Category Archives: regionalism
This year marks the third annual Pages & Places Book Festival in Scranton on Saturday.
The event is intimately tied to Scranton as a place, its creators say:
“Pages & Places grew out of two overlapping phenomena. On the one hand, there’s the obvious, ongoing revitalization of the city of Scranton, manifest in new construction and the rehabilitation of some of the city’s landmark architecture, in the influx of new downtown residences, and the reinvigoration of long-time and former residents who have committed to opening businesses downtown. On the other is the realization that thriving American cities—and there are relatively few in the early 21st century—require a vivid and interactive arts and culture scene. The Pages & Places Book Festival is our contribution to these exciting and necessary trends.”
This year’s event features a host of panels speaking on everything from Coal Region writers to The Civil War to (Scranton native) Jane Jacobs and the death and life of Rust Belt cities, a panel co-sponsored by Rust Wire.
For more about the specific speakers and panels, click here.
One of the festival’s organizers, Bill Black, wrote a guest editorial for us last year about why he believes the festival is a key part of some exciting new things happening in Scranton.
Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of joining a group of Pittsburghers for an Urban Hike in Swissvale, a borough just outside the city with an interesting history.
Also on the journey: The Triangle Bar, home of the famous “Battleship” (giant sub sandwich).
Urban Hike is a group that regularly organizes hikes in the city’s various neighborhoods and surrounding communities, with stops along the way so participants can learn about what they are walking by/seeing. I recommend checking out their web site to learn more about where they will be trekking next.
What a great morning! A combination of some of my favorite things: cities, history and walking!
Very interesting story in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal about the difficulties of consolidating local governments and local government services.
It focuses on Michigan and Governor Rick Snyder’s push to consolidate some of its many units of government (1,773 municipalities, 609 school districts, 1,071 fire departments and 608 police departments, according to the story).
Though mergers might make fiscal sense, they aren’t always popular, as the story explains:
“Over the years, consolidation proposals haven’t fared well with voters. Of the 105 referendums on city-county mergers since 1902, only 27 have passed, the most recent in 2000, when Louisville, Ky., merged into Jefferson County, according to David Rusk, a Democratic ex-mayor of Albuquerque and a proponent of consolidation. Last year, voters vetoed a merger of Memphis, Tenn., with Shelby County. In March, Memphis voters approved a merger of the city and county school systems, over strong suburban opposition. The county board of education has sued to block the merger.”
Rust Wire is proud to present The Big Urban Photography Project art show, featuring photographic interpretations of Rust Belt cities as seen through the eyes of their young residents. The show is the result of a multi-year collaborative media project that called on the region’s best documentary and fine arts photographers.
Over two years, we asked for open submissions of photography highlighting the unique blend of despair and hope in a number of cities. Dozens of amateur and professional photographers submitted images of Detroit, Youngstown, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Chicago, Grand Rapids, Toledo, Cincinnati, Buffalo and others. The art show will allow us to share hold up the best work as a tribute to the region.
The Brew House, 2100 Mary Street in Pittsburgh’s South Side, will host the exhibit.
The show will open with a reception from 6-9 p.m. Friday, April 15. We would love to see you -our readers and contributors- there.
Let us know if you are coming here. We would love to meet as many of you as possible.
We also plan to bring the show to Cleveland and Youngstown soon!
A special thanks to Theo Keller at The Brew House, Tirzah DeCaria and Kara Skylling for helping plan and co-ordinate this show!
-Kate & Angie
This post was written by contributor Lewis Lehe. -KG
1) between 2000 and 2008, college graduates rose sharply as a share of the work-force in several urban areas
2) in the future, the graduate share will keep rising as older, less-educated workers retire
This news is good taken at face value, because research by Ed Glaeser and other urban economists suggests cities thrive as idea-generating centers. When educated people interact face-to-face, they breed businesses and insights.
Educational Attainment of Working-age Adults in Fourth District Metro Areas
|Working-age adults (2008)||Degree share 2000 (percent)||Degree share 2008 (percent)||Change (percent)|
Things I thought were interesting
Whitaker finds that Pittsburgh stands out in both trends, because we are gaining lots of graduates (mainly PA locals and international immigrants) and because our older workers are very uneducated—probably because they grew up in a city with steel mills. He speculates: “If the highly educated cohorts in Pittsburgh continue to phase in, the city will eventually have a workforce like a university town rather than a former industrial center.”
I also did my own comparison and found that the number of college-grad immigrants Pittsburgh gained exceeds the entire population of Bloomfield. I think this is a good thought comparison because Bloomfield itself is split between young college grads and old people. Here is a picture I took in Bloomfield that captures the tension:
These trends indicate Pittsburgh will probably become a better place for people like me to live. More college graduates will produce wider cultural variety, more startups, and less-corrupt politicians. I’m excited about that, but I believe there’s another side to this coin: Pittsburgh’s graduate share will rise in part because it is not a good place for working-class men and women to move. It’s not necessarily a bad thing when you take the whole universe into account, though. After all, in order for some places to be good at attracting working class men and women, other places have to be good at losing them (or at least not gaining them). But it’s worth keeping in mind.
In contrast, I thought this was worth highlighting: “Columbus and Cincinnati both experienced large increases in their populations of unskilled immigrants. In Columbus, the nondegreed immigrant adult population increased from just under 30,000 to over 46,000, and the equivalent population in Cincinnati increased from 19,700 to 29,600.”
Since unskilled immigrants are the working class of the working class, I say hats off to Columbus and Cincinnati for providing an attractive place for these families to live. Doubly so for Columbus as it is also a highly-educated city.
But frankly, I think it’s important to remember that whatever challenges our part of the country faces, it’s no bed of roses in the Sun Belt, either. And now there’s a book to explain more on this topic.
USA Today says the “sunburnt” cities of Florida, California and the Southwest must rethink themselves.
The paper writes, “Boomtowns that have been scorched by the housing crisis could learn from struggling Rust Belt communities,” according to Justin Hollander, urban planning professor at Tufts University and author of Sunburnt Cities: The Great Recession, Depopulation and Urban Planning in the American Sunbelt, which was published March 1.
“Sunburnt cities have a chance to limit growth for growth’s sake by allowing dense development and reducing parking requirements to encourage walking, public transportation and more green space, Hollander says.
‘In each place there are a lot of opportunities to think smaller,’ he says. ‘It hasn’t happened yet. Largely, these cities are in denial.'”
We’ll see, I guess, what kinds of choices places like the ones Hollander describes make.