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PghUSA

Animal House is told to modify

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http://www.pittsburghfirst.com/pg/05028/449211.stm

Little background: Southside has blossomed recently as a bohemian style urban area with the large student populations of Duquesne U., Univ. of Pittsurgh, Carlow College and Carnegie Mellon University spilling over the Birmingham and recently opened Hot Metal Bridges. Used to be a blue collar area surrounded by Steel Mills but with the demolition of the mills and their replacement with riverside nightclubs, tech firms and everything from the Cheesecake Factory to the D.C. to Pittsburgh bike trail, a lot of the old Southsiders have been overwhelmed by artisans and college kids. It has worked out ok but critical mass is being approached in some areas.

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Whoa, take a trip back in time will you, this is from 18 months ago almost. Not sure what happened to this project, although I like to see the "University District" expand . . . I think it needs to be built up more in Oakland before it starts spreading out, we need density to make the Universities area a cool and hip place!

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The South Side would be an awesome place for off-campus Duquesne University living... it's just a quick walk across the 10th St. Bridge (and a brutal climb up a huge staircase)... actually... the South Side is deceptively close to both Oakland and the downtown universities... however, pedestrian links between South Side and Oakland via Birmingham Bridge could be improved

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^^Agreed, but I think uptown "needs" it more (at least the area of Forbes and Fifth between Duquesne and Pitt) I'd like to see those areas fill out more with some 'scrapers. Southside needs some more improvements to Carson Street IMHO before it can really capitalize on future growth, in so many ways southside has just completely exploded in the last 5 years, time for the infrastructure to catch up.

Longterm though Evergrey I think your right about the Southside being more closely aligned with what is happening at Pitt, Carlow, CMU, Duquesne, and Point Park.

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Hmmm I was in Iraq when this got posted. Wow, it's pretty amazing how biggoted and anti-change some of the presumably older city residents are. They should just shut up, because students in the area have been getting ripped off for years by sleazy local landlords peddling dilapidated properties at inflated rates. We want young people to have options and to fall in love with the city, what we get are old farts who complain about it to the city council. These "Animal House" residents are probably more cultured, tolerant, and courteous than the old guard trying to keep them out. I can't believe that they managed to ruin affordable housing for younger, more price consious students on the premise of... parking for cars that virtually no one who rents a place with communal showers would actually be able to afford. They literally pressured the guy to build less residences, charge more, and attract... older students who are bound to own more cars.

Why do they care, anyway? There's a lot of college grads out there looking to buy some of these terrible old properties they've lived in for years and rennovate them after the current landlords ship off to nursing homes. The South Side is going to go to the next generation in one way or another.

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Students will never be listened to by city council, for one simple reason, they don't vote and they would never think about contributing (even if they had a budget to).

That said I think the city overall tries to cater to students, but I think it would be better to build up uptown first then expand to an already overburdened Carson Street corridor. I am all for southside development but after we get some highrises and redevelopment in-between Duquesne and Carlow/Pitt.

Your assesment though Blue might be right, they might be making more of a mess of things then they originally were going to solve.

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First of all, the South Side is already populated with lots of Duquesne students (and a fair amount of Pitt students also). You could almost make the claim that it is already a second Oakland.

Second, the reason for the outrage over this project wasn't that it was the house student. It was the way it was designed. They originally planned to have gang showers and community bathrooms...like and old school fraternity house. I'm not sure exactly who these people used for market research, but that is the exact OPPOSITE, of what off campus housing has become. Student oriented housing is generally just as nice as market rate housing now, sometimes with more amenities. The only difference is that they usually involve 2 and 4 bedroom options, as opposed to market rate which offer 1 or 2.

They developer agreed to change the design (which is good for them because the project would have been a laughable failure), but I don't think anything else ever came of it.

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That's exactly what I was ticked off about, tooluther. Why is it any of their business if there are communal showers?

