In our previous newsletter, we reported on a Green Space market study. That project has evolved into a student research experience led by associate professor of rural sociology Clare Hinrichs. Students in her Community, Environment, and Development (CED) capstone course have been studying the social impact of greening efforts in Larimer, one of Pittsburgh’s marginalized neighborhoods. Deno De Ciantis visited the class to discuss the current issues that the neighborhood is facing. Then, in March, students traveled to Pittsburgh to learn about the neighborhood firsthand, complete volunteer work, and talk with residents.
“We’re generally a pretty optimistic group as CED majors, but the level of need in this community was a sobering reality for us,” one student remarked. Professor Hinrichs added, “This didn’t turn them away from the challenges. In fact, I am pleased by the creativity and energy and perhaps the greater realism they are bringing to their thinking and plans for working in this area.”
When asked if visiting the neighborhood was worthwhile, Hinrichs remarked, “The opportunity to consider our integrated set of topics, community, environment, and development was invaluable. Seeing the physical context of the community — its buildings, layout, and open spaces — and getting to speak with some of the people living and working there provided a needed anchor for issues we had been discussing in our classroom all semester at University Park.”
Professor Hinrichs plans to offer this experience again next year.