The Baton Rouge Area Chamber is leading a delegation to the city in September. It is one of a series of trips that has plumbed the secrets of success in other areas, from Austin as the high-tech capital of Texas to the similarly situated Research Triangle Park in North Carolina. However, the BRAC trips also have looked at other cities with claims to fame in transportation (Portland, Ore.) and community redevelopment (Richmond, Va.).In Pittsburgh, the emphasis is likely to be both on economic renewal and redevelopment of neighborhoods. A newly formed Redevelopment Authority in Baton Rouge has looked to Pittsbugh’s inner-city projects as a model.
Believe it or not, Pittsburgh is held up as an example of best practice. The PR spin that occurred around the G-20 Summit has done wonders for the Steel City's image. However, the redevelopment success was noted widely years before the event. But the story didn't match the stereotypes.
Nowhere is that more true than in and around Pittsburgh. Familiarity breeds contempt, the dominant mood swing in Rust Belt cities. The entrenched cynicism can be overwhelming at times.
I think Murphy is the victim of a serious outmigration hangover. One looks at all the money spent, the big ticket items, the boondoggles and still sees a shrinking (and bankrupt) city. Murphy failed. So why all the love and admiration beyond the pale?
Because Pittsburgh, on the balance, succeeded where most other cities have failed. The last thing to change is image. Along with that will come more inmigration. After that, more outmigration. The natives will bolt en masse sensing that their hometown has jumped the shark.