Essential Pittsburgh
3:37 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Remaking Cities & the Future of Post-Industrial Pittsburgh

Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh helped to diversify Pittsburgh's economy
Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh helped to diversify Pittsburgh's economy
Credit Alberto D'Ottavi / flickr

Density, diversity, and networking. Author and Brookings Institute Vice President Bruce Katz says thoughtful utilization of these terms have helped Pittsburgh thrive after the shock of an economic recession. He credits the city’s comeback to civic-minded citizens and policy makers who understood the power of a diverse economy, a dense business district and an effective team of networking leaders. 

Katz describes feeling a “buzz” when touring downtown Pittsburgh. He credits this energy to a statistic illustrating that about 25% of jobs are within three miles of downtown.

“That’s a very good sign, “ Katz says, “because it shows that companies, firms and workers are concentrated in a relatively small geography and that’s how ideas generate.”

Katz finds Pittsburgh demographically blessed by its skilled immigrant population but says the Steel City could still benefit from more newcomers. With a higher population, the city could generate higher revenue and begin tackling pressing financial matters like infrastructure and transportation. He also suggests that the city can create more jobs by leveraging its burgeoning innovation base.

Katz is set to speak at the Remaking Cities Congress about the future of post-industrial cities and points to Pittsburgh as a template for economic recovery.

“Cities are networks, when your networks come together and they set a vision based on your true assets and then design, finance and deliver, that’s how places move forward. That’s what you did here.”