Post-Industrial Pittsburgh On the Rise

After decades of restructuring, Pittsburgh is doing significantly better than other cities attempting to recover from the loss of industry. Here's how they did it.

"Pittsburgh's transition has been proceeding for decades in fits and starts, benefiting some areas much more than others. A development plan begun in the 1980s successfully used the local universities to pour state funds into technology research.

Entrepreneurship bloomed in computer software and biotechnology. Two of the biggest sectors are education and health care, among the most resistant to downturns. Prominent companies are doing well. Westinghouse Electric, a builder of nuclear reactors, expects to hire 350 new employees a year for the foreseeable future. And commercial construction, plunging in most places, is still thriving partly because of big projects like a casino and an arena for the Penguins hockey team.

The question is whether Pittsburgh can serve as a model for Detroit and other cities in the industrial Midwest as they grapple with large-scale cutbacks in the automotive industry."

Full Story: For Pittsburgh, There’s Life After Steel

Comments

Comments

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

not quite

Pittsburgh has joined the list of cities whose population is less than half its 1950 peak (676,000) - and it kept losing people over the past decade, from 334,000 in 2000 to 311,000 today.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pittsburgh,_Pennsylvania
http://www.postgazette.com/pg/08192/896076-53.stm

If this is success, what's failure?

One Dimensional Analysis

Just because the city of Pittsburgh's population isn't growing doesn't mean that Pittsburgh is a failure as you imply.

Those that know Pittsburgh understand that it's a livable, dynamic place and that economic growth doesn't have to be tied to population growth.

Michael Lewyn's picture
Blogger

I agree (partially)

I've lived in nearby Rust Belt cities (Buffalo and Cleveland) and certainly agree that Pittsburgh has its charms. But "charming and livable" is not the same thing as "an economic powerhouse" - most Rust Belt cities are the first but not the second, while most Sun Belt cities are the second but not the first.

No rust here

Michael,

What is your definition of economic powerhouse? Pittsburgh's GDP is higher than some Western European capitals.

In my opinion, Pittsburgh has done the best to move its economy forward out of all the Great Lakes industrial centers. And it's emerging as one of the leaders in green building and green technology.

What would the sunbelt economy be without lax environmental laws, multi-billion subsidy for foreign automakers and its unsustainable sprawl development?

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