2018 Spring

Pittsburgh Quarterly Archives

Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow: Regional Annual Report

Low Crime Rates Are a Trademark of the Region

Crime varies by neighborhood, but southwestern Pennsylvania’s overall crime rate is the envy of Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. And only Boston has a lower crime rate than the City of Pittsburgh in the ranking of benchmark cities.

Land Banks Emerge with Hopes of Turning Back the Tide of Vacant Properties

They were aware of the problem. How could they not be? The ghostly abandoned houses and weedchoked vacant lots in their municipalities numbered in the thousands. Vacancy, tax delinquency and blight had emerged as widely recognized cancers exclusive to no neighborhood. The crisis even resonated in Harrisburg, where lawmakers were…

Slow, Steady Growth is in Line with Tradition

The region’s housing market is anything but dramatic. It has long been the tortoise in the race: Slow, but reliably steady. Little has changed in a year’s time.

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.

The 30-​year cycle

Thirty years ago, in 1983, Pittsburgh was in the midst of a massive upheaval. The mighty industrial engines were going quiet, and the metropolitan unemployment rate exceeded 18 percent. The following year, 50,000 people left the region, and most of them were young adults, forced to seek new futures elsewhere.

Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow

Twenty years ago, when newspapers were strong, the coin of the realm for ambitious reporters was winning awards. A slightly caricatured general rule was: The more intractable, insoluble and depressing the issue you wrote about, the more awards you’d win. Newspapers were in the business of problems, not solutions.

Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow Report 2011

In January 1983, unemployment in metropolitan Pittsburgh reached 17.1 percent as deep recession and structural change rocked the region. Steel strikes raged, and famous mills went cold.
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