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Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, Volume Two

Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, Volume Two: The Post-Steel Era

Copyright Date: 1996
Pages: 432
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  • Book Info
    Twentieth-Century Pittsburgh, Volume Two
    Book Description:

    This volume traces the major decisions, events, programs, and personalities that transformed the city of Pittsburgh during its urban renewal project, which began in 1977. Roy Lubove demonstrates how the city showed united determination to attract high technology companies in an attempt to reverse the economic fallout from the decline of the local steel industry. Lubove also separates the successes from the failures, the good intentions from the actual results.

    eISBN: 978-0-8229-7167-2
    Subjects: Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. 1 Elegy for a Bygone World
    (pp. 3-23)

    The message of the 1963Economic Study of the Pittsburgh Regionwas that Pittsburgh’s economy had remained in the nineteenth century despite changing technological and market conditions.¹ The six-county, 4,500-square-mile region under study (Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Washington, and Westmoreland Counties) suffered, accordingly, from slow population growth, a lag in employment opportunities compared to other metropolitan areas, above-average unemployment, underrepresentation of small firms, an excess of population in nonproductive age groups, a higher than average proportion of blue-collar workers. By 1900, the Pittsburgh region’s economic mix possessed two distinctive features: an overspecialization in coal, iron, and steel, heavy electrical machinery,...

  2. 2 Economic Development Strategy in the Post-Steel Era
    (pp. 24-40)

    The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland compared the economic mix of four cities—Cincinnati, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, and Columbus—from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. It found that Pittsburgh had experienced the most “dramatic transformation” over the period; the city’s manufacturing base dropped from 37 percent of total employed to 16 percent. Pittsburgh had evolved from the most industrialized to the least industrialized of the four cities. It lost half its manufacturing jobs but doubled the service component. Pittsburgh thus exemplified a determination “to break with the apparent security of the past” rather than entrust the community’s future to “familiar but...

  3. 3 University, City, and Strategy 21
    (pp. 41-56)

    Allegheny County released a document in the fall of 1991 entitledOur Future, 2001, Our Choice. It was a report to county residents based on extensive citizen participation. In the realm of economic development, the authors of the report anticipated that “our universities can help to create new businesses by spinning off academic research into concepts and products that will succeed in the marketplace.”¹ Their economic role by the 1980s, however, extended beyond academic, scientific, or biomedical research, and the nurture of advanced technology. The University of Pittsburgh emerged as the largest employer in the city of Pittsburgh by the...

  4. 4 A Second Renaissance
    (pp. 57-85)

    A survey by the Pittsburgh Finance Department of employment trends in the 1982–1992 decade documented the city’s transition from a manufacturing to a diversified service center. Manufacturing employment, 21,447 in 1982, had dropped to 10,385 in 1992 (from 10.19 percent to 4.15 percent of total employment). Hospital employment, 28,185 in 1982, increased to 37,311 a decade later (9.83 percent to 11.72 percent); health care increased from 4,315 to 8,426 jobs over the decade (2.05 percent to 3.37 percent). Higher education grew from 21,650 jobs to 32,560 (7.55 percent to 10.23 percent). Employment in the restaurant sector leaped dramatically—from...

  5. 5 Pittsburgh Neighborhoods: A System of Subsidized Empowerment
    (pp. 86-116)

    Renaissance I was not neighborhood-oriented. It was dominated by smoke and flood control, highway improvement, downtown revitalization, industrial and institutional expansion. Large-scale neighborhood-based renewal projects such as Allegheny Center and Chateau Street (North Side), East Liberty Pedestrian Mall and Traffic Circle (East End), and the Civic Arena–Chatham Center in the Lower Hill (near downtown) suffered from the architectural and design flaws characteristic of the period nationally. The East Liberty project probably did not cause the decline of the business district, as often claimed, but hastened it by wrapping the area in a confusing mall and arterial road configuration. Neighborhood...

  6. 6 Community Development Corporations
    (pp. 117-135)

    The following two chapters examine the financing and operations of the major community development corporations (CDCs) in Pittsburgh. They emphasize the vital role of the URA in the broader funding system that makes community development possible. CDC staff have little interest in (or time for) theory and ideology—much of their time is consumed in the pursuit of operating and project funds and building funding coalitions to support specific housing, commercial, or service projects. The analysis also emphasizes the variety and diversity of activities that characterize the CDC network. Although development is their distinctive characteristic, they are involved in many...

  7. 7 Community Development Corporations, II
    (pp. 136-158)

    Like Garfield Jubilee, Breachmenders, Inc., in West Oakland is a Pittsburgh Partnership affiliate, has religious roots (Friendship Presbyterian Community Church), and combines housing rehabilitation with counseling and employment opportunities. Its diminutive four-square-block domain claimed a peak population of7,900 in 1950. It declined to nearly 5,300 in 1980, and then fell dramatically to little more than 1,900 in 1990 (72.7 percent minority).

    Hemmed in between Carlow College and the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, the neighborhood had organized the No.4 Block Club in 1978 to defend its interests. Pitt students established a home improvement company two years later, leading to the...

  8. 8 Community Development in Allegheny County
    (pp. 159-184)

    Community development in Pittsburgh in the 1980s had been preceded by two decades of experience in neighborhood organization and advocacy. Pittsburgh also possessed an Urban Redevelopment Authority and City Planning Department experienced in channeling federal and state funds to neighborhood groups. With the emergence of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) and the Pittsburgh Partnership for Neighborhood Development in the early 1980s (both discussed in chapter 5), public resources were supplemented by funds from foundations and corporations.

    Circumstances in the Monongahela River Valley inhibited the creation of a comparable, internally generated system of community development. The tax base of the...

  9. 9 Amenities and Economic Development
    (pp. 185-207)

    In the 1980s many American cities, large and small, enlisted culture as a weapon in the Darwinian competition for economic survival and transformation. As never before, culture became enveloped in the rhetoric of jobs and economic development. Political scientists and sociologists spoke of community arts coalitions or strategies designed to promote downtown revitalization and, more generally, urban growth and renewal. Government, developers, corporations and banks, foundations, arts organizations, and advocates coalesced to build cultural centers, large-scale mixed-use developments, and cultural districts. In some cases, these projects doubled as a form of adaptive historic preservation.

    Underlying the transformation of perspective in...

  10. 10 Historic Preservation and Industrial Heritage in the Pittsburgh Region
    (pp. 208-254)

    One of the great American pastimes of the late nineteenth century, and well into the twentieth, was the Pittsburgh joke. In an issue of the New YorkDaily Graphicin 1882, for example, we learn that “Pittsburgh is a place where the inhabitants breathe, move and have their being in soot and grime”; it is a city “where the smoke is so dense that a cyclone would only scare the people by making the sun visible for a few minutes.” Willard Glazier, inPeculiarities of American Cities(1885), describes a night approach to Pittsburgh as a “scene so strange and...

  11. 11 Conclusion
    (pp. 255-260)

    In November 1993,Toward a Shared Economic Vision for Pittsburgh and Southwestern Pennsylvania: A Report by the White Paper Committee for the Allegheny Conference on Community Developmentwas released. The committee’s chairman was Robert Mehrabian, president of Carnegie Mellon University. Conspicuously absent from the fourteen-member committee were representatives of labor, neighborhood organizations, or just about anyone not fairly high up the corporate ladder. The two academics, Richard L. Florida and Robert Gleeson, were, respectively, director and executive director of the Center for Economic Development of CMU’s School of Public Policy and Management.¹ The committee’s statement largely reflected Florida’s views on...