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Blog

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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A Story of Vacant Land (Part 1): Costs & Benefits

Numbers don’t lie.  Well, if we are being honest, they sometimes do.  As community leaders, advocates, and policy analysts, it’s our job to think critically about data.  In short, numbers mean something, which is why it’s so important to contextualize them. They represent real people associated with real costs.  When analyzing costs and benefits, nothing is more important than humanizing the numbers. Let’s consider some of the numbers and truths with regards to vacant lot maintenance.  In Allegheny County, 67.3%…

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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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Greenspaces Foster Resilience and Combat Climate Change

Grounded Strategies is committed to the sustainable development of greenspaces in Pittsburgh neighborhoods. With the input and help of community partners and members, we work hard to ensure that our projects are community-led and foster neighborhood coalition. We believe that greenspaces foster community resilience by facilitating the strengthening of social connections, reducing stress, restoring cognition, and being physically active. Not only do greenspaces benefit individuals and the community, they also benefit the environment and, according to writer Jared Green, act…

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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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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…

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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…

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Pitt 1st Years are Grounded in Homewood

As part of their orientation process at the start of the fall semester, first years at Pitt joined Grounded in Homewood for a day of service. We worked together on a litter cleanup, while engaging in thought provoking discussions about the ties between refuse, home abandonment, poverty, and access to green space.                 Our litter cleanup also served as a walking tour of the neighborhood, to show areas where Grounded has already built…

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Sweet Serenade

My time at Grounded strategies happened purely by chance and man was it a stroke of good luck. I heard of Grounded from a Facebook advertisement after I had recently expressed interest in wanting to work on community gardens. The event was called a “Land Lab”: in which they go to different neighborhoods they want to invest in and give neighbors and stakeholders details of all the programs/resources they have to offer. After an hour of questions, jokes and heartfelt…

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See You Later!

I’ve been putting off writing this blog post because I’m sort of in denial that my time here at Grounded has come to an end. I started here last year at the very beginning of my grad program in Social Work and Public Administration at Pitt (seriously, I started before orientation because I just couldn’t wait). I really was not sure what I was getting myself into, but thought it would be fun. A year later and it has turned…

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Arianna makes her mark on Grounded

During my time as in intern at Grounded Strategies, I had the opportunity to meet the amazing people that work to make Pittsburgh a better place.  I started out not knowing much about green stormwater infrastructure (GSI) and most of what was going on in the office went over my head. But after some time, I started learning a lot about Pittsburgh’s stormwater management issues and exactly what Grounded was doing to help.  While I was there, I got to…

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