PNC Park. Courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.

Describing Pittsburgh as “smart” and “on the fast track to a 21st-century renaissance,” Worth magazine spotlights the city and region in its latest “Destination 2016” and “Cityscape” series.

In her feature for the American financial, wealth management and lifestyle magazine—which also covers topics such as entrepreneurship and philanthropy—writer Alison J. Stein sets the scene and poses a question for visitors to the Pittsburgh of 2016:

Warhol Bridge ©IStock Image.
Warhol Bridge ©IStock Image.

“Here’s a question to ponder, perhaps while you’re paddling a bright yellow kayak on the Allegheny River, taking in the cloudless Pittsburgh skyline punctuated by towers owned by companies such as U.S. Steel, BNY Mellon and PNC Bank: Are you looking at the nation’s most lucky city, or its least?”

The article discusses Pittsburgh’s legendary industrial and manufacturing legacy, multiple economic transitions, ongoing evolution and transformation, and existing challenges. Writes Stein: “community leadership, philanthropy and historic preservation have placed Pittsburgh on the fast track to a 21st-century renaissance.”

Pittsburgh’s identity in terms of sustainability, civic leadership and urban innovation are all examined by Stein, who states that: “collegiality between government and foundations has helped this city weather tough times,” and “smart historic preservation has made the city a desirable place to live while retaining its character.”

Stein goes on to discuss the current focus of Pittsburgh’s economy, with successful high-tech, startup and robotics industries, institutions of higher learning, and research:

The Mattress Factory ©Tom Little.
The Mattress Factory ©Tom Little.

“The economy has diversified, capitalizing on the presence of two top-tier universities, Carnegie Mellon and the University of Pittsburgh, several federally funded research institutes and a population that’s far more educated than the nation as a whole. (More than 37 percent of Pittsburghers have a bachelor’s degree or more, in comparison to 28 percent of Pennsylvanians and 29 percent of Americans overall.) Apple, Google and Uber have opened major offices in Pittsburgh, while new companies such as 4moms, which makes high-tech and robotic baby gear, are starting up.”

Highlighting Pittsburgh’s authentic neighborhoods, Stein says that “many young people are drawn to Lawrenceville, a neighborhood that is frequently compared to Brooklyn,” and she predicts: “the next neighborhood to watch is the up-and-coming Strip District.”

The region’s internationally renowned  amenities—such as the Great Allegheny Passage, museums and theaters, and new boutique hotels such as Ace Pittsburgh and the in-the-works Distrikt—are also noted.

Stein also writes about the unique and critical role that philanthropy, civic engagement and foundations continue to play in helping to shape a 21st-century Pittsburgh:

“Most of our foundations have bylaws that mandate they do most of their giving here in Pittsburgh,” says Bill Flanagan, chief corporate relations officer for the Allegheny Conference on Community Development. “We get the full benefit of an incredible concentration of assets.”

Church Brew. Courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.
Church Brew. Courtesy of Visit Pittsburgh.

The city’s thriving arts and cultural scene is also spotlighted, with shout-outs to the Mattress Factory, Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Benedum Center for the Performing Arts, Bricolage Production Company, and Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company.

Talking with Arthur Ziegler Jr., president of Pittsburgh’s History & Landmarks Foundation, Stein also praises the unique cooperation between historic preservationists and real estate developers that is a key factor in the city’s “impressive record of preserving historic buildings while also keeping them for mixed use.” Featured projects include the preservation of the Victorian-era Northside neighborhood, the Mexican War Streets.

Flanagan goes on to add that “cooperative efforts will be key to the city’s future.” Stein concludes by addressing some of Pittsburgh’s current challenges, while observing:

“. . . if the last 30 years have shown anything, it’s that Pittsburgh is used to working hard—and to working together to figure things out. So forget the question of whether this city is lucky or not. More important for Pittsburgh’s future fortunes, it’s smart.”

Read the entire article on Pittsburgh in Worth magazine.

Jennifer has worked at the Mattress Factory, Brooklyn Museum of Art and Dahesh Museum of Art and is co-author of Pittsburgh Signs Project: 250 Signs of Western Pennsylvania. She also is co-coordinator of Handmade Arcade. Musically, she is in a band called The Garment District and is a founding member of Brooklyn's The Ladybug Transistor.