Vannevar, btw, suggests the goal ought to be for Pittsburgh to become the Copenhagen of Appalachia.
So one of those factoids 5 of us talk about: As Brian mentions Pittsburgh is often said to be the largest city in Appalachia. Could be, though it obviously depends on your definition of Appalpahia. This is kind of wonkish oral history.... but a colleague of mine tells me that Pittsburgh was the place where the Appalachian Regional Commission actually decided it's own geographic scope decades ago. Thus it would make sense that if you look at their maps, Pittsburgh may indeed be Appalachia's largest city... Looks like their defintion only gets to the exurban areas of Atlanta which would obviously be bigger than us. But I wonder... is that factoid still true if "Pittsburgh" is defined as just the city proper? I thought maybe the semi-consolidated city/county of Nashville/Davidson county would have displaced Pittsburgh. That would have been an interesting angle to our own city/county consolidation debate, but they seem to be just outside the ARC's map as well. Same for Cincinatti... Birmingham, Alabama is in their geography, but the population there is closer to 200K while Pittsburgh is still only flirting with 300K. Am I missing some other obvious city or is Pittsburgh still tops in 'Appalachia'?
There has been a newfound interest in the definition of Appalachia. Some of it is the political story...(also this).... Related is the sociology. I was looking for the map that made the rounds showing counties in the US which had the highest percentage of people who identify themsleves as ethnically 'American', but can't find it. Then there is the energy story of late since Pittsburgh Seam coal is a subset of the Northern Appalachian Coal Basin.