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Old 08-28-2014, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
3,451 posts, read 3,404,938 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
My experience with the other small rust-belt cities, as I have said, is they just don't have a core city which is gentrifying as fast or as widely. One half of the city is generally a low-income/black area which is treated as a mess that no white people ever go to. Even the working-class white sides of the cities often contain areas in steep decline. Usually it's just the downtowns, along with one or two neighborhoods immediately nearby, which experience gentrification, along with a socially stable neighborhood or two near the major universities. I know of none which have anything like Pittsburgh's East End, where some of the wealthiest neighborhoods in the entire metro are right inside of the city, and there's a swathe of neighborhoods between these and Downtown all gentrifying essentially simultaneously.
Since Pitt is likely the whitest major metro outside the West Coast (under a quarter black?) and the other cities you listed like Milwaukee (40% black) or Cincy (45% black) or Cleveland (55%) or St Louis (50%) or Buffalo (40%) are much higher, perhaps you simply equate "black" with "undesirable?" Happens a lot. There are good black neighborhoods with cool old buildings and histories that you're writing off as absolute wastelands because you don't understand them. For me, I just don't see Pittsburgh as some utopia that's "head and shoulders" above Milwaukee, to name just one. Pitt just seems to have a flurry of national press all of a sudden, and good for them.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:28 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheese plate View Post
Since Pitt is likely the whitest major metro outside the West Coast (under a quarter black?) and the other cities you listed like Milwaukee (40% black) or Cincy (45% black) or Cleveland (55%) or St Louis (50%) or Buffalo (40%) are much higher, perhaps you simply equate "black" with "undesirable?" Happens a lot. There are good black neighborhoods with cool old buildings and histories that you're writing off as absolute wastelands because you don't understand them. For me, I just don't see Pittsburgh as some utopia that's "head and shoulders" above Milwaukee, to name just one. Pitt just seems to have a flurry of national press all of a sudden, and good for them.
Around 25% black for the city is accurate. Still, the high white percentage is more remarkable (few Latinos live here). At 65% white, its the third whitest major core city after Portland and Seattle. And I'll freely admit the legacy of less white flight is part of what kept the city so much less blighted than some sister cities.

Still, Pittsburgh has plenty of gentrifying black neighborhoods, such as East Liberty, Garfield, and portions of the North Side. And since black neighborhoods are distributed throughout the metro, not just in one big lump (as in Milwaukee, Cleveland, Saint Louis, etc) the average white person in the city will spend some time in or near a majority-black neighborhood pretty frequently.

Topography also played a role - Pittsburgh didn't have a lot of flat land near Downtown, so most of the major mills were placed outside of the city, meaning a lot of 19th century neighborhoods survived inside Pittsburgh proper, whereas they were knocked down wholesale somewhere like Cleveland.

I admit I know less about Milwaukee than the other rust-belt cities. I do know though that it's a much more segregated/polarized metro than Pittsburgh - IIRC the most segregated in the country. So I'm guessing there aren't too many majority-black (or Latino, in South Milwaukee) neighborhoods which are undergoing significant gentrification/desegregation.
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:51 PM
 
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Quote:
Around 25% black for the city is accurate. Still, the high white percentage is more remarkable (few Latinos live here). At 65% white, its the third whitest major core city after Portland and Seattle. And I'll freely admit the legacy of less white flight is part of what kept the city so much less blighted than some sister cities.

Pittsburgh has experienced quite a sizable decline in population for it to be said that it wasn't as affected by white flight. I don't doubt the resurgence in its core, but how do you define renaissance? The city has lost over half it's population from it's peak, in the last 3 years it is estimated to have gained an anemic amount of population but that can't be confirmed until the 2020 census. Even it's metropolitan area as a whole has had a population decline since the 70's. Whereas most of it's rustbelt counterparts did not suffer a similar metro decline.

The Detroit area has been the poster child for decline and while the city proper lost population, it's metro area gained every decade until the 2010 census and it is already showing signs of reversal. Why would the Detroit area continue to grow while PGH lost residents? What's the difference?

Cities can't reborn without investment, but where are the people?
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Old 08-28-2014, 12:59 PM
 
Location: Cleveland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eschaton View Post
Topography also played a role - Pittsburgh didn't have a lot of flat land near Downtown, so most of the major mills were placed outside of the city, meaning a lot of 19th century neighborhoods survived inside Pittsburgh proper, whereas they were knocked down wholesale somewhere like Cleveland.
Knocked down wholesale? There are no neighborhoods in Cleveland that have been completely knocked down. There are some neighborhoods that are very rough, and have a lot of abandoned houses, but there are still lots of people that live there (i.e. it's not like Detroit where whole city blocks are leveled). There are also a lot of neighborhoods that are gentrifying and rebuilding. I don't think Pittsburgh is as "head and shoulders" above the rest as you'd like to think. Isn't the city on receivership from the state, and classified as "financially distressed"? Cleveland on the other hand has received less state money, and has posted budget surpluses in recent years.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:05 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
Pittsburgh has experienced quite a sizable decline in population for it to be said that it wasn't as affected by white flight. I don't doubt the resurgence in its core, but how do you define renaissance? The city has lost over half it's population from it's peak, in the last 3 years it is estimated to have gained an anemic amount of population but that can't be confirmed until the 2020 census. Even it's metropolitan area as a whole has had a population decline since the 70's. Whereas most of it's rustbelt counterparts did not suffer a similar metro decline.

The Detroit area has been the poster child for decline and while the city proper lost population, it's metro area gained every decade until the 2010 census and it is already showing signs of reversal. Why would the Detroit area continue to grow while PGH lost residents? What's the difference?

