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Sundodger

Pittsburgh compared to Seattle

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Sundodger    1

The two legit reasons are A) weather and B ) job growth however both while legit reasons when compared to Dallas or San Diego don't really hold water when you consider Minneapolis and Seattle and Boston are "it" cities but a virtual weather purgatory.

Seattle has great weather. It isn't cold & gets less rain than most major east coast cities. That whole rain myth is to scare Californians away.

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PghUSA    0

Seattle is a great place with great weather, my only point is that taken in its entirety Pittsburgh is just as great (unique in some ways better some ways not so much better but overall just as great). That is the shock though, most MTV watchers, High Schoolers, College crowd, and even VIPs and business managers have a Hollywood/Wall Street/Madison Avenue stereotype ground into them that Seattle is cool, seattle is hip, Seattle is happening and Pittsburgh is where you go to die in business and style and fashion. Just not true, another example is about 6 months ago the CNBC crew introduced a money manager from Pittsburgh via remote and were in the studio on air joking about how Pittsburgh is a "garden spot" hardy har har, and saying now from (sneer sneer sneer) Pittsburgh . . . . etc. Would anyone, any one contemplate introducing Seattle or Minneapolis or Boston that way? If anyone did the reaction would be "why is that funny" "I don't get it" and yet the weather in those cities and the environmental quality of life is very similar to Pittsburgh. Apples to Apples and yet we are treated like a lemon?!?

By the way if Seattle is that much nicer then Pittsburgh you have about 3 million SW Pennsylvanians thinking differently (the facts as I understand them is that besides snowfall Seattle is very comprable to Pittsburgh in precipition, clouds vs. sun, and average temperature). Here is an article about Pittsburgh vs. your neighbor to the north Vancouver both of which were chosen as the "Most Livable Cities" in North America recently. It is 100 miles or so north of you, so it might be that Vancouver has a few extra days of cloudiness or rain and might be a few degrees colder on average but by in large 100 miles isn't enough to fly to paradise (New Yorkers don't go to Philadelphia to get out of the cold etc.).

But hey we do envy Bill Gates calling you guys home ;).

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Sundodger    1

yet the weather in those cities and the environmental quality of life is very similar to Pittsburgh.

Seattle's weather is nothing like Pittsburgh. For one, it doesn't snow in Seattle that often.

besides snowfall Seattle is very comprable to Pittsburgh in precipition, clouds vs. sun, and average temperature).
The weather isn't comparable at all. Seattle has an extreme rainy season & an extreme dry season; it is nothing like Pittsburgh. It also has more moderate weather; warmer winters, cooler summers, no humidity.

It is 100 miles or so north of you,

I don't live in Seattle & even if I did, it is more like 150 miles away. With the extreme NW geography & prevailing weather patterns, 150 miles is another world climate wise. Just look at the climate difference between Victora, BC & Vancouver, BC or Seattle, WA & Olympia, WA. Heck, check out the weather in Sequim, WA vs. Forks, WA on the other side of the same county to get the idea.

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Evergrey    0

Seattle's weather is nothing like Pittsburgh. For one, it doesn't snow in Seattle that often.

The weather isn't comparable at all. Seattle has an extreme rainy season & an extreme dry season; it is nothing like Pittsburgh. It also has more moderate weather; warmer winters, cooler summers, no humidity.

I don't live in Seattle & even if I did, it is more like 150 miles away. With the extreme NW geography & prevailing weather patterns, 150 miles is another world climate wise. Just look at the climate difference between Victora, BC & Vancouver, BC or Seattle, WA & Olympia, WA. Heck, check out the weather in Sequim, WA vs. Forks, WA on the other side of the same county to get the idea.

Enough with the nitpicking. This is the "Pittsburgh Answers Guide". Not the "Let's discuss the intricacies of Pacific Northwest weather" thread. The point PghUSA was making is that Seattle is not seen as a "tropical weather paradise" that is so in vogue with the vast majority of Americans... which is a similar problem Pittsburgh has. Pittsburgh and Seattle both have great weather in my opinion, though quite different from each other. I'll take the weather in these two cities over South Carolina any day. But despite the negative perception the vast majority of Americans have of Seattle's weather ("it's always rainy, cold and dreary and everyone wears flannel!"), Seattle has continued to flourish.

Yes, I'm sure there's many in Pittsburgh long to live in the weather paradise of North Carolina... ("it's south, but not that far south... so you still get the seasons but it only snows for a couple weeks" blah blah blah). But I don't believe weather is one of the main reasons of decline. Unfortunately, the great city of Pittsburgh is infected with a self-loathing population. Despite the countless great and unique things about the city, they find every little thing possible to complain about it. And this poisonous attitude of the populace does nothing but hurt the city and its image abroad.

One of the main reasons for Pittsburgh's continued decline... is still the death of the steel industry. Yes, that happened in the 80s... but Pittsburgh lost 120,000 jobs thanks to the industrial crash. The city pretty much lost a whole generation of Pittsburghers. These people fled to Charlotte, Raleigh, Las Vegas, Phoenix, NoVa... and took part in the great Pittsburgh diaspora. This critical age group of 30-somethings is largely absent from the metro now. Pittsburgh has one of the oldest populations in the country. The death rate is exceeding the birth rate. Pittsburgh has also been off the radar for international immigration, especially Latino immigration which has buoyed the populations of so many U.S. cities in the past decade.

