On Tuesday August 7th we had our first Neighborhood Walks event in Greenfield, a neighborhood on the southern tip of Pittsburgh’s East End. The goals were to give people (hopefully neighbors, but we weren’t restrictive) a chance to meet, to walk around and see the neighborhood from a slower and different point of view, and collect ideas for a vision for the neighborhood.
One of several images noting that there are great views of downtown from Greenfield, but not many people know about them.
We had 18-20 people attend, with 4 starting points, and a few people who, due to communications errors on my part, showed up at the end and missed out (apologies!). We advertised on the standard networks, as well as with paper flyers and the Connect Greenfield and PTO email lists. Looking at how people heard about it, it was primarily through the email lists or Facebook/Meetup - paper flyering was not listed as a method (though perhaps with a more robust campaign it would be).
We used Posterous Spaces for collecting photos, on the argument that anyone with a smartphone could contribute. Our space is at http://connectg.posterous.com, and the software worked well when submitted via smartphone email or computer, but the few people using the app had some issues. All was resolved in the end, though. It’s a reasonable piece of software for this, though there’s a space for something better - and we’ll post about it if we find something.
My suggestions for change (and feel free to comment with yours) would be to have at least one group starting from the endpoint, to catch anyone who shows up there by mistake, and to make sure a list of starting points is available in text as well as map form. Dedicated knocking from route leaders or interested folks to try to ensure that locals are present would probably be effective - but there were a bunch of folks who just couldn’t walk or weren’t interested - but also a few that seemed to consider it, and maybe a more visible campaign would be effective. Finally, if anyone in the core neighborhood community is able to volunteer to lead a project beforehand, that would help facilitate action items coming out of the final meeting, rather than trying to get a volunteer leader from whoever shows up.
Overall, I think the event went very well - we should have a group working on revitalizing the playground (both themselves, and through nagging the city), and a group doing... Adopt-a-Block Plus, looking at pruning back sidewalks in major areas and more extensive projects. And just getting everyone to meet was a good time - and got some city attention:
This sort of event is something I’d like to do again - in other neighborhoods, maybe with more people, maybe in several areas on the same evening. If you’d be interested in participating or leading (here I go again talking about leadership) such an event, just leave a note so I can keep track of the neighborhoods and help you out. Alternatively, if you’re not from Pittsburgh, feel free to send me a message asking for more details.
A few more pictures:
Senior input - these ladies would like to see the drugstore, grocery story, and hardware stores return.
This street needs a sidewalk - it’s one of the main pathways for parents and kids to get to the local playground. It’s one of several improvements that were noted that will require some extra legwork to accomplish.