Community development guru Alan Mallach points to the rise of “eds and meds” and the influx of young, educated professionals into urban areas as major trends that have transformed Pittsburgh and other American cities over the last two decades, bringing investment and jobs to many declining neighborhoods. “Taken as a whole, American cities, particularly older cities, are doing better than at any point really since the 1960s,” he said at a lecture Tuesday evening at Carnegie Mellon University. “This is an amazing revival, and it’s worth celebrating.”
He’s quick to note, though, that such progress is only half the story: “At the same time, for people who live in those cities, more of them are living in poverty, more of them are living in substandard housing and in neighborhoods that do not provide a decent quality of life. At the same time that our cities are drawing thousands of jobs and billions in new investment, more people live in these cities who lack jobs and opportunities.”
In Pittsburgh, young professionals are moving into such neighborhoods as Lawrenceville, East Liberty and the South Side, driving a surge in development, while long-time residents are leaving. Fewer people are living in predominantly white working-class and black neighborhoods, such as Homewood and the Hill District, and those who do are, on average, lower income and older.
During the past five years, campaign pledges and task forces aimed at boosting affordable housing in Pittsburgh have pointed to the need for an inclusionary zoning [IZ] policy. More than 800 jurisdictions across the country have implemented IZ policies. So, what is IZ? How is Pittsburgh implementing it? And will the policy tool ease housing costs for low-income Pittsburghers?
In the seven months he has co-owned Lucy’s Handmade Clothing Shop in Squirrel Hill, Martin Villalba has already heard many complaints from customers about the lack of parking on the neighborhood’s main thoroughfare, Murray Avenue. “They say they cannot park because there [are] so many cars. They say, ‘Oh, we tried to buy something from you, but [there] is no parking around here,’” Villalba said. One block down from Lucy’s on Murray Avenue is Safi’s Hair Salon. Owner Safa Safi said his customers are sometimes late for their appointments because it takes so long to find a spot.
Pittsburgh City Council approves UPMC Mercy expansion plan despite opposition and requests for more time to consider the details of a community benefits agreement presented Monday night by Councilman Lavelle.
Amazon has an unprecedented amount of data about Pittsburgh and 237 other cities and metro areas. What will it do with it? While Amazon is not transparent about its intentions, some experts are wondering how the retail giant is going to leverage the information it obtained.