Saturday, October 28, 2006

Boomerang Burgh

Null Space highlights two articles about Pittsburgh found in some of the nation's major newspapers. The second one starts out with a member of the Burgh Diaspora disparaging his hometown:

A while back I was sitting in a cafe near a couple of freshly minted techie types. I happened to overhear -- OK, after a while I strained to overhear -- as one explained to the other how he'd loathed his Pennsylvania hometown for its stodgy work ethic, its Middle American attitudes and so on.

He summed up by breezily remarking, "Another generation of steelworkers would have to die before I'd go back to Pittsburgh."

If Pittsburgh is going to rebrand itself, setting the record straight, these cafe ambassadors are key. Many Pittsburghers do not want to return. The romantic notions may not extend beyond regional comfort food and the Steelers. This is likely the first and last impression of Pittsburgh for the audience, other young knowledge workers.

That concern aired, anyone fresh out of college will express some disdain for their hometown. No region is immune to this perspective. Anywhere but Pittsburgh is another case of the grass being greener over the horizon. The author of the newspaper article expresses an appreciation of Pittsburgh's history and character that many young people who left the region will eventually embrace.

If Pittsburgh does experience some significant return migration, the demographic will trend towards the more mature workers.

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