Region

Considering a Pittsburgh Tradition

It was two years ago that Bill Dietrich, our longtime Pittsburgh Quarterly history writer, died and left $500 million to community institutions. I mentioned Bill to out-of-towners recently while explaining Pittsburgh’s unusual social fabric. He’d studied Pittsburgh’s industrial titans and the legacies they left that still shape our city. If he’d grown up elsewhere, Bill …

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Raising a Glass (and a Local Industry)

It is near mayhem inside the headquarters of Pennsylvania Pure Distilleries, a drafty warehouse next door to a glass factory along an industrial stretch of Shaler. A forklift topples over a pile of cardboard boxes waiting to be filled with vodka bottles. Giant fermentation tanks are hot with bubbling CO2. A leg of pantyhose—stuffed with …

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Voyaging through the hollow

Pittsburgh’s Martin Luther King Jr. East Busway doesn’t exactly rank among the eight manmade Wonders of the World. It may not even rank among the eight wonders of Pittsburgh. But even busways have birthdays, and its 30th is a fine occasion to consider this distinctly local specimen of infrastructure and urban curiosity. It’s basically a …

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Public Interest Radio

Marco Cardamone offered a blunt assessment in recalling the transformation from Duquesne University’s radio station WDUQ to 90.5 FM WESA, an all-news National Public Radio format: “We got pretty clobbered,” he said with a chuckle. “The backlash was much greater than we anticipated. You always lose part of an audience in a radio ownership transition, …

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The Path to Sustainability

Bike lanes and buses, clean water and clear skies, and prosperity without poverty and its corrosive effects—the vision of a sustainable city and region can seem like a Sim City blueprint for the ideal future. Until the nagging obstacles of reality are considered. And nowhere is that more true than in older, former industrial regions …

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Visions of Pittsburgh’s Future

Twenty-five years ago, Pittsburgh hosted the Remaking Cities Conference, an international gathering of architects, visionaries and dignitaries, including England’s Prince Charles, the honorary co-host and keynote speaker. This year, Oct. 15-–18, 2013, Carnegie Mellon University will host the Remaking Cities Congress, with 300 invited urbanists and thought leaders who will again focus on the post-industrial …

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What we say (and do) about the environment

Lori Rieger and Kim Haynes are strolling Point State Park on a July afternoon that is sunny, hot and humid enough to notice. It’s the kind of day that invites ozone pollution to accumulate at levels that violate federal air quality standards, which is something Pittsburgh and the region do on an annual basis. But …

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African Americans in Pittsburgh: The data in black & white

Some 1,800 Greater Pittsburgh men and women spent a half hour on the phone late last year answering an expansive battery of questions about themselves, their circumstances, and views on everything from how tax dollars should be spent to how happy they are. It was, by any standard, the most ambitious attempt in more than …

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African Americans in Pittsburgh: The newcomer experience

In 24 years, Marisa Bartley had never heard the “n-word” hurled at her by a white person. One day, it hung in the air in the lobby of a Verona bank, where she worked as a branch manager. A disgruntled male customer stood on the other end with an enraged expression. “It was the n-word, …

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Pittsburgh’s Newest Immigrants

Blackberry in hand, Tek Rimal counts the minutes as he rides the bus from his job at BNY Mellon to his Bellevue apartment. Like many young families, Tek and his wife Chandra tag-team the care of their son, Anuj, with precision timing. Tek rushes home from his day shift so his wife can work a …

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The Young People Myth

In the not-too-distant past, Border Guard Bob was thought to have been a good idea. He was the amusing face of a short-lived marketing campaign to staunch the flow of Pittsburgh’s young to other cities, a problem perceived by some of the region’s civic-minded to be grave enough to warrant aggressive action. Bob, a fictitious …

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A Clearer Reflection

For a college course, the assignment seemed simple enough, if not mundane: Ride a Port Authority bus into a city neighborhood and attend a lecture at the YMCA. Things changed, however, when the Duquesne University freshmen heard the neighborhood’s name—the Hill District, a historically African American community. “Almost all 28 of them were afraid to …

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How we live

This column is the first public glimpse of a project that will yield a great deal of information and understanding of who we are as residents of this region, what we do and how we view our region. This major new survey was conducted by Pittsburgh Today and our colleagues at Pitt’s University Center for …

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The Cost of Blight

The Helen S. Faison Arts Academy, Pittsburgh’s newest elementary school, was built with the hope it would help kindle the revitalization of Homewood, which has long been one of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods. With its modern red brick and glass facade, innovative interior design and grassy five-acre campus, it’s clearly an asset any community …

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A Tale of Two Pittsburghs

Those of us who live in Greater Pittsburgh understandably feel we know a great deal about this region. We certainly know about our neighborhoods, our friends, our families and our jobs. We know about our hobbies, our favorite sports teams and the Pittsburgh weather. In short, we know about our lives here. What we know …

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Opportunity Knocks

In Pittsburgh’s industrial heyday, the region dove into recession as the mighty engines of manufacturing throttled way back. And when a recession ended, Pittsburgh roared back, as rising demand jump-started factories. In the past 20 years though, the region has followed a different pattern. Without as much manufacturing and with more healthcare and education jobs, …

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E Pluribus Region?

It is often said that “a new era is at hand.” On an individual level, new eras can present themselves whenever a person chooses to see and act in the world in a different way. For a nation, new eras are harder to come by, though with every federal election, such is promised. But what …

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A New Chapter

After 26 years at the helm of the Post-Gazette, John G. Craig Jr. founded the Regional Indicators project and its Web site, pittsburghtoday.org. And since this magazine began five years ago, every issue has contained one of his reports on the state of the region. His goal was to provide what he called “The city-state …

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Have We Turned the Corner?

The recession of 2007-2009: I am sticking my neck way out… but I bet that when we look back 10 years from now, the last two years will be seen as the tipping point for the Pittsburgh region, a time when we finally got four decades of negative history behind us. The national recession, which …

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Underlying Problems/Solutions

The impact of population decline was very much in the news at the end of last year, a reminder that, for all the accolades at the recent G-20 Summit about Pittsburgh having moved beyond its industrial past, painful choices still face the region, particularly its local governments and major service institutions. I have in mind …

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Risking Women’s Health

If I told you that breast cancer kills Pittsburgh women at a higher rate than women in other cities, and that Pittsburgh women die of heart attacks at a higher rate than women in other cities, what would you say? And what if I compounded the negativity by telling you that African American women are …

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Pittsburgh’s Stealth Renaissance

When it was announced 12 years ago that Jared Cohon would become president of Carnegie Mellon, he returned to his Yale office to find a bouquet of flowers. The name on the card read Mark Nordenberg, chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. It was the beginning of a relationship between Cohon, Nordenberg and UPMC President …

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