Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wonk Archives: Neighborhood Change Edition

We really do forget, or at least misunderstand, our history. 

So as we watch various neighborhoods change, I sense a lot of folks think efforts to improve neighborhood conditions is something new here.  Few things are further from the truth.  Take just this onmibus report now scanned:

Urban Renewal Impact Study, by the Allegheny Council to Improve Our Neighborhoods; 1962.

It gets a lot of prognostication wrong, but a lot of insights there as well.  Some highlights:

p A-8: puts to myth the notion that some or most depressed communities declined because of the drop in steel employment that was mostly yet to come when that was written.

Also lots of great discussion of issues with our slopes and hillsides.   Lots of discussion of housing conditions.  The thing there is that for the City of Pittsburgh and nearby environs there has not been much new housing built since 1960.  So whatever the issues were then, add 50 years of depreciation.

Finally on page 25 is this paragraph:
Complete dependence upon local municipal initiative and resources for stimulatinG renewal in the county is bound to fail. With the exception of Pittsburgh, McKeesport and a few of the other larger and more affluent municipalities, Allegheny County Boroughs and townships needing renewal are too small and too lacking in resources to undertake renewal without county assistance. At present, Allegheny County and its smaller communities are falling behind its own major cities as well as other urban areas in the renewal effort for lackof coordination, programming and the tachnical and financial assistance.

nuff said.



Anonymous Wiz said...

So neighborhoods started declining before '62, beforen steel mills closed. What happenned in the fifties? Cars. Autos became commonplace and people started to move to the suburbs to get away from the noise and pollution.
Before that, they had to live close enough to walk to work.

Saturday, October 13, 2012 9:44:00 PM  
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Monday, October 15, 2012 4:02:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Like Ida_Lee, I do hope that your best work is yet to come as well.

Anyway, I think that the best way of making this point is to point to that poster child for urban decay in Allegheny County, Braddock, and point out that Braddock still HAS ITS STEEL MILL. If the decline of steel explained it all away, Braddock would be doing fine.

Monday, October 15, 2012 10:24:00 AM  
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Thursday, November 22, 2012 4:46:00 AM  

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