Morgan Block: Conducting Property Surveys in West Homewood

At Operation Better Block, we are continuously conducting property surveys throughout the rest of the summer. According to our survey map, many of the homes surveyed are owned by either the City of Pittsburgh or the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which is an interesting find for anyone thinking about the future of Homewood. A stark contrast exists between the properties in Homewood, which is exemplified by vacant or abandoned homes versus occupied homes on neighboring parcels. Pictured, are different homes that our team has been surveying. Notably, the homes pictured contain significant vegetation/tree cover. Tree cover is incredibly useful for sustainable homes/sustainability in general because of the capabilities of passive heating and cooling. The presence of leaves on a tree can provide shade from summer heat, and, during the winter, the absence of leaves on a tree can allow for free heat from the sun to penetrate into a home. It would be really cool to see more investments in trees on Homewood properties because of their aesthetics and energy saving capabilities!

I have been working on acquiring data on eight groupings of homes in West Homewood (not to be confused with the Clusters), plugging that data into a spreadsheet, and transferring over that data onto a visual map. The initial issue was creating a spatial sheet of information from excel without using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Through troubleshooting, I solved the problem by using Loveland (a mapping software). An awesome part about working at OBB rests in the opportunity to problem-solve.

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