Uptown and West Oakland have long suffered from a history of disinvestment, despite the fact that this area is strategically located between two of the three largest “city centers” in Pennsylvania — Downtown and Oakland. But, the tide is turning with new investments in housing and start-up businesses being made in and around Uptown. The Uptown/West Oakland EcoInnovation District combines the goals of both an EcoDistrict (a resilient and sustainable bottom-up development area) and an Innovation District (an area where leading-edge anchor institutions/companies cluster in close proximity to transit-accessible, mixed-use housing, office, and retail for maximum job growth and economic opportunity).
Last year's first-ever Blight Bootcamp saw over 120 residents and organizations come together from across the City and County to learn ways that they can improve their neighborhoods by remediating blight. Blighted properties cost everyone. The surrounding homes lose their property value, the city loses its tax revenues, and these properties eat up city services through needed code enforcement and maintenance, such as boarding up buildings or demolishing them.
Called "the crossroads of the world" by Harlem Renaissance poet Claude McKay, Pittsburgh's Hill District has a rich legacy as the cultural center of African-American life in our city, and the New Grenada Theater is an icon in that neighborhood. It's famous second floor New Savoy Ballroom hosted the likes of Count Basie, Cab Calloway, Ella Fitzgerald, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong. The Art-Deco building was built in 1928 under one of America’s early African American architects, Louis Bellinger. It will be the centerpiece of a redevelopment effort -- New Granada Square -- designed to help spur the revitalization of Centre Avenue surrounding the Theater and remaining business district.
Urban Innovation21 (UI21) has announced their 2016 Inclusive Innovation Community-based Business Grant Competition. Urban Innovation21 is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting the growth of entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh. This public-private partnership promotes connections between underserved communities and our city's Innovation Economy in order to help ensure that all communities benefit from Pittsburgh's economic transformation. This will be the fourth year for the competition.
Larimer is a Pittsburgh neighborhood that is bordered by East Liberty, Highland Park, Lincoln-Lemington, Homewood, Point Breeze, and Shadyside. The Larimer Consensus Group (LCG) is comprised of residents and stakeholders whose mission is "to empower the Larimer neighborhood to move into sustainable community and economic development via strong communication networks, partnerships, and an open participatory process." On Friday, August 19th, the Larimer Consensus Group and Neighborhood Allies will hold a celebration of LCG's new home at the Environment and Energy Community Outreach (EECO) Center. There will be a brief agenda to showcase the community, and drinks and appetizers will be served. To attend, please RSVP by Monday, August 15th here.
While Pittsburgh has transformed itself from a city of steel to a high tech mecca, not everyone has had an equal stake in this transformation. There exists a huge opportunity gap for young people of color. According to My Brother’s Keeper Playbook, 30% of Pittsburgh Public Schools fail to graduate. Meanwhile, there are over 17,000 open computing jobs in Pennsylvania, yet we only graduate 2,820 in computer science as reported by Code.org. And while jobs in computing make up half of openings in the STEM fields, there are relatively few men of color working toward computer science degrees.
The Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders is the flagship program of President Barack Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI). Fellows are accomplished young leaders chosen from all 49 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Each Fellow comes to the United States and participates in a six-week academic and leadership institute at a university or college here. They also get to attend a town hall with the President. They then return to their home countries and build upon the skills they developed during their time in the U.S. Mandela Washington Fellows receive ongoing access to mentoring, networking, training, and seed funding to support their ideas, businesses, and organizations.
Come out on Saturday, June 9th and support Homewood and its small business community! The Homewood Small Business Expo is a celebration of Homewood that includes networking opportunities for businesses in the morning hours and fun activities for the general public in the afternoon.