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TheGerbil

Old buildings, and perceptions in general

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Not really a new topic here, but it's on my mind. I was just talking to my coworker (who is relatively new to Pgh) and she had some, uh, interesting comments.

First, she has it in her head that Pittsburgh is not a very livable city because it is losing population. I guess she saw some kind of ranking that said so. She claims it was reported in the PG, but I couldn't find it. I suspect that whoever did this ranking was being misleading, claiming that population trends are indicative of livability. I tried to explain to my coworker about the underlying reasons for our population decline (e.g. the death rate) but she didn't seem to be listening. I then told her that we are generally ranked high for livability, but she simply said "Not anymore."

Secondly, she says we have too many old buildings, that the city doesn't look nice. She used to live in Cincinnatti and says that city is much newer looking. Now if you ask me, old buildings are a good thing. I'd like to see all of our old buildings restored, but many have been and she still thinks they don't look nice. Some people apparently just see old structures and automatically think negative thoughts. But I think it's great that we haven't just torn them all down like some cities.

Anyway, I am just frustrated at the moment about the negative perceptions and misleading news reports. I don't know how to fight that.

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She must've been living in suburban Cincy then... cuz Cincinnati is a VERY OLD city... I've been there many times... gorgeous old building stock... it's very similar to Pittsburgh really with its hills and dense brick housing...

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an entire basin of old buildings

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I bet your coworker never made it out of Sharonville or Blue Ash or whatever suburban hellhole she lived and worked in... I swear Pittsburgh suffers more than most from this strange phenomenon of people... locals and outsiders... making up reasons to hate it

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Yes I believe she did lived in the burbs. And I figured Cincy probably looked a lot like Pgh in the city proper. Would have been surprised if it was otherwise.

She lives in the burbs here too, and seems to have an aversion to buying a house less than ten years old or within city limits. She's a nice, intelligent person, just a suburbanite at heart I guess.

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Pittsburgh isn't for everyone. Appreciating Pittsburgh is like a test. Those who fall in love with Pittsburgh are surely urban conoisseurs and the type of people who can energize the city. I wouldn't invest much in someone who loves newness and spartan landscapes. He or she will move on to the latest and greatest once the luster wears off, as it always does.

Need a boost after the negative interaction?

Go Pittsburgh

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Thanks for the link, global. I am always pleased to read things like that. Although if you read the entire thing, there are a couple of annoying jabs in there, overall it is a very positive commentary on the city.

Which reminds me of a phenomenon I have noticed. No matter how much people like the city when they visit, they always act very surprised. I kind of hate comments like "Who knew you could find _____ in Pittsburgh?" or "Even Pittsburgh has ______."

But what can you do, I guess.

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One of the things that I love most about Pittsburgh is the fact that there are so many cool old buildings. There are so many wonderful examples of architecture from every era of the last 150 years in this city. My office is in a renovated coffin factory built in 1864, I mean how cool is that?

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One of the things that I love most about Pittsburgh is the fact that there are so many cool old buildings. There are so many wonderful examples of architecture from every era of the last 150 years in this city. My office is in a renovated coffin factory built in 1864, I mean how cool is that?

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Based on the pictures the housing stock seemed predominantly Italianate. Pittsburgh has a sexy mix of everything. The architecture is not depressing however the slope dieback and general disregard for greenery in key areas is detrimental to the city.

I am routinely amazed by the built environment. I don

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Great point about greenery. My coworker has not seen much of the city in spring or summer. Perhaps when things begin to bloom she'll get a better overall impression.

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Although I am sure you know about it, I would sign her up for Pop City. That site has definitley demonstrated an ability to change peoples perception and because it is a constant updating of new things popping up all over the city it can give her the new as well...

www.popcitymedia.com

Although I do have to say, some people just don't get Pittsburgh and possibly never will. Pittsburgh is in a stage where it needs pioneers, people willing to take risks and make things happen, people like this co-worker of yours appear to be more of the follow the masses type, that wants everything done for them.

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Although Pittsburgh as a whole is a green city in the summer, the lack of greenery in the winter does seem to lend to the depressing appearance.

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Coincidentally, Places Rated Almanac just came out with its latest edition, and guess what's at the number one spot?... http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07116/781162-53.stm

I'll have to point it out to my coworker, haha :)

But seriously, I am pleased to see our city at number one again. It's always been in the top twenty (something no other city has accomplished), but there is something very special about number one. :tough:

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I find her perception odd. I've never been to any city that looks and feels more like Pittsburgh than Cincinnatti.

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I wouldn't worry too much about this co-worker's perception of Pittsburgh. She would most likely be living in the suburbs no matter what part of the country she lived in. Some people find comfort in newness and anonymity. They'd rather drive out to a Target store or mall instead of strolling through one of the mainstreets. They'd also rather have a soulless McMansion surrounded by car-culture rather than live in a walkable community with bus lines and neighbors. People who appreciate cities, architecture, and urban life in general will like Pittsburgh. After all we were just ranked as the #1 most livable city... A lot of people out there are obviously on our side... focus on them and not the bland office-water-cooler suburbanite.

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I can't even begin to relate to someone who thinks old buildings are a negative. Perhaps if they mean post-war buildings that haven't aged well (not that I would consider post-war 'old'). But the Victorian and Edwardian rowhouses and that sort of thing? Pittsburgh's old buildings are treasures.

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