Pittsburgh Today & Tomorrow: Regional Annual Report

What are “Waters of the United States”?

by Ashley Murray
What are the so-​called “waters of the United States” and why did the Obama administration expand the definition? To understand that is to understand the evolution of environmental regulation in the United States and how the nation’s courts have interpreted what’s protected.

Protecting Our Streams

by Ashley Murray
Determining where water begins and ends seems a matter of physical properties, of whether two hydrogen molecules are bonded to oxygen, and how much of it exists. Where is it located, and will people eventually drink it? Swim in it? Fish in it? This molecule, essential to life, has become…

Airport Overhaul

by Jeffery Fraser
As birthday celebrations go, this one was fairly harsh. The local news media was gathered at Pittsburgh International Airport’s Midfield Terminal on a late-​summer day last September. Earlier, they’d reported the terminal complex, once lauded for its innovative design, had turned 25. Now, with cameras rolling, airport officials noted its…

Gaining Critical Mass

by Jeffery Fraser
Alfred Hunt knew a good idea when he saw it. And Charles Martin Hall had one. In 1886, the 23-​year-​old chemist had discovered a smelting process to make aluminum inexpensively while working in a lab he cobbled together in a shed behind his parent’s house in northern Ohio.

The Economic Outlook for 2018

by Jeffery Fraser
Stronger hiring last year, rising wages and upcoming tax cuts lead those who read the economic tea leaves to be cautiously optimistic that 2018 could reward southwestern Pennsylvania with the largest increase in job growth in five years, finally shaking the malaise that works to contract the local labor force,…

A Shrinking Resource

by Julia Fraser
Not that long ago, the state Department of Education was a robust repository of expertise for 500 Pennsylvania school districts, offering curricular guidance ranging from math to art to best practices for improving school effectiveness and education outcomes. Those days, however, are largely gone as a new environment has taken…

Despite Lull, Pittsburgh Poised to Grow Faster

Greater Pittsburgh’s economy is in a precarious situation to start 2017. The seven-​county region’s unemployment rate rose sharply through the second half of 2015, nearing 6 percent — a level not seen since 2014 when the recovery was just gaining real momentum. Prior to the 2008-​09 recession, Pittsburgh’s unemployment rate mirrored national…

Moderate Growth in Store for Metro Pittsburgh in 2016

Metropolitan Pittsburgh is a picture of stability entering 2016. Job growth is outpacing the Pennsylvania state average, and the unemployment rate for the seven-​county region is steady near 5 percent. 2015 brought a resurgence in labor force growth, providing local employers a wider pool of talent from which to fill…

Keeping international graduates

by Julia Fraser
Alexandra Oliver had been a writer, editor, researcher, art critic, lecturer, curator, community organizer and entrepreneur. She earned her Ph.D. in Pittsburgh. She had a job offer in Pittsburgh and wanted to stay in the city where, she said, she “found a niche.”

Arrival of more immigrants softens population decline

Total population fell by 4,597 people throughout the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area from 2013 to 2014. The five-​year population trend, however, is one of stability. The region’s population grew slightly in three of those years.

New strategies emerge for strengthening neighborhood arts culture

by Julia Fraser
The arthouse in Homewood is hard to miss. It’s the house on Hamilton Avenue adorned with mosaics, from the stars against a field of blue covering one of its sides to the swirls of hearts and other images around words and phrases like “yes” and “you are beautiful” that greet…

States collaborate to grow region’s petrochemical industry

by Jeffery Fraser
The governors of Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia signaled their interest in expanding the petrochemical industry’s footprint in the tri-​state region last year to take advantage of abundant natural gas in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations underneath it.

Region Begins to imagine the transit network of the future

by Julia Fraser
Civic leaders across southwestern Pennsylvania want people to start thinking big about the future of transportation in the region. Imagine commuter rail extending to the airport, expanded bus rapid transit, connected bike lanes throughout the area, smart traffic signals — that kind of big.

Region’s housing market remains the picture of stability

The regional housing market stayed in character in 2015, with home prices appreciating but at a slower rate than in most other Pittsburgh Today benchmark regions.

Local initiative gains acclaim, plans May celebration

In the Monongahela River Valley, where now-​silent steel mills once defined the region, a traditional classroom has been stripped of its chalkboards and remade as an entertainment technology academy. Game design theory now helps engage students in English, computer science and math lessons. In childcare centers, children share their day…
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