Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Global Burgh, Act II

Global Culture offers a cosmopolitan perspective on the Manifesto for a New Pittsburgh:

One piece of feedback I would offer to the Manifesto is that to talk about all the dependencies that Pittsburgh has on other cities, regions or countries has a negative connotation, almost of abandonment to the will of others. I believe it is much more productive to use the balancing force: influence. Influence that is exercised through the thousands of connected citizens that have a position of power in those regions. In a globalized world, it is true that every city depends on others, just as much as each city has influence on others. The main difference is that we can do a lot more with the latter.

I think Juan makes a good point. Connectivity is a two-way street. Perhaps "inter-dependency" would be a better term, but even that doesn't fully appreciate Juan's concept of "influence." To push this dialog a bit further, why should we care about connectivity and a given city's global network?

Juan sees world city connectivity as a force for positive change, with connectivity comes responsibility. Our approach, articulated in the Manifesto, is admittedly Pittsburgh-centric. Mike, Jim and I (among others) are trying to give Pittsburgh an economic lift and spur innovation. We want Pittsburgh to become the great world city we know it can be.

But what about Pittsburgh's growing relationship with Bangalore and other cities in India? What about all the other cities around the world struggling with the same economic transformation? If you look at Pittsburgh's urban network, I'd like to think what is good for those cities is good for Pittsburgh (and vice versa).

At this blog, the interest in the Pittsburgh Diaspora Project is decidedly non-Pittsburgh in orientation. I'm busy learning from other development amateurs (and experts). And for what it is worth, I'm attempting to share my discoveries with whomever is interested. I think anyone or anyplace could benefit from embracing labor mobility. But fully realizing those benefits is contingent upon greater connectivity.

At least, that's my theory.

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