“The whole time I was growing up here I never really appreciated Pittsburgh,” she says. “I thought it was an ugly city. My idea of beauty was Paris. Pittsburgh was industrial. It seemed provincial to me. Partly I’ve changed, and partly the world has changed. Industrial is now an aesthetic. People decorate in the industrial style.
“And the Internet has decentralized culture. When I was growing up and you wanted to be in magazine publishing or dance or art, the only place to be was New York. Now, there is no ‘only’ place to be. You can do that work from anywhere.” ...
... Brubach is proving the theory that people can live in relatively inexpensive Pittsburgh and work anywhere. She’s consulting and working on several books, even as she contributes columns on books for the New York Times Magazine T supplements. She’s also consulting for her old friends at YOOX, the once fledgling site that has become a hot seller of end-of-season designer merchandise. And she’s on the prowl for Pittsburgh buildings that she and other investors can acquire and transform.
Brubach's move to Pittsburgh is exciting and offers a template for other natives pining for a familiar landscape, not to mention an inexpensive cost of living. In fact, I think her story is much more important than the Burgh boosterism piece making the rounds. Imagine what you can do in Pittsburgh with New York City wages.
Brubach is my prototype for how Pittsburgh can garner a return on its investment in talent that leaves the region. She is also part of the vanguard that I see transforming the region into a global economic power. Pittsburgh repatriates could be an army of experts in virtual collaboration and long distance transactions, something that dovetails nicely with one of Pittsburgh's innovation niches. Regardless, the alpha world city networks that these boomerang migrants build are a boon to Pittsburgh's fortunes.