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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Vacant Lot Remediation and Crime Reduction

Gun violence in the United States is higher than in any other developed nation and the majority of fatal violence committed in the United States involves firearms. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 100,000 people die from gun-related violence in the U.S. every year. A study published by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia University shows that remediating vacant lots can dramatically affect both perceptions of crime and vandalism, and the acts themselves. Neighborhoods where vacant…

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Neighborhood greenspace leads to greater spatial working memory among children

We all know that spending time in greenspace is healthy for humans. We have all experienced that joy of going to a local park or strolling past a recently cleaned up lot that used to be blighted and vacant. But what exactly is it about neighborhood greenspace that affects the human brain in such an impactful way? Well, researchers in England sought to answer this question in a recent study and their conclusions are quite interesting. The study focused on…

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Green Space Really Does Improve Mental Health

A new study published in July is one of the first substantial pieces of research that directly links "greening" vacant and blighted lots to improved mental health and reduced depressive symptoms. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 16 million adults in the United States - 6.7% of the population - reported having at least one major depressive episode in the past year. While we at Grounded Strategies understand the the positive connections between "greening" vacant lots…

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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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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 & 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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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…

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Say Hello to the CommunityCare Stewards!

Meet the residents stewarding community greenspace through GTECH's new pilot program, CommunityCare. Our CommunityCare Pilot Program started in September and is now in full swing! GTECH is working closely with 11 CommunityCare Stewards that are maintaining and improving vacant land in the Homewood community. Our stewards are proud Homewood residents and passionate community members! They will dedicate 3 to 10 hours per month from now until May 2018 maintaining green and open spaces. In return, the stewards receive incentives of their…

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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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