From 700,000 to 310,000 in just 30 years. This is Pittsburgh’s heritage. Catastrophic and transformational.
Where did those people go? Many went to the suburbs that ring the city. Their children, educated here, went further, to other cities, looking for jobs that eluded them here. They may have left, Jim Russell contends, but they left their hearts in Pittsburgh.
On Wednesday night Czech architects Mjölk architekti made their presentation at the Pecha Kucha Night in Prague. They did not stop at the slide show. On Thursday morning they presented a gift to the city of Liberic. Eight hours of laboring produced a perfect little public sauna on an abandoned concrete platform near the local swimming hole.
Every day, when my daughter was growing up, I’d point at a photograph in the newspaper and say “What’s wrong with this picture?”. She’s gone now, 23 years old and in school in Japan. Yet still, when I turned to page A-10 of today’s Pittsburgh Post Gazette, I said those words out loud. ”What’s wrong with this picture?”
I was disappointed. And then I wasn’t.
Every month Kim, Sara & I host a cityLIVE! event. We are interested, as we believe our audience is, in understanding issues that impact our city and region. We are interested in holding a forum that allows everyone to attend. And we are most interested in nurturing a thoughtful exchange of ideas.
Everyone deserves to earn enough money to pay for their daily essentials. On face value alone the proposed prevailing wage bill in Pittsburgh makes sense. It speaks to the basic decency of employers and their willingness to take some responsibility for their employees lives.
Every city needs its angels, and Los Angeles has plenty of them.
It has been several weeks since I returned from Los Angeles. My trip there as a panelist for an American Institute of Architects SDAT was a rich, if exhausting, experience. Three intense days there bred a familiarity I will never shake off. I know downtown Los Angeles now.
This lovely little city, Pittsburgh, is under siege. Every day the media describes yet another crisis. Eight more schools to close. Library branches to be shuttered. A court order to fix the water and sewer system. Underfunded pension funds. Property and business taxes that are burdensome. Disappearing bus stops. Disappearing mail boxes. And the latest, a mayor who wants to tax our local college students to balance the city’s books.
John Schmitz walked me around the block yesterday. That is the block where the G-20 Summit will be played out in just two months from now. He had warned me in advance of what he wanted. He wanted the dirty, devily details for his story. He wanted to focus on things that we normally don’t focus on, and so we did.
In 2004 I met Carol Coletta. I didn’t really meet her. To be precise, she interviewed me for her radio show, Smart City. I was in Pittsburgh and she was in Memphis. My latest building project had just been published in Dwell magazine and it fascinated her. It was a difficult but enjoyable interview. She asked questions that were clearly posed by someone who loves cities. I did not know then the influence that she would have on me and Pittsburgh.