It's remarkable that Pittsburgh was able to weather that perfect storm in the 80s and rebound so impressively. It's made great strides in healthcare, finance, education and other critical sectors and has posted job gains in each of the past 15 years. There have been many encouraging signs for the city lately. Despite the massive population gain, the city has remained remarkably in tact; unlike many of its industrial peers like Cleveland and Detroit. The neighborhoods are generally friendly, attractive, interesting and safe places. The city has a world-class setting... its rivers and hills are something nobody can ever take away from this city. Residential development in the downtown and periphery is booming. I hope that it is only a matter of time before people begin to discover the urban treasure that is Pittsburgh. It deserves much better than its current fate.

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PghUSA    0

Evergrey some great points. You did forget one important ingredient though, if you do a verbal rorschach test with executive VIPs, college kids, MTV junkies, and the "jet set" and throw out "Seattle" to them they will not have the same initial reaction as if you throw out "Pittsburgh", yes of course there are differences but concerning the major attributes of each metro area they are very very similar.

My original point in mentioning Seattle was that the usual migration has been to the "sunbelt" primarily for the weather excuse, however cities such as New York, Minneapolis, Chicago, Boston and Seattle have managed to buck that negative weather stereotype at least in overall reputation, they are still percieved by the youth and young executives as "cool" and "hip" and a great place to do business, Pittsburgh is all too often dismissed with a chuckle.

As far as your specific weather points you might want to check this out:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762183.html

other then the fact that Pittsburgh gets to build snowmen and snowforts (which is really fun ;) ), and a 20 degree difference in January, the cities are virtually twins weatherwise.

Evergrey is right though a question such as this can be further discussed in it's own thread. To not lose sight of the larger point of bringing up Seattle in the first place, Madison Avenue and Hollywood Blvd. et. al. seem to vaunt Seattle up to a place for the elite "hip" and "happening" regions of the world, where as everything from CNBC, Fox's "OC" and MTV's the real world have responded with laughter when Pittsburgh is mentioned on screen. Are they right? Well when those same exec's, hipsters and youth trendsetters finally visit Pittsburgh they come away with comparing it exactly to Seattle and San Francisco and Boston. Strange they don't compare Pittsburgh to Pittsburgh . . . guess they even understand that the word has been slighted irrevocably at least in their generation.

I could go on with this for hours but if anyone out there is curious to hear my views they are extremely well documented (along with the evidence) below in the forum. ;)

I appreciated the discussion about comparatives with Seattle and the Pacific NW but as this is a marked topic about Pittsburgh Answers (and not general discussion) will be transferring all future sidebars to a dedicated thread within this subforum. :) Interested in hearing more about it, just not as a regional answers topic.

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Sundodger    1

I appreciated the discussion about comparatives with Seattle and the Pacific NW but as this is a marked topic about Pittsburgh Answers (and not general discussion) will be transferring all future sidebars to a dedicated thread within this subforum. :)

Cool. But since it hasn't been moved yet:

You did forget one important ingredient though, if you do a verbal rorschach test with executive VIPs, college kids, MTV junkies, and the "jet set" and throw out "Seattle" to them they will not have the same initial reaction as if you throw out "Pittsburgh", yes of course there are differences but concerning the major attributes of each metro area they are very very similar.

I don't think they are similar. Different culture out west, different regulation, taxation, etc. Then factor in Seattle's location & incredible geography. To say that Seattle & Pittsburgh are different is not knocking Pittsburgh at all. The place has all the potential in the world with its solid bones; great geography, history, academic institutions, sports franchises with great venues, location, etc. It just needs to jump to the future when it comes taxation, regulation, etc. People tend to blame the shift to the sunbelt on weather; they are wrong. My family fled upstate NY for the westcoast & it wasn't the weather that chased us away from the NE.

As far as your specific weather points you might want to check this out:

http://www.infoplease.com/ipa/A0762183.html

other then the fact that Pittsburgh gets to build snowmen and snowforts (which is really fun ;) ), and a 20 degree difference in January, the cities are virtually twins weatherwise.

They are not virtually twins, the weather in the two is greatly different. For example Seattle can go weeks without seeing a cloud or drop of rain in the summertime. Thundershowers are extremely rare. Also there is very little humidity. And in the winter they get lots of clouds and rain, no snow. About the only time the weather is similar is probably a brief period in fall & spring.

To not lose sight of the larger point of bringing up Seattle in the first place, Madison Avenue and Hollywood Blvd. et. al. seem to vaunt Seattle up to a place for the elite "hip" and "happening" regions of the world,

That's easy; because it is. It has been an entrpreneual & cultural hotbed for awhile now.

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PghUSA    0

^^I know you don't mean this as a slight to Pittsburgh, and granted (as I've stated from the beginning) there is not a perfect match of similarity between the two cities. But that last comment struck me as odd, Seattle is rightly deserving of its reputation (though it is sometimes overblown), though Pittsburgh in some aspects even exceeds Seattle metro in the test of "hip" and "happening" but still doesn't make the Hollywood Blvd. or Madison Ave. grade.

http://www.thecollegecity.com . . . close to 150,000 college students mostly in the immediate eastern side of the city from downtown making a very vibrant and hip youth area for the city.

http://www.presentingpittsburgh.com/living.asp . . . many "quality of life" factors ranking Pittsburgh among the highest in the nation, definetly a factor for the "hip" and "happening".

