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TheGerbil

Pittsburgh landscape

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I have been thinking about the landscape in Pittsburgh and wondering how much it really affects the city's long-term development. On the one hand, the rivers and hills make the city more beautiful and provide some great views. I would not want to give them up.

But on the other hand, I think the landscape is pretty limiting. We have very little flat land in the city, which means all the railroad tracks and industrial stuff were built along the riverfront. Today, those railroad tracks often hinder riverfront development. And although many of the industrial sites have been reclaimed for new uses, there are still places where the riverfront is lined with old rusted buildings. I am thinking particularly of the area around the 62nd St. bridge. A lot of those buildings are in use, so they can't simply be torn down. But they are so ugly, and there is absolutely no public access to the river in that area of the city. I live in Highland Park, not far from the river at all, but I cannot go down to the water.

Another issue is that the flat land along the rivers is just as attractive for highways as it was for rail. I'm talking about the Mon-Fayette, of course.

Then there is the simple fact that it's hard to find open developable land in the city, so many developers would rather just go to the suburbs instead of tear down an old building or cut away a hillside etc.

Anyway, I guess I am kind of rambling. But I hope we can have an interesting discussion about this. What do you all think?

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Well the topography is both a blessing and in some ways a curse. it does limit land and creat challenges, but also has forced nice density in many areas and incredible views.

I would like to see smart initiatives that build in the tradition of the past, but obviously make better use of river front proerty etc. Fortunately, the area has taken back the rivers, but still has a lot to do.

I do wish that we could just level ugly industrial areas faster (or at all in some cases).

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I don't think PGH's landscape is bad because that's it's identity. It's beautiful. The rails that you're talking about can be used for commuter rail service but since we live in PA, it hasn't been going on and we're left with no service. And yes, some of the buildings are ugly, bu tat least they're being used as well as provide us with a stable tax base. I wouldn't worry about a thing if I was you.

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Some good insights G, on your last point I think a heavy dose of Consolidacillin would take care of developers wasting metro resources by NOT recycling old structures with infrastructure already built out in front and running to natural brooks and forests in the burbs and having the locals subsidize water/sidewalk/electrical transmission/roads/sewers infrastructure from the ground up. A SINGLE planning agency with total control over the whole county could protect those nature spots out in the hinterlands and PUT TO GOOD USE current infrastructure in the city.

Interested in hearing other views on Gerbils points :)

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