Cities can't reborn without investment, but where are the people?
Pittsburgh's population decline mostly came about because of shrinking family size, not outright decline in number of households. I did out a calculation a few years back, and if Pittsburgh gained only 110,000 people, it would have the exact same number of households as it did at its peak in 1950, meaning the city would functionally speaking be full again.

This also shows why the 50%+ decline in Pittsburgh was different than 50%+ declines elsewhere in the rust belt. In Pittsburgh after the crash of the steel industry in the early 1980s, the norm was often that the children moved away, and an elderly couple remained empty nesters until they died of old age or could no longer take care of themselves. In contrast, in other major rust-belt cities where black/Latino families were replacing white families, the newer households were often the same or equal size to the old ones. So the actual number of households, and thus overall housing demand, declined further.

The legacy of this weird cause for Pittsburgh's decline is seen in the negative natural population growth the city until recently, and the MSA as a whole, still has. Pittsburgh literally had more deaths than births because so many people of childbearing age had moved away in the 1980s. This masked an inflection point which was reached in the last decade, where more people began moving to the MSA than left. It's beginning to right itself now, but my understanding is because of the negative rates in the outer counties, it will be some time before the MSA as a whole will be back in positive territory.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:11 PM
 
Location: Milwaukee
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I dunno man, seems like you're reaching a good bit for an explanation here. Isn't it usually the more obvious, direct-line reasoning rather than circuitous statistical anomalies?
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:29 PM
 
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It has to be more than natural decline. You don't lose more than half your population only because of people dying. I'm not saying Pittsburgh is the same as Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis, but it has suffered the same dramatic loss of population as these cities. It has also had the same struggles to turn it around. The natural birth rate simply cannot explain it. I don't think it's at all coincidental that Pittsburgh's hallmark industry suffered huge losses. It doesn't seem logical to say that a city that was an industrial giant, had different fates than the other industrial giants, it all happened at the same time. Under that premise one would have to believe that the industrial decline, and suburbanization of the entire country didn't impact western PA, and that it was in a bubble.

I really believe Pittsburgh's losses were economical more than natural, it's only common sense. The fact is Pittsburgh has almost fully transitioned it's economy now and I do believe will continue to grow and get better. It may have turned a corner and in its current state be a leg up on its peer cities, i'm not qualified to say. But it is intellectually dishonest to claim that it didn't suffer from the same problems as the stereotypical less desirable rust belt counterparts.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:40 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cleverfield View Post
Knocked down wholesale? There are no neighborhoods in Cleveland that have been completely knocked down. There are some neighborhoods that are very rough, and have a lot of abandoned houses, but there are still lots of people that live there (i.e. it's not like Detroit where whole city blocks are leveled). There are also a lot of neighborhoods that are gentrifying and rebuilding. I don't think Pittsburgh is as "head and shoulders" above the rest as you'd like to think. Isn't the city on receivership from the state, and classified as "financially distressed"? Cleveland on the other hand has received less state money, and has posted budget surpluses in recent years.
Cleveland suffered much more than Pittsburgh when it came to residential areas in or around downtown being knocked down in the early 20th century to expand industrial areas. Portions of Ohio City and Tremont are the only residential areas you could walk into town in less than a half an hour. While Pittsburgh engaged in a good deal of clearance around Downtown as well, you can still walk to it from many residential neighborhoods within that time frame, including Uptown, the Lower Hill, Allegheny West, Allegheny Center, East Allegheny, parts of South Side Flats, and (if you use the incline to get down the cliff) Mount Washington.

Pittsburgh's current credit rating is A+ and was upgraded twice in less than a year. Last I checked Cleveland's was downgraded in 2011 to A+, and hasn't changed since. So we're considered on the same fiscal footing.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Pittsburgh, PA (Morningside)
12,448 posts, read 11,955,665 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjlo View Post
It has to be more than natural decline. You don't lose more than half your population only because of people dying. I'm not saying Pittsburgh is the same as Cleveland, Detroit, and St. Louis, but it has suffered the same dramatic loss of population as these cities. It has also had the same struggles to turn it around. The natural birth rate simply cannot explain it. I don't think it's at all coincidental that Pittsburgh's hallmark industry suffered huge losses. It doesn't seem logical to say that a city that was an industrial giant, had different fates than the other industrial giants, it all happened at the same time. Under that premise one would have to believe that the industrial decline, and suburbanization of the entire country didn't impact western PA, and that it was in a bubble.

I really believe Pittsburgh's losses were economical more than natural, it's only common sense. The fact is Pittsburgh has almost fully transitioned it's economy now and I do believe will continue to grow and get better. It may have turned a corner and in its current state be a leg up on its peer cities, i'm not qualified to say. But it is intellectually dishonest to claim that it didn't suffer from the same problems as the stereotypical less desirable rust belt counterparts.
The Pittsburgh MSA had a huge population decline due to outmigration, which peaked in the 1980s. The outmigration continued until around 2007, when more people started moving into the metro than leaving. My point was the outmigration was mostly due to kids leaving and their middle-aged parents staying behind, so you didn't see as many neighborhoods fall into blight. Housing prices dropped very, very low however. As a result, like ten years ago, it was still easy to buy a historic house which needed some work in a not particularly dangerous neighborhood for like $30,000. Those sorts of deals are pretty much done now, but it created some unique dynamics in Pittsburgh for awhile, which helped spur gentrification.
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Old 08-28-2014, 01:58 PM
 
4,995 posts, read 7,325,892 times
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I think the "rust belt" needs a re-branding of sorts.
Cities like Detroit, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Cinnci just sound like crap....
Pittsburgh is the pitts! Cleveland, the mistake on the lake! etc etc...

they need to shake that "rust belt" feel and name, I hate it. The rust belt just sounds bombed and depleted and depressing, ugh never wanna live in any of those cities would hate living in "the rust belt" No thanks
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