Pittsburgh As The Most Livable City? What?

Pittsburgh was just named America's "most livable city," but don't try telling that to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review's Bill Steigerwald. In a column for Reason.com, Steigerwald writes, "Pittsburgh is in a death spiral.

The Places Rated Almanac declares that Pittsburgh is America's most livable city.

"Pittsburgh is in a death spiral. It's bankrupt. Its school district spends $16,000 a year per kid. Its parking tax is the highest on Earth: 50 percent. City police and firefighters irresponsibly pad their numbers, salaries, and pensions-and openly trade their mayoral votes for sweetheart contracts.

Meanwhile, local school and property taxes are among the highest in the country. So are public bus and taxi fares. And, oh yeah, highways are congested, in bad shape, and under-built. Yes, Pittsburgh is highly livable. But it's also dying. The region has the doomed demographics of Western Europe. It has fewer foreign-born immigrants and a higher percentage of white people than any major American city. In 1960, when the country had 175 million people, there were 2.4 million people in the metro Pittsburgh region, 1.6 million in Allegheny County and 604,000 in the city of Pittsburgh.

Today, with 300 million Americans, the comparable numbers are 2.3 million metro, 1.2 million county and – incredibly -- just 315,000 souls left in a city built to handle 1 million... So unless 50,000 immigrants invade Pittsburgh real soon, it looks like 'America's Most Livable City' will soon become 'America's Most Leave-able City.'"

Full Story: Pittsburgh: Livable or Leavable?

Comments

Comments

Libertarians know cities???

I think the author might need to leave Pittsburgh. He certainly doesn't seem very happy there -- unless, of course, he gets his jollies from complaining about stuff.

I know one thing, if there's ever a Libertarian Top 10 most livable cities list, I would know the top 10 cities I should try to avoid.

Sure.

Well, see, Places Rated Almanac is statist, or anti-Free Market TM, or wants regulation. Or something.

Anyway, I agree Alex. I don't care much for Houston or any other city they hold up as great but don't live in themselves.

Best,

D

Were it not for

Were it not for astronomically-expensive housing, which always drags down San Francisco in these kind of "best" city rankings, it looks like SF might easily have been No. 1 in this particular ranking (not that that would make the writers at the Reason Foundation any happier). Pittsburgh, of course, has very inexpensive housing. Seattle, at No. 3 in this ranking, also has expensive housing, though not quite as bad as SF.

In defense of Pittsburgh, it's actually not such a bad place... it has way more character than any soulless, tacky Sun-belt city (Las Vegas, Phoenix, Dallas, Houston, etc.). With some nice, old, very affordable hillside neighbourhoods (some with great views), Pittsburgh can certainly be an enticing alternative to having to shell out $1.4 million for a dinky 2-bedroom hillside house in SF-Noe Valley (the Real Estate agent's commission alone in SF would buy a house in Pittsburgh).

Have a nice day...

More not very helpful fodder

Always interesting that anything with a libertarain bent strikes an emotional chord with this group, regardless of how benign it is like this. I guess substance is out of the question even though the writer is a local Pittsburgh writer, not a Reason writer. I don't even think he's a libertarian.

Anyway, why didn't anyone question that if Pittsburgh was so great, people continue to leave in droves? After all, it's cheap unlike other cities people are leaving near the coasts. Why does Richard Florida, "Mr. Creative Class", beloved by planners and economic development officials everywhere, believe Pittsburgh is not a place where young creatives want to be. Clearly, he would not think Pittsburgh is the most livable city. Perhaps it depends on the definition of livable.

Personally, I think Pittsburgh is ok, not as bad as some think and probably not the "most livable". But, the biggest issue in this ranking is the flawed methodology of having to have "history" according to the original article/ranking. The very cities that are growing fastest have little of this, at least the type the rankers require. It seems this little distinction pretty much invalidates the entire ranking.

Besides, livability is very subjective and with the mobility we enjoy in today's world, people can choose to inhabit their most livable locale. Some comments already indicated that one person likes SF, but hates Vegas and Houston. Me, I don't really like any of them. Others may disagree. Case in point.

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $245
Planetizen Courses image ad

Planetizen Courses

Advance your career with subscription-based online courses tailored to the urban planning professional.
Starting at $16.95 a month
DVD Cover of The Story of Sprawl

The Story of Sprawl

See how America changed shape in this collection of historic films that visually document how sprawl evolved.
$29.99 for 2-DVD SET

City Coasters

Hand-drawn engraved maps of your favorite neighborhoods are divided up across 4 coasters making each one unique.
$36.00