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Old 02-03-2009, 09:09 PM
Location: Pittsburgh
2,237 posts, read 6,565,683 times
Reputation: 843


I sometimes think of what my hometown of Pittsburgh would have been like without fires, urban decay and bad politics. Without such things the city would be absolutely spectacular. I suspect that many of us wish that certain planned projects were actually executed, decayed neighborhoods restored or that visionary ideas implemented. Thus, my question to you is this: in a perfect world, what would your city be like?

To give you an example, this is what I would wish for my city:

(1) Old Georgian City: In 1845 downtown Pittsburgh burned to the ground destroying nearly every building. Today, only a couple of old Georgian buildings stand. I wish that Pittsburgh had a section of downtown equivalent to Philadelphia's Old City. That all that super-old architecture was still standing--particularly the Georgian townhouses.

(2) Extended Subway: Pittsburgh's subway is one of the smallest in the world with only three underground stops downtown, and 30 miles or so above ground in the southern end of the city. Part of this size problem is that our politicians who can never agree where the subway should go. Thus, I wish that our subway would be extended to the East End and Oakland (the third largest business district in the state), to the Southside (our bar district) among other neighborhoods.

(3) Core Restoration: I wish that the Hill District, the entire Northside, Strip District, and Uptown were restored completely. The Hill District used to be a booming super-urban neighborhood filled with row houses and jazz--a blue collar Back Bay or Beacon Hill. The Northside, though well restored already, needs improvement. The Northside is a large area comprised almost entirely of Victorian row houses and a few mansions. This Victorian neighborhood would be the perfect complement to the Old Georgian city downtown. The Strip District, if restored, would be like a European marketplace. Additionally, I wish the junkier housing stock near the South Hills would be replaced with brick row housing like the core of Pittsburgh.

(4) Ivy League: Finally, I wish that Pitt became the Ivy League school it set out to be. The University of Pittsburgh was started in the mid-1700s, making it one of the oldest universities in the country. Many people don't realize, but at one time Pitt had made a serious push to join the Ivy League. They had the professors, they had the students, they had the age; but all their pushing eventually drove them into bankrupsy and forced them to take money from the state, ending their Ivy League hopes. I can only imagine what Pittsburgh would be like today had it been a city with the recognition of an Ivy League school, and a top tech school (Carnegie Mellon).

So if your city had reached its potential, what do you think it would look like?
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