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Paul

I wouldn't hold my breath waiting for the PG, universities or any other local institution to ask necessary questions. You can see in other events such as the continued flight of students from the city's school system (11% in the last two years) the recent American Community Survey's results (population down to 285,000, declining incomes and home ownership etc) and stitch together a pretty good picture and guess that the answers they'd get wouldn't support the narrative of a city about to turn the corner that they've been pushing for thirty years.

On a somewhat positive note though, it's about forty years late in coming but hopefully this means someone is starting to think:

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07299/828741-100.stm

No doubt the drivers' union with do its damnedest to throws a few wrenches into the effort - hopefully something positive will come of it though.


Nathan

Every Pittsburgh/Baltimore downtown comparison I read seems to leave out one very important factor -- DC and its overheated housing/jobs market is within commuting distance from Baltimore. I've read many accounts lately of downtown Baltimore's recent success relative to Pittsburgh with no mention that a high proportion of those living in downtown Balto are most likely hopping the MARC train to work in DC. If Washington DC and Washington PA were swapped you'd see a much different situation in downtown Pittsburgh.

Sam M

Nathan,

All true. But I am not arguing that Baltimore and Pittsburgh are the same. There are obviously a lot of differences. I have lived in both places, so I have some first-hand experience.

But the two cities ARE similar in one respect: Both are spending gobs of money to add a residential component to their downtowns. Or expand in the residential already there. Fair enough. Lots of cities are doing that.

But there is a huge difference: Baltimore appears to be tracking who is moving downtown. Which makes a lot of sense. Because the success of these projects depends on where the people come from.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand, has no interest in this data whatsoever. Apparently. I don't see anyone in the local government, media or non-profit sector tracking these figures.

And let's be clear, the man in the street can't do it. It would require an intensicve--and expensive--survey project. And quite a bit of manpower. Just the kind of thing the Post-Gazette ought to be doing.

I know. I know. Someone went and asked one developer and he gave a vague answer. That doesn't cut it.

Again, it's not like I am making this stuff up. When people propose the projects, they get money for them by promising that they will draw people in from the suburbs, get people to move here from Cleveland. Etc.

Well... doesn't it make sense to check and see if that's happening? And not by talking to three ringers the developers direct you to. (I have seen the same guy interviewed in about three condo stories so far.)

Nathan

Thank you for the response. Your central point is a good one.

To make a tangential observation -- and I just gave the above figures a cursory read -- the above indicates Baltimore's "new downtown residents are predominantly young, white and highly educated, with household incomes of $50,000 or more." That's exactly the demographic Pittsburgh does not have -- well-paid young professionals due to a lack of well-paying 21st century jobs. Also, from a cultural standpoint, Pittsburgh's young, well-paid demographic seems less the urbane type you would find in other cities and more the settle-and-raise-a-family-and-live-in-the-suburbs type.

I'm in the camp that desires a vibrant downtown and knows it is key to a vibrant city (I believe Jane Jacobs made a good point once by saying it would have been preferable to have the universities downtown rather than in Oakland to create a vibrant center), but I question if the demand is there from that key demographic.

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International Dating Service

Note that this is the first condo building in Pittsburgh since 1968. And tweaking Falbo's numbers reveals that a full 60 percent of all buyers are NOT from "out of town." Would an objective observer expect future condo developments to attract more out-of-towners or fewer? I am open to any explanation anyone is willing to offer. But I remain flabbergasted that nobody is asking any of these questions. These developers continue to promise that their projects draw a substantial interest from people in suburbia and even farther afield. But do they?

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Note that this is the first condo building in Pittsburgh since 1968. And tweaking Falbo's numbers reveals that a full 60 percent of all buyers are NOT from "out of town." Would an objective observer expect future condo developments to attract more out-of-towners or fewer? I am open to any explanation anyone is willing to offer. But I remain flabbergasted that nobody is asking any of these questions. These developers continue to promise that their projects draw a substantial interest from people in suburbia and even farther afield. But do they?

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