Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Urban Diasporas

Imagine my excitement reading the AntiRust blog this morning and discovering that my hometown of Erie has launched a diaspora project of its own. Well, Erie itself didn't hatch the initiative. An Erie expatriate living in the Washington, DC area, Peter Panepento, is the brainchild of an attempt to leverage the brain drain in Northwestern Pennsylvania:

Many of Erie’s best and brightest are making names for themselves in other cities across the country and around the globe. Their hometown, meanwhile, is struggling to keep up with changing times.

It shouldn’t have to be this way.

Erie needs new perspectives and ideas to build its future.

So why not turn to those of us who have gone elsewhere and can offer new perspectives on how to bring opportunity to their hometown?

Mr. Panepento's approach is inspiring. His background in journalism informs a website that succeeds in engaging the community and provides a wealth of information for anyone interested in the plight of Erie. Honestly, I wish I were as ambitious as Mr. Panepento when I decided to start blogging about the Burgh Diaspora.

By early September, I believe the Global Connect Pittsburgh group will be able to announce a similar umbrella website to that of GlobalErie. What I hope develops is a network of urban diaspora projects, which I view as a novel geographic perspective along the lines of the current infatuation with regionalism. I greatly appreciate Mr. Panepento's vision and his willingness to embrace geographic labor mobility.

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