Pittsburgh As The Most Livable City? What?

<p>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.</p>
May 7, 2007, 1pm PDT | Chris Steins | @urbaninsight
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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.'"

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Published on Thursday, May 3, 2007 in Reason Online
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