Who's Your City?, by Richard Florida
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Pittsburgher by Choice!

View of PittsburghI grew up outside of Worcester, Massachusetts. While I’ve always loved Massachusetts, I felt the need to go away to school. After years of research, I narrowed my choice to Case Western in Cleveland and Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh. When I made my bus trip to the near-mid West, I found I hated Cleveland (except for the Art Museum) and loved Pittsburgh. My choice was easy.

I’ve actually moved to Pittsburgh twice by choice. I wound up marrying a Pittsburgh native. We were part of the great brain-drain of the late ’70s and early ’80s that Pittsburgh experienced – my husband couldn’t get a job in Pittsburgh after he graduated from college and we wound up moving to rural Ohio. After spending 11 years in Massachusetts, we returned to Pittsburgh in 1993.

Pittsburgh had changed quite a lot between 1979 and 1993. Yeah, parts of downtown deteriorated rapidly in the late ’90s and early ’00s, but it is generally coming back now. People are actually moving into condos in downtown. There are an amazing number of small galleries, little theater troupes and small start-up companies.

As part of its brain drain 30 years ago, Pittsburgh experienced a major housing bust. However, it didn’t have the housing boom many other cities had in the ’90s and ’00s. Right now, the cost of housing is declining a little, but not nearly as much as it is in other areas. Affordable housing also makes Pittsburgh an extremely attractive city to settle in.

Pittsburgh seems amazingly underrated by many people. When I ran a conference in Pittsburgh in 1999 that attracted about 250 people from all over the country, almost everyone liked the city. I like to call Pittsburgh “the nicest city you’ve never been to.”

Sent by Laurie Mann from Pittsburgh, PA

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