I could go on and on. Pittsburgh won't be competing against South Beach or the Village anytime soon, but it is much more a cool city then the major media cabal gives it credit for.

One quick aside, as far as the climate and the overall similarities (academic, corporate, cultural, etc.) I think you are looking a little too closely at the numbers. There are major differences between Seattle and Pittsburgh, never pretended there wasn't, but if you had to list 5 metro areas Pittsburgh most closely compares to Seattle would make almost every list. The topography, overall climate, recreation and water resources, the new wealth is making Seattle comparative to Pittsburgh's old wealth in cutural and academic resources. Politically both cities are decidedly in the "blue" column, etc. etc.

Outside of a few comparatives Pittsburgh and Dallas or Pittsburgh and Miami or even Pittsburgh and NYC would never really make an apples to apples comparsion. Pittsburgh along with Cincy, Detroit, Cleveland, San Francisco, Seattle and possibly Boston, I have heard compared on several occasions.

The facts you site Sun aren't wrong, they are just less relevant (the exception to the rule) when looking at the whole and searching for a comparable metro to compare Seattle to or Pittsburgh to.

I will grant you one major difference is the taxation and corporate-friendly government side of things. Although I am not a Seattle expert by any means I have heard some things about the area that doesn't exactly make it a Texas or Florida or Nevada when it comes to welcoming business and streamlining regulation. Two things that immediately pop into my mind is the heavy handed Seattle City Council passing a very high "coffee tax" to pay for some non-essential program (memory foggy on this), also the loss of Boeing to the regulation heavy and political machine (some allege) city of Chicago (northeast?).

Every city isn't perfect in every way, Seattle has done TONS for the rep it has earned, but again some of that reputation is taken at face value as a "hip city", whereas Pittsburgh--a metro with very similar overall factors--is somehow not on that "hip list". If Pittsburgh lost Boeing and raised taxes on coffee it's image to MTVers and corporate VPs wouldn't be able to cover for it like Seattle's has. At least thats my view on it.

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I'll venture to say that there is another, less intuitive explanation for the national disparagment of Pittsburgh. This might sound a bit Marxist but it's not intended to. And yes, it's not about the weather.

Now Pittsburgh has some very rich people and some of the richest neighborhoods in the country. There's some old money here. In fact, Pennsylvanians as a whole are some of the more prosperous people in the US. But there is also a long history of class conflict and social awareness. Our culture reflects that. It's not cool to be rich here. You don't see too many italian supercars, luxury megayachts, $10,000 fashion accessories around here the way you do especially in Western cities, at least not blatantly in public. The robber barons have inflicted enough harm on the city of Pittsburgh to know better than to flaunt their excess.

While our working-class heritage gives us a sense of community and strength, it is definitely misunderstood and derrided by the hip, newly rich MTV jet CEOs. They don't want to be here because they don't feel wholly comfortable making a place for themselves between condenscending old money on the one hand and a restive working class on the other. To some extent it's not even their own fault.

Yes there are other nuances to it but much of everything about Pittsburgh's reputation can fit within this framework.

And this framework is important to understand because of the nature of the disparagement against Pittsburgh. People say it's the taxes and it's the unions in one breath like it's all somehow joined at the hip. Pittsburgh has some backwards government, but it's not the unions so much as it is in the old corporate trustees who have so much power in day to day decisions. So much of the old corporations downtown who pay no taxes and so much of the affluent suburbanite commuters who don't contribute either. It's not the taxes so much as those not being taxed, yet preside over those who are.

The call to dis-organize workers and dismantle taxes comes from many in the jeering crowd of new-money westeners who are accostumed to businesses running to the lowest bidder. Pittsburgh has been around long enough that we know this does not work out for the local economy, and people around here have fought hard to improve their qualities of life. FYI some of the most fast-paced, technologically advanced economies, ie california, ie pennsylvania, have some of the highest taxes. Sure companies leave sometimes, to the lowest bidder. But they all start out here. One thing Pittsburgh doesn't need to do is attract some start-up from Las Vegas. So let the nascent and naive believe what they will, Pittsburgh will still remain one of the more liveable cities in the world (not just for the rich).

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Sundodger    1

iPghUSA -

"But that last comment struck me as odd, Seattle is rightly deserving of its reputation (though it is sometimes overblown), though Pittsburgh in some aspects even exceeds Seattle metro in the test of "hip" and "happening" but still doesn't make the Hollywood Blvd. or Madison Ave. grade."

I don't think Seattle is overblown at all. It has been an entreprenual & cultural hotspot pretty much from the start. Seattle exports business & culture, and has done so for a long time. From UPS, United Airlines, Boeing, Mars, to Jimi Hendrix, Grunge, Nordstrom, Starbucks, & Microsoft. Heck, Seattle even started the awful 'wave' at sporting events & cursed us with Kenny G & Kenny Loggins.

"I could go on and on. Pittsburgh won't be competing against South Beach or the Village anytime soon, but it is much more a cool city then the major media cabal gives it credit for."

That is why Pittsburgh needs to reform govt. & why I am disapointed in Gov. Rendell. The bones of Pittsburgh are strong, stronger than most American cities. The economic & population growth shows something is wrong. No income tax in Seattle. If there was no income tax in Pittsburgh, entrepreneurs would flock there like they do Seattle to take advantage of universities & other amenities Pittsburgh has to offer. Seattle has to import a lot of college graduates. A lot of Purdue, Northwestern, & Georgia Tech alums in the area.