There's an abundance of 4+ bedroom "student housing" available that are just old under-maintained factory-worker houses with locks added to the bedroom doors and a fire escape slapped on the side. Old everything, water damaged, dirty, uninviting, lacking ammeneties. That's typical off-campus housing for the vast majority of students, especially on the South Side. This isn't student housing, it's a nightmare. Everyone has at least several heart-wrenchingly awfull experiences with room mates and sleazy landlords before they finish college, and I think the quality of housing would rate as one of the most negative aspects of the college experience for Pittsburgh students.

But somehow, because there were to be communal bathrooms, it's no longer people who live there but Animals who "spill out" into the street and take up precious parking spaces. That's so insulting, and flat wrong.

Don't dismiss the idea so quickly. Communal bathrooms, especially in off-campus housing, would look a lot more decent than you think. It's likely that there would be private, lockable shower stalls, each with their own dressing area with mirrors and electric outlets, own drainage, full walls, complete privacy really. They would definitely have much better fixtures and construction materials than anything comparable for the money in a dorm, frat house, or some old converted house. The apartments themselves would have actually given residents more private, secured space than they would get for their money whether in dorms or other off-campus housing. The savings in space and construciton costs would have left room for a lot of other ammeneties that students desire, such as perhaps free washers and driers on each floor, a gym, comfortable furniture, comfortable guest rooms for visiting relatives, a secured building that won't get burglarized from a fire-escape, etc. There are lots of things that would make for a much higher quality of life and answer to student needs in better ways than eeither dorm or "market" (ie what the city council doesn't shoot down) offerings.

Their market study probably told them a lot more and they decided it would have been an attractive option for a reason -- by asking students what they want. What students right now get, it isn't what they want. I have a hard time seeing how trying something a little different could possibly be more of a failure than the current student housing market. In fact, if I had the resources and the chance to try to give back to the students and not make them go through some of the bs that I personally lived through, I'd like to put up this type of housing myself.

[Phew, I think I'll never do enough edits to find all the grammar mistakes in this hack job of a post. Sorry!]

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Some good points there blue and tooluther, but I still don't know if this project was deep 6ed or not.

Also Blue, the developer was proposing communal showers but then resubmitted so I don't see that issue as the main reason the city would turn them down.

I don't like the city putting up obstacles to students, especially on land that is TAXABLE, however I would like to see the rundown Uptown and Soho redeveloped before more and more land is taken in the southside, as I said before PennDOT and the city need to improve roads and bridge access in other ways, Carson is way over capacity. I know some students live down there and thats great but any larger scale project should go to uptown/soho first, I hate to see that area languish as the already overdeveloped (ssworks, aeo, carson etc.) southside implodes on it's own lack of big time infrastructure.

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Communal showers or not, it doesn't seem to me to be the best use of this building. It is the tallest in the area, and probably will remain that way. It affords the best views of the city while being in the heart of the South Side. Seems to me it would make great apartments.

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Some good points there blue and tooluther, but I still don't know if this project was deep 6ed or not.

Also Blue, the developer was proposing communal showers but then resubmitted so I don't see that issue as the main reason the city would turn them down.

It was still an issue the way I read it. They wanted to stint it to an even greater extent. The critics basically considered it a great win for the neighborhood that they severely crippled if not deep-6ed young students from being able to live in decent, affordable housing near South Side Works and the river trails, and every other improvement we're trying to make for people. Who knows maybe the building will stay empty for many years to come.

No matter how it seems to be more utilitarian, brushing students off to yet another depressed part of town isn't going to make anything better. That is not how to fight the brain drain. Students deserve to live in the best neighborhoods with the most opportunities. What is the point of revitalizing anything if it's all of a sudden OK for a bunch of hotels and condos but its not OK for the next generation of Pittsburghers to enjoy? Someone should have seen the bigger picture, but I guess the city council's job is to pander to nimby voters.

