Pittsburgh as Place

Mike Madison at Pittsblog tells us that the strength of the region is not the people or neighborhoods or anything else that may come and go.  Our strength and our greatest amount of weath is instilled in place:

Great cities are great in large part because their citizens invest in the wealth of place. Pittsburgh was founded 250 years ago at an aquatic confluence that gives it enduring and uncommon wealth. If Pittsburgh has been a great city, that’s because those who have lived here and those who visited were stewards of that wealth. They drank deeply of Pittsburgh’s hills and valleys and rivers, molding their lives to the land and the water rather than molding the land and water to their lives.

He also warns us:

The risk inherent in this… is that place and our metaphors of place can be fixed and inflexible. The hills and valleys and rivers don’t change, or don’t change much. Attachment to place often means attachment to the past… If Pittsburgh uses the wealth of place as a foundation for growth, rather than as a ceiling imposed by history… then Pittsburgh can turn weakness into strength.

Pittsburgh’s economy has transformed to include a large segment of the knowledge-based economy, but our geography does not undergo such transformation.  How we grow as a region will depend on how we interact with our place.  Mike Madison’s post is worth clicking through to read.

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