"I will grant you one major difference is the taxation and corporate-friendly government side of things. Although I am not a Seattle expert by any means I have heard some things about the area that doesn't exactly make it a Texas or Florida or Nevada when it comes to welcoming business and streamlining regulation. "

That's true but no income tax & if your business isn't tight on the margins, a grocery store for example, the B&O tax isn't bad. The B&O tax taxes revenue rather than profit which hurts some businesses. Our sales tax is high but I live less than 2 hours from Portland, OR where there is no sales tax. Those people in Vancouver, WA make out like bandits! As for regulation, that's changing via the citizen's initiative process. Even Oregon is liberalizing their regulation.

"Two things that immediately pop into my mind is the heavy handed Seattle City Council passing a very high "coffee tax" to pay for some non-essential program (memory foggy on this),"

It was a crackpot citizen's initiative & it lost big time at the ballot box.

" also the loss of Boeing to the regulation heavy and political machine (some allege) city of Chicago (northeast?). "

If regulation was Boeing's problem, why did they only move their HQs & after moving their HQs, place their new assembly line for their new jumbo jet in Everett, WA? They moved to Chicago because they are slowly moving away from being mainly a commercial airplane company. Moving the HQs away from their massive commercial division was done for image, not money.

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Sundodger    1

The call to dis-organize workers and dismantle taxes comes from many in the jeering crowd of new-money westeners who are accostumed to businesses running to the lowest bidder.

It is people who value freedom, independence, & prosperity who are pushing for these neccessary reforms. Marixism is a religion, not a viable economic system. Seattle has the ultra rich, a healthy middle class, & not that much of a poor problem. You have to go to the rural areas to find the worst poverty out west.

Pittsburgh has been around long enough that we know this does not work out for the local economy, and people around here have fought hard to improve their qualities of life.

And Pittsburgh is one of the few shrinking metors. People are voting with their feet. My family did, we fled NY. I am glad I did. I saved a fortune from property & income taxes & my property appreciation is way better to boot. Not to mention better climate, geography, etc.

U

FYI some of the most fast-paced, technologically advanced economies, ie california, ie pennsylvania, have some of the highest taxes.

And they are losing business to Nevada & Idaho daily. Crony big govt. is a dying propostion. Pittsburgh overcomes this 19th century economic model, the sooner they become America's next boom town.

So let the nascent and naive believe what they will, Pittsburgh will still remain one of the more liveable cities in the world (not just for the rich).

For the poor & ultra rich. The middle class is fleeing for the more liberal states.

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It is people who value freedom, independence, & prosperity who are pushing for these neccessary reforms. Marixism is a religion, not a viable economic system. Seattle has the ultra rich, a healthy middle class, & not that much of a poor problem. You have to go to the rural areas to find the worst poverty out west.

Freedom isn't without responsibility. A motto of our military (I'm a US Marine) is "Freedom isn't free." Certainly taxes are not a punishment nor Marxist, but the cost of participation in a free society, especially significant to those who contribute nothing more. It tells a lot about your point of view when you frame working class as poor and a problem. Are we still talking about people who work for a living and try to make ends meet?

Either way Marxism is just a way of modeling societal institutions in a simplified way that can offer some functional insight. Unless you choose to worship it. The supply and demand curves (that free-marketers religiously worship as if it were the whole of economics) is another such simplified model (I also hold a degree in economics). Collective bargaining is not Marxist either, it is exactly what should happen in an "free market" economy, much as it is to the dismay of the Walmarts out there.

A philosophy of seeing organized labor as a "bad" and taxes as a "bad" might fit in with some political agendas but it isn't related to real economic thought.

Furthermore I only suggested that one not mistake what I said for Marxism, only because I was aware that I used a similar language to point out the fact that there is a noticeably different relationship between rich and poor in Pittsburgh than in both Eastern and Western cities. It's a real difference that you can see immediately in the fashion (Fashion trend-setters look to Pittsburgh to see "what's real"), the low(er) tolerance for show ponies and status symbols, and things like say, the fact that Pittsburgh has a long running record with the lowest crime rate for any city it's size or larger.

But it's also a difference that the pigeonholed MTV-esque appraisals of Pittsburgh can't understand because it doesn't fit one of their pre-conceived notions. I have ended friendships because people incessantly berrated my choice of living in Pittsburgh even though it's plain better than where they live, and many Pittsburghers feel the same kind of frustration. That's why we here in Pittsburgh try to compare ourselves to other places just to see how undervalued our city is.

And Pittsburgh is one of the few shrinking metors. People are voting with their feet. My family did, we fled NY. I am glad I did. I saved a fortune from property & income taxes & my property appreciation is way better to boot. Not to mention better climate, geography, etc.
This is a topic of great contention in this forum and I'm probably not the only one who will mention it. Pittsburgh covers 55 square miles and has the 5th highest population density in the USA. That's in spite of having lost 120,000 jobs in the 80's and a continuing loss of population to the suburbs. Sprawl isn't an affliction unique to Pittsburgh. Most of the sunbelt cities have lost urban population to sprawl despite having "gained" population overall, and much of the urban populations themselves have only been replenished by immigration, not by people staying put.

And they are losing business to Nevada & Idaho daily. Crony big govt. is a dying propostion. Pittsburgh overcomes this 19th century economic model, the sooner they become America's next boom town.

