A ‘Sense of Place’ – where it began
Pittsburgh was the catalyst. In the taxi through the city the driver explained the enormous transformation of the once mega-steel hub. During the war he grandly announced Pittsburgh ‘produced more steel than Japan and Germany combined’. Today there was only a ‘sense of’ a steel industry. What Pittsburgh had become was vastly different to its industrial-age self.
No longer regarded as a ‘steel’ city Pittsburgh is now many things – including being regarded as one of America’s most livable cities. As a visitor I could only see the surface of this transformation but what I was left with has stayed with me in the years since that visit in 2009.
North America’s largest vertical green wall, street’s with ‘windmill’ stories, footpath history apps – all backed by the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust who were enabling this renaissance and telling the big story with the principal aim of ‘restoring downtown Pittsburgh as a vibrant cultural destination’. Pop-ups filled once empty shop-fronts and the bars and spaces of this town were alive. A reimagined city soon became home to large scale medical research pioneers with university students and start-up companies soon filling spaces and re-vitalising what could have been another rust-belt casualty.