Wednesday, January 30, 2008

R.I.P. Burgh Diaspora Blog

I'm taking my Burgh Diaspora project to a new location. The Pittsburgh Quarterly website will serve as the home for my efforts to network regional expatriates as part of the various IntoPittsburgh initiatives that will surface over the next few months. "Globalburgh" will be the name of the new blog and I should have an inaugural post up tomorrow. My goal is to cultivate an audience of Pittsburghers living outside of the region they still call home. I think I can best reach them at Pittsburgh Quarterly, a magazine I hold in high esteem.

While I've failed to tap the Burgh Diaspora, I've succeeded in attracting like-minded bloggers interested in the economic development of shrinking cities. To date, Burgh Diaspora mainly has covered the problems and opportunities associated with human migration. I will continue to blog here about Pittsburgh's knowledge economy and the common experiences of postindustrial Rust Belt cities. Geographic mobility remains central to my understanding of better policy for purposes of job creation and a thriving region.

I will use the Burgh Diaspora blog to help Pittsburgh contribute to the nascent Rust Belt Bloggers Network and the work GLUE is doing. On that note, please consider Ontario as a kindred spirit:

With only the slightest of political direction, cross-border commerce transformed Ontario and Michigan into one of the most deeply integrated single economies in the world. Yet Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty now appears substantially indifferent to this relationship - and the enlightened attention that it requires. Perhaps it's the lace-curtain Irish in him.

Though itself in genteel economic decline for decades, Ontario still dresses well enough and manages to look relatively polished and pressed. It regards itself as enormously better off than Michigan, all grungy and down at the heels.

Mr. McGuinty needs to get rid of Ontario's pretensions of superiority. Ontario and Michigan are looking more like family all the time. Ontario is in long-term economic decline. Michigan is in long-term economic renewal, an intriguing reversal of fortunes that Washington correspondent Barrie McKenna described in Saturday's Globe and Mail as: "The coming rust-belt recovery."

We Rust Belt Bloggers (funny writing that from my Colorado confines) should be the most able when it comes to crossing borders and collaborating. Our lines of communication can serve as the infrastructure for the Great Lakes network economy and I dedicate the Burgh Diaspora blog to this cause.

No comments: