“The story in Pittsburgh is very positive, and other metro areas are looking to it as an example of the transformation that might be possible,” said Guhan Venkatu, who wrote an economic history of the area called “Rust and Renewal” for the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Sterling academic institutions, such as Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh, have helped bring tech jobs and innovation to the area by sponsoring tech incubators that help graduates start companies without moving to Silicon Valley or San Francisco.
The strategy has helped keep Pittsburgh’s educated young population growing even as overall population in the city and region has dropped.
Pittsburgh's population peaked at 676,806 in 1950. Its 2017 estimated population is 302,407 -- a drop of 374,399, or 55%.
African-American comprised 12.2% of Pittsburgh's population in 1950.
For Pittsburgh, There's Life After Steel. (The New York Times, 1/8/2009)
A generation ago, the steel industry that built Pittsburgh and still dominated its economy entered its death throes. In the early 1980s, the city was being talked about the way Detroit is now. Its very survival was in question.
Deindustrialization in Pittsburgh was a protracted and painful experience. Yet it set the stage for an economy that is the envy of many recession-plagued communities, particularly those where the automobile industry is struggling for its life.
“If people are looking for hope, it’s here,” said Sabina Deitrick, an urban studies expert at the University of Pittsburgh. “You can have a decent economy over a long period of restructuring.”
Built on Steel, Pittsburgh Thrives on Culture. (The New York Times, 4/12/2017)
Pittsburgh is also known as Steel City, and while United States Steel still has its headquarters there, the industry collapsed in the 1980s, a devastating blow. But given two options, evolve or perish, Pittsburgh began growing in a new direction. Today, tech companies like Google, Intel and Uber have invested in the city, which has had a real effect on its citizens’ lives: According to a 2014 study, Pittsburgh is ranked second in intergenerational upward mobility. I arrived merely as a tourist, though one with a specific modus operandi — finding the best the city has to offer without straining my frugal budget. What I found was a city that has transformed itself into a vibrant cultural and artistic hub, all while remaining true to its Rust Belt roots.
The disappearing cities:
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania. (1/12/2019)
Baltimore, Maryland. (12/31/2018)
Buffalo, New York, (1/8/2019)
Cairo, Illinois. (1/5/2019)
Cleveland, Ohio (1/2/2018)
Detroit, Michigan. (1/1/2019)
East St. Louis, Illinois. (1/11/2019)
Flint, Michigan. (1/7/2019)
Gary, Indiana. (1/4/2019)
Johnstown, Pennsylvania. (1/6/2018)
St. Louis, Missouri. (1/2/2019)
Youngstown, Ohio. (1/9/2019)