Reindustrialising Cities: Lessons from Pittsburgh
Linking Economic Growth and Urban Well-Being
Many residents of former manufacturing cities lack the education, job skills, and labor force attachment for them to benefit from economic growth, whether in the city or its surrounding region. While many former factory cities still contain large numbers of jobs, most of the positions are held by commuters. For example, there are 216,000 jobs inside the borders of St. Louis, yet less than 55,000 are held by city residents. Building the city’s human capital by increas- ing residents’ education and skills must be intimately linked with the city’s economic growth strategy to maximize the benefits city residents will gain from job growth inside the city. This will also increase their ability to compete successfully for opportu- nities throughout the region. According to Gilloth and Meier (2012, 197), “the current population is the human capital base upon which to build the economic future of the city.”
CLICK FOR >> Regenerating America’s Legacy Cities
While almost all of the nation’s older industrial cities declined through the 1980s, the picture began to change in the 1990s and has continued to evolve. Some cities have clearly begun to rebound from decades of decline, while others continue to struggle. Two central themes that underlie these diverging trajectories are: the assets that each city brings to bear and the way in which those assets are used to foster change; and the relationship between the city and its surrounding region.
University of Pittsburgh, Medical Center
Legacy cities have many assets that can be starting points for revitalization and change. A renewed competitive advantage, which will enable them to build new economic capacity.
University of Pittsburgh Medical center is the largest employer in western Pennsylvania replacing many old factory jobs with new higher skilll and better pying occupations.
In most metropolitan areas, the larger region surrounding the city offers many more job opportunities than the city itself. Any strategy to strengthen the role of city residents in the labor force needs to focus not only on maximizing their ability to obtain jobs within the city, but on their ability to gain access to the larger pool of suburban jobs, both through skill development and improvements in regional transportation systems. Enabling urban residents to better access suburban jobs, which demands a regional employment strategy, is likely to have as much effect on resident well-being as will job growth inside the city.