Grounded In Duquesne

Grounded in Duquesne is assessing the state of vacant land in the City of Duquesne as a means to contribute to the ongoing community revitalization process. Recently we began strategic inventory and analysis of vacant land utilizing a participatory research method; recruit, train, and guide community residents to collect data as well as host a series of activities throughout the community to share relevant educational, training and volunteer opportunities.

What we learn from data gathering and analysis informs not only the solution but also the process we take and the decisions we make to put that solution in place. Sharing what we find with neighbors, partnering organizations, and local officials also help get the support needed to successfully complete projects. Starting a project with data collection ultimately gives us the ability to measure the change in neighborhoods over time.

Utilizing, a cloud-based, open source data collection tool, vacant lots were surveyed using several criteria. Recognizing the power of participatory research, Grounded contracted and trained Duquesne residents, D’Andrea Dutrieville and Deborah Malloy, to assist in the data collection process. This entailed “ground-truthing” the location and state of vacant land throughout the community as well as assessing the social networks in close proximity to land to inform how existing networks can be engaged in the stewardship and improvement of vacant land. Both of the data collectors grew up in the Duquesne area and are passionate about seeing their community thrive. D’Andrea and Deborah know Duquesne as a close knit community with an abundance of resources and want to see this community come together for revitalization. 

Throughout this process, Grounded will use community outreach activities to build resident-level awareness of and familiarity with issues of vacancy, land use, blight, and the need for greenspace stewardship – and to gather feedback about how community members are being impacted. Events may include; volunteer days with the PGH Mobile Toolbox, pop-up interactive art on vacant lots, and educational sessions in the form of a Grounded ‘Land Lab.’

Ultimately, this research and investigation will provide us with a vacancy profile and land use road map that will help to address priorities and concerns regarding quality of place and the availability and accessibility of vacant land. The information collected will provide specific insight into opportunities to improve the economic, social, and environmental health of the community through reclaiming vacant land.