Pittsburgh has deep-seated economic problems that can be cured -- if they can be cured, and that's a very big "if" -- only with sustained growth. It is doubtful that Pittsburgh's growth can come entirely or even largely from within -- from local material and knowledge resources, local investment, local labor. What will it take to bring those resources, investment, and labor from outside the region? "Sushi" is a semi-serious proposed answer to that question.
Human capital is only part of the quest for extra-regional resources, but it is the heart of my ruminations about building New Pittsburgh. If the economic benefits are marginal, then the quality and quantity of information should make the difference. Pittsburgh's relative isolation has hurt the region in the quest for new human capital. Even if the city did harbor world-class sushi, putting the Burgh on the mental maps of footloose talent is a tall order.
Mike Madison includes an anecdote in his post about economic development that exemplifies the kind of tacit knowledge barriers that can impede capital (human, venture, investment, etcetera...) migration:
Find outside investors willing to put money into local businesses, that is, to compete with local firms. Right now, I'm talking with a friend who invests in small manufacturing enterprises. He's not based in Pittsburgh, but he's intrigued by my general description of the strength of manufacturing here.
There are a number of cities sporting strong manufacturing opportunities, but the marketplace where these parties might come together doesn't exist. The surrogate is hard data, such as tax rates. But tacit knowledge is what moves people and dollars. That's the kind of infrastructure I think Pittsburgh needs.