Tuesday, October 23, 2007

"Use the Force, Mayor Luke"

Living in the Front Range of Colorado, I didn't catch the debate between the candidates for mayor of Pittsburgh. Via some message board commentary, I gather that current Mayor Luke Ravenstahl was asked about how to keep young people in the city. How can anyone answer such a ridiculous question?

Pittsburgh should take a couple aspirin pills for its postindustrial hangover. Pittsburgh needs policies to attract young professionals to the city. If we continue to ask the wrong questions, we will continue to receive poor answers. Anyone who states that he or she has a plan to stop the out-migration of young adults is either misinformed or engaging in deceit for political or economic gain:

Young adults do have higher rates of migration elsewhere than other age groups. And people with degrees generally have higher rates of migration than people without degrees - everywhere.

It's a national phenomenon that young educated people are more likely to leave, no matter where they live.

"Everywhere" includes spiky Creative Class hotspots. However, if someone does have an example or two of successful policies to stem the tide of out-migration, please educate me. I'm aware of initiatives to promote in-migration, some of which may work for Pittsburgh. And if anyone is asking mayoral candidates about their policy ideas as to how to attract young people to Pittsburgh, I'd love to see the evidence (as well as analyze the responses).

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