Tuesday, October 27, 2009

G-20 Hangover

I'm working on a more detailed post for this afternoon. For now, a quick hit about perceptions of Pittsburgh in the wake of the G-20 Summit. From Forbes, Industrial Pittsburgh:

While the strength of a metro's mass transit in some cases influenced its traffic fatality rank, the types of industry located there largely affected each city's workplace death rate. These tended to be lowest in areas like Seattle and San Jose that contain a profusion of technology and service jobs--or Detroit, where nearly one quarter of the workforce is unemployed. Dangerous jobs are more prevalent in industrial centers like Pittsburgh and Indianapolis, whose workplace death rates were five times higher than the safest, Minneapolis.

That's from an article listing America's safest cities. From the standpoint of workplace death rates, Postindustrial Pittsburgh appears to be an exaggeration. Coverage of the Steelers-Vikings tilt in the Toronto Star indicates that Canada got the makeover memo:

As the No. 1 sports city in North America, Pittsburgh is a great place to live and play but, obviously, a tough place for visiting teams to compete.

Latest to feel the cool welcome of Steeltown are the Minnesota Vikings, who had their 6-0 start derailed Sunday by a Steeler team forged from the same mettle that carried last season's version all the way to a Super Bowl victory.

That championship, combined with the Stanley Cup won by the Pittsburgh Penguins as well as strong performances from local college teams, made Pittsburgh the top choice out of 399 cities eligible for consideration by The Sporting News in its ranking of best sports cities for 2009.

For what it's worth, Toronto came in at No. 36, tops in Canada (Vancouver is No. 39, Calgary No. 42, Montreal No. 45, among others). That placing seems wildly generous considering the moribund state of the Maple Leafs, TFC, Argos, etc.

Some small glimmer of hope is being supplied lately by the Bills, which Toronto sort-of, kind-of shares with Buffalo. If the Bills are winning, we'll take a piece of that action, and Sunday Buffalo won its second game in a row, improving to 3-4 with a 20-9 win over the meow-mix Panthers at Carolina.

But there's nothing quite like being a Pittsburgher. Pass the mustard.

I don't have a point to make. I'm merely tracking the Pittsburgh brand post-G-20.

1 comment:

Stephen Gross said...

The Forbes comment clearly demonstrates that in the national consciousness, "pittsburgh" still calls to mind "industrial". G-20 aside, that impression will be hard to shake for probably at least one more generation.

For better or worse, most Americans are not urban policy experts. Their impressions of the essential qualities of well-known American cities (maybe 50 or so prominent ones) have been shaped in childhood and are likely to remain.

As for Pittsburgh policy-makers, they should focus on building the essential elements of quality of life. Good PR will follow if the product itself is high quality.