July 30, 2015 the mystery of Pittsburgh
This year I am, for the first time in four years, teaching a seminar on Sprawl on the Law. It will be a bit harder this year, in that I don’t have a simple story to tell about the local surroundings.
The first time I taught the course (in Carbondale, Il.) I could focus on the decline of St. Louis (the nearest major city). So in a sense the course was a story about: What made St. Louis sprawl?
Then I taught the course in Jacksonville, Fl., a growing but pedestrian-hostile city. So I could focus on: why is it so hard to get around Jacksonville without driving?
Pittsburgh is pretty pedestrian-friendly and somewhat successful- but not completely. Its not growing like NYC (so I can’t focus on “Why is this town so expensive?” which would have to be the main NYC story), but it hasn’t declined as rapidly as St. Louis either. It has lost a lot of population but still has more successful neighborhoods and less crime than St. Louis, so it is kind of a middle ground between the success stories and the failures.