To understand the present, we need to know the past. Pittsburgh’s neighborhoods have been designed, shaped and defined by their past. As we move through Pittsburgh, we are surrounded by the visions of generations of politicians, planners and investors who have shaped this city for better and worse. Our communities are a product of their careful planning and execution but also their shortcomings and biases. Housing policies of the past dictated what homes were built where, who could live in what community and how affordable the housing was, is and will be.
We tend to pay most attention to what is happening in politics at the national level but often the policies and decisions that have had the most impact in shaping our neighborhoods happen at the local level.
This timeline of housing policies in Pittsburgh outlines many of these historic issues and attempts to shed light on how the city has evolved. For instance, urban renewal projects in the Lower Hill District or in East Liberty are relevant to the most pressing issues today. Often, these policies have the biggest impact on low-income families, but every neighborhood has been designed, undermined, elevated, stimulated or reconfigured by local housing policy at one time or another.
This graphic was built by PublicSource Interactives & Design Editor Natasha Khan.