UrbanKind works with existing community-based organizations to improve resident engagement strategies and efforts. We organize residents in neighborhoods to help them identify issues and to prioritize projects and goals in order to improve their living spaces. We aim to help residents build the neighborhoods and communities that they want to - and can - live in.
Current Projects and Events
Hilltop Resident Engagement
Starting in 2016, UrbanKind embarked on a comprehensive resident engagement strategy in the South Pittsburgh Hilltop neighborhoods of Allentown, Arlington Heights, Arlington, Beltzhoover, Knoxville, and Mt. Oliver (borough and city). UrbanKind is working to organize residents to gain control over their own lives through democratic participation in the life of their community. For more information in the neighborhoods in which we work, please visit our Community Resource Page.
Greater Hazelwood Neighborhood Plan
This spring, the Greater Hazelwood Community Collaborative and the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning selected the team of Gensler, UrbanKind Institute, and Mosaic Urban Partners to lead a comprehensive, community-led planning process in the Hazelwood and Glen Hazel neighborhoods of Pittsburgh. Working with residents and community groups, this team will develop a comprehensive neighborhood plan that will guide the City of Pittsburgh in development projects over the next 5-10 years. With substantial investment planned for the Almono site, this planning process seeks to ensure that the interests and needs of current residents are met - and that current residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of the safe, healthful, and vibrant neighborhood of the future.
Homewood Comprehensive Community Plan
This spring, the Homewood Community Development Collaborative, the City of Pittsburgh Department of City Planning, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, and the Office of Councilman Ricky Burgess selected the team of Asakura-Robinson, UrbanKind Institute, and Brean Associates to lead a comprehensive, community-led planning process in the Homewood North, Homewood, South, and Homewood West neighborhoods ("Homewood") of Pittsburgh. As in Hazelwood, this team will work with residents and community groups to develop a comprehensive neighborhood plan that will guide the City of Pittsburgh in development projects over the next 5-10 years. Substantial economic and demographic changes have already transformed adjacent neighborhoods, such as East Liberty. This planning process seeks to harness the positive aspects of investment and development while ensuring that the interests and needs of current residents are met - and that current residents will be able to enjoy the benefits of the safe, healthful, and vibrant neighborhood of the future.
Equitable Development Implementation
In October of 2015, a forty-plus delegation of Pittsburghers traveled to Los Angeles to participate in PolicyLink’s Equity Summit 2015: All-In for Inclusion, Justice, and Prosperity. The delegation consisted of policymakers, philanthropists, entrepreneurs, community leaders, non-profit directors, and employees of various city and county departments and agencies. The “call to action” at the final plenary of the summit challenged us to return to Pittsburgh and work to implement a comprehensive agenda to make the city a more just and equitable place to live, grow, and prosper for all residents. The challenge included a list of goals that are indicative of equitable regions.
Between 2015 and September 2016, PolicyLink interviewed public, private, non-profit, and community leaders from the Pittsburgh region. They sought to understand what challenges the region's residents were facing and what it would take to make the city an equitable city for all residents. Since the release of their equitable development agenda for the city last September, UrbanKind has been working as part of the agenda implementation team. As the implementation gets underway, UrbanKind will be meeting with individuals and community groups to discuss how to make equitable development a reality.
Steel Smiling Community Conversations
UrbanKind is excited to partner with Steel Smiling to host a series of community conversations about trauma and mental health. The monthly events began in June 2017 and run through January 2018. We host the events at our office in the Pet Shop Collaborative Space at 212 Brownsville Rd. At the events so far, individuals from all walks of life have come together to talk intimately about their personal experiences with mental health. Follow Steel Smiling's Facebook page for updates on the next events!
Eva P. Mitchell Residence (Lemington) Resident Engagement
UrbanKind is working with Grau & Associates to improve the living conditions and quality of life of residents at the Eva P. Mitchell Residence in the Lemington neighborhood of Pittsburgh. While Grau & Associates is working with the residence's board of directors to improve their functioning and effectiveness, UrbanKind is working with the residents themselves to ensure that their concerns, needs, and interests are being met. Our goal is to develop and improve the communication channels between the residents and the board.
McKinley Park Restoration
Following many meetings to discuss the future of McKinley Park, residents and community organizations working with Pfaffman + Associates created the McKinley Park Master Plan in 2015. Soon after, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy was awarded a Great Urban Parks Campaign grant for a McKinley Park Green Infrastructure project by the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA) and American Planning Association (APA). It is thanks to the community’s support and involvement that this national organization awarded one out of four grants nationwide to McKinley Park! The project will target storm water management in the "Chicken Hill" area of the park (in top park along Michigan Ave) and include recreational amenities, better access to wildlife, and accessibility. UrbanKind Institute helped form the Friends of McKinley Park (FOMKP) group as a space for community members to take leads on decisions being made around McKinley Park.
Recent Projects and Events
Community Development Summit
UrbanKind staff participated at the 2017 Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group Community Development Summit. In one panel session, Mr. Bigelow spoke about UrbanKind's work in the My Brother's Keeper youth engagement process. He detailed our engagement steps and what we learned from the young men about what they wanted from out-of-school programming and service providers - and what those programs and providers were lacking. In another session, Dr. Beery and Ms. Clemm led approximately 75 participants in a version of our Prioritize & Compromise community engagement activity. He spoke about how this activity forces participants to come together to talk about what issues they value most, to recognize that other individuals' values are as legitimate as their own, and to compromise for the good of the community.
City of Pittsburgh Land Bank Community Meetings Support
In March, UrbanKind staff helped to facilitate several public meetings about the creation of the Pittsburgh Land Bank. Information about the land bank and the presentation from the meetings can be found at the Pittsburgh Land Bank website.
Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation Engagement
Dr. Bey and UrbanKind staff led discussions and activities during a day-long retreat for the board of the Bloomfield-Garfield Corporation. As the main activity, the board participated in our Prioritize & Compromise engagement tool. Through this activity, the board learned a lot about each other's values. They recognized that their own priorities are not the same as everyone else's and that residents of the neighborhoods might have different priorities as well. The day concluded with discussions about the need to listen to each other and to residents and to be ready to compromise for the benefit of the board and community.
15210 Hard to Recycle Day
In the Spring of 2016, UrbanKind hosted a community Hard to Recycle Day for the neighborhoods of Knoxville, Allentown, and Beltzhoover. We collected 5,000 tons of unused electronics, appliances, tires, and much more. By collecting those items, we were able to prevent them from being dumped in neighborhood parks and alleyways. Stay tuned for a 15210 zip code wide Hard to Recycle Day in the fall of 2017.
UKI Community-wide Launch Party
The UrbanKind Institute hosted their official Launch Party on September 11, 2016 at the Dr. Louis A. Venson Parklet in Beltzhoover. It was a tremendous community event features Stephanie Wellons and the Real Deal Band, illusionist Ran D. Shine and free food and fun for everyone.