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Application Deadline 902 days 6 hours 13 minutes
2022 Fellow

Ariam Ford
Gaining Ground Vacant Land Justice initiative

Personal Bio

Ariam is a City Planner deeply passionate about equitable development and neighborhood-scale land-use policy. Her professional work has focused on community-led land use interventions, resident empowerment, civic education programs, geospatial statistics and mapping.

As the Executive Director of Grounded Strategies, Ariam leads a group of passionate co-conspirators who deal in urban planning, design and placemaking, ecological restoration and land stewardship policy. Grounded Strategies puts their skills and expertise into the hands of resident champions to use on their journey to extract intergenerational health and wealth from the land.

Ariam holds a Master of City Planning from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts in History from the University of Virginia. She currently serves on the Board of Propel Schools in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Project Description

The Gaining Ground Vacant Land Justice (GGVLJ) initiative is a restorative, intersectional approach to mitigate hyper-vacancy. GGVLJ confronts the trauma of racist land-use policies, abdications of municipal stewardship, and weakened political leadership by returning the power to reclaim vacant land to underserved Pittsburghers of color through acquisition and ownership.

  • What legal ownership framework should I pursue?
  • I own the land, how can I care for it? How can it serve my family and my community?
  • What is my vision for the future of my land?
  • How can my land support my family for generations once I am gone?

These are the questions of acquisition and ownership that our framework for world-class direct service will address while embodying the values of maximum approachability, accessibility, dignity, and justice.

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