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Co-Principal Investigator: Dr. Mary L. Ohmer, University of Pittsburgh, School of Social Work

Co-Principal Investigator and Community Partner: Dr. Shannah Tharp Gilliam, Homewood Children’s Village

Title: Strengthening Resident Civic Engagement on Behalf of Equitable Development: Partnering for Community-Based Participatory Research in Homewood

Located in East End of Pittsburgh, Homewood has seen significant population declines, vacancy, and blight. However, its location makes it an attractive target for gentrification. Much like many other neighborhoods across the United States, Homewood is changing more quickly than residents can adapt. Homewood Children’s Village (HCV) has advocated for residents since its inception 10 years ago. Despite numerous planning processes, residents' fears and the reality of displacement persist.

This project engages residents as leaders in understanding and acting on the local definition of civic engagement and the community's desire to strategically foster equitable development. Through this participatory research, the University of Pittsburgh and HCV are exploring what the community considers civic engagement, development, and equity. We are gaining insight on the perceived power residents have to tackle these issues, and empowering residents to develop an action/advocacy plan to address these issues.

The research design draws from best practices for community-based participatory research. It also benefits from the unique role of HCV as a community social service provider with research capacity within their community.

The goals of the project are to:

  1. Increase knowledge and understanding about how to increase civic engagement and community capacity to tackle revitalization while facing the pressures of gentrification.
  2. Build and strengthen relationships among youth and adult residents and key stakeholders who share mutual concerns about this issue.
  3. Increase the capacity of Homewood residents to act strategically on this issue in ways that foster equitable development that benefits current residents.

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