Portland, Peduto And Progressive Politics: Pittsburgh Is Poised For Creative New Ideas

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its nei...

A map of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania with its neighborhoods labeled. For use primarily in the list of Pittsburgh neighborhoods. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Early Thursday, I tweeted a story from Salon that asked:  “Is Pittsburgh the Next Portland?”

The piece by longtime Pittsburgh fan Jim Russell originally appeared on the website Pacific Standard and opened with this provocative lead paragraph:

“What does a dying city look like? Brains are draining.  The population is shrinking or aging, or both.  Vibrant, creative class cool Portland is the antithesis of dying.  Yesterday, journalist Annalyn Kurtz tweets:  ‘See!  The Portland labor force lost 25,000 workers in the last year.’ “

The next sentence was the real killer:  “What in the name of Richard Florida is going on here?”  Pittsburghers of a certain age will remember when Richard Florida was just a local phenomenon.  The Carnegie Mellon professor from 1987 to 2004 literally wrote the book on what constitutes a livable city.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/opinion/tony-norman/heres-a-city-poised-for-creative-new-ideas-688899/#ixzz2UH8bzcYV

PhillyInc: Philadelphia Has Gained Much, But Not Jobs

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Several macrotrends have broken Philadelphia’s way:  The city’s population is growing again.  Residential building is up, and the city has seen an influx of college-educated young adults over the last decade.

But one trend remains stubbornly negative, as three recent research reports make clear: The city continues to lose jobs. The latest such evidence was included in the Center City District’s “State of Center City, 2013″ report, released Monday.

The special-services district can rightly brag about the increased vibrancy in the area wedged between the rivers and Vine and Pine Streets.  The city is cleaner since 1990, serious crime is down, and the churn in retail stores and restaurants is source of small-business strength.

Employment, though, remains a weakness, and if the long-term trend of job destruction does not change, it’s hard to imagine that the city could continue to maintain momentum in other areas.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/business/columnists/20130423_PhillyInc__Philadelphia_has_gained_much__but_not_jobs.html

Jobs Returning To The Lehigh Valley, Slowly

Lehigh Valley workers were hit harder by the recession and recovered more slowly from the damage than those in many comparable urban areas.

That finding and a slew of others are included in the fifth annual State of the Lehigh Valley research study that was rolled out Thursday at Lehigh University by the Lehigh Valley Research Consortium and Renew Lehigh Valley.

Researchers Christopher Ruebeck and Jamila Bookwala, who led the presentation, ran down regional employment figures between 2006 and 2012, finding that the Lehigh Valley’s job market held its own prior to the recession, comparing favorably with similar metro areas, with the nation as a whole and with our neighbors in New Jersey.

But the Valley’s unemployment rate rose more than comparable metro areas during the Great Recession, and those jobs have come back more slowly than in many comparable areas or the state or nation as a whole.

Read more:  http://www.mcall.com/news/breaking/mc-allentown-lehigh-valley-jobs-20130228,0,7642549.story

Crime Has Some Thinking Twice About Philly Life

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Ph...

English: This is my own work, Public Domain Photograph, not copyrighted Ed Yakovich http://www.flickr.com/photos/10396190@N04 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

BORN-AND-RAISED Philadelphian Danielle Harvey never really saw herself moving away from her hometown.

Then, last spring, she witnessed a shooting at the same bus stop where she had been robbed about a month before.

Harvey, 24, who worked at a law office in Center City, said that she was able to shake off the robbery, in which her phone was stolen and pockets rifled through at a bus stop outside Frankford’s Margaret-Orthodox El station.

“You live in the city, this stuff happens,” she said.  “That made me think this city is getting a little tiring to live in, but I never really imagined myself being somebody who could move.”

Then, about a month later, as she waited at the same bus stop, a man across the street from where she stood was shot in the neck.

“[The shooting] was pretty much the thing that more or less sealed it for me thinking I should get out of here,” she said.

Read more:  http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20130225_Crime_has_some_thinking_twice_about_Philly_life.html

Showing Our Age? Lancaster County Looking At Slowing Growth And Aging Population

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County

Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Lancaster County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lancaster County is growing, but the growth is slowing.

That report in last week’s Sunday News undoubtedly gave advocates of agricultural preservation and open space cause to celebrate.  After a 30-year period (from 1980 to 2010) of 43.3 percent population growth, the percentage is projected to be 25.5 percent by 2040.

While that translates into another 132,555 residents — moving the population from 519,445 in 2010 to 652,000 in 2040 — what gives us pause is the demographics of the projected growth.

Lancaster County planners said the biggest bump in population is expected to come from people older than 65. In other words, the county, already on its way to becoming a retirement mecca, will be growing by graying.

Read more: http://lancasteronline.com/article/local/760892_Showing-our-age-.html#ixzz2A2c3OHxm

Pittsburgh Sees Asian Population Increase

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro ar...

Locator map of the Greater Pittsburgh metro area in the western part of the of . Red denotes the Pittsburgh Metropolitan Statistical Area, and yellow denotes the New Castle Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is included in the Pittsburgh-New Castle CSA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When Deepti Alampally moved here from India four years ago, she didn’t have to explain where she was going.

“Everyone back home knows about Pittsburgh,” Ms. Alampally said.

She said Pittsburgh is famous among Hindus because its three rivers make it a holy city in the religion. It’s fitting, then, that Pittsburgh is home to nearly 15,000 South Asians, according to 2010 Census data. In total, nearly 50,000 Asians and Asian-Americans live in the Pittsburgh metro area — making them the second-largest minority group after African-Americans, and ahead of Hispanics.

That puts Pittsburgh right in line with the national trend, according to a Pew Research Center report released Tuesday.

Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/stories/local/region/pittsburgh-sees-asian-population-increase-641096/#ixzz1ySpSmX00