May 4, 2019 | Larimer, Pittsburgh
Negley Run Was Here!
Negley Run, like most streams in Pittsburgh, is invisible today. Walk: Negley Run Was Here! was an effort to discover the traces of Negley Run and explore ongoing issues of combined sewer overflow (CSO) in the context of environmental racism. Guided by members of Living Waters of Larimer, the Walk centered community-driven green infrastructure as the most just solution to chronic CSO.
“Our goal for this Walk was to bring attention to resident-devised green infrastructure solutions to flooding in the context of environmental racism. However, while we succeeded in attracting researchers, university students, artists, and activists, we failed to communicate our intention with the majority of Larimer residents. Hence, on the day of the Walk, some community members were immediately skeptical of our group’s presence. Rightfully so: in a region of Pittsburgh forcefully undergoing rapid gentrification, our 30-person, predominantly white group posed a potential threat to the community’s justice-seeking efforts. As a project committed to environmental justice, this was a low point. Although this mistake is inexcusable, it was a learning moment for the WaterWalks team. As students, it helped us better understand our relationship to Pittsburgh communities and vital need to work toward more just partnerships.”
- Zachary Rapaport, WaterWalks Co-Founder and Creative Director