Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Bedtime reading on the 'Burgh

Not much today.  So here is something for the reading list.  I keep saying, our friends to the north are awfully close.  Case in point is a relatively recent dissertation:

COMMUNITIES AND LEADERS AT WORK IN THE NEW ECONOMY: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF AGENTS OF TRANSFORMATION IN PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA AND HAMILTON, ONTARIO, by Barbara Ann Fennessy. Department of Sociology and Equity Studies in Education. Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto. 2009

If you really need more... on my professional side some may have noticed our new Pittsburgh Urban Blog (the PUB) which will highlight our own work, but also take note of other's work relevant to all things urban Pittsburgh.  I have just put up over there a note on some new research out of Michigan State looking at how region's economic growth is impacted by connectivity... connectivity as measured by airport connections and passenger traffic.  You will see some specific mentions of Pittsburgh in it as well.  Someone tell Zap.


Anonymous BrianTH said...

I'm tempted to think (as was suggested in the paper as a possibility) that network connections have always been the key to city hierarchies, and that size may provide temporary feedback but isn't a fundamental driver. After all, it surely isn't a coincidence that cities have typically grown up along rivers and harbors, or that cities have tended to shrink in relative importance if, say, their path to the ocean silts up.

But certainly the emergence of aviation and modern telecommunications didn't do Pittsburgh any favors when it comes to hierarchical rankings. A world in which roads, boats, and eventually trains were the major means of transportation--and for a long time communications--was a world in which Pittsburgh was destined to be a major node in the relevant networks. Not so much with airplanes, satellites, and such.

On the plus side, we may see quite a bit of relative mode shift away from airplanes in the medium term (largely due to fuel issues plus the land and noise issues associated with increasing airport capacity in urban environments). That could at least stabilize Pittsburgh's hierarchical position in the United States, perhaps with a little "Marcellus multiplier" thrown in. But I'm not sure Pittsburgh will ever climb back up the rankings (unless perhaps water issues become a serious constraint on the future growth of some of the cities that only recently passed by Pittsburgh).

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 11:31:00 AM  
Anonymous Ken Zapinski said...

Thanks for the tip. I'll take a look.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

With all due respect to places I have never heard of, the fact that we figure as part of a peer group for Hamilton, Ontario, is probably a better indicator of Pittsburgh's problems than any results of that comparison.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:53:00 PM  
Anonymous DBR96A said...

Hamilton, ON is a significant Canadian city.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 12:56:00 PM  
Anonymous MH said...

Hamilton, ON is a significant Canadian city.


Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:07:00 PM  
Anonymous BrianTH said...

I grew up in the Detroit area and have extended family in Ontario. Hamilton may aspire to be like Pittsburgh, but it is actually much more like Buffalo, except for the Steel Capital of Canada thing. And that (the steel thing) was the reason for the pairing in the report.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 1:44:00 PM  

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