SkyscraperCity banner
1 - 10 of 10 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much is Pittsburgh a victim of its own beauty?

First, it is located in the Alleghany Plateau, so its hinterland, though very attractive, is not the best suited for urban growth and development.

Then, there is the city itself: a relatively small city, it divided by three rivers wide enough to be divisive to transportation, no matter how dramatic the golden triangle is. Meanwhile the hills of Pittsburgh further divide. The bluffs to south of the Monongahala from downtown are steep and the south part of Pittsburgh is thus not that easily connected to downtown across the river, other than by tunnel. The hilly landscape continues in the portions of the city east of downtown and also across the Alleghany. The hills are large enough to create barriers, unlike what you find in San Francisco, where so many of the hills have been easily grided. In Pittsburgh, the streets curve in so many different directions that n, s, e, and w lose all meaning.

How much does this beautiful setting of rivers and hills (and a most attractive citylandscape to go with them) has actually hurt Pittsburgh's ability to function when a flater landscape, less divided by rivers, would have increased the functionality of transportation and the ability to develop land effectively?

The one city that, to me, most shares Pittsburgh's hilly type setting (also beautifully, but not nearly as dramatically as Pittsburgh) is Cincinnati. And, in both cases, very attractive cities have shared an inability to promote healthy growth. Hills seem to work in coastal areas where the climate is milder and winter driving is not an issue (i.e. the cities in Calif, as well as Seattle, etc.)

I hope none of this comes across in a negative way. It should be clear that I think Pittsburgh is a most beautiful and unique city, a real gem, but, am I right on this one? Is Pittsburgh a victim of its incredibly beautiful river-and-hill topography?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
644 Posts
I was in the Pittsburgh area with my father last weekend and we were talking about Pittsburgh suburban development. He grew up in a town in southern allegeny county, which is the same county as Pittsburgh. I asked him why there weren't any large suburban developments or large masses of people commuting from that area. He said that since the area there is so mountainous and rocky, its really tough to provide utilities to that area which basicly prevented large scale development and suburban sprawl from heading south of the city.
So you might be on to a certain aspect of that city. I'd love to hear from someone who lives in the city about this..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,589 Posts
I would agree with the assessment on Pittsburgh but to add to it...

Density levels in Rustbelt cities are almost half of what they are today, safer and cleaner now than 60 years ago. With that you see alot of the southern tier NY, southern Ohio and 80% of PA...hills, hills and more damn hills. Cities built dense because land was so limited, unlike Chicago, Cleveland or Buffalo. When people started moving out of these dense neighborhoods in search of more space, they simply did not want to build too far from the city itself, or build on a hill...so many left in search of space.

there are cities in PA that are 14,000 but have skylines of cities of 60,000.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
9,194 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BuffCity said:
I would agree with the assessment on Pittsburgh but to add to it...

Density levels in Rustbelt cities are almost half of what they are today, safer and cleaner now than 60 years ago. With that you see alot of the southern tier NY, southern Ohio and 80% of PA...hills, hills and more damn hills. Cities built dense because land was so limited, unlike Chicago, Cleveland or Buffalo. When people started moving out of these dense neighborhoods in search of more space, they simply did not want to build too far from the city itself, or build on a hill...so many left in search of space.

there are cities in PA that are 14,000 but have skylines of cities of 60,000.
BuffCity, I'm trying to make sure I undertand your point: if I'm reading you correctly, you're saying that a city like Pittsburgh was built with a greater density than one might expect from its population, due to being hemmed in by rivers and hills....but when when Pittsburghers followed other Americans to the suburbs, they might not have gotten what they wanted: the hills were forcing them into an issolation not found in a flat metro area and, though beautiful, were inconvenient and divisive from places people wanted to go.

Did I get that one right, or did I misunderstand you on this one?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
I'll admit that Pittsburgh has seen sprawl, but I'll also admit that Pittsburgh is very beautiful visually (similar to Fairmount Park, East Falls, Manayuk, Germantown, and Chestnut Hill in Phila). I've been to Pittsburgh once and the views were breataking. It's easy to get lost in Pittsburgh, since it doesn't have a grid system like Phila and Chicago has, but the system is beautiful, more than the ugly city by the lake, Cleveland (home of the burning river and the second longest championship drought in America, poor San Diego) Anyways, Pittsburgh can gain a lot like immigrants coming to your city, and my city helping you with your population loss by supplying Puerto Ricans, Dominicans, West Indians, and Asians, and yall can even manage to get Mexicans to help you out. That way you'll be able to say that you're way more diverse than Cleveland. And you need to have a better subway than Cleveland and commuter lines to go with it. Pittsburgh is just too beautiful to be wasted like this.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
437 Posts
BuffCity said:
I would agree with the assessment on Pittsburgh but to add to it...

Density levels in Rustbelt cities are almost half of what they are today, safer and cleaner now than 60 years ago. With that you see alot of the southern tier NY, southern Ohio and 80% of PA...hills, hills and more damn hills. Cities built dense because land was so limited, unlike Chicago, Cleveland or Buffalo. When people started moving out of these dense neighborhoods in search of more space, they simply did not want to build too far from the city itself, or build on a hill...so many left in search of space.

there are cities in PA that are 14,000 but have skylines of cities of 60,000.
What are some other PA cities with low population and high density?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,973 Posts
I know one that I have driven through, Sunbury, seemed a lot bigger than the mere 10k it had, It felt twice that big.
 
1 - 10 of 10 Posts
Top