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Meet Hank – The ReClaim McKeesport Superhero

Meet Hank. He is McKeesport's resident superhero. His superpower - helping fight blight alongside his neighbors. Here he is, taking a well deserved rest after a long evening of work on Shari's site. I met Hank for the first time last September at the McKeesport Dunkin Donuts. He came in for a quick interview and talked about his vision for a vacant lot near his home – a little park, in memory of his wife, with a volleyball court for his…

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Community-driven design isn’t just for adults

The first Green Playces design is complete and will be installed near the Propel Northside school in the Pittsburgh's Perry South neighborhood. How do you take a vacant lot and turn it into a creative outdoor classroom? Step 1: Ask the Kids For starters, we asked a group of third graders, "what would you do with this?":   These kids dream big, and we ended up with some pretty amazing ideas, like a giant pool party or even a ninja garden. Step 2: Make it real…

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ReEnergize Pgh Finds a New Home

ReEnergize Pgh finds a new home with Conservation Consultants, Inc. In the fall of 2012, GTECH along with partnerships from local foundations (such as The Heinz Endowments and The Pittsburgh Foundation), the Allegheny County Executive's Office, national nonprofit Green For All, as well as dozens of other local agencies representing the spectrum of energy efficiency, launched ReEnergize Pgh. The goal of the cohort is to reduce home energy waste, increase demand for services and establish new standards for linking and aligning existing services. Since the launch, GTECH has convened…

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6 Vacant Land Projects that Need Your Help NOW!

Check out these 6 grassroots crowdfunding projects that are making the Pittsburgh area even better place to live. 1. Ayanna Lee-Davis– The Perry Hilltop Beautification Garden Ayanna wants people enter her neighborhood and not see an ugly vacant lot, but a beautiful community gathering space in her Perry Hilltop neighborhood. “It’s an eyesore of open space that says, ‘Where am I?' I thought it would be a good place for something beautiful.” Help Ayanna ReClaim Pittsburgh >> 2. Dana Jackson– The…

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Homewood Community Uses LocalData to Map Vacancy

Operation Better Block, Inc. (OBB) has been a Pittsburgh LocalData Collaborative member since May 2014. Demi Kolke, the Community Development Coordinator at OBB, tells the story of how her organization used LocalData to help with their community planning efforts.   Operation Better Block, Inc.’s resident-driven vacant property remediation has at its core the following goals: gather accurate and current parcel information, build relationships with residents by linking them to services, and address neighborhood-wide issues. Through this, we were able to advance…

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Health Impact Assessment of the Healthy Homes Incentive Program

What is a Health Impact Assessment? A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) provides recommendations to communities about how they can remain healthy, much like a doctor advises patients.  According the the Center for Disease Control (CDC) a full workup for a community includes the following: Screening (identifying plans, projects or policies for which an HIA would be useful), Scoping (identifying which health effects to consider), Assessing risks and benefits (identifying which people may be affected and how they may be affected),…

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Neighborhood vs Neighborhood Energy Efficiency Challenge Winners!

Drumroll please..... After a lot of math, and verification by multiple team members, it's with great pleasure that we announce Millvale as the community winner of the ReEnergize Pgh Energy Efficiency Challenge! Together, the participants of the competition in Millvale saved over 8% in gas-use as compared to last year! WOW! Participants helped prevent 8 tons of CO2 from entering the atmosphere - that is the CO2 equivalency of 6 acres of forest. Stay tuned for information about what Millvale residents…

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ReClaim Northside Ambassador featured in Next Pittsburgh

Cynthia Mendoza, founder of Brown Mamas and the Ambassador behind the A Place for Moms: Welcoming Corner project  is featured in Next Pittsburgh this week. Cynthia has been working hard for her Northside community of Observatory Hill. Not only is she is the process of repurposing a city-owned vacant lot for use as a community garden through the ReClaim Northside program, she is working on running her own nonprofit, Brown Mamas, while balancing the demands of motherhood. When her garden is completed this summer, she…

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Finding Common Ground on a Vacant Lot in Homewood

GTECH, the Pittsburgh Marathon, FedEx Ground, Operation Better Block and Whole Foods Market work together to reclaim a vacant lot along the marathon route. As a part of an annual partnership with the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, GTECH and community partners work to activate one of the hundreds of vacant lots along the marathon route. This year, GTECH partnered with FedEx Ground and Operation Better Block to activate and program a lot along Frankstown Avenue. To learn more about the project watch…

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Learning About Starbucks’ Sustainability Practices

Social Capital Council Members take a LEED Tour and Coffee Tasting with Starbucks   Starbucks is creating more eco-conscious stores on a global scale from the design stage right through to construction and operations.  Combined with their commitment to ethical sourcing, Starbucks is a global leader in sustainability. Thank you Paul Morack for giving Social Capital Council Members an inside look at Starbucks’ sustainability practices at their new LEED® certified store in One Oxford Centre.  We had a great time exploring the store's sustainable building…

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The #BLKSHP Do Pittsburgh.

The BLKSHP ("black sheep") visited Pittsburgh on May 4, 2015. The BLKSHP are a group of "misfits" who are currently on a cross-country bus trip around America. They are visiting towns that are home former urban industrial powerhouses (like Pittsburgh!), massive cornfields, revitalized communities and everything in between. The have one goal– to re-discover America's "True North" through conversation and interactions with other positive deviants and mavericks in the fields of education, the economy, and culture and civic society. Check out a…

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