Have you ever played the word association game? Come on, you know the one. I say a word, you say the first thing that pops into your head.
Like if I said Pittsburgh, most people would blurt out something about steel, Primanti’s or some sports-related factoid.Hear us when we say that we’re not discounting those things, we love them. We know that Pittsburgh wouldn’t be Pittsburgh without them. We’re just hoping to advance the conversation a bit.
So keep your affinity for sports, steel and sandwiches in your heart (and arteries). Cling to your Terrible Towel and Iron City beer. But do it while pushing a new agenda for Pittsburgh, one that includes bragging about these 9 things:
A comprehensive study out of Harvard and Cal Berkeley ranked Pittsburgh second in upward mobility among major cities, alongside places like San Francisco, San Jose and Boston. We’re also lightyears ahead of other rust-belt cities like Cleveland, Cincinnati and Columbus.
When manufacturing jobs went away and our industrial economy collapsed, it seemed as though disaster was imminent. But when faced with the challenge, innovate or die, Pittsburgh innovated. We’re in the midst of a revolution for the history and record books. Best of all, it’s working.
Seriously, how do we not talk about that more? Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute is the best in the world. They’re planning to ship things to the moon and are working on a driverless car. Yeah, no big deal.
Go ahead and google us. If you do you’ll find Pittsburgh atop every list of awesomeness that Forbes, Inc and the Huffington Post can come up with. We’re so popular right now that Google Googled us. They’re in the process of expanding upon their posh 40,000 sq ft Google office in Bakery Square.
So the new Google offices thing is cool. It has a heck of a lot to do with Carnegie Mellon being a hub for innovation. But know this: the University of Pittsburgh boasts high-ranking engineering and computer science programs. Which might explain why Apple, Disney, Intel and Bill Gates all want in on the action.
According to Merriam-Webster, a startup is a “fledgling business enterprise.” And according to Kiplinger, Pittsburgh is among the best places to launch said startup. See exhibits a.) Duolingo, b.) NoWait and c.) 4Moms d.) Resumator. Of course it helps to have top-ranked incubators like AlphaLab, early stage investors like Innovation Works and groups like the Pittsburgh Technology Council on your side. Don’t forget about Thrill Mill, Idea Foudry, and StartupTown.
We traded in steel and soot for sustainable design and LEED-certified buildings. PNC is currently building the greenest skyrise in the world, The Tower at PNC Plaza. Plus, the “Living Building” at Phipps Conservatory Center for Sustainable Landscapes is LEED-Platinum certified.
You could say we’re the Hollywood of the East or a steeltown turned Tinseltown. But this movie stuff isn’t anything new – we’ve been here all along. Since 1905 in fact, when the first public movie theatre in the U.S. opened on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh. It didn’t hurt to have the Dark Knight, Perks of Being a Wallflower and Fault in our Stars filmed here either.
Biographer James Parton once wrote that Pittsburgh was like “hell with the lid taken off.” That line has survived as a slight. Thing is, it was nothing of the sort.
If you were to read the entire passage you’d see that Parton described the view from Coal Hill (now Mt. Washington) as a “spectacle as striking as Niagara [Falls].”
He wasn’t talking smack, but talking us up. Especially when he wrote that, in Pittsburgh, all is curious and wonderful; site, environs, history, geology, business, aspect, atmosphere, customs, everything. To know Pittsburg(h) thoroughly is a liberal education in the kind of culture demanded by modern times.
See that? Even in 1866, even when steel was our savior, and despite the soot, Pittsburgh was still a beacon of all that is “curious and wonderful.”Fast forward 150 years or so and we see that, once again, Pittsburgh is schooling others on the kind of culture, innovation and resilience demanded by modern times.
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