Whenever Nevada and Idaho come up with a new technology that somebody else might want, let me know. Until proven otherwise, the flow of ideas is one sided because they're filling in a vaccum. It's political arbitrage, and it doesn't really benefit anyone in the end. With falling water tables, dried out rivers, and sediment-filler reservuors, some of those cities have no business trying to attract more of anything.

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TheGerbil    0

After reading through this thread, I just want to toss out a couple of points:

1) Pittsburghers are very defensive about their city, because of it's bad reputation. Those of us who know this is a great place to live, we tend to get a little jealous of other cities' good reputations. Sometimes this can come across the wrong way. I don't want to put words in PghUSA's mouth, but I think that is why he said Seattle's reputation is overblown.

2) I believe that most of Pittsburgh's problems stem from the state government. Many other PA cities have exactly the same problems we do. The state tax system is biased against urban areas. There isn't a lot the city itself can do, all we can do is push the stat gov't, and keep our fingers crossed. This is an issue that frustrates me greatly.

3) I read all kinds of articles and message boards, and keep up on current events in the city. I know there is tons of cool stuff going on that most people, including locals, are totally unaware of. This really is a cool city, and a wonderful place to live. But a lot of the coolness here is more grass-roots. It isn't the sort of thing your average 18 year old MTV watcher looks for.

4) There are a lot of creative people here, and a lot of people with strong entrepeneurial spirits. Some still leave, but not like in the 90's. I see more and more staying. I see more and more coming back.

5) The population loss at this point is pretty small, and largely due to elderly people dying or retiring out of state. I think we'd be growing like any other city if more immigrants had us on their radar. If it weren't for immigration, most US cities would be shrinking. So the real issue isn't stopping population loss, it's finding a way to get more immigrants to consider this as a place to go.

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urbanophile    0

Here are my observations on Pittsburgh vs. Seattle

Youth Vibe

As stated above, Pittsburgh has lost an entire generation. Meanwhile, Seattle, mostly because of jobs, has gained alot of people from that generation. The end result is that Seattle has a stronger youth culture.

Advantage - Seattle

Culture

Pittsburgh's symphony, museums, and other cultural institutions easily outrank Seattle's. Seattle appears to have more artists and art galleries but far less of the established institutions that will cultive an art culture in the long term.

Advantage - Pittsburgh

Economy

Neither city's economies are doing too well at this point. However, Seattle's seem better poised for future growth because it is a hub for high-tech and has far better conenctions to the rest of the world (with non-stop flights to Asia and Europe vs. none for Pgh) and its situation on the Pacific Rim.

Advantage - Seattle

Transportation

Pittsburgh's highway system, though much maligned, still mvoes people around alot quicker than I-5 and I-405 do. Also, Pittsburgh has an established light rail system whereas Seattle is dragging its feet building one.

Advantage - Pittsburgh

Outdoor activities

Both cities are in regions well suited for anyone who craves outdoor activities. However, with the ocean nearby and Pudget Sound and Lake Washington on its doorstep, Seattle edges out Pittsburgh

Advantage - Seattle

Intellectual Life

With more college students, Pittsburgh has more of the feel of a large college town. Seattle has that feel somewhat but not as much.

Advantage - Pittsburgh

City life

Both cities have strong neighborhoods. In fact, asides from Downtown, Seattle and Pittsburgh are comparable. When it comes to Downtown, though, Seattle's easily blows Pittsburgh's out of the water. It wasn't always this case. 25 years ago the reverse was probably true. But as Pgh's downtown has declined, Seattle's has thrived. Asides from home grown Nordstrom's and The Bon Marche (soon to be Macy's), they have Barney's New York and Neiman Marcus Gallery along with many upper end stores like Tiffany's and Cartier and theme stores like Niketown.

Advantage - Seattle

All in all, there is no reason why Pittsburgh can't be another Seattle. Its weak point is mainly the economy and that seems to be the lynchpin of everything. It is why the youth culture is not flocking to Pittsburgh and why the downtown area is so moribund. But this is hardly insurmountable. 25 years ago, no one would have ever though of Seattle as hip and alot of people still don't think of Portland as hip. Its just that Seattle lucked out in having Microsoft and that has spun off many other high tech employers. All those young people flockign there for jobs has created a vibe and that has made Seattle popular for the MTV generation. What Pgh needs is to so soemthing to get its ball rolling as well. All in all, though, Pittsburgh is in a FAR better position to become the next Seattle than jsut about any other mid-sized city - certainly better than Cleveland or St. Louis. I would never lump Pittsburgh in with those cities.

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Kasper    0

The past couple of years I have traveled extensively and I am telling you Pgh is on the brink. I think at some point in the future it will definitely be the "it" town in the east in country - I just hope I am still young enough to enjoy it. For the Pitt v. ND game I had people in town from Dallas, Chicago, LA, Houston, NYC, Miami, Tampa and Pheonix. They were all SHOCKED. They LOVED it here - all of them.

I love how unpretentous everyone is in Pittsburgh. Even the rich super rich people here are relatively unpretentious. You can wear a Diane Von Furstenburg dress, with Channel Shoes and Christian Dior sunglasses and people could care less. Whenever I come back from other cities where everyone is label obsessed it just makes me laugh to see how people here are so laid back. They notice but they don't care. (Hmmm ...does that ironically make them more cool?)

The infrastruture, academic institutions, eclectic neighborshoods and natural setting make it truly unmatched in the East and Midwest. With one big economic break this town is set. With the elderly population dying off a lot of opportunities will open up (sounds insensitive but it's true). Everything is cyclical.

