Through my first few weeks at Operation Better Block, I have been working on/following a green infrastructure project in Homewood’s Cluster 4. The green infrastructure project will be placed along Finance Street and aims to aid in reducing the storm water runoff that has plagued the street, cluster, and neighborhood. Port Authority is spearheading the green infrastructure project, which will look to reduce some of the storm water runoff. Importantly, more green infrastructure projects will be needed in Cluster 4 to fully contain the large volume of water resulting from storms. Homewood is one of the flattest neighborhoods in Pittsburgh with massive amounts of rainfall that floods the streets and resident basements. The cost to continually pay to fix one’s basement after constant flooding is prohibitive for any Pittsburgher. Climate change will also worsen storms and heavy rainfall events, so preparing for even worse flooding conditions is a further rationale for investing in green infrastructure projects. Community input on the green infrastructure project will occur in the next few months, which OBB strongly promotes as a central part of its programming.
I have also noticed that OBB has fantastic relationships with the city government and other organizations. Both city and local organizations respect OBB for its work because they understand how vital of a role OBB plays in Homewood. Community engagement is highly valued by OBB, and Homewood residents work with OBB to help revitalize their neighborhood. Each member of OBB is working on projects related to sustainability, from helping organize community meetings to implementing economically, environmentally, and equitably sustainable housing programming.