help add capacity to 8 projects this year! To date, the Ambassadors have completed 5 training sessions for the Sustaining Momentum Program, and with only 2 more to go, on the ground implementation is quickly approaching. Here is a breakdown of what we have covered thus far in…

Read More

Green Playces’ Art Partners

We have worked hard to make our Green Playces a program that fosters creative partnerships. We’ve developed a close working relationship with Allegheny Partners for Out-of-School Time (APOST) to convene local educators and community groups and create curricula. We’re bringing in interested schools beyond existing Green Playces locations to collaborate and improve each project and get more youth involved. We establish lasting relationships with each of our primary Green Playces Partners to ensure long-term maintenance. The list goes on. On…

Read More

Green Playces is Developing Creative Partnerships

With our Green Playces Initiative, one of the key indicators of success is the quality of partnerships that we make around the project. Since these sites belong to community organizations and the people that live, work and play in the area, it's critical that these projects reflect what the residents want and need, and that there is a strong base of support to use the projects and keep them vibrant. We're rethinking the way we approach partnerships, and expanding our networks to…

Read More

Vacant Land Inspiration – Green Stormwater Infrastructure

What if we could simultaneously transform two sets of liabilities into assets?   Massive financial investments are currently pouring into the Pittsburgh region to manage stormwater in order to 1) reduce combined sewer overflows and 2) improve water quality. Utilizing vacant land to manage stormwater represents an opportunity to improve community economic, environmental and social health through the transformation of two large sets of liabilities into assets. Cities across the nation, such as Cleveland, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Philadelphia and Tallahassee, are repurposing vacant land…

Read More