The past month at Operation Better Block has served as a great learning experience. Some of my assignments have been surrounding the topic of housing in Homewood. Housing is a major issue in many, if not all, Pittsburgh neighborhoods, and housing contains significant value in sustainable cities. Interestingly, the City of Pittsburgh owns many vacant, boarded up, and abandoned properties in Homewood, more than any other entity. Every week, we have been conducting property surveys throughout Homewood South. The property surveys include entering in façade appearance, foundation condition, sidewalk & street condition, and further information about properties onto cool tablets! Operation Better Block will use the information from the property surveys in its decision-making processes because the last property survey occurred a few years ago. Additionally, the property surveys provide the opportunity to engage with residents who are present or passing by us when we survey.
Cluster 4 is a diverse Cluster and is different from many of the other Clusters. In fact, after walking around and surveying, I would say that every cluster is unique in its own way. Cluster 4 is a smaller cluster, but its location to the business district and Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway separate it from the rest of Homewood’s Clusters. I noticed many new infill housing in Homewood’s Cluster 4, while other Clusters lacked any such housing. The new housing is mixed in with other properties (occupied homes, vacant lots, and abandoned parcels) on some of the Cluster 4 streets. After this week, we will learn more about the incoming green infrastructure project in Homewood, including its appropriate timeline. Learning more about the green infrastructure will shape my thesis project, because I will be able to better assess the results of the green infrastructure project.