This is my first trip to Pittsburgh, PA.
Several things impress me about the city.
It appears that a great deal of new investment has taken place in the downtown sector, and not just in the form of highrise office towers.
Countless old, historic buildings have been restored and redeveloped. The streets bustle with people. The shops and stores and restaurants are thriving. No doubt, a number of public-private ventures have contributed to the renewal.
I expect that there is much to learn here about the intentional development of civic space, life and spirit because evidence of success appears everywhere.
All kinds of people are downtown--and lots of them! Business professionals, construction workers, service workers, medical professionals, students, the homeless--everyone is here.
I realize I really don't know enough to make sense of what I am seeing, but it feels like everyone is glad to be here and everyone seems to consider the downtown space a common asset. At least people are together and it works!
Last night before the Pirates played the Mets, we walked down a major street that had been closed for the game. People were everywhere.
Again, all kinds of people--all races, cultures, ages, classes.
Children, with parents in tow, were flooding into the park. The Sixth Avenue bridge--renamed now for Pirates' hero, Roberto Clemente--was jammed with people walking out of downtown after work over the river to PNC Park.
What a delightful sight!
As I take it all in, I cannot help but think of Dallas and our Downtown district.
Maybe it is the heat. Maybe it is the neglect of the past three or four decades, maybe it is a lack of vision. Maybe it is our classism and the widening gap between rich and poor. Maybe it is the way our community is so clearly divided along geographic, economic and racial lines.
I don't know.
What I do know is clear: we must do better.
I am proud of our plans for Downtown at CityWalk @ Akard! The project will make a small, but positive contribution to bringing valid, viable life back to our central business district.
Cities can be healthy, encouraging and places of hopeful opportunity for everyone. It should be no other way!
I know it's not perfect, but my hat is off to Pittsburgh.
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