The dynamic Diamonte Walker, who was serving as acting executive director of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA), was just named deputy executive director. Working with the new Executive Director, Greg Flisram, Walker will help implement a strategic vision for the organization’s next chapter, focused on an equitable Pittsburgh. Passionate about economic inclusion and equitable development, Walker, who lives in Pittsburgh’s Hill District, has been the driving force behind the URA’s Minority & Women-Owned Business Enterprise initiative.
What upcoming events are you excited to attend?
So much of what I do is connected to my work because my work is truly an extension of who I am and what I believe in. But if I had to pick an event unrelated to my work, I would have to say I’m excited to attend all the upcoming holiday parties. Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation‘s annual holiday party comes to mind.
The best part of your job?
The joy I see on the faces of people who’ve been historically disconnected from the public sector when the URA helps them to start/grow a business or own their first home.
What is your big idea for Pittsburgh?
My big idea for Pittsburgh is to fully empower problem solvers to underscore the philosophy of New Localism by aggressively investing in urban solutions with speed and precision. Many of our socioeconomic challenges could be improved within a generation if fully unlocked by the city’s potential for smart and inclusive growth.
What’s been bugging you lately?
The gender equity report on the state of Black Women in Pittsburgh afflicts my spirit. While some have researched the data, and others have read the report, many of us are living the realities of the report, and Pittsburgh must find a way to reverse those trends. The lives of Black women depend on it.
What is the one thing that would surprise Pittsburghers most about you?
This is a tough one because I always say I am an open book, but you’ll need to refer to the index. The thing that seems to shock people the most is when I tell them that I identify as an introvert — and I am proud of it.
What book would you highly recommend?
The Divided City: Poverty and Prosperity in Urban America by Alan Mallach is a must-read.
One thing you would love to change about Pittsburgh?
This is a tough question because Pittsburgh is so many different things to so many different people, which can add to its charm for some but can also contribute to its most difficult challenges around racial parity and economic inclusion for others. I think the majority of people want an inclusive city for all, but the tectonic plates would need to shift in order for that to happen, so I would love to change how we, as a city, embrace change.
Podcast you’re addicted to?
The Millennial Prophet. I know what you’re thinking, the Millennial Prophet is actually a fictional podcast on the show “God Friended Me.” My point is that I’m so fascinated by the show that if it were a real podcast, I would listen to it religiously.
Favorite Pittsburgh brewery?
Fresh Fest is my favorite brewing event.
Your not-so-secret Pittsburgh spot?
The Gallery on Penn at 5937 Penn Avenue. It’s my favorite place to shop and the business owners are amazing.
It’s time to unwind. Where do you head?
My big comfy couch with my weighted blanket (because naps are a priority).
Who should be the unofficial Mayor of Pittsburgh?
Andrew McCutchen. I love that he comes back to serve in a major way and still treats Pittsburgh like home. (Once a Pirate always a Pirate in my book).
Which Pittsburgh food truck do you want to be parked outside your house?
Caribbean Vybz could have a reserved spot in my driveway.
Ideal date night in Pittsburgh?
Anywhere my husband wants to go. He’s good company no matter where we are.
Fill in the blank: In Pittsburgh, I can’t live without my _______.
Parking chair to hold my spot.
Write three words to describe Pittsburgh:
Home Sweet Home.
Where will we find you this Saturday night?
In the comfort of my home watching Hallmark movies. (My husband was really hoping for a different answer to this question because that means he has to watch with me.)
Favorite place you’ve traveled to in the past year and why?