Back to the thread...

I was just in Seattle actually. The setting and views are truly amazing. I'll still take Pittsburgh.

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5) The population loss at this point is pretty small, and largely due to elderly people dying or retiring out of state. I think we'd be growing like any other city if more immigrants had us on their radar. If it weren't for immigration, most US cities would be shrinking. So the real issue isn't stopping population loss, it's finding a way to get more immigrants to consider this as a place to go.

I have some doubts about growth through immigration. Not to knock immigrants, because I am one myself, but the process of immigration into cities is like a revolving door for cheap labor. Once a certain group of people get established, they want to move to the suburbs, too. The only problem with this is that cities that depend on a flow of immigrants are not sustainable in the long run. Especially since many of the new immigrants are over-educated and over-qualified for the positions that they have to fill, the revolving door effect can be as little as 10 years versus the generations it took in the past.

It can be a positive feedback loop... a push of new immigrants in can actually push everyone else out, and vice versa. Pittsburgh does get some immigrants, I think, but mostly ones who are somewhat more established financially, as permanent residents soon to become or already citizens. Go to the pretty INS office across from South Side Works and they treat you like humans there, versus in NYC, Philly, or LA. That's not a bad thing. And it's not bad to accept immigrants, but it is bad for economies to depend on cheap labor or to fill vacancy rates in slums by virtue of immigration, which also breeds a culture of contempt for immigrants.

That is not to say that Pittsburgh perfectly welcomes all minorities, I am pretty happy about the way Pittsburgh is right now versus other cities I've lived in.

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Sundodger    1

Freedom isn't without responsibility.

And Marxism, statism, & unionism promotes lack of individual responsibility which hurts the economy which in turn hurts quality of life. We need to take religion out of our govt. & economic planning.

A motto of our military (I'm a US Marine) is "Freedom isn't free." Certainly taxes are not a punishment nor Marxist, but the cost of participation in a free society, especially significant to those who contribute nothing more.

We need seperation of church & state, those are your beliefs, not mine. Taking my money away to resdistribute for a religious belief, charity, is inappropriate.

It tells a lot about your point of view when you frame working class as poor and a problem.

I only think they are a problem when they act like dependant parasites & force special interests & politicians to continue to feed that dependancy which again hurts our economy which in turn hurts quality of life and makes even more folks suffer. If you believe in charity, donate your own time & dime. Like you said, freedom isn't without responsibility.

Either way Marxism is just a way of modeling societal institutions in a simplified way that can offer some functional insight.

Marixism is a destructive religion.

The supply and demand curves (that free-marketers religiously worship as if it were the whole of economics) is another such simplified model (I also hold a degree in economics).

Supply & demand curves are neutral; they just represent acutal human behavior; people voting with their feet & wallets! It isn't anymore pure or democratic than that!

Collective bargaining is not Marxist either, it is exactly what should happen in an "free market" economy, much as it is to the dismay of the Walmarts out there.

Collective bargaining is an intrusion on freedom & is hurting out country.

A philosophy of seeing organized labor as a "bad" and taxes as a "bad" might fit in with some political agendas but it isn't related to real economic thought.

Big labor & big taxes are bad. They are an intrusion on freedom & why places who follow the 19th & early 20th century model are stagnant.

Furthermore I only suggested that one not mistake what I said for Marxism, only because I was aware that I used a similar language to point out the fact that there is a noticeably different relationship between rich and poor in Pittsburgh than in both Eastern and Western cities.

There is a big difference. The northwest is way more diverse, racially & econmically by the neighborhood. Less balkanization of neighborhoods.

That's why we here in Pittsburgh try to compare ourselves to other places just to see how undervalued our city is.

And your problem is taxation, regulation, & maybe culture. My family was chased away from the union-statist east to the free-liberal westcoast. Pittsburgh has more potential than most cities but its potential is being squandered by century old thinking.

Whenever Nevada and Idaho come up with a new technology that somebody else might want, let me know.

Well you are already late to the game. Boise is a hightechnology hub. Home of Micron & Simplot. HP has major operations there too. Also, it will only be a short time that Nevada steps into the fray as more businesses move to the most liberal business climate on the west coast.

Until proven otherwise, the flow of ideas is one sided because they're filling in a vaccum. It's political arbitrage, and it doesn't really benefit anyone in the end. With falling water tables, dried out rivers, and sediment-filler reservuors, some of those cities have no business trying to attract more of anything.

What city? There isn't one that has a water crisis yet. In fact the more Phoenix grows, the more water becomes availible because water intensivee agriculture is replaced with not so water intensive sprawl. Vegas's problem is the city has attracted people from all over the country moreso because of the liberalness & not the desert environs like Phoenix or Palm Springs so too many people have thirsty landscaping that is not natural to the climate. That problem will be solved by public awarness campaigns & plain old time as people get acclimated with their new environs.

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Sundodger    1

Here are my observations on Pittsburgh vs. Seattle

Culture

Pittsburgh's symphony, museums, and other cultural institutions easily outrank Seattle's. Seattle appears to have more artists and art galleries but far less of the established institutions that will cultive an art culture in the long term.

Advantage - Pittsburgh

No way. Seattle in a landslide. It is one of the country's music hotspots, & art center, a culinary center, & a leading glass center.

Economy

Neither city's economies are doing too well at this point.