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Best way to combat this would be to have the students establish residency in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh and start voting as a block. Things tend to get done real fast once that happens.

There are other ways, petitions, community lobbying groups but without the vote no one on city council is particularly interested in what these students have to say, other then to have them enjoy some of their college years. Maybe they should, maybe more would stay here if they did, but politicos are too busy with their constiuents to deal with non-voters most days.

I don't think having development uptown and in soho would be a terrible thing for students to pioneer, it could be quite bohemian and liberatian in that corridor. Just look at all the construction Duquesne is doing on Forbes Avenue now.

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Best way to combat this would be to have the students establish residency in Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh and start voting as a block. Things tend to get done real fast once that happens.

There are other ways, petitions, community lobbying groups but without the vote no one on city council is particularly interested in what these students have to say, other then to have them enjoy some of their college years. Maybe they should, maybe more would stay here if they did, but politicos are too busy with their constiuents to deal with non-voters most days.

I don't think having development uptown and in soho would be a terrible thing for students to pioneer, it could be quite bohemian and liberatian in that corridor. Just look at all the construction Duquesne is doing on Forbes Avenue now.

This just doesn't make any sense. If you're going to disenfranchise somebody, it is so convenient to blame it on them. I guess the Jews didn't get enough voting blocks together in Nazi Germany? Why not just have everyone stand up for what's right, and not just the people with the least amount of power? The logistical challenge of forming a youth voting block is the same as a voting block of people who are about to die. Nobody, but nobody would ever be interested in listening to them. Following through on your campaign promises requires that the group of people you promised it to still be around come next election cycle. Otherwise you can lie and backstab and ignore them all you want because next time around it'll just be fresh meat anyway. From the perspective of student leaders, it's almost like a trick: spend all your energy to get people to learn how to vote so they can move out to the suburbs in 2 years and vote completely against your groups interests. It's just not how it works. A voting block depends on many individuals who have memories and incentives, not on applying a demographic label on someone and asking people to vote accordingly. What's hillarious about this is that every politician and urban planner seems to recognize and give lip service to how vitally important it is to keep the educated product of our universities here at home where they can enrich our region's future, but yet when it comes down to it, that's just meaningless, empty lip service.

There has to be a better way, and in fact there is. Just stop messing around with the free market in inane, non-sensical ways. Let businesses meet people's needs whenever and wherever they can, instead of stopping that!

And I hate the idea of selling somebody the unwanted scraps of what the city has to offer on the premise that they can make something bohemian out of it. Why don't you just shoot some kid in the head? What about the original bohemian neighborhood, the South Side? I guess it's O.K. for Pitt students to work for and patronize the coffeeshops and restaurants of the South Side, they just have to go back home to Uptown at the end of the day, because god forbid they'd cause traffic. Take the Beehive and how we were just praising on here how it sparked all kinds of other investments in the neighborhood? It was the original bohemian hot-spot for students, and it still is. Nobody else made that a success. So I guess it's ok to ask some kid whose working his butt off to become a doctor or a lawyer to please, please stay in the city after you graduate, but hey until you do, live in that one place that nobody else wants, because right now you don't mean nothing to nobody. But hey while you're at it, you're more than welcome to be a Bohemian. No, its just backwards from that. Students will always make a bohemian neighborhood wherever there is any opportunity to do so whatsoever. Look at Lawrenceville right now, taking over for what the South Side was 8 years ago. But you can't just say "we'll force them to live Uptown now" and think that it will ever work.

