The Tribune-Review ran a good obit yesterday with some interesting connections to the Pittsburgh experience. Here's an important bit for those who continue to insist that the city's Renaissance was a spectacular success worth recreating:
In 1969, in "The Economies of Cities," Jacobs noted that because Pittsburgh had overspecialized in steel-making and manufacturing, its economy had actually begun to stagnate as early as 1910. She said that after World War II, Pittsburgh's civic and corporate leaders should have been trying to incubate new industries to replace steel instead of trying to protect the economic and social status quo.
She wrote that the city's dwindling capital had been wasted on "immensely expensive urban-renewal and highway programs that have not helped the economy at all." By 1967, Jacobs wrote, Pittsburgh's economy was in worse shape than it had been in 1947.
That is, Pittsburgh should be talking about undoing the Renaissance experience, not redoing it. That should have a huge impact on who does the doing. And who doesn't.
Update: Ready for even more? The Tribune-Review's Bill Steigerwald interviewed Jacobs for Reason magazine in 2001. Pittsburgh comes up.