The Hill District has a lived experience and a roadmap for how community benefits agreements could work locally. In 2008, a CBA was negotiated between the Pittsburgh Penguins, several city and county agencies and the One Hill Neighborhood Coalition, which represented almost 100 groups in the Hill District at the time. (Photo by Maranie Rae Staab/PublicSource)

This Pittsburgh group wants all developers getting public subsidies to agree to community benefits. Including you, Amazon.

When Amazon launched a national search to find a home for its second headquarters, the corporate giant said it was looking for a site that could offer access to major highways,  a population of more than one million people, tax breaks and other financial incentives. Cities across North America, including Pittsburgh, spent weeks and money ($300,000 to $400,000 in Pittsburgh’s case) to formulate pitches that would stand out to Amazon as a suitable HQ2 location. A group focused on equitable development in Southwest Pennsylvania believes it should be a two-way road. If members of the Community Power Movement had it their way, the city would be demanding just as much in return from Amazon as the company is requesting from the applicant cities. No one really knows what regional officials have asked for in return, other than the implied infusion of jobs and development.

Panelists at a Wednesday forum regarding Amazon HQ2: (left to right) Waverly Duck, director of the University of Pittsburgh’s Urban Studies Program; William Generett, Jr., Duquesne University’s vice president for community engagement; Rebecca Bagley, vice chancellor for economic partnerships at the University of Pittsburgh; Beth Shaaban, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Public Health and an organizer with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee; and Jason Beery, (not pictured) a policy analyst at UrbanKind Institute. (Photo by Juliette Rihl/PublicSource)

How Amazon’s HQ2 may both bring growth and imperil Pittsburgh’s talent pool

When Amazon announced it was looking for a home for its second headquarters, the corporation included a wish list. Their desires included a city with diversity and with great universities churning out talented graduates who could be the next generation of Amazon employees. At a forum on the University of Pittsburgh’s campus Wednesday, concerns were raised about how Amazon and some of the variables on its wish list could coexist. Could graduate students afford to live in a Pittsburgh with Amazon-inflated rents? Would a city that already has a diversity problem be helped or harmed by a corporation whose leadership is dominated by white men?

A person walks along Hamilton Avenue in Homewood on Dec. 21, 2017. (Photo by Ryan Loew/PublicSource)

Pittsburgh is hoping to preserve many of the low-income Bethesda-Homewood housing units

After weeks of scrambling to assist the tenants, city officials and local community groups may have hashed out a plan to salvage the units that can be rehabilitated and to keep HUD’s funding eligible at the properties — or at least within the city of Pittsburgh. So it’s possible, though not certain, that tenants like Makeela and her dad could stay in their homes.