Region

In a Fragmented Region, Big Problems Encourage Cooperation

Few regions have as many disparate local governments as southwestern Pennsylvania. While that is not likely to change soon, recent approaches to several chronic problems suggest an era of cooperation is rising among cities, boroughs and townships that lack the means to solve them on their own.

As Demand Rises, Food Banks Face the Challenge of Change

No one waiting at North Hills Community Outreach’s food pantry in Hampton wore dirty or tattered clothing. The children playing in the parking lot while their parents lined up for a few bags of groceries attended stable suburban schools.

Allegheny County Health Department Takes a New Approach to Solve Old Problems

Dr. Karen Hacker arrived at the town hall meeting in Turtle Creek to find it crowded with TV news crews. The director of the Allegheny County Health Department had come that October evening to discuss the state of chronic disease in the community, which includes high rates of obesity and…

When Better Is Not Good Enough

Last spring, the shenango, inc. coke plant on Neville Island was fined $600,000 for 330 air pollution violations and ordered to fix the problems that led to them. It was a familiar pattern in southwestern Pennsylvania in which pollution violations are detected, fines negotiated and fixes ordered — a process that has…

The 2015 Economic Outlook

Southwestern Pennsylvania is in solid economic shape entering 2015. Employment is holding near all-​time highs, and the seven-​county unemployment rate has fallen to just under 5 percent — with the historic low of 4.1 percent in sight for 2016. But stalled labor force growth since late 2012 should temper excitement regarding the…

Population Shifts Again with Aging Baby Boomers

Southwestern pennsylvania’s demographic landscape is once again changing in profound ways. After decades of slowly recovering from the exodus of young adults in the 1980s, the region is again seeing older adults command a growing share of the population as more baby boomers age.

Destination unknown

When I say I’m new to Pittsburgh, the questions start. Oh, for work? Does your husband have family here? Neither is true for me, and I tend to pause and say, “Well, this city is the reason that we moved here.” If they leave too long of a gap, I…

As Boomers Age

In a few decades, the rest of America will be as gray as Allegheny County, which not long ago stood as one of the oldest counties in the nation. But it won’t be due to a local surge of youth. Aging Baby Boomers, in fact, are driving the county’s older…

One Pitt, one planet

On a muggy September evening, a group of 30 University of Pittsburgh students harvested food on a green patch of land in Oakland surrounded by older brick buildings and urban hubbub. They picked tomatoes, green peppers, raspberries, kale, beets, turnips and grapes, filling large plastic bins in an effort to…

Growing smarter

When drivers exit the turnpike in Cranberry, they see expansive strip malls, traffic signals and road signs leading to more highways. On its face, it’s a portrait of urban sprawl.

Bike city

Courtney Ehrlichman makes the commute to her Carnegie Mellon University job with her young daughter on an Xtracycle fitted with a Hooptie. That’s a bicycle designed to haul cargo with a child carrier attached. And it’s part of the changing street scene in Pittsburgh.

Is better good enough?

A standing-​room-​only audience has packed the Avalon Municipal Building on a rain-​soaked April evening to hear Allegheny County Health Department officials explain the latest consent decree to correct air quality violations at the coke works across the river. It’s a tough crowd.

McConnells Mill State Park

In southwestern PA, it is a challenge to find remote and scenic hikes. But one is only about an hour’s drive north of Pittsburgh, just off of Rt. 422 in eastern Lawrence County, in McConnells Mill State Park.

Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow

by Douglas Heuck
Would you say this is the best shape Pittsburgh’s been in over the last 30 years?” I asked the question after a group of people, including the region’s leading economist, its top demographic expert, and the head of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development, had just viewed the most recent…

Taking full flight

Pittsburgh’s once-​endangered National Aviary wrapped up 2013 as the most successful year in its 60-​year history and capped a dramatic six-​year expansion. With record visitors and record numbers of new birds joining its collection (many living two to three times their life expectancy), the North Side institution has come a…
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