So a new idea hit the blogosphere a few weeks ago and, because I don't keep up with reading about my favorite city nearly as much as I should, I'm just now getting around to writing about it. It's the Manifesto for a New Pittsburgh, compsed by three Burgh bloggers (Mike @ Pittsblog, Jim @ Burgh Diaspora, and Jim Morris.) These guys have put together a pretty grandiose vision (the inspiring, Daniel Burnham kind of grandiose) for the Pittsburgh region but, as is noted in the introduction to the Manifesto, it's an idea that is not yet set in stone. Responses were requested.
One of the responses to this manifesto, which focuses largely on increasing connectons at the community, city, regional, and international level, asks how, exactly, Pittsburgh can reach out to the diaspora of Burgh natives across the planet. How, in essence, can former Pittsburghers living in Los Angeles or London or Tokyo be persuaded to invest money, time, or resources in their hometown when they live so far away?
Coincidentally, Pittsburgh played host to a Humane Metropolis Workshop just a week before the manifesto was posted. The conferrence is described thusly: "The objectives...include reviewing current urban improvement initiatives in Pittsburgh, promoting partnerships among local citizens and public officials, sharing relevant experiences from other cities, generating new ideas, and fostering awareness of Pittsburgh's emergence as a role model for other cities." There's all that "increased connectivity" talk again.
Greatness is what wins international attention--greatness in vision, leadership, innovation. Pittsburgh is a city that, thanks to its congenial attitude and ecologically rich setting, is particularly well-suited to becoming a global model of the "Humane Metropolis" discussed in the previous post. Most of the Pittsburghers I've met have had a real sense of pride in place; though they may not live there, they have strong feelings about their hometown. Thus, their own pride is, in part, tied to the fortunes of the city. Re-shaping Pittsburgh as the new model of greatness for healthy urban regions in the coming century could serve as an excellent means for inspiring members of the diaspora to contribute to the prosperity of their former home.
The Manifesto includes passages about "enfranchizing new and marginalized voices" and "reaching out to a 21st century global Pittsburgh of many colors, nationalities and ethnicities." It looks to me like there's quite a bit of connectivity between these two ideas already...
Manifesto for a New Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh: A More Humane Metropolis Workshop