Rust Belt Revival: Pittsburgh's New Economy

When Uber announced this month that it would test-run its fleet of self-driving cars in the Steel City, many probably asked, "why Pittsburgh?" Unlike other post-industrial places, it's been incubating a 21st-century economy.

1 minute read

August 26, 2016, 12:00 PM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Pittsburgh at Night

Nick Amoscato / Flickr

Earlier this month, Uber announced that Pittsburgh beat out places like Silicon Valley and Singapore to become the "first place in the world where people will be able to grab a ride in a robotic car."

Suffering from the usual litany of Rust Belt ills, the city has been quite successful in its struggle to revive. Angelo Young writes, "As the new century approached, city officials began to steer economic development toward education, health care and technology. The government of Pittsburgh took a lead role in nurturing more than a dozen public and private organizations with the aim of kick-starting businesses by providing seed funding, office space and networking opportunities."

Notably, "Pittsburgh's home prices are rising and the city's population increased last year for the first time in six decades."

The new wave of startups and incubators is reviving the economy, but not for everyone. In many ways, the city remains an example of post-industrial fatigue. "Home prices are rising but this also hurts local lower-income earners. Unemployment in the area is 5.5 percent, according to the state's Department of Labor and Industry, significantly above the national 4.9 percent average and higher than the state's average."

Friday, August 19, 2016 in Salon

Green rapid transit bus pulled into station in dedicated lane.

Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes

The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.

February 25, 2024 - Fox 59

Aerial view of New York City architecture with augmented reality visualization, blue digital holograms over buildings and skyscrapers

4 Ways to Use AI in Urban Planning and City Design

With the ability to predict trends, engage citizens, enhance resource allocation, and guide decision-making, artificial intelligence has the potential to serve as planners’ very own multi-tool.

February 20, 2024 - ArchDaily

View from shore of Sepulveda Basin water catchment basin with marsh plants along shore.

LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water

The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.

February 25, 2024 - Wired

Ice fishing tents surrounded by fence in Safe Outdoor Space for unhoused people in parking lot in Denver, Colorado.

An Affordable Housing Model for Indigenous Americans

Indigenous people make up a disproportionately high percentage of the unhoused population, but many programs designed to assist them don’t reach those most in need.

March 1 - High Country News

An electric bicycle is shown with the legs of a human who is riding the e-bike.

Oregon Bill Would Ban E-Bikes for Riders Under 16

State lawmakers seek to change Oregon e-bike laws following the death of a 15-year old last summer.

March 1 - Oregon Capital Chronical

Aerial view of canal cut into beach in Charlestow, Rhode Island with boats parked in sand.

Northeastern Waterways More Polluted After Wet Year

Intense rains washed more runoff into local bodies of water, while warmer temperatures contributed to the growth of an invasive bloom.

March 1 - University of Rhode Island

Urban Design for Planners 1: Software Tools

This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.

Planning for Universal Design

Learn the tools for implementing Universal Design in planning regulations.