Thursday, September 25, 2008

Rust Belt Chic: Pittsburgh

Via Null Space, I see that Pittsburgh is [finally] getting younger. The article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review is a good balance of data and anecdotes. The numbers are encouraging, though I share Chris Briem's measured enthusiasm (see his quote in the Trib article). Regardless, I notice evidence that Pittsburgh's buzz stock is on the rise:

Katrina Struloeff came to Pittsburgh from Oregon for a graduate degree and stayed for the scenery, affordable living and the social and civic opportunities that larger cities don't generally offer young adults.

"You're not just another face in the crowd," said Struloeff, 24. "You can find your niche and get involved fairly easily."

Ms. Struloeff articulates the heart of Rust Belt Chic: Opportunity in an urban frontier. Young adults can shape the city, enjoying the benefits of being a big fish in a small pond. Austin, Seattle, and Minneapolis were like this in the early 1990s. Furthermore, Pittsburgh is getting younger while most other cities are aging.

I'm still amazed that Pittsburgh has done so well with the demographic deck stack against it. I predict that the region will continue to enjoy relative economic prosperity over the next decade or so. The Burgh is back.

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