Here was an example of a perfectly good, attainable, free-market solution that would let students take part in exactly what students themselves just a few years ago helped build and are still helping revitalize. What do you think the Beehive was for E. Carson St? It was the original bohemian student hot-spot that lifted the South Side that sparked all kinds of other investments. I have to stress this: it's one thing if the open market wasn't able to meet the needs of students in an area they helped build up, but it's another when it's simply a level of biggotry where students are unwanted there by special interests who can block businesses from meeting that demand. The really dangerous part is that the mentality of the city to give empty lip service to students is while shoving them around is not only that there is a lost opportunity for growth right there, but that it's the students themselves who will move on and pull the rug out from underneath what's been driving growth in the first place. Not only because students are a vital part of the South Side's clientelle, but they're also a integral part of the workforce. It just makes no sense to even consider kicking them out now. The Beehive pays about 6 or 7 bucks an hour and a lot of the workers pay for tuition and don't have a car. What's going to happen to it when students can't afford to live on the South Side anymore?

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Blue I admire your pathos but I wouldn't venture to compare the disenfranchisment of the Jews under Nazi Germany with steering students that have been in Pittsburgh for 10 minutes and have no roots or vested interest in this region yet to alternative living areas.

Last I checked there were no concentration camps, invasions of Poland or movies depicting students as rats by the O'Connor or Murphy administrations.

Why would it be so hard for students that want to be heard and taken seriously in this region actually step up to the plate and plant their flag here for at least 5-10 years? Many have and more are doing so everyday, I remember how hard two generations before us fought to win the vote for 18 year olds, why don't we USE that power. Also from my own experience a politican will listen to a bunch of terminally ill people if they realize each and every soletary one of them are going to go vote the next day, its not too relevant wether your voters passed away last week, as long as you WON the election. My point here is not to belittle the students, but to expose what the true motivations of those elected to office are, to do just enough to win the next election, or in other words not to tick off too many VOTERS.

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Blue I admire your pathos but I wouldn't venture to compare the disenfranchisment of the Jews under Nazi Germany with steering students that have been in Pittsburgh for 10 minutes and have no roots or vested interest in this region yet to alternative living areas.

I don't think that's a fair interpretation of my statement. Whether it's an extreme example of disenfranchment (pre-war Germany was a democracy) or a slight one (this), what remains the same is that you can't just blame the group that is not being represented in government for not voting hard enough to get their way, especially where basic freedoms (here - economic freedoms - aka liberty and the pursuit of hapiness) are being violated. In my personal experience I know a little bit about having to fight for freedom, but I have never heard anyone make a convincing case that anyone ever voted their way to it.

I remember how hard two generations before us fought to win the vote for 18 year olds, why don't we USE that power.
Obviously that didn't come about through voting.

My point here is not to belittle the students, but to expose what the true motivations of those elected to office are, to do just enough to win the next election, or in other words not to tick off too many VOTERS.

That's what I'm saying. There are two aspects to a voting block as far as any politician is concerned. There are the voters, and there are the issues. There is no demographic. You can betray a demographic as much as you want. It's not hard to understand, because every politician seems to have figured it out. You can promise kingdom-come to every jane dick and harry in a voting block so long as you know that 4 years from now, either the voters or will be gone or the issues will be gone for those voters. This is the reason why it's pointless for students to vote on student-specific issues for any office longer than a year or two before re-election. Otherwise, student votes are just freebies to politicians. There is no incentive to follow through, ever.

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^^On your last point first blue, there would be incentive to follow through if the Pitt Union and like organizations kept updating new classes of students on the progress of what elected officials are doing. It is more then JUST voting I agree, you have to be organized AND vote. Organized to put forth platforms and define the issues that matter to you and then vote to reward or punish politicans for straying or adhering to those points.

That is how 18 year olds got the right to vote during Vietnam, but since that time the number of 18-25 years olds voting has dwindled down to near zero. There are groups like PUMP and others that organize the mid 20s to early 30 somethings but I would love to see more students think outside the campus box on issues.

My point in all of this is until you organize and vote you really aren't serious about any change, and politicans will only work as hard as they have to for you.

I think we agree here more then we disagree blue, if it was my decision to make though I would prefer redevleoping uptown like DU is starting to do on the western end, but whatever happens I think more students getting involved in the political environment here is a thing to be desired.

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