Seeds of Pittsburgh's Change Rooted in Steel's Decline

By Acton, Robin | Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, September 2, 2009 | Go to article overview

Seeds of Pittsburgh's Change Rooted in Steel's Decline


Acton, Robin, Tribune-Review/Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


In 1963, international economist Dr. Marina Whitman predicted the declining steel industry would force the reinvention of Pittsburgh.

History shows business and government leaders paid little attention to warnings from the then-University of Pittsburgh professor and other contributors to the Economic Study of the Pittsburgh Region published by the Pittsburgh Regional Planning Association. They shelved the study, which suggested that overspecialization in heavy manufacturing would someday spell disaster for an industrial labor force concentrated in large firms and living in small towns dependent upon one or two employers.

For more than 20 years afterward, the region continued with business as usual, until the demise of the steel industry ultimately forced people to take notice and initiate change. Today, Whitman jokes that she'd love to say "I told you so" when she looks at how the once-Smoky City built on steel, iron and coal has evolved into a leader in health care, education and robotic technology.

"The economic activity in Pittsburgh changed tremendously since the late 1980s," said Whitman, 74, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business who served on Richard Nixon's Council of Economic Advisers. "Pittsburgh has reinvented itself."

The 1963 study forecast that diversification would be the key to ensure the region's economic growth and stop an outward migration of young people who were fleeing for better job opportunities. Still, economists say it was not until the mid-1980s, when many of the region's mills closed for good, that the tide began to turn.

Experts say it was a slow process that sparked physical and emotional changes, as towns with shuttered industrial facilities developed brownfields for other uses and workers accustomed to higher manufacturing salaries adjusted to lower-paying jobs in health care and service-related fields.

"We had been a steel-producing region for so long that there was not a lot of attention to diversification until we were forced to do it, kicking and screaming," said Christopher Briem, a regional economist and professor at the University of Pittsburgh Center for Social and Urban Research.

Briem said when the nation went into a recession during steel's heyday, it was always magnified in Western Pennsylvania, which became accustomed to a "boom or bust" economy. But it wasn't until the plants closed forever that people realized the jobs were not coming back.

Diversification -- into health care, biomedical research, education, robotics and technology -- helped the region fare much better in the current recession, Briem said. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Seeds of Pittsburgh's Change Rooted in Steel's Decline
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.