Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow: Regional Annual Report

City police attempt to mend relations in African American neighborhoods

Some of the photos posted on the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police Facebook pages include: A smiling child wearing a policeman’s cap and holding a police radio alongside a city cop, an officer and child eating ice cream bars, and smiling police officers riding bikes with smiling kids.

Air and water pollution still challenge region

Environmental stewardship is not a traditional strength of southwestern Pennsylvania, where the legacy of industrialization and growth includes periods of dense air pollution, and streams and rivers tainted with abandoned mine acid and effluent from inadequate municipal sewage systems. Gone are the days when soot from mills and home furnaces…

Pittsburgh Sees Future Unfolding Around Principles of Sustainability

by Jeffery Fraser
High above the Monongahela River in Hazelwood sits Pittsburgh’s last great brownfield. Only the ghostly shell of Mill 19 stands as evidence of the steel and coke works that for a century had given the neighborhood bustle, prosperity and some of the unhealthiest air in the region. The rest of…

Risky Health Behaviors Run High Across the Region

When it comes to avoiding preventable diseases, southwestern Pennsylvanians are their own worst enemy.

Thinking Regionally About Energy

Southwestern Pennsylvania has long been an energy center. The nation’s oil industry rose from the derricks of Titusville. Ample coal seams have been mined for centuries. Natural gas in the Marcellus Shale formation is helping to achieve energy independence. Yet, until now, there’s been little effort to draft a regional…

High Rates of Chronic Disease, Unhealthy Behaviors Persist

Southwestern Pennsylvanians find themselves in the middle of the pack when self-​reported health status is measured across the 15 Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions. More than 83 percent of residents in the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) describe their health as good or better, and 16.6 percent rate it fair or…

Lack of Diversity in the Region’s Workforce Raises Concerns

Rayfield Lucas had heard there were well-​paying jobs to be had in the shale gas industry; jobs that offered the opportunity to earn his way to a future more secure than the maintenance and warehouse work he’d done in the past could ever promise. He went for it.

The Arts Emerge as a Driver of Revitalization

The weight of support the arts enjoy in Pittsburgh was on public display last fall when local foundations bought the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, rescuing it from debt, troubled management and a suitor with designs for turning it into a Downtown hotel.

Spotlight Shines On Pittsburgh’s Bumpy Ride to Teacher Evaluation Reform

by Julia Fraser
It’s a Saturday night in early November. A jazz band plays near a rocket simulator in the Carnegie Science Center where a line snakes toward the bar. People in cocktail attire chat over hors d’oeuvres. It’s not often that city public school teachers are at the center of a gala…

College Graduates Increase But Region Still Lags

Earning a high school education is the building block of success. Southwestern Pennsylvanians shine in that regard. Where they come up short is in building on that foundation. And the consequences of not earning a college degree can be significant, local survey data show.

Badly Needed Reinvestment Expected Soon

The long-​awaited reinvestment in transportation statewide can’t come too soon in southwestern Pennsylvania, where neglected roads and bridges leave no doubt there is plenty of work to be done with the region’s share of the $2.3 billion in state transportation funding approved more than a year ago.

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.
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