Reclaim Northside: An Environmental Justice Approach to Address Vacant Land in Pittsburgh

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Abstract

Urban decline, disinvestment, and blight have not traditionally been addressed by the environmental conservation movement. In this article, we describe an environmental justice-focused intervention located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, that aimed to increase community empowerment to address urban environmental injustices by training residents to reclaim vacant land. We use a case study approach to illustrate resident perceptions of the impact of vacant land and urban decay. The results suggest that these residents viewed vacancy as an important indicator of community well-being and social inequality. We use a social and environmental justice framework to describe results and implications for practitioners and researchers.

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