Seattle is blazing hot right now. You are two years behind. Check out neighbor Bellevue too.

I agree with everything else.

All in all, there is no reason why Pittsburgh can't be another Seattle. Its weak point is mainly the economy and that seems to be the lynchpin of everything.

Exactly. Pittsbugh has tons of potential that is waiting to be unlocked.

25 years ago, no one would have ever though of Seattle as hip and alot of people still don't think of Portland as hip. Its just that Seattle lucked out in having Microsoft and that has spun off many other high tech employers.

The real credit should go to the University of Washington, not Microsoft. Paul Allen's father & Bill Gates's mother worked for the U & were able to get Gates & Allen on the early computers there. The UW is also responsible for Seattle's biotechnology scene as well.

All in all, though, Pittsburgh is in a FAR better position to become the next Seattle than jsut about any other mid-sized city - certainly better than Cleveland or St. Louis. I would never lump Pittsburgh in with those cities.

For potential, Pittsburgh totally outranks those two for sure but looking at what they are today, they are pretty similar. I am hoping you folks reform govt. in PA so Pittsburgh's potential can come out. I am also hoping the same happens in NY as well, the upstate is really hurting due to bad govt.

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Sundodger    1

The topography, overall climate, recreation and water resources, the new wealth is making Seattle comparative to Pittsburgh's old wealth in cutural and academic resources.

The more I think about it, the more it seems Pittsburgh's Westcoast cousin is Portland, OR. The population, geography, & feel of both cities is really similar. Heck, both cities are located in hilly areas at river junctions, just that Portland has bigger rivers & hills than Pittsburgh does. Also Portland has many city colleges & universities (though nowhere near the size or academic par as the ones in Pittsburgh). Oh, and the tunnels through the hills. Portland is also a micro brewery hotspot & I believe the Pittsburgh area takes a little brewing pride as well.

Edit -

Also the northshore & Rose Quarter. Pittsburgh & Portland are built around major rivers like no other.

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And Marxism, statism, & unionism promotes lack of individual responsibility which hurts the economy which in turn hurts quality of life. We need to take religion out of our govt. & economic planning.

We need seperation of church & state, those are your beliefs, not mine. Taking my money away to resdistribute for a religious belief, charity, is inappropriate.

Economic theory and empirical data shows all of that to be false. An introductory macro course will teach you that socialism and capitalism both achieve the same equilibrium between supply and demand if both economies are perfectly efficient. Neither approach is perfectly efficient, and neither has been clearly proven to be better than the other. Unregulated capitalism collapses, too, just look towards the great depression. Without regulation there are too many incentives for corruption of the system, and union-busting is as anti-competitive any other illegal (i use the term loosely) tactic. Also, realize that corrupt socialist governments are not left-wing, they are right-wing. The collapse of the soviet union and it's satelites has been precipitated by the organization of labor, not the other way around. Union officials are corrupt to the extent that corporate officials are willing to bribe them, not the other way around. Realism isn't a religion, either.

I only think they are a problem when they act like dependant parasites & force special interests & politicians to continue to feed that dependancy which again hurts our economy which in turn hurts quality of life and makes even more folks suffer. If you believe in charity, donate your own time & dime. Like you said, freedom isn't without responsibility.
The problem with this theory is that while having no social safety net to fall back on might in fact get people to quit working for Walmart and McDonalds, and they would in theory raise wages to make up for welfare payments that are basically another form of corporate welfare, the thing is, people would pretty much starve and die before that ever happened. We've had many examples in our history where corporations failed miserably to meet either their contractual obligations or their ethical obligations to their workers. Why trust them blindly now? There's Free-Market theory and then there's the fact people gotta eat. If we really wanted to hold all the Walmarts accountable and force them to quit being parasites on our social safety net, then we'd raise the minimum wage.

Supply & demand curves are neutral; they just represent acutal human behavior; people voting with their feet & wallets! It isn't anymore pure or democratic than that!

Collective bargaining is an intrusion on freedom & is hurting out country.

Big labor & big taxes are bad. They are an intrusion on freedom & why places who follow the 19th & early 20th century model are stagnant.

You have to go a lot further than supply and demand to understand economics. I suppose you're going to tell me that we live in a world filled with completely rational agents where no one makes a mistake and there's no such thing as zero-sum games, so everyone always wins, everyone lives forever, no such thing as market power, one corporation for every employee, etc. Just some of the abstractions in introductory supply and demand equilibrium models.

Collective bargaining is why you don't pay your whole income for health insurance, besides a lot of other aspects of the economy. It is "religious" to say that it's bad in one application but perfectly good in another.

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urbanophile    0

The more I think about it, the more it seems Pittsburgh's Westcoast cousin is Portland, OR. The population, geography, & feel of both cities is really similar. Heck, both cities are located in hilly areas at river junctions, just that Portland has bigger rivers & hills than Pittsburgh does. Also Portland has many city colleges & universities (though nowhere near the size or academic par as the ones in Pittsburgh). Oh, and the tunnels through the hills. Portland is also a micro brewery hotspot & I believe the Pittsburgh area takes a little brewing pride as well.

Edit -

Also the northshore & Rose Quarter. Pittsburgh & Portland are built around major rivers like no other.

