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.
In Spring 2010, Huffington Post listed Pittsburgh as their #2 pick on their Best Cities for the Newly Graduated list. “Pittsburgh seems an unlikely place for a renaissance but the city escaped the recession relatively unscathed and is moving forward in many areas”, Huffington Post noted. “Besides having bustling education and health care sectors, the city is also generous with arts initiatives.”
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.
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.
cityLAB is going to pop Pittsburgh up in some other cities. We are hosting a one-day creative event (a charrette) at Carnegie Mellon’s School of Architecture in Pittsburgh. Designers, architects, artists and wanna-be artists will work in teams to design a pop up that describes Pittsburgh best.
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.
Just back from Australia, with my internal time clock still off kilter, I’ve turned around and headed back to Los Angeles for an intense, but fun, three day project. The American Institute of Architects (AIA) has invited me to participate as a panelist in an SDAT in Downtown Los Angeles. What an honor.
Will we always be second best?
Over the last month I have been corresponding with a young man from Tokyo. He will be moving to Pittsburgh for a job, with wife and baby daughter in tow. He is in fact an American but has lived abroad for years now. He believes that America can offer a better life for his family.
I’m at the epicenter. Just a block and a half from the entrance into the David Lawrence Convention Center. The seismic wave has to be at least a level 9 here.
On Thursday the G20 summit begins in Pittsburgh, right on my doorstep. There is no escape for me. Both my business and my home are here. When I step out of my front door, sometime on Thursday, I will be greeted by an unfamiliar landscape. I’m having trouble imagining myself in the midst of it. Youtube’s videos of past G20 events don’t help me very much. They are surreal documentaries of events that don’t belong in this compact little downtown.
I, like many Pittsburghers, am slightly nervous. There are protesters who will be here to protest honestly. And then there are those who just want to wreak havoc. Still, my nervousness gives way to excitement when I remind myself what this means to Pittsburgh. Like a movie star on the rise, Pittsburgh has been analyzed, criticized and inspected in detail for months now by the world press. Stories of reinvention abound. Who can deny the image changing effect this will have?
I wonder, when the fences come down, when the jersey barriers are put back from wherever they came, and when we have reclaimed our downtown, whether the stories will continue? That should be our task. To keep the world’s eyes on us forever more.