Monday, May 04, 2009

home-less municipalities

I have not looked at this recently... but once I calculated that Braddock, PA had the 2nd highest year round housing vacancy rate in the state... second only to Centralia, PA which was formally evacuated by the state due to underground mine fires.

But there is a local AP news story running that says nearby Monessen is now the state's emptiest town.

Either way.. I suspect the only reason either municipality shows up is because you don't see similar data for specific city neighborhoods. But I have not seen the AP data or their methods. Pittsburgh has a few areas that probably match anything going on in Braddock or Monssen


Anonymous RoboticGhost said...

There was another AP article I saw in the NY Times earlier (MSNBC Link) that addressed the same concern about Rust Belt housing. While it didn't mention Pittsburgh, it got me to thinking about various Pittsburgh neighborhoods and how re-purposing saved some while others simply deteriorated along predictable lines.

Consider the transvergent fates of Hazelwood and the South Side. Those of us who can remember the South Side after the Fall and before it became a great place for suburbanites to come down to throw/hook up can remember the Braddock-like character it had in those years. Hazelwood at the time was in much the same boat. Now, I don't have any data on neighborhood demographics over the years, but I'm betting that proximity to Oakland had about as much to do with why the South Side is what it is as race or any other factor.

Which brings me to the point of this comment, connecting Oakland and Hazelwood via rail, monorail, swift coolies, transporter beam, or mule-drawn barge makes a lot of sense right now. Oakland institutions need room. Hazelwood has lots and lots of room. Via the PTC they are almost neighbors anyways and the principle neighborhood in between them (Greenfield) seems like its half full of grad students and professional types anyways these days. I don't know how practical Peduto's rail line idea is, but Hazelwood's location and relative emptiness are great natural resources. Somebody's going to have to finish brownfield remediation down there eventually. Seems like a no-brainer to me. But what do I know?

Monday, May 04, 2009 4:19:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

According to this list, of the ten empties neighborhoods in PA, three are in Pittsburugh, one is Philly and one is Erie. Which is probably not a good sign for the state as a whole.

Monday, May 04, 2009 11:05:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sure, the South Side had a few tough years "after the fall"... but it's beyond the pale to suggest it was ever "Braddock-like"... not even Hazelwood... the most "Mon Valley"-ish of Pittsburgh neighborhoods approaches "Braddock-like".

Hazelwood's potential post-industrial revival has been frozen for years due to the specter of the Mon-Fayette Xpressway hanging over the neighborhood like the Sword of Damocles. After blasting through, there'd be little Hazelwood left... thus, what is the point of anyone investing in a neighborhood whose fate remains in limbo?

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 3:04:00 AM  
Blogger C. Briem said...

I'd have to agree with the earlier comment. SS in the 1980's was pretty bad. The fact that memory of that is lost (or as I take the last comment to mean it is almost too hard to believe even) is a testament to how far the neighborhood has come. I mentioned the bowling alley that used to be on the South side. The building didn't burn down, but it closed because of a big fire there that was likely arson. Whole series of arsons I remember as a lot of owners were pretty desperate. In the SS the J&L plant and other plants actually closed.. In Braddock the plant actually stayed open. The difference if anything is that as a neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh continued to have basic services (police, fire, basic public works) that in many ways can't be supported in a lot of hard hit mon valley municipalities.. don't want to pick just on Braddock but still.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 8:57:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's one of the major problems stemming from Metro Pittsburgh's hyper-fragmentation and tiny legacy municipalities that are essentially useless and incapable of doing anything today.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 1:15:00 PM  
Blogger O said...

Hazelwood's potential post-industrial revival has been frozen for years due to the specter of the Mon-Fayette Xpressway hanging over the neighborhood like the Sword of Damocles.Agreed. What's more is that the neighborhood is so much in limbo that no one wants to invest in their properties, less the Turnpike Commission come in the next day and depress the values further.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009 9:32:00 PM  
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