I've always thought about that. I don't think Seattle is a good match for Pittsburgh since Seattle is developing characteristics of being a major hub city - a sort of San Francisco in development. Portland, on the other hand, is closer size-wize and in the fact that it is a river city with hills and also not very prominent outside its local area. One major difference though is that Pittsburgh has major league football and baseball teams and Portland does not. This shouldn't be a major difference but it is. Pittsburghers look upon major league sports as a religion. As a result, sports, I'd say, is the dominating culture of Pittsburgh. I don't get that sense out of Portland. It seems that individual activites take prominence over there. Thus, in Portland there's more of a will there to develop the city's parks, there's more of a foodie culture, there's more of a cafe culture, and there's more of a bookworm culture. I also think that the lack of a strong professional sports-culture also allows for newcomers to ease into the local scene there alot easier. In Pittsburgh, you've got one strike against you if you're not a Steeler's fan.

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PghUSA    0

As far as Portland you might be right Sun on the closer climatic relationships but alas Portland has only one major sports team--and its the only one that Pittsburgh doesn't have. No major college teams, corporate, academic, and even demographically if you had to pick between Portland and Seattle, Seattle would be the better comparison. Granted in a few ways (like corporate) Seattle one could make a legit argument that Seattle is slightly better, but academic, culturally Pittsburgh is a few notches better, both cities have 3 major sports franchises and decent College football and basketball programs in the metro, climatically they are very similar though you might be right Portland is a closer "twin".

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Sundodger    1

Economic theory and empirical data shows all of that to be false.

False. Too many Marxists have attempted to pervert economics. In reality, it does not fly because of human nature. When you take politics & religion our of economics & keep it unbiased & neutral, marxism & statism isn't a good economic deal.

An introductory macro course will teach you that socialism and capitalism both achieve the same equilibrium between supply and demand if both economies are perfectly efficient.

I was an economics minor. Their is no comparision to between free markets & elite control. You must of studied much of the religion & politics disguised as economics.

Unregulated capitalism collapses, too, just look towards the great depression.

Wrong, statism, not free capitalism brought on the great depression. It was regulation that hurt us by limiting trade and ablility for countries to engauge intrade to pay off war debts. Sound institutions, not regulation is what needs to guide free capitalism.

Without regulation there are too many incentives for corruption of the system,

What are the protections from big govt. & big union corruption? At least in a free-liberal system, the individual gets to make free choices but under forced upon statism, they have no choice but to give money to a corrupt govt. or union.

The problem with this theory is that while having no social safety net to fall back on might in fact get people to quit working for Walmart and McDonalds, and they would in theory raise wages to make up for welfare payments that are basically another form of corporate welfare, the thing is, people would pretty much starve and die before that ever happened. We've had many examples in our history where corporations failed miserably to meet either their contractual obligations or their ethical obligations to their workers. Why trust them blindly now?

Private charity, donate if that is what you believe in. Don't like your wage? Commit your spare time to looking for another job or improving your job skills. It isn't the govt's or a company's responsibility for an individual in a free society.

then we'd raise the minimum wage.

You weren't an economics major. Raising the minimum wage hurts the poor, not helps them.

You have to go a lot further than supply and demand to understand economics.

Again, I was a econ minor. I wasn't perferted by the religion & politics disguised as economics that has spolied many college econ depts. nationwide.

I suppose you're going to tell me that we live in a world filled with completely rational agents where no one makes a mistake and there's no such thing as zero-sum games, so everyone always wins, everyone lives forever, no such thing as market power, one corporation for every employee, etc.

We live in a society where people needs to take personal responsibility, be the best they tbey can, & prepare for the worst.

Collective bargaining is why you don't pay your whole income for health insurance, besides a lot of other aspects of the economy.

Actually collective bargaining has ruined my health inusrance. The unions are the big political gorilla in my state & have virtually wiped out all competition in insurance thus with little competition, rates have skyrocketed. Mandatory unionship & collective bargaining isn't an American or liberal ideal. Both should be optional. We as a free country can vote with our feet. Now in the 21st century, transportation & communication frictions are so tiny, there are no more excuses.

This is a cool thread & I don't want to ruin it by talking about econ & politics so I am going to cease with this tangent. In your heart of hearts, I am sure you understand what Pittsburgh's problem is.

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Sundodger    1

One major difference though is that Pittsburgh has major league football and baseball teams and Portland does not. This shouldn't be a major difference but it is. Pittsburghers look upon major league sports as a religion. As a result, sports, I'd say, is the dominating culture of Pittsburgh. I don't get that sense out of Portland.

Portland has the Trailblazers & they are religiously followed. They sell out most of their games, had a decades or two long sell out streak & have been one of the most valuable NBA franchises. Heck, it was rumored a few years ago that Portland might be in the running for the Pens. Also Portland is college football crazy following the 4 NW Pac-10 schools & is baseball crazy. It has some of the highest MLB ratings of non-MLB cities & reguarly beats many MLB cities in T.V. ratings. Nike & Addidas NA are also both based there.

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Sundodger    1

No major college teams, corporate, academic, and even demographically if you had to pick between Portland and Seattle, Seattle would be the better comparison.

Not at all. Portland by far is the closest match to Pittsburgh. They are big time college football crazy. Oregon & Oregon St. sellout. City layout wise, Pittsburgh & Portland are a good match too.

Granted in a few ways (like corporate) Seattle one could make a legit argument that Seattle is slightly better, but academic, culturally Pittsburgh is a few notches better,

Seattle is a leap above Pitt culturally & not that far behind academically. And again, the weather is not the same at all in the two places. Can you grow palm trees?

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