Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Pittsburgh past... Pittsburgh future.

NYT reports that Ben Chinitz passed away.

Many have read me here or in person talk about Ben's work on regional economics, in particular the Pittsburgh economy. Even though much of his work was dated to the 50's and 60's much of it is as relevant today as it was back then. It is remarkable how so many folks keep trying to figure out the answers to things that folks like Ben and his colleagues provided clear perspectives on long ago... including many issues that we still grapple with today. Sometimes you have to stop reinventing the wheel and trust the answers you have.

If you want an example of what I am talking about. Read Ben's perspective on entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh, or lack thereof from just about a half century ago:Contrasts in Agglomeration: New York and Pittsburgh. American Economic Review. Papers and Proceedings,Vol. 51, 1961, pp. 279-289.


Blogger Vannevar said...

What I really enjoyed in that paper (among several things) was his points about what we're now calling geographic density: that while you can pile garment operations (or doctor's offices, or artist galleries, or offices in general) vertically, you can't pile steel mills vertically - which has implications for which types of industry would be more likely to generate and sustain "spikiness".

Please accept my condolences.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009 1:59:00 PM  
Blogger Alex said...

Wow he hit a lot of home runs in that paper!

The thought has often occurred to me that our region developed and clings to its horrible municipal structure because it afforded some "entrepreneurial" opportunity to folks who were nobodies ( in the kindest way) in the mill, could not amass capital to start a business, but could be a councilman or mayor of some minor subdivision or the region.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009 11:11:00 PM  

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