Region

Immigration Is Still Our Greatest Asset…

Each time Thanksgiving rolls around, I can’t help but recall my family’s humble arrival to these shores and the impact they had upon their adopted homeland. My First People came to this country as scorned refugees not knowing a word of the native language. In fact, they arrogantly refused to speak anything other than their …

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A Slow But Continuing Decline

Gavriel Popper-Keizer was living in sun-swept Santa Barbara when he decided to leave coastal California, where he’d spent most of his life. His girlfriend, Alison, also a lifelong Californian, was on board. The sense of adventure was appealing. Neither had a dream job they would regret leaving. And they had come to grips with the …

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Survival of the Fittest

Fran and Steve are hiding in the Monroeville Mall, spying on its creepy patrons—gray-skinned zombies who’d once been suburbanites, judging from their apparel. One of the walking dead, a woman, staggers from an appliance store mindlessly dragging a new toaster by the cord. “What are they doing? Why do they come here?” Fran says. “Some …

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With the Local Newspaper in Decline, What is the Fate of Local Reporting?

Local newspapers have struggled for more than a decade to secure a foothold in the digital era and stay in business. Dwindling revenues and flagging demand for print editions have led some southwestern Pennsylvania papers to close and others to downsize their newsrooms, affecting coverage of local news. To make matters worse, there doesn’t appear …

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Austin’s Conundrum of Success

Austin, Texas is one of a handful of cities in the world currently blessed in reputation—big enough to have almost all the cultural amenities of cities twice our size, yet small enough to be tops on any of those innumerable “livability” lists. A recent cover story in “The Economist” looks at the Silicon Valley and …

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No Money Down

It’s 11 a.m. in Judge Jeffery Manning’s courtroom. The attorneys are ready. The Allegheny County Common Pleas Court president judge is on the bench. The video screen comes alive to reveal the business of the morning, a series of people in orange, jail-issue jumpsuits: One young man with a retail theft charge and a drug …

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Going It Alone

Most of the women who trust their children to Jamie Tabb’s cottage childcare business in Turtle Creek are struggling to get by under circumstances she knows well. She’s a single woman raising children on her own, as they are. She’s been employed and poor at the same time. She’s had to allow limited public transit …

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I Am Homeless

Back in 1988, I wrote a series about Pittsburgh’s homeless, based on my living on the streets for 14 days and nights, undercover, with long hair and a beard. I was 26, and the Pittsburgh Press series changed my journalistic trajectory, won national writing awards, and later became part of the landmark Supreme Court media …

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The Template for Sustainable Development

It was several years ago that Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto was chatting with André Heinz, soon to be chairman of The Heinz Endowments, about development in Pittsburgh— specifically, Hazelwood’s Almono site, where the foundation is a principal. The more they talked, the more they realized they shared a vision for a new type of growth …

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Pittsburgh: Too Much Same Ol’ Same Ol’

Despite being one of the country’s hottest cities, at least as far as mainstream media reporting goes, the Pittsburgh metro still provides less opportunity for its residents than its peers. That fact was borne out by recently released employment numbers for July: unemployment is rising above both State and national levels. Worse, the local labor …

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The Road to Sustainability

In a region conceived around the principles of sustainability, clean, healthy air is an undisputed staple. Southwestern Pennsylvania is not there yet. The air has markedly improved from the days when industry was the backbone of the economy. Yet, in the best of years, it’s only good enough to warrant a healthy rating on one-third …

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Prospects for Pittsburgh Where You Might Not Expect Them

Two recent reports have me thinking about the Pittsburgh region’s future, especially those areas that aren’t part of the latest international praise for being “hip” or “high tech” or “urban cool.” It seems, touch wood, that a large part of the region is on the path to the only measures of economic success that matter: …

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The Decisive Decade

After going to college and law school in the south, Jack Barbour decided to return to Pittsburgh in 1979. “When I said I was going back to Pittsburgh, everyone looked at me like I was nuts. They still may look at me like I’m nuts. But there’s no longer that stigma about Pittsburgh,” said Barbour, …

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Thinking Green

Allegheny County got rid of desk-side wastebaskets in the County Office Building and Health Department administrative offices last year and, as a result, sent 64 percent less trash to landfills. In its Downtown office tower, Highmark swapped fluorescent lighting for LED, and energy consumed fell by 20 percent on every floor where the lighting was …

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Diversity Through a Local Lens

Earlier this fall, more than 3,550 southwestern Pennsylvanians shared their views on racial and ethnic diversity in a region where the population of African Americans, Asians and Hispanics—and the slice of the labor force they hold—are among the smallest in metropolitan America. What emerges from the Pittsburgh Regional Diversity Survey is a complex portrait of …

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Best-case scenario

1985 was a grim year for Pittsburgh. The region, reeling from a historic collapse of its industry, was hemorrhaging people, mostly young adults leaving for job opportunities that had evaporated in their hometown. The air was bad, worse than it is today. Even the beloved Steelers failed to offer solace, finishing with seven wins against …

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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 always give in and say, …

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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 adult population to new heights. …

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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. But a closer look reveals evidence of the steps the Butler County municipality has taken to make amends for the fragmented development of its past, …

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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. More people are biking in Pittsburgh, according to data and similar …

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Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow

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 economic reports from Pittsburgh Today. …

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Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow 2014 Regional Annual Report

How does Pittsburgh compare with these 14 similar cities?: Denver // Kansas City // Milwaukee // St. Louis // Minneapolis // St. Paul // Indianapolis // Detroit // Cincinnati // Cleveland // Charlotte // Richmond // Washington, D.C. // Philadelphia // Boston The 2014 Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow report, produced by Pittsburgh Today, analyzes recent …

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