Sunday, March 15, 2009

Appalachian Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is a confused city. Midwestern? Northeastern? Great Lakes? Try Appalachian:

[Center for Appalachian Network Access (CANA)] was co-founded in 2003 by Bruce Maggs, associate professor of computer science [at CMU], and Pittsburgh investment banker John Whitehill. Its purpose is to bring the Internet to Appalachian communities like Glenville, in Gilmer County, and raise the literacy and economic profile of the region.

In September 2003, the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) and the Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation gave researchers at CANA $250,000 to implement two new wireless broadband networks in Appalachia, a 200,000-square-mile region along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains from southern New York to northern Mississippi.

After they complete the pilot projects in Gilmer and Bedford counties, CANA expects to extend the project to other rural communities in West Virginia, Southwestern Pennsylvania, and ultimately the entire Appalachian region.

A CANA project showed up in one of my morning news searches and it reminded me that Pittsburgh belongs to at least three regions. This trans-regional identity is an asset. Pittsburgh will not end up as a cul-de-sac for the national or global economy.

On the contrary, Pittsburgh is a great broker for investment opportunities in undervalued areas such as Appalachia or America's Urban Frontier. The Burgh Diaspora only enhances this position. Only a matter of time before Pittsburgh is poaching talent from Chattanooga.

2 comments:

Josh said...

i never thought of pittsburgh in those terms. i had always called it "the capitol of West Virginia", but never thought of it as Appalachia. However, it may be fitting in ways more than geographical.

Mark Winston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.