Spotlight on Sustainability: Pittsburgh's Waterfronts
After facing a major economic downturn in the 1980s due to a drop in steel business demand and production, Pittsburgh is on the rebound, with city leaders looking to transform former industrial corridors into vibrant riverfront neighborhoods.
Today, the former “Steel City” is known as a growing hub for high-tech innovation, education and health care. Pittsburgh’s art scene, job prospects, safety and affordability recently earned it the title of “Most Livable City in America” by Forbes Magazine, and the city’s economic rebound has proven so successful that its story is serving as a model for other recession-hit cities.
Still, Pittsburgh’s comeback is not without obstacles, as many of the areas best suited for in-demand development were not originally envisioned as such, said Lena Andrews, senior planning specialist at the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.
“Pittsburgh’s riverfronts were used as transportation corridors for industrial production, and were characterized by factories, barges and pollution,” Andrews said. “While the environment has improved since then, the land surrounding them has remained relatively unchanged. The riverfronts were designed around industry rather than the community, and the land around them does not connect to our neighborhoods.”