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Comments

Justin Kownacki

Here's a thought: cities are multicultural (not that you'd know it from Friends) and filled with conflict. The suburbs are vanilla and minimize conflict. Thus, the storytelling devices utilized in suburban stories are mostly internal or interpersonal among families or neighbors -- which is who tends to have the time (and inclination) to watch TV.

Would The Flintstones have become a cultural touchstone if it hadn't spoken to the suburban audience? (Would The Simpsons have become the same without skewering that very audience?)

Ed Heath

The Simpsons is not set in a city? Are they not “protected” by Springfield’s finest? Another clue, they don’t live on a cul-de-sac. The same with Family Guy, and actually the Flintstones. Unless Bedrock is supposed to be bedroom community, it’s a city too.

Maybe we see what we want to see in cartoons, but I always assumed most of the places I saw in cartoons were cities. Plenty of neighborhoods within city limits around Pittsburgh have back yards and front yards. Granted, you don’t see too many places like most of Lawrenceville or Bloomfield in cartoons. Cartoons don’t seem to want to cast the working man in what might be his natural habitat.

Actually, isn’t Brooklyn one of the five boroughs of New York City?

I know you’ve been talking a lot about downtown living, and that’s fine, but I consider myself a city dweller, even if I do live out near the zoo and the city’s border. You don't have to be Top Cat to be in city limits, with city services and city taxes.

Sam M

Ed,

Excellent points. And this is what I am getting at so often. For a few years now, our fearless leaders have told us time and again that it is time to get people to move back "into the city." And by that they seem to mean... downtown. In condos and lofts. I have been resisting that definition for a while, and pointing out that there is more than one way to live "in Pittsburgh." And that policies that prefer one neighborhood over another seem... counterproductive. That is, why use government money to build really expensive lofts in one zip code when they already exist in another?

Ed Heath

Well, I don’t much care about where people live. Living in downtown Pittsburgh seems a bit silly to me, unless maybe you a high ranking Highmark executive and go to every cultural and sporting event downtown and across the river. I’m not particularly happy to see government subsidize downtown housing, and I hope that they are restrained about it. Subsidizing downtown office buildings is another matter, if more tax paying companies can be brought into the city limits from outside, that’s ok with me. Of course, you have to make sure parking is relatively cheap and/or there is a good transit system, which are two items the government is currently trying to bungle.

Paul

If I'm not mistaken the Huxtables lived in Philedelphia not New York.

Paul

"Subsidizing downtown office buildings is another matter, if more tax paying companies can be brought into the city limits from outside, that’s ok with me"

Problem is that downtown Pittsburgh already has the highest office & retail space vacancy rate in the nation...

Clearly it's not lack of space preventing companies and business from moving here. Not only is adding to the space already available with another building not going to solve a problem it's probably going to deter private development by making it close to impossible for anyone to lease property they might invest in.

Of course once you dispose of the silly notion that local leadership actually wants private development and consider the reasons the might want to keep things just as they are, then some things start to make sense.

The political capital and potential personal gain that flows from that photo of the governor handing over the big cardboard check or the ground breaking ceremony is pretty close to impossible to reproduce with that pesky private investment.

Sam M

I'm pretty sure the Huxtables were in